Archive for the ‘National Security’ Category

Julian Zelizer’s dishonesty is disgustingly displayed in this article when he writes “Dershowitz was repeating a line of argument that we’ve heard before from Trump’s staunchest defenders. Presidential power is so total and so complete, the argument goes, that there is almost nothing that Trump could do to warrant impeachment.” That isn’t the argument that Professor Dershowitz is making. In fact, it isn’t even close.

In the Trump legal team’s initial filing, which I wrote about here, Pat Cipollone and Jay Sekulow noted that “the Supreme Court has recognized, the President’s constitutional authority to protect the confidentiality of Executive Branch information is at its apex in the field of foreign relations and national security.

The Trump legal team’s initial filing is 7 pages long. It doesn’t take much time to read through that filing, especially compared with reading through the 111 pages of word salad in the House Democrats’ initial filing. It’s difficult to picture Zelizer not reading through both filings. Perhaps he didn’t but, if he didn’t, then that’s sloppy journalism.

The argument that Professor Dershowitz is making is that impeachable offenses must be “Treason, Bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” In this interview, Professor Dershowitz gives insight into what his responsibility will be:

This is sloppy, too:

To be sure, Dershowitz’s outlook is rooted in a growing body of work that took hold in conservative circles since the 1980s about expansive executive power. A number of prominent right-wing legal practitioners and scholars, including Attorney General William Barr, subscribed to the notion that the powers of the president are bold, almost total. They rejected the direction of Watergate-era congressional reforms, such as the War Powers Act, that sought to constrain the president.

According to the Constitution, Congress has the affirmative responsibility of declaring war. The Constitution also gives the Senate the responsibility of ratifying treaties. Ratification requires “two thirds of the Senators present concur” with treaties negotiated by the President. The other responsibility that Congress has with regards to foreign policy is the power of the purse.

Congress doesn’t have the authority to prosecute wars or execute foreign policy. That’s the Executive Branch’s responsibility. Period. Full stop. Imagine how utterly dysfunctional foreign policy would be if we had 536 commanders-in-chief.

Conservatives have also supported President Trump by employing the “unitary executive” theory, arguing that the President has broad powers over the executive branch. This was the argument Barr used before becoming attorney general to defend Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey.

The current administration has taken these arguments even further to justify the brazen actions of Trump with regards to Ukraine and the obstruction of Congress. Defenders such as Dershowitz have gone so far in their arguments that they have tried to essentially nullify any constitutional provisions that we have to make certain that presidents are held accountable.

Instead of a system of checks and balances, the logic of their claims imply the founders wanted a chief executive without restraint. This country was founded on the revolt against a monarchy — now Trump’s defenders are trying to argue for more of the same.

That final paragraph is intellectually sloppy. The men who debated, then wrote the Constitution, wanted a congress that essentially passed the budget and set naturalization laws. These men understood the importance of a single commander-in-chief for prosecuting wars and a chief executive officer who negotiated treaties. That doesn’t mean that Congress is voiceless in these decisions.

That being said, Congress shouldn’t use the power of the purse to stop a war without a very good reason that’s supported by virtually the entire nation. Once war is declared, it should be controlled by the Executive Branch barring historic corruption.

Pat Cipollone, the White House Counsel, and Jay Sekulow, President Trump’s personal attorney, made their first official impeachment filing this weekend. Immediately, they let it be known that they weren’t interested in taking prisoners on this particular battlefield.

They started their filing by saying “The Articles of Impeachment submitted by House Democrats are a dangerous attack on the American people to freely choose their president. This is a brazen and unlawful attempt to overturn the 2016 election and to interfere with the 2020 election, now just months away.”

Next, they write “The Articles of Impeachment are unconstitutional on their face. They fail to allege any crime or violation of law whatsoever, let alone “High Crimes and Misdemeanors,” as required by the Constitution. They are the result of a lawless process that violated basic due process and fundamental fairness.”

“In order to preserve our constitutional structure of government, to reject the poisonous partisanship that the Framers warned against, to ensure one-party political impeachment vendettas do not become the ‘new normal,’ and to vindicate the will of the American people, the Senate must reject both Articles of Impeachment,” Trump’s legal team wrote. “In the end, this entire process is nothing more than a dangerous attack on the American people themselves and their fundamental right to vote.”

It’s worth reading the entire Trump team briefing. This team sought to send the message that there’s little, if anything, in the Articles of Impeachment that meets the Constitution’s requirements.

Cipollone and Sekulow note that House Democrats “sought testimony disclosing the Executive Branch’s confidential communications and internal decision-making processes on matters of foreign policy and national security, despite the well-established constitutional privileges and immunities protecting such information.” Then Mssrs. Cipollone and Sekulow write “As the Supreme Court has recognized, the President’s constitutional authority to protect the confidentiality of Executive Branch information is at its apex in the field of foreign relations and national security.”

Notwithstanding these abuses, the Administration replied appropriately to these subpoenas and identified their constitutional defects. Tellingly, House Democrats did not seek to enforce these constitutionally defective subpoenas in court. To the contrary, when one subpoena recipient sought a declaratory judgment as to the validity of the subpoena he had received, House Democrats quickly withdrew the subpoena to prevent the court from issuing a ruling.

Why would House Democrats withdraw a legitimate subpoena if the information sought was important? Did House Democrats withdraw the subpoena because they didn’t want the court to rule that the subpoena wasn’t legitimate?

Check LFR for the House Democrats’ reply to this filing.

When Republicans complained that anti-Trump lawyer David Kris had gotten appointed to oversee the FISA reforms, people predictably questioned whether Republicans were playing politics with the appointment. That hasn’t disappeared yet but it should now that independent reporter Sharyl Attkisson has written this article on the subject.

In her article, Ms. Attkisson highlights the main problems associated with this appointment, starting with this:

On Twitter, Kris called Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) “a politicized, dishonest [Intelligence Community] overseer who attempts to mislead,” and wrote that Trump and his advisers should be “worried” that the “walls are closing in” regarding the Mueller probe. Kris also bought into the now-disproven conspiracy theory about Trump colluding with Russia and Putin.

In other words, the FISC appointed a political hack at a time when the FISC needed a nonpartisan person to supervise these FISA reforms. Then there’s this:

To some, the appointment of Kris to help with the job is as mysterious as to why the FISA Court’s judges failed to flag the FBI abuses on their own. It would seem more important than ever to have an apolitical person, or a balanced group of people, conducting oversight of these politically sensitive matters.

Why didn’t the FISC police these warrant applications? It wasn’t until after the Horowitz Report had been published that the judge put out a warning. That isn’t policing the process. That’s CYA after the fact.

There’s no question that we need something that hunts the bad guys but that also keeps Big Brother playing fair. If anything is certain, it’s that FISA won’t get renewed without major changes. If Christopher Wray doesn’t step forward with a lengthy list of reforms, then FISA should be scrapped and rebuilt from scratch.

Things get more questionable with this tweet from whistle-blower attorney Mark Zaid:


The op-ed written by Mike Morrell and David Kris says “This summer, a whistleblower complained to the inspector general for the U.S. intelligence community of an alleged ‘violation’ of law, ‘abuse’ of authority or similar problem. The inspector general, in turn, advised the acting DNI, and later the House Intelligence Committee, that the complaint was both credible and ‘urgent,’ meaning it involved something ‘serious or flagrant’ or otherwise significant.”

Why didn’t Kris and Morrell highlight the fact that the faux whistle-blower isn’t covered by the ICWPA? For that matter, why didn’t Kris mention that the person who tweeted about the op-ed is the faux whistle-blower’s attorney? Additionally, Mr. Zaid is the partisan Democrat who tweeted that “the coup” had started about 10 days after President Trump had been inaugurated?

Anyone associated with Mr. Zaid shouldn’t be associated with FISA reform. Period.

When it comes to dovish presidential candidates, this year’s Democrats look more like 1972 than any other bunch of dovish Democrats. Kim Strassel’s article highlights just how leftist this year’s Democrat frontrunners are. Let’s start with Bernie Sanders’ dovishness.

Strassel writes “Voters now know that a President Bernie Sanders would not take action against Iran or other rogue regimes, no matter how many red lines they cross. Mr. Sanders will take no step that might bring us anywhere closer to ‘another disastrous war’ or cost ‘more dollars and more deaths.'” Honestly, I’m not certain Bernie would have any red lines. Thankfully, we won’t have to worry about that since he doesn’t stand a chance of winning the general election. That being said, he’s got a decent shot at winning the Democrats’ presidential nomination.

Then there’s Elizabeth Warren:

A President Elizabeth Warren would similarly offer a pass to leaders of U.S.-designated terrorist groups, at least if they have an official title. The Trump strike, she said, amounted to the “assassination” of “a government official, a high-ranking military official.”

Richard Nixon was right when he said that “the world is a terrible neighborhood to live in.” Anyone that thinks that these Democrats are prepared to be commander-in-chief is kidding themselves. People this dovish aren’t prepared for the harsh responsibilities of making difficult decisions on a moment’s notice. This interview is proof that Elizabeth Warren isn’t bright enough to be commander-in-chief:

Anyone that thinks that the US isn’t safer as a result of killing Maj. Gen. Soleimani doesn’t pass the commander-in-chief test. Sen. Warren thinks we aren’t safer now than we were 3 years ago. Right after 9/11, we were told that killing terrorists created more terrorists. After the US took out the Taliban and things settled down a little bit, we were told that the Arab street respected “the strong horse.” It’s time to stop thinking that these Democrats have a clue about national security/terrorism. They don’t. They’re idiots. The guy in the White House is the only person currently running that I’d trust with these matters. Trusting Bernie, Biden, Buttigieg or Warren with national security, terrorism or foreign policy is foolish.

John Kerry’s op-ed might get mistaken as the rantings of a lunatic. It wouldn’t get mistaken as the craftsmanship of a highly respected former US Secretary of State. Then again, Secretary Kerry wasn’t a highly respected secretary of state at any point in his life.

Secretary Kerry’s op-ed starts with “President Trump says that on his watch, Iran will never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon. But if he had wanted to keep that promise, he should have left the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement in place. Instead, he pulled the United States out of the deal and pursued a reckless foreign policy that has put us on a path to armed conflict with Iran.”

The JCPOA, which stands for Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action, never would’ve prevented Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. The best possible outcome was to delay Iran’s legal acquisition of a nuclear weapon. What’s worse is that Secretary Kerry agreed to sanctions relief for the Iranian theocracy without them even signing the JCPOA. That’s a fact because Iran still hasn’t signed the document.

Another fatal flaw of the negotiations is that it was such a worthless agreement that President Obama refused to submit it as a treaty. Some of President Obama’s staunchest supporters in the Senate refused to approve the deal.

Further, Kerry lied when he said that President Trump “pursued a reckless foreign policy that has put us on a path to armed conflict with Iran.” Killing Gen. Soleimani took the US off a path to war with Iran. Iran has been making one provocative action after another to provoke the US into war. President Trump hasn’t taken Iran’s bait.

This moment was nothing if not foreseeable the moment Mr. Trump abandoned the 2015 agreement, which was working, and chose instead to isolate us from our allies, narrow our options in the region and slam shut the door to tackling additional issues with Iran through constructive diplomacy.

By putting new, tough, sanctions in place against the theocracy, President Trump is drying up the funds Iran has traditionally used to fund its proxies like Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen. The predictable thing is Kerry lying about the JCPOA. It’s one of the worst agreements in US diplomatic history. Here’s where Kerry gives it away that the JCPOA is worthless:

Diplomacy had achieved what sanctions alone had not: Iran couldn’t have a nuclear weapon during the life span of the agreement; and if it cheated, the world was resolved to stop it.

Then there’s this:

In 2013, I sat down with Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, for the first meeting between our countries’ top diplomats since the 1979 revolution and hostage crisis. Iran at the time had enough enriched material for eight to 10 nuclear bombs and was two to three months from being able to build one.

In other words, Kerry negotiated a deal that gave Iran immediate sanctions relief, pallets that contained $1.7 billion in cash and time to build, then test, nuclear weapons and the delivery systems to use them. Other than that, Iran was neutralized.

What did we turn over to President-elect Trump in 2017? Iran was in compliance with the nuclear agreement. Our allies were united with the United States.

What Mr. Kerry omits is that Iran had sanctions relief that poured $150,000,000,000 (that’s $150 billion> dollars) into revitalizing Iran’s terrorist proxies around the region and around the globe. Thinking that nuclear weapons is all that Iran is interested in is foolish.

That’s what a fool looks like.

Having Susan Rice lecture people about integrity is insulting. During her interview with Rachel Maddow, she said that the risks of killing Soleimani probably outweighed the benefits. She also said “The Obama administration was not presented with an opportunity by our intelligence community or by the U.S. military to strike Qassem Soleimani.” If they had been given that information, Rice said that what they “would have done is weigh very carefully and very deliberately the risks versus the potential rewards.”

That’s probably the only truthful thing she said in this interview:

“So, if in fact the administration can be believed that there was indeed strong intelligence of an imminent threat against the United States that’s being carried out by Soleimani and related militia then the question becomes [was] there more than one way to address that threat?” she asked Maddow. “Was the only way to deal with it to kill Soleimani? Certainly, given his history and track record, he deserves his just rewards but the question is does that serve our interests? Does that make us more secure?”

First, killing a man that’s destabilized an entire region of the world for a generation is always in our best interests. Gen. Soleimani isn’t just a high-ranking military guy. He’s the man who put together the military strategy to inflame an entire region. He’s the reason why Iran is the world’s greatest exporter of terrorism. Iran wasn’t like that before Soleimani.

Next, the US got information of an attack that would have hit multiple cities throughout the region. It isn’t that taking out Soleimani doesn’t come without risks. It’s that taking out a man with his list of accomplishments and skills is worth the risks. The trick, I suspect, is take the proper precautions to protect US interests.

Finally, if I’m going to get lectured about integrity, that lecture won’t come from Susan Rice. She’s as untrustworthy as Jim Comey and John Brennan. You can’t sink lower than that. If I’m going to get lectured about integrity, I’ll enthusiastically accept it from Mark Geist. In an interview with Pete Hegseth, Geist said this:

“First off, I mean, when has a protest ever occurred at night and, I mean, most protests they don’t typically bring AK-47s, belt-fed machine guns, and RPGs. That’s somebody planning an attack and they knew it,” Geist told Hegseth.

“They knew it when she went out on the speaking circuit on Sunday,” he continued. “But, instead of telling the truth she wanted to tell lies because she had to say what the administration — at the time — wanted.”

This part must’ve stung the most:

“If President Trump had been in office during Benghazi, we wouldn’t have lost four Americans,” he concluded.

That’s true. Unlike President Obama, President Trump wouldn’t order troops to stand down during a terrorist attack.

I’ve spent much of today listening to Democrats talking about the inevitability of Iran striking back as retaliation for the Trump-ordered airstrike against Gen. Soleimani. Tonight, President Trump decided that flipping the script on one of Iran’s proxies was in order. First reports are that “Iraqi official claims 5 Iranian-backed militia members killed in airstrike north of Baghdad. An airstrike Friday hit two cars carrying members of an Iran-backed militia north of Iraq’s capital, Baghdad, killing five members, an Iraqi official told The Associated Press. The official added that the identities of those killed were not immediately known. It was not immediately clear who launched the strike.”

This article has different information. It said “A fresh airstrike, targeting high-profile members of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), an umbrella group of Iran-backed militias, has been reported. The PMF members were travelling in a three-car convoy north of Baghdad, when the strike occurred, killing six persons, multiple reports said. Three other persons were critically injured. No one has claimed responsibility for the strike.”

There isn’t much doubt who carried out this attack. There’s only one nation with the capability and motivation to carry out an attack like this. When the US designated Iran’s Quds Force as a terrorist group, they also put Iran on notice that killing a US soldier was the Trump administration’s red line. Further, President Trump has demonstrated that he isn’t like President Obama when it comes to suffering terrorists lightly when they cross his red lines.

To paraphrase the late Charles Krauthammer, “it isn’t that there’s a new sheriff in town. It’s that, after 8 years, there’s finally a sheriff in town.” Everyone who studied President Obama knew that his default position was to do nothing. The Democrats’ spin was to call it “strategic patience.” It’s time to tell these pacifists to take a hike. That’s what Pete Hegseth did during this segment of The Five:

Marie Harf is essentially the female version of Baghdad Bob. Pete Hegseth had enough of Harf’s questioning. The tipping point was when she questioned Hegseth about the possibility of escalation. At that point, Hegseth had enough and replied that Iran has been escalating tensions for months. Then he asked her if President Trump should just let Soleimani kill American soldiers and diplomats. Hegseth questioned why a US president would let something like that happen when he had the actionable intelligence that would prevent the killing of diplomats and soldiers. Harf, of course, didn’t have an answer for that question.

Hegseth put the Democrats’ appeaser on her heels just like President Trump is putting Iran’s Quds Force on their collective heels. Wise generals pick their battles. Harf is neither smart nor a general. She’s just a former mouthpiece for a failed presidential administration.

Last night, Democrat Chris Murphy issued a statement that accused the Trump administration of bringing the US to the brink of a region-wide war. Earlier this week, Murphy accused President Trump of implementing policies that made the US “impotent.” Apparently, Murphy can’t decide whether President Trump is making the US impotent or whether he’s bringing the US to the brink of war.

Lost in all of this is the fact that Gen. Soleimani was in Baghdad and that US intelligence found out that he was plotting harm against US diplomats and soldiers. What would Sen. Murphy want us to do? Send a plane filled with cash to buy off the Iranian terrorists like the Obama administration tried? How did strategic patience work out?

It’s safe to say that Ben Sasse isn’t President Trump’s biggest fan. That being said, it’s safe to say that he didn’t take any BS from Sen. Murphy, either:


When American lives are at risk, we have the right to defend ourselves. Protecting troops doesn’t require a declaration of war or even an authorized use of military force or AUMF. A declaration of war is needed if the C-in-C wants to expand it to a war.

Thus far, it looks like President Trump isn’t interested in expanding this into a full-fledged war. Major Gen. James A. “Spider” Marks [Ret.], now a military analyst with CNN, criticized Murphy, too:

“What I would say to Senator Murphy is, why don’t you just be quiet,” Marks said, questioning the notion that the strike has made the world “more dangerous.” “Look, when has Iran ever demonstrated self-restraint? I mean, that’s the question I have. So, is the world more dangerous today? Maybe it’s more dangerous, but when has it not been dangerous? When have we not been a target of a regime like exists in Tehran? I mean, it happens as a matter of routine,” said Marks.

Murphy isn’t supporting our troops and diplomats when he’s playing the part of partisan hack. That’s what Murphy did last night. Murphy, like far too many Democrats, care more about scoring partisan points than he cares about being a patriot.

It sounds like Pelosi and Schumer weren’t notified of the attack beforehand. That’s perfectly appropriate since neither has proven trustworthy with national security secrets. Pelosi and Schumer are partisans first. I don’t know that I could call them patriots.

There’s no doubt that Ben Sasse is a patriot. I don’t always agree with him but he wants what’s best for America.

Since Democrats took over the US House this past January, essentially nothing has gotten done. That’s because this batch of Democrats are totally beholden to the Resist movement. Resist Democrats aren’t interested in doing what’s right for America. Resist Democrats only want to hate President Trump. Lindsey Graham is right. It’s time to elect people that don’t hate President Trump so we can fix this nation’s existing problems.

According to Sen. Graham, not a single Democrat will co-sponsor his immigration bill. If you think there are moderates Democrats in the Senate, you’re totally wrong. The LFR definition of a moderate Democrat is one that’s campaigning. The minute they get their election certificate, they turn into Schumer’s shills or Durbin’s dupes.

Co-host Steve Doocy asked Graham why the Flores agreement has been politicized. Graham repeated “they hate Trump” in response, arguing Washington needs people who don’t share such hatred of the president.

“I have been working on immigration for 10 years. I’m willing to deal with a DACA population… I’m willing to spend money in Central America to make life better. I’ve done everything I know to do… I can’t get one Democrat to agree with me that you should apply for asylum in Central America, or Mexico, not the United States.”

This is proof that Democrats hate President Trump more than they love this country. Think about this: think that Democrats voted unanimously against the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Thanks to those tax cuts, the US economy is the envy of the world. Democrats said no to these low unemployment rates, these rising wages, this prosperity.

The 2 most important things to the average person are peace and prosperity. Unemployment is at a 50-year low. Wages are rising. Minority unemployment rates are the lowest they’ve ever been. That’s what’s called prosperity by everyone that isn’t a Democrat. Democrats keep talking about the impending recession.

On national security, it’s impossible to think that Democrats are serious. Democrats want asylum seekers to appear in court, then released. Democrats know that the vast majority of these people will never set foot in a court again. If that isn’t the definition of open borders, then that definition doesn’t exist.

Graham further chastised Democrats for refusing to work with him across the aisle on illegal immigration and said he can’t find one lawmaker from the opposing party who will agree to reform Flores. “I can’t get one Democrat to agree to allow children to be held with their families humanely for, 40, 50, or 100 days so we can process their claims,” he said.

“They literally want them released in the United States… They will not work with me. They will not work with President Trump. I am dumbfounded as to why we can’t find [a] compromise.”

When Democrats won’t work with Lindsey Graham on immigration, that’s proof positive that they aren’t interested in fixing things. It’s time to throw a bunch of Democrats overboard by electing people who will actually fix things.

When Democrats unanimously vote against fixing illegal immigration after they voted unanimously against the Trump/GOP tax cuts, that’s proof that Democrats are the definition of do-nothing politicians.

The US Senate used to be the greatest deliberative body in the world. Today, it’s the embodiment of the Swamp, thanks mostly to these Do-Nothing Democrats.

Let’s be blunt about something. The Democrats’ image crisis just got worse this weekend. It started with Sen. Schumer and Speaker Pelosi thought that it was a good idea to offer a rebuttal to President Trump’s Oval Office speech on why the nation needs a border barrier. If asked how I’d phrase how they looked that night, I’m betting that that first thing that’d pop into my mind would be that Chuck and Nancy looked ‘almost lifelike’.

The next day, President Trump invited the House and Senate leadership to the White House. Democrats insisted that President Trump re-open government immediately. President Trump asked whether Speaker Pelosi would fund his wall if he re-opened the government. She emphatically said she wouldn’t, at which point President Trump said that the Democrats were wasting his time before leaving the Situation Room.

The Democrats were winning the fight until Chuck and Nancy turned themselves into a skit for SNL. Then they insisted that they wouldn’t negotiate in good faith. At this point, public polling still shows them winning this fight. It won’t show that a month from now. That’s because 30 Democrats decided to accept lobbyists’ invitation to fly down to Puerto Rico.

I’m sure they worked hard while down there, though this picture suggests otherwise:

President Trump and his conservative allies are slamming some Democrats for traveling to Puerto Rico over the weekend as the longest government shutdown in U.S. history continues to drag on.

“I’ve been here all weekend. A lot of democrats were in Puerto Rico celebrating something,” the president told reporters Monday morning before heading to New Orleans to attend the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual convention. “I don’t know, maybe they’re celebrating the shutdown.”

A contingent of more than 30 Democratic lawmakers, the largest delegation to visit Puerto Rico, traveled to the island to discuss post-Hurricane Maria recovery efforts, unpopular austerity measures and federal investment to the territory with local officials. The delegation is also there to participate in fundraising events hosted by Bold PAC, a political committee that serves as the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ fundraising arm. Presidential hopeful and former Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary Julián Castro also traveled to the island after launching his White House bid in San Antonio Saturday.

While President Trump waits in the White House to negotiate in good faith, Democrats insist on not taking this nation’s security seriously. He’s made Democrats an offer. He’s even offered Democrats several immigration items that they’ve recently called for.

At some point in the not-so-distant future, Democrats will be seen as unreasonable. That’s when they polling will flip.