Department of Justice official Rachel Brand, the third highest-ranking official at the department after Attorney General Jeff Sessions and deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, is resigning her post.
Washington speculates that Brand is leaving to avoid becoming the point person on the Trump-Russia case in the event that Rosenstein is fired by President Trump. Insiders on the left have been skeptical of Brand’s commitment to the anti-Trump effort. Some believe that Brand is resigning at the behest of pro-Rosenstein forces who want him to be replaced with someone similarly committed to the “Russia” probe. Brand was appointed to the #3 gig in May by President Trump and previously taught at George Mason’s Antonin Scalia Law School.
Rosenstein currently oversees special counsel Robert Mueller, whose investigation of the president is ongoing despite lack of evidence of criminal wrongdoing.
The New York Times reports: “Ms. Brand now oversees a wide swath of the Justice Department, including the civil division, the civil rights division and the antitrust division. She helped lead the department’s effort to extend a law that authorizes the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance program.”
Trump remains tight-lipped on whether he will fire Rosenstein, saying only that he will allow the media to figure out what will happen.
Rosenstein is under scrutiny from Republican lawmakers due to possible Department of Justice knowledge of an FBI plot to conspire against the Trump White House, led in part by Peter Strzok and his paramour Lisa Page.
“Justice is not only our name. Justice is our mission,” Rosenstein testified before the U.S. House, but Republicans including Rep. DeSantis are unimpressed with Rosenstein’s defense of the anti-Trump conspiracy.
Rosenstein said there is “nothing I can talk about publicly” with regard to who started the Russia investigation or whether the FBI paid for the debunked Trump dossier.
DeSantis argues that Rosenstein “should provide” the information he has on the dossier, and that if he doesn’t provide information, “then there will be some things.” :
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Democrat Senate Candidate Buys Bizarre Ad in WaPo: ‘Did You Ever Stare at a Picture of a Naked Child?’
A Democrat candidate for U.S. Senate from Maryland employed a bold advertisement in the Washington Post.
“Yes, I am a socialist, and you might be one too, listen to your body,” said the ad bought by Jerome M. Segal.
After that, it gets strange. Research analyst Anna Massoglia first posted photos of the ad to her Twitter account:
“Did you ever stare at a picture of a naked child?” the ad begins. “Full frontal? And did it stick in your mind? Did it bring about emotions, ones that might have surprised you? Like that cover of Newsweek with the naked, crying Vietnamese girl, desperately following in a line of desperate Vietnamese, not having a clue what was happening to their country, or why?”
Perhaps the intro is meant for shock value – to capture the attention of the reader. But the ad gets weirder.
“Did you ever watch a video of a three-way, between two men, one white and one black, and a big dog?” it continues. “One a big fellow another kind (sic) slender? And did you feel strange emotions? Does it come readily back to your mind? Like that video of the sheriff’s deputy in Selma, with his German Shepherd, assaulting freedom fighters from SNCC?”
So far, the ad contains references to child pornography and bestiality, and we have officially entered bizarro world.
But perhaps the scariest part is the anti-capitalist propaganda that follows.
The rest of the ad is a rambling, semi-coherent rant about what socialism and capitalism are, and some of the virtues of each.
“Capitalism is not the same as free markets,” Segal’s ad says, before lavishing praise on the quality of Soviet tanks during WWII. (Stalin’s communism killed 60 million, but they had great military equipment!)
“My name is Jerome Segal. I’m a socialist and proud. I’m happy to be part of the LBGTQ&S community, and you should fess up, and be proud as well,” the ad finishes.
According to the FEC documents that Massoglia provided, Segal paid nearly $25,000 for the ad.
Segal will likely lose to incumbent Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), along with six other Democrat candidates on the primary ballot on June 26.
Trump Alpha-Dogged Angela Merkel At G7 With A Starburst
According to a report from CBS, President Donald J. Trump made quite a spectacle with a Starburst candy at the G7 summit.
“[Trump] stood up, he put his hand in his pocket, his suit jacket pocket, and he took two Starburst candies out, threw them on the table and said to Merkel, ‘Here Angela, don’t say I never give you anything,’” said Ian Bremmer, senior global affairs contributor for CBS.
Bremmer provided little context for the exchange, but context is unnecessary for understanding Trump’s massive power play.
According to Trump, the meeting went well.
“Despite what you have heard from the FAKE NEWS, I had a GREAT meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel,” he said. “Nevertheless, Germany owes…..”
Despite what you have heard from the FAKE NEWS, I had a GREAT meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Nevertheless, Germany owes…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 18, 2017
Trump recently took a swipe at the migrant-laden European nation on Twitter.
“The people of Germany are turning against their leadership as migration is rocking the already tenuous Berlin coalition,” he said. “Crime in Germany is way up. Big mistake made all over Europe in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture!”
The people of Germany are turning against their leadership as migration is rocking the already tenuous Berlin coalition. Crime in Germany is way up. Big mistake made all over Europe in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 18, 2018
Meanwhile, Merkel is fighting to save her chancellorship and political career, which have been marred by an “open door” policy resulting in the migration of 1.6 million “refugees” from Africa and the Middle East. The wave of migrants has caused devastating crime and employment issues, as well as a housing crisis.
“We are in a serious situation because the question of the migration crisis evolved into a power question,” German lawmaker Kai Whittaker told the BBC. “It could well be that at the end of next week we have a new situation… Probably a new chancellor.”
Whatever the relationship between the two leaders, there seems to be little question about who is in charge.
Sen. Claire McCaskill Husband Invested in Hedge Fund In Caymans
A Senator running for reelection in Missouri has been hit with allegations that her husband is storing investment money in an offshore bank account in order to evade taxes.
“Joseph Shepard’s investment in Matrix Capital Management has earned him between $230,000 and $2.1 million in income since he first invested in 2013, according to McCaskill’s financial disclosure forms. Such forms only show a range of income,” said a Kansas City Star article.
Shepard is the husband of Democrat Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri.
According to the report, Shepard has invested $1 million in a hedge in the Cayman Islands, a “notorious tax haven.” The capital gains tax in the Caymans is much lower than the income tax rate paid by the ordinary American citizen.
Campaign finance law mandates that candidates for office must declare the income of spouses.
McCaskill co-sponsored the 2009 Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act, but has declined to release her tax returns until later this year. She will not release Shepard’s tax returns. The bill, which was not passed, targeted the Caymans among countries and would have subjected income earned there to be taxed at the same rate as U.S. Corporations.
“Secretive hedge funds seek outsized profits and are open only to the ultra-wealthy, who are considered sophisticated investors and can withstand big losses,” said the report. “These funds do not have to disclose their investors to regulators.”
So far, mum is the word from McCaskill’s office.
“Claire does not make decisions on public policy based on what’s best for her husband; she makes decisions based on what is best for the people of Missouri,” Meira Benstein, a McCaskill campaign spokesperson told the Kansas City Star.
Big League Politics reached out to McCaskill’s office, but they refused to comment.
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