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May 2017

With Trump Visit Imminent, Israel Plays Down President’s Intelligence Disclosure Government minister says Israel has ‘complete confidence’ in U.S. intelligence community By Rory Jones

TEL AVIV—Israel on Wednesday played down the impact of sensitive Israeli intelligence information that Donald Trump shared with Russian officials, as it prepared to host the U.S. president for a much anticipated visit next week.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and the country’s intelligence and transport minister, Yisrael Katz, reaffirmed the U.S.-Israel alliance, with Mr. Katz saying he had “complete confidence” in the U.S. intelligence community.

U.S. officials said Tuesday that Israel was the source of information that Mr. Trump had disclosed to Russia’s foreign minister and its ambassador to the U.S. during a meeting in the Oval Office last week.

Under the terms of a longstanding intelligence-sharing agreement between Israel and the U.S., the intelligence was meant only for U.S. officials. The information, which concerned a threat by the extremist group Islamic State to airliners, was shared in such a way that could compromise the original source, according to officials.

After U.S. officials acknowledged Israel’s role in the incident, Mr. Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on phone but didn’t discuss the issue, focusing instead on the president’s upcoming two-day visit to Israel and the West Bank, the premier’s office said Wednesday.

National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster said on Tuesday that counterterrorism information that President Trump shared in a meeting with Russians in the Oval Office last week “was wholly appropriate,” following reports that the president had revealed sensitive information. Photo: Reuters

The visit, which starts Monday, will be the second stop on Mr. Trump’s first overseas trip as U.S. president. He will first visit Saudi Arabia and later stop at the Vatican and in Brussels.

As Israel readied for Mr. Trump’s arrival, its reassurances over the president’s use of its intelligence overshadowed a rare public disagreement over moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Trump Advises Graduates to Shrug Off Unfair Attacks ‘No politician in history has been treated more unfairly. You can’t let them get you down,’ he says at Coast Guard Academy commencement By Eli Stokols

NEW LONDON, Conn.—President Donald Trump advised graduates to “never give up” even when subjected to unfair attacks, in remarks at a commencement address Wednesday that came as he faces new questions over his conversations with fired FBI director James Comey.

“Look at the way I’ve been treated lately, especially by the media,” Mr. Trump said. “No politician in history has been treated more unfairly. You can’t let them get you down.”

The commencement address Wednesday at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy marked the president’s first public comments—he stayed off Twitter Wednesday morning—after Tuesday evening’s reports that he asked then-FBI Director Comey to end the agency’s investigation of Gen. Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser, during a private dinner in February, as Mr. Comey recorded in a memo that is now being shared with reporters after his abrupt firing last week.

“I hope you can let this go,” Mr. Trump told Mr. Comey, according to the memo, which was described in detail by a person close to Mr. Comey.

The White House has denied the Comey account.

Mr. Trump has also faced fire over reports that he revealed sensitive intelligence during last week’s Oval Office meeting with the Russian foreign minister. CONTINUE AT SITE

The Morning Briefing: The Media Shares Classified Info, Comey Kept a Slam Book, and Much, Much More By Liz Sheld

MAY 17TH 2017

Here is what is on President Trump’s agenda today:

In the morning, President Trump will depart the White House for Joint Base Andrews en route to Groton, Connecticut.
The President will then give remarks at the United States Coast Guard Academy Commencement Ceremony.
In the afternoon, the President will depart Groton, Connecticut, for Washington, D.C., en route to the White House.

Media reveals classified information and that’s cool

After spending more than 24 hours going completely bonkers about the alleged content of a meeting between the White House and Russian officials, the media — ever obsessed with itself and its importance — chose to up the ante, insert itself into the story and release classified information to the world.

In case you haven’t been paying attention, President Trump, along with NSC Advisor H.R. McMaster, Deputy NSC Advisor Dina Powell and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, met with Sergey V. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, and Sergey I. Kislyak, the Russian ambassador, last week. “Someone” leaked out part of the discussion that concerned intelligence the U.S. had about an ISIS terror threat involving laptops and airplanes. The leaker went to the Washington Post and the Washington Post reported that Trump shared classified information with the Russians — and the media and left went wild. There was much concern.

We do not know what was said in the meeting and at least initially, we did not know where the intelligence came from or what exactly that intelligence was. The media and the left were shrieking like banshees about how sharing this information was a breach of classified information and how our allies would not share intelligence with us any longer because Trump can’t keep a secret. Impeachment was mentioned, but it’s always mentioned so that’s nothing new. Also of little concern: leaking classified information to the media.

All three of the U.S. officials at the meeting denied confidences were breached or that inappropriate information was shared with the Russians, and McMaster told the media Trump did not even know the origin of this intelligence — but that did not stop the spiral of hysteria.

And then all of a sudden…those concerns went away when the New York Times revealed that the country that shared that information with the U.S. is Israel.

The classified intelligence that President Trump disclosed in a meeting last week with Russian officials at the White House was provided by Israel, according to a current and a former American official familiar with how the United States obtained the information. The revelation adds a potential diplomatic complication to an episode that has renewed questions about how the White House handles sensitive intelligence.

Israel is one of the United States’ most important allies and runs one of the most active espionage networks in the Middle East. Mr. Trump’s boasting about some of Israel’s most sensitive information to the Russians could damage the relationship between the two countries and raises the possibility that the information could be passed to Iran, Russia’s close ally and Israel’s main threat in the region.

Israeli officials would not confirm that they were the source of the information that Mr. Trump shared, which was about an Islamic State plot. In a statement emailed to The New York Times, Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to the United States, reaffirmed that the two countries would maintain a close counterterrorism relationship.

The public went from knowing Trump told the Russians the U.S. has knowledge of a terror plot involving laptops and airplanes, something we already know since there was a very public ban against flying into the U.S. with carry-on laptops from certain countries, to knowing who provided this information to us, precisely the issue the media and the left was so concerned about.

The NYT writes:

It was not clear whether the president or the other Americans in the meeting were aware of the sensitivity of what was shared. Only afterward, when notes on the discussion were circulated among National Security Council officials, was the information flagged as too sensitive to be shared, even among many American officials, the officials said.

UMich Student Says Minorities Are Oppressed by Wood Paneling By Tom Knighton

When the University of Michigan decided to renovate the century-old Michigan Union building, they thought it would be nice to get some input from students on the direction the renovations should take. In theory, not a bad idea.

Unfortunately, the university forgot this is the outrage generation, and should have expected that a student would express concern that minorities are oppressed by FINISHED WOOD:

Anna Wibbelman, former president of Building a Better Michigan, an organization that voices student concerns about university development, stated at a student government meeting in late March that “ minority students felt marginalized by quiet, imposing masculine paneling” found throughout the 100-year-old building, the meeting’s minutes state.

Current president of Building a Better Michigan, Jazz Teste, stated that Wibbelman’s comment wasn’t necessarily about the wood paneling.

“I believe it was an off-hand comment about how many students felt marginalized by the quiet nature of the building when they entered,” she told The College Fix via email.

It’s one thing to say you find certain architecture or design “oppressive,” as in stuffy or uncomfortable. It’s a whole different thing to call the walls racist.

This woman literally thought that students of a certain skin color would be freaked out by an old building. “Triggered” by architecture. And not even architecture that looks like a Klan hood or a penis. Just wood paneling.

The radical leftism that has taken over college campuses is making promising young men and women into irrational loons yelling at the walls. People who would even entertain the thought that old architecture is an unfair burden on minorities are not being prepared for adulthood. CONTINUE AT SITE

Get Ready for the Pillorying of Pence But if Trump is ‘uniquely’ unfit, his critics should be just fine with ultra-normal Pence, right? By Kyle Smith

Should Mike Pence become president, the Left will surely lead us in a national chorus of “Whew! Back to normal.” Correct? After all, our friends in the Democratic party have been saying for many months that President Trump is not normal, that he is uniquely unfit for office, that his brand of mendaciousness, volatility, poor character, and immaturity have no precedent in the Oval Office, that he is a Nazi sympathizer and even a fascist, that he is an extremist who exists outside the bounds of ordinary political disagreement.

Mike Pence, on the other hand, is so normal that one of the things that the late-night comics mock him for is being too normal. If the Resistance or Trump’s own folly actually succeeds in separating Trump from his current office, then the Left will sing hosannas to the Pencian restoration of the agreed boundaries of disputation. The political temperature will recede from scalding to balmy. The volume dial will spin sharply in a counterclockwise direction. Hysterical shrieking will be replaced by reasoned conversational tones.

Right? Of course not.

If Trump leaves office prematurely for any reason, President Pence will immediately be denounced as far worse. In fact, it would happen before he even took office. In fact it’s already happening. That this is true is testament to the fundamentally unprincipled nature of the Left. Whatever looks like a winning strategy on Thursday is what matters, even if it nullifies everything you said you believed on Monday.

Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen did some preliminary construction work on what will become the new party line if it appears Pence is likely to replace Trump in office. In his absurd May 15 take — “Trump doesn’t embody what’s wrong with Washington. Pence does.” — Cohen blasts Pence for being a “bobblehead” who nods too much when standing near Trump at press conferences, for publicly stating things that Trump told him, and for having failed to quit being Trump’s running mate while Trump said rude things. In other words, Pence is worse than Trump for being in Trump’s proximity while Trump misbehaves. By that standard every hack and flack who went on TV to defend Bill Clinton in 1998 is worse than Clinton, including the person who blamed the true reports about his misconduct on the lies of a “vast right-wing conspiracy.”

National Student Group Seeks To Bolster Campus Free Speech By Alexandra DeSanctis

Earlier this month, a professor at California State University, Fresno, berated the school’s Students for Life group, going so far as to scrub out chalk messages that were part of the club’s university-approved pro-life display. Fresno State students also tried to efface the display, and the professor insisted that free speech was only permitted in the “free speech” zone, which had in fact been eliminated by the school’s administration two years earlier.

Such incidents occur so frequently on college campuses these days that it’s easy for them to become white noise. When groups host conservative events on campus, they are most often greeted by protests, some of which have grown violent in recent months — like the debacles greeting Charles Murray and Ann Coulter at Middlebury College and UC–Berkeley respectively. And frequently, the colleges and universities involved acquiesce to student requests to shut down certain events with which they disagree. While groups such as the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and the Alliance Defending Freedom have long track records of legally (and successfully) protecting students’ rights on campus, there has been little in the way of nationally coordinated free-speech movements bubbling up from students who have had enough of being shut down.

That changed just a few weeks ago, when 22 college students met at the University of Chicago, traveling from across the country, including from schools such as New York University, the University of Michigan, Princeton University, and Chicago’s own DePaul University and University of Chicago. At the event, students offered presentations about the state of free speech on their campuses.

One student, Michael Hout, traveled to the weekend-long conference from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he is a junior. After being involved in Democratic politics in his home state of Georgia, Hout sat on the national council of College Democrats and served as the group’s chartering director, in charge of founding new chapters on campuses.

But after volunteering extensively in these capacities, he began to realize how strong his party’s tendency to smother free speech truly was, and he eventually decided to leave the Democrats and become a registered independent, believing that he could do more to reform the party from the outside than from within. Today, he describes himself as a classical liberal.

Under the Obama Precedent, No Trump Obstruction of Justice Up until now, veiled orders have not been thought the equivalent of obstruction. By Andrew C. McCarthy

On April 10, 2016, President Obama publicly stated that Hillary Clinton had shown “carelessness” in using a private e-mail server to handle classified information, but he insisted that she had not intended to endanger national security (which is not an element of the relevant criminal statute). The president acknowledged that classified information had been transmitted via Secretary Clinton’s server, but he suggested that, in the greater scheme of things, its importance had been vastly overstated.

On July 5, 2016, FBI director James Comey publicly stated that Clinton had been “extremely careless” in using a private email server to handle classified information, but he insisted that she had not intended to endanger national security (which is not an element of the relevant criminal statute). The director acknowledged that classified information had been transmitted via Secretary Clinton’s server, but he suggested that, in the greater scheme of things, it was just a small percentage of the emails involved.

Case dismissed.

Could there be more striking parallels? A cynic might say that Obama had clearly signaled to the FBI and the Justice Department that he did not want Mrs. Clinton to be charged with a crime, and that, with this not-so-subtle pressure in the air, the president’s subordinates dropped the case — exactly what Obama wanted, relying precisely on Obama’s stated rationale.

Yet the media yawned.

Of course, they’re not yawning now. Now it is Donald Trump, not Barack Obama, sending Comey signals. So now, such signals are a major issue — not merely of obstruction of justice, but of high crimes and misdemeanors.

Trump hysteria seems to be a permanent condition, a combustive compound of media-Democrat derangement surrounding a president who keeps providing derangement material. Let’s try to keep our feet on the ground, but with a commitment to get the evidence and go wherever it takes us.

For now, we don’t have much evidence. Essentially, we’ve got single statement, mined by the New York Times from a memo that no one outside a tight circle inside the FBI has seen — indeed, that the Times has not seen. According to anonymous sources, the memo was written by then–FBI director Comey shortly after a private meeting with President Trump — only two of them in the room after Trump asked other officials to leave. This was on February 14, the day after National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigned over inaccurate statements he made to senior administration officials in recounting conversations he’d had with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak.

Trump is said to have told Comey, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”

Other than telling us that Comey replied, “I agree he is a good guy,” the Times provides no context of the conversation. Its report gives no indication of whether the memo provides such context.

Trump Throws Out the Media’s Rule-Book The media savants still haven’t figured out that their rule-book is obsolete. May 17, 2017 Bruce Thornton

President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey was like a speedball for the media addicted to Trump-hatred. The Dems came out with the usual hallucinatory hyperbole––“Watergate,” “Saturday night massacre,” “obstruction of justice,” “Constitutional crisis,” “coup,” “impeachable offense,” “treason,” “terrifying attack,” “despot,” and various other verbal convulsions. The NeverTrumpers joined the shooting-gallery, high on their seething resentment of the man who kicked to the curb these self-appointed arbitri elegantiae of conservative political discourse.

Nearly two years since Trump announced his candidacy, the media savants still haven’t figured out that the rule-book they wrote to suit themselves is obsolete.

Once television and mass advertising came to dominate the coverage of politicians, the media determined the protocols and practices that governed their interactions with pols. Because they manufactured and monopolized the images and analyses that the voters used to create their politics, the opinion writers and television anchors wielded enormous power. And the politicians knew it. So both political parties accepted the media’s rituals and made obeisance to the the media’s power.

A prime example of this baleful dynamic came in 1968, in the early days of the North Vietnamese’s failed Tet Offensive. In his evening news show, CBS’s Walter Cronkite pronounced, “But it is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out [of Vietnam] then will be to negotiate, not as victors, but as an honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the best they could.” After hearing the supposed communicator of facts make a geopolitical political judgment based not on facts but on erroneous perceptions, President Johnson said, “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost Middle America.” In the end, nearly 60 thousand Americans and over a million South Vietnamese died for nothing.

The Watergate scandal, and the celebrity and wealth showered on reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, illustrated again that the media did not just report events, but interpreted them in a way that could bring down a president over electoral hijinks common in our history. Their egos inflated with self-importance, during the following decades the media’s biases, political prejudices, naked activism, and rank careerism dominated the news. It shaped the media’s coverage of political enemies like Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, as well as the policies like supply-side economics that offended the received wisdom of the left. The apex of media hubris was the groveling, worshipful coverage of Barack Obama, and the continuing apologia and encomia for his disastrous presidency.

Nikki Haley: Western Wall part of Israel, US embassy should be moved to Jerusalem Ahead of Trump’s visit, US ambassador to UN wades into recent spat between Israeli, US officials on sovereignty over holy site

The US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said Tuesday that the US embassy should be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, upholding a campaign promise of US President Donald Trump, and that the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem is part of Israeli territory.

Her remarks came amid an ongoing diplomatic spat between the US and Israel over whether the Western Wall is part of Israel or the West Bank — as one US consular staffer suggested — as well as speculation on whether Trump will fulfill his campaign promise to relocate the US embassy to Jerusalem, even as the president has since distanced himself from the move.

Trump is due in Israel and the West Bank on May 22-23, stopping first in Saudi Arabia. He will also visit Brussels and the Vatican after leaving the Mideast.

In excerpts from an interview with CBN News released on Tuesday, Haley said: “Obviously I believe that the capital should be Jerusalem and the embassy should be moved to Jerusalem because if you look at all their government is in Jerusalem. So much of what goes on is in Jerusalem and I think we have to see that for what it is.”

Regarding the Western Wall, Haley said: “I don’t know what the policy of the administration is, but I believe the Western Wall is part of Israel and I think that that is how we’ve always seen it and that’s how we should pursue it… We’ve always thought the Western Wall was part of Israel.”

Haley’s full interview is set to air on Wednesday.

The issue of Israeli sovereignty over the Wall came to a head this week when Israeli officials asked US officials organizing Trump’s visit to Israel if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could accompany him on his visit to the Western Wall. But the US declined, with one official telling the Israelis that the site is “not your territory.”

Israel angrily demanded an explanation from the White House, casting a cloud over the highly anticipated visit by the new president. The White House quickly distanced itself from the comments, saying they were unauthorized and did not reflect the president’s view.

Israel captured and annexed East Jerusalem, including the Old City and its holy sites, in the 1967 Six Day War and considers all of Jerusalem to be the undivided eternal capital of Israel, a stance not recognized by the international community, including the US.

Earlier Tuesday, Trump’s Press Secretary Sean Spicer affirmed that the Western Wall is indeed “clearly in Jerusalem,” hours after another official, national security adviser H.R. McMaster declined to answer a direct question as to whether the US government considers the Western Wall to be within Israeli territory. McMaster said that question “sounds like a policy decision.”

An Anti-Israel Hillel Grows in North Carolina The organizational fish rots from the head. Daniel Greenfield

In November of last year, members of the University of North Carolina’s Hillel, J Street U and Heels for Israel voted on an “official” pro-Israel position document. The document, though it was meant to set out a “united declaration of principles”, is almost impossible to find online.

And with good reason. It was as pro-Israel as Kentucky Fried Chicken is pro-chicken.

Hillel, J Street U and Heels for Israel don’t represent any kind of pro-Israel position.

J Street is an anti-Israel hate group. Brooke Davies, the president of J-Street UNC-CH, has a social media feed brimming with support for other anti-Israel groups, including T’ruah and B’Tselem, and hatred for the Jewish State and her supporters. Davies even spitefully accused comedian Elon Gold of being a “hasbara mouthpiece”.

Hillel’s “Senior Jewish Educator”, Jenny Solomon is active in T’ruah. Her husband, Eric Solomon, is on T’ruah’s board. The North Carolina Hillel hired Jenny Solomon in June of last year. Next month, the anti-Israel couple led a T’ruah trip linked to BDS.

And Heels for Israel? It describes itself as “Working to collaborate with organizations like UNC Hillel and JStreetU”. J Street U defines itself as fighting against the “Occupation” by Jews of their own homeland.

If you collaborate with a group fighting Israel and Jews, what does that make you?

The unified policy insisted on confining Israel behind the ’48 Auschwitz borders, it demanded a PLO capital in East Jerusalem and condemned Jews living in “Settlements” in ’67 Israel. Its glossary described BDS in terms both negative and positive. And linked to a site supportive of BDS. It blasted Jews living in areas claimed by the PLO and Hamas as “a threat to the viability of the two-state solution.”

The signatories included the J Street leadership, the two Heels for Israel Campus co-liaisons, and Hillel’s leadership, Noa Havivi, Hillel co-president, Shira Chandler, the other co-president and Daniel Barondes, the Hillel Israel Chair.