The Trump-Russia Story Starts Making Sense The Kremlin seems to have bet big on the willingness of U.S. intelligence agencies to leak. By Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.

The Trump -Russia business is finally coming into clearer, more rational focus. Former Obama CIA chief John Brennan, in testimony this week, offered no evidence of Trump campaign cooperation with Russian intelligence. Instead he spoke of CIA fears that Russia would try to recruit/blackmail/trick Trump colleagues into being witting or unwitting agents of influence.

This is a realistic fear of any incoming administration. It’s especially realistic in the case of an “outsider” campaign full of naive, inexperienced and unvetted individuals. But it’s quite different from “collusion.”

The other shoe was dropped by the Washington Post. Finally we have details of an alleged email exchange showing influential liberals trusting in then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch to corral an inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s email practices. According to the Post, this email appears not to exist. It was cited in a secret Russian intelligence document that inspired FBI chief James Comey to usurp the attorney general’s role and publicly clear Mrs. Clinton of intelligence mishandling. Allegedly, he feared the real email (which didn’t exist) would surface and discredit any Justice Department announcement clearing Mrs. Clinton.

Are you now thinking of the Trump dossier circulated by former British agent Christopher Steele, which also felt like a Russian plant? While the political circus in Washington has focused on purloined Democratic emails and fake news spread during the election by Russian bots, the more effective part of Moscow’s effort may have been planting fake leads to prod U.S. enforcement and intelligence agencies to intervene disruptively in the campaign.

This also should shed new light on today’s anti-Trump leakers in the intelligence agencies: They may be the real unwitting agents of Russian influence.

There are plenty of lessons to go around. Mr. Trump, if he ever really thought Vladimir Putin was his friend, probably has wised up by now. He should have wised up the moment the Steele document came into view, supposedly based on plumbing Mr. Steele’s peerless Russian intelligence contacts. It always appeared possible, even likely, that Mr. Steele was the semi-witting vehicle for Russian rumors designed expressly to undermine Mr. Trump just as Russia was also trying to undermine Mrs. Clinton.

Plenty of people in Washington could also afford to rethink how their partisan idiocy makes them soft touches for such Russian disruption efforts. That includes Rep. Adam Schiff, top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. It includes Mr. Trump too. Overdue is an inquiry into a possible Russian role in flogging the birther conspiracy and the 9/11 truther miasma. Mr. Trump, who loves a conspiracy theory, might consider how he and his ilk showed Russia a vulnerability in American political discourse that it could exploit.

Let’s remember that ex-FBI chief Robert Mueller’s mission is to investigate Russian influence in the election, not the narrow matter of Trump collusion. Whether Russia suborned or tried to suborn people like Paul Manafort, Carter Page and Michael Caputo is a necessary question. Whether Russia exploited Facebook to proliferate fake anti-Hillary news is a necessary question. But so is the provenance of the Steele document and the fake email purporting a Democratic coverup of Hillary Clinton’s server activity. If the FBI’s Mr. Comey allowed himself to be manipulated by Russian intelligence into intervening in the race, that’s something we need to know about. And we need to know about the leaks.

Mr. Brennan, the former CIA chief, has pointed out that these leaks are palpable, unambiguous crimes. Recall that Russia twice sent us detailed warnings about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon bomber. President Trump is entitled to share terrorism intelligence with Russia’s ambassador. The only criminal leak occurred when anonymous officials relayed the classified content of these briefings to the press. CONTINUE AT SITE

Egypt Launches Airstrikes in Libya in Retaliation for Deadly Attack on Christians Egypt’s military says it determined the attack that killed 28 Coptic Christians earlier Friday originated with militants trained in eastern Libya By Tamer El-Ghobashy

Egypt’s military launched six airstrikes in eastern Libya late Friday in response to an attack by unidentified gunmen who killed 28 Coptic Christians in an ambush south of Cairo earlier in the day, the military said in a video statement.

The Egyptian military said the strikes were conducted after it determined the attack on the Coptics originated with militants trained in Libya.

The strikes, the first Egypt has launched in Libya since 2015, came as President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi addressed the nation in a televised speech and vowed an aggressive response to the attack on a bus carrying Coptic pilgrims to a monastery in Minya, about 190 miles south of Cairo.

“As I address you now, a very strong airstrike has been carried out against those camps,” Mr. Sisi said, referencing camps where the unknown perpetrators of Friday’s attack allegedly trained. “Egypt will never hesitate to conduct airstrikes against terrorist camps anywhere, inside or outside Egypt.”

While Mr. Sisi didn’t mention Libya, security officials told the MENA state news agency that the airstrikes targeted militant sites near the Libyan city of Derna.

It was an unusually swift response to an incident that has so far not been claimed by any group and Egyptian authorities didn’t publicly identify any suspects.

Egypt last struck Derna in February 2015 after Islamic State militants released a video showing the execution and beheading of a group of Coptic Egyptian laborers on a beach in Libya. At the time, Islamic State had taken control of Derna, but the group has since been driven out.

Mandatory Minimums Don’t Deserve Your Ire Jeff Sessions’s policy won’t lock up harmless stoners, but it will help dismantle drug-trafficking networks. By Heather Mac Donald

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is being tarred as a racist—again—for bringing the law fully to bear on illegal drug traffickers. Mr. Sessions has instructed federal prosecutors to disclose in court the actual amount of drugs that trafficking defendants possessed at the time of arrest. That disclosure will trigger the mandatory penalties set by Congress for large-scale dealers.

Mr. Sessions’s order revokes a 2013 directive by former Attorney General Eric Holder telling prosecutors to conceal the size of traffickers’ drug stashes so as to avoid imposing the statutory penalties. Contrary to the claims of Mr. Sessions’s critics, this return to pre-2013 charging rules is neither racist nor an attack on addicts.

The impetus to eliminate open-air drug markets has historically come from law-abiding residents of minority neighborhoods, as books by both Michael Fortner and James Forman have documented. In 1973 a Harlem pastor named Oberia D. Dempsey called for mandatory life sentences for heroin and cocaine dealers, because the “pusher is cruel, inhuman and ungodly. . . . He knows that he’s committing genocide but he doesn’t care.” In 1986 Brooklyn Congressman Major Owens introduced a bill to increase federal crack penalties. “None of the press accounts really have exaggerated what is actually going on,” he said. In 1989 Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson pledged to make “the drug dealer’s teeth rattle” and proposed seizing dealers’ assets.

Today people living under the scourge of open-air drug dealing still face the constant threat of violence. Only months ago Chicago mourned 11-year-old Takiya Holmes, struck by a stray bullet fired by a 19-year-old marijuana dealer. Former FBI Director James Comey once described the aftermath of a raid in northwest Arkansas that busted 70 drug traffickers. “As our SWAT teams stood in the street following the arrests of the defendants,” he said in a 2015 speech, “they were met by applause, hugs and offers of food from the good people of that besieged community.” The town was predominantly black, and so were nearly all the drug dealers.

The argument that Mr. Sessions’s order penalizes addiction also falls flat. For a mandatory federal sentence to come into play, a dealer has to be caught with an amount of drugs that clearly reveals large-scale trafficking. To trigger a mandatory 10-year sentence, a heroin trafficker, for example, must be caught with a kilogram of the drug, a quantity that represents 10,000 doses and currently has a street value of at least $100,000.

No one who gets caught smoking a joint is going to be implicated by Mr. Sessions’s order. The number of federal convictions for simple possession is negligible: only 198 in 2015. Most of those were plea-bargained down from trafficking charges, usually of marijuana. Last year the median weight of marijuana possessed by those convicted of simple possession was 48.5 pounds. To trigger a mandatory penalty for marijuana trafficking, a dealer would need to be caught with more than 2,200 pounds of cannabis.

Trump Pushing Big White House Changes as Russia Crisis Grows Meetings are set for next week as the president returns from his overseas trip By Michael C. Bender and Peter Nicholas

WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump is actively discussing major changes in the White House, including having lawyers vet his tweets and shaking up his top staff, as he grapples with the fallout from probes into his campaign’s dealings with Russia, according to several senior administration officials and outside advisers.

Other revisions on the table include adding a roster of outside lawyers to help deal with the legal ramifications of the Russia investigation, officials and allies said. “Everything is in play,” one Trump adviser said.

Meetings devoted to White House operations are scheduled for next week, after the president returns from his overseas trip, officials said. The anticipated moves are the latest sign of how the probe into Russia’s interference in last year’s election, and the circumstances of the president’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, is defining the new administration.

“We have nothing to announce,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Friday.

Mr. Trump has previously queried advisers about major changes, only to stick by his current staff and leave in place internal processes. But as he prepares to return from the nine-day foreign trip this weekend, the situation at home is threatening to consume his administration, his allies said. Before he left, the Justice Department appointed former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to oversee the probe, which is focused on whether there was any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the election and may also include looking into the firing of Mr. Comey earlier this month.

“He’s 100% focused on this,” said a White House official, noting that the president slept only two hours in Saudi Arabia the night before his widely anticipated speech on Islam that he spent little time rehearsing.

Mr. Trump has denied any collusion between his campaign and Russia and has said he fired Mr. Comey because he was doing a bad job. He also said he had been a “showboat.”

One major change under consideration would see the president’s social media posts vetted by a team of lawyers, who would decide if any needed to be adjusted or curtailed. The idea, said one of Mr. Trump’s advisers, is to create a system so that tweets “don’t go from the president’s mind out to the universe.” CONTINUE AT SITE

UK: Welcome Mat for Jihadists by Khadija Khan

The Sharia Council of Britain determines the fate of women by undermining the laws of the land.

British politicians seem have become intoxicated by the propaganda of those who prefer to term any action to limit Islamic extremism or terrorism “Islamophobia.”

These human rights abuses are linked to the Islamic ideology, the end product of which often shows itself as violence against homosexuals, non-Muslims and other marginalized communities. It appears that most of these jihadists were radicalized through local mosques and madrassas.

England, which once was a jewel of both East and West, today symbolizes the degeneration of Europe, the continent which has turned its back on the threat Islamist terrorists are posing. England has increased its terror threat level from “severe” to “critical”; counter-terror measures include employing the British army in key public locations as well as stepped-up counter-intelligence, and raids against suspected terrorists.

It seems, however, that British politicians have simply put the whole nation in a loop of feed, kill, repeat; meanwhile acting as if they haven’t a clue as to what has stricken the lovely country.

Prime Minister Theresa May, in her public statement after the blast, stated:

“We struggle to comprehend the warped and twisted mind that sees a room packed with young children not as a scene to cherish but as an opportunity for carnage…. But we can continue to resolve to thwart such attacks in future. To take on and defeat the ideology that often fuels this violence.”

May was careful to avoid naming the ideology.

Ironically, the terror spree caught the United Kingdom in the midst of its election season. Nonetheless, neither the Tories nor the Labour Party are offering any solid plans to counter the menace. It seems these politicians have decided to sleep on the issue, while leaving their poor citizens at the mercy of terrorists, protected only by the brave law enforcement personnel who are also targets.

British politicians seem have become intoxicated by the propaganda of those who prefer to term any action to limit Islamic extremism or terrorism “Islamophobia.” When the government decides to look the other way, it allows many malpractices to flourish under the skin of British Muslim communities, among whom any action to protect the country would be stigmatized by apologists as “Islamophobic.”

Caroline Glick: Netanyahu’s Challenge With Trump

On Thursday, less than 48 hours after US President Donald Trump completed his successful visit to Israel, his chief negotiator Jason Greenblatt was back in town.

On Wednesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson set the tone for Greenblatt’s mission when he told reporters aboard Air Force One that during his visit, Trump “was putting a lot of pressure” on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas “to get back to the table” and negotiate a peace deal.

Tillerson went on to explain why Trump is so keen to make a deal.

“We solve the Israeli-Palestinian peace dilemma, we start solving a lot of the peace throughout the Middle East region,” he said.

Trump apparently agrees with his secretary of state.

At his joint appearance with Abbas in Bethlehem on Tuesday, Trump said, “I firmly believe that if Israel and the Palestinians can make peace, it will begin a process of peace all throughout the Middle East.”

These statements, and Greenblatt’s swift return here indicate that as of now, on a substantive, strategic level, Trump is maintaining Obama’s policies on Israel and the Palestinians. And Obama’s policies on the issue, it bears noting, were substantively all but indistinguishable from those of George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush before him.

Like his predecessors, Trump is advancing a policy that assumes that the Palestinian conflict with Israel is the key issue that the US must grapple with in the Middle East. He is advancing the view that the US’s power in the region, and its ability to foster stability and security, are tied to what happens or does not happen in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and to a degree, in Hamas-controlled Gaza. In short, like his predecessors, Trump believes that putting pressure on Israel to give land to the PLO is the key to resolving the conflicts of the Middle East.

This position stands incongruously next to the pledge that Trump made in his speech before Sunni leaders in Riyadh on Sunday. There, Trump explained the fundamental nature of his foreign policy as follows: “America,” he said, “is committed to adjusting our strategies to meet evolving threats and new facts. We will discard those strategies that have not worked — and will apply new approaches informed by experience and judgment. We are adopting a principled realism, rooted in common values and shared interests.”

Manchester, Abbas and evil losers by Ruthie Blum

On Monday night, a terrorist blew himself up outside the Manchester Arena as American singer Ariana Grande finished performing. The mass casualties — 22 dead and dozens wounded — sent Britain into a state of shock and mourning, with Prime Minister Theresa May upgrading the country’s threat level to “critical.”

The following day, U.S. President Donald Trump visited Bethlehem, where he met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

“Allow me at the beginning to condemn the horrible terrorist attack that occurred in Manchester … leaving tens of casualties and innocent people,” Abbas said during a joint press conference with Trump. “I do offer my warm condolences to the prime minister of Britain, families of victims and the British people.”

Trump was more expansive. After offering “prayers to the people of Manchester in the United Kingdom,” and “deepest condolences to those so terribly injured in this terrorist attack, and to the many killed, and the … so many families of the victims,” the U.S. president went on to express “absolute solidarity” with Britain for the loss of “so many young, beautiful, innocent people living and enjoying their lives murdered by evil losers. I won’t call them monsters because they would like that term.”

He then tied the event to the message at the core of his overseas trip. “Our society can have no tolerance for this continuation of bloodshed,” he said. “We cannot stand a moment longer for the slaughter of innocent people. … The terrorists and extremists, and those who give them aid and comfort, must be driven out from our society forever.”

Referring to radical Islamism, he stated: “This wicked ideology must be obliterated. … All civilized nations must join together to protect human life and the sacred right of our citizens to live in safety and in peace.”

This echoed the speech he delivered in Riyadh on Sunday, where he called on all Arab and Muslim leaders to stomp out the phenomenon in their countries.

The only problem with this declaration — as clear as it was crucial — was that not a single Arab or Muslim leader listening to and applauding it believed it was aimed at them. The Sunnis nodded at the prospect of eradicating Shiite violence and vice versa. The Wahhabis agreed that Islamic State terrorism had to be defeated. The state sponsors of terrorism in attendance, such as Saudi Arabia itself and Qatar, were thrilled to be called upon to halt Iran. Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority representatives nodded solemnly about the ills of Hamas.

Whether the tragic irony was lost on Trump is not clear; his true thoughts about the Islamist tyrants on whom his powerful speech was wasted remain somewhat of a conundrum. While in Bethlehem two days later, however, he did praise Abbas for having “joined the summit and committed to taking firm but necessary steps to fight terrorism and confront its hateful ideology.”

This is beyond laughable. Abbas can hardly be counted on to combat a practice he embraces and encourages among his people. Indeed, the Palestinian leader not only promotes stabbings, rammings and bombings targeting Israelis, he pays salaries to the families of perpetrators killed “in action.” He also gives his clerics and educators free rein to spread hatred, particularly against Israel.

For instance, as a Middle East Media Research Institute report revealed this week, a mere four days before Abbas welcomed the U.S. president in Bethlehem, a prominent Palestinian imam at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque prayed to Allah to “annihilate Trump and the conspirators,” and to “annihilate all the Jews.”

Students harass white professor for refusing to leave campus on anti-white ‘Day of Absence’

Popular atheist author calls them a ‘cult’

Racism is alive and well at Evergreen State College – and its target is white people who refuse to apologize for being white.

Students at the Washington liberal arts school, whose main claim to fame is alumnus and Simpsons creator Matt Groening, harassed Biology Prof. Bret Weinstein because he refused to leave campus for the annual “Day of Absence” April 12, The Washington Times reports.

Incredibly, they are trying to get him fired.

Evergreen State practices explicit and institutional racial segregation once a year. Typically nonwhite students and faculty leave campus (to show how valuable they are) and the whites stay on campus (to be indoctrinated in “anti-racism workshops and seminars”), but this year it was reversed, and Weinstein told the director of a campus multicultural office that he was staying put.

Bay Area entrepreneur William Treseder posted Bret’s email to the diversity official, which said the mandatory absence of whites from campus was “a show of force, and an act of oppression in and of itself”:

You may take this letter as a formal protest of this year’s structure, and you may assume I will be on campus during the Day of Absence. … On a college campus, one’s right to speak – or to be – must never be based on skin color.

As an alternative to leaving campus, Weinstein offered to organize a public discussion of “race through a scientific/evolutionary lens,” as long as “people attend with an open mind, and a willingness to act in good faith.”

Protesters decided to raise hell after reading about Weinstein’s refusal to judge people by their race.

They recorded their harassment of Weinstein, apparently thinking they would be applauded for their bravery of surrounding and yelling at a professor (possibly unaware it backfired at Yale).

Weinstein tries to “reason with dozens of students who routinely shout him down, curse at him and demand his resignation,” as captured on video:

“There’s a difference between debate and dialectic,” Mr. Weinstein says in the video.

“Debate — wait a second — debate means you are trying to win; dialectic means you are using disagreement to discover what is true. I am not interested in debate. I am only interested in dialectic, which does mean I listen to you, and you listen to me.”

One student responds, “We don’t care what terms you want to speak on. This is not about you. We are not speaking on terms—on terms of white privilege. This is not a discussion. You have lost that one.” …

Gunmen leave 26 dead, 25 injured in bus attack on Coptic Christians in Egypt

CAIRO, May 26 (Reuters) – Gunmen attacked buses and a truck taking a group of Coptic Christians to a monastery in southern Egypt on Friday, killing 26 people and wounding 25 others, witnesses and the Health Ministry said.

An Interior Ministry spokesman said the unidentified gunmen had arrived in three four-wheel-drive vehicles.

Eyewitnesses said masked men stopped the two buses and a truck and opened fire on a road leading to the monastery of Saint Samuel the Confessor in Minya province, which is home to a sizeable Christian minority.

Security forces launched a hunt for the attackers, setting up dozens of checkpoints and patrols on the desert road.The grand imam of al-Azhar, Egypt’s 1,000-year-old center of Islamic learning, said the attack was intended to destabilize the country.

“I call on Egyptians to unite in the face of this brutal terrorism,” Ahmed al-Tayeb said from Germany, where he was on a visit.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called a meeting of security officials, the state news agency said. The Health Ministry put the toll at 26 dead and 25 wounded.

Coptic Christians, who make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s population of 92 million, have been the subject of a series of deadly attacks in recent months.

The Big Money Behind Fake News What really powers the media’s fake news scandal machine. Daniel Greenfield

Fake news is profitable.

The New York Times hit piece on the Comey memo earned the paper its most concurrent readers per second. Pretty good for a piece about a piece of paper that the leftist paper had never even seen and which was, supposedly, described to it by one of Comey’s associates.

But that didn’t stop it from racking up over 6 million views.

Media fake news isn’t just an agenda. It’s enormously profitable. Hit pieces powered by anonymous sources bring in over 100,000 readers in an age when live is king. For individual reporters, finding a source, real or fake, that can back up the left’s Trump conspiracy theories can put them on the map.

The Comey story comes from Michael Schmidt who made a name by supposedly finding documents relating to media claims of a “Haditha Massacre” in a Baghdad junkyard where “an attendant was burning them as fuel to cook a dinner of smoked carp.” It was dashing and also very convenient.

The claims didn’t hold up in court. Most of the Marine heroes who were dragged through the mud over Haditha had their cases dropped. One case dragged out and ultimately came out to very little. But the New York Times cashed in. And Schmidt did much better out of it than Cpl. Stephen Tatum.

Haditha was the Times’ discount version of Mai Lai. Now in a desperate effort to reclaim the glory days of the media left, the New York Times and the Washington Post are trying to recreate Watergate.

It’s no coincidence that many of the big vital hit pieces aimed at President Trump have come out of the Washington Post. At the end of last year, the paper owned by Amazon boss Jeff Bezos went on a hiring spree. The goal was “quick turnaround investigative reporting”.

Washington Post editor Marty Baron explained, “We are creating a rapid response investigative team to do investigative stories more quickly, using a lot of the digital tools that are available to us now. We hugely value the longer, deeper investigations as well, but we want to supplement that with quicker investigations that can have an impact almost immediately.”

How do you do “quicker investigations”? How can you predict that an investigation will pay off rapidly? The best way to make sure that your investigation will quickly deliver a major story is to fake it.

Those quick investigative stories haven’t been coming from digital tools. They are based on anonymous sources. Real investigative reporting takes time. But a fake news story full of innuendo backed by a bunch of anonymous sources that repeat what “everyone” in the media already knows is true, is quick.

That’s what having “an impact almost immediately” means. You don’t do the hard work. You fake it.

The Washington Post has racked up viral hit fake news stories backed by anonymous sources. And it’s paying off. The Post claimed a traffic increase of 50% at the end of last year with a 75% increase in new subscribers. The official line is that Jeff Bezos has transformed the Post’s digital strategy. The reality was conveyed by its new anti-Trump slogan. “Democracy dies in darkness.” The silly slogan was an exercise in branding. It announced that this was the paper of choice for “researched” attacks on Trump.

Now the Post has hit $100 million in digital revenues and added hundreds of thousands of digital subscribers. All of this is quite a change from a few years ago when the Post was losing $50 million a year and Baron was talking about shrinking the newsroom.