- Allahpundit wrote a good summary of Donald Trump’s press conference with Vladimir Putin, where Trump sided with Putin over his own intelligence agencies. Ben Shapiro wasn’t impressed, either. Michael Brendan Dougherty writes, “The result of this press conference is the further deranging of American political life.” Normally supportive Fox News hosts Trish Regan and Neil Cavuto voiced disapproval. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats publicly defended the intelligence assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, and later Trump partially walked back his press conference comments by tweeting that he has “GREAT confidence in MY intelligence people.”
Federal prosecutors filed charges claiming that Maria Butina worked for years as an undisclosed foreign agent of the Russian government. Butina tried to broker meetings between then-candidate Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, and she cultivated close relationships with the NRA and other gun rights organizations.
Andrew McCarthy writes on Robert Mueller’s politicized indictments of 12 Russian GRU officers:
As is so often the case in today’s politicized Justice Department, Rosenstein was trying to make a different political point. As he went on to note, if people whom we have formally charged are presumed innocent, then, a fortiori, people who have not been accused — implicitly, Rosenstein was talking about President Trump — must also be presumed innocent. But, see, you can’t make that point without stepping on the political purpose of Friday’s charade: We have taken the not only pointless but reckless step of indicting operatives of a hostile foreign power who cannot be prosecuted and whose schemes could easily have been exposed — and, in fact, have been exposed, multiple times — in public government reports; so now, due-process rules oblige us to caution you that we must presume the Russians did not do what we have formally accused them of doing. They are entitled to that presumption unless and until we convict them in court … which is never going to happen.
Rosenstein made another telling remark at his big press conference. The Justice Department, he explained, will now “transition responsibility for this case to our Department’s National Security Division while we await the apprehension of the defendants.”
Now, stop giggling over that last part — the bit where we hold our breath until Russian dictator Vladimir Putin extradites his spies into the FBI’s waiting arms. I’m talking about the first part: Mueller’s case, the definitive case about what Russia did to interfere in the 2016 election, is no longer Mueller’s case. It is being “transitioned” — i.e., buried — in the Justice Department unit that deals with counterintelligence matters that do not result in public trials.
This underscores what we have been arguing here since before Mueller was appointed: There was no need and no basis in federal regulations for a special counsel.
U.S. CO2 emissions continue to decline even though the Trump administration withdrew from the Paris climate change accord.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the federal government will consider granting waivers to countries that need more time to stop importing oil from Iran in order to comply with new sanctions.
Akash Chougule on public sector unions for PragerU: