Links for 9-2-2017

  • Andrew McCarthy argues that it wasn’t former FBI Director James Comey’s decision to exonerate Hillary Clinton before the FBI investigation was over, but Barack Obama’s decision:

    This was the start of a series of Justice Department shenanigans we would come to learn about: Cutting off key areas of inquiry; cutting inexplicable immunity deals; declining to use the grand jury to compel evidence; agreeing to limit searches of computers (in order to miss key time-frames when obstruction occurred); agreeing to destroy physical evidence (laptop computers); failing to charge and squeeze witnesses who made patently false statements; allowing subjects of the investigation to act as lawyers for other subjects of the investigation (in order to promote the charade that some evidence was off-limits due to the attorney-client privilege); and so on. There is a way – a notoriously aggressive way – that the Justice Department and FBI go about their business when they are trying to make a case. Here, they were trying to unmake a case.

    Knowing all these things, as we now do and have for a year, I’m baffled by complaints that Comey allegedly made “his” decision not to charge Clinton before key witnesses were interviewed. The main issue is not that witnesses hadn’t been questioned; it is that by April 2016, restraints were already in place to ensure that witness interviews would be fruitless, and that any incriminating information they accidentally turned up would be ignored or buried.

  • The Obama administration used a loophole in federal immigration law to put beneficiaries of the DACA program on the path to full citizenship:

    The House and Senate Judiciary Committees revealed that more than 45,000 DACA recipients were approved for “advance parole,” which is permission to leave and reenter the U.S. despite not being in permanent legal status here.

    But under a quirk of law, those granted advance parole can then ask to adjust their status and gain legal residence — and eventually citizenship — as long as they have a qualifying relationship.

    The Obama administration had seemed intent on keeping the data secret, refusing to answer requests from Congress. The Trump administration complied.

  • Politico reported that the Department of Homeland Security labeled Antifa a domestic terrorist threat, and at least some of its members are on terrorism watch lists:

    Federal authorities have been warning state and local officials since early 2016 that leftist extremists known as “antifa” had become increasingly confrontational and dangerous, so much so that the Department of Homeland Security formally classified their activities as “domestic terrorist violence,” according to interviews and confidential law enforcement documents obtained by POLITICO.

    Later:

    Previously unreported documents disclose that by April 2016, authorities believed that “anarchist extremists” were the primary instigators of violence at public rallies against a range of targets. They were blamed by authorities for attacks on the police, government and political institutions, along with symbols of “the capitalist system,” racism, social injustice and fascism, according to a confidential 2016 joint intelligence assessment by DHS and the FBI.

    Later still:

    The intelligence assessments focus less on guns than handmade weapons used by antifa, with photos of members brandishing ax handles and shields, often with industrial-sized bolts attached to create crude bayonets. A senior state law enforcement official said, “A whole bunch of them” have been deemed dangerous enough to be placed on U.S. terrorism watch lists.

  • Imran Awan was arraigned in federal court on four felony fraud charges. He asked that his GPS monitoring bracelet be removed in case he needs to “attend to an emergency with his children.” His wife and children are in Pakistan.

  • ExxonMobil began restarting its Baytown, Texas refinery after repairing damage caused by Hurricane Harvey. The refinery is the second largest in the U.S.

  • Donald Trump announced more than 40 nominations on Friday night, including Jim Bridenstine to head NASA and Richard Grenell to be ambassador to Germany.

  • The U.S. and South Korea agreed to amend a treaty that restricts South Korea’s ability to develop ballistic missiles. Donald Trump also gave “conceptual approval” to South Korea’s plans to buy billions of dollars of military equipment from American companies.

  • The “sonic weapon” attacks on American diplomats in Cuba continued through last month.

  • Turkey has taken up the habit of arresting Germans, effectively holding them hostage. Turkey is now holding twelve German citizens on political charges.

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