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  • Paul Sperry claims that the Obama administration tried to hack the election:

    Under congressional questioning Tuesday, Obama’s CIA chief John Brennan said the dossier did not “in any way” factor into the agency’s assessment that Russia interfered in the election. Why not? Because as Obama intel czar James Clapper earlier testified, “We could not corroborate the sourcing.”

    But that didn’t stop Brennan in January from attaching its contents to the official report for the president. He also included the unverified allegations in the briefing he gave Hill Democrats.

    In so doing, Brennan virtually guaranteed that it would be leaked, which it promptly was.

    In short, Brennan politicized raw intelligence. In fact, he politicized the entire CIA.

  • Trump’s State Department quietly lifted the limit on the number of refugees entering the U.S. By next month, more than 1,500 refugees may be entering the U.S. every week. So much for that campaign promise.

  • Allahpundit tries to reason why Jared Kushner wanted to construct a back channel to the Russian government using Russian secure communications equipment, thereby bypassing interception by American intelligence:

    That’s question one, the big one — why did Kushner want to use Russian diplomats’ secure line to Moscow instead of some official means of communication monitored by the U.S. government? And why did he reportedly conceal the extent of his contact with Russian officials? If all of this is no big deal, it’s odd that Jared seems to have been highly allergic to the public finding out about any of it. Imagine the havoc it would have wreaked if he were spotted walking into a Russian diplomatic building during the transition to use their red line to Putin. The whole reason Flynn was dumped, per Sally Yates, was that the Russians could have blackmailed him by using their own recording of him talking sanctions with Kislyak against him. Now here’s Jared wanting to use the Russians’ own line to discuss sensitive matters. What could go wrong?

    Later:

    In the end, though, everything comes back to question one. Why did Kushner try to hide his “back channel” to Moscow from U.S. intelligence? There are two theories kicking around, one suggesting corruption and the other pointing to dunderheadedness. The corruption theory holds that Kushner didn’t really want to discuss Syria with Russia, that that’s just a cover story fed to the Times last night to make this seem less suspicious. What he wanted to talk about was money.

    Later:

    The dunderheadedness theory is more straightforward. Kushner, like his father-in-law, is a total newbie to government and not nearly as bright as he thinks he is. The administration wanted a splashy diplomatic reset with Russia replete with concessions from Moscow on Syria as soon as Trump took office, so they started working on it during the transition. And because they were suspicious of being monitored by Obama’s intelligence team and subjected to damaging leaks — with good reason! — they tried to do things “off the books” as much as possible, even if that meant, um, asking Russian diplomats if they could use their own secure line to Moscow to negotiate. They’re not on the take. They’re just morons who were scrambling blindly for an early foreign policy win.

  • ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack on Coptic Christians in southern Egypt that killed 29 people.

  • The Iraqi army began a push retake the last districts of Mosul held by ISIS.

  • Ramadan started, so it’s high time for terrorist bombings. The Taliban claimed responsibility for a car bomb in Khost, Afghanistan that killed 14 people. Fighting between Afghan security forces and an assortment of militant groups killed 36 people.

  • Turkey issued an arrest warrant for Enes Kanter, who plays center for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA team. Kanter is a Turkish citizen who holds an American green card, and he openly aligns himself with Fethullah Gulen.

  • The Royal Air Force dispatched two Typhoon fighters to intercept unspecified Russian planes entering British airspace.

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  • Jim DeMint is officially out as president of the Heritage Foundation. Heritage’s statement is here and DeMint’s response is here. Mollie Hemingway writes that DeMint’s ouster was a palace coup by Michael Needham, who leads Heritage Action, the 501(c)(4) to Heritage’s 501(c)(3). In Washington, palace coups often end up badly for the coup plotters — we’ll see what happens this time.

  • Kevin Williamson writes on the current state of federal separation of powers:

    For decades, the Left has advanced its agenda by using the courts to effectively amend the Constitution without going through the amendment process. Want a constitutional right to abortion? Harry Blackmun will oblige. But there is a Jacksonian version of that: amending the Constitution through obstinacy and demagoguery. In the matter of creating a categorical exemption from prosecution in certain immigration cases, the Obama administration took an action that President Obama himself had earlier argued was beyond the legal power of the president. Donald Trump had insisted that the Obama administration required congressional authorization before making war on Syria, but he quickly reversed himself once the power was his. Those issues remain unresolved: An injunction was issued against the Obama administration’s expanded amnesty, and a 4–4 Supreme Court decision denied the administration a rehearing of the case. The Trump administration’s actions in Syria have not been litigated at all.

    The only thing about any of this that seems to me obvious is that our tripartite government is a tricycle with a wonky wheel — the presidency. Though there are ancient intellectual disputes about such questions as judicial review, a reasonably effective and stable modus vivendi has evolved for relations between the judicial and legislative branches. And there was, until fairly recently, a reasonably effective (though less stable) settlement between the presidency and the other branches. Congress expanded the executive branch, for instance with the creation of the Department of Education, and it constrained the executive branch, too, through legislation such as the War Powers Resolution and the Hatch Act. But the presidency is an opportunistic political organism, and it has grown, for good reasons and bad, particularly during the administrations of Richard Nixon and those who came after. Claims of executive privilege grew to such an extent as to amount to something like immunity from congressional oversight, particularly in matters related to political scandals. The role of the president as “Commander-in-Chief” was inflated to princely proportions. And now, President Trump wants a bigger presidency, too.

    We should not give it to him.

  • Dennis Prager on the Second Civil War:

    In order to understand why more violence might be coming, it is essential to understand that left-wing mobs are almost never stopped, arrested, or punished. Colleges do nothing to stop them, and civil authorities do nothing to stop them on campuses or anywhere else. Police are reduced to spectators as they watch left-wing gangs loot stores, smash business and car windows, and even take over state capitols (as in Madison, Wisc.).

    It’s beginning to dawn on many Americans that some mayors, police chiefs, and college presidents have no interest in stopping this violence. Left-wing officials sympathize with the lawbreakers; and the police, who rarely sympathize with thugs of any ideology, are ordered to do nothing by emasculated police chiefs. Consequently, given the abdication by all these authorities of their role to protect the public, some members of the public will inevitably decide that they will protect themselves and others.

    Later:

    So, here’s a prediction: If college presidents, mayors, and police chiefs won’t stop left-wing mobs, other Americans will. I hope this doesn’t happen, because electing conservative Republicans and not donating money to colleges would be more effective. But it is almost inevitable.

    Then the left-wing media – the mainstream media – will enter hysteria mode with reports that “right-wing fascists” are violently attacking America.

    And that’s when mayors and college presidents will finally order in the police.

  • The State Department is still finding Hillary Clinton emails containing classified information.

  • Former Charleston, South Carolina police officer Michael Slager pleaded guilty to violating Walter Scott’s civil rights when he shot Scott five times as he was running away. The plea deal means Slager won’t be retried on state murder charges (his first trial ended in a hung jury).

  • The THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea went live.

  • Vladimir Putin critic Alexei Navalny lost 80% of his vision in one eye after someone threw green liquid in his face last week.

  • Rival Libyan governments held talks in Abu Dhabi, and reportedly agreed to hold elections early next year.

  • Brazilian prosecutors filed charges against former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s chief of staff, Jose Dirceu. He’s accused of accepting $755,880 in bribes from two construction companies.

  • A border wall in San Diego dramatically dropped the crime rate and encouraged economic development: