Friday Top Headlines

by Political Editors: Feds collect record taxes through April; still run $385.4B deficit (CNS News)

Trump seeks “very meaningful” summit in Singapore with North Korea (Reuters)

White House examining plan to help Iranian people oppose regime (The Washington Free Beacon)

U.S. raises pressure on Iran with sanctions on currency exchange (The Wall Street Journal (paywall))

Israel, Iran move closer to open war after exchanging missile barrages (The Washington Times)

China rapidly building advanced arms for use against U.S. (The Washington Free Beacon)

Five top ISIS commanders captured in U.S.-Iraq sting (The Straits Times)

House Republicans, DOJ reach agreement on Russia documents (The Washington Times)

Judicial Watch: Emails show FBI advised Comey to consult with Mueller before Senate testimony (CNS News)

But the Australian model of gun control works! Seven dead in Australia’s worst mass shooting since 1996 (The New York Times)

Major gun manufacturers cut ties with Dick’s Sporting Goods (National Review)

DHS requesting 700 additional troops, helicopters for border security (ABC News)

Slew of Democrat presidential hopefuls introduce legislation to end state “right-to-work” laws (The Washington Free Beacon)

Blue states rally to upend Electoral College, with addition of Connecticut (Fox News)

Trump to present plan to reduce drug prices (Fox Business)

Facebook stock recovers all $134B lost after Cambridge Analytica data scandal— but consumers have not recovered data (CBS News)

Humor: CNN report: Evil Trump kidnaps three people from North Korean paradise (The Babylon Bee)

Policy: Paul Ryan explains how conservative policies can help fight poverty (The Daily Signal)

Policy: The impact of Chinese retaliatory tariffs (American Action Forum) ~The Patriot Post


Gina Haspel is too qualified to pass up

by Marc A. Thiessen

{ } ~ It was one of the liar-Clinton administration’s biggest counterterrorism successes… Just weeks after al-Qaeda terrorists trained by Iran blew up U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, Gina Haspel’s phone rang in the middle of the night. She was in her final weeks as station chief in what the CIA describes as an “exotic and tumultuous capital” in central Eurasia, and intelligence had just emerged that two senior al-Qaeda associates linked to the embassy bombings were on their way to the country where she was stationed. Haspel swung into action, devising an operation to capture the terrorists. She worked around the clock, sleeping on the floor of her office, as agents tracked the terrorists to a local hotel, where the men were apprehended after a firefight. According to the CIA, “The successful operation not only led to the terrorists’ arrest and subsequent imprisonment, but to the seizure of computers that contained details of a terrorist plot.” For her efforts during the operation, which ultimately disrupted a terrorist cell, Haspel in 1999 received the George H.W. Bush Award for Excellence in Counterterrorism. This is as much as the CIA has revealed, but according to press accounts, several senior al-Qaeda associates were captured in Baku, Azerbaijan, just weeks after the embassy bombings. They included Ihab Saqr , a top lieutenant of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Essam Marzouk, who also worked for Zawahiri and had trained two of the embassy bombers. Mossad, Israel’s national intelligence agency, had reportedly intercepted signals indicating that Saqr was headed to Baku to meet an Iranian intelligence operative…


The delicate balance of the US-Saudi relationship


{ } ~ Change is in the air in Saudi Arabia. Women wander the streets freely, some with their hair loosely covered by a scarf… others with no head covering at all. Last month, the curtain went up on a showing of “Black Panther” — the first movie to open in the country in 35 years. Gone are the mutawa, the feared religious police, with their bearded hordes of young men who zealously patrolled public spaces to ensure appropriate behavior. Billboards depicting the joint visages of King Salman and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, beam down upon pedestrians and street traffic. But make no mistake: this is Mohammed bin Salman’s Saudi Arabia. The 32 year-old royal’s reform plans – known in policy circles as Vision 2030 – have injected an unprecedented degree of vitality into the country. It’s a breath of fresh air, after decades of austere, octogenarian rulers who seemed content to allow Saudi Arabia to languish. Yet, it is too soon for MBS, as he is known, to take a victory lap. On the economic front, the kingdom has undertaken rapid regulatory changes to boost economic growth. It has trimmed subsidies, enacted taxation with a value added tax and a “sin tax,” and increased electricity tariffs. Riyadh deepened its capital markets by increasing foreign ownership limits and launching a parallel market for smaller enterprises…


The ‘Russian Collusion’ Trial Is On, And Mueller May Be The First Casualty


{ } ~ Lawyers for Russian company Concord Management and Consulting, LLC, formally entered a “not guilty” plea… in federal court Monday in a case special counsel Robert Mueller probably never thought would happen. Mueller, weathering significant criticism that his Russian collusion case was thin, unveiled a grandiose indictment Feb. 16 against 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies. The 13 Russians in question were charged with waging “information warfare” in the United States, interfering with the 2016 presidential election, and conspiracy to defraud the United States. Mueller generated headlines with the February indictment, safe in the knowledge the 13 Russians were beyond U.S. jurisdiction. Therefore, there would be no trial — only sensational Russian collusion accusations…


ANALYSIS: The War With Iran is Just Getting Started

by Yochanan Visser

{ } ~ Iran overnight finally launched its long-anticipated retaliatory attack on Israel after a series of IAF strikes on Iranian targets in Syria… over the past three months. At 12:15 AM, the “Code Red” alert went off in scores of Israeli communities on the Golan Heights, forcing residents into their bomb shelters. Shortly afterwards, Iran launched 30 missiles at Israel, and at least one of them was aimed at the city of Safed in the northern Galilee. That missile most likely an upgraded Scud was subsequently intercepted by the Patriot anti-missile system. This reporter witnessed first-hand how the Iron Dome anti-missile shield downed four Fajr or Grad missiles in the skies above the Golan Heights, and how Israeli fighter jets continuously took off for four hours during an extensive offensive against Iran in Syria…


Americans are Dying for China in Afghanistan

by Lawrence Sellin

{ } ~ On April 22, an ISIS terrorist at a voter-registration office in Afghanistan’s capital city of Kabul blew himself up… killing at least 60 innocent people and wounding an additional 100. The following day, the United States condemned the suicide bombing, while repeating America’s policy of counterinsurgency and nation-building in Afghanistan. “This attack on this polling station reaffirms our commitment to our Afghan partners and reaffirms on why we have to focus on rooting out violent extremism,” Pentagon spokesman US Army Col. Robert Manning said. “When citizens can’t go and register and exercise their democratic right to vote, that’s a problem. They certainly deserve it, and that’s why we are going to stay there to make sure we can work with our Afghan partners to afford them that right.” In her daily news briefing with reporters, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders Huckabee made a similar statement about the US administration “continuing to move forward” with its current strategy in South Asia. Yet, while US policy-makers are trying desperately to stabilize Afghanistan, a shift is being orchestrated by China, which stands to gain from what Afghani author Mushtaq Rahim recently referred to as Beijing’s “economic development agenda.”…


One At a Time

by Cal Thomas

{ } ~ Following the 2016 election, President liar-nObama rightly warned the Trump transition team “we only have one president at a time.” It was a reminder that there can be just one person articulating American foreign policy so world leaders will have no doubt as to the United States’ intentions.

liar-nObama’s former secretary of state, hanoi-John Kerry, ignored that warning and has been behaving as if he’s still in office.

hanoi-Kerry, writes the Boston Globe, “engaged in some unusual shadow diplomacy” with Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, at the United Nations in New York, reportedly to try and salvage the Iran nuclear deal they “spent years negotiating.” On Tuesday, President Trump followed through on his promise to end America’s participation in the deal. In response, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) tweeted that it “does not further U.S. national security,” neither was it a “binding agreement under U.S. law because it was never submitted for Senate approval.” Rubio called it a “political agreement by the previous administration.”

Last week, in an apparent attempt to influence the president’s decision on re-certifying Iran’s compliance, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed a treasure trove of documents obtained by Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, which he said proves Iran has been cheating on the agreement. Apparently, this had no influence on hanoi-Kerry.

This is why we have the Logan Act, which forbids private citizens “from engaging in unauthorized correspondence with foreign governments” that have “any disputes or controversies with the United States.” That includes direct or indirect correspondence, unauthorized meetings or discussions, any contact at all. Violation can result in a fine, up to three years in prison, or both.

Is hanoi-John Kerry an authorized person? No. Is Iran a foreign government? Yes. Does Iran have a “dispute” with the United States? It does. Has hanoi-John Kerry committed a criminal offense?

The chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), has called forhanoi-Kerry to be arrested for violating the Logan Act. That is as likely to happen as liar-Hillary Clinton being “locked up” for what she did with her “irresponsible” handling of classified emails.

hanoi-Kerry isn’t the first person to attempt to undermine the policies of an administration. In the early ’80s, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) sent a letter to the head of the KGB in what was regarded as an effort to counter President Reagan’s arms build-up and put the Soviet Union “on the ash heap of history.”

In a 1983 memo addressing the letter, sent by KGB head Viktor Chebrikov to then-Soviet General Secretary Yuri Andropov, Chebrikov explained that Kennedy was eager to “counter the militaristic policies” of Reagan.

Writes, Kennedy’s message was simple: “…Kennedy would lend Andropov a hand in dealing with President Reagan. In return, the Soviet leader would lend the Democratic Party a hand in challenging Reagan in the 1984 presidential election. ‘The only real potential threats to Reagan are problems of war and peace and Soviet-American relations,’ the memorandum stated. ‘These issues, according to the senator, will without a doubt become the most important of the election campaign.’

“Kennedy then offered to make it possible for Andropov to sit down for a few interviews on American television. ‘A direct appeal … to the American people will … attract a great deal of attention and interest in the country. … If the proposal is recognized as worthy, then Kennedy and his friends will bring about suitable steps to have representatives of the largest television companies in the USA contact Y.V. Andropov for an invitation to Moscow for the interviews.”

Fortunately, Reagan’s policy of “peace through strength” prevailed. Kennedy clearly was in violation of the Logan Act, yet paid no price for his meddling.

Congress should clarify the Logan Act. If people like hanoi-Kerry and Kennedy can get away with their actions, is the law still relevant? Should it be? Yes it is, and yes it should. Congress needs to answer these questions soon to prevent a recurrence of this dangerous practice.


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