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 91 
 on: August 26, 2018, 06:04:14 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

from The Washington Post…

‘He can't get rid of any of this’: Trump's wall of secrecy
erodes amid growing legal challenges


The president has lashed out at disloyal former aides and “flippers”
as details about his business and personal life emerge in court.


By DAVID A. FAHRENTHOLD, JOSH DAWSEY and ROSALIND S. HELDERMAN | 6:59PM EDT — Saturday, August 25, 2018

Michael Cohen leaves federal court in New York on Tuesday, August 21. President Donald J. Trump's former personal attorney said he'd arranged hush money payments to two women at Trump's direction in a plea deal. — Photograph: Mary Altaffer/Associated Press.
Michael Cohen leaves federal court in New York on Tuesday, August 21. President Donald J. Trump's former personal attorney said he'd
arranged hush money payments to two women at Trump's direction in a plea deal. — Photograph: Mary Altaffer/Associated Press.


PRESIDENT TRUMP's wall of secrecy — the work of a lifetime — is starting to crack.

His long-time lawyer, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty last week to breaking campaign-finance laws and said he had arranged hush-money payments to two women at Trump's direction. A tabloid executive — who had served Trump by snuffing out damaging tales before they went public — and Trump's chief financial officer gave testimony in the case.

All three had been part of the small circle of family, longtime aides and trusted associates who have long played crucial roles in Trump's strategy to shield the details of his personal life and business dealings from prying outsiders.

But, as their cooperation with prosecutors shows, a growing number of legal challenges — including the Russia investigation by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and a raft of lawsuits and state-level probes in New York — is eroding that barrier.

The result has been a moment in which Trump seems politically wounded, as friends turn and embarrassing revelations about alleged affairs and his charity trickle out, uncontained. In coming months, certain cases could force Trump's company to open its books about foreign government customers or compel the president to testify about his relationships with women.

“The myth of Trump is now unraveling,” said Barbara Res, a Trump Organization executive from 1978 to 1996. “He's becoming more obvious, and people are starting to know what he's like and what he's doing.”

Whether the president faces legal peril is not clear, but his presidency is at a precarious point. Recent polls suggest his repeated attacks on Mueller for leading a “witch hunt” have lost their effectiveness. And if the Democrats win a majority in at least one house of Congress in the mid-term elections, now less than 10 weeks away, they would gain the power to investigate or even impeach.

“The whole reason he is freaking out is, he can't get rid of any of this,” said a long-time adviser to Trump, who, like others interviewed for this story, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal White House dynamics.

The president's sense of betrayal came through last week when he derided cooperating witnesses as “flippers”. “Everything's wonderful and then they get 10 years in jail and they — they flip on whoever the next highest one is, or as high as you can go,” he told Fox News. In contrast, he tweeted that his “brave” former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, who was convicted last week of bank fraud and tax fraud, had “refused to ‘break’.”

Trump has also focused his ire on Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whom he has repeatedly and publicly attacked for his decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. White House aides have explained to him that firing Sessions would not end the probe, but he remains livid, officials said, particularly after Sessions responded last week with a statement declaring that “the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations.”

The Trump Organization declined to comment for this story. The White House referred questions to Trump's outside lawyers, who also declined to comment for this story.

Before this year, any explanation of Trump's secrecy would have begun with Cohen, a lawyer who threatened reporters with lawsuits for writing about Trump.

Before last week, it would have begun with Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization's longtime chief financial officer.

If Cohen was the outside man, Weisselberg has been the insider: a functionary whom Trump trusted to handle his company's bills and his charity's donations. Weisselberg started out working for Trump's father, decades before.

“They are the same family,” Weisselberg and the Trumps, said one person close to the Trump Organization. “I think Allen has earned that. He's been around a long time, and he's part of the family.”

They helped build a world where Trump was the only reliable source of information about his finances. Although Trump bragged often about his wealth and business success, he avoided releasing hard evidence when he could.

In one case, he seemed to reject the idea of evidence itself. What was Trump's net worth? It was whatever he said it was.

“My net worth fluctuates, and it goes up and down with markets and with attitudes and with feelings, even my own feelings,” Trump said in a 2007 deposition, after he had sued reporter Tim O'Brien for publishing an independent estimate of Trump's value. The suit was dismissed.

When Trump entered politics, he encountered a new level of scrutiny.

While much attention focused on his refusal to release his tax returns, a break from modern-day presidential practice, last week's court proceedings revealed more details about other ways Trump the candidate sought to control his image.

Charging documents in the Cohen case said the Trump Organization had authorized payments to Cohen totaling $420,000 after Cohen paid for the silence of a woman who alleged an affair with Trump.

Weisselberg approved the payments as a fee for a “legal retainer,” according to one person familiar with his role. It was not clear, from court documents, whether he knew that explanation was a sham. A person familiar with the situation said Weisselberg did not know the nature of the settlement and approved the reimbursement because of Cohen's long-standing role as counsel to Trump.

In pleading guilty, Cohen said in court that he had made these decisions “in coordination with” Trump and at his direction. That included paying the woman, which was an illegal campaign contribution.


Michael Cohen, former personal lawyer to President Donald J. Trump, leaves federal court after reaching a plea agreement in New York on Tuesday, August 21, 2018. — Photograph: Craig Ruttle/Associated Press.
Michael Cohen, former personal lawyer to President Donald J. Trump, leaves federal court after reaching a plea agreement
in New York on Tuesday, August 21, 2018. — Photograph: Craig Ruttle/Associated Press.


Prosecutors also said in their court filings that Trump relied during his campaign on an ally: David Pecker, the chief executive of American Media Incorporated, which owns the National Enquirer.

Pecker turned his company from a spiller of secrets to a keeper of them, prosecutors said. In at least one case, the company paid a woman who alleged she had an extramarital relationship with Trump. Then it didn't publish a thing.

Weisselberg and Pecker, who in addition to Cohen had been bulwarks of Trump's secrecy, received immunity to testify about Cohen's actions. It is unclear whether that was the limit of their cooperation, to testify about Cohen, or whether prosectors have asked broader questions about Trump or his company.

An AMI lawyer did not respond to requests for comment from Pecker. Neither Weisselberg nor company representatives responded to requests for comment on his behalf.

For his years as a businessman and as a candidate, Trump's system was effective — though not perfect — at repelling inquiries from reporters. But once he became president, Trump began to face a new kind of inquiry, from people with lawsuits and subpoenas.

Now, there are at least seven of those inquiries, all asking for some kind of information about Trump or his company.

On the investigative front, Mueller has delved deeply into Trump's campaign and White House, asking whether the campaign coordinated with Russian efforts to influence the election and whether Trump obstructed justice to stop or slow the probe.

Already, four associates of Trump's 2016 campaign have pleaded guilty or been convicted as a result of Mueller's work, which is ongoing. Mueller has also probed some aspects of Trump's business specifically related to Russia, notably efforts undertaken by Cohen to launch a Trump Tower Moscow project during the campaign.

The Cohen case, meanwhile, led by federal prosecutors in Manhattan, has pointed to potential legal liability for Trump and his company, experts have said — though Trump and his lawyers have attacked Cohen in recent days as an unreliable witness.

If prosecutors conclude that Trump himself did something illegal, it's unclear what they would do.

The Justice Department has official guidance saying that a president cannot be indicted while in office because that would impermissibly interfere with the executive's ability to carry out duties under the Constitution. But a president might be named as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in a grand jury report, or investigators could compile evidence that Congress might use in an impeachment case.

In addition to those federal investigations, the New York attorney general has already filed suit against Trump, alleging “persistently illegal conduct” at his charity, the Donald J. Trump Foundation. That case relied on internal documents provided by Trump's company and testimony from Weisselberg, who handled the foundation's books.

Now, the state is investigating whether to file criminal charges in that case.

And beyond that, Trump is facing several lawsuits that could pry further into his business and his personal life.

The attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia sued him, saying he violated the Constitution's “emoluments clauses,” which bar presidents from taking payments from foreign governments or U.S. states.

The plaintiffs say those clauses should prevent Trump's company — which he still owns — from doing business with foreign officials. They've already won some preliminary victories in court. And they want to soon begin searching Trump Organization records, including those of his luxury D.C. hotel that has become a popular destination for Trump allies and political groups.

In addition, a group of Democratic members of Congress has filed an emoluments lawsuit, while the New York attorney general is considering one of her own, focused on Trump's businesses there.

Meanwhile, Summer Zervos, a former contestant on “The Apprentice”, Trump's reality TV show, has sued him for defamation. Zervos alleges that Trump aggressively kissed her and groped her when she was seeking a job at his company and that he defamed her by later denying that account and calling her a liar.

More legal challenges could follow.

One candidate for New York attorney general, Zephyr Teachout (Democrat), is running this year on promises to investigate the Trump Organization aggressively if she's elected.

“The line between [the company and the Trump campaign], which should be absolute looks deeply blurred and raises all kinds of questions about civil and criminal violations,” Teachout said after Cohen's guilty plea.

At the Trump Organization, people close to the company said, the impact of these investigations has been to overburden the legal staff. Company attorneys are also dealing with more mundane challenges, such as a new lawsuit in Illinois alleging that Trump Tower in Chicago is violating environmental laws meant to protect the Chicago River.

Inside the White House, the impact of these inquiries and the intense media coverage has been to set Trump fuming about disloyalty.

The revelations about his aides' cooperation with prosecutors, after all, had emerged in the immediate aftermath of the publication of a tell-all book by one of his former White House aides. Omarosa Manigault Newman, a Trump ally from her days as a star on “The Apprentice”, had flipped in her own way — declaring Trump unfit for the presidency and using her frequent national television appearances to roll out her collection of secret recordings from inside the West Wing.

Trump has complained to advisers about Cohen, saying he could not trust anyone. He has been distracted in meetings, polling staff about developments in legal cases, several aides said.

He grew concerned that White House counsel Donald McGahn had turned on him, advisers said, after The New York Times reported he had sat for 30 hours of questions. He complained about Sessions, his attorney general, on Twitter and on television.

Trump has long seen any investigative interest in his business as a step too far, West Wing advisers say, and allies said he was frustrated by the intrusions into his life before the presidency.

“If they did it to anybody in business in our country, they'd find some jaywalking on technicalities,” said John Catsimatidis, a Trump friend and New York billionaire who is critical of the investigation.

In one possible sign of the strain this week placed on Trump, the president fired off an all-caps tweet that denounced the investigations against him. “NO COLLUSION - RIGGED WITCH HUNT!” Trump wrote, on the second day after Cohen's guilty plea.

The time of that tweet: 1:10 a.m.


__________________________________________________________________________

Carol D. Leonnig, Jonathan O'Connell, Devlin Barrett and Sarah Ellison contributed to this report.

David A. Fahrenthold is a reporter covering the Trump family and their business interests for The Washington Post. He has been at The Post since 2000, and previously covered Congress, the federal bureaucracy, the environment, and the D.C. police.

Josh Dawsey is a White House reporter for The Washington Post. He joined the newspaper in 2017. He previously covered the White House for Politico, and New York City Hall and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for The Wall Street Journal.

Rosalind Helderman is a political enterprise and investigations reporter for The Washington Post. She joined the newspaper in 2001. In 2014 she was honored with the George Polk Award for political reporting and for investigation of relationships between the Virginia governor and wealthy supporters.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/he-cant-get-rid-of-any-of-this-trumps-wall-of-secrecy-is-eroding-amid-mounting-legal-challenges/2018/08/25/93d417dc-a7c6-11e8-8fac-12e98c13528d_story.html

 92 
 on: August 26, 2018, 04:09:23 pm 
Started by Lovelee - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

from The New York Times…

John McCain, War Hero, Senator, Presidential Contender, Dies at 81

A naval aviator who endured torture in Vietnam, Mr. McCain rose
to the heights of power in Washington until cancer felled him.


By ROBERT D. McFADDEN | Saturday, August 25, 2018

The son and grandson of Navy admirals who spent more than five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, Senator John McCain rose to become one of the towering figures in American politics. — Photograph: Zach Gibson/for The New York Times.
The son and grandson of Navy admirals who spent more than five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, Senator John McCain rose to become
one of the towering figures in American politics. — Photograph: Zach Gibson/for The New York Times.


JOHN S. McCAIN, the proud naval aviator who climbed from depths of despair as a prisoner of war in Vietnam to pinnacles of power as a Republican congressman and senator from Arizona and a two-time contender for the presidency, died on Saturday at his home in Arizona. He was 81.

According to a statement from his office, Mr. McCain died at 4:28 p.m. local time. He had suffered from a malignant brain tumor, called a glioblastoma, for which he had been treated periodically with radiation and chemotherapy since its discovery in 2017.

Despite his grave condition, he soon made a dramatic appearance in the Senate to cast a thumbs-down vote against his party's drive to repeal the Affordable Care Act. But while he was unable to be in the Senate for a vote on the Republican tax bill in December, his endorsement was crucial, though not decisive, in the Trump administration's lone legislative triumph of the year.

A son and grandson of four-star admirals who were his larger-than-life heroes, Mr. McCain carried his renowned name into battle and into political fights for more than a half-century. It was an odyssey driven by raw ambition, the conservative instincts of a shrewd military man, a rebelliousness evident since childhood and a temper that sometimes bordered on explosiveness.


Mr. McCain, bottom right, in 1965 with his Navy squadron. While in the Navy, he was cocky and combative and resisted discipline. — Photograph: National Archives.
Mr. McCain, bottom right, in 1965 with his Navy squadron. While in the Navy, he was cocky and combative and resisted discipline.
 — Photograph: National Archives.


Nowhere were those traits more manifest than in Vietnam, where he was stripped of all but his character. He boiled over in foul curses at his captors. Because his father was the commander of all American forces in the Pacific during most of his five and a half years of captivity, Mr. McCain, a Navy lieutenant commander, became the most famous prisoner of the war, a victim of horrendous torture and a tool of enemy propagandists.

Shot down over Hanoi, suffering broken arms and a shattered leg, he was subjected to solitary confinement for two years and beaten frequently. Often he was suspended by ropes lashing his arms behind him. He attempted suicide twice. His weight fell to 105 pounds. He rejected early release to keep his honor and to avoid an enemy propaganda coup or risk demoralizing his fellow prisoners.

He finally cracked under torture and signed a “confession.” No one believed it, although he felt the burden of betraying his country. To millions of Americans, Mr. McCain was the embodiment of courage: a war hero who came home on crutches, psychologically scarred and broken in body, but not in spirit. He underwent long medical treatments and rehabilitation, but was left permanently disabled, unable to raise his arms over his head. Someone had to comb his hair.

His mother, Roberta McCain, Navy all the way, inspired his political career. After retiring from the Navy and settling in Arizona, he won two terms in the House of Representatives, from 1983 to 1987, and six in the Senate. He was a Reagan Republican to start with, but later moved right or left, a maverick who defied his party's leaders and compromised with Democrats.

He lost the 2000 Republican presidential nomination to George W. Bush, who won the White House.

In 2008, against the backdrop of a growing financial crisis, Mr. McCain made the most daring move of his political career, seeking the presidency against the first major-party African-American nominee, Barack Obama. With national name recognition, a record for campaign finance reform and a reputation for candor — his campaign bus was called the Straight Talk Express — Mr. McCain won a series of primary elections and captured the Republican nomination.

But his selection of Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska as his running mate, although meant to be seen as a bold, unconventional move in keeping with his maverick's reputation, proved a severe handicap. She was the second female major-party nominee for vice president (and the first Republican), but voters worried about her qualifications to serve as president, and about Mr. McCain's age — he would be 72, the oldest person ever to take the White House. In a 2018 memoir, The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights and Other Appreciations, he defended Ms. Palin's campaign performance, but expressed regret that he had not instead chosen Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, a Democrat-turned-independent.

At some McCain rallies, vitriolic crowds disparaged black people and Muslims, and when a woman said she did not trust Mr. Obama because “he's an Arab,” Mr. McCain, in one of the most lauded moments of his campaign, replied: “No, ma'am. He's a decent family man, a citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues.”

Analysts later said that Mr. Obama had engineered a nearly perfect campaign. And Mr. McCain confronted a hostile political environment for Republicans, who were dragged down by President George W. Bush's dismal approval ratings amid the economic crisis and an unpopular war in Iraq.

On Election Day, Mr. McCain lost most of the battleground states and some that were traditionally Republican. Mr. Obama won with 53 percent of the popular vote to Mr. McCain's 46 percent, and 365 Electoral College votes to Mr. McCain's 173.


In the Gang of Eight

Returning to his Senate duties, the resilient Mr. McCain moved to the right politically to fend off a Tea Party challenge to his 2010 re-election. He voted against the Affordable Care Act, Mr. Obama's signature health care plan, which became law in 2010. He endorsed Mitt Romney's losing Republican bid for the presidency in 2012.

Mr. McCain in 2013 with a bipartisan group of senators, known as the Gang of Eight, that sought compromises on comprehensive immigration reform. — Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times.
Mr. McCain in 2013 with a bipartisan group of senators, known as the Gang of Eight, that sought compromises on comprehensive immigration reform.
 — Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times.


But while he was a persistent and outspoken critic of the Obama administration, Mr. McCain had by 2013 become a pivotal figure in the Senate, meeting with Mr. Obama and occasionally fashioning deals with him. He joined a bipartisan group of senators, known as the Gang of Eight, that sought compromises on comprehensive immigration reform.

“When Mr. McCain is with the president — on immigration and in brokering the recent deal to secure Senate approval of stalled Obama nominees — they can usually trump the political right,” The New York Times said in a 2013 news analysis. “When he is against him — sabotaging Mr. Obama's plan last year to nominate Susan E. Rice as secretary of state — the White House rarely prevails.”

As Congress reconvened in January 2015 with Republicans in control of the Senate, Mr. McCain achieved his long-time goal to become chairman of the Armed Services Committee, with the power to advance his national security and fiscal objectives under a $600 billion military policy bill. He considered the post second only to occupying the White House as commander in chief.


Mr. McCain in 2016 before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. He served six terms in the U.S. Senate. — Photograph: Drew Angerer/for The New York Times.
Mr. McCain in 2016 before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. He served six terms in the U.S. Senate.
 — Photograph: Drew Angerer/for The New York Times.


With the rise of Donald J. Trump, the Republican flame thrower who steered American politics sharply to the right after his election in 2016 as the nation's 45th president, Mr. McCain was one of the few powerful Republican voices in Congress to push back against Mr. Trump's often harsh, provocative statements and Twitter posts and his tide of changes.

In his end-of-life memoir, Mr. McCain scorned Mr. Trump's seeming admiration for autocrats and disdain for refugees. “He seems uninterested in the moral character of world leaders and their regimes,” he wrote of the president. “The appearance of toughness or a reality show facsimile of toughness seems to matter more than any of our values. Flattery secures his friendship, criticism his enmity.”

Long before Mr. Trump was criticized as setting new lows for public discourse, Mr. McCain himself had used coarse language and blunt insults, although they were far less assertive, and he often used them in jest. He called Secretary of State John Kerry, a Democrat, “a human wrecking ball,” and the right-wing Republican Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky “wacko birds.”


Mr. McCain campaigning with Mitt Romney in 2012 in Pensacola, Florida. He endorsed Mr. Romney's Republican bid for the presidency that year. — Photograph: Emmanuel Dunand/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.
Mr. McCain campaigning with Mitt Romney in 2012 in Pensacola, Florida. He endorsed Mr. Romney's Republican bid for the presidency that year.
 — Photograph: Emmanuel Dunand/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.


Personal animus between Mr. McCain and Mr. Trump arose in the Republican presidential primaries in 2016. After months of boasts by Trump about his wealth, celebrity and deal-making as qualifications for the White House, and his dismissive capsule characterizations of climate change as “a hoax” and the Iraq war as “a mistake,” Mr. McCain and Mr. Romney, with standing as the previous two Republican presidential nominees, denounced Mr. Trump as unfit for the presidency.

Saying Mr. Trump had neither the temperament nor the judgment for the White House, Mr. McCain and Mr. Romney called him ignorant on foreign policy and said he had made “dangerous” statements on national security. They warned that his election might imperil the United States and its democratic systems.

In a venomous response, Mr. Trump denigrated Mr. Romney as a “failed candidate” and “a loser” beaten by Mr. Obama. He had little to say about Mr. McCain. But months earlier, Mr. Trump, who had never served in the military (or held public office) had derided Mr. McCain as a bogus war hero and made light of his years of captivity and torture.

“He's a war hero because he was captured,” Mr. Trump said. “I like people who weren't captured.”

Mr. McCain held his fire. But the nation was shocked. An avalanche of denunciations tumbled from editorial boards and political leaders, but the outrage faded into the tapestry of Mr. Trump's provocations against Mexicans, Muslims, women and black and Hispanic people. Trump supporters, who were mostly white, said his biases showed a refreshing willingness to disregard political correctness.


A No-Show in Cleveland

As the Trump juggernaut rolled on, Mr. McCain, campaigning for re-election to his sixth six-year term, did not attend the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, but said he would support his party's nominee. (Mr. McCain withdrew that support months later after a recording surfaced exposing lewd comments about women by Mr. Trump, who bragged that his celebrity allowed him to grope them.)

Days after the Democrats nominated Hillary Clinton as the first major-party female candidate for the presidency, Mr. McCain rebuked Mr. Trump for his comments about the family of a Muslim Army captain killed by a suicide bomber as he tried to save fellow American troops in Iraq in 2004. Given the podium at the Democratic convention, Khizr Khan, the father of the captain, Humayun Khan, had denounced Mr. Trump for suggesting that Muslims harbored terrorist sympathies.

With his wife, Ghazala, at his side, the father held up a pocket-size copy of the Constitution and asked if Mr. Trump had read it.

In response, Mr. Trump belittled the parents, saying the soldier's father had delivered the speech because his wife had not been “allowed” to speak. His implication, that Mrs. Khan had not spoken because of female subservience in some strains of Islam, drew widespread condemnation, led on Capitol Hill by Senator McCain.

“While our party has bestowed upon him the nomination, it is not accompanied by unfettered license to defame those who are the best among us,” Mr. McCain said. “I challenge the nominee to set the example for what our country can and should represent.”

Soon after Mr. McCain's statement, other Republican senators offered their own condemnations. In ensuing days, as outrage over the Trump remarks spread, Mr. Trump told his Twitter followers that Mr. Khan had “no right” to “viciously” attack him.

Seemingly impervious to criticism of any kind, Mr. Trump, who had easily won nomination, turned his guns on Mrs. Clinton. After a bruising campaign laden with Trump falsehoods and scurrilous innuendo, he defeated her in the general election, losing the popular vote by nearly three million but winning in the Electoral College.

After the election, Mr. McCain, determined to let the new administration take shape, said he would temporarily not discuss Mr. Trump publicly.

But weeks after President Trump moved into the White House and began blindsiding the public and sometimes the government with executive orders and mixed messages on immigration, foreign policy and other issues, Mr. McCain, himself newly re-elected, let loose.

At a security conference in Munich, he delivered a forceful critique of Mr. Trump's “America First” program before a receptive audience of allied officials and foreign policy experts dismayed at the administration's drift from seven decades of Western alliances.

“Make no mistake, my friends, these are dangerous times,” Mr. McCain said. “But you should not count America out, and we should not count each other out.”

As for Mr. Trump's claim that his White House was operating like a “fine-tuned machine,” Mr. McCain said, “In many respects, this administration is in disarray.”

Appearing on the NBC News program “Meet the Press” a day later, Mr. McCain punctured Mr. Trump's contention that the news media was “the enemy of the American people.”

“The first thing that dictators do is shut down the press,” Mr. McCain, a strong defender of the First Amendment, told his national television audience. While not expressly calling the president a dictator, he said, “We need to learn the lessons of history.”

For a senator who had long backed free trade, NATO and assertive foreign policies, and who had harbored suspicions about Russian intentions, Mr. McCain's differences with Mr. Trump ran deep. He denounced Russia for “interfering” in the presidential election and called for a select Senate committee to investigate the Kremlin's cyber-activities.

His disapproval of Mr. Trump perhaps peaked in July, after the president and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia met privately in Helsinki, Finland, and then participated in an extraordinary joint news conference there. Responding to Mr. Trump's performance, in which the president spoke favorably of his Russian counterpart and questioned American intelligence findings that the Russians had interfered in the 2016 presidential election, Mr. McCain declared, “No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant.”

Weeks later, in signing a $716 billion military spending bill named in Mr. McCain's honor, Mr. Trump did not mention the senator by name in what was widely interpreted as a deliberate snub.

Although Mr. McCain was sharply critical of Mr. Trump, especially when he thought the new president had threatened to overstep domestic or national interests, he remained broadly supportive of the administration's agenda.

After an acrimonious year-long fight over replacing the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, Mr. McCain joined the Senate's 54-to-45 majority to confirm Mr. Trump's selection of Neil Gorsuch as an associate justice. Justice Gorsuch's installation tipped the court's balance in favor of a conservative majority that seemed destined to last for years.

Mr. McCain voted for all but two of Mr. Trump's 15 cabinet selections and eight other administration posts requiring Senate confirmation. But he also chastised Mr. Trump for comments equating Russian and American interests. “That moral equivalency is a contradiction of everything the United States has ever stood for in the 20th and 21st centuries,” he said.

During a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing taking testimony from James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director who was fired by Mr. Trump, Mr. McCain posed confusing questions, seeming to conflate the 2016 investigation of Mrs. Clinton's use of a private email server as secretary of state with the 2017 investigation of Russian interference in the American election. He later issued a clarification.

“What I was trying to get at was whether Mr. Comey believes that any of his interactions with the president rise to the level of obstruction of justice,” he said. “In the case of Secretary Clinton's emails, Mr. Comey was willing to step beyond his role as an investigator and state his belief about what ‘no reasonable prosecutor’ would conclude about the evidence. I wanted Mr. Comey to apply the same approach to the key question surrounding his interactions with President Trump — whether or not the president's conduct constitutes obstruction of justice.”

Since he had opposed the Affordable Care Act, Mr. Obama's signature health care law, Mr. McCain became a critical vote on the Republican bill to repeal and replace it. Written in secret, the Republicans' bill was opposed by health care and patient advocacy groups. Mr. McCain, fearing his constituents might be harmed, was non-committal. After struggling to write a passable bill and with no votes to spare, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, put off a showdown when Mr. McCain was sidelined by surgery for a cranial blood clot over his left eye in July.

Senator McCain's office disclosed that, behind the clot, his doctors had found a glioblastoma, an aggressive and malignant brain tumor. Medical experts said that such cancers may be treated with radiation and chemotherapy but almost always grow back, and that the median length of survival with a glioblastoma is about 16 months.


Days after surgery for brain cancer, in July 2017, Mr. McCain returned to the Senate to take part in the vote to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. In a dramatic televised moment, he voted not to replace it, turning a pivotal thumb down. — Picture: Senate TV/via Reuters.
Days after surgery for brain cancer, in July 2017, Mr. McCain returned to the Senate to take part in the vote to repeal and replace the Affordable
Care Act. In a dramatic televised moment, he voted not to replace it, turning a pivotal thumb down. — Picture: Senate TV/Reuters.


Days after surgery for the brain cancer, Mr. McCain returned to the Senate and provided a crucial vote for the Republicans to open debate on their efforts to repeal the health law. But when a last-ditch repeal vote was taken later, Mr. McCain made a stirring televised reappearance in the well of the Senate and shocked his colleagues and the nation by turning his thumb down, casting the decisive vote against it.

The seven-year Republican drive to derail the Affordable Care Act had collapsed. Some pundits called the McCain vote cold revenge for Mr. Trump's mockery of his ordeal as a prisoner of war. But the senator told colleagues that he felt compelled only to “do the right thing.” And in a later statement, he gave a fuller explanation.

“The vote last night presents the Senate with an opportunity to start fresh,” he said. “I encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to trust each other, stop the political gamesmanship and put the health care needs of the American people first. We can do this.”

In December, Mr. McCain had been expected to be a pivotal vote in the Republican drive to rewrite the nation's tax code and cut taxes for individuals and businesses by adding up to $1.5 trillion to the federal deficit. Critics of the measure had identified him as a potential holdout against his party's legislation. Days before the vote, however, Mr. McCain returned home to Arizona for medical treatment, and he did not cast a ballot in the Senate proceedings. But he endorsed the bill, and his support was important, though not decisive, in the Senate's 51-48 adoption of the tax package.


To the Navy Born

John Sidney McCain III was born on August 29, 1936, at the Coco Solo Naval Air Station in the Panama Canal Zone, one of many posts where his father, John Sidney McCain Jr., served in a long, distinguished Navy career. He was the middle sibling of three children. His mother, born Roberta Wright, was a California oil heiress. His parents eloped to Tijuana, Mexico, to marry in 1933.

With his older sister, Jean Alexandra (who was known as Sandy), and brother, Joseph Pinckney McCain II, John grew up with frequent moves, an often-absent father, a rock-solid mother and family lore that traced ancestral lineages to combatants in every American war and to Scottish clans. There were also highly dubious family claims of having descended from Robert the Bruce, the 14th-century king of the Scots.

The patriarch of the 20th-century military family was John's grandfather, Admiral John Sidney McCain Sr. A pioneer of aircraft carriers, he led many naval and air operations in the Western Pacific in World War II, covering General Douglas MacArthur's invasion of the Philippines and inflicting heavy losses on the enemy in the war's final stages. He was in the front row of officers aboard the battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese signed the documents of surrender in 1945.


Mr. MCain, left, in 1961 with his parents, Roberta Wright McCain and John S. McCain Jr., with a plaque of Mr. McCain's grandfather, Admiral John Sidney McCain Sr., the patriarch of the military family. — Photograph: Associated Press.
Mr. MCain, left, in 1961 with his parents, Roberta Wright McCain and John S. McCain Jr., with a plaque of Mr. McCain's
grandfather, Admiral John Sidney McCain Sr., the patriarch of the military family. — Photograph: Associated Press.


John's father was a decorated submarine commander in World War II. In Washington, the elder Mr. McCain was influential in political affairs as the postwar Navy's chief information officer and liaison with Congress. Senators, representatives and military brass were often guests at his home. Raised to full admiral, he was the commander of American naval forces in Europe and, from 1968 to 1972, of all American forces in the Pacific, including those in the Vietnam War theater.

(Two Navy destroyers were named McCain, for the senator's father and grandfather, the first father-and-son full admirals in American naval history.)

Whip-sawed by family relocations, young John attended some 20 schools before finally settling into Episcopal High School, an all-white, all-boys boarding school in Alexandria, Virginia, in the fall of 1951 for his last three years of secondary education. The school, with an all-male faculty and enrollments drawn mostly from upper-crust families of the Old South, required jackets and ties for classes.

But the scion of one of the Navy's most illustrious families was defiant and unruly. He mocked the dress code by wearing dirty bluejeans. His shoes were held together with tape, and his coat looked like a reject from the Salvation Army. He was cocky and combative, easily provoked and ready to fight anyone. Classmates called him McNasty. Most gave him a wide berth.

“He cultivated the image,” Robert Timberg wrote in a biography, John McCain: An American Odyssey (1995). “The Episcopal yearbook pictures him in a trench coat, collar up, cigarette dangling Bogey-style from his lips. That pose, if hardly the impression Episcopal sought to project, at least had a fashionable world-weary style to it.”

John and a few friends often sneaked off campus at night to patronize bars and burlesque houses in Washington. He joined the wrestling team — a 127-pound dynamo, he once pinned an opponent in 37 seconds, a school record — and the junior varsity football team, as a linebacker and offensive guard. His grades were abysmal, except in literature and history, his favorite subjects. He graduated in 1954.

That summer, he followed his father and grandfather into the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. He resisted the discipline. His grades were poor. He stood up to upperclassmen, broke rules and piled up demerits, though never enough to warrant expulsion. But he became a ferocious boxer, a magnet for attractive young women and one of the most popular midshipmen in his class.


In the Cockpit

Mr. McCain possessed the rugged independence of a natural leader. It came out at parties and in carousing with friends. Caught by the Shore Patrol at an off-limits bar, he led a carload of drinking buddies in a daring escape. “Being on liberty with John McCain was like being in a train wreck,” one recalled. In 1958, he graduated 894th in his class, fifth from the bottom.

Accepted for flight training, the newly commissioned Ensign McCain learned to fly attack jets at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida. He also had flings with a succession of young women, from schoolteachers to strippers, and once with a tobacco heiress, “often returning to base just in time to change clothes and drag himself out to the flight line,” Mr. Timberg said.

He liked flying, but his performance was sub-par, sometimes careless or even reckless. In the 1960s he crashed in Corpus Christi Bay in Texas and Tidewater, Virginia, but escaped with minor injuries — and his flying skills improved over time. Early assignments were aboard aircraft carriers: the Intrepid in the Caribbean during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, and the Enterprise in the Mediterranean.

In 1965, Mr. McCain married Carol Shepp, a model. He adopted her two children, Douglas and Andrew, and they had a daughter, Sidney. After a long separation, the couple were divorced in 1980. He then married Cindy Lou Hensley, a Phoenix teacher whose father owned a beer distributorship. They had two sons, John IV and James, and a daughter, Meghan, and adopted a girl, Bridget, from a Bangladeshi orphanage.


The crew on the carrier Forrestal put out a fire that killed 134 men in the worst non-combat incident in American naval history. Mr. McCain was seriously injured. — Photograph: U.S. Navy/via Associated Press.
The crew on the carrier Forrestal put out a fire that killed 134 men in the worst non-combat incident in American naval history.
Mr. McCain was seriously injured. — Photograph: U.S. Navy/via Associated Press.


Promoted to lieutenant commander in early 1967, Mr. McCain requested combat duty and was assigned to the carrier Forrestal, operating in the Gulf of Tonkin. Its A-4E Skyhawk warplanes were bombing North Vietnam in the campaign known as Operation Rolling Thunder. He flew five missions.

Then, on July 29, 1967, he had just strapped himself into his cockpit on a deck crowded with planes when a missile fired accidentally from another jet struck his 200-gallon exterior fuel tank, and it exploded in flames. He scrambled out, crawled onto the plane's nose, dived onto a deck seething with burning fuel and rolled away until he cleared the flames.

As he stood up, other aircraft and bomb loads exploded on deck. He was hit in the legs and chest by burning shrapnel. At one point, the Forrestal skipper considered abandoning ship. When the fire was finally brought under control, 134 men had been killed in the worst non-combat incident in American naval history.

A complete list of survivors was not immediately provided.

Despite his misgivings, Mr. McCain volunteered for more missions and was transferred to the carrier Oriskany. On October 26 he took off on his 23rd mission of the war, part of a 20-plane attack on a heavily defended power plant in central Hanoi. Moments after releasing his bombs on target, as he pulled out of his dive, a Soviet-made surface-to-air missile sheared off his right wing.

He ejected as the plane plunged, but hit something as he exited. Both arms were broken and his right knee was shattered. He fell into a lake and, with 50 pounds of gear, sank 15 feet to the bottom, then pulled the inflating pins of his Mae West life jacket with his teeth and rose to the surface, gasping for air. Swimmers dragged him ashore, where he was set upon by a mob.


Mr. McCain, center, after he ejected from his fighter plane in 1967 and fell into a lake. The Vietnamese imprisoned and tortured him for more than five years. — Photograph: Library of Congress.
Mr. McCain, center, after he ejected from his fighter plane in 1967 and fell into a lake. The Vietnamese imprisoned and tortured him
for more than five years. — Photograph: Library of Congress.


Mr. McCain was stripped to his skivvies, kicked and spat upon, then bayoneted in the left ankle and groin. A North Vietnamese soldier struck him with his rifle butt, breaking a shoulder. A woman tried to give him a cup of tea as a photographer snapped pictures. Carried to a truck, Mr. McCain was driven to Hoa Lo, the prison compound its American inmates had labeled the Hanoi Hilton.

There he was denied medical care. His knee swelled to the size and color of a football. He lapsed in and out of consciousness for days. When he awoke in a cell infested with roaches and rats, he was interrogated and beaten. The beatings continued for days. He gave his name, rank and serial number and defied his tormentors with curses.

After two weeks, a doctor, without anesthesia, tried to set his right arm, broken in three places, but gave up in frustration and encased it in a plaster cast. He was moved to another site and tended by two American prisoners of war, who brought him back from near death.

Commander McCain's prisoner-of-war status was widely reported around the world. Only after his captors learned that his father was an admiral was he given a modicum of medical treatment. Other prisoners said he spoke, incongruously, of someday being president of the United States.

Once he was visited by a group of North Vietnamese dignitaries. A prisoner, Jack Van Loan, said Mr. McCain shrieked at them. “Here's a guy that's all crippled up, all busted up, and he doesn't know if he's going to live to the next day, and he literally blew them out of there with a verbal assault,” Mr. Van Loan told Mr. Timberg. “You can't imagine the example John set for the rest of the camp by doing that.”


Two Years in Solitary

In March 1968, Mr. McCain was put in solitary confinement, fed only watery pumpkin soup and scraps of bread. It lasted two years. When Admiral McCain became the Pacific Theater commander in July, his son was offered early repatriation repeatedly. Commander McCain refused, following a military code that prisoners were to be released in the order taken. He was beaten frequently and tortured with ropes.

Years after his confession to “war crimes” and “air piracy,” Mr. McCain wrote: “I had learned what we all learned over there: that every man has his breaking point. I had reached mine.”


Mr. McCain in 1967 at a hospital in Hanoi, North Vietnam. Only after his captors learned that his father was an admiral was he given medical treatment. — Photograph: Associated Press.
Mr. McCain in 1967 at a hospital in Hanoi, North Vietnam. Only after his captors learned that his father was an admiral was he given medical treatment.
 — Photograph: Associated Press.


His ordeal finally ended on March 14, 1973, two months after the Paris Peace Accords had ended American involvement in the war. The place he had lived longest in his nomadic life was Hanoi. At 36, his hair had gone white. He went home a celebrity, cheered in parades, showered with medals, embraced by President Richard M. Nixon and Governor Ronald Reagan of California.

For a Navy man who had always tried to live up to his father's accomplishments, the Silver and Bronze Stars, the Distinguished Flying Cross and other decorations he received were not enough. But a psychiatrist's report seemed to capture his happiest moment. “Felt fulfillment,” it said, “when his dad was introduced at a dinner as ‘Commander McCain's father’.”

After months of rehabilitation and recovery, he returned to duty and became the Navy's Senate liaison, as his father had once been. But he knew that his Navy future would be limited by his physical disabilities, and that he would never be an admiral like his forebears. With his mother's encouragement, he was already thinking about a political career when he retired as a captain in 1981.

Setting his sights on a congressional seat, he settled in Phoenix and became a public relations executive for his father-in-law's beer distributorship. He developed contacts in the news media and business community, and got to know real estate developers and bankers like Charles Keating Jr.

When Representative John Rhodes of Arizona retired after 30 years in Congress in 1982, Mr. McCain, in a campaign partly financed by his wife, easily won the seat in a Republican district. He embraced President Reagan's agenda of tax and budget cuts and a strong national defense, but voted to over-ride Mr. Reagan's veto of sanctions against South Africa for its racist policies. He was re-elected in 1984.


In 1982, Mr. McCain, in a campaign partly financed by his wife, easily won a seat in a Republican congressional district in Arizona. — Photograph: Tom Tingle/Phoenix Gazette/via Associated Press.
In 1982, Mr. McCain, in a campaign partly financed by his wife, easily won a seat in a Republican congressional district in Arizona.
 — Photograph: Tom Tingle/Phoenix Gazette/via Associated Press.


After Senator Barry M. Goldwater decided not to seek re-election as Arizona's conservative stalwart in 1986, Mr. McCain crushed Richard Kimball, a former Democratic state legislator, for the seat. He won appointments to the Armed Services Committee, the Commerce Committee and the Indian Affairs Committee, and soon gained national attention.

A long-time gambler with ties to the gaming industry, Mr. McCain helped write the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988, codifying regulations for Native American gambling enterprises. He backed legislation, sponsored by Senators Phil Gramm of Texas and Warren B. Rudman of New Hampshire, for automatic spending cuts in deficit budgets. He was short-listed as a vice-presidential running mate by the 1988 Republican nominee, George Bush, who won the White House (with Senator Dan Quayle on the ticket).

But Mr. McCain's rising political career was almost upended by scandal. He was one of five senators who took favors from Charles Keating to intercede with federal regulators on behalf of the Lincoln Savings and Loan Association, which collapsed with catastrophic losses. The scandal cost the government and investors billions, and Mr. Keating went to prison for fraud; the so-called Keating Five, cleared of wrong-doing by Senate investigators, were only rebuked for ethical lapses.

In the years that followed, Mr. McCain reinvented himself as a scourge of special interests, crusading for stricter ethics and campaign finance rules, a man of honor chastened by a brush with shame.

The Persian Gulf War in 1991 also helped restore Mr. McCain's tarnished image. As a television commentator, he showcased his military savvy and impressed Americans as an authoritative voice on foreign policy. While Mr. Bush lost the White House to Bill Clinton in 1992, Mr. McCain easily won re-election.

After years of voting along party lines, Mr. McCain, in the 1990s, emphasized his independence. With the presidency in his distant sights, he challenged Republican leaders and Democrats and was harder to peg politically. He became a self-appointed Republican spokesman on national security — challenging the Clinton administration's intervention in Somalia, counseling against deploying American troops to the Balkans and sounding an early warning on North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

Mr. McCain and Senator John Kerry, a Democrat and fellow Vietnam War veteran, were chairmen of the Select Committee on P.O.W./M.I.A. Affairs, which found “no compelling evidence” that Americans were still alive in captivity in Southeast Asia. Veterans groups and families of long-missing troops rejected the report. He also pressed for full diplomatic relations with Vietnam, which were achieved in 1995.

In the 1996 election, Mr. McCain appeared to be a favorite for the Republican vice-presidential slot, but former Senator Bob Dole, the Republican presidential nominee, chose Jack Kemp, the former congressman and National Football League star. They would lose to Mr. Clinton and Al Gore.

Mr. McCain won re-election to a third term by a landslide in 1998, and a year later he published a memoir, Faith of My Fathers: A Family Memoir which became a best seller in time for the 2000 election campaign and was later made into a television movie, starring Shawn Hatosy as Mr. McCain.


Smears and Defeat

Seeking the 2000 Republican presidential nomination, Mr. McCain pledged “a fight to take our government back from the power brokers and special interests.” Governor George W. Bush of Texas was favored, but Mr. McCain won the New Hampshire primary, 49 to 30 percent. South Carolina's primary then loomed as crucial.

It was one of the era's dirtiest campaigns. Anonymous smears falsely claimed that Mr. McCain had fathered a black child out of wedlock, that his wife was a drug addict and that he was a homosexual, a traitor and mentally unstable. McCain ads portrayed Mr. Bush as a liar and called his religious supporters, the Reverend Jerry Falwell and the televangelist Pat Robertson, “agents of intolerance.”

Mr. McCain later said he regretted calling a Confederate flag on the State Capitol in Columbia a “symbol of heritage.” Civil rights groups had denounced it as a symbol of slavery and oppression of African-Americans. “I feared that if I answered honestly, I could not win the South Carolina primary,” Mr. McCain admitted.


Republican presidential hopefuls, including Mr. McCain, right, before a debate in 1999. The others, from left, were Gary Bauer, Governor George W. Bush of Texas, Steve Forbes, Senator Orrin Hatch and Alan Keyes. — Photograph: Luke Frazza/Agence France-Presse.
Republican presidential hopefuls, including Mr. McCain, right, before a debate in 1999. The others, from left, were Gary Bauer, Governor
George W. Bush of Texas, Steve Forbes, Senator Orrin Hatch and Alan Keyes. — Photograph: Luke Frazza/Agence France-Presse.


Mr. Bush won the primary and the nomination, and narrowly defeated the Democrat, Vice President Gore, in the general election.

Always wary of an adventurousness that might blind Mr. McCain to potential embarrassments, his advisers grew anxious during the 2000 campaign when a lobbyist, Vicki Iseman, began turning up with him at fund-raisers and at his office. It came to nothing. But a long report in The New York Times in 2008 said that aides, fearing a romantic involvement, had cautioned Mr. McCain and warned Ms. Iseman off.

The article raised a flap of angry denials, and Ms. Iseman sued the newspaper for libel. The N.Y. Times did not retract its article but published a note to readers saying it had not intended to suggest a romantic affair, and the suit was dropped.

After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Mr. McCain supported the Bush administration's war on terrorism; its invasion of Afghanistan to suppress a fanatic Taliban regime and hunt for Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the terrorist attacks; and later the invasion of Iraq to depose President Saddam Hussein, the tyrant who was wrongly believed to have weapons of mass destruction.


Mr. McCain visiting American troops in Kabul in 2014. He supported the Bush administration's fight against terrorism after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. — Photograph: Diego Ibarra Sanchez/for The New York Times.
Mr. McCain visiting American troops in Kabul in 2014. He supported the Bush administration's fight against terrorism after the terrorist attacks
of September 11, 2001. — Photograph: Diego Ibarra Sanchez/for The New York Times.


Rewarded for years of pushing campaign-finance reforms, Mr. McCain and Senator Russ Feingold, Democrat of Wisconsin, finally saw passage in 2002 of the McCain-Feingold Act. It banned a key source of financing for both parties, so-called soft money donated in unlimited amounts to build party strengths, and it limited donations for national candidates to “hard money,” subject to annual limits and other rules. The law's effects became tangled in lawsuits, court rulings and financing schemes.

As a torture victim, Mr. McCain was sensitive to the detention and interrogation of detainees in the fight against terrorism. In 2005 the Senate passed his bill to bar inhumane treatment of prisoners, including those at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, by limiting military practices to those permitted by the United States Army Field Manual on Interrogation. His 2008 bill to ban waterboarding as torture was adopted, but vetoed by President Bush.

Mr. McCain wrote six books with his aide, Mark Salter, all with themes of courage. Besides his 2018 memoir, they were Worth the Fighting For: A Memoir (2002), Why Courage Matters: The Way to a Braver Life (2004), Character Is Destiny: Inspiring Stories Every Young Person Should Know and Every Adult Should Remember (2005), Hard Call: Great Decisions and the Extraordinary People Who Made Them (2007) and Thirteen Soldiers: A Personal History of Americans at War (2014).

In 1993, Mr. McCain gave the commencement address at Annapolis: the sorcerer's apprentice, class of 1954, home to inspire the midshipmen. He spoke of Navy aviators hurled from the decks of pitching aircraft carriers, of Navy gunners blazing into the silhouettes of onrushing kamikazes, of trapped Marines battling overwhelming Chinese hordes in a breakout from the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea.

“I have spent time in the company of heroes,” he said. “I have watched men suffer the anguish of imprisonment, defy appalling cruelty until further resistance is impossible, break for a moment, then recover inhuman strength to defy their enemies once more. All these things and more I have seen. And so will you. I will go to my grave in gratitude to my Creator for allowing me to stand witness to such courage and honor. And so will you.

“My time is slipping by. Yours is fast approaching. You will know where your duty lies. You will know.”


__________________________________________________________________________

Robert D. McFadden is a senior writer on the Obituaries desk of The New York Times and the winner of the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for spot news reporting. He has covered many of New York's major news stories in his more than 30 years as a reporter and rewrite man for the paper, and has earned a reputation as one of the finest rewrite men in the business. Mr. McFadden's byline has appeared regularly over articles on plane crashes, hurricanes, strikes, parades, blackouts, city and state government affairs, health, crime, transportation, politics, education, the environment, the mass media and a wide array of other subjects. In an era of increasing specialization, Mr. McFadden, as a rewrite man for most of his career, has remained essentially a general assignment reporter who, on a given day and at a moment's notice, covers domestic and foreign crises, writes profiles of people and nations and draws together the diverse threads of sprawling stories on blizzards or riots, floods or ships floundering at sea. Among Mr. McFadden's major stories were the 1977 blackout in the New York region, written by candlelight in a darkened newsroom; the 1986 suicide of Queens Borough President Donald Manes, touching off New York's biggest scandal of the 1980’s; and a series on the case of Tawana Brawley, a black upstate New York teenager whose 1987 charges of rape by a gang of whites, including law enforcement officials, inflamed racial tensions before being exposed as a hoax. Mr. McFadden is the co-author of two books: No Hiding Place. a 1981 account of the 444-day Iranian hostage crisis, published by Times Books, and Outrage: The Story Behind the Tawana Brawley Hoax, published by Bantam Books in 1990. The recipient of 18 major journalistic awards and seven New York Times Publisher's Awards, Mr. McFadden has long been known as the anchor of The N.Y. Times rewrite bank.  He was named a senior writer for the paper in January 1990. Mr. McFadden was born in Milwaukee in 1937 and was raised in Chicago and Cumberland, Wisconsin, where he graduated from high school in 1955.  He then worked his way through college, holding several reporting jobs before graduating in 1960 from the University of Wisconsin at Madison with a bachelor of science degree, cum laude, in journalism. Starting as a stringer for the United Press, Mr. McFadden was a reporter for The Wisconsin Rapids (Wisconsin) Daily Tribune in 1957 and 1958, The Wisconsin State Journal in Madison in 1958 and 1959, and after graduating from Wisconsin, for The Cincinnati Enquirer in 1960. Mr. McFadden joined The New York Times in May 1961 as a copy boy and was promoted to reporter a year later in an internal training program that included tours as a financial news writer and script writer for WQXR, The N.Y. Times' classical radio station.  After five years as a police and general assignment reporter on The Times' metropolitan staff, he became a rewrite man in 1967. Mr. McFadden is married and has a son.  He lives with his family in Manhattan.

• A version of this article appears in The New York Times on Sunday, August 26, 2018, on Page A1 of the New York print edition with the headline: “A Symbol of Courage in Half a Century of Battles”.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • VIDEO: John McCain: The Making of a Maverick

 • Reflections of John McCain's decades in public life by reporters and editors at The New York Times.

 • John McCain to Lie in State at Capitols in Washington and Arizona

 • John McCain, a Last Lion of the Senate

 • John McCain, a Maverick We Can Learn From

 • EDITORIAL: John McCain, a Scarred but Happy Warrior

 • John McCain to Discontinue Treatment for Brain Cancer, Family Says

 • In ‘The Restless Wave’, John McCain Says America Is Still Exceptional

 • Maybe We Don't Deserve John McCain

 • Trump Talks for 28 Minutes on Bill Named for John McCain. Not Mentioned: McCain.

 • John McCain: By the Book


https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/25/obituaries/john-mccain-dead.html

 93 
 on: August 25, 2018, 11:02:56 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

from The Washington Post…

I used to be afraid to call Trump a mob boss. Not anymore.

Now that he's waxed fluent in the language of La Cosa Nostra, I feel liberated to let 'er rip.

By JONATHAN CAPEHART | 4:24PM EDT — Friday, August 24, 2018

President Donald J. Trump. — Photograph: Saul Loeb/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.
President Donald J. Trump. — Photograph: Saul Loeb/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.

MY RULE OF THUMB for months now has been to not think of the Trump White House as a presidency, but to think of it as a crime family like The Godfather and President Trump as a mob boss. I don't say it lightly. When the words issued from my lips on MSNBC a few months ago, I hesitated in that way we used to do when we talked about once-taboo subjects, like being gay or cancer. But now that Trump has waxed fluent in the language of La Cosa Nostra, I feel liberated to let 'er rip.

During an interview with Fox News, Trump said several things that only a mob boss has been known to say or care about. Reacting to Michael Cohen, his former lawyer and fixer who pleaded guilty last week to eight federal crimes, Trump decried Cohen's change in loyalty. “I know all about flipping. For 30, 40 years I've been watching flippers,” Trump said. “Everything is wonderful, and then they get 10 years in jail, and they flip on whoever the next highest one is or as high as you can go.”

So much talk about “flipping” and “flippers” … not to mention railing against a “RAT” a few days ago. All of this is oh so rich with irony now that federal prosecutors have granted immunity to Trump friend David Pecker, publisher of the National Enquirer, and Allen Weisselberg, chief financial officer of the Trump Organization.

And speaking of loyalty, the president remains miffed at what he perceives as the disloyalty of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who recused himself from involvement in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's probe into Trump's presidential campaign. “You know the only reason I gave him the job,” the president said, “because I felt loyalty, he was an original supporter.” He's still asking, “Where's my Roy Cohn?”


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tf5uYfc9oMg

Those things and so much more Trump said in that Fox News interview bring me back to my rule of thumb: If you're still viewing Trump through a presidential prism, you're bound to be disappointed. He is not driven by the norms and customs revered and jealously guarded by most of his predecessors (cough, Nixon). No, the Queens-born builder is driven by a noxious mix of ambition, aggrievement, egomania and a strong sense of mafia ethics, as The Washington Post's Paul Waldman has spelled out in detail.

A president wouldn't fire the FBI director over an investigation of his election campaign. But a mob boss would. A president wouldn't belittle his attorney general and bemoan his lack of loyalty. But a mob boss would. A president wouldn't strip national security clearances from his critics. But a mob boss would. A president would not surround himself with grifters and other characters who have no business being in the White House. But a mob boss couldn't have it any other way. Trump even gave West Wing jobs to his daughter and son-in-law, who has his own real estate empire to worry about. You've seen the “Godfather” movies. A loyalty-dependent mob boss must have family close by.

From the moment he announced his candidacy, Trump made it clear that he couldn't care less about the institution of the presidency. If you're still waiting for him to act presidential, then have fun wallowing in the misery that comes with that fruitless exercise. But when you view Trump through the mafia prism, every in-the-moment action and every middle-of-the-night tweet makes a whole lot more sense.


__________________________________________________________________________

• Jonathan Capehart is a member of The Washington Post editorial board, writes for the PostPartisan blog and is host of the “Cape Up” podcast.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • Kellyanne Conway still can't handle the truth

 • President Trump brings mafia ethics to the GOP

 • Eric Holder: ‘He's got a fundamental misunderstanding of both the role of the attorney general and the role that I played in the Obama administration’.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2018/08/24/i-used-to-be-afraid-to-call-trump-a-mob-boss-not-anymore

 94 
 on: August 25, 2018, 08:29:51 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

from The Washington Post…

Trump is in trouble, so he's reaching for his ace in the hole: hate

Racial resentment got him to the White House, and it may be what keeps him there.

By PAUL WALDMAN | 2:49PM EDT — Friday, August 24, 2018

President Trump addressing a crowd in Charleston, West Virginia on Tuesday. — Photograph: Mandel Ngan/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.
President Trump addressing a crowd in Charleston, West Virginia on Tuesday. — Photograph: Mandel Ngan/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.

THIS IS a perilous political moment for President Trump, which means that it's time to pay a visit to the well of resentment and hatred that got him to the White House.

This week, the president has promoted two stories — an imagined oppression of white farmers in South Africa and the murder of an Iowa woman named Mollie Tibbetts — that offer a vivid illustration of how he and the entire conservative movement use race-baiting to keep the Republican base in a state of agitation and anger, the better to take the focus away from issues that could weaken the standing of the president and his party.

We'll start with the Mollie Tibbetts story, which has a familiar ring to it: A young white woman allegedly murdered by an immigrant, whom the president then uses to argue for both immigration restrictions and the election of more Republicans. Here's what Trump said at a rally this week in West Virginia:


Quote
You heard about today with the illegal alien coming in very sadly from Mexico, and you saw what happened to that incredible, beautiful young woman. Shoulda never happened. Illegally in our country. We've had a huge impact, but the laws are so bad. The immigration laws are such a disgrace. We're getting them changed, but we have to get more Republicans.

We should note that whether the suspect is actually undocumented is in dispute. And you'll notice that, as he always does in these cases, Trump describes the victim as “beautiful,” as though her death might be less of a tragedy had she been less attractive. But how did this story get on Trump's radar?

The answer lies in the fact that Trump is not an outlier within the GOP. It's not as though he dragged an unwilling party toward the use of race-baiting as a core political tactic. He's only the most visible manifestation of a strategy that reaches back decades and today is on a constant hair-trigger. There's a network of conservative media outlets and political figures always on the lookout for ways they can promote hate, fear and resentment among white people. When something like Tibbetts' murder happens, they swing into action. Trump's own involvement actually comes only after he has been alerted to the case by this network.

So on Wednesday, the morning of that rally, Axios reported that “Former Speaker Newt Gingrich emailed Axios' Mike Allen to make sure that we'd be covering” the Tibbetts story, which was already in heavy rotation on Fox News. Gingrich — who is more responsible than any other single figure for America's slide into vicious, bitter partisanship over the last couple of decades — explained that “If Mollie Tibbetts is a household name by October, Democrats will be in deep trouble. If we can be blocked by Manafort-Cohen, etc., then GOP could lose [the House] badly.”

In other words, the danger for Republicans is that the news media might pay too much attention to one of the largest presidential scandals in decades and not enough attention to the story of one young woman's murder. They're doing what they can to forestall that possibility: I searched this morning on FoxNews.com for Mollie Tibbetts' name and came back with a remarkable 192 results — 192 separate stories and videos about this case.

In 2016, the last year for which we have complete data, there were 17,250 homicides in America, so Tibbetts' murder is one of a huge number of tragic stories of violence that could draw national attention at any given moment. And as you've probably heard by now, we know that immigrants in general, and undocumented immigrants in particular, commit fewer crimes than native-born Americans do.

But when conservatives decide immediately upon hearing about it that this is the story they want to call attention to, they aren't doing it because of their commitment to stopping crime. They're doing it because it gets Republicans mad — an anger that was the basis of Trump's victory and is the foundation of the business model for Fox News and other conservative media outlets.

On Wednesday, the White House tweeted out a video featuring family members of people killed by undocumented immigrants, whom they say were “permanently separated” from their loved ones, a direct reference to the Trump administration's family separation policy at the border. The linking of these isolated cases with the policy of taking children from the arms of parents seeking asylum almost seems to posit that policy as a kind of revenge taken out on immigrant families for crimes other people have committed, or at the very least setting up a ludicrous and repellent moral hierarchy: Sure, we're traumatizing children and parents, but it's better than killing the children, right?

Now let's turn to the second issue Trump decided to draw attention to this week: a white supremacist conspiracy theory. On Wednesday he tweeted this:




Senator Bob Corker called the tweet a “base stimulator,” and when asked what that meant, he replied, “Well, there are portions of those who support the president that are — I'm sure that generates excitement. I mean, it's — you know what I'm saying.”

Indeed we do.

Where did the story come from? A pipeline of hate that pours its effluent into the Oval Office. For years, white nationalists, alt-righters, neo-Nazis and other assorted deplorables have been complaining about an alleged “white genocide” occurring in South Africa around the issue of land reform. From various Internet chat rooms, the cause was taken up by right-wing hucksters like Ann Coulter and Mike Cernovich. Then on Wednesday, Tucker Carlson did a segment about it on his Fox News show, which Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple says might be better titled “Your hour of white grievance.” Trump watched and sent out his tweet, and the result is a minor diplomatic crisis.

Naturally, white nationalists are elated that Trump has taken up one of their pet causes. But they may not realize that he couldn't care less about South African land reform. By next week he'll have forgotten all about it, just as he'll forget all about Mollie Tibbetts once she's been replaced by another “beautiful” white girl whose death he can exploit for political ends. The only constant is that he'll keep looking for new ways to keep white voters angry and afraid, in the hopes that it can save him from whatever political peril he faces. Which is why it may only get worse.


__________________________________________________________________________

Paul Waldman is an opinion writer for The Plum Line blog at The Washington Post. Before joining The Post, he worked at an advocacy group, edited an online magazine, taught at university and worked on political campaigns. He has authored or co-authored four books on media and politics, and his work has appeared in dozens of newspapers and magazines. He is also a senior writer at the American Prospect.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • VIDEO: Opinion | Trump is facing worse than Watergate. I should know.

 • Paul Waldman: In his feud with Jeff Sessions, Trump has painted himself into a corner

 • Paul Waldman: President Trump brings mafia ethics to the GOP


https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/08/24/trump-is-in-trouble-so-hes-reaching-for-his-ace-in-the-hole-hate

 95 
 on: August 25, 2018, 06:48:44 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

from The Seattle Times…

Trump asks Pompeo to delay visit to North Korea

By MATTHEW LEE and ZEKE MILLER — Associated Press | 10:53AM PDT — Friday, August 24, 2018

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump walk across the South Lawn of the White House in Washington D.C. on Friday, August 24, 2018, to board Marine One helicopter for a short trip to Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, en route to Columbus, Ohio. — Photograph: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press.
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump walk across the South Lawn of the White House in Washington D.C. on Friday, August 24, 2018,
to board Marine One helicopter for a short trip to Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, en route to Columbus, Ohio.
 — Photograph: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press.


WASHINGTON D.C. — President Donald Trump said on Friday he has directed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to delay a planned trip to North Korea, citing insufficient progress on denuclearization.

Trump put some blame on Beijing, saying he does not believe China is helping “because of our much tougher Trading stance.”

The surprise announcement appeared to mark a concession by the president to domestic and international concerns that his prior claims of world-altering progress on the peninsula had been strikingly premature.

“I have asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo not to go to North Korea, at this time, because I feel we are not making sufficient progress with respect to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Trump tweeted on Friday, barely two months after his June meeting with the North's Kim Jong Un in Singapore.

Trump's comment followed a report issued on Monday by the International Atomic Energy Agency outlining “grave concern” about the North's nuclear program. It came a day after Pompeo appointed Stephen Biegun, a senior executive with the Ford Motor Company, to be his special envoy for North Korea and said he and Biegun would visit next week.

The State Department never confirmed details of the trip, but it had been expected that Pompeo would be in Pyongyang for at least several hours on Monday, according to several diplomatic sources familiar with the plan.

White House officials declined to specify what prompted Trump to call off Pompeo's trip or what had changed since the president's rose-colored-glasses assessments of the nuclear situation just days ago.

A senior White House official said Trump made the decision to cancel the visit on Friday morning during a meeting with Pompeo, Biegun, chief of staff John Kelly and National Security Adviser John Bolton, who joined by phone. Intelligence and defense officials were not in the meeting, the official said, seeming to indicate that the breakdown was diplomatic in nature. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal deliberations.

The State Department had no immediate comment on the matter and referred questions to the White House.








Trump laid unspecified blame on China, North Korea's leading trade partner, which is widely believed to hold the greatest sway over Kim's government.

The U.S. and China have been locked in a trade dispute for months, with each side ratcheting up tariffs on imports from the other country in what may be the opening salvos of a trade war.

Trump tweeted that “Pompeo looks forward to going to North Korea in the near future, most likely after our Trading relationship with China is resolved.” He added: “In the meantime I would like to send my warmest regards and respect to Chairman Kim. I look forward to seeing him soon!”

After more a year of escalating tensions defined by nuclear and missile tests, new sanctions and “fire and fury” rhetoric, Trump made history meeting Kim earlier this year. In the run-up to the summit both nations engaged in hard-nosed negotiation, with Trump publically calling off the meeting in an effort to push Kim to agree to nuclear concessions. During the summit, the pair signed a vague joint statement in which the North agreed to denuclearize, but which left nearly all details undefined.

“There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea,” Trump declared on Twitter after the meeting.

“Before taking office people were assuming that we were going to War with North Korea. President Obama said that North Korea was our biggest and most dangerous problem,” he added. “No longer — sleep well tonight!”

Pompeo would have been hard pressed to return from Pyongyang with anything resembling progress on the denuclearization front.

Although it has halted nuclear and missile testing and taken some unrelated steps — dismantling portions of a missile engine facility and returning the suspected remains of American servicemen killed during the Korean War — its nuclear weapons program and ballistic missile development remain intact, according the U.N.'s atomic watchdog and intelligence agencies.


President Donald J. Trump and first lady Melania Trump walk to board Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland on Friday, August 24, 2018, for a trip to Columbus, Ohio to visit the National Children's Hospital, and to speak at the Ohio Republican State Party dinner. — Photograph: Evan Vucci/Associated Press.
President Donald J. Trump and first lady Melania Trump walk to board Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland on Friday, August 24, 2018, for a trip to
Columbus, Ohio to visit the National Children's Hospital, and to speak at the Ohio Republican State Party dinner. — Photograph: Evan Vucci/Associated Press.


In addition, recent statements from North Korean officials have ruled out any new concessions until it sees a reciprocal gesture from the U.S. beyond suspending military exercises with South Korea. North Korea has been demanding that the U.S. ease or lift crippling sanctions — something Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton have flatly ruled out until the its nuclear program is fully and verifiably dismantled.

Other than sanctions relief, the North, backed by South Korea, has been seeking a declaration of the end of the Korean War. The conflict stopped with the signing of an armistice rather than a peace treaty, meaning the war is not technically over. Both the North and South have vowed to end the open state of hostilities, and Seoul had been hoping to persuade the Trump administration to sign off on a non-binding end-of-war declaration as a goodwill gesture that would give Kim Jong Un domestic cover to proceed with denuclearization moves.

Pompeo and other administration officials have suggested some concessions short of easing or lifting sanctions are possible before verified denuclearization, but have refused to be specific about what they could be. And they have been skeptical about an end-of-war declaration in the absence of any progress on the nuclear matter.

At the same time, lawmakers from both parties, including GOP hawks who generally support Trump, have expressed concerns about such a move, as it could be used by the North to demand the removal of U.S. troops from South Korea and potentially Japan without anything in return.

Trump had kept up the positive tone as recently as Tuesday at a campaign rally in West Virginia. There Trump maintained “we're doing well with North Korea.”

“There's been no missile launches. There's been no rocket launches,” he added.

At the same rally, Trump seemed to take a different tone too on China, saying he had withheld some criticism of China because “I wanted them to help us with North Korea and they have.”


__________________________________________________________________________

Associated Press writer Darlene Superville contributed to this report.

• Matthew Lee is a State Department correspondent at Associated Press.

• Zeke Miller is a White House reporter at Associated Press.

https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/trump-asks-pompeo-to-delay-visit-to-north-korea

 96 
 on: August 25, 2018, 06:45:54 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

from The New York Times…

Kremlin Sources Go Quiet, Leaving C.I.A. in the Dark
About Putin's Plans for Mid-terms


The spy agency does not believe its Russia informants have been killed, but sources
have gone largely dormant amid heightened scrutiny and rising threats.


By JULIAN E. BARNES and MATTHEW ROSENBERG | Friday, August 24, 2018

Vital C.I.A. informants in or close to the Kremlin have largely gone silent ahead of November's mid-term elections, American officials said. — Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images.
Vital C.I.A. informants in or close to the Kremlin have largely gone silent ahead of November's mid-term elections, American officials said.
 — Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images.


WASHINGTON D.C. — In 2016, American intelligence agencies delivered urgent and explicit warnings about Russia's intentions to try to tip the American presidential election — and a detailed assessment of the operation afterward — thanks in large part to informants close to President Vladimir V. Putin and in the Kremlin who provided crucial details.

But two years later, the vital Kremlin informants have largely gone silent, leaving the C.I.A. and other spy agencies in the dark about precisely what Mr. Putin's intentions are for November's mid-term elections, according to American officials familiar with the intelligence.

The officials do not believe the sources have been compromised or killed. Instead, they have concluded they have gone to ground amid more aggressive counter-intelligence by Moscow, including efforts to kill spies, like the poisoning in March in Britain of a former Russian intelligence officer that utilized a rare Russian-made nerve agent.

Current and former officials also said the expulsion of American intelligence officers from Moscow has hurt collection efforts. And officials also raised the possibility that the outing of an F.B.I. informant under scrutiny by the House intelligence committee — an examination encouraged by President Trump — has had a chilling effect on intelligence collection.

Technology companies and political campaigns in recent weeks have detected a plethora of political interference efforts originating overseas, including hacks of Republican think tanks and fake liberal grass-roots organizations created on Facebook. Senior intelligence officials, including Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, have warned that Russians are intent on subverting American democratic institutions.

But American intelligence agencies have not been able to say precisely what are Mr. Putin's intentions: He could be trying to tilt the mid-term elections, simply sow chaos or generally undermine trust in the democratic process.

The officials, seeking to protect methods of collection from Russia, would not provide details about lost sources, but acknowledged the degradation in the information collected from Russia. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to reveal classified information. A spokesman for the C.I.A. declined to comment.

To determine what the Russian government is up to, the United States employs multiple forms of intelligence, including intercepted communications and penetrated computer networks.

The United States continues to intercept Russian communication, and the flow of that intelligence remains strong, said current and former officials. And Russian informants could still meet their C.I.A. handlers outside Russia, further from Moscow's counter-intelligence apparatus.

But people inside or close to the Kremlin remain critical to divining whether there is a strategy behind seemingly scattershot efforts to undermine American institutions.

Spies and informants overseas also give American intelligence agencies early warning about influence campaigns, interference operations or other attempts to compromise the United States. That information, in turn, can improve the ability of domestic agencies, like the Department of Homeland Security and the F.B.I., to quickly identify and attempt to stop those efforts.


Emergency crews investigate the site where Sergei Skripal and his daughter were found poisoned in Britain. C.I.A. informants in Russia are believed to be underground, fearing aggressive campaigns by Moscow to hunt spies. — Photograph: Ben Stansall/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.
Emergency crews investigate the site where Sergei Skripal and his daughter were found poisoned in Britain. C.I.A. informants in Russia are believed
to be underground, fearing aggressive campaigns by Moscow to hunt spies. — Photograph: Ben Stansall/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.


Because clandestine meetings can take months to set up and complete, a lengthy lag can pass before the C.I.A. realizes a key source has gone silent, according to former officials. It is rare for the agency to discover immediately that informants have eroded or are running scared. Only after several missed meetings might C.I.A. officers and analysts conclude that a source has decided it is too dangerous to pass information.

In 2016, American intelligence officials began to realize the scope of Russia's efforts when they gathered intelligence suggesting that Moscow wanted to use Trump campaign officials, wittingly or not, to help sow chaos. John O. Brennan, the former director of the C.I.A., testified before the House Intelligence Committee in May 2017 about a tense period a year earlier when he came to believe that Mr. Putin was trying to steer the outcome toward a victory for Mr. Trump.

Mr. Brennan described the broad outlines of the intelligence in his congressional testimony, and his disclosures backed up the accounts of the information provided by the current and former officials. “I was convinced in the summer that the Russians were trying to interfere in the election. And they were very aggressive,” Mr. Brennan told lawmakers.

This year, Mr. Coats issued a series of warnings saying the Russian government, and Mr. Putin in particular, is intent on undermining American democratic systems.

At an appearance this month at the White House, Mr. Coats said intelligence agencies “continue to see a pervasive messaging campaign by Russia to try and weaken and divide the United States.” He added that those efforts “cover issues relevant to the elections.”

But officials said there has been no concrete intelligence pointing to Mr. Putin ordering his own intelligence units to wade into the election to push for a certain outcome, beyond a broad chaos campaign to undermine faith in American democracy. Intelligence agencies do not believe Mr. Putin has changed his strategy; instead, officials believe they simply do not have the same level of access to information from the Kremlin's inner circle.

Intelligence collection appears to have suffered after Russia expelled officials from American diplomatic outposts there in retaliation for the United States removing 60 Russian officials this year, said John Sipher, a 28-year veteran of the C.I.A. who served in Moscow in the 1990s and later ran the agency's Russia program.

The C.I.A.'s Moscow presence, according to former officers, was always small, at least in light of the importance of the target, the difficulty of spycraft and the amount of counter-intelligence the Russians dedicated to thwarting American spies.

“The Russians kicked out a whole bunch of our people,” Mr. Sipher said. “Our station in Moscow is probably really small now and they are under incredible surveillance.”

Mr. Putin has also said he is intent on killing so-called traitors, comments he made just ahead of the high-profile assassination attempt of the former Russian intelligence officer, Sergei V. Skripal.

“The Russians are very focused and upset,” Mr. Sipher said. “They have shown they are willing to kill sources.”


Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, issued warnings in recent weeks that Russia is intent on undermining American democratic systems. — Photograph: Erin Schaff/for The New York Times.
Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, issued warnings in recent weeks that Russia is intent on undermining American democratic systems.
 — Photograph: Erin Schaff/for The New York Times.


Informants close to Putin are very rare, according to current and former officials. The United States, in recent years, has had only a few, and at times been reliant on only one or two for the most important insights on Mr. Putin, according to former officials. If those people go silent for their own protection, it can make it very hard for the agency to look inside Moscow.

The United States still should have a clear view of Mr. Putin's strategies and intention to interfere in Democratic elections, said Michael Carpenter, a Russia expert and former Obama administration official. He pointed to fake social media accounts created as part of Russian intelligence operations that have drummed up support for white nationalists and the Black Lives Matter movement, and have supported far right, far left and pro-Russian candidates in the United States and in Europe.

“Clearly Russia is playing both sides of controversial issues precisely to sow chaos. But that said it is not just chaos, there are certain candidates Russia prefers to see in office,” said Mr. Carpenter, now at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement. “The Russians are trying to support anti-establishment and pro-Russian candidates, not just in the U.S. but everywhere.”

Still, there is little doubt about the crucial nature of informants, said Seth G. Jones, who leads the trans-national threats project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a policy research organization.

“It is essential to have sources coming from inside the government. It was during the Cold War and it is today,” Mr. Jones said. “There are multiple ways to collect intelligence against your adversary, in this case the Russian government. But sources can provide you things you might not otherwise get, like documents, intelligence assessments.”

Sources can provide photographs of Russian documents and intelligence that are hard to intercept electronically, and that can help the United States figure out what Russia is targeting, not just with its election meddling but with its attempts to infiltrate financial systems, the power grid and other critical infrastructure, Mr. Jones said.

The full reasons the sources have gone silent are not known. But current and former officials also said the exposure of sources inside the United States has also complicated matters.

This year, the identity of an F.B.I. informant, Stefan Halper, became public after House lawmakers sought information on him and the White House allowed the information to be shared. Mr. Halper, an American academic based in Britain, had been sent to talk to Trump campaign advisers who were under F.B.I. scrutiny for their ties to Russia.

Current American officials said there is no direct evidence that the exposure of Mr. Halper has been cited by overseas informants as a source of concern.

But the officials said that some allies have cited the exposure of the informant and other intelligence leaks in curbing some of the intelligence they share. And former spies believe that, long-term, the exposure will hurt overseas collection.

“Publicizing sources is really bad for the business,” Mr. Sipher said. “The only thing we can offer people is that we will do anything in our power to protect them. And anything that wears away at that trust, hurts.”


__________________________________________________________________________

Adam Goldman contributed reporting to this story.

Julian E. Barnes is a national security reporter for The New York Times covering the intelligence agencies. Before joining The N.Y. Times Washington bureau in 2018, he wrote about security matters for The Wall Street Journal, based in Brussels and Washington. He has more than 17 years experience covering U.S. national security, the military and related matters for The Journal, the Los Angles Times and U.S. News & World Report.

Matthew Rosenberg covers intelligence and national security for The New York Times in Washington. He previously spent 15 years as a foreign correspondent in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and was expelled from Afghanistan in 2014 because of his reporting. In Afghanistan, Mr. Rosenberg's reporting exposed how the C.I.A. had made monthly cash drops at the office of President Hamid Karzai for more than a decade and provided a rare detailed account of an attack by Afghan soldiers on American troops.  He also dubbed the country's first international boxing match the “Squabble in Kabul” (like the fight, the name has not gone down in the annals of boxing history). In between trips to the front lines and stints in the press boxes of Afghan sporting events, Mr. Rosenberg managed to slip in a few fly fishing trips to the mountains in northeastern Afghanistan. There, he was thoroughly outdone by Afghan kids who used bamboo sticks for poles and hooked fish after fish. Mr. Rosenberg previously worked for The Wall Street Journal and The Associated Press. He has won the George Polk Award for military reporting and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in international reporting as part of a team of New York Times reporters covering the Islamic State. Mr. Rosenberg was born in New York and graduated from McGill University in Montreal.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • White House Orders Broader Access to Files About F.B.I. Informant

 • Sergei Skripal Was Retired, but Still in the Spy Game. Is That Why He Was Poisoned?


https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/24/us/politics/cia-russia-midterm-elections.html

 97 
 on: August 25, 2018, 06:43:37 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey












from the print edition of the Los Angeles Times…

Trump firm is losing veil of secrecy: Investigators look at Trump business

Former allies are helping prosecutors pull back the curtain on the president's business empire.

By CHRIS MEGERIAN and DAVID WILLMAN | Friday, August 24, 2018

Trump Tower in New York City is home to the Trump Organization, which has long operated free from the oversight of board members or shareholders. — Photograph: Craig Ruttle/Associated Press.
Trump Tower in New York City is home to the Trump Organization, which has long operated free from the oversight of board members or shareholders.
 — Photograph: Craig Ruttle/Associated Press.


WASHINGTON D.C. — Even as Donald Trump rose from New York real estate mogul to U.S. president, the innermost workings of his namesake real estate and branding company stayed shielded behind the black-tinted windows of his eponymous Fifth Avenue skyscraper.

Always run more like a family business than a blue-chip corporate empire, the private Trump Organization has operated free from the oversight of independent board members or pesky shareholders. But now that secrecy has cracked.

The plea agreement in federal court this week by Michael Cohen, who spent 10 years as executive vice president and special counsel at the Trump Organization and later served as Trump's personal attorney, showed that federal prosecutors had excavated invoices, receipts, tax records, emails and other internal documents from Trump's business.

Federal prosecutors also made clear their willingness to squeeze friends of the president. They reportedly got David Pecker, a long-time Trump ally who heads the company that publishes the National Enquirer tabloid, to provide evidence in the Cohen case in exchange for immunity from criminal charges.

Now the question is how much further they will dig into the murky business dealings and personal scandals at a carefully guarded company that remains key to Trump's narrative of personal success despite years of bankruptcies, lawsuits and other controversies.

“The more you peel back, the more you're likely to see irregularities that are worthy of investigation,” said Juan Zarate, a former Justice Department prosecutor who also helped pioneer tactics for tracking illicit cross-border financial transactions during the George W. Bush administration.

Two federal investigations pose the greatest threat so far. The U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan is prosecuting the case against Cohen. Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is looking into whether anyone from Trump's campaign — which was based at Trump Tower — conspired with Russians to interfere in the 2016 election.

Trump suggested last year that he wouldn't tolerate Mueller poking around in his business.

“I think that's a violation,” Trump told The New York Times in an Oval Office interview. “My finances are extremely good, my company is an unbelievably successful company.”

Trump has repeatedly raised the idea of trying to shut down the Russia investigation by removing Mueller. Following through might be feasible if Trump were willing to pay the political cost. He would have less ability, however, to shut down the Cohen investigation since it would require moving against the large and well established U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan.

Alan Garten, the Trump Organization's top lawyer, said in a phone interview on Thursday that “the company has been fully cooperative in the investigations.”

Trump has refused to release his tax returns to the public, and the company doesn't disclose its annual revenue. But the perception of Trump as a titan of industry — forged in the popular imagination with the reality show “The Apprentice” — helped propel him to the White House, starting with his original announcement in the gilded lobby of Trump Tower.

“I'm really rich,” he said.

The Trump Organization has developed and run hotels, condominiums and golf courses around the country and overseas. Under lucrative licensing deals, Trump has also slapped his name — a name that's “as hot as a pistol,” he's said — on real estate developments, bottled water, steaks and vodka.

Some of those ventures failed or faded, and Trump endured a string of bankruptcies when he ran aground in the casino business in Atlantic City in the early 1990s.

His struggles to resuscitate his company after that could provide ample avenues for investigators if they choose to pursue them.

Trump found conventional sources of investment capital harder to tap, leading to suspicions — but no hard proof — that he turned to money laundering or other improper sources of funds. He and his company have never been charged with a financial crime.

Trump was also willing to cut deals and do business with shady characters. One example is Felix Sater, a convicted stock swindler who was a senior advisor to the future president. Sater maintained an office in Trump Tower, brought prospective deals to Trump's personal attention and accompanied two of Trump's adult children to Moscow in 2006 to look for business opportunities.

Prosecutors who want to unravel Trump's array of businesses may find a willing partner in Cohen. His lawyer, Lanny Davis, said Cohen would cooperate with ongoing investigations, including Mueller's.

“If they find evidence of criminality, based on Cohen's information, that predates Trump's presidency and has to do with his business and his business dealings, they're going to go where the evidence takes them,” said Bradley D. Simon, a former federal prosecutor in New York.

Cohen pleaded guilty to eight counts of tax evasion, bank fraud and campaign finance violations in federal court in Manhattan on Tuesday. He specifically implicated Trump in his campaign finance violations, saying he had acted at the candidate's direction in 2016 to pay a total of $280,000 to Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model, and Stormy Daniels, an adult film actress. Both said they had extramarital affairs with Trump.

Prosecutors said Cohen presented the Trump Organization accountant with a bank statement from Essential Consultants, a shell company incorporated in Delaware that he used to pay $130,000 to Daniels. He scrawled $50,000 for “tech services” at the top of the bank statement. Prosecutors said Cohen had solicited services “from a technology company during and in connection with the campaign.”

Company executives decided to pay Cohen double what he had asked to cover taxes, plus a $60,000 bonus, for a total of $420,000, according to the court filing. He arranged to get paid $35,000 a month for a year.

The arrangement created a sham paper trail in the Trump Organization. Cohen sent an invoice to an unnamed company executive in February 2017, seeking “payment for services rendered” for the first two months of 2017.

The executive forwarded it to a colleague for approval, and told someone else to list the payment to Cohen as his legal retainer. But the court filing noted Cohen had no retainer agreement, and the money was not for performing legal work.

During the court hearing on Tuesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrea Griswold said more documents — text messages, phone records and emails — would prove the campaign violations were undertaken “in coordination with the campaign or candidate for purposes of influencing the election.”

McDougal was paid $150,000 by selling the rights to her story to American Media Incorporated, which publishes the National Enquirer. The tabloid, which strongly supported Trump's candidacy, never published the story, a practice known as “catch and kill.”

David Pecker, chairman of American Media, agreed to assist investigators in exchange for immunity from prosecution, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.


Media mogul David Pecker, who helped kill a harmful Trump story, is now aiding investigators. — Photograph: Marion Curtis.
Media mogul David Pecker, who helped kill a harmful Trump story, is now aiding investigators. — Photograph: Marion Curtis.

Other members of the Trump Organization have also been connected to the payments.

In a recording that Cohen surreptitiously made before the election, he and Trump discussed how to buy the rights for McDougal's story from Pecker to ensure the alleged sexual affair was not made public.

“I've spoken to Allen Weisselberg about how to set the whole thing up,” Cohen said, referring to the top bookkeeper at the Trump Organization. Trump interrupted: “So, what do we got to pay for this? One-fifty?”

Weisselberg was subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury in the Cohen investigation, The Wall Street Journal reported last month.

Using a corporate accountant to help pay hush money would raise eyebrows in most corporations. But at the Trump Organization, business and personal have been intertwined for years, raising the danger for the president now.

“At the end of the day, I work for the Trump family,” Garten, the company's lawyer, told a legal trade publication in 2016. “That's how I view my job. Whether it's protecting their business interests or protecting their personal interests. I am here to assist them and represent them in any way they need.”

Trump's children have held senior positions throughout the company, as his daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, do at the White House.

During a 2011 deposition in a lawsuit involving a Florida project, Donald Trump Jr. said he wasn't sure whether there was an organization chart for the Trump Organization.

“Could I make one? Yes,” he said. “Is there one officially? Not that I am aware of. But there could be.”

He added: “We kind of run a little bit like a mom-and-pop in that sense.”


__________________________________________________________________________

• Chris Megerian is based in Washington, D.C., where he writes about the special counsel investigation for the Los Angeles Times. He previously covered the 2016 presidential campaign and the 2015 United Nations summit on global warming in Paris. As a reporter in Sacramento, he has also written about Governor Jerry Brown, climate change policies, California politics and state finances. Before joining the L.A. Times in January 2012, he spent three years covering politics and law enforcement at the Star-Ledger in New Jersey. He grew up in Massachusetts and graduated from Emory University in Atlanta.

• David Willman is a reporter for the Los Angeles Times. based in Washington, D.C. He won the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting in 2001 for work that prompted the market withdrawal of Rezulin, a widely sold diabetes drug. His subsequent reports on pharmaceutical industry payments to federal researchers triggered a ban of such compensation at the National Institutes of Health. His other national honors include Sigma Delta Chi's top award in 2009 for Washington-based reporting.

http://enewspaper.latimes.com/infinity/article_share.aspx?guid=0f954a24-2f44-4c12-a902-4bd086ccad21
http://enewspaper.latimes.com/infinity/article_share.aspx?guid=37d9f973-fa3f-4928-a712-2243f4a21dd2

 98 
 on: August 23, 2018, 01:55:50 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey




 99 
 on: August 22, 2018, 09:13:56 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

from The Guardian…

When will it be Trump's turn to accept a plea bargain?

Of the two legal calamities befalling Trump, the fate of Michael Cohen is
even more disastrous than the guilty verdicts slapped on Paul Manafort.


By RICHARD WOLFFE | 3:37AM BST — Wednesday, 22 August 2018

“Donald Trump has lost so much in court, he must be tired of losing”. — Photograph: Leah Millis/Reuters.
“Donald Trump has lost so much in court, he must be tired of losing”. — Photograph: Leah Millis/Reuters.

TO LOSE one of your inner-circle to criminal charges may be regarded as a misfortune. To lose two on the same day looks like carelessness.

Donald Trump is nothing if not careless. His type inevitably gets like that as their escapades grow ever more preposterous. Sooner or later, their delusional sense of power and smarts ends in the kind of concrete solitude now being contemplated by Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort. The laws do not apply to them until, suddenly, they do.

Of the two legal calamities befalling Trump, the plea bargain of his personal fixer is even more disastrous than the guilty verdicts slapped down on his campaign chairman. Although let's be honest: the scale of both disasters makes it a close call.

Cohen pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws by paying hush money to two women who were allegedly the mistresses of one Donald Trump. All this in the middle of the 2016 election, “at the direction of the candidate,” as Cohen told the court.

Never mind the facepalming deceit and hypocrisy of the candidate who claimed he was running against Crooked Hillary.

For now we need to stay focused on the very real legal jeopardy facing Crooked Donald. Campaign finance crimes of this kind are not trivial matters: under federal guidelines updated at the end of last year by Trump's own justice department, a campaign finance crime committed knowingly and willfully amounting to more than $25,000 is what they call a five-year felony.

Just one of Cohen's payments, made at Trump’s direction, amounted to $130,000.

Of course any normal politician would have died of embarrassment at arranging secret payments to any porn star, never mind one called Stormy Daniels. Any normal politician would have found his career and reputation shredded to the point where he would be too ashamed to stay in public life or, for that matter, any public space.


A lone protester holds up a sign and American flag outside the courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia, after Paul Manafort was found guilty on eight counts of fraud. — Photograph: Win McNamee/Getty Images.
A lone protester holds up a sign and American flag outside the courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia, after Paul Manafort
was found guilty on eight counts of fraud. — Photograph: Win McNamee/Getty Images.


But as we all know by now, Crooked Donald is entirely abnormal, with no reputation to save, and no sense of shame.

Just seven years ago, a federal grand jury indicted former senator and presidential candidate John Edwards on six counts of breaking campaign finance laws for the exact same scenario as this sitting president: paying hush money to cover up an extramarital affair. Edwards escaped conviction after a jury was deadlocked on most of the charges, and the justice department did not seek a retrial. Edwards disappeared from public view, and his political career came to a definitive end.

It's hard to imagine Trump making the same choice. He can no more disappear from public view than you can forget your first projectile vomiting. John Edwards was vilified for betraying his inspirational, cancer-stricken wife. Yet even he had more decency and dignity than Donald Trump.

Until this point, most of the nation's nattering nabobs have conjured up scenarios about impeachment.

No doubt the pressure for impeachment will only build from here — even without a full-blown conspiracy with a hostile foreign nation to manipulate the election. The current campaign finance crimes on display are more than enough to meet the definition of high crimes and misdemeanors.

But impeachment in a Democratic-controlled House — if this year's elections proceed as forecast — will ultimately be followed by failure in a Senate trial, where Republicans would need to vote to kick Trump out of office. There is no plausible scenario where this Republican party would do so, even with White House tapes of Trump discussing a Russian conspiracy.

Cohen's plea bargain suggests we may have sought out the wrong historical figure in the Nixon White House. Nixon was forced to resign by his party and his sense of shame: two factors that are absent today.

Instead we should be looking at Nixon's first vice-president, Spiro Agnew, who was forced out of office by something much more familiar: criminal investigations into conspiracy, tax fraud and bribery, among other things. Agnew had been a corrupt public official since his days as Maryland governor, and the corruption continued into his vice-presidency. A year after his re-election, Agnew accepted a guilty plea bargain on tax evasion and resigned from office.

Until his resignation, Agnew claimed the US Attorney's investigations were all lies. His lawyers claimed that a sitting vice-president couldn't be indicted. Both of those arguments collapsed. As one of Agnew's lawyers recently wrote, there are no constitutional protections against indictment for either a president or a vice-president.


President Donald J. Trump speaks to the news media on the airport tarmac about the conviction of Paul Manafort. — Photograph: Leah Millis/Reuters.
President Donald J. Trump speaks to the news media on the airport tarmac about the conviction of Paul Manafort.
 — Photograph: Leah Millis/Reuters.


Would Trump resist a plea bargain more than anyone else in his inner-circle? Does he have the spinal fortitude to risk a five-year jail term and a good chunk of his personal fortune for the chance of saving his political career and the undying love of his political base?

He may decide that his base will always love him. He may decide that his freedom is as much about avoiding four more years in the White House as it is about avoiding five years in the Big House. If shame won't make him quit, perhaps a plea bargain will.

There was a time when we all covered political sex scandals because, as Matt Bai explained so well about Gary Hart, they told us something about character. Those were the old days. Now we know all about Donald Trump's character, but we still don't know all about the conspiracies to manipulate the 2016 election.

If only Trump had not run for president, his minions could have continued laundering Russian money, evading taxes, and paying hush money until he tweeted off this mortal coil.

Instead, he attracted the attention of every self-respecting law enforcement and intelligence officer in the nation's capital and beyond. The downfall of Pablo Escobar's drug cartel began when he ran for office in Columbia, and the same might just prove to be true about the far smaller Trump enterprise.

Donald Trump has lost so much in court, he must be tired of losing. As a candidate he suggested his supporters would suffer some kind of headache from all of his endless winning. He imagined them saying “Please don't win so much. This is getting terrible.” How right he was.


__________________________________________________________________________

• Richard Wolffe is a Guardian columnist based in the U.S.A.

Related to this topic:

 • Donald Trump: ‘worst hour’ for president as Manafort and Cohen guilty

 • Senior Republicans hesitate to criticise Trump after Manafort and Cohen verdicts

 • Manafort and Cohen convictions vindicate Mueller investigation


https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/aug/21/trump-manafort-cohen-plea-bargain

 100 
 on: August 22, 2018, 09:12:52 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

I'm enjoying considerably more than a wee bit of schadenfreude today.

I'm really looking foward to Trump's eventual explosion of hatred & bile & bitterness on Twitter over today's events in Virginia and New York.

It should be BIGLY entertaining. YUGE!!

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