Articles chosen with care. Comments welcomed. Linked articles in bold purple
◆ After indications that Syria’s Assad might use chemical weapons again, Trump warns he will pay “a heavy price” for “mass murder” (New York Times)
Comment: As with most deterrent threats, it is hard to know whether it will work.
What we do know is that it is could work because it is credible.
That is, the target (Syria, in this case) has good reasons to believe we will do what we threaten if he acts.
After Pres. Obama’s failed “red line” and other missteps, our threats were heavily discounted.
It is worth noting, then, that Trump has managed to reestablish America’s deterrent threat quickly after 8 years of neglect and decline.
◆ CNN has made several major errors in reporting the Trump-Russia investigation, all adverse to the Administration.
After the retractions, three CNN journalists are going to spend more time with their families. Story here (Washington Post)
Comment: My sense is that CNN’s main viewership is airport passengers delayed in boarding.
I hope the transportation industry survives this setback.
◆ Amazing story, if further proof emerges. Circa reports that the FBI investigation of Michael Flynn began after he intervened to help a (purported) victim of FBI sexual discrimination. Circa’s John Solomon and Sara Carter have done first-rate reporting on scandals, so their coverage should be taken seriously. The key here is that the person accused of discrimination is very high-ranking. Indeed, he was acting head of the agency after Comey stepped down.
The FBI launched a criminal probe against former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn two years after the retired Army general roiled the bureau’s leadership by intervening on behalf of a decorated counterterrorism agent who accused now-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and other top officials of sexual discrimination, according to documents and interviews.
Flynn’s intervention on behalf of Supervisory Special Agent Robyn Gritz was highly unusual, and included a letter in 2014 on his official Pentagon stationary, a public interview in 2015 supporting Gritz’s case and an offer to testify on her behalf. His offer put him as a hostile witness in a case against McCabe, who was soaring through the bureau’s leadership ranks.
There is more than simple correlation here, according to Solomon and Carter.
McCabe eventually became the bureau’s No. 2 executive and emerged as a central player in the FBI’s Russia election tampering investigation, putting him in a position to impact the criminal inquiry against Flynn.
Three FBI employees told Circa they personally witnessed McCabe make disparaging remarks about Flynn before and during the time the retired Army general emerged as a figure in the Russia case.
Comment: The report is stunning and looks like corruption, in the form of personal animus.
The weak part of the Circa allegation (so far) is that the Russia investigation began fully two years after the contretemps.
The strong part is that McCabe seemed to have a personal grievance against someone he was investigating. That cannot be acceptable within any neutral investigative agency.
This alleged corruption must be part of Mueller’s investigation.
◆ California regulators are moving to require Roundup weed killer to come with a “cancer-causing” label. They say the main ingredient, glyphosate, is the problem. Monsanto, which makes the product, disputes the claim. Story here (ABC News)
◆ That attempted mass assassination of Republican lawmakers? The one by the rabid Bernie Sanders supporter?
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), the No. 2 official in the Democratic National Committee, blames . . . go ahead, guess. You are correct. Trump.
Comment: Check the man for rabies.
♥ Hat Tip for helpful suggestions:
◆ Tom Elia for the Circa story on the FBI
◆ Sam Stubbs for the CNN story.
Sam reported it correctly, unlike CNN