Mornings on the Mall
Friday, April 12, 2019
Hosts: Mary Walter and Vince Coglianese
Executive Producer: Heather Hunter
5am – A/B/C ASSANGE ARRESTED – IS ASSANGE A JOURNALIST? A publisher? A hacker? A criminal? All of those?
- WikiLeaks’ Assange arrested; unsealed filing shows conspiracy charge. Assange accused of conspiring to break DoD password
- LEGAL DEBATE OVER ASSANGE BEGINS: The dramatic arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on Thursday will be followed by a likely lengthy legal battle over his extradition to the United States to face conspiracy charges. It also has triggered a debate over press freedom and whether Assange is really a journalist … Assange is accused of engaging in a 2010 conspiracy with Chelsea Manning, the former U.S. Army analyst, in breaking a password stored on a U.S. Defense Department computer connected to a U.S. government computer network for classified documents and communications. Manning later transmitted a trove of classified government files to Assange, whose website, WikiLeaks, posted the materials to a worldwide audience.
- Assange’s attorney, Jennifer Robinson, characterized his arrest as an assault of press freedom worldwide, saying, “This precedent means that any journalist can be extradited for prosecution in the United States for having published truthful information about the United States.” Prosecutors argue Assange’s methods are obtaining classified information were illegal. In addition, Assange’s arrest may give new ammunition to foes of President Trump who are still holding on to Russia collusion theories. Unresolved questions about Assange’s role in the release of stolen Democratic emails leading up to the 2016 presidential election will likely resurface.
- WikiLeaks @wikileaks: “Assange is not a traditional journalist, but most of what he does at WL is difficult to distinguish in a legally meaningful way from what traditional news organizations, like The NYT, do every day: seek out and publish information that officials would prefer to be kept secret..” (quoting NY Times writer Charlie Savage)
- Bloomberg’s Timothy O’Brien: If Assange Burgled Some Computers, He Stopped Being a Journalist. WikiLeaks and its creator can’t shelter themselves inside the cloak of journalism and the truth if he helped hack the U.S. government.
- Tulsi Gabbard: Assange arrest is a threat to journalists. Democratic presidential hopeful Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) condemned the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Thursday, calling the arrest a threat to journalists. Tulsi Gabbard @TulsiGabbard: The arrest of #JulianAssange is meant to send a message to all Americans and journalists: be quiet, behave, toe the line. Or you will pay the price.
- Video: CNN’s Chris Cuomo: “Do you believe that Mr. Assange did any of the things that are alleged by the US government … trying to assist Ms. Manning in getting the information?” Geoffrey Robertson, legal adviser to Assange: “I believe that he acted just as a normal journalist would do”
- MSNBC’s Ari Melber @AriMelber: The U.S. government indictment of Julian Assange is an aggressive and potentially chilling legal document for journalists in the U.S. and abroad. That is a significant issue regardless of one’s view of Assange as a person, or his work, or his politics.
- “If the Trump admin. can set a precedent of indicting and jailing publishers” then “that precedent might later be used against other publishers” “When governments want to jail journalists, they don’t start with most popular ones” – Ari Melber on Assange indictment
- The New Yorker’s Jelani Cobb @jelani9: Julian Assange is not a journalist.
- The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald @ggreenwald: The @ACLU’s point is vital: if the US can force the arrest and then extradite foreigners like Assange on foreign soil for publishing docs, what prevents China or Iran or, you know, Russia for doing the same to US journalists who publish secrets about them?
- David Corn @DavidCornDC: I understand your point. But over the years, as a journalist, I’ve been careful to distinguish between accepting info and inducing or helping leakers to break laws to obtain information. And Assange has been accused of conspiring with a leaker to hack a classified server.
- Columnist Walter Pincus @walterpincus Government alleges Assange helped crack DoD password so Manning could gather additional classified documents. That’s not what journalists do
5am – D Greg Craig, ex-Obama White House counsel, indicted for alleged false statements. (Fox News) – Greg Craig, former White House counsel for then-President Barack Obama, was indicted Thursday on two counts of making false and misleading statements to investigators — including Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team — in connection with his work on behalf of Russia-backed former President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych. Craig is the first prominent Democrat to be indicted in a case arising from Mueller’s now-completed probe into Russian election interference. Mueller referred the Craig case to prosecutors in New York last year after uncovering possible wrongdoing while he investigated former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s Ukraine lobbying work. The Washington-based lawyer was indicted by a grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for allegedly falsifying and concealing “material facts” and making false statements both to Mueller and to the DOJ National Security Division’s Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) Unit. The FARA Unit is responsible for enforcing foreign lobbying laws that require the disclosure of certain overseas activity, including public relations work for foreign entities. At issue were Craig’s 2012 lobbying and media contacts on behalf of Yanukovych, while Craig was a partner at the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.
5am – E AIRPORT ASHES: Airport police looking for traveler who left cremated human remains at TSA checkpoint in Alaska. (Fox News) — The police at Alaska’s Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport have somewhat of a grave situation on their hands. Earlier this week, the airport’s Police and Fire Department publicly asked for help locating a passenger who forgot to collect “human ashes” left at a TSA screening checkpoint in August 2018, after earlier attempts to find the traveler proved unsuccessful. “There is no name or identifying marks on the ashes,” the department wrote on Facebook. “We believe the traveler left the TSA Screening Checkpoint with a urn, box, or bag, without realizing the ashes were still at the Screening Point.”
6am – A/B/C AOC, Rashida Tlaib leap to defense of Ilhan Omar after her ‘some people did something’ 9/11 remark. (Fox News) – Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., have both jumped to the defense of their under fire fellow freshman Democrat Ilhan Omar, saying Thursday her comment in reference to 9/11 has been wildly taken out of context. Omar, D-Minn., is facing backlash after a speech at a Muslim rights group’s event in which she described the September 11, 2001, terror attacks as “some people did something”. The comment has drawn ire from the likes of Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Tx, and the New York Post, which published a dramatic front page Thursday with an infamous photo of New York City’s Twin Towers on fire on the day of the attacks. The page read: “Here’s your something: 2,977 people dead by terrorism.” Tlaib, when asked by MSNBC if Omar should have rethought her words, said that she had been taken out of context. “They do that all the time, especially women of color, they take our words out of context because they’re afraid because we speak truth, we speak truth to power,” Tlaib said. “My sister Ilhan Omar, what she was talking about, was uplifting people by supporting their civil liberties and civil rights. She has always, always condemned any strategy, especially of a person directly impacted by being a refugee herself. Ocasio-Cortez went the way of Twitter, condemning the Post’s cover as “horrifying” and “hateful” “Here’s 1 fact,” she wrote. “@IlhanMN is a cosponsor of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund. She‘s done more for 9/11 families than the GOP who won’t even support healthcare for 1st responders- yet are happy to weaponize her faith.” She also attacked Crenshaw in a follow-up Tweet, accusing him of failing to cosponsor a bill: “Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act.” Omar is a cosponsor.
6am – D INTERVIEW – DR. JEROME CORSI – author of Silent No More: How I Became a Political Prisoner of Mueller’s “Witch Hunt” – reacted to Assange’s arrest.
- Dr. Jerome Corsi Responds to the Arrest of Julian Assange. Following the arrest of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in London this morning, author and investigative reporter Dr. Jerome Corsi took to Facebook and Twitter to respond: “If I had lied & connected Stone to Assange, Deep State would have had what they needed to pull Trump out of the Oval Office in handcuffs the way Assange was pulled out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London today – by the London police with Assange in handcuffs.” Dr. Corsi was pulled into the Mueller investigation in the Fall of last year regarding his alleged involvement with Julian Assange. Mueller’s team believed that Dr. Corsi had served as an intermediary between Trump advisor Roger Stone and Assange in the release of 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta’s e-mails, a charge Dr. Corsi denied. Charges against Dr. Corsi were eventually dropped due to an overwhelming lack of evidence, but Dr. Corsi is still fighting back after his privacy was compromised as he was subjected to over 40 hours of interrogation. Dr. Corsi details his experience with Mueller’s prosecutors in his new book Silent No More: How I Became a Political Prisoner of Mueller’s “Witch Hunt.”
6am – E/F SPYING NEWS:
- ROD ROSENSTEIN DEFENDS ATTORNEY GENERAL’S HANDLING OF MUELLER REPORT
- WSJ: Rod Rosenstein Defends Justice Department Handling of Mueller Report
- ABC: Rep. Adam Schiff tells @Marykbruce Barr is doing Trump’s “bidding” by saying he wants to look into “spying” into the Trump campaign. “This must be very pleasing to Donald Trump, who wants to create a narrative that he’s the victim of some deep state coup” (VIDEO)
- COMEY: “I’ve never thought of” electronic surveillance as “spying” (VIDEO)
- DEVIN NUNES NOTIFIES DOJ OF CRIMINAL REFERRALS IN LEAK, CONSPIRACY PROBE
7am – A INTERVIEW – RYAN ELLIS – Forbes columnist, tax policy expert and owns a tax preparation service in the Washington, DC area @RyanLEllis
- Ryan Ellis is an “Enrolled Agent,” which means the IRS has designated him as one of the top tax experts practicing today. He owns a tax preparation service in the Washington, DC area
- TOPIC: Tax Day Preview: A lot of people will be doing taxes this weekend for Tax Day deadline. Discuss tax tips and what to know about filing this year
7am – B White House proposed releasing immigrant detainees in sanctuary cities, targeting political foes. (Washington Post) — White House officials have tried to pressure U.S. immigration authorities to release detainees onto the streets of “sanctuary cities” to retaliate against President Trump’s political adversaries, according to Department of Homeland Security officials and email messages reviewed by The Washington Post. Trump administration officials have proposed transporting detained immigrants to sanctuary cities at least twice in the past six months — once in November, as a migrant caravan approached the U.S. southern border, and again in February, amid a standoff with Democrats over funding for Trump’s border wall. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s district in San Francisco was among those the White House wanted to target, according to DHS officials. The administration also considered releasing detainees in other Democratic strongholds. White House officials first broached the plan in a Nov. 16 email, asking officials at several agencies whether members of the caravan could be arrested at the border and then bused “to small- and mid-sized sanctuary cities,” places where local authorities have refused to hand over illegal immigrants for deportation. The White House told U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that the plan was intended to alleviate a shortage of detention space but also served to send a message to Democrats. The attempt at political retribution raised alarm within ICE, with a top official responding that it was rife with budgetary and liability concerns, and noting that “there are PR risks as well.” After the White House pressed again in February, ICE’s legal department rejected the idea as inappropriate and rebuffed the administration. A White House official and a spokesman for DHS sent nearly identical statements to The Post on Thursday, indicating that the proposal is no longer under consideration.
7am – C McConnell to Trump: Don’t pick Cuccinelli to lead DHS. (The Hill) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is publicly signaling to President Trump not to pick former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to lead the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). “I’ve not spoken to him about any of them. I have expressed my, shall I say, lack of enthusiasm for one of them … Ken Cuccinelli,” McConnell told reporters during a pen-and-pad briefing in the Capitol on Thursday. Cuccinelli, the president of the Senate Conservatives Fund, has been floated as a successor to DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, whose exit Trump announced on Sunday. The conservative group has battled with McConnell and his allies in GOP Senate primaries, including backing Tea Party challenger Matt Bevin in McConnell’s 2014 reelection race. In addition to Cuccinelli, former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan are also reportedly in the mix to succeed Nielsen on a permanent basis. Nineteen conservative groups sent Trump a letter urging him to pick the former Virginia gubernatorial nominee, saying they “have every confidence in his abilities; his tough on crime stance, his solution-oriented approach, his dedication to the rule of law, his love for America, and most importantly, his loyalty to the cause of making America great again,” according to a letter obtained by The Washington Examiner. Some Republican senators have publicly expressed opposition to Kobach, whose hard-line immigration stances could provide headaches to the administration if it were to nominate him. Asked if Kobach could get confirmed, McConnell demurred. “Look I’m not going to handicap all the people that could come up. There are a number of members … who have had some reservations about some of the names that have been mentioned,” he said.
7am – D Airbnb renters booked an upscale home in D.C., then trashed it, police say. (Washington Post) — D.C. police are looking for Airbnb renters who allegedly stole items and broke furniture while staying at an upscale Northwest Washington home last month, authorities said. Eight people stole items worth thousands of dollars and trashed the furniture at a home along Leroy Place NW near Columbia Road in the Kalorama neighborhood, police said. Authorities released surveillance video that shows several men on the back patio smoking and appearing to take selfies. D.C. police said the incident happened between March 9 and 11. Elizabeth Borodkin, who manages the home for the owner, said a group rented it for two nights and it “looked completely official.” She said they went through the normal procedures of renting it on Airbnb’s website, and she received a notification the home had been rented. Typically, she said, she gives guests a tour, but these guests “adamantly refused a tour” and said they were “antisocial.” While she thought it was suspicious, she didn’t think much of it after recently renting to a business group that also said a tour wasn’t necessary. “I figured they were similar to that group,” Borodkin said. During their stay, neighbors complained about loud noise, she said. She called the renters and asked them to quiet down, and they agreed. In one call, they also asked her about staying a bit past the 11 a.m. checkout time on March 11, saying they were tired after staying up all night playing cards. And they told her, “the house is so beautiful. Thank you so much,” she said. After the guests checked out, a cleaning crew found the mess. Borodkin alleged that the guests burglarized and trashed the house. They reportedly took four flat-screen TVs, two Amazon tablets, bed linens, an iron and a Fendi men’s track suit. The stolen items were estimated to be worth about $5,000, according to a D.C. police report. The renters also broke a mirror, dining room chairs and other furniture, and rummaged through mail, presumably looking for credit card and other personal information, Borodkin alleged. She said they also used an Amazon account linked to the home’s electronics to order sportswear that was allegedly sent to an address in Northeast Washington.
7am – E INTERVIEW – DIANA MAYHEW – President – National Cherry Blossom Festival – previewed The National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade this weekend.
- When: Saturday, April 13, 2019 at 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
- Where: Constitution Avenue From 7th to 17th St NW
8am – A INTERVIEW – Supervisor PAT HERRITY for the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors (R-Springfield)
- TOPIC: Fairfax County is considering creating a taxpayer-funded legal defense fund for immigrants caught in deportation proceedings. (Washington Post) — Fairfax County is considering creating a taxpayer-funded legal defense fund for immigrants caught in deportation proceedings, part of a growing effort by local governments to counter the Trump administration’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants. At a county Board of Supervisors budget hearing Wednesday, advocates argued that a proposed $200,000 pilot program aimed at assisting low-income immigrants — both undocumented and those in the country legally — would send a strong message that Virginia’s most populous jurisdiction doesn’t agree with the spike in immigration arrests that has spread fear in local communities. “Fairfax has an opportunity to be a regional leader in ensuring that its immigrant residents have access to due process in our nation’s immigration courts,” Jose Magaña-Salgado, an immigration consultant with the Masa Group, told the supervisors. He said that as a beneficiary of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which the White House is trying to eliminate, “I am acutely aware of the need for legal representation for vulnerable immigrants.” The legal aid program, which also would educate eligible immigrants about their rights, “will help some,” said Supervisor John Foust (D-Dranesville), who co-sponsored a motion to create the fund with Supervisor Jeffrey C. McKay (D-Lee). “But it’s not the be-all, end-all, because it’s not a lot of money, given the need.” Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the federal agency in charge of removal proceedings, does not keep statistics based on local jurisdictions. But data compiled by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University found that about 12,000 Fairfax County residents were in deportation proceedings late last year. About a third of the county’s 1.1 million residents are immigrants.
8am – B AOC, Rashida Tlaib leap to defense of Ilhan Omar after her ‘some people did something’ 9/11 remark. (Fox News) – Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., have both jumped to the defense of their under fire fellow freshman Democrat Ilhan Omar, saying Thursday her comment in reference to 9/11 has been wildly taken out of context. Omar, D-Minn., is facing backlash after a speech at a Muslim rights group’s event in which she described the September 11, 2001, terror attacks as “some people did something”. The comment has drawn ire from the likes of Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Tx, and the New York Post, which published a dramatic front page Thursday with an infamous photo of New York City’s Twin Towers on fire on the day of the attacks. The page read: “Here’s your something: 2,977 people dead by terrorism.” Tlaib, when asked by MSNBC if Omar should have rethought her words, said that she had been taken out of context.
8am – C Bruised ribs. Students forced to drink hot sauce. Hazing rituals lead to crackdown. (Washington Post) — Those incidents at an Old Dominion University fraternity — documented in an investigation — led the school to suspend Omega Psi Phi and raised concerns anew about hazing on college campuses. The national organization of the fraternity also placed the Tau Lambda chapter on suspension through at least November 2023, according to documents obtained from Old Dominion. An Omega Psi Phi investigation discovered photos showing bruises on the ribs and buttocks of potential fraternity members as a result of wood paddling and chest blows, documents state. One student was taken to a hospital by his parents to treat his injuries.
8am – D INTERVIEW – BRET BAIER – Anchor of Special Report on Fox News Channel, weekdays at 6 pm – discussed the news of the day and Bret’s town hall with Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday.
- Fox News’ Bret Baier, of “Special Report,” and Martha MacCallum, of “The Story,” will co-anchor the hour-long event. It will be the Vermont senator’s first appearance on Fox News Channel since he agreed to be a guest on Baier’s show in December 2018. The Sanders town hall will take place on Monday, April 15 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. ET in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.