Put a Plug in It, Our Man Flynn
Saturday, August 5, 2017
Vol. 6, No. 206
Jeff the Plumber: Under pressure from the President who’s called him “weak” on the issue, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a crackdown on information leaks from government sources to the press.
Hours later, the NY Times posted a story saying anonymous sources tell the paper that special counsel Robert Mueller has asked the White house for documents pertaining to former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. It was a leak. But we’ll get back to that.
Sessions expressed particular distress over leaks from intelligence sources. “I have this message for our friends in the intelligence community,” he said. “The Department of Justice is open for business and I have, this morning, this warning: Don’t do it.”
He also issued a veiled threat to the press. “They cannot place lives at risk with impunity,” he said. “We must balance their role with protecting our national security and the lives of those who serve in the intelligence community, the armed forces and all law-abiding Americans.”
He didn’t list any incidents in which lives have been put at danger with “impunity.”
“This nation must end this culture of leaks,” Sessions said. “We will investigate and seek to bring criminals to justice. We will not allow rogue anonymous sources with security clearances to sell out our country.”
Many of the leaks — not all — are obviously coming from within the Trump administration, which is having an internal war with itself. Members of the administration, or people with access to information, are leaking to let the public know the truth of what’s happening in the White House.
Our Man Flynn: According to the NY Times, Mueller’s investigators have been examining documents related to Michael Flynn’s dealings with a Turkish-American businessman who worked with the Flynn Intel Group. The Times says Mueller’s people want to know whether $530,000 in payments were paid on behalf of the Turkish government to discredit a political opponent.
Flynn was fired for dishonesty after just 24 days, but Mueller is digging to determine whether President Trump committed obstruction of justice when he asked former FBI Director James Comey to end his own investigation of Flynn.
Econ 101: The economy added 209,000 jobs in July, beating expectations, and President Trump took credit, meeting expectations. He tweeted, “Excellent Jobs Numbers just released – and I have only just begun. Many job stifling regulations continue to fall. Movement back to USA!”
Toyota and Mazda announced yesterday that they will build a new manufacturing plant in the US that may create 4,000 jobs.
During the recovery, wage growth has lagged behind job growth, but it looks encouraging now. Average hourly earnings are up 2.5 percent in the last 12 months.
OK Corral: A federal appeals court in Washington threw out lengthy prison sentences for three former contractors who worked for Blackwater Worldwide security, and ordered a new trial for a fourth. The men were involved in a wild 2007 shooting in a Baghdad traffic circle in which 31 people were killed and injured. The incident brought an end to the cowboy days of private trigger-pullers in Iraq.
Defense lawyers have argued that the convoy the men were protecting came under fire first.
Pharma Con: Martin Shkreli, the financier/investor who sparked universal hatred when he raised the price of a critical AIDS drug by 5,000 percent, was found guilty yesterday of three counts of federal financial fraud and now faces up to 20 years in prison.
The 34-year-old Shkreli, who was nicknamed “Pharma Bro,” was accused of using money from one company he owned to pay the debts of another. He said outside the courthouse that, “This was a witch hunt of epic proportions, and maybe they found one or two broomsticks.”
The Obit Page: Robert Hardy, the portly and gentlemanly British actor who played Cornelius Fudge in four “Harry Potter” movies and had a steady line of work playing Winston Churchill, has died at age 91.
Teeing Off: President Trump is taking a 17-day vacation at his golf club in Bedminster, NJ. Second prize is a 21-day vacation in Bedminster.