Woman Who Paid Trump $16 Million Cash for Apartment Has Ties to Chinese Military Intelligence
By Ben Mathis-Lilley
Donald Trump, the Trump Park Avenue, and Angela Chen.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Win McNamee/Getty Images, Alex Proimos/Wikimedia, and Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images.
In late February, Mother Jones broke the news that Donald Trump had sold a $16 million Park Avenue penthouse to a woman named Angela Chen who runs a consulting firm that connects foreign clients with influential people in China. It's a shady transaction—the president, who sets America's policy toward China, getting paid millions in cash by a Chinese power broker—and it looks even shadier now that MoJo has documented Chen's work with, and personal ties to, a Chinese intelligence front group. Here's the gist:
Angela Chen, in addition to her work as a consultant/broker, chairs the United States wing of a nonprofit cultural-exchange group called the China Arts Foundation.
The China Arts Foundation was founded by a woman named Deng Rong. Deng Rong's father, Deng Xiaoping, was a contemporary of Mao's who succeeded him as the leader of China. Deng Rong is also a vice president of an outreach group called the China Association for International Friendly Contacts, or CAIFC, that has co-hosted events with the China Arts Foundation.
The China Association for International Friendly Contacts is widely considered to be a propaganda/intelligence wing of the Chinese army. In fact, individuals in both the Republican National Committee and the State Department have raised concerns about the group's financial overtures to former U.S. officials—the latter under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when Bill Clinton was considering giving a paid speech at an event co-sponsored by the CAIFC and Angela Chen's China Arts Foundation. (He apparently decided not to make the speech.)
So, Donald Trump just took $16 million cash from a woman with close ties to a foreign intelligence group that both Republicans and Democrats have suggested is involved in the inappropriate purchase of U.S. influence.
http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/ ... _ties.html
BLOCKED AGAIN! Federal Judge Puts Trump's Revised Travel Ban On Hold
ByBEN NUCKOLS AND GENE JOHNSONPublishedMARCH 15, 2017, 6:56 PM EDT
GREENBELT, Md. (AP) — Hours before it was to take effect, President Donald Trump's revised travel ban was put on hold Wednesday by a federal judge in Hawaii after hearing arguments that the executive order discriminates on the basis of nationality.
The ruling came as opponents renewed their legal challenges across the country, asking judges in three states to block the executive order that targets people from six predominantly Muslim countries.
More than half a dozen states are trying to stop the ban, and federal courts in Maryland, Washington state and Hawaii heard arguments about whether it should be put into practice early Thursday.
U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson decision prevents the executive order from going into effect, at least for now. Hawaii had requested a temporary restraining order.
Hawaii also argued that the ban would prevent residents from receiving visits from relatives in the six countries covered by the order. The state says the ban would harm its tourism industry and the ability to recruit foreign students and workers.
In Maryland, attorneys told a federal judge that the measure still discriminates against Muslims.
Government attorneys argued that the ban was revised substantially to address legal concerns, including the removal of an exemption for religious minorities from the affected countries.
"It doesn't say anything about religion. It doesn't draw any religious distinctions," said Jeffrey Wall, who argued for the Justice Department.
Attorneys for the ACLU and other groups said that Trump's statements on the campaign trail and statements from his advisers since he took office make clear that the intent of the ban is to ban Muslims. Trump policy adviser Stephen Miller has said the revised order was designed to have "the same basic policy outcome" as the first.
The new version of the ban details more of a national security rationale. It is narrower and eases some concerns about violating the due-process rights of travelers.
It applies only to new visas from Somalia, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya and Yemen and temporarily shuts down the U.S. refugee program. It does not apply to travelers who already have visas.
"Generally, courts defer on national security to the government," said U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang. "Do I need to conclude that the national security purpose is a sham and false?"
In response, ACLU attorney Omar Jadwat pointed to Miller's statement and said the government had put out misleading and contradictory information about whether banning travel from six specific countries would make the nation safer.
The Maryland lawsuit also argues that it's against federal law for the Trump administration to reduce the number of refugees allowed into the United States this year by more than half, from 110,000 to 50,000. Attorneys argued that if that aspect of the ban takes effect, 60,000 people would be stranded in war-torn countries with nowhere else to go.
In the Hawaii case, the federal government said there was no need to issue an emergency restraining order because Hawaii officials offered only "generalized allegations" of harm.
Jeffrey Wall of the Office of the Solicitor General challenged Hawaii's claim that the order violates due-process rights of Ismail Elshikh as a U.S. citizen who wants his mother-in-law to visit his family from Syria. He says courts have not extended due-process rights outside of a spousal relationship.
Neal Katyal, a Washington, D.C., attorney representing Hawaii, called the story of Elshiskh, an Egyptian immigrant and naturalized U.S. citizen, "the story of America."
Wall told the judge that if he is inclined to issue an injunction, it should be tailored specifically to Hawaii and not nationwide.
In Washington state, U.S. District Judge James Robart — who halted the original ban last month — heard arguments in a lawsuit brought by the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, which is making arguments similar to the ACLU's in the Maryland case.
Robart said he is most interested in two questions presented by the group's challenge to the ban: whether the ban violates federal immigration law, and whether the affected immigrants would be "irreparably harmed" should the ban go into effect.
He spent much of Wednesday afternoon's hearing grilling the lawyers about two seeming conflicting federal laws on immigration — one which gives the president the authority to keep "any class of aliens" out of the country, and another that forbids the government from discriminating on the basis of nationality when it comes to issuing immigrant visas.
Robart said he would issue a written order, but he did not say when. He is also overseeing the challenge brought by Washington state.
Attorney General Bob Ferguson argues that the new order harms residents, universities and businesses, especially tech companies such as Washington state-based Microsoft and Amazon, which rely on foreign workers. California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Oregon have joined the claim.
Washington and Hawaii say the order also violates the First Amendment, which bars the government from favoring or disfavoring any religion. On that point, they say, the new ban is no different than the old. The states' First Amendment claim has not been resolved.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to reinstate the original ban but did not rule on the discrimination claim.
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/hawai ... an-on-hold
Report: Group Linked To Nazi Ally Says Gorka Took Loyalty Oath To Be Member
ByALLEGRA KIRKLANDPublishedMARCH 16, 2017, 11:42 AM EDT
The Forward reported Thursday that a far-right Hungarian group descended from a knightly order founded by a Nazi-allied, World War II-era leader claims White House aide Sebastian Gorka as one of its sworn members.
Two members of Vitézi Rend, or the Order of Vitéz, told the Forward that Gorka took a lifelong loyalty oath to become a full member of the organization.
“Of course he was sworn in,” Kornel Pintér, one of the group’s leaders in West Hungary, told the Forward of Gorka. “I met with him in [the city of] Sopron. His father introduced him.”
“In today’s world it is rare to meet anyone as well-bred as Sebastian or his father, Pali,” Pintér added.
The Order of Vitéz was established by Miklós Horthy, the Hungarian admiral and statesman who oversaw the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Jews to Auschwitz during World War II. Though the original iteration of the Order of Vitéz was banned in 1947, two organizations claim to carry on its legacy today. Gorka is a member of the so-called “Historical Vitezi Rend,” according to the Forward.
Gorka and the White House did not immediately respond to TPM’s requests for comment.
The former Breitbart News-editor-turned-top-counterterrorism-adviser has acknowledged wearing a medal associated with the Order of Vitéz to one of President Donald Trump's inaugural balls. But he has not acknowledged any personal association with the group, saying the medal was awarded to his father in 1979 in recognition of his anti-communist efforts. Gorka's father was a spy for the British in Soviet-era Hungary.
Pintér told the Forward that joining the group involves a formal initiation rite in which new members swear loyalty to Hungary and the Order, and promise to follow the group’s leaders “for the rest of my life.”
Hungarian scholars told TPM said that the Order of Vitéz has a complicated legacy there, and that wearing the group’s medal is not necessarily seen as an endorsement of Horthy’s anti-Semitism. In recent years, Horthy has experienced a resurgence of popularity among Hungary’s far-right, who see him as a nationalist, patriotic strongman.
George Deák, an independent historian and an associate at Harvard University’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, called the Order of Vitéz a "tainted" but ambiguous symbol.
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/f ... -nazi-ally
EXCLUSIVE: Nazi-Allied Group Claims Top Trump Aide Sebastian Gorka As Sworn Member
Lili Bayer and Larry Cohler-EssesMarch 16, 2017
Sebastian Gorka, President Trump’s top counter-terrorism
adviser, is a formal member of a Hungarian far-right group that is listed by the U.S. State Department as having been “under the direction of the Nazi Government of Germany” during World War II, leaders of the organization have told the Forward.
The elite order, known as the Vitézi Rend, was established as a loyalist group by Admiral Miklos Horthy, who ruled Hungary as a staunch nationalist from 1920 to October 1944. A self-confessed anti-Semite, Horthy imposed restrictive Jewish laws prior to World War II and collaborated with Hitler during the conflict. His cooperation with the Nazi regime included the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Jews into Nazi hands.
Sebastian Gorka Could Face Immigration Probe Over ‘Membership’ In Nazi-Allied Group
Lili Bayer and Larry Cohler-EssesMarch 16, 2017
Gorka’s membership in the organization — if these Vitézi Rend leaders are correct, and if Gorka did not disclose this when he entered the United States as an immigrant — could have implications for his immigration status. The State Department’s Foreign Affairs Manual specifies that members of the Vitézi Rend “are presumed to be inadmissible” to the country under the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Gorka — who Vitézi Rend leaders say took a lifelong oath of loyalty to their group — did not respond to multiple emails sent to his work and personal accounts, asking whether he is a member of the Vitézi Rend and, if so, whether he disclosed this on his immigration application and on his application to be naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 2012. The White House also did not respond to a request for comment.
But Bruce Einhorn, a retired immigration judge who now teaches nationality law at Pepperdine University, said of this, “His silence speaks volumes.”
The group to which Gorka reportedly belongs is a reconstitution of the original group on the State Department list, which was banned in Hungary until the fall of Communism in 1989. There are now two organizations in Hungary that claim to be the heirs of the original Vitézi Rend, with Gorka, according to fellow members, belonging to the so-called “Historical Vitézi Rend.” Though it is not known to engage in violence, the Historical Vitézi Rend upholds all the nationalist and oftentimes racial principles of the original group as established by Horthy.
Sebastian Gorka Chickens Out On ‘Man-To-Man’ Meeting With Twitter Critic
Dave GoldinerFebruary 26, 2017
Einhorn said these nuances did not relieve Gorka of the obligation, if he’s a member, to disclose his affiliation when applying for his visa or his citizenship.
“This is a group that advocates racialist nativism,” said Einhorn. If Gorka did not disclose his affiliation with it, he said, this would constitute “failure to disclose a material fact,” which could undermine the validity of both his immigration status and claim to citizenship.
“It’s a material fact that, if disclosed, would have provoked a significant inquiry into the specific post-war role of this organization and Gorka’s activities in it,” he said.
Before serving 17 years as an immigration judge, Einhorn was deputy chief at the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations. The unit, which has since been disbanded, was charged with finding and deporting Nazis and members of other extremist groups who entered America illegally by lying about or hiding their background. He noted that individuals who apply for both visas and citizenship are specifically asked to name all organizations they belong to due to the government’s interest in scrutinizing those affiliated with extremist groups, and in particular those on the State Department’s list.
If Gorka did not disclose his Vitézi Rend affiliation, said Einhorn, he thereby “foreclosed the opportunity for U.S. officials to pursue that inquiry with him.” No statute of limitations exists for such violations, he noted.
Einhorn stressed that Gorka would have defenses in such a case; he might argue the chances were small that immigration and naturalization officials — who are not extremism experts or historians — would have recognized the nature of the group and questioned him even if he disclosed his affiliation. “There would have to be clear and convincing evidence that had he told the truth… it would have led to a meaningful inquiry that could have kept him out of the country.”
But Einhorn stressed: “My view is that it would be a legitimate case — difficult and challenging, but I believe winnable.”
Gorka, who is a deputy assistant to the president, first provoked questions about his relationship to the Vitézi Rend after he publicly brandished its medal on his lapel at a presidential inauguration ball January 20. When questions were raised about this in February on the news website Lobelog and elsewhere, he explained it as a gesture of honor to his late father.
“In 1979 my father was awarded a declaration for his resistance to a dictatorship,” he told Breitbart News then. “Although he passed away 14 years ago, I wear that medal in remembrance of what my family went through and what it represents today, to me, as an American.”
But the Forward’s inquiry into Gorka’s relationship with the Vitézi Rend suggests that Gorka’s explanation is, at best, incomplete:
Gorka, who pledged his loyalty to the United States when he took American citizenship in 2012, is himself a sworn member of the Vitézi Rend, according to both Gyula Soltész — a high-ranking member of the Vitézi Rend’s central apparatus — and Kornél Pintér — a leader of the Vitézi Rend in Western Hungary who befriended Gorka’s father through their activities in the Vitézi Rend.
Soltész, who holds a national-level leadership position at the Vitézi Rend, confirmed to the Forward in a phone conversation that Gorka is a full member of the organization.
“Of course he was sworn in,” Pintér said, in a phone interview. “I met with him in Sopron [a city near Hungary’s border with Austria]. His father introduced him.”
“In today’s world it is rare to meet anyone as well-bred as Sebastian or his father, Pali,” he added.
If correct, Gorka’s membership in the order is notable because, as Pintér and other members explained, affiliation is possible only via a solemn initiation rite in which new members take an oath swearing undying allegiance to the Hungarian nation and the Vitézi Rend’s goals:
“I, Vitez [name], swear on the Holy Crown that I know the Order’s goals and code, and based on the orders of the Captain and Order Superiors will follow them for the rest of my life. I never betrayed my Hungarianness, and was never and am not currently a member of an anti-national or secret organization. So help me God.”
Several commentators also noted that in his 2008 doctoral dissertation at Hungary’s Corvinus University, Gorka presented his name as Sebastian L. v. Gorka. The “v.” is an initial used by members of the Vitézi Rend.
But Gorka did not use the initial only in academic papers.
In June 2011, Gorka testified in front of the House Armed Services Committee. His official testimony did not list his name as Sebastian L. Gorka, but rather as Dr. Sebastian L. v. Gorka.
“Of course, only after the oath,” György Kerekes, a current member of the Vitézi Rend, told the Forward when asked if anyone may use the initial “v.” without going through the Vitézi Rend’s application process and an elaborate swearing-in ceremony.
As the son of a member of the Vitézi Rend, Gorka is eligible to apply for membership. But membership is not bestowed automatically, and he cannot use the initial in his name without actively applying for membership and taking the formal oath to the organization.
Gorka’s self-identification to a congressional committee as Dr. Sebastian L. v. Gorka thus indicates that Gorka either misrepresented his identity to Congress in 2011 or is currently misrepresenting his affiliation with the Vitézi Rend, potentially having taken an oath to Hungarian nationalist and racist principles.
The Vitézi Rend, which was established in 1920 for Horthy’s loyal followers, is listed by the State Department as one of many groups in Germany and the countries it occupied as collaborationist “criminal organizations” with the Nazis as determined by the post-war International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. The group was among those Horthy rewarded with real estate taken from hundreds of thousands of Jews his government deported to Nazi concentration camps.
Dissolved in Hungary after World War II under the terms of the Allies’ armistice with Hungary, it was reconstituted by veterans’ groups in exile, including prewar members of the group appointed by Horthy. It was re-established inside Hungary after communism’s collapse in 1989. According to State Department guidelines, while Vitézi Rend membership “does not automatically render the alien ineligible for a visa, the applicant has the burden of establishing that, despite being a member of a designated criminal organization, he or she did not participate in activities that would fall within the purview of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The guidelines cite a provision of the act barring entry to the United States to “participants in Nazi persecution, genocide, or the commission of any act of torture or extrajudicial killing.”
Gorka, who is 46, could not have been part of any World War II killings. But the provisions reflect the State Department’s understanding of the Vitézi Rend’s historical nature.
The group’s mission emphasized not only loyalty to Hungary and nationalist ideas, but also an ideology of racial superiority. One of the original aims of the Vitézi Rend was to “ensure such might to the Hungarian race, which with tremendous power strikes every subversive state and anti-national movement,” Horthy said in a speech to new members in 1921.
The Hungarian dictator, whom Vitézi Rend members still lionize on their websites as the order’s founding leader and ideological guide, added, “Let the Vitézi Rend be the pride of the Turan race and our homeland, but if necessary, its sharp cutting sword.” “The Turan race” refers to Turanism, a theory popular among the country’s far-right and fascist groups whereby Hungarians are thought to be a race descended from tribes that migrated from Asia.
Members of the Vitézi Rend should practice “love of their race,” Horthy said in 1926, in a speech during a swearing-in ceremony for new members.
“Whoever lets another take his place is committing a crime against his race,” Horthy emphasized eight years later, in a June 1934 speech to members of the Vitézi Rend.
Nearly a century later, the Vitézi Rend has not left its legacy of racism behind. Horthy is revered among the organization’s members. His speeches are quoted on Vitézi Rend websites, and his original goals for the organization are highlighted.
As historian Eva S. Balogh notes, the organization’s formal slogan — “I believe in one God, I believe in one country, I believe in the divine everlasting truth, I believe in the resurrection of Hungary” — advocates a return to Hungary’s pre-World War I borders; a territory that includes parts of modern-day Romania, Ukraine, Slovakia and Serbia.
Today, the organization presents itself as a “conservative, right-wing” group independent of party politics. But some of the organization’s newer members also openly embrace racist and anti-Semitic views. Footage on YouTube of a 2012 swearing-in ceremony of new members reveals Zsolt Bayer, a publicist and writer known as one of Hungary’s most outspoken anti-Semites, being initiated as a member.
A Lifelong Oath: A senior Vitézi Rend member initiates publicist and writer Zsolt Bayer, known as one of Hungary’s most outspoken anti-Semites, into the order in 2012.
A Lifelong Oath: A senior Vitézi Rend member initiates publicist and writer Zsolt Bayer, known as one of Hungary’s most outspoken anti-Semites, into the order in 2012.
In 2013, Hungary’s highest court formally ruled that one of Bayer’s articles was anti-Semitic. In a 2016 article that earned the protest of Israel’s ambassador to Hungary, the Vitézi Rend member asked, “Why are we surprised that the simple peasant” didn’t interfere with the deportation of Hungarian Jews to Nazi concentration camps “when the ‘Jews’ broke into his village and beat the priests to death or hung them from lamp posts, the judge and everyone they didn’t like…?”
Though Gorka did not respond to inquiries about his relationship to the Vitézi Rend, when the Forward revealed in February that he had co-founded a political party together with former members of the Hungarian far-right Jobbik party and wrote articles for a Hungarian paper known for its anti-Semitism, the White House aide responded on Twitter by quoting a friend: “Sharing a room w Helen Keller does not make 1 blind; sharing a subway car w Albert Einstein does not make 1 a genius.”
But Einhorn, the immigration expert, stressed a larger moral principle was at stake.
“Gorka is part of an administration issuing travel bans against countries and people as a whole,” he said. “For someone who is part of this effort to not answer your question [about his membership] and yet support what’s gong on in the West Wing where he works is the height of hypocrisy. The administration that makes so much of protecting us from extremists while looping the guilty in with the innocent should at least require its officials tell the truth.”
Gorka’s inconsistent record on his affiliation with the Vitézi Rend is one of several ways in which the deputy assistant to the president may be misconstruing his past.
Adrian Weale, who served as a British Intelligence Corps officer in the 1980s, traced how Gorka’s claims to have worked on counter-terror issues for British Military Intelligence in Northern Ireland and on collecting evidence for the war crimes tribunal set up after the collapse of Yugoslavia are unlikely to be true. According to Weale, Gorka “has never been an operational practitioner of counter-terrorism.”
At the same time, Gorka’s credentials as an academic expert in terrorism have been widely questioned. His doctoral dissertation has been dissected by various academics who say he is not an expert in their field, has never lived in a Muslim-majority country, does not speak Arabic and has avoided publishing any serious, peer-reviewed academic research.
Gorka’s doctoral supervisor in Hungary, András Lánczi, is an expert on political philosophy and Hungarian politics, but has never worked on terrorism, counter-terror or Islam-related research.
Writing in Foreign Policy, Colin Kahl, a deputy assistant to former President Obama and national security adviser to his vice president, Joe Biden, noted that it appears Gorka does not currently possess Top Secret or a Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information security clearance. Nevertheless, in his frequent appearances in the media Gorka presents himself as having insight into decision making and threat intelligence to which only someone with a clearance would legally have access.
Gorka, who worked in Hungary’s Ministry of Defense and served in the British military, became a U.S. citizen only five years ago.
Others before Gorka have become American naturalized citizens and have quickly taken on senior government roles. One example is Martin Indyk, who was born in London and raised in Australia but nevertheless became a special assistant to President Clinton and served on the National Security Council before becoming the U.S. ambassador to Israel.
But Gorka’s position is distinguished by his past work for foreign governments, involvement with nationalist and far-right groups and figures, and, perhaps most important, for security investigators, inconsistencies in how he portrays his own past.
Lili Bayer reports for the Forward from Budapest. Contact her at
Read more: http://forward.com/news/national/366181 ... -as-sworn/
seemslikeadream » Wed Mar 01, 2017 4:22 pm wrote:He has appeared in multiple photographs wearing the medal of a Hungarian group listed by the State Department as having collaborated with the Nazis during World War II.Gorka: 'Most Important' Part Of Trump Speech Is Phrase ‘Radical Islamic Terrorism’
ByALLEGRA KIRKLANDPublishedMARCH 1, 2017, 11:29 AM EDT
In case anyone was unsure, White House aide Sebastian Gorka emphasized Tuesday that the Trump administration’s foreign policy will remain filtered through the lens of “radical Islamic terrorism.”
The President’s one line on the subject during his speech to a joint session of Congress was the “most important” takeaway, Gorka told Fox News’ Sean Hannity.
Gorka, a former Breitbart News editor and self-styled counterterrorism expert whose resume and hardline views on Islam have been subject to withering criticism, dismissed reports that new National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster told staffers the phrase was counterproductive and shouldn’t be used.
“What happened tonight?” Gorka asked.
“They expected us to dilute the verbiage. He said radical Islamic terrorism,” he went on, pausing between words for emphasis. “Politico, did you hear it? New York Times, did you hear it? Washington Post, CNN did you hear it? The president is not backing down.”
Gorka was similarly strident in a Wednesday interview with NPR’s “Morning Edition,” calling the phrase “the clearest three words of his speech.”
“The enemy is radical jihadist terrorism and that has not changed and it will not change,” he said.
Gorka told NPR host Steve Inskeep that McMaster had been talking to staff about the Islamic State “specifically." He said that, contrary to reports, McMaster never instructed his team at the National Security Council to avoid using the phrase out of concern it undermines relationships with Muslim allies.
“Our point is a broader one; it’s not just about specific threat groups doing specific crimes," he said. “It’s about a global movement that I like to call global jihadism and which the President is clear on.”
The White House aide declined, again, to comment on whether the President sees Islam as a religion, saying “This is not a theological seminary; this is the White House.”
“The bottom line question, of course, is is Islam itself the enemy here?” Inskeep asked about the administration’s view.
“Well of course it isn't,” Gorka replied, referring to his 2016 book “Defeating Jihad” which argues that terrorist groups are waging a war “within Islam” for control over which version of a religion of 1.7 billion believers will prevail.
Gorka pushed aside questions about counterterrorism experts who see that semantically-focused view as overly simplistic, or who see the travel ban directed at seven majority-Muslim countries as misdirected. Those experts argue that counterterror efforts should prioritize the threat of people already in the U.S. who may become radicalized over the threat of terrorists coming into the country from abroad.
“We’re not going to listen to so-called terrorism experts who were linked in any way to the last eight years of disastrous counterterrorism,” Gorka said. “We’re going to take a new approach. We have a new President.”
Listen to the full interview below:
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/sebasti ... -terrorism
Intel senators: No indication Trump Tower was surveilled
EILEEN SULLIVAN, The Associated Press
Published: March 16, 2017, 12:14 pm Updated: March 16, 2017, 12:14 pm
WASHINGTON (AP) — The top two senators on the intelligence committee say they have seen no indication that Trump Tower was “the subject of surveillance” by the U.S. government before or after the 2016 election.
President Donald Trump accused former President Barack Obama of wiretapping him and asked congressional committees investigating Russia’s interference in the election to pursue that as well.
Republican Sen. Richard Burr and Democratic Sen. Mark Warner issued a joint one-sentence statement and did not elaborate. The two senators are leading one of three congressional investigations into Russia and the presidential election. The probes include looking into Trump associates’ contacts with the Kremlin.
In response to Trump’s claims, the Justice Department is doing its own review of whether Trump or any of his associates were the subject of surveillance.
http://krqe.com/2017/03/16/intel-senato ... urveilled/
Donald Trump’s top adviser Sebastian Gorka is sworn member of Nazi group, could be deported
By Bill Palmer | March 16, 2017 | 0
A notorious Nazi group in Hungary is acknowledging that one of Donald Trump’s top White House aides, counter-terrorism adviser Sebastian Gorka, is one of its sworn members. The revelation that Gorka is officially a Nazi, first exposed today by the news publication Forward, is sending shockwaves through the political world. And because the group in question is on a banned list for immigrants, Gorka now faces the possibility of not only losing his job, but of being deported.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Sebastian Gorka found his way to the White House through his associate Steve Bannon, as the two previously worked closely together at white nationalist propaganda site Breitbart. Although detractors have often accused Bannon and his Breitbart ilk of metaphorically being Nazis, this is the first instance of one being exposed as literally a Nazi. The Hungarian group, Vitézi Rend, has been around in various incarnations since World War II. The State Department classified the group as being “under the direction of the Nazi Government of Germany,” and to this day, any official member of the group is disallowed from immigrating into the United States.
That’s a problem for Gorka, who was born in the United Kingdom but lived in Hungary for much of his life, and only became a United States citizen five years ago. Based on existing rules, his immigration status and citizenship are in jeopardy due to his sworn membership. Gorka himself has been contacted about Vitézi Rend’s claim that he was a member, and he declined to refute it. So this isn’t merely some kind of disputed accusation; he’s refusing to deny that he’s a sworn member of a Nazi group. So now what?
Depending on the size of the firestorm this sets off over the next days, Donald Trump and Steve Bannon will have to decide whether to force Sebastian Gorka out of his White House job; the NY Daily News reports that Jewish groups are already demanding his ouster. From there, they would have to decide whether to try to intervene in any potential deportation process. Read the original Forward reporting on Gorka’s sworn Nazi status here. This could be even more perceptually devastating to Trump’s White House than the controversial departure of foreign agent Michael Flynn.
http://www.palmerreport.com/politics/do ... rted/1944/
Jewish organizations call for Trump adviser to step down after report of Nazi group ties
Sebastian Gorka. (ALEX WONG/GETTY IMAGES)
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Thursday, March 16, 2017, 3:11 PM
Jewish groups are calling for a President Trump aide to resign after a report — which he hesitated to deny— that he is a member of a group with Nazi ties.
Sebastian Gorka, one of Trump’s top counter-terrorism advisers, was said in a Jewish Daily Forward story to be a formal member of Vitézi Rend, a far-right Hungarian nationalist group. The U.S. State Department listed it as a group that was "under the direction of the Nazi government of Germany," and said members are inadmissible for immigration into America.
Anonymous members of the group told the Forward that Gorka had taken its lifelong oath of loyalty.
Gorka did not respond to the Forward and, when asked about the report by BuzzFeed News, simply replied, “Send a request to White House press.”
Nazi's son returns art that his family looted in Poland
The story led to Jewish groups nationwide insisting Gorka step down from the Trump administration — or get fired.
“That Sebastian cannot even deny he has links with a Nazi-affiliated organization is symptomatic of the grotesque anti-Semitism that has infected the White House,” Anne Frank Center executive director Steven Goldstein said in a statement.
“How many ducks in the Trump White House must walk, talk and quack anti-Semitically before our country wakes up and sees the problem?”
The National Jewish Democratic Council said that Trump, who has called for “extreme vetting” of immigrants, “seems like he failed to vet one of his most trusted advisers.”
Must-read story re: Nazi ties of top Trump aide. White House & Gorka's silence in response is deafening. @jdforward https://t.co/4NppZoIAYX
— (((Rep. Nadler))) (@RepJerryNadler) March 16, 2017
Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), who is Jewish, tweeted the story and wrote, "White House & Gorka's silence in response is deafening."
Only after the uproar did Gorka speak up, and deny the report.
“I have never been a member of the Vitez Rend. I have never taken an oath of loyalty to the Vitez Rend,” he told Tablet on Thursday.
Gorka claimed he sometimes wore his father’s medal from the group “to honor his struggle against totalitarianism.” An anonymous source, said to be close the White House, also claimed to Tablet that Gorka found the accusation “so blatantly false and so aggressively poorly-sourced” that he saw no reason to refute it immediately.
Poland accuses Minnesota man of massacring village for Nazis
The White House has not officially commented about Gorka, and has announced no actions against him.
The Forward noted that if Gorka, a United Kingdom native, was a member and did not disclose that upon entering America, it could compromise his immigration status.
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politic ... -1.3000170
Trump resets U.S.-Saudi relations, in Saudi Arabia’s favor
President Trump’s new deal with Saudi Arabia is really good — for the Saudis. After publicly bashing the kingdom for years, Trump completely reversed course Tuesday and rolled out the red carpet for the Saudi royals. He gave them a huge publicity boost and a highly sought-after U.S. commitment to improve and elevate bilateral relations. And what did Trump get in return? Not much at all.
The hastily arranged meetings between Trump and his top White House aides with a high-level delegation from Riyadh, led by Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was hailed by the Saudi side as a “historical turning point” in U.S.-Saudi relations after eight contentious years with the Obama administration. A statement from the Saudis said that the prince considers Trump “a true friend of Muslims” and that the meeting marked a “significant shift in relations” across all fields.
A White House statement, issued Wednesday, said that Trump and Salman had directed their teams to find ways “to further strengthen and elevate the United States-Saudi strategic relationship” on the political, military, security, economic, cultural and social fronts. The two sides agreed to cooperate more in the economic, commercial, investment and energy fields and start a new U.S.-Saudi program “worth potentially more than $200 billion in direct and indirect investments within the next four years,” the statement said. No details were provided.
“We defend Saudi Arabia. They don’t pay us nearly what they should be paying. So essentially we are subsidizing all of these countries,” Trump said at the rally. “How stupid are we? A country like Saudi Arabia wouldn’t exist for a week.”
The White House didn’t respond to requests for comment, but there’s no indication that Trump or any of his aides raised the issue of Saudi reimbursement for American defense in any of this week’s meetings.
Analysis: China and Saudi Arabia: Reinvigorating ties
Saudi King brings two golden escalators and 100 limousines for four day trip to Japan
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdul-aziz al Saud and his thousand strong entourage have arrived for a four day trade visit in Japan, along with two golden escalators and a demand for a fleet of dozens of limousines.
The royal, who took over following his brother’s death in January 2015, is touring several Asian countries to boost trade links as part of his plan to diversify Saudi Arabia’s economy away from oil.
It followed a nine-day trip to Indonesia which saw the king arrive with 459 tonnes of luggage and two Mercedes limousines.
There, a special toilet was built for him in a mosque. A custom seat was also constructed for him in the country’s House of Representatives.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 28031.html
Sebastian Gorka Could Face Immigration Probe Over ‘Membership’ In Nazi-Allied Group
March 16, 2017 By Lili Bayer and Larry Cohler-Esses
A prominent retired immigration judge and ex-Nazi hunter says Sebastian Gorka could face a serious probe over his purported membership in a far right wing Hungarian group that was allied with the Nazis.
Bruce Einhorn, a professor of immigration and nationality law at Pepperdine University, said if the top White House terrorism aide was a sworn member of the Vitézi Rend group, he should have disclosed that fact when applying to become a naturalized American citizen.
“This is a group that advocates racialist nativism,” said Einhorn. If Gorka did not disclose his affiliation with it, he said, this would constitute “failure to disclose a material fact,” which could undermine the validity of his claim to citizenship.
“(It) would have provoked a significant inquiry,” he said.
The Forward revealed exclusively that Vitézi Rend leaders say Gorka is a sworn member.
Einhorn was deputy chief at the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations. The unit was charged with finding and deporting Nazis and members of other extremist groups like the Vitézi Rend who entered America illegally by hiding their backgrounds.
He noted that individuals who apply for both visas and citizenship are specifically asked to name all organizations they belong to. There is no statute of limitations for violations.
Read more: http://forward.com/fast-forward/366218/ ... zi-allied/
The Order of Vitéz was established by Miklós Horthy, the Hungarian admiral and statesman who oversaw the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Jews to Auschwitz during World War II.
PufPuf93 » Thu Mar 16, 2017 8:20 pm wrote:Fall 2016 I pondered what sort of individuals would emerge from the gray aether to become household names.
So we have Conway, Spicer, Bannon, and now Gorka among others.
POTUS Trump, a dysfunctional mess that does not bode well.
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