Total loss of 1st Amendment?CrossTalk: Is RT a Foreign Agent?

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President Donald Trump repeated his assertion over the weekend that Moscow did not meddle in the 2016 presidential election, in direct conflict with conclusions drawn by the US intelligence community. But that official judgment runs counter to a group of former intel analysts who say that the so-called Russian hack of the Democratic National US intelligence RUSSIA PUTIN TRUMP & THE ELECTION Committee’s email was actually an inside job. RT America’s Ashlee Banks speaks to former CIA analyst Ray McGovern and NSA whistleblower Bill Binney, two people involved in that analysis.

Gen. John F. Kelly, Trumps new White House chief of staff was not rabidly anti-Russian as head of DHS (Kelly an old school tough tight lipped Bostonian Irishmen may offer some new hope as the alpha male of Trumps WH Staff?)

generalfuckingkellyKelly: ‘Any channel of communication’ with Russia ‘a good thing’

Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, pressed Sunday on White House senior adviser Jared Kushner’s reported attempts to establish secret lines of communication with Russia during the presidential transition, said any such channels of communication are “a good thing.”

While not confirming reports that Kushner discussed with Russian officials how to create back channels of communication that might evade potential U.S. monitoring, Kelly said that any attempts to strengthen dialogue with Russia were a positive.

“I don’t know if it is true or not; I know it’s being reported in the press,” Kelly said on “Fox News Sunday,” before being told by anchor Chris Wallace that the network had confirmed that the discussion between Kushner and Russian officials had taken place.

“I think that any channel of communication, back or otherwise, with a country like Russia is a good thing,” he said. “It doesn’t bother me.”

The White House was rocked on Friday by reports that Kushner, a top presidential adviser and the son-in-law of President Donald Trump, sought private lines of communication with Russian officials that would have evaded U.S. monitoring. Numerous former national security officials have since raised concerns about the reported conversation, questioning the legality of such a move.

Kelly on Sunday, however, cast the alleged communications as a relationship-building effort.

“Multiple ways to communicate back and forth is a good way to communicate with any country,” he said, while cautioning: “You just have to assume that what you’re getting may or may not be true, they may be working you.”

Kelly also addressed the timing of the conversations, which reportedly took place before Kushner and the Trump transition team took office. The secretary of homeland security said that as long as Kushner did not “do anything to inhibit the Obama transition,” he did not see any issues.

“As they begin to build relationships [with the Russians], there’s nothing wrong with that,” he said.

 

Gen. John F. Kelly, the retired four-star Marine general sworn in Monday as White House chief of staff, has new orders from the commander-in-chief: Instill discipline in a White House plagued by leaks and infighting.

Kelly, an Irish Catholic, had a brief stint as secretary of Homeland Security. Before he headed DHS, he had recently ended a long and distinguished career in the military.

Last February, he retired after serving four decades in the Marines. His last post was as head of the U.S. Southern Command, which oversees Latin America and the Caribbean.

“I have been fortunate to have served my country for more than 45 years – first as a Marine and then as the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security,” Kelly said in a statement Friday. “I am honored to be asked to serve as the chief of staff to the president of the United States.”

In a tweet late Friday, Trump tweeted that Kelly “has been a true star of my administration.”

“He is a great American and a great leader,” Trump said.

Kelly, who vehemently defended Trump’s travel ban, has grown close with the president the past few months.

The Washington Post said Trump is “drawn to the discipline that Kelly and his other advisers who are former military officers bring to their roles.”

He is also allegedly close to both White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, and liked by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. He’s described as low-key and a good collaborator.

His selection Friday was greeted with praise on Capitol Hill.

“Secretary Kelly is one of the strongest and most natural leaders I’ve ever known,” said South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, who has sparred with the president in the past. “As a Marine Corps officer, he instilled loyalty, respect and admiration from all who served under him.”

Speaking to reporters, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders cited Kelly’s role at the Department of Homeland Security in working to reduce illegal immigration.

“He has helped seal the border and reduced illegal immigration by 70 percent,” Sanders said. “He is respected by everyone, especially the people at the Department of Homeland Security.”

A   profile in the Boston Globe when he was chosen by Trump to head DHS mentioned a powerful speech he delivered in Massachusetts honoring service members in the state killed since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

He spoke to the crowd but never mentioned that his own son was killed in Afghanistan three weeks prior.

“He was probably torn up inside,” Chris Lessard, a Newton firefighter and Marine veteran, told the Globe. “That was my first impression of General John Kelly. Could you find a classier person? He’s a great man.”