Local News

San Diego Union-Tribune

  • U.S. Appeal for NATO Personnel in Syria Brushed Off by Spain
    February 16, 2019, 10:57 am

    Vice President Mike Pence told reporters at the Munich Security Conference that the U.S. is asking NATO members and other partners to provide "the resources and the support and the personnel" required to prevent a resurgence of Islamic State once U.S. operations conclude. "Requests between countries aren?t made in press releases or conference comments," Spain?s Josep Borrell said at a briefing in Munich on Saturday.



  • 5 killed as gunman opens fire at Illinois warehouse
    February 15, 2019, 4:57 pm

    A gunman opened fire in an industrial warehouse in Aurora, Ill., on Friday, killing five people and wounding five police officers before he was slain.



  • Green New Deal: Republicans talk up climate change plan ? but not because the...
    February 17, 2019, 12:18 pm

    Republicans trumpet the Green New Deal because they think the climate change plan that touts social justice is a losing proposition for Democrats.



  • Back in the Bronx, Ocasio-Cortez says to keep up the fight
    February 16, 2019, 4:36 pm

    NEW YORK (AP) ? Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez returned to her home district in the New York City borough of the Bronx on Saturday to encourage her supporters to keep up the kind of activism that resulted in Amazon rescinding its plan to build a campus in the city.



  • India mourns dead soldiers amid calls for revenge
    February 16, 2019, 6:57 am

    Thousands of mourners across India attended funerals on Saturday for some of the 41 soldiers killed in a suicide bombing in Indian-administered Kashmir as a round-the-clock curfew remained in force in part of the restive region. The paramilitary troops were killed on Thursday as explosives packed in a van ripped through a convoy transporting 2,500 soldiers in the disputed Himalayan region, the deadliest attack in a 30-year-old armed conflict. TV stations showed coffins wrapped in Indian flags being carried by thousands of people across their hometowns, after the bodies were flown to New Delhi late Friday for a ceremony attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.



  • Family of IS teen appeals to UK to help bring her home
    February 15, 2019, 2:22 pm

    LONDON (AP) ? The family of a pregnant British teenager who ran away to join the Islamic State group urged the government Friday to help bring her home.



  • Here?s What?s Open and Closed on President?s Day 2019
    February 17, 2019, 7:23 am

    Find out if banks, schools and the post office are open on President's day



  • White House press secretary Sarah Sanders questioned by investigators probing...
    February 15, 2019, 6:38 pm

    Robert Mueller?s team has questioned Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary has confirmed. In a statement to CNN, Ms Sanders, 36, said she had been questioned last year by the special counsel probing Russia?s alleged interference in the 2016 election, and possible collusion with the Trump campaign. ?The president urged me, like he has everyone in the administration, to fully cooperate with the special counsel,? she said.



  • It Looks Like the Land Rover Discovery SVX Is Dead
    February 15, 2019, 3:54 pm

    This looks like another miss from Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations.



  • Collusion: The Criminalization of Policy Disputes
    February 16, 2019, 4:30 am

    What a weasel word ?collusion? is.In Washington, Senator Richard Burr (R., N.C.), chairman of the Intelligence Committee, has now seen fit to pronounce that, after two years of investigation, the panel has found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian regime. Meanwhile, in a nearby courtroom, Special Counsel Robert Mueller?s senior staffer, Andrew Weissmann, told a federal judge that an August 2016 meeting between the then-chairman of the Trump campaign and a suspected Russian intelligence officer ?goes . . . very much to the heart of what the special counsel is investigating? -- which sure sounds like Mueller?s collusion hunt is alive and well.What gives?Readers of these columns know that the ?collusion? label has been a pet peeve of your humble correspondent since the media-Democratic ?Putin hacked the election? narrative followed hard on the declaration of Donald Trump?s victory in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, November 9, 2016.The reason for the collusion label is obvious. Those peddling the ?Putin hacked the election? story have always lacked credible evidence that Trump was complicit in the Kremlin?s ?cyber-espionage.? They could not show a criminal conspiracy. Connections between denizens of Trump World and Putin?s circle might be very intriguing, and perhaps even politically scandalous. But only a conspiracy -- an agreement by two or more people to commit an actual criminal offense, such as hacking -- would be a reasonable basis for prosecution or impeachment.This dearth of proof was significant. The Russians apparently started hacking operations in 2014, long before Trump entered the race. The FBI first warned the Democratic National Committee about penetration of its servers in September 2015. By the time Trump won, the Bureau and U.S. intelligence agencies had been working hard to understand the nature and extent of Kremlin-directed hacking operations for two years. The investigation was so high-level, so intense, that shortly before the election, there were confrontational conversations between CIA director John Brennan and his Russian counterpart, FSB chief Alexander Bortnikov, and later between President Obama and Russian president Putin.Yet, as thorough as the investigation was, no one could credibly say Trump was a participant in Russia?s malfeasance. The best Obama?s notoriously politicized CIA could say was that Trump was Putin?s intended beneficiary.Unable to establish conspiracy, Trump?s opposition settled on collusion. It is a usefully slippery word. Collusion just means concerted activity -- it can be sinister or benign. It can refer to a conspiracy or to any arrangement people have together, including those that may be sleazy but non-criminal.This commitment to ambiguity came in handy for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein when he appointed Robert Mueller to be special counsel. After President Trump fired FBI director James Comey on May 9, 2017, and then shamefully talked Comey down for the consumption of Russian diplomats visiting the White House the next day, Rosenstein came under intense pressure. Because he had written the memorandum originally used to justify Comey?s dismissal, congressional Democrats slammed him for complicity in what they portrayed as Trump?s obstruction of the Russia probe. Rosenstein wanted to appease them by appointing the special counsel they were demanding.Special counsels, however, are not supposed to be appointed unless there is a solid basis to believe a crime has been committed. Rosenstein was lawyer enough to know that a president?s firing of an FBI director -- a firing that Rosenstein himself had argued was justified -- could not be an obstruction crime. And he knew that there was no proof that Trump had conspired in Russia?s cyberespionage. So . . . how to justify appointing a special counsel?Easy: Make it a counterintelligence probe. That way, there would be no need for a crime, since such investigations are just intelligence-gathering exercises.What?s that? You say there?s no basis in the special-counsel regulations to appoint one for counterintelligence? You say the Justice Department does not appoint prosecutors for counterintelligence investigations, which are the FBI?s bailiwick? So what? The special-counsel regulations expressly say that they create no enforceable rights enabling anyone to challenge the Justice Department?s flouting of them. Rosenstein knew he could ignore the rules and there was not a thing anyone could do about it.So instead of a prosecutor investigating a crime of conspiracy, we have a bloated staff of prosecutors gathering intelligence about ?collusion?: Every contact between anyone connected to Trump and anyone connected to Russia.Some of this could be valuable information. That brings us back to that August 2016 meeting Andrew Weissman was talking about, between Trump?s campaign chairman and a suspected Russian intelligence operative. Paul Manafort, the campaign chairman, had high-level contacts and conducted multi-million-dollar business with oligarchs close to the Kremlin. Konstantin Kilimnik, his partner in Kiev, certainly is suspected of having a ?relationship with Russian intelligence,? as Weissmann obliquely put it in the court session.That ?relationship,? however, goes back to the early 1990s, when the Soviet Union fell and the United States was quite content to do business with lots of people who had ?relationships? with Russian intelligence, the Kremlin, and even the Communist party. One of Kilimnik?s first jobs when he left the Russian military was to work for the International Republican Institute -- the democracy-promoting enterprise that Senator John McCain ran for over 20 years. Kilimnik started there as a translator -- hired for the skills he?d learned at the military academy that prepared translators for service in Russian intelligence. It didn?t seem to bother anyone -- by the early 2000?s, Kilimnik was running the IRI?s Moscow office.My point is not to defend Kilimnik. Not only has Mueller already him indicted for witness-tampering conspiracy in Manafort?s case (a charge to which Manafort has pled guilty). Kilimnik also hovers as an unindicted co-conspirator in the case of Samuel Patten, a lobbyist friend of Manafort?s who has pled guilty in a separate Justice Department case to being an unregistered agent of Ukraine and to violating the prohibition against foreign contributions to political campaigns -- enabling Kilimnik and two Ukrainian oligarchs to donate to the Trump presidential-inaugural committee and attend the inauguration festivities.The point is that if we are going to obsess over collusion rather than the actual crime of conspiracy, then we need to evaluate the Russian contacts of Trump associates in the context of everyone who has interacted with Russia in the last quarter-century. Under administrations of both parties, Washington has maintained that post-Soviet Russia was a perfectly fine country to partner with and do business with. Did the Trump campaign hope to tap Kremlin-connected sources for campaign dirt on Hillary Clinton? That seems undeniable. But it is not a crime per se. How does it rank on the scale of unsavory political behavior? You?d have to compare it to, for example, Democratic-party entreaties to the Kremlin -- back when the Russians were our Cold War Soviet antagonist -- for help in the campaigns against Presidents Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan.I did not like candidate Donald Trump?s blandishments toward the Putin regime. It was part of why Trump was closer to the bottom than the top of my preferred GOP candidates. I thought his performance as president in the meeting with Putin in Helsinki was appalling. But we are talking here about policy disputes. Trump has a right to be wrong, even seriously wrong, on a policy matter. That does not make him a Russian agent.If members of Trump?s campaign were corruptly selling accommodations (such as sanctions relief) to Russia, then by all means prosecute them to the full extent of the law. But if the campaign was exploring whether sanctions relief could be traded for Russian actions in America?s interests -- just as Obama told us sanctions relief for Iran was being bargained in exchange for what he claimed were advances of America?s interests -- that might have been wrong-headed or nave, but it wasn?t criminal.Apparently Senator Burr thinks of ?collusion? as criminal conspiracy, and he thus realizes that there was not one. Special Counsel Mueller, by contrast, has been unleashed to probe collusion not just in the form of criminal conspiracy, but in whatever form: All manner of contacts with a regime that, just the blink of an eye ago, President Obama was mocking Mitt Romney for regarding as a geopolitical foe, even as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton helped Moscow build its version of Silicon Valley -- notwithstanding Defense Department and FBI worries that we were thus improving their military and cyber capabilities.What is ?collusion,? then? Increasingly, it looks like the criminalization of policy disputes.



  • The Latest: Smollett says no truth he played role in attack
    February 17, 2019, 4:10 am

    CHICAGO (AP) ? The Latest on the investigation of the attack on Jussie Smollett (all times local):



  • Southwest declares operations 'emergency' amid labor dispute with mechanics
    February 15, 2019, 7:00 pm

    The airline sent a strongly worded memo to mechanics ordering all hands on deck in response to a higher than usual number of planes out of service.



  • Aurora shooting: Victims identified in shooting at Henry Pratt Company; gunma...
    February 16, 2019, 11:21 am

    Five people are dead, five City of Aurora police officers were shot, and at least six others were injured in a workplace mass shooting in west suburban Aurora Friday afternoon. The gunman is also dead, police said.



  • India detains 23 men with suspected links to group behind deadly Kashmir attack
    February 17, 2019, 7:30 am

    The 23 men included members and sympathizers of Jaish-e-Mohammad, the militant group which has claimed responsibility for Thursday's attack, the deadliest on Indian security forces in decades. The attack has fueled tensions between India and Pakistan. India has demanded Pakistan close down the Jaish and other Islamist militant groups that operate from its soil, while Islamabad has rejected suggestions it was linked to the attack.



  • North Koreans pay tribute to Kim's father in freezing cold
    February 16, 2019, 2:00 am

    The Day of the Shining Star dawned bitterly cold in Pyongyang. Kim, the son of the isolated North's founder Kim Il Sung and the father and predecessor of current leader Kim Jong Un, was born on February 16. According to Pyongyang's orthodoxy, he came into the world in 1942, in a snow-covered hut at a secret camp on the slopes of Mount Paektu, the spiritual birthplace of the Korean people, where his father was fighting occupying Japanese forces.



FOX 5 San Diego

  • India mourns dead soldiers amid calls for revenge
    February 16, 2019, 6:57 am

    Thousands of mourners across India attended funerals on Saturday for some of the 41 soldiers killed in a suicide bombing in Indian-administered Kashmir as a round-the-clock curfew remained in force in part of the restive region. The paramilitary troops were killed on Thursday as explosives packed in a van ripped through a convoy transporting 2,500 soldiers in the disputed Himalayan region, the deadliest attack in a 30-year-old armed conflict. TV stations showed coffins wrapped in Indian flags being carried by thousands of people across their hometowns, after the bodies were flown to New Delhi late Friday for a ceremony attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.



  • The Latest: Cardinal calls McCarrick punishment 'important'
    February 16, 2019, 4:21 pm

    VATICAN CITY (AP) ? The Latest on the defrocking of former U.S. cardinal Theodore McCarrick (all times local):



  • U.S. judge issues gag order in trial of former Trump adviser Stone
    February 15, 2019, 2:41 pm

    U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said she was issuing the modified gag order to "maintain the dignity and seriousness of the courthouse" in a case that has generated a carnival-like atmosphere since Stone's arrest in Florida on Jan. 25. The order prohibits lawyers involved in the case from speaking with news media outlets and prohibits other participants, like Stone himself, from making statements that may affect the case when they are near the courthouse. It does not stop Stone from talking about his case when he is not near the courthouse.



  • North Koreans pay tribute to Kim's father in freezing cold
    February 16, 2019, 2:00 am

    The Day of the Shining Star dawned bitterly cold in Pyongyang. Kim, the son of the isolated North's founder Kim Il Sung and the father and predecessor of current leader Kim Jong Un, was born on February 16. According to Pyongyang's orthodoxy, he came into the world in 1942, in a snow-covered hut at a secret camp on the slopes of Mount Paektu, the spiritual birthplace of the Korean people, where his father was fighting occupying Japanese forces.



  • Family of IS teen appeals to UK to help bring her home
    February 15, 2019, 2:22 pm

    LONDON (AP) ? The family of a pregnant British teenager who ran away to join the Islamic State group urged the government Friday to help bring her home.



  • Southwest declares operations 'emergency' amid labor dispute with mechanics
    February 15, 2019, 7:00 pm

    The airline sent a strongly worded memo to mechanics ordering all hands on deck in response to a higher than usual number of planes out of service.



  • It Looks Like the Land Rover Discovery SVX Is Dead
    February 15, 2019, 3:54 pm

    This looks like another miss from Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations.



  • This Is the Best Weekend to Buy a New Mattress
    February 15, 2019, 2:29 pm



  • Netanyahu gives up role as Israel's foreign minister
    February 17, 2019, 6:50 am

    Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday handed over his role as foreign minister to intelligence minister Israel Katz, giving up the portfolio he has held since 2015. Netanyahu's decision to appoint Katz as acting foreign minister came after an advocacy group, the Movement for Quality Government, went to court to press the prime minister to stop serving as foreign minister as well.



  • Iran summons Pakistan envoy over suicide bombing
    February 16, 2019, 5:08 pm

    Iran's foreign ministry on Sunday summoned the Pakistani ambassador after Tehran accused Islamabad of harbouring a jihadist group behind a deadly suicide attack on security forces. "The Islamic Republic of Iran expects Pakistan's government and army to seriously confront ... the terrorist groups active on its border with Iran," the foreign ministry said in a statement. An Iranian official at the ministry called on Pakistan to quickly take the necessary steps for the identification and arrest of the attack's perpetrators.



  • Multiple wounded, at least one dead in US shooting
    February 15, 2019, 4:38 pm

    At least one person was killed and several others, including police officers, were wounded on Friday when a gunman opened fire in an industrial area on the outskirts of Chicago. US media reported that the suspected gunman was killed soon after police and federal agents flooded a manufacturing complex in Aurora, Illinois -- 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of central Chicago. Witnesses said they had locked themselves into nearby buildings as a man in his 30s or 40s began firing off rounds.



  • NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn't happen this week
    February 15, 2019, 2:30 pm

    A roundup of some of the most popular but completely untrue stories and visuals of the week. None of these is legit, even though they were shared widely on social media. The Associated Press checked these out. Here are the real facts:



  • Amazon pays zero federal taxes for second year in succession despite doubling...
    February 16, 2019, 1:49 pm

    Amazon has paid zero federal taxes for the second year in succession, despite a doubling of its profits, according to a new report. Although the tech giant founded by Jeff Bezos saw its profits grow from $5.6bn (4.3bn) in 2017 to $11.2bn (8.7bn) in 2018, it will actually receive a tax rebate of $129m (100m). ?The company?s newest corporate filing reveals that, far from paying the statutory 21 per cent income tax rate on its US income in 2018, Amazon reported a federal income tax rebate of $129m,? said the report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), which describes itself as a ?non-partisan, non-profit think tank?, based in Washington DC.



  • San Jose hostage situation involving UPS truck ends, suspect shot, killed
    February 15, 2019, 7:47 pm

    The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office says the suspect who was in a standoff in a UPS truck was shot and killed after attempting to run from the truck. Friends have identified the suspect as Mark Morasky.



  • How to Watch the Super Snow Moon, the Biggest Supermoon of 2019
    February 17, 2019, 7:00 am

    Here?s what to know about the upcoming February full moon, also known as the 'super snow moon'? and what the best time is to see it.



Channel 8 San Diego

  • U.S. Appeal for NATO Personnel in Syria Brushed Off by Spain
    February 16, 2019, 10:57 am

    Vice President Mike Pence told reporters at the Munich Security Conference that the U.S. is asking NATO members and other partners to provide "the resources and the support and the personnel" required to prevent a resurgence of Islamic State once U.S. operations conclude. "Requests between countries aren?t made in press releases or conference comments," Spain?s Josep Borrell said at a briefing in Munich on Saturday.



  • 5 killed as gunman opens fire at Illinois warehouse
    February 15, 2019, 4:57 pm

    A gunman opened fire in an industrial warehouse in Aurora, Ill., on Friday, killing five people and wounding five police officers before he was slain.



  • Green New Deal: Republicans talk up climate change plan ? but not because the...
    February 17, 2019, 12:18 pm

    Republicans trumpet the Green New Deal because they think the climate change plan that touts social justice is a losing proposition for Democrats.



  • Back in the Bronx, Ocasio-Cortez says to keep up the fight
    February 16, 2019, 4:36 pm

    NEW YORK (AP) ? Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez returned to her home district in the New York City borough of the Bronx on Saturday to encourage her supporters to keep up the kind of activism that resulted in Amazon rescinding its plan to build a campus in the city.



  • India mourns dead soldiers amid calls for revenge
    February 16, 2019, 6:57 am

    Thousands of mourners across India attended funerals on Saturday for some of the 41 soldiers killed in a suicide bombing in Indian-administered Kashmir as a round-the-clock curfew remained in force in part of the restive region. The paramilitary troops were killed on Thursday as explosives packed in a van ripped through a convoy transporting 2,500 soldiers in the disputed Himalayan region, the deadliest attack in a 30-year-old armed conflict. TV stations showed coffins wrapped in Indian flags being carried by thousands of people across their hometowns, after the bodies were flown to New Delhi late Friday for a ceremony attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.



  • Family of IS teen appeals to UK to help bring her home
    February 15, 2019, 2:22 pm

    LONDON (AP) ? The family of a pregnant British teenager who ran away to join the Islamic State group urged the government Friday to help bring her home.



  • Here?s What?s Open and Closed on President?s Day 2019
    February 17, 2019, 7:23 am

    Find out if banks, schools and the post office are open on President's day



  • White House press secretary Sarah Sanders questioned by investigators probing...
    February 15, 2019, 6:38 pm

    Robert Mueller?s team has questioned Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary has confirmed. In a statement to CNN, Ms Sanders, 36, said she had been questioned last year by the special counsel probing Russia?s alleged interference in the 2016 election, and possible collusion with the Trump campaign. ?The president urged me, like he has everyone in the administration, to fully cooperate with the special counsel,? she said.



  • It Looks Like the Land Rover Discovery SVX Is Dead
    February 15, 2019, 3:54 pm

    This looks like another miss from Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations.



  • Collusion: The Criminalization of Policy Disputes
    February 16, 2019, 4:30 am

    What a weasel word ?collusion? is.In Washington, Senator Richard Burr (R., N.C.), chairman of the Intelligence Committee, has now seen fit to pronounce that, after two years of investigation, the panel has found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian regime. Meanwhile, in a nearby courtroom, Special Counsel Robert Mueller?s senior staffer, Andrew Weissmann, told a federal judge that an August 2016 meeting between the then-chairman of the Trump campaign and a suspected Russian intelligence officer ?goes . . . very much to the heart of what the special counsel is investigating? -- which sure sounds like Mueller?s collusion hunt is alive and well.What gives?Readers of these columns know that the ?collusion? label has been a pet peeve of your humble correspondent since the media-Democratic ?Putin hacked the election? narrative followed hard on the declaration of Donald Trump?s victory in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, November 9, 2016.The reason for the collusion label is obvious. Those peddling the ?Putin hacked the election? story have always lacked credible evidence that Trump was complicit in the Kremlin?s ?cyber-espionage.? They could not show a criminal conspiracy. Connections between denizens of Trump World and Putin?s circle might be very intriguing, and perhaps even politically scandalous. But only a conspiracy -- an agreement by two or more people to commit an actual criminal offense, such as hacking -- would be a reasonable basis for prosecution or impeachment.This dearth of proof was significant. The Russians apparently started hacking operations in 2014, long before Trump entered the race. The FBI first warned the Democratic National Committee about penetration of its servers in September 2015. By the time Trump won, the Bureau and U.S. intelligence agencies had been working hard to understand the nature and extent of Kremlin-directed hacking operations for two years. The investigation was so high-level, so intense, that shortly before the election, there were confrontational conversations between CIA director John Brennan and his Russian counterpart, FSB chief Alexander Bortnikov, and later between President Obama and Russian president Putin.Yet, as thorough as the investigation was, no one could credibly say Trump was a participant in Russia?s malfeasance. The best Obama?s notoriously politicized CIA could say was that Trump was Putin?s intended beneficiary.Unable to establish conspiracy, Trump?s opposition settled on collusion. It is a usefully slippery word. Collusion just means concerted activity -- it can be sinister or benign. It can refer to a conspiracy or to any arrangement people have together, including those that may be sleazy but non-criminal.This commitment to ambiguity came in handy for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein when he appointed Robert Mueller to be special counsel. After President Trump fired FBI director James Comey on May 9, 2017, and then shamefully talked Comey down for the consumption of Russian diplomats visiting the White House the next day, Rosenstein came under intense pressure. Because he had written the memorandum originally used to justify Comey?s dismissal, congressional Democrats slammed him for complicity in what they portrayed as Trump?s obstruction of the Russia probe. Rosenstein wanted to appease them by appointing the special counsel they were demanding.Special counsels, however, are not supposed to be appointed unless there is a solid basis to believe a crime has been committed. Rosenstein was lawyer enough to know that a president?s firing of an FBI director -- a firing that Rosenstein himself had argued was justified -- could not be an obstruction crime. And he knew that there was no proof that Trump had conspired in Russia?s cyberespionage. So . . . how to justify appointing a special counsel?Easy: Make it a counterintelligence probe. That way, there would be no need for a crime, since such investigations are just intelligence-gathering exercises.What?s that? You say there?s no basis in the special-counsel regulations to appoint one for counterintelligence? You say the Justice Department does not appoint prosecutors for counterintelligence investigations, which are the FBI?s bailiwick? So what? The special-counsel regulations expressly say that they create no enforceable rights enabling anyone to challenge the Justice Department?s flouting of them. Rosenstein knew he could ignore the rules and there was not a thing anyone could do about it.So instead of a prosecutor investigating a crime of conspiracy, we have a bloated staff of prosecutors gathering intelligence about ?collusion?: Every contact between anyone connected to Trump and anyone connected to Russia.Some of this could be valuable information. That brings us back to that August 2016 meeting Andrew Weissman was talking about, between Trump?s campaign chairman and a suspected Russian intelligence operative. Paul Manafort, the campaign chairman, had high-level contacts and conducted multi-million-dollar business with oligarchs close to the Kremlin. Konstantin Kilimnik, his partner in Kiev, certainly is suspected of having a ?relationship with Russian intelligence,? as Weissmann obliquely put it in the court session.That ?relationship,? however, goes back to the early 1990s, when the Soviet Union fell and the United States was quite content to do business with lots of people who had ?relationships? with Russian intelligence, the Kremlin, and even the Communist party. One of Kilimnik?s first jobs when he left the Russian military was to work for the International Republican Institute -- the democracy-promoting enterprise that Senator John McCain ran for over 20 years. Kilimnik started there as a translator -- hired for the skills he?d learned at the military academy that prepared translators for service in Russian intelligence. It didn?t seem to bother anyone -- by the early 2000?s, Kilimnik was running the IRI?s Moscow office.My point is not to defend Kilimnik. Not only has Mueller already him indicted for witness-tampering conspiracy in Manafort?s case (a charge to which Manafort has pled guilty). Kilimnik also hovers as an unindicted co-conspirator in the case of Samuel Patten, a lobbyist friend of Manafort?s who has pled guilty in a separate Justice Department case to being an unregistered agent of Ukraine and to violating the prohibition against foreign contributions to political campaigns -- enabling Kilimnik and two Ukrainian oligarchs to donate to the Trump presidential-inaugural committee and attend the inauguration festivities.The point is that if we are going to obsess over collusion rather than the actual crime of conspiracy, then we need to evaluate the Russian contacts of Trump associates in the context of everyone who has interacted with Russia in the last quarter-century. Under administrations of both parties, Washington has maintained that post-Soviet Russia was a perfectly fine country to partner with and do business with. Did the Trump campaign hope to tap Kremlin-connected sources for campaign dirt on Hillary Clinton? That seems undeniable. But it is not a crime per se. How does it rank on the scale of unsavory political behavior? You?d have to compare it to, for example, Democratic-party entreaties to the Kremlin -- back when the Russians were our Cold War Soviet antagonist -- for help in the campaigns against Presidents Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan.I did not like candidate Donald Trump?s blandishments toward the Putin regime. It was part of why Trump was closer to the bottom than the top of my preferred GOP candidates. I thought his performance as president in the meeting with Putin in Helsinki was appalling. But we are talking here about policy disputes. Trump has a right to be wrong, even seriously wrong, on a policy matter. That does not make him a Russian agent.If members of Trump?s campaign were corruptly selling accommodations (such as sanctions relief) to Russia, then by all means prosecute them to the full extent of the law. But if the campaign was exploring whether sanctions relief could be traded for Russian actions in America?s interests -- just as Obama told us sanctions relief for Iran was being bargained in exchange for what he claimed were advances of America?s interests -- that might have been wrong-headed or nave, but it wasn?t criminal.Apparently Senator Burr thinks of ?collusion? as criminal conspiracy, and he thus realizes that there was not one. Special Counsel Mueller, by contrast, has been unleashed to probe collusion not just in the form of criminal conspiracy, but in whatever form: All manner of contacts with a regime that, just the blink of an eye ago, President Obama was mocking Mitt Romney for regarding as a geopolitical foe, even as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton helped Moscow build its version of Silicon Valley -- notwithstanding Defense Department and FBI worries that we were thus improving their military and cyber capabilities.What is ?collusion,? then? Increasingly, it looks like the criminalization of policy disputes.



  • The Latest: Smollett says no truth he played role in attack
    February 17, 2019, 4:10 am

    CHICAGO (AP) ? The Latest on the investigation of the attack on Jussie Smollett (all times local):



  • Southwest declares operations 'emergency' amid labor dispute with mechanics
    February 15, 2019, 7:00 pm

    The airline sent a strongly worded memo to mechanics ordering all hands on deck in response to a higher than usual number of planes out of service.



  • Aurora shooting: Victims identified in shooting at Henry Pratt Company; gunma...
    February 16, 2019, 11:21 am

    Five people are dead, five City of Aurora police officers were shot, and at least six others were injured in a workplace mass shooting in west suburban Aurora Friday afternoon. The gunman is also dead, police said.



  • India detains 23 men with suspected links to group behind deadly Kashmir attack
    February 17, 2019, 7:30 am

    The 23 men included members and sympathizers of Jaish-e-Mohammad, the militant group which has claimed responsibility for Thursday's attack, the deadliest on Indian security forces in decades. The attack has fueled tensions between India and Pakistan. India has demanded Pakistan close down the Jaish and other Islamist militant groups that operate from its soil, while Islamabad has rejected suggestions it was linked to the attack.



  • North Koreans pay tribute to Kim's father in freezing cold
    February 16, 2019, 2:00 am

    The Day of the Shining Star dawned bitterly cold in Pyongyang. Kim, the son of the isolated North's founder Kim Il Sung and the father and predecessor of current leader Kim Jong Un, was born on February 16. According to Pyongyang's orthodoxy, he came into the world in 1942, in a snow-covered hut at a secret camp on the slopes of Mount Paektu, the spiritual birthplace of the Korean people, where his father was fighting occupying Japanese forces.



Learn More About Chula Vista Extra Self Storage Units!!


For all your personal and commercial storage needs, Chula Vista Extra Public Self Storage units have 24 hour on site management available to ensure the safety and security of all your belongings. Chula Vista Extra Public Self Storage units are designed with your budget and convenience in mind.

Call the Chula Vista Extra Public Self Storage units professional team at 1-619-427-2122 or
email us lease@extra-storage.net

Extra Storage, Chula Vista, California. © 1992 - 2011 All rights reserved.