Justice Integrity Project

Noted Biographers Denounce Trump

Written by Andrew Kreig
Published on August 8, 2016

 

Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter David Cay Johnston last week became the latest of Donald Trump’s biographers to denounce him and his presidential campaign.

David Cay Johnston NPC Aug. 4, 2016 (JIP photo)“He’s a con man,” Johnston told a National Press Club audience Aug. 4 in describing his new book The Making of Donald Trump.

Worse, said Johnston (shown in a Justice Integrity Project photo during his talk), Trump is the product of unusually corrupt or otherwise disturbing relationships. These include Trump's KKK-supporting father, the ruthless late superlawyer Roy Cohn, plus powerful leaders in the Gambino and Genovese Mafia families, as well as oligarchs surrounding Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“If people want to elect Donald Trump after they read my book, then they should vote for him, but they should know who they are voting for,” said Johnston, who said he met Trump 28 years ago. “They are voting for a man that doesn’t know anything about anything, who bluffs his way through everything, who has one skill and that is how to make deals that bring cash to him to support the lifestyle that creates the appearance of being a billionaire, and who has no regard for his fellow man.”

Johnston thus joins The Art of the Deal  ghostwriter Tony Schwartz in bashing Trump in harsh terms. Schwartz has been saying in recent weeks that the 1987 book that made Trump famous should have been entitled The Sociopath because Trump is too greedy and deranged to merit the presidency.

Schwartz, told the New Yorker in an exclusive interview with Jane Mayer published July 18 that the thought of a Trump presidency is “terrifying.”

“I genuinely believe," Schwartz said, "that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes, there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.” Conservative MSNBC "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough separately added a similar concern, as reported Aug. 2 by the Huffington Post in, Joe Scarborough: Donald Trump Repeatedly Asked Why We Couldn’t Use Nukes.

Such serious attacks are rare in a presidential campaign by writers of stature, long study and access to a candidate.

Three recent anti-Hillary Clinton books were listed in the top 10 of the Washington Post's Aug. 7 regional best-seller list. They were by former uniformed Secret Service agent Gary Byrne, conservative pundits Dinesh D'Souza, and Dick Morris and the latter's wife Eileen McGann.

But each has been attacked as partisan or otherwise biased. Donald Trump The Art of the DealFor example, a Politico article in June headlined, Secret Service veterans denounce anti-Clinton tell-all book, reported "The author of a new tell-all book about Hillary Clinton could never have seen any of what he claims — he was too low-ranking — say several high-level members of Secret Service presidential details, including the president of the Association of Former Agents of the United States Secret Service."

By contrast, Johnston and Schwartz are major New York Times and otherwise credentialed reporters with rare access to Trump that began for each of them nearly 30 years ago.

Johnston, whose book is already a best-seller after publication Aug. 2, says he believes his book draws on the largest collection of Trump-related documents anywhere in the hands of the press thanks to the generous cooperation of other Trump biographers, such as Wayne Barrett.

Schwartz is speaking out for the first time against Trump after the two made millions of dollars from  the 1987 Art of the Deal book. Trump's lawyers immediately filed a demand for return of the money July 20 after Schwartz's interviews but Schwartz says his main priority must to be warn the public against Trump, not fear litigation.

Beyond these two, Trump faces similar attacks from his wealthy business colleagues and retired government executives that dwarf what even the opponent he calls “crooked Hillary” has ever had to face.

Billionaire businessman and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who won his first two mayoral terms as a Republican and last as an independent, endorsed Clinton  at the Democratic National Convention with the comment that the nation needs a "sane and competent" president, not a "demagogue." Bloomberg, ranked this summer as the world's eighth richest person, was one of a number of business, military, intelligence, and Republican thought leaders to denounce Trump in recent days.

Project Reports this Week on Whistleblowers, Conventions

Written by Andrew Kreig
Published on July 26, 2016

 

The annual Whistle Blowers Summit this week in the nation’s capital features three sessions on 9/11 and the media organized by our Justice Integrity Project, which also continues our presidential convention coverage.

Ray Locker Nixon's Gamble coverOur first major panel at the Summit, a free event held annually on Capitol Hill, will analyze media treatments of cutting-edge issues July 27. One speaker is USA today enterprise editor Ray Locker, author of the recent investigative book Nixon's Gamble.

Democratic National ConventionThat evening of the 27th, a Wednesday, 9/11 expert Mick Harrison speaks at the National Press Club on the recently released “28 pages” from a long-suppressed 2002 congressional reported release July 15 under pressure from 9/11 victim families.

They and others wanted to know congressional findings on the identities of the long-hidden funders of the hijackers blamed for the terrorism.  Harrison joins a panel on the same topic the next morning as other experts analyze the congressional findings and describe next steps in the search for truth and public safety.
 
Meanwhile, our project continues coverage of this year’s presidential races with on-the-scene coverage of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, following up our reporting of last week’s Republican National Convention.

Much of our work has been reporting on long-term, in-depth topics not yet published. Each convention has hosted approximately 15,000 reporters. Therefore, curating and showcasing what’s most important is our focus, and a big part of that has been to work with other organizations and experts to present findings in events accessible to the public.

Readers Guide To Suppressed Report On Funders Of 9/11 Hijackers

Written by Andrew Kreig
Published on July 19, 2016

 

A Readers Guide summarizing news coverage during 2016 of the so-called "28 Pages" (actually 29 pages) is provided below to show the background of the controversy that prompted authorities to release on Kristen BreitwasserJuly 15 a redacted version of the 2002 Senate-House Inquiry on who funded 9/11 terrorism hijackers.

This Readers Guide is a companion piece to the Justice Integrity Project comprehensive column on the topic published July 18, Report On Saudi 9/11 Terrorists Prompts Outrage, New Questions.

It noted how Karen Breitweiser, shown on the cover of her 2006 memoir and supported by four other prominent 9/11 widows, published a hard-hitting Huffington Post column “29 Pages Revealed: Corruption, Crime and Cover-up Of 9/11.”

"First and foremost," she said of those officials claiming there was nothing new in the day's revelations, "here is what you need to know when you listen to any member of our government state that the newly released 29 pages are no smoking gun — THEY ARE LYING."

The summary is below, and will be updated as needed.

Report On Saudi 9/11 Terrorists Prompts Outrage, New Questions

Written by Andrew Kreig
Published on July 19, 2016

 

Some of the 9/11 hijackers received support from individuals probably connected to the Saudi government, according to a long-classified 2002 Senate-House report released in redacted form on Friday, July 15.

World Trade Center 9/11 via Creative CommonsWhite House spokesman Josh Ernest said the report shows "no evidence" of a Saudi role, and Saudi Ambassador to the United States Abdullah Al-Saud put out a statement welcoming the report's publication as administration officials suggested further that recent investigations have vindicated Saudis from the 2002 report's claims.

But Karen Breitweiser and four other prominent 9/11 widows aptly responded with a hard-hitting Huffington Post column 29 Pages Revealed: Corruption, Crime and Cover-up Of 9/11.

"First and foremost," she said of those officials making announcements, "here is what you need to know when you listen to any member of our government state that the newly released 29 pages are no smoking gun — THEY ARE LYING." She continued:

Our government’s relationship to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is no different than an addict’s relationship to heroin. Much like a heroin addict who will lie, cheat, and steal to feed their vice, certain members of our government will lie, cheat, and steal to continue their dysfunctional and deadly relationship with the KSA — a relationship that is rotting this nation and its leaders from the inside out.

Former Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Bob Graham praised the disclosure as a way to allow families and other Former Sen. Bob Grahaminvestigators to pursue the truth about the attacks that killed more than three thousand Americans on Sept. 11, 2001. Graham, shown in a file photo, has helped lead the fight for release of the report he co-authored in 2002 but has been forbidden to describe until now.

Responding in similarly strong but measured tones was U.S. Rep. Walter Jones, a North Carolina Republican and the most senior incumbent member of congress leading the effort.

Jones said newly declassified pages from a congressional report into 9/11 will give victims' families and the American public more insight into the tragedy, as reported by the Reflector.com in Greenville, NC.

9/11 widow Terry Strada, daughter Kaitlyn, three congressmen advocate for 28 pages release July 6, 2016"I'm just delighted for the 9/11 families and the American people that they can see this part of 9/11 and make some decisions for themselves," Jones said. "I said all along that America's strength is when the American people know the truth about a tragedy like 9/11, one of the most horrendous things to happen to America."

President George W. Bush initially classified the report. President Barack Obama, other Executive Branch, and most congressional officials continued the classification. Meanwhile, public pressure has mounted, including a CBS 60 Minutes episode with Steve Kroft broadcast April 8 (and rebroadcast in June), Top secret "28 pages" may hold clues about Saudi support for 9/11 hijackers, making the case for  the report's release.

“This has been a long journey on behalf of the 9/11 families who have felt the horrific pain of that day for years," Jones said. "We are happy that President Obama kept his promise to the 9/11 families."

The redacted document names individuals who helped the hijackers get apartments, open bank accounts and connect with local mosques. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals and several were not fluent in English and had little experience living in the West.

Jones is shown at the center of our Justice Integrity Project photo last week. It portrays also 9/11 widow Terry Strada at a microphone outside the Capitol building July 6 calling for release of the report. Reps. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) and Thomas Massie (R-KY) are at the right and left of Jones, respectively.

None of the participants in the years-long struggle to release the 2002 report apparently knew the report was going to be released, or even its correct length of 29 pages. The suppressed report has always been called “the 28 pages.” Those pages have been kept locked up under such tight security that even members of Congress who wrote it — and supposedly provide oversight to the FBI, CIA and other Executive Branch agencies — could not discuss it without facing imprisonment.

That deference to the Saudis and their allies within the United States is the most important part of this episode and so shapes our coverage.  

We shall cite all relevant viewpoints but note that mainstream media for the most part ignore critics of the official reports. One was former Bush Administration counter-terrorism advisor Richard Clarke.

"The fix is in," he recalled (to a biographer) telling a White House colleague in early 2003 upon hearing news that the 9/11 Commission had hired as its executive director Philip Zelikow. Zelikow, part of the Bush administration transition team in 2000, was a close ally of the administration and a fierce opponent of Clarke, a National Security Council staffer who had unsuccessfully warned about al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden before the 9/11 attacks.

Two Potential Democratic VP Nominees Come Out Swinging

Written by Andrew Kreig
Published on June 26, 2016

 

Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez and Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey delivered hard-hitting speeches at the National Press Club last week that showed why each is regarded as a top option as the Democratic vice presidential nominee.

Tom Perez National Press Club June 22, 2016Perez, born in Buffalo, NY and shown in our photo at right, described how his family’s immigrant roots in the Dominican Republic helps inspire his implementation of the Obama administration’s policies, including a presidential order enabling estimated 4.2 million workers to qualify for overtime.

Booker, shown below in a file photo, spoke on “The Search for Equal Justice.” He was reared in a prosperous New Jersey suburb that his parents desegregated, and after a stint as mayor of the 95 percent minority nearby city of Newark won election to the U.S. senate in 2013.

Cory BookerEach spoke on June 22 at the press club, which is located in downtown Washington, DC. This editor attended both talks as part of our ongoing understanding of the 2016 election campaign and other national issues. We focus both on mainstream and little-reported issues in the contest between prospective Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump.

The Labor Secretary's talk was entitled, Building the Best America, with quotations below from the prepared text, which closely paralleled his talk as delivered.

“A few weeks ago,” Perez began, “the New York Times asked, “When did optimism become uncool?” I must confess that – as a chronic, relentless optimist – I took it a little personally. I know my teenage kids think I’m uncool. I get that.

"But the Times hit on something darker within our politics – the fact that some politicians find it expedient to exploit people’s worst fears… to accentuate the negative and eliminate the positive… to turn people against each other instead of toward each other."

In DC, Saudis Deploy PR, Pressure To Defend Disputed Policies

Written by Andrew Kreig
Published on June 20, 2016

 

Saudi Arabia's royal heir apparent traveled to the U.S. capital last week in a charm offensive to shore up the kingdom's controversial relations with U.S. elites.

Mohammed Bin Salman Al-Saud

In the wake of increasing American suspicions of a Saudi role in financing 9/11 terrorists and supporting ISIS, President Obama met June 17 with the monarchy's number three leader, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Salman, 30, is also the Saudi defense minister and the favored son of his country's elderly king, who ascended to the throne last year. A war hawk, Salman (shown in a file photo and known by his initials "MBS") met June 16 with U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and other VIPs, as reported in Saudi Arabia's Wonder Prince Comes to Washington. By tradition, the ambitious MBS stands behind Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, 56, but doubts about what will happen give current meaning to the term "palace intrigue," as David Ignatius reported in the Washington Post, A 30-year-old Saudi prince could jump-start the kingdom — or drive it off a cliff.

Meanwhile, U.S. defenders of the kingdom such as CIA Director John Brennan, the longtime CIA bureau chief in Saudi Arabia, pooh-poohed suspicions that the Saudis have hurt the United States.

Today's column reports on this Saudi visit as the second segment of our ongoing coverage of fallout from 9/11, the ongoing wars in Syria and Yemen, and the June 12 massacre in an Orlando nightclub by an Omar Mateenaccused Islamist radical, Omar Mateen, a security guard for a major U.S. contractor, G4S.

In the first segment, Conservatives Blast Obama On Terror Attack, Miss Key Clues on June 17, we reported on conservative reactions to the fatal shootings of 49 patrons and staff at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando.

Authorities ascribed the deaths to Mateen, 29, shown in a file photo. Officials said Mateen acted on his own pro-Islamist beliefs before a SWAT team killed him. Our next segment will raise questions about official accounts and media treatments of the nightclub shooting.

We begin today's column by summarizing why the American public is becoming suspicious of the extraordinary deference that U.S. elites in both major political parties extend to the oil-rich kingdom, which advances its Wahhabist version of Islam by funding jihadists and in wars against Syria and Yemen.

Next, we examine here allegations that the Saudis maintain their influence over American government leaders via vast (but not necessarily illegal) spending that helps presidential contenders, the entities that support them, and other elected and appointed officials.

In support of the Saudis, officials from both parties in the U.S. government have kept secret from the American public the 2002 Joint Senate-House report on who funded the 9/11 terrorists, despite the view of experts and 9/11 families that suspicions point to Saudi-funded entities.

U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie on 28 PagesAbove is a quotation from U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, a Kentucky Tea Party Republican who has been outraged over the secrecy. He has been a leader in the fight to publish the 2002 congressional findings, which after years of obstruction has received leadership support, a positive CBS "60 Minutes" feature, and other deserved momentum.

We shall examine also below how the U.S. government has helped thwart 9/11 families from pursuing litigation against Saudi organizations suspected of funding 9/11 hijackers. The evidence is that 15 out of 19 were Saudis, with some living high in Florida and California via funding that the American public has been forbidden to learn about.

Finally, we report on how Salman sought to use his visit last week to address such controversies while frustrated by President Obama's apparent reluctance to ramp up the war against Syria's government as Saudi Arabia deeply desires.

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