Fdd's overnight brief

April 19, 2019

In The News


The Central Intelligence Agency in the past year has shifted resources to better understand nation-state adversaries such as Russia and Iran, the agency’s director said on Thursday, suggesting those targets had suffered from neglect in the post-2001 focus on terrorism. – Wall Street Journal

Iran marked its army day April 18, with a massive display of troops, missiles, submarines, armored vehicles and Russian-supplied S-300 air defense system. President Hassan Rouhani presided over the parade, with armed forces brass accompanying him. – Radio Farda

Iran showcased its domestically made fighter jets by flying the aircraft over Tehran during a military parade Thursday marking National Army Day as the country grapples with U.S. sanctions and the Trump administration’s recent terrorism designation of Iran’s powerful paramilitary force. – Associated Press

The Islamic Republic’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has sent a letter to his counterparts around the world warning against U.S. intentions to directly confront Iran. – Radio Farda

In a meeting with military commanders of Iran on Wednesday, April 17, the Islamic Republic Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei said, “Any action that makes the enemy angry is appropriate and correct; whereas, any move that makes them more aggressive and stronger in spirit must be avoided.” – Radio Farda

Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi-Kermani, a member of the Assembly of Experts and the Expediency Council, said in a sermon in Tehran that aired on Channel 1 TV that “stupid Trump’s” declaration runs contrary to every international principle and that it is proof that America is the “mother of all terrorism.” – Middle East Media Research Institute

It is being whispered in Arab circles that Egypt is withdrawing from the planned Middle East defense alliance with US backing, known as the “Arab NATO,” the Sunni answer to the Iranian threat. – Jerusalem Post

Israel has long noted that Iran threatens not only them but other regional states, but Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced Thursday his Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps will merely be used against “Zionists” and “American imperialists” and not other Middle Eastern states, Reuters reported. – Jerusalem Post

The US decision to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization is a dangerous development that could lead to chaos, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned on Wednesday, according to The Associated Press. – Associated Press

Matthew Levitt writes: The Foreign Terrorist Organization listing adds only two substantive tools[…]. Depending on how these new tools are implemented—and what guidance the White House gives border authorities and prosecutors—these could have significant effects, some positive, some not. It also adds yet another layer of sanctions threat, which could sharpen the costs of doing business with Iran more broadly given the extent to which the IRGC is embedded in the Iranian economy. This could prove particularly difficult for Iraq, which is dependent on Iranian energy and whose officials could now be exposed to sanctions and criminal liability. – Washington Institute


Hezbollah is among dozens of groups classified by the United States as terrorist entities that have learned how to stay a step ahead of the social media giants. In the past, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have taken down the official pages of these militant groups dozens of times and banned their accounts. But Hamas and Hezbollah, in particular, have evolved by getting their supporters to publish images and videos that deliver their message — but that do not set off the alarm bells of the social media platforms. – New York Times

The new commander of the IDF’s Ground Forces said Thursday the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah was still planning to carry out a surprise invasion of northern Israel, despite the recent Israeli operation to uncover and destroy an extensive network of cross-border attack tunnels dug by the Iran-backed militia. – Times of Israel

Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil has reportedly met with a senior official in Moscow and “discussed borders,” Saudi Arabian newspaper Elaph reported. […]The report also claimed that the Lebanese minister had asked the Israeli’s “to stop threatening Lebanon because of Hezbollah, saying that Hezbollah is part of the components of Lebanon and the Lebanese state will know how to accommodate all parties and groups under its sovereign.” – Jerusalem Post

Israel will win the next conflict with those who pose a threat from the north, says the outgoing head of the IDF Northern Command, General Yoel Strick, as he marks the end of a two-year stint in the position. Strick says it would be a mistake separating Lebanese-based terror group Hezbollah from the rest of Lebanon since it is a political player and part of the establishment. It would be wise, in his view, to declare war on Lebanon to demonstrate the price they will have to pay, should Hezbollah attack. – Ynet


Thousands of foreign children are stuck in a Syrian camp after fleeing fighting in Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL or ISIS) last stronghold, according to a United Nations official. – Al Jazeera

Israel’s Air Force reportedly used the supersonic Rampage stand-off air-to-surface missiles for the first time during a strike on Iranian positions in Syria last week, foreign media has reported. – Jerusalem Post

Baz Bakkari writes: This new perspective may prompt a number of prominent Syrian opposition members to turn to Russia for solutions instead, despite a previous reluctance to do so. Opposition members are now looking to Moscow to propose a compromise based on national priorities that does not deny the rights of the Syrian opposition to participate fully in politics as well as a diplomatic position that supports Syria’s sovereignty over the Golan area. – Washington Institute


Turkey’s hopes of avoiding punishing U.S. sanctions over its purchase of a Russian air defence system appear increasingly pinned on intervention from Donald Trump, but the president has little leeway to counter Ankara’s many critics in Washington. – Reuters

Desmond Lachman writes: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seems to be in complete denial about the gravity of his country’s economic plight, and he shows no sign of being ready to come to political terms with the United States to facilitate a successful approach to the IMF. This means that the Turkish economic crisis will likely deepen and that it will only be a matter of time before the global financial system has to deal with widespread Turkish corporate debt defaults. – The Hill

Soner Cagaptay writes: Washington can play a further role at this stage to fully realign the PKK-YPG relationship with Turkey. U.S. officials have been engaged in ongoing talks with their counterparts to make a safe zone a reality.  If implemented, this “safe zone” would help push the YPG away from Turkey’s border. […]The window for Washington to fix its Kurdish problem with Ankara could open soon as Turkey closes the page regarding Istanbul’s mayoral race, entering a period of no new elections for the next 5 years. – Washington Institute


Jason Greenblatt, the US Special Envoy for Middle East negotiations, has been engaged in a Twitter debate for the last two days with Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, over the direction of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. – Jerusalem Post

IDF and Border Police troops, working with the Civil Administration, on Friday morning demolished two apartments owned by Arafat Irfayia of Hebron, who is suspected of murdering 19-year-old Ori Ansbacher in a forest in Jerusalem last February. – Ynet

Ahmed Charai writes: It would nonetheless be unwise to pin hopes for any Israeli-Palestinian settlement on the highest echelons of government. Peace must be made on the level of civil relations as well. To that end, the Trump administration would be well advised to ignore the counsel to go small, or abandon peacemaking entirely and instead, to go long. Simply put, security and prosperity demand a peace between people. The U.S. should accordingly push for a broader effort at cultural reform with the potential to generate the popular support necessary to sustain a peace process. – The Hill

David Pollock writes: Indeed, the Palestinian Authority has already preemptively rejected the still-secret plan. Based on a series of cryptic but telling hints from Washington, PA officials strongly suspect that the plan will not posit or even offer to negotiate a sovereign Palestinian state with a political foothold in Jerusalem. […]Even a few brave calls to talk about the Trump plan rather than just trash it might mitigate the administration’s anger at Palestinian authorities and keep the door open for future dialogue, which remains the best long-term option. – Washington Institute

Gulf States

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi traveled to Saudi Arabia this week and met with King Salman, in a sign of deepening relations between two countries that for years had no diplomatic ties. – Wall Street Journal

Inquiries into the murder of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi should not end once her report on the killing is submitted in the coming weeks, United Nations investigator Agnes Callamard has said. – Al Jazeera

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have donated 95 tonnes of aid to their flood-hit regional rival Iran, according to the Saudi Press Agency. – Al Jazeera


Yemen’s warring parties could start withdrawing forces from the main port city of Hodeidah within weeks, a move needed to pave the way for political negotiations to end the four-year war, the U.N. special envoy said on Thursday. – Reuters

French weapons are not being used against civilians in Yemen, France’s armed forces minister Florence Parly said on Thursday. – Al Jazeera

Nelson was in a tight corner, tied up and imprisoned by men who believed he was a spy. It didn’t look good. […]That cut no ice with his captors, a militia loyal to the internationally recognised Yemeni government that is backed by Saudi Arabia. They saw the GPS satellite transmitter on Nelson’s left leg, and assumed the worst. – BBC

Undeterred by a presidential veto, Democratic lawmakers are exploring new ways to end U.S. military involvement in the Yemen conflict following a months-long battle between Capitol Hill and the White House over how the United States wages war abroad. Rep. Ro Khanna, a Democrat, said he and other Democratic lawmakers are eyeing new steps to stop U.S. support for a Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen’s civil war. – Foreign Policy


On Libya’s front lines, fighters often hold a gun in one hand and a smartphone in the other, using their cameras in the propaganda war. Since strongman Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive to seize the capital Tripoli, most Libyans have watched the fighting on social media. Facebook has become the main online battleground, where both sides weaponise photos and video footage — both real and fake. – Agence France-Presse

The United States and Russia both said on Thursday they could not support a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire in Libya at this time, diplomats said, as mortar bombs crashed down on a suburb of the Libyan capital, Tripoli. – Reuters

At least 205 people have been killed in the battle for control of the Libyan capital Tripoli, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday, as the United Nations-recognised government said it would seek the prosecution of renegade military leader Khalifa Haftar in the International Criminal Court (ICC). – Al Jazeera

Korean Peninsula

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un plans to meet President Vladi­mir Putin in Russia later this month, the Kremlin said Thursday, as Moscow looks to gain a greater role in the international outreach with Pyongyang. – Washington Post

The report, in the newspaper Rodong Sinmun, the mouthpiece of the government, followed South Korean media reports of cases of pneumonia and frostbite in Samjiyon. Together they suggest that American-led sanctions over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program are hurting Mr. Kim in a way they haven’t before: by targeting the state-run economy and the party and military elite who support his totalitarian rule. – New York Times

A new weapon that North Korea claims to have tested is likely a short-range guided missile aimed at striking battlefield targets with high precision, military experts said, showing how the nuclear-armed regime continues to develop its warfare capabilities even as it pursues diplomacy with the U.S. –  Wall Street Journal

Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan acknowledged North Korea conducted a weapons test on Wednesday, after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un bragged about the testing of a “new-type tactical guided weapon” on Wednesday. […]“The way I’d characterize it is it’s not a ballistic missile,” Shanahan said Thursday, according to media reports. – Washington Examiner

Joseph Bosco writes: In his run for the presidency, Trump’s lack of foreign policy experience was widely seen as a decided disadvantage. Yet, somehow, with his instinct and practical business experience, he managed to grasp the strategic realities undergirding the China and North Korea problems far more astutely than did his opponent Hillary Clinton or his senior adviser Henry Kissinger. […]Beijing may be glad to have the earlier Pillsbury back, but U.S. national security would benefit from Trump’s return to the core principles that guided his original instincts toward China and North Korea. Before defeat gets snatched from the jaws of victory, let Trump be Trump. – The Hill


China’s Belt and Road project is not a “geopolitical tool” or a debt crisis for participating nations, but Beijing welcomes constructive suggestions on how to address concerns over the initiative, the government’s top diplomat said on Friday. – Reuters

The World Trade Organization decided that China didn’t automatically qualify for market-economy status in 2016 as Beijing has asserted, according to two people with knowledge of the case, handing a major victory to the European Union and U.S. – Bloomberg

Josh Rogin writes: When President Trump unveiled his administration’s plan for “winning the race” to 5G last week, he neglected to mention that the United States is building its network using a technology that’s inferior to what the rest of the planet will likely adopt. It’s akin to building a Betamax system in a VHS world. […]Trump has made his decision, but a responsible parallel policy would be to move forward with research of sub-6 spectrum sharing. That way, we at least have the option to go to VHS if the Betamax system fails. Winning the race for 5G won’t mean much if we are running in the wrong direction. – Washington Post

Ezekiel Emanuel, Amy Gadsden and Scott Moore write: Everywhere you turn in the U.S. these days, there is worried talk of China’s rise and the fading of American pre-eminence on the world stage. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sees China as “the greatest challenge that the United States will face in the medium to long term.” […]America needs to do what it does best: compete. The U.S. has the world’s best research universities, a great scientific talent pipeline and a strong culture of innovation. Now Washington needs to invest more—much more—in both basic and applied scientific research. – Wall Street Journal

South Asia

The first talks between Afghan leaders and Taliban insurgents, scheduled to begin here Friday, were abruptly postponed Thursday amid an eruption of internal disputes and Taliban complaints over the size and composition of the Afghan government delegation. – Washington Post

Gunmen killed 14 commuter bus passengers in southwestern Pakistan on Thursday, apparently singling out people who worked for the armed services, in an attack claimed by separatists in Baluchistan province. – New York Times

India has suspended trade across its disputed Kashmir border with Pakistan, alleging that weapons and drugs are being smuggled across the route, as tensions simmer between the nuclear-armed neighbours. – Agence France-Presse

Eugene Kontorovich writes: If the ICC were to indict U.S. servicemen, no American president would turn them over, but it would have a real effect on their lives. They would face peril in traveling to countries that have joined the ICC, including all of Western Europe. They would be international fugitives. […]This is all an example of the administration’s brand of benign nationalism: supporting the right of democratic, law-abiding states to govern themselves, rather than ceding sovereignty to unaccountable institutions in the name of a pleasant-sounding but dysfunctional ideology of globalism. – Wall Street Journal


While Foxconn chairman Terry Gou enters Taiwan’s rancorous political arena free of any political baggage, he could yet find himself weighed down by connections to Beijing forged during his pragmatic commercial rise. Gou, 68, announced on Wednesday that he would contest Taiwan’s 2020 presidential election, seeking to represent the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) party – a vote that comes after a period of increasing tension between Beijing and the self-ruled island. – Reuters

China was stepping up a campaign to exert influence over Taiwan, including its upcoming presidential election, a senior U.S. official said on Thursday, at a time of heightened tension between the self-ruled island and Beijing. – Reuters

President Trump will host Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the White House later this month and visit Japan at the end of May, the White House announced Thursday. – The Hill

Matthew P. Goodman, Gordon de Brouwer, Shiro Armstrong, and Adam Triggs write: A major challenge for the United States and Australia in realizing these opportunities is to reinforce and extend the practices, rules, and institutions supporting open and well-functioning markets[…]. As the regional and world order becomes more multipolar, seizing these economic opportunities is a necessary part of a portfolio approach to meet the security challenges of more assertive military and cyber activities. – Center for Strategic and International Studies


Ukraine’s new president could regain control over the separatist-controlled east of his country within months and get cheap gas and major investment from Russia if he does a deal with Moscow, the Kremlin’s closest ally in Ukraine said. – Reuters

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the United States on Friday of brazenly meddling in Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project. – Reuters

Alexander Baunov writes: Poroshenko’s Ukraine, a hostile country that has turned its back on Russia to look toward NATO, was a useful bogeyman for Russian domestic politics, an example of what route not to follow. Under a President Zelensky, Ukraine would go from being a foreign-policy problem for Russia to becoming a domestic one. An amiable, fresh young president with a sense of humor, who is focused on domestic issues, would become—in the eyes of an indeterminately large proportion of Russians—an alternative to Putin. To ward this off, Putin will have to attack Zelensky from the same positions that his enemy Poroshenko has taken: as a comedian, the oligarchs’ stooge, an inexperienced politician. – Foreign Policy


The police in Northern Ireland said a woman was killed Thursday during a night of unrest in the city of Londonderry in which gasoline bombs were thrown and shots fired. […]The police considered the killing to be a “terrorist incident” and said they had begun a murder investigation. – New York Times

The European Parliament is predicting that nationalist, populist and anti-migrant groups will make significant gains in the May 23-26 EU elections but says it thinks mainstream parties will keep control over the assembly. – Associated Press

Bosnian Serb lawmakers voted on Thursday to introduce reserve police forces, a move seen as a security threat by Muslim Bosniaks living in Bosnia’s autonomous Serb Republic. – Reuters

Poland should follow Greece in stepping up pressure on Germany to pay billions of euros in damages for Nazi occupation during World War Two, a lawmaker in charge of Warsaw’s reparations campaign said on Thursday. – Reuters

Climate change activists who have disrupted roads and bridges in central London for days say they plan to bring their civil disobedience campaign to Heathrow Airport. – Al Jazeera

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz will take part in the second Belt and Road Forum in Beijing next week, but he won’t follow Italy and sign a formal accord to cooperate on China’s giant infrastructure project to redraw the global trade map. – Bloomberg

For the first time in 76 years, the Warsaw Ghetto will have its first seder on April 19th, the Jerusalem Post reported. Shalom Ber Stambler, Chabad’s Chief Rabbi of Poland will be officiating the Seder, which will have one hundred Jewish families spanning from Israel, Europe and the United States. – Forward

German prosecutors on Thursday charged a 92-year-old man with aiding and abetting the murder of 5,230 people as a guard at a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. The allegations against the accused, identified by daily newspaper Die Welt as Bruno Dey from Hamburg, concern atrocities committed at the Stutthof concentration camp, near what was then Danzig, now Gdansk in Poland. – Agence France-Presse


The U.S. State Department on Thursday called on Sudan’s military to step aside and make way for a peaceful civilian-led transition, as protesters in Khartoum kept up demands for the country’s transitional military council to hand over power to civilians. – Reuters

Islamic State (IS) has recorded 69 casualties from the Nigerian Army and troops from an African anti-militant force in attacks over the past week, the Jihadist group said in its weekly paper on Thursday. Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), which split from Nigeria-based Boko Haram in 2016, has carried out a series of attacks in the last few months. – Reuters

Mali’s prime minister resigned along with his entire government on Thursday following criticism over their handling of an upsurge of violence in the centre of the country and a massacre last month that left 160 people dead. – Agence France-Presse

Islamic State claimed its first attack in Congo on Thursday, and declared it the “Central Africa Province” of the “Caliphate,” after two Congolese soldiers and a civilian were killed in a shootout. – Reuters

A man was charged in a Ugandan court on Thursday with kidnapping for ransom an American tourist and her driver earlier this month, police said. – Reuters

Channel i24NEWS reported on Thursday that Chad and the Central African Republic have uncovered an Iranian terror network operating in their territories as well as in other countries. The members of the network have been arrested. – Jerusalem Post

United States

The new North American free trade pact would modestly boost the U.S. economy, especially auto parts production, but may curb vehicle assembly and limit consumer choice in cars, a hotly anticipated analysis from the U.S. International Trade Commission showed on Thursday. – Reuters

The fallout over a conference hosted at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill about the Gaza Strip continued in recent days, as a member of Congress called for an investigation into public funding of the event and some sponsors demanded their money back. – Algemeiner

Bret Stephens writes: The bulk of Omar’s speech was devoted to preaching political empowerment for American Muslims and denouncing Islamophobia. That’s fine as far as it goes. But contrary to claims by some of her apologists, the remark is not taken out of context, it is not contradicted by anything else she says in the speech, and it is not marred merely because it is factually mistaken. […]We must also hold those that we love, have shared values with, accountable.” Those w ords, at least, are wise. The best thing Democrats could do now is apply them to Omar herself. – New York Times

Latin America

Britain said it was concerned by new attempts by the United States to require foreign companies to abide by U.S. sanctions on Cuba that have been rejected by Britain and other European countries. – Reuters

As Venezuela’s reliance on Russia grows amid the country’s unfolding crisis, Vladimir Putin’s point man in Caracas is pushing back on the U.S. revival of a doctrine used for generations to justify military interventions in the region. – Associated Press

The Trump administration on Wednesday intensified its crackdown on Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, rolling back Obama administration policy and announcing new restrictions and sanctions against the three countries whose leaders national security adviser John Bolton dubbed the “three stooges of socialism.” – Associated Press

A judge in Ecuador has ordered former foreign minister Ricardo Patino be held in pre-trial detention on a so-called instigation charge, the attorney general’s office said on Thursday, but the ex-official’s whereabouts are unknown. The administration of President Lenin Moreno has said that Patino, who served as foreign minister under the previous government of President Rafael Correa, is connected to WikiLeaks. – Reuters


“The race for 5G is on, and America must win.” That was President Trump last Friday, announcing new federal initiatives to speed the deployment of 5G networks. […]But 5G also comes with potentially enormous security risks, and the U.S. government has responded by banning components made by several Chinese companies from its 5G networks and pressuring its allies to do the same. Here are five things that can put 5G in perspective. – Washington Post

Federal regulators investigating Facebook for mishandling its users’ personal information have set their sights on the company’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, exploring his past statements on privacy and weighing whether to seek new, heightened oversight of his leadership. – Washington Post

The Weather Channel is blaming a “malicious software attack” for an incident that disrupted its live broadcast on Thursday. […]The FBI confirmed the agency is conducting an investigation into the attack. – Washington Examiner

Social media giant Facebook on Thursday banned various far-right British groups including the English Defence League from its network for promoting hate and violence. – Agence France-Presse

A new law that could further cordon Russia from the global internet passed the country’s parliament this week and awaits President Vladimir Putin’s signature. – CNBC

Tom Rogan writes: Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report offers further evidence that Julian Assange is a Russian intelligence agent. […]considering that Mueller’s report also details Assange’s repeated efforts to shield Russia as the sourcing agency for the hacked emails and notes Assange’s disgusting effort to suggest that the source was actually the innocent murder victim Seth Rich, we are left with a simple, sustaining question: As I asked last week, why wasn’t Assange charged as having conspired with Russian intelligence officers to illegally attack the U.S. election in 2016? – Washington Examiner


The Army plans to spend more than $8.4 billion over the next five years to modernize its battlefield network, according to the Pentagon’s latest budget request and Army documents. – C4ISRNET

F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter lead-contractor Lockheed Martin reconfigured a host of its contracts with its suppliers to lower the aircraft price tag, improve readiness and control ongoing maintenance costs. – USNI News

The head of U.S. forces in the Pacific has asked Congress to support several new initiatives to increase American military power in the region beyond what has been set aside in the Fiscal Year 2020 budget request, according to a March 22 letter obtained by USNI News. – USNI News

Mike Pietrucha and Jeremy Renken write: After years of warfare in the Middle East, American security concerns are turning to Western Europe, where a resurgent Russia once again threatens the Atlantic alliance. This sea change is driving a reassessment of how the United States designs, deploys, and employs relevant forces for a great power conflict. The National Defense Strategy recognizes both Russia and China as peer competitors, but there is no reason to believe this portends a period of open, high-intensity warfare. Instead, it is much more likely that these competitors will continue to exploit “gray zone” conflicts to advance their interests at low cost and low risk. – War on the Rocks

Trump Administration

In what will stand as among the most definitive public accounts of the Kremlin’s attack on the American political system, the report of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation laid out in precise, chronological detail how “the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion.” – Washington Post

Mueller ultimately did not establish that Trump or members of his campaign coordinated or conspired with Moscow to affect the 2016 presidential election, but he and his team declined to reach a conclusion on whether the president obstructed justice. That issue is likely to be at the center of the political debate moving forward. – The Hill

House Democrats will convene via conference call on Monday to discuss the next steps following the public release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russia’s election interference and whether President Trump obstructed justice. – The Hill

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said Thursday that she would sign on to a resolution calling for an investigation into whether President Trump should be impeached, citing special counsel Robert Mueller’s report in her decision-making. – The Hill

Jane Harman writes: At the nadir of the political dysfunction in Washington, all eyes are on Attorney General William Barr, the redactions throughout the more than 400 pages of the report from special counsel Robert Mueller, and what all this could mean for President Trump. […]As all this plays out, many leaders are taking the cue to double down on asymmetric capabilities. – The Hill

Eli Lake writes: Now that Mueller has concluded his investigation without showing criminal conspiracy between Trump and Russia, the folly of Trump’s scheming is apparent. Had he just fired Comey in January 2017 and kept his mouth shut, Trump might still have faced an investigation over ties to Russia, but he could have avoided extending and expanding that so it became a nearly-two-year inquest into possible obstruction of justice as well. Instead, through incompetence and vanity, Trump became an author of his own inquisition and handed Mueller the most damning evidence against him. – Bloomberg