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More details have come to light about the maneuvering around the United States-North Korea summit, highlighting President Donald Trump’s impulsivity and constant breaks with U.S. foreign relations norms—whether it be trying to move the summit up out of boredom or praising North Korea’s propagandist press.

According to a Thursday Washington Post report, Trump started off his trip in Singapore by expressing his boredom to staffers and asking why they couldn’t just move the fully-planned summit up a day. “We’re here now,” he reportedly said. “Why can’t we just do it?”

He was only talked out of this idea when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders convinced him that he would lose press coverage if the summit were to be changed to what would be Sunday night in America.

Trump reportedly started to hit his groove when the summit began, lavishing praise on North Korea’s state-run propaganda machine that masquerades as a news source, joking that even Fox News isn’t as friendly to him to North Korea’s media is to Kim Jong Un. Per the Washington Post, he jokingly offered a North Korean anchor a spot on a U.S. news show.

He reportedly continued to swoon at North Korea’s displays, awestruck by how “tough” their soldiers were and quipping that they could probably beat up Chief of Staff John Kelly, a retired general. He took his admiration a bridge too far, as footage is now circulating of him saluting a North Korean soldier, a gesture seen as a shocking display of deference to a hostile regime.

As he left the summit, he was entranced by the idea of bringing in developers and financiers to get into the North Korean real estate market, according to the Washington Post. “As an example, they have great beaches,” Trump told reporters at a news conference.. “You see that whenever they’re exploding their cannons into the ocean, right? I said, ‘Boy, look at the view. Wouldn’t that make a great condo behind?’ ”

Per the Washington Post, it is unclear if Trump kept these fantasies to himself and the American press, or if he shared them personally with Kim.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) sees no problem with Trump’s real estate ambitions. “He is selling condos, that’s what he is doing,” Graham told the Washington Post. “He’s approaching North Korea as a distressed property with a cash-flow problem. Here’s how we can fix it.”

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President Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani used the recent release of a Justice Department inspector general report as just another pawn in his quest to pummel and discredit the probe into Trump and Russian interference in the 2016 election.

During an appearance on Fox News’ Sean Hannity show Thursday night, the increasingly unhinged lawyer suggested that special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe should be suspended “tomorrow” (Friday) and that FBI official Peter Strzok should be jailed by next week.

“I believe that Rod Rosenstein and Jeff Sessions have a chance to redeem themselves and that chance comes about tomorrow, it doesn’t go beyond tomorrow,” he said. “Tomorrow Mueller should be suspended and honest people should be brought it, impartial people to investigate these people like Strzok. Strzok should be in jail by the end of next week.”

The slipshod messaging from Trump’s top lawyer comes in stark contrast with bipartisan warnings that Trump has received over the past year: Don’t fire Mueller.

But far-right Trump allies are using the highly anticipated DOJ IG report that dove into the FBI’s handling of its probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of private email as fodder for their case of a “deep state” within the FBI.

In the report, DOJ IG Michael Horowitz concluded that while some FBI officials, like Strzok and former director James Comey, deviated from departmental norms, their actions were not politically motivated.

New text messages exchanged between Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page were released as part of the report, revealing that Strzok told Page that “we’ll stop” Trump from reaching the White House. While Republicans have seized on the texts as incriminating evidence of their belief of an anti-Trump bias within the FBI, Strzok was investigating Clinton, not Trump, at the time the text was sent. Strzok even penned the first draft of the letter that Comey eventually sent to Congress announcing he had reopened the investigation into Clinton’s emails just days before the 2016 presidential election.

Democrats have lambasted Comey for the public announcement, claiming it was a negligent move that cost Clinton the election.

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Key allies of President Donald Trump on the House Judiciary Committee, Reps. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL) have asked the Justice Department to hand over all unrevised drafts of the inspector general report that was released Thursday, amid concerns that “people may have changed the report in a way that obfuscates your findings.”

The letter to DOJ IG Michael Horowitz argues that lawmakers should have the opportunity to review the drafts because members of the Justice Department reviewed the report before it was made public and were allowed to respond or dispute any of the allegations made against them.

We are concerned that during this time, people may have changed the report in a way that obfuscates your findings,” they wrote. “Unfortunately, over the past year, the DOJ has repeatedly fought requests by Congress to produce documents related to this investigation, and when the DOJ actually provided documents, the materials have been heavily redacted. Past and present DOJ officials have asserted security concerns, even though the documents we have seen do not legitimately contain these issues.”

The lawmakers are referencing Republican lawmakers efforts to obtain documents from the Justice Department about the launch of the Russia probe, pointing to the FBI’s deployment of a government informant to meet with Trump campaign officials as evidence of a “deep state” bias against Trump within the agency. The Justice Department was attempting to protect the identity of an agent by sharing redacted material, but eventually opted to meet with a small group of lawmakers to discuss the classified information.

In the letter, the lawmakers said they have every reason to believe the IG report — which detailed the FBI’s handling of the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails — is “thorough and accurate,” but asserted that “the trust of the American people depends on it.”

The more than 500-page report released Thursday divulged, among many things, that while former FBI director James Comey’s actions in the reopening of the Clinton probe did not follow typical FBI protocol, he was not politically motivated.

H/t: The Washington Post

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The mass exodus from the White House continues as two more staffers make plans to leave the front lines of the Trump administration.

According to a Thursday Wall Street Journal report, Legislative Director Marc Short may leave as soon as this summer, citing the “diminishing returns” of pushing for Trump’s agenda. Kelly Love, White House senior assistant press secretary, is bolting for the energy department, per Bloomberg.

Short reportedly told Chief of Staff John Kelly his intentions before the United States-North Korea summit, citing the preponderance of leaks as an impetus for his departure.

Short has been with the administration since inauguration day after working for Vice President Mike Pence during the campaign. Per the Wall Street Journal, a rumored contender to fill his spot is Shahira Knight, deputy director of the National Economic Council.

Love has likewise been with team Trump for a long time, having handled press for Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump during the campaign. Per Bloomberg, she plans to leave the communications staff on Friday.

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders reportedly commented on Love’s departure on Thursday. “She has been a valued member of the press team since day one of the administration,” she said. “She will be promoted to the Department of Energy as principal deputy press secretary, allowing her to focus on issues she oversaw here at the White House.”

These departures are the latest in a long line of fleeing staff, forcing the high-turnover administration to take such measures as recruiting for usually highly-coveted positions at a Capitol Hill job fair.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has approved a plan to impose punishing tariffs on tens of billions of dollars of Chinese goods as early as Friday, a move that could put his trade policies on a collision course with his push to rid the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons.

Trump has long vowed to fulfill his campaign pledge to clamp down on what he considers unfair Chinese trading practices. But his calls for billions in tariffs could complicate his efforts to maintain China’s support in his negotiations with North Korea.

Trump met Thursday with several Cabinet members and trade advisers and was expected to impose tariffs on at least $35 billion to $40 billion of Chinese imports, according to an industry official and an administration official familiar with the plans.

The amount of goods could reach $55 billion, said the industry official. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss the matter ahead of a formal announcement.

If the president presses forward as expected, it could set the stage for a series of trade actions against China and lead to retaliation from Beijing. Trump has already slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and European allies, and his proposed tariffs against China risk starting a trade war involving the world’s two biggest economies.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Friday that China’s response would be immediate and that Beijing would “take necessary measures to defend our legitimate rights and interests.”

Geng gave no details. Beijing earlier drew up a list of $50 billion in U.S. products that would face retaliatory tariffs, including beef and soybeans, a shot at Trump’s supporters in rural America.

Trump’s decision on the Chinese tariffs comes in the aftermath of his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The president has coordinated closely with China on efforts to get Pyongyang to eliminate its nuclear arsenal. But he signaled that whatever the implications, “I have to do what I have to do” to address the trade imbalance.

Trump, in his press conference in Singapore on Tuesday, said the U.S. has a “tremendous deficit in trade with China and we have to do something about it. We can’t continue to let that happen.” The U.S. trade deficit with China was $336 billion in 2017.

Administration officials have signaled support for imposing the tariffs in a dispute over allegations that Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology, according to officials briefed on the plans. China has targeted $50 billion in U.S. products for potential retaliation.

Wall Street has viewed the escalating trade tensions with wariness, fearful that they could strangle the economic growth achieved during Trump’s watch and undermine the benefits of the tax cuts he signed into law last year.

“If you end up with a tariff battle, you will end up with price inflation, and you could end up with consumer debt. Those are all historic ingredients for an economic slowdown,” Gary Cohn, Trump’s former top economic adviser, said at an event sponsored by The Washington Post.

But Steve Bannon, Trump’s former White House and campaign adviser, said the crackdown on China’s trade practices was “the central part of Trump’s economic nationalist message. His fundamental commitment to the ‘deplorables’ on the campaign trail was that he was going to bring manufacturing jobs back, particularly from Asia.”

In the trade fight, Bannon said, Trump has converted three major tools that “the American elites considered off the table” — namely, the use of tariffs, the technology investigation of China and penalties on Chinese telecom giant ZTE.

“That’s what has gotten us to the situation today where the Chinese are actually at the table,” Bannon said. “It’s really not just tariffs, it’s tariffs on a scale never before considered.”

The Chinese have threatened to counterpunch if the president goes ahead with the plan. Chinese officials have said they would drop agreements reached last month to buy more U.S. soybeans, natural gas and other products.

Scott Kennedy, a specialist on the Chinese economy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the Chinese threat was real and helped along by recent strains exhibited among the U.S. and allies. “I don’t think they would cower or immediately run to the negotiating table to throw themselves at the mercy of Donald Trump,” Kennedy said. “They see the U.S. is isolated and the president as easily distracted.”

Ron Moore, who farms 1,800 acres of corn and soybeans in Roseville, Illinois, said soybean prices have already started dropping ahead of what looks like a trade war between the two economic powerhouses. “We have to plan for the worst-case scenario and hope for the best,” said Moore, who is chairman of the American Soybean Association. “If you look back at President Trump’s history, he’s been wildly successful negotiating as a businessman. But it’s different when you’re dealing with other governments.”

The U.S. and China have been holding ongoing negotiations over the trade dispute.

The United States has criticized China for the aggressive tactics it uses to develop advanced technologies, including robots and electric cars, under its “Made in China 2025” program. The U.S. tariffs are designed specifically to punish China for forcing American companies to hand over technology in exchange for access to the Chinese market.

The administration is also working on proposed Chinese investment restrictions by June 30. So far, Trump has yet to signal any interest in backing away.

“I think the tariffs are coming,” said Stephen Moore, a former Trump campaign adviser and visiting fellow at The Heritage Foundation. “It really does depend on whether China makes a move to ameliorate Trump’s concerns, and so far they haven’t.”

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Donald Trump’s personal attorney asked a federal judge Thursday night to sign a gag order to stop porn actress Stormy Daniels’ lawyer from speaking with reporters and releasing information about the case to the public.

In a court filing in Los Angeles, an attorney for Michael Cohen — the president’s personal lawyer — argues that Michael Avenatti, who is representing Daniels, has been tainting the case with a “publicity tour” that has included more than 100 television interview since March.

Cohen’s attorney, Brent Blakely, argues that Avenatti is “mainly driven by his seemingly unquenchable thirst for publicity.”

Blakely argues in court documents that Avenatti’s behavior, including the almost daily tweets about Cohen, is unethical, threatens his client’s ability to have a fair trial and is turning the case into a “media circus.” He wants a judge to sign a restraining order that would prohibit Avenatti from speaking with reporters or publicly releasing details about the case.

He said the “malicious attacks on Mr. Cohen must be stopped in its tracks.”
Avenatti called Blakely’s request a “complete joke” and said he would vehemently oppose it.

“The only unethical lawyers in this case are Mr. Cohen and his lawyer Mr. Blakely. They want to hide the truth from the American people because Mr. Cohen and Mr. Blakely believe that conspiracy and cover-up are acceptable. They want the cover-up to continue,” he told The Associated Press.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has said she had sex with Trump in 2006 when he was married. Trump has denied it.

Daniels is suing Trump and Cohen and is seeking to invalidate a nondisclosure agreement that she signed days before the 2016 presidential election. She argues the agreement should be nullified because Cohen signed it, but the president did not.

Cohen had sought to delay the legal fight after his home and office were raided by the FBI in April. The agents were seeking records about the nondisclosure agreement that Daniels had signed, among other things.

A federal judge agreed in April to delay the case for 90 days after Cohen argued that the criminal investigation overlapped with issues in the lawsuit and his right against self-incrimination would be adversely affected because he won’t be able to respond and defend himself.

Avenatti has asked the court to reconsider the delay, force Trump to answer questions under oath and allow him to obtain documents in the lawsuit.

The president’s lawyers said they would oppose that request and a hearing is set for later this month.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — AT&T has completed its $81 billion takeover of Time Warner, one of the biggest media deals ever. A federal judge approved the combination just two days earlier over objections by the Trump Justice Department that it would hurt consumers.

The merger could shape the way consumers stream TV and movies and how much they pay, and stands to usher in a new era of accelerating change and deal making in the media and telecom worlds.

The announcement came late Thursday from Dallas-based AT&T, a telephone, cable and satellite behemoth that now will own an array of TV networks and sought-after programming. The deadline to complete the merger was next week, but the closing came swiftly after the Justice Department signaled it wouldn’t ask the court to postpone the merger while it pondered an appeal of the judge’s decision.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruled against the government’s attempt to block the megamerger on anti-competitive grounds. It was the first time in decades that the government had sued to block a merger of two companies that don’t compete directly with each other.

A Justice Department official said regulators will continue to consider a possible appeal. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because a decision on an appeal hasn’t been made.

In a statement announcing completion of the merger, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said the merger will let AT&T create “the future of media entertainment.”

Leon’s ruling followed a six-week trial that showcased the biggest legal wrangling over competition in decades. He rejected the government’s argument that the phone and pay-TV giant’s takeover of the entertainment conglomerate would hurt competition, limit choices and jack up prices for consumers to stream TV and movies.

The ruling allowed AT&T to absorb the owner of CNN, HBO, the Warner Bros. movie studio, “must-see” shows and coveted sports programming like college basketball championships.

Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes has agreed to remain with the company as a senior adviser during a transition period, AT&T’s announcement said.

Leon had urged the government not to seek a judicial postponement of the merger for a possible appeal. He noted the “drop dead” deadline for completing the deal was June 21, and if wasn’t wrapped up by then, either company could walk away and AT&T would have to pay Time Warner a $500 million “breakup” fee.

Some legal experts believe the government could have a hard time convincing the appeals court to overturn Leon’s decision. Opposing the merger forced the antitrust regulators to argue against standing legal doctrine that favors mergers among companies that don’t compete directly with each other.

AT&T has committed to certain conditions under which it will run Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting, which includes CNN. For instance, it will manage the Turner networks as part of a separate business unit, distinct from operations of AT&T Communications, which includes DirecTV and U-verse.

In addition, AT&T Communications will have no say in setting Turner’s prices or other terms in contracts with companies that distribute its content.

The merger will fuse a company that produces news and entertainment with one that funnels that programming to consumers. AT&T cast it as a necessary step to compete against the likes of Amazon, Google and Netflix.

The ruling already has started opening the floodgates to deal making in the fast-changing worlds of entertainment production and distribution. A day after Leon ruled, Comcast launched a $65 billion cash bid for the bulk of 21st Century Fox — topping Disney’s all-stock $52.5 billion offer in December.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump got the history-making handshake he wanted with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. Now, with the smiling snapshot a part of history, new details are emerging about the bizarre behind-the-scenes negotiations that led up to the summit — and about the president’s post-summit frustrations with how it’s being portrayed.

Setting up the Singapore meeting was no easy feat for the technically still-warring heads of state, requiring planners to accommodate confounding requests and paranoia. But neither has it been easy for Trump to sell the plan to a doubting class of experts, allies and the media. He’s chafing at the skepticism swirling about the nuclear accord that he wants to define his legacy.

Scenes from inside the summit:

“ALIEN” TERRITORY?

Like talking with “aliens.” Sitting at tables at the luxurious Capella Hotel in Singapore or in the sparse Demilitarized Zone on the Korean Peninsula, that’s how U.S. officials involved in negotiations with their North Korean counterparts described their conversations ahead of the summit.

The North Koreans had never before participated in an event of the sort, were unfamiliar with notions of press access and deeply afraid about both espionage and assassination. The North Korean logistics teams struck the Americans as organized, detail-oriented and mission-focused, said one official involved in the planning. There were also a number of women involved in senior roles, surprising to the U.S. side.

On the day before the summit, U.S. and North Korean officials met throughout the day in Singapore to hash out areas of agreement for what became the joint statement issued by the two leaders on Tuesday. The U.S. team wanted to send in an official photographer to capture the moment for history — a manifestation of the White House’s desire to turn the summit into an international media event — but the North Koreans balked.

“How do we know she’s not a spy?” protested the North Koreans. They eventually agreed the photographer could attend, said an official familiar with the discussions with the North Koreans who wasn’t authorized to discuss it and insisted on anonymity.

Similar worries had come up earlier in the talks when the Korean delegation voiced concerns that cameras belonging to the press could be concealed weapons.

THE TRUST GAP

There was hardly trust on the U.S. side either. Kim, after all, is accused by the U.S. of ordering the murder of his half brother with a nerve agent last year.

From the first logistical talks in Singapore, it was clear to U.S. officials that overcoming the security trust gap was among the most significant hurdles to getting the two leaders into the same room.

For every person the White House wanted to put in the room for the meetings, the North wanted to know how they would know the person was not there to spy on the proceedings or harm Kim.

U.S. officials credited the Singaporean government for helping to prevent the mistrust from sinking the summit.

Checkpoints were jointly patrolled by U.S., North Korean, and Singaporean officials, with some journalists on site required to undergo separate security sweeps by each of the three parties. U.S. officials agreed to cap the number of U.S. government officials they allowed onto the luxury summit property to match the far smaller North Korean delegation.

It left all but the most senior American negotiators, including many subject matter experts, monitoring the proceedings via television and emailed updates from the president’s hotel, a 20-minute drive away.

OLD HABITS DIE HARD

At a formal signing ceremony Tuesday afternoon, a gloved North Korean official inspected Kim’s chair and the black felt-tipped pen bearing Trump’s signature in gold that was positioned for Kim’s use.

At the last minute, Kim’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, who was standing to his side, provided a pen of her own for his use.

The U.S.-supplied pen was later retrieved, unused, by a White House staffer.

EQUAL PARTNERS

Throughout the summit preparations, U.S. officials described the North Koreans as focused on ensuring they were not the junior partner in the talks.

In a symbolic concession, the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) was listed above the U.S. in the official summit logo on credentials for the summit. The White House also agreed to limit the number of journalists allowed to cover some events to mirror the North Korean contingent of state-run media.

Still, Trump appeared to be in the driver’s seat, clapping Kim on the back and directing over to their interpreters to start their one-on-one meeting. The U.S. president also signaled for reporters in the room to be escorted out — after both took questions from the journalists.

FRUSTRATION FACTOR

On the final day before the summit, officials at the White House National Security Council back in Washington grew incensed over a New York Times report suggesting that “science is unwelcome” in Trump’s administration and that the U.S. negotiating team was devoid of nuclear physicists. So the White House issued a directive to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: He would go in front of cameras in Singapore and call out the newspaper by name, an official familiar with the instruction said. Pompeo complied.

“Before discussing the summit, I want to address a report in The New York Times,” Pompeo opened. “Any suggestion that the United States somehow lacks the technical expertise across government or lacks it on the ground here in Singapore is mistaken.”

Now that he’s back home, Trump has been fuming privately and publicly over the skeptical news coverage about his signed agreement with Kim. Never steeped in details or history, the president feels he has made ground-breaking progress, as evidenced by his grand statements telling the world to “sleep well.” Back in DC, in a terrible mood, he is frustrated by all the questions about the fine print.

Trump has been calling lawmakers to express enthusiasm for the agreement — but also complaining that he has not had more robust support from GOP lawmakers, said a person with knowledge of the calls, who spoke on condition of anonymity to share internal conversations. While the president calls the summit a “first step,” with more meetings sure to come, he also has been arguing that he has already done more than his predecessor, President Barack Obama.

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On August 12 of last year, white nationalists, skinheads and Ku Klux Klan members in full regalia marched through Charlottesville, Virginia in the blazing summer heat, chanting racist slogans and clashing with the hundreds of anti-racist activists who showed up. Dozens were injured and a young paralegal, Heather Heyer, was killed when a car driven by a far-right activist plowed into a crowd of counter-protesters.

Afterward, with tensions running high, concerns percolated that a “Free Speech Rally” scheduled to take place in Boston the following weekend could devolve into similar violence.

The day after Charlottesville, Eric Radulovic, a 32-year-old Indiana man, visited 4chan’s “Politically Incorrect” discussion board, popular among the white nationalists, anti-Semites, and trolls who compose the “alt-right.” Dozens of messages proliferated about the Boston rally and how it would go. “Be prepared everyone. this can get bad,” one warned.

Posing as a member of the alt-right, Radulovic wrote an anonymous post warning that he planned to shoot other alt-right activists at the rally, in order to generate public sympathy for the movement, which was now associated with Heyer’s death.

“I’m going to bring a Remington 700 and start shooting Alt-right guys,” Radulovic allegedly posted. “We need sympathy after that landwhale got all the liberals teary eyed, so someone is going to have to make it look like the left is becoming more violent and radicalized. It’s a false flag for sure, but I’ll be aiming for the more tanned/dark haired muddied jeans in the crowd so real whites won’t have to worry.”

The Boston event was ultimately peaceful. But last Friday, some 10 months after Radulovic wrote the anonymous post, he was arrested and charged by federal prosecutors with the felony of “transmitting in interstate and foreign commerce a threat to injure the person of another.” Radulovic now faces up to five years in prison.

Speaking to TPM, some experts on far-right extremism questioned the federal government’s decision to pursue the case. They noted that no federal indictments have been brought against the white nationalists who openly promoted, and in some cases carried out, violence in Charlottesville.

President Donald Trump notoriously said “both sides” were to blame for the Charlottesville violence.

“It’s hard to really understand why this is where the FBI is putting its resources,” said Michael German, a former undercover FBI agent who specialized in domestic terrorism operations and is now a national security expert at the Brennan Center for Justice.

“Any number of these far-right protests over the last two years have involved actual violence by people who promoted violence on social media, expressed an intent to commit violence at the protest, committed violence at the protest, videotaped it, put it on the Internet to promote themselves and recruit others for additional support at following rallies, which often involve interstate travel,” German continued. “And yet somehow the FBI is not bringing any federal charges from those cases.”

The five-page indictment returned by a grand jury makes no mention of any other threats Radulovic made, and offers no evidence that he actually intended to shoot anyone — or even to attend the Massachusetts rally. In addition, Radulovic appears to have no prior criminal record, and his public social media profiles feature no violent rhetoric or images of guns or other weapons.

It’s unclear if Radulovic is currently in jail or has retained a lawyer. The publicly available court filings and DOJ press release on his arrest say only that he was slated to appear in federal court in Indiana on June 8 and in Boston on June 20.

TPM received no response to a Facebook message sent to his account, nor to multiple emails and a Facebook message sent to the woman identified on his page as his longtime girlfriend.

According to the indictment, Radulovic made his online post “knowing that it would be interpreted as a threat, and recklessly disregarding the risk that his communication would be interpreted as a threat.”

“At least one person” living in Massachusetts who saw Radulovic’s message and planned to attend the rally as a counter-protester chose not to go out of “fear of gun and other violence,” the indictment contends.

But extremism experts say the bare-bones indictment leaves many questions unanswered, like whether federal investigators accessed other threatening anonymous posts Radulovic may have made, or had other evidence that he intended to act on this threat. They also emphasized that any stated intention to commit violence, from any source, should be treated seriously by law enforcement.

“The fact that he mentioned the event and there was some kind of specificity as to what type of weapon he would bring, that’s where it kind of crossed the threshold into a criminal matter,” Daryl Johnson, a former senior domestic terrorism analyst at the Department of Homeland Security, told TPM.

Mark Pitcavage, an expert on far-right extremism at the Anti-Defamation League, added that Radulovic’s use of first-person language was “quite rare” precisely because it could prompt legal action. Alt-right and white nationalist posters tend to give themselves some cover by “urging other people to do things,” or making “suggestive” comments like, “Wouldn’t it be great if someone brought a 50-cal sniper rifle and set up,” Pitcavage said.

But some experts say they were struck by the lack of information indicating that Radulovic’s post was anything other than a one-off comment on a forum known for gruesome bluster.

“The potential violence was a little more speculative and less imminent than we might typically see in other prosecutions,” Eric Goldman, an internet law expert at Santa Clara University School of Law, told TPM in an email.

Contrast this with the leaked Discord chats of white nationalists organizing the Charlottesville rally, who shared photographs of themselves posing with semi-automatic weapons and discussed “thumping” counter-protesters with PVC pipes. Some of those same participants subsequently showed up in Charlottesville wielding firearms, weighted flagpoles, shields, and other arms, and committed acts of violence.

No federal indictments were issued in relation to that rally, though local authorities made some arrests. In the subsequent months, white nationalists — some of whom have prior criminal histories — fired bullets at counter-protesters at a Richard Spencer event in Florida and brawled with them at another Spencer event in Michigan.

A February report from the Southern Poverty Law Center found that people linked to the alt-right have killed or injured over 100 people since 2014, shooting up high schools and an Islamic Cultural Center. As Peter Simi, an expert on extremism at Chapman University, pointed out, the leaders of Attomwaffen Division, a vicious white supremacist group linked to multiple recent murders, have not been apprehended.

“Here’s a group that has advocated for violence and death, clearly and explicitly, and yet federal charges have not been filed against them,” Simi noted.

On his public profiles, at least, Radulovic never appeared to promote violence. He lives in the Indianapolis suburb of Avon, where he releases trippy mixtapes under the name DJ Hypergiant. His Instagram and Facebook pages are full of photographs of sunsets darkening the wide Indiana sky, his cat and girlfriend, and homecooked pizzas. His Twitter feed makes a few mentions of depression and a few digs at President Trump and at Nazis, but it’s primarily filled with goofy memes.

“It’s interesting they are going through this trouble to target this person,” Simi said of Radulovic. “It’s work to file an indictment.”

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FBI Director Christopher Wray is defending the FBI in response to a scathing inspector general report that heavily criticized the actions of his predecessor in the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

Wray says the report only addresses a specific set of facts and the actions of a handful of officials. He says “nothing” in the report “impugns” the integrity of the FBI workforce as a whole.

Wray also says the report found “errors in judgment” and policy violations, but it found no evidence of political bias or improper consideration “actually impacting the investigations under review.”

The report released Thursday criticizes former FBI Director James Comey, calling him “insubordinate” and saying he broke with longstanding policy. It also criticizes the politically charged texts of a handful of agents.

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