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Name: Don
Gender: Male
Hometown: Massachusetts
Home country: United States
Member since: Sat Sep 1, 2012, 02:28 PM
Number of posts: 60,536

Journal Archives

Mueller, Flynn legal teams not ready to schedule a sentencing hearing

Source: The Hill

BY JOHN BOWDEN - 01/31/18 06:13 PM EST

Lawyers for the office of special counsel Robert Mueller and former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn told a judge in a court filing Wednesday that the two parties are not ready to schedule a sentencing hearing.

A court filing obtained by Law.com explains that the status of the special counsel investigation renders a sentencing at the current time impossible, and asks for a 90-day extension.


After the 90 days elapses, the two parties will submit a joint status report on the status of the investigation.

Flynn pleaded guilty in December to lying to FBI investigators about his contacts with foreign officials, becoming the first former member of the Trump administration to be charged in the ongoing investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/371722-mueller-flynn-legal-teams-not-ready-to-schedule-a-sentencing

MSNBC panel lays out how Trump's posture towards Russia shows collusion may be ongoing


Officials: US missile defense test failed in Hawaii

Source: CNN

By Barbara Starr, CNN

Updated 11:58 AM ET, Wed January 31, 2018

Washington (CNN) - The US conducted an unsuccessful missile defense test on Wednesday, as a missile launched from land failed to intercept an incoming target launched from an aircraft in Hawaii, according to several administration officials.

The Pentagon is not publicly acknowledging the failure of a key ballistic missile defense test and the officials told CNN that the decision to remain silent is due, in part, to sensitivities surrounding North Korea's participation in the upcoming Olympic Games and continuing tensions with leader Kim Jong Un.

US Department of Defense officials are trying to determine what went wrong, but so far all the Pentagon will officially say is that a test took place.

"The Missile Defense Agency and U.S. Navy sailors manning the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Test Complex (AAMDTC) conducted a live-fire missile flight test using a Standard-Missile (SM)-3 Block IIA missile launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kauai, Hawaii, Wednesday morning," Defense spokesman Mark Wright said.

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/31/politics/us-failed-aegis-missile-test/index.html

Nicolle Wallace: Trump has not read controversial Devin Nunes Memo but he may have helped write it


White House seeks 72% cut to clean energy research, underscoring administration's preference...

Source: The Washington Post

White House seeks 72 percent cut to clean energy research, underscoring administration’s preference for fossil fuels

By Chris Mooney and Steven Mufson January 31 at 3:49 PM Email the author
The Trump administration is poised to ask Congress for deep budget cuts in the Energy Department’s renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, slashing them by 72 percent overall in fiscal 2019, according to draft budget documents obtained by The Washington Post.

Many of the sharp cuts would likely be restored by Congress, but President Trump’s budget due out in February will mark a starting point for negotiations and offer a statement of intent and policy priorities.

The document underscores the administration’s continued focus on the exploitation of fossil fuel resources — or as Trump put it in his State of the Union address, “beautiful clean coal” — over newer renewable technologies seen as a central solution to the problem of climate change.

The Energy Department had asked the White House for more modest spending reductions for the renewable and efficiency programs, but people familiar with the process, who asked for anonymity to share unfinished budget information, said that the Office of Management and Budget insisted on the deeper cuts.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/white-house-seeks-72-percent-cut-to-clean-energy-research-underscoring-administrations-preference-for-fossil-fuelsv/2018/01/31/c2c69350-05f3-11e8-b48c-b07fea957bd5_story.html

Nunes fires back at FBI for 'spurious objections' to memo release

Source: The Hill

BY BRANDON CARTER - 01/31/18 03:45 PM EST

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) fired back at the FBI and Department of Justice on Wednesday for what he called “spurious objections” to the release of a GOP-authored memo purporting to show abuse of surveillance powers by the agencies.

“Having stonewalled Congress’ demands for information for nearly a year, it’s no surprise to see the FBI and DOJ issue spurious objections to allowing the American people to see information related to surveillance abuses at these agencies,” Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement.

Nunes and his staff compiled the memo from classified material provided by the DOJ and FBI. Numerous Republicans as well as the White House have been advocating its release, which may happen this week.

On Wednesday, the FBI issued a rare public statement warning against the expected release of the memo, saying it has “grave concerns” about its contents.

Read more: http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/371683-nunes-fires-back-at-fbi-for-spurious-objections-to-memo-release

The U.S. Is Losing Badly In Afghanistan, But The Trump Administration Is Telling Americans Less

Source: Newsweek Magazine

BY TOM O'CONNOR ON 1/31/18 AT 2:53 PM

The U.S. and allied local security forces have failed to secure most of Afghanistan, according to a recent investigation that came shortly after the Pentagon refused to release unclassified data on the conflict for the first time ever.

Despite waging nearly 17 consecutive years of war and spending up to $1 trillion, the U.S.-led attempt to defeat the Taliban has left the insurgents openly active in up to 70 percent of Afghanistan, according to a BBC study published Tuesday. The report also found that a rival ultraconservative Sunni Muslim organization, the Islamic State militant group (ISIS), controlled more territory than ever, further complicating the beleaguered effort to stabilize the country.

What a federal watchdog chief found particularly "troubling" and a "worrying development," however, was that none of this information could be included in its mandatory quarterly report on the war. John Sopko, head of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), said he was instructed by the Department of Defense "not to release to the public data on the number of districts, and the population living in them, controlled or influenced by the Afghan government or by the insurgents, or contested by both."

Aa letter preceding SIGAR's report added, "SIGAR was informed this quarter that DOD has determined that although the most recent numbers are unclassified, they are not releasable to the public."

Read more: http://www.newsweek.com/us-losing-so-badly-afghanistan-trump-administration-hid-figures-796466

Twitter Followers Vanish Amid Inquiries Into Fake Accounts

Source: The New York Times

Federal and state authorities are investigating the sellers of artificial followers and other fraudulent social media engagement.


More than a million followers have disappeared from the accounts of dozens of prominent Twitter users in recent days as the company faces growing criticism over the proliferation of fake accounts and scrutiny from federal and state inquiries into the shadowy firms that sell fake followers.

The people losing followers include an array of entertainers, entrepreneurs, athletes and media figures, many of whom bought Twitter followers or artificial engagement from a company called Devumi. Its business practices were detailed in a New York Times article on Saturday describing a vast trade in fake followers and fraudulent engagement on Twitter and other social media sites, often using personal information taken from real users. Twitter said on Saturday that it would take action against Devumi’s practices. A Twitter spokeswoman on Tuesday declined to comment about whether the company was purging fake accounts.

The singer Clay Aiken, the actor John Leguizamo and the reality TV star Lisa Rinna have each lost a substantial number of followers, according to a review of their accounts. So has Martha Lane Fox, a British businesswoman and Twitter board member. Other well-known users have taken to Twitter in recent days to complain of lost followers, suggesting that a broad swath of people may be affected, not just Devumi customers.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/01/31/technology/100000005710760.app.html

Trump's speech wasn't the scary part: All the Republican groveling was

Trump’s SOTU was a forgettable, familiar litany. What’s new is the GOP’s brain-dead eagerness to do his bidding

01.31.2018•8:05 AM

I waited for TV pundits to declare the "pivot" and proclaim Donald Trump to be our one true president after Tuesday night's lengthy State of the Union address. But with the exception of Fox News State TV, most were less effusive than the last time he addressed a joint session of Congress. That's not to say that nobody was impressed. Some people were evidently nearly brought to tears:


By now most Americans take what Trump says with a grain of wait-and-see salt. There's never been a president in history for whom words matter less. Nonetheless, it's worth reflecting on a few of the ideas in the speech, just to remind ourselves of his main objectives.

Trump is not a bipartisan leader. After a year, that should be more than obvious. He is the most divisive president in modern memory in both style and substance. His speech did nothing to change that. He claimed to offer "an open hand to work with Americans of both parties," but it's as clear as ever that he means to use that hand to slap down his opponents and caress his supporters.

Trump's main issue was the same as the one he ran on in 2016: immigration. And he has not softened his stance or his rhetoric at all. In fact, he has become even more xenophobic and is now pushing major curbs on legal immigration, which was not a central theme until recently. He paints legal as well as illegal immigrants as dangerous criminals and promises to end the long-standing policy of family unification. Immigrants actually commit crimes at a dramatically lower rate than native-born citizens, but Trump never lets facts get in the way of a good, lurid tale about how foreigners are ruining America.


Twitter Reacts With Scorn to Gowdy Announcement: 'Can't Investigate Benghazi 3,821 More Times'

by Lawrence Bonk | 2:29 pm, January 31st, 2018

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) announced today that he will not seek re-election at the end of this term, which coincides with the 2018 midterm election, opening up another seat for a possible Democratic pickup.

This news comes as quite a surprise because, in stark to contrast to someone like Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Gowdy, by all accounts, could have easily won a re-election campaign.

Gowdy said he is retiring from Congress to return to the “justice system,” though details are scant.

“There is a time to come and a time to go. This is the right time, for me, to leave politics and return to the justice system,” he wrote in a statement. “Whatever skills I may have are better utilized in a courtroom than in Congress, and I enjoy our justice system more than our political system.”




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