April 27, 2017

Paul Ryan: Obamacare CSR Subsidies Won’t Be Included In Spending Bill

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan told reporters Wednesday the spending bill to keep the federal government running will not include funding for Obamacare subsidies.

“CSRs, we’re not doing that,” Ryan told reporters after meeting with House Republicans. “That is not in the appropriation bill. That’s something separate that the administration does.”

Obamacare provides cost-sharing reduction subsidies (CSRs) designed to lower the out-of-pocket cost for plans bought on the Health Insurance Marketplace. The CSR an individual is entitled to is calculated by family size and household income. In general, the lower the household income, the higher the subsidy.

House Republicans are in the middle of a lawsuit over the way the subsidies are funded. The Obama administration initially asked Congress to approve the funding, but later argued congressional authorization was not necessary because the funding falls into the mandatory spending category. 

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April 26, 2017

Never Trump Movement Leader, Former Jeb Bush Staffer Helen Aguirre Ferre Infiltrates White House

A Never Trump movement leader who once blamed then-candidate Donald Trump for violent riots in Chicago has miraculously infiltrated President Trump’s White House, Breitbart News has learned.

Helen Aguirre Ferre, now the White House’s Director of Media Relations, previously very publicly—as an adviser to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s failed 2016 presidential campaign and as a GOP consultant after Bush dropped out of the race—bashed Trump repeatedly on the campaign trail, leading the Never Trump movement.

Aguirre Ferre’s perhaps most egregious Never Trump comments came via Twitter on March 11, 2016, in a since-deleted Tweet in which she said now President Trump “bears responsibility” for violent riots in Chicago that forced him to shut down a campaign event there ahead of the Illinois primary—which he handily won on March 15, sweeping out many of the other states that day.

Then Trump rivals Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) inaccurately suggested that Trump was responsible for the violence in Chicago that caused him to cancel his planned March 11, 2016, campaign rally downtown at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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April 25, 2017

Trump Will Sign An Executive Order Creating An Office To Get Rid Of Bad Veterans Affairs Employees

President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order Thursday establishing an office at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to discipline or fire incompetent employees or managers.

The executive order, likely to be signed Thursday according to a source with direct knowledge, will create an Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection.

The order “will help the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to discipline or terminate VA managers or employees who fail to carry out their duties in helping our veterans. The Office will also identify barriers to the Secretary’s authority to put the well-being of our veterans first,” according to the text obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The office will also protect whistleblowers who find themselves targeted by management in the course of their disclosures.

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April 24, 2017

New Study Calls EPA’s Labeling Of CO2 A Pollutant ‘Totally False’

A new study published by seasoned researchers takes aim at the heart of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to issue regulations to curb carbon dioxide emissions.

The study claims to have “proven that it is all but certain that EPA’s basic claim that CO2 is a pollutant is totally false,” according to a press statement put out by Drs. Jim Wallace, John Christy and Joe D’Aleo.

Wallace, Christy and D’Aleo — a statistician, a climatologist and meteorologist, respectively — released a study claiming to invalidate EPA’s 2009 endangerment finding, which allowed the agency to regulate CO2 as a pollutant.

“This research failed to find that the steadily rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations have had a statistically significant impact on any of the 14 temperature data sets that were analyzed,” the authors say in the release for the second edition of their peer-reviewed work.

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April 21, 2017

This Event Was A ‘Catalyst’ For FBI’s Investigation Into Trump-Russia Ties Photo of Chuck Ross CHUCK ROSS

New details are emerging about what led the FBI to open its investigation into whether members of the Trump presidential campaign had improper ties to the Russian government.

According to The New York Times, a trip that low-level Trump campaign adviser Carter Page took to Moscow in July was one of the factors that prompted the investigation.

The report notes:

It is unclear exactly what about Mr. Page’s visit caught the F.B.I.’s attention: meetings he had during his three days in Moscow, intercepted communications of Russian officials speaking about him, or something else.

Page, the managing partner of Global Energy Partners, visited Moscow on July 7 to speak at the commencement ceremony for the New Economic School. There, he criticized the U.S. government’s foreign policy. The speech drew the attention of reporters here in the U.S. and fueled speculation that the Trump campaign was too cozy with the Kremlin.

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April 20, 2017

FBI Says No Need For Top Official To Recuse Himself From Trump-Russia Probe

A top FBI official whose wife received political donations from an ally of Hillary Clinton’s last year does not need to recuse himself from the ongoing Trump-Russia investigation, the bureau said Wednesday.

The Senate Judiciary Committee inquired last month about FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s role on the Trump probe, which is looking into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.

Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Judiciary Committee’s chairman, had expressed concerns about a potential conflict of interest given that McCabe’s wife ran a state campaign in Virginia that received $700,000 from Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a close friend of Clinton’s.

Grassley noted in a March 28 letter to FBI Director James Comey that the McCabes met with McAuliffe on March 7, 2015, several days after the story broke that Clinton used a private email server as secretary of state.

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April 19, 2017

FBI Relied On Dossier To Obtain Surveillance Warrant On Trump Campaign Adviser

The FBI relied on information contained in an uncorroborated dossier compiled as part of a political opposition research campaign to obtain a federal surveillance warrant to monitor Carter Page, a former Donald Trump campaign adviser.

According to CNN, which broke the news, FBI Director James Comey has also cited the dossier in recent meetings with members of Congress.

Last week it was reported that the FBI and Justice Department applied last summer for a surveillance warrant in Federal Intelligence Surveillance Court to monitor Page, an energy consultant and short-lived foreign policy adviser on Trump’s campaign.

Federal surveillance warrants are granted when there is probable cause to believe that the target is acting as an agent for a foreign government, perhaps in a clandestine manner. The warrants are almost always approved once the FBI and Justice Department file for them.

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April 18, 2017

Donald Trump’s Latest Executive Order Aims To Make Companies ‘Hire American’

Donald Trump will sign an executive order in hopes of favoring American workers by reforming the H-1B visa program and minimizing exceptions to the Buy American Act of 1933, which requires the federal government to favor U.S.-made products when funding projects.

The president is scheduled to sign the two-part order — Buy American and Hire American — after delivering remarks at a tool manufacturing company in Wisconsin Tuesday.

The first part of the executive order — Hire American — seeks to enforce the H-1B visa program so it “serves the national interest” by awarding visas to the most-skilled and highest-paid applicants without bypassing American workers who are qualified for those jobs.

Though Trump vowed to end the H-1B visa program as a candidate, a senior administration official said the order instructs the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Labor, the Department of Justice and State Department to propose reforms to the program to prevent fraud and abuse in the immigration system.

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April 17, 2017

Turkey Is Investigating Chuck Schumer, Ex-CIA Director John Brennan In Probe Of US-Based Cleric

The Turkish government is expanding its witch hunt of suspected allies of cleric Fethullah Gulen by opening an investigation into 17 U.S.-based individuals, including New York Sen. Chuck Schumer and former CIA director John Brennan.

Preet Bharara, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Michael Rubin, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, were also named in the probe, which was first reported by Turkey’s state-run news agency, Anadolu Agency.

The probe is the latest salvo in the Turkish government’s obsession with Gulen, who has lived in self-exile in Pennsylvania since 1999. Turkey’s authoritarian president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has accused Gulen of masterminding last summer’s failed coup attempt. He has labeled Gulen’s network of followers the Fethullah Terrorist Organization, or FETO, and wants the U.S. government to extradite the imam.

Turkish investigators are interested in Schumer because of donations he has received from Gulen’s supporters here in the U.S. Bharara, who was fired by President Trump last month, is most likely being targeted because of his investigation into Reza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian businessman who is under federal indictment for allegedly helping Iran skirt economic sanctions.

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April 14, 2017

CIA director denounces group Trump has praised

CIA Director Mike Pompeo has denounced the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks as a “hostile intelligence service” and a threat to U.S. national security, a condemnation that differed sharply from President Donald Trump’s past praise of the organization.

In his first public speech since becoming taking over the CIA, the former Republican congressman escalated the agency’s hostility to WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, accusing them of making common cause with dictators. While “Assange and his ilk” claim they act in the name of liberty and privacy, Pompeo said that in reality, their mission is “personal self-aggrandizement through the destruction of Western values.”

“WikiLeaks walks like a hostile intelligence service and talks like a hostile intelligence service,” Pompeo said Thursday.

Pompeo’s tone was notably different from that of his boss.

Before last year’s presidential election, Trump said he was happy to see WikiLeaks publish private, politically damaging emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta. The White House defended the president, saying there was a big difference between WikiLeaks publishing stolen, personal emails of a political figure and publishing files about national security tools used by the CIA.

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April 13, 2017

Clinton-Connected Lobbying Firm Registers As Foreign Agent Of Pro-Putin Ukrainian Group

A lobbying firm closely allied with Hillary Clinton has registered as a foreign agent for a Ukrainian organization with ties to Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin.

Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, also plans to register with the Justice Department for work he did for the same group, the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine.

A spokesman for Manafort made the announcement just after the Associated Press reported that the Podesta Group has registered with the Justice Department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) for work done for the European Centre between 2012 and 2014.

The Podesta Group, which received $1.2 million for the work, is operated by Tony Podesta, a major Democratic donor and the brother of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

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April 12, 2017

Eleven States Threatened With Lawsuits If No Action Taken To Clean Voter Rolls

Watchdog group Judicial Watch (JW) sent out warning letters Monday to 11 states with counties in where the registered voters outnumbers voting-age citizens,  as calculated by the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2011-2015 American Community Survey.

According to the letters, this is “strong circumstantial evidence that these … counties are not conducting reasonable voter registration record maintenance as mandated under the [National Voter Registration Act] NVRA.”

The NVRA and the federal Help America Vote Act require states to make reasonable efforts to maintain accurate voting rolls.

The 11 states that Judicial Watch sent a letter to are: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina and Tennessee.

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April 11, 2017

Is Trump Enlisting in the War Party?

By firing off five dozen Tomahawk missiles at a military airfield, our “America First” president may have plunged us into another Middle East war that his countrymen do not want to fight.

Thus far Bashar Assad seems unintimidated. Brushing off the strikes, he has defiantly gone back to bombing the rebels from the same Shayrat air base that the U.S. missiles hit.

Trump “will not stop here,” warned U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley on Sunday. “If he needs to do more, he will.”

If Trump fails to back up Haley’s threat, the hawks now cheering him on will begin deriding him as “Donald Obama.”

But if he throbs to the war drums of John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio and orders Syria’s air force destroyed, we could be at war not only with ISIS and al-Qaida, but with Syria, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah.

A Syrian war would consume Trump’s presidency.

Are we ready for that? How would we win such a war without raising a large army and sending it back into the Middle East?

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April 10, 2017

NSC Shake-Up Leads To K.T. McFarland Ouster

K.T. McFarland has been asked to step down from her position as National Security Adviser to President Donald Trump in another White House shake-up.

She will serve two more weeks before taking on a new role as the U.S. ambassador to Singapore, Bloomberg Politics reports. The shift will allow National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, who took over after Gen. Michael Flynn resigned, to choose his own second in command. McFarland was hired by Flynn.

Trump gave McMaster, a lieutenant general in the U.S. Army, the authority to restructure the National Security Council to suit his particular needs. Reports circulating in February suggested that McFarland might leave her post in the wake of the NSC’s change in leadership; however, she told The Hill that she would stay on. “I just met with the president and he asked that I stay on. I’m thrilled to do so,” McFarland told reporters.

The call for McFarland, a 65-year-old former national security analyst for Fox News, to step down follows a decision this past week to remove the president’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, from the key NSC committee.

McFarland’s reassignment, after just three months on the NSC, is being presented as a promotion, given Singapore’s status as an valuable strategic partner in the Asia-Pacific region.

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April 7, 2017

Steve Bannon Called Jared Kushner A ‘Cuck’ And ‘Globalist’ Behind His Back

Chief White House strategist Steve Bannon referred to President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner as a “globalist” and a “cuck,” while venting to people inside the White House about the man who insiders say he openly clashes with.

“[Steve] recently vented to us about Jared being a ‘globalist’ and a ‘cuck,'” an unnamed White House official told The Daily Beast, adding: “He actually said ‘cuck,’ as in ‘cuckservative.'”

The pejorative “cuck,” which is derived from the word cuckold, has become an insult used by many on the right to declaim someone’s weakness in standing up to progressive, establishment politics.

The animosity between Bannon and Kushner, who serves as a senior advisor to Trump, is an open secret within the White House.

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April 6, 2017

Paul: ‘The Real Question We Need To Ask’ Involves Susan Rice AND Obama

Sen. Rand Paul told Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade Wednesday morning that revelations about Susan Rice unmasking private citizens mentioned in intelligence reports raises a more serious question.

Did President Obama “eavesdrop” on Americans for political purposes?

“I don’t think she answered the question, ‘did she unmask people in the Trump administration?'” the Kentucky Republican first posed. “She said, ‘maybe I did, but I didn’t do it for political reasons.'”

“I think it’s incumbent on her to show to the American people why it wouldn’t have been a political reason.”

“If someone were investigating the Trump administration, it ought to be the F.B.I. not someone in the White house,” he continued. “She’s a political appointee that reports directly to the president.”

“The real question we need to ask is did the president eavesdrop and sift through all of the mountains of intelligence we have?”

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April 5, 2017

Former US Attorney: Susan Rice Ordered Spy Agencies To Produce ‘Detailed Spreadsheets’ Involving Trump

In response to a question Tuesday from NBC News reporter Andrea Mitchell,  former Obama White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice denied that she “prepared” spreadsheets of surveilled telephone calls involving Donald Trump and his aides. The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group, however, reported that Rice “ordered” the spreadsheets to be produced.

In addition, former U.S. Attorney Joe DiGenova, one of The DCNF’s sources, said Tuesday in response to Rice that her denial “would come as quite a surprise to the government officials who have reviewed dozens of those spreadsheets.” 

Former President Barack Obama’s national security adviser Susan Rice ordered U.S. spy agencies to produce “detailed spreadsheets” of legal phone calls involving Donald Trump and his aides when he was running for president, according to former U.S. Attorney Joseph diGenova.

“What was produced by the intelligence community at the request of Ms. Rice were detailed spreadsheets of intercepted phone calls with unmasked Trump associates in perfectly legal conversations with individuals,” diGenova told The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group Monday.

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April 4, 2017

White House Computer Logs: Susan Rice Accessed Intel Reports Re Trump Associates

Circa News reported Monday that White House staffers found logs that document and date stamp President Barack Obama’s national security adviser Susan Rice accessing intelligence reports that included associates of the Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign:

Intelligence sources said the logs discovered by National Security Council staff suggested Rice’s interest in the NSA materials, some of which included unmasked Americans’ identities, appeared to begin last July around the time Trump secured the GOP nomination and accelerated after Trump’s election in November launched a transition that continued through January.

The intelligence reports included some intercepts of Americans talking to foreigners and many more involving foreign leaders talking about the future president, his campaign associates or his transition, the sources said. Most if not all had nothing to do with the Russian election interference scandal, the sources said, speaking only on condition of anonymity given the sensitive nature of the materials.

When intelligence or law enforcement agencies accidentally gather information related to American citizens, outside their legally sanctioned collection mission, the data appears in reports with simple labels, such as American 1 or American 2. However, when the reports were circulated inside the Obama administration, the actual names were used, or unmasked, or labelled in a way that made the speaker’s identity obvious.

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April 3, 2017

Podesta Still Hasn’t Explained Where 41,000 Stock Shares Went

John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign chairman, has not accounted for thousands of shares he was given by a company where he served on the board of directors with three powerful business figures with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Your letter does not respond to the substance of the article, which concerns the whereabouts of 75,000 shares of stock in Joule that Mr. Podesta was entitled to receive,” The Daily Caller News Foundation’s publisher, Neil Patel, said. “The fact that Mr. Podesta, a senior national political figure, apparently sat on the board of Joule with Russian state-owned entities only elevates the importance of this matter.”

Patel was responding to a March 29, 2017, “cease and desist” letter he received from Marc Elias, Podesta’s attorney attacking a March 26, 2017, story on The Daily Caller’s site entitled “John Podesta May Have Violated Federal Law By Not Disclosing 75,000 Stock Shares.”

The story — written by Richard Pollock, TheDCNF’s Investigative Group’s senior reporter — was “entirely false,” Elias claimed, because “Mr. Podesta actually reported more than was required.”

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March 31, 2017

Conservatives Demand IRS Commissioner’s Head In White House Meeting

An off-the-record White House meeting with roughly two dozen conservative leaders Wednesday included explicit calls for President Trump to fire IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, according to a source in the room.

White House conservative liaison Paul Teller organized the meeting Wednesday between Trump staffers and leaders of conservative groups such as the Heritage Foundation and Judicial Watch.

Talk of Koskinen’s firing was part of a larger discussion on clearing out Obama-era personnel from the executive branch where possible, the source said.

The broad consensus among attendees was that Trump needs to clean out Obama-era bureaucrats if he is going to be successful in pushing through his agenda.

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March 30, 2017

Feds Charge State Department Official In Chinese Spy Case

A State Department official is accused of accepting tens of thousands of dollars in cash payments, vacations, an apartment, and Apple electronics from spies for the Chinese government and lying about it to the FBI, the federal government revealed on Wednesday.

According to the Justice Department, Candace Marie Claiborne, a 60-year-old State Department employee, accepted gifts from Chinese agents for more than five years and, when finally caught, instructed co-conspirators to erase evidence of her alleged crimes.

“Claiborne failed to report repeated contacts with two intelligence agents of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), even though these agents provided tens of thousands of dollars in gifts and benefits to Claiborne and her family over five years,” the Justice Department said in a statement.

According to a federal affidavit, Claiborne began working as an office management specialist at the State Department in 1999. She then took jobs overseas, including at embassies and consulates in Iraq, Sudan and China. She maintained a Top Secret security clearance, which required her to report any contacts with people believed to be affiliated with foreign intelligence agencies.

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March 29, 2017

Spicer: WaPo ‘Should Be Ashamed’ Over Report Claiming White House Blocked House Testimony

A Washington Post story alleging that the Trump administration blocked a former Justice Department from testifying to Congress this week “is 100 percent false,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday.

“I hope she testifies. I look forward to it,” Spicer told reporters of Sally Yates, a former deputy attorney general who was slated to talk to the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday.

“If they choose to move forward, great, we have no problem with her testifying, plain and simple,” said Spicer.

Last week, California Rep. Devin Nunes, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, cancelled the hearing, in which Yates was supposed to appear alongside former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

The Post story alleges that the Trump administration blocked Yates from testifying, likely because of what she planned to say about Michael Flynn, the former Trump national security advisor who misled Vice President Mike Pence about his communications with Russia’s ambassador.

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March 28, 2017

Tony Podesta Made $500K Lobbying For Chinese Firm Convicted Of Illegal Sales To Iran

Democratic super-lobbyist Tony Podesta grossed more than $500,000 to represent a Chinese company criminally convicted in March of sending illegal shipments of telecom equipment to Iran, The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group has learned.

The seriousness of the illegal sales to Iran were so extreme and continued for so long — from 2010 to last year — the Department of Justice (DOJ) imposed a record $1.19 billion fine on the ZTE Telecommunications company, making it the largest penalty ever imposed in a U.S. sanctions case.

The Chinese firm hired the Podesta Group, one of Washington’s biggest and best-connected lobbying companies in the nation’s capital, in January 2016. ZTE retained Podesta’s personal help as negotiations intensified for a final resolution with DOJ during the final year of President Barack Obama’s tenure in the White House.

The Shenzhen-based company pleaded guilty on March 7 to violating a 22-year-old ban on shipments to Iran, including “conspiring by illegally shipping … U.S.-origin items to Iran, obstructing justice and making a material false statement,” according to the DOJ.

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March 27, 2017

It Could Be Close: Counting To 51 On The Nuclear Option

The question now is whether there are 51 votes in the Senate Republican caucus to support the nuclear option. While most Republicans seem prepared to back the measure, a handful of consensus-oriented veterans may be recalcitrant to change the rules and further escalate the judicial confirmation wars.

The most likely candidates in this regard are GOP Sens. Susan Collins, John McCain, and Lindsay Graham. All three were members of the “Gang of 14,” a bipartisan group of senators that reached an accord on confirmed Bush-era nominees without invoking the nuclear option in 2005. Other Republicans with something of a moderate streak, like Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Jeff Flake, might also oppose such a dramatic change.

Collins is the only Republican senator to express misgivings about the nuclear option thus far.

“Senator Collins is not a proponent of changing the rules of the Senate,” a Collins representative told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “She hopes that common sense will prevail and that we will have a normal process for considering Judge Gorsuch’s nomination.”

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March 24, 2017

House Intel Committee to See ‘Smoking Gun’ Evidence Obama Admin Spied on Trump Team

James Rosen of Fox News reports that Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee will be presented with “smoking gun” evidence that “the Obama administration, in its closing days, was using the cover of legitimate surveillance on foreign targets to spy on President-elect Trump.”

According to the source for Rosen’s report, this evidence will come from the National Security Agency, which is supposed to produce documents for the House Intelligence Committee by Friday. It is expected to take a week or so for congressional investigators to assess these materials.

The NSA material is said to be even more compelling than the evidence that prompted committee chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) to announce on Wednesday that “incidental” surveillance of the Trump transition team was conducted by the intelligence community.

Rosen’s report has a few more interesting developments in the aftermath of Nunes’ announcement:

Because Nunes’s intelligence came from multiple sources during a span of several weeks, and he has not shared the actual materials with his committee colleagues, he will be the only member of the panel in a position to know whether the NSA has turned over some or all of the intelligence he is citing. However, Fox News was told Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., had been briefed on the basic contents of the intelligence described by Nunes.

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March 23, 2017

‘Yes’ — Nunes Confirms Obama Admin. Incidentally Collected Trump’s Personal Communications

Congressman Devin Nunes confirmed Wednesday afternoon that some of President Trump’s personal communications were in fact collected by the Obama administration during the 2016 election.

Earlier in the day, Nunes — the chairman of the House Intelligence Community — said POTUS’ communications might have been included in those reports, yet he adjusted his statement when asked during a media gaggle outside the White House.

“Are you suggesting that Mr. Trump’s communications are in those reports?” a reporter directly asked Nunes. “Second, are you saying you’re concerned enough that this will trigger a different separate investigation, and third, why did you not discuss this with a ranking member before you came to the White House?”

“Yes, no, and I’m going to be meeting at some point to talk about where to go with this investigation,” the congressman responded. “I had to brief the Speaker first, and then I had to talk to the C.I.A. director, N.S.A. director, and I’m waiting to talk to the F.B.I. director because we’re still waiting to find out how we’re going to get this. I went and voted and talked to the president.”

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March 22, 2017

Podesta Was Board Member Of Firm Linked To Russian ‘Investors’

Rep. Louie Gohmert, an outspoken House Republican from Texas, is calling for a congressional investigation of John Podesta’s role with Rusnano, a state-run company founded by Russian President Vladimir Putin, The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group has learned.

Podesta — best known as Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign chairman and former President Bill Clinton’s White House chief of staff — first made contact with the Russian firm in 2011, when he joined the boards and executive committees of three related entities: Boston-based Joule Unlimited; Rotterdam-based Joule Global Holdings; Joule Global Stichting, the company’s controlling interest. All are high-tech renewable energy enterprises.

Three months after Podesta’s arrival, Joule Unlimited accepted a 1 billion ruble investment from Rusnano, amounting to $35 million in U.S. currency. The firm also awarded a Joule board seat in February 2012 to Anatoly Chubais, Rusnano’s CEO, who has been depicted as a corrupt figure.

Podesta has attempted to downplay his relationship with Joule and Rusnano, but it could come to haunt him.

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March 21, 2017

Gowdy Points To President Obama And 6 Admin. Officials As Possible Source Of Flynn Leaks

Rep. Trey Gowdy, questioning James Comey during a House Intelligence Committee hearing on Monday, appeared to name former President Barack Obama and six of his administration’s top staffers as potential sources of leaks about former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s alleged collusion with the Russian government during the 2016 election.

It should be noted that Gowdy did not give evidence for any of the names he raised possibly being the source of the leaks.

The South Carolina Republican first asked the FBI director if former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper “knew the name of the U.S. citizen that appeared in The New York Times and Washington Post?… Would he have access to an unmasked name?”

Gowdy asked similar questions about former CIA Director James Brennan, former National Security Advisor Susan Rice former White House advisor Ben Rhodes, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former acting Attorney General Sally Yates.

Finally, Gowdy asked Comey if he “briefed President Obama on any calls involving Michael Flynn.”

“I’m not going to go get into either that case or any conversations I had with the president,” Comey answered.

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March 20, 2017

Germany Rejects Trump’s Claims It Owes NATO ‘Vast Sums Of Money’

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen released a statement Sunday in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s claims Germany owes NATO “vast sums of money” for defense.

Trump said Germany needs to contribute more to the NATO alliance in a series of tweets following his Friday meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Von der Leyen released a statement in response to the tweets, saying “there is no account where debts are registered with NATO.” She further questioned the way NATO calculates military spending.

“Defense spending also goes into UN peacekeeping missions, into our European missions and into our contribution to the fight against IS terrorism,” von der Leyen said.

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March 17, 2017

Judge Considers Ordering President Donald Trump to Double 50,000 Refugee Inflow to the United States

A federal District Court judge in Maryland is considering whether he should order President Donald Trump to double the annual inflow of refugees up to 100,000 per year.

Any demand by the judge that the federal government airbus an extra 50,000 migrants — including many adherents of Islam’s sharia legal system — into American neighborhoods would be an unusual intervention into government roles normally left to the elected President and Congress.

If actually implemented, the judge’s plan also would be extremely expensive for Americans, because state and local communities subsidize each new immigrant with roughly $1,600 each per year for decades.

The judge revealed his proposal in a footnote in his March 15 decision where he denounced Trump’s reformist Executive Orders, which sharply curbs the inflow of refugees from war-torn Islamic countries. The judge’s footnote declared:

On February 22, 2017, Plaintiffs filed a Motion for a Preliminary Injunction of S 5(d) of the Executive Order, ECF No. 64, requesting that the Court enjoin a specific provision of the First Executive Order. With the agreement of the parties, the Court set a briefing and hearing schedule extending to March 28, 2017. The Court will resolve that Motion, which the parties have agreed should be construed to apply to the successor provision of the Second Executive Order, in accordance with the previously established schedule.

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March 16, 2017

Trump: Judge Blocking New Immigration Order Is ‘Unprecedented Judicial Overreach’

Donald Trump responded to the federal judge in Hawaii who froze his latest executive order restricting immigration just hours before it was supposed to go into effect.

Speaking from a rally in Nashville Wednesday night, the president said it was “unprecedented judicial overreach.”

“Let me give you the bad news,” Trump said. “We don’t like bad news, right? Let me give you the bad, the sad news. Moments ago, I learned that a district judge in Hawaii, part of the much overturned ninth circuit court, and I have to be nice or otherwise I’ll be criticized for speaking poorly about our courts…a judge has blocked our executive order. The order he blocked was a watered down version of the first order. That was also blocked by another judge and should have never been blocked to start with.”

“This new order was tailored to the ninth circuit’s dictates. The law and Constitution give the president the power to suspend immigration when he or she deems — fortunately, it will not be Hillary she…”

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March 15, 2017

Epic Fail: Rachel Maddow Mocked After Dragging Out Trump Tax ‘Scoop’

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow was widely mocked on social media Tuesday night after drawing out the revelations in what she announced was an “exclusive story” regarding Donald Trump’s tax returns.

Instead of getting right to her big scoop about a 2005 Trump tax return she obtained, Maddow opened her show with a rambling 20-minute rant outlining her often tangential theories regarding Trump’s connections to Russia.

Maddow did not unveil the relevant tax documents until 23 minutes into the show, revealing that Donald Trump had made more than $150 million in income in 2005 and paid $38 million in income taxes that year.

In fact, Maddow took so long to get to the point, that the Trump White House scooped her:

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March 14, 2017

Trump’s Original Labor Pick Blasts The Media For Biased Coverage

President Donald Trump’s initial choice to lead the Department of Labor blamed the “biased nature” of the news media for his withdrawal from consideration.

“When they announced my withdrawal, there was a tweet from somebody who was in the newsroom, one of the reporters at Politico, saying that they broke out in applause,” Puzder said in his first television interview. “So, you could imagine the biased nature of the coverage.”

Puzder was forced to withdraw after Senate Republicans informed the White House that they did not possess the votes necessary to confirm the CKE restaurant CEO.

He was under a barrage of negative stories ranging from reports that he paid some employees in cash, hired an illegal immigrant housekeeper and allegedly abused a former spouse.

“I think the big problem here was that the left, the Democrats, really didn’t want a successful businessman who started out as a working class kid,” Puzder asserted, adding that the left would do anything they possibly could to keep me out of that office (Secretary of the Department of Labor).

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March 13, 2017

Tancredo — Illegal Aliens and Violent Crime: Some Amazing Facts

Take a look at the crime statistics for just one state, Texas. A 2017 report by the Texas Department of Public Safety reveals that over the period from June 1, 2011 to February 28, 2017, the 215,000 criminal aliens who were booked into Texas jails were collectively charged with 566,000 offenses, including 1,167 homicides and 6,098 sexual assaults, with a total of 257,000 convictions.

By the way, Texas has less than half the criminal alien jail and prison population of California, which has over 100,000 criminal aliens occupying facilities supported by California taxpayers. (For 2009 incarceration numbers for each state, see Appendix III of the 2011 GAO report, here.)

It’s no secret that progressive politicians in hundreds of cities and counties are opposing the Trump administration initiatives to end so-called “sanctuary” policies. What those politicians never talk about is the fact that those policies continue to allow tens of thousands of criminal aliens to go free instead of facing deportation proceedings as prescribed by federal law.

According to a summary report on sanctuary policies from Federation for American Immigration Reform and numerous media reports, it’s not just San Francisco, New York and Chicago that are obstructing federal deportation of violent criminals. About 300 local city and county jurisdictions have adopted official policies to refuse cooperation with immigration enforcement in open violation of federal law. And California is not the only place with a statewide sanctuary policy. For a map of principal sanctuary jurisdictions, go here.

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March 10, 2017

Paul Ryan Replaces Obamacare’s Insurance Penalties with Even Larger Penalties

Paul Ryan’s Obamacare-lite plan will replace Obamacare’s health mandate penalty with an even larger penalty.

Avalere Health reports that the Ryan plan’s insurance penalty eclipses Obamacare’s penalty.

Paul Ryan’s Obamacare-lite plan will replace the individual mandate penalty with a premium surcharge for failing to maintain health insurance coverage over 63 days. Individuals without insurance face a 30 percent surcharge of their monthly premium. The penalty will fill the coffers of the insurance companies instead of the government.

Obamacare imposes penalties for those who go without insurance for more than three months. The IRS imposes penalties based on income, and the length at which an individual went without insurance.

Health insurance premiums adjust based on age, meaning that Ryan’s health penalties would be cheaper for younger Americans, and more expensive for older Americans. The Ryan plan’s penalty is not tied to income, unlike Obamacare, making penalties proportionately higher for low-income Americans.

Avalere Health reports that “a 50 year old individual at 100% of the federal poverty level ($11,880 in income for 2016) could pay over $1,000 more in penalties under AHCA for not having insurance in the prior year than what she would pay for not having insurance under the current law.  Finally, unlike the ACA individual mandate penalty, the AHCA’s penalties are not prorated based on how long someone is uninsured, so penalty increases are higher for those who have shorter gaps in coverage.”

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March 9, 2017

Sen. Rand Paul on Paul Ryan’s Obamacare Lite: Speaker ‘Trying to Pull the Wool Over the Eyes of the President’

In the interview, Paul accused Ryan of misleading President Donald Trump on the process and the level of support in the House for the bill that House GOP leadership—at Ryan’s direction—put forward this week.

The House Freedom Caucus was publicly against this strategy before Ryan even rolled it out. The group of more than 40 House conservatives remains steadfastly opposed to Ryan’s plan on this front, showing no signs of breaking as they signaled before it was introduced, and now many Republican offices outside the House Freedom Caucus privately tell Breitbart News that as many as 70 or more House Republicans are opposed to Ryan’s plan.

Leadership knows this too, they say, as all the “hard no” votes have told the Speaker’s office or the whip teams they cannot vote for this bill. But Ryan is plowing forward, stating at a number of press conferences this week he is confident he will receive the 218 votes he needs to pass the bill—even though he clearly does not have them right now.

When asked what Ryan’s strategy is here, Paul told Breitbart News it makes no sense—and that he believes that the Speaker is deliberately misleading President Trump into thinking he has more support for this bill than he has, and that its fate is not in crisis.

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March 8, 2017

Podesta Didn’t Register As A ‘Foreign Agent’ When He Represented A Bank With Ties To Russian Spy Agencies

Democratic super lobbyist Tony Podesta failed to register under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) when he agreed to represent Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank.

Sberbank allegedly has close ties to Russia’s intelligence services, The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group has learned.

Marc Raimondi, the national security spokesman at the Department of Justice, confirmed to The DCNF that Sberbank never registered with the department under FARA.  It did not directly register nor was not registered through any other agency such as the Podesta Group.

“The FARA Registration Unit personnel conducted a search related to your questions and can confirm that the search terms – Sberbank CIB USA, Inc., or Sberbank – are not currently (nor previously have been) registered under FARA,” he informed The DCNF in an email.

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March 7, 2017

Dem Super-Lobbyist Podesta Got $170K to End US Sanctions On Russian Bank

Democrat super-lobbyist Tony Podesta was paid $170,000 over a six-month period last year to represent Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank, seeking to end one of the Obama administration’s economic sanctions against that country, The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group has learned.

Podesta, founder and chairman of the Podesta Group, is listed as a key lobbyist on behalf of Sberbank, according to Senate lobbying disclosure forms. His firm received more than $24 million in fees in 2016, much of it coming from foreign governments, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

Podesta is the brother of John Podesta, who was the national campaign chairman for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s losing 2016 campaign for the presidency. Former President Barack Obama imposed the sanctions following the Russian seizure of the Crimean region of Ukraine in 2014.

The lobbying campaign targeted Congress and the executive branch, with Podesta and other lobbyists arranging at least two meetings between Sberbank officers and Department of State officials, according to Elena Teplitskaya, Sberbank’s board chairman, who spoke to House aides in August.

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March 6, 2017

Chuck Schumer Plans New ‘Blue Wall’ to Block Donald Trump’s Border Wall

The Democrats’ leader in the Senate hopes to hammer President Donald Trump’s entire presidency by blocking funds to build a border wall against the northward flow of drugs, criminals, and cheap-labor illegals, says Axios.com.

According to Axios, Sen. Chuck Schumer:

… has concluded that denying President Trump his wall is perhaps the surest major defeat Democrats can hand the President in his first year.

 Trump needs 60 Senate votes to fund construction of his “great wall” along the Southern border. Unlike healthcare or tax reform, Republicans can’t use the budget process to ram the wall funding through Congress using only Republican votes…

The evolving plan, being discussed by Schumer’s office and Senate appropriators: If Republicans put money for the wall into a bill, Democrats block it. It doesn’t matter what else is in the bill — Schumer will make it about the wall. The way Democrats see it, if they can block the wall, they’d crush a central feature of Trump’s political identity. And as the face of the strategy, Schumer would thrill the Democratic base

Read it all here.

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February 22, 2017

Obama’s Feds Tried to Hack Indiana’s Election System While Pence Was Governor

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials tried to hack Indiana’s state electoral system with at least 14,800 “scans” or hits between Nov. 1, 2016, to Dec. 16, 2016, The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group has learned.

The attacks are the second confirmed IT scanning assault by DHS officials against states that resisted then-President Barack Obama’s attempt to increase federal involvement in state and local election systems by designating them as “critical infrastructure” for national security.

Members of the National Association of Secretaries of State voted Saturday at their winter meeting to oppose the designation. They are asking President Donald Trump to overturn it.

Former Indiana Gov. Mike Pence was also Trump’s vice presidential-elect during much of the period covered by the DHS scans of the Indiana system.

Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson, the incoming president of the association, told TheDCNF Tuesday that, “we know that between November 1 and December 16 we were scanned with about 14,800 scans, nearly 15,000 different times.”

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February 21, 2017

Trump Will Issue Executive Orders To Dismantle Obama’s ‘Climate Action Plan’

President Donald Trump will order the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to begin dismantling a regulation central to former President Barack Obama’s plan to fight global warming.

A source briefed on the matter told The Washington Post one of the orders “will instruct the Environmental Protection Agency to begin rewriting the 2015 regulation that limits greenhouse-gas emissions from existing electric utilities” and order “the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to lift a moratorium on federal coal leasing.”

Trump will issue a second order instructing the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to rewrite the “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) rule that expanded federal control over rivers, streams and wetlands — even those on private property.

Trump is expected to issue the orders in the next week. Dismantling EPA regulations could take months and is bound to draw legal challenges. Repealing the Department of the Interior’s coal moratorium, on the other hand, could take effect immediately.

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February 20, 2017

State Officials Want Trump To Reverse Obama’s Last-Minute Election Power Grab

State officials across the nation are fighting former President Barack Obama’s last-minute decision to impose federal authority over state-run election systems, the Daily Caller News Foundation has learned.

The National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), which includes officials from all 50 states and U.S. territories, appealed to President Donald Trump in a resolution approved Saturday at the group’s winter meeting to overturn the Obama policy, but doing so may encounter unexpected resistance from the new administration.

Obama ordered the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Jan. 6, 2017, to classify local and state election systems under the new federal designation of “critical infrastructure.”

By a voice vote, the NASS declared that it “opposes the designation of elections as critical infrastructure,” with opposition cutting across party lines. The NASS includes 33 Republicans, 21 Democrats and one independent.

Election authority falls under secretaries of state in most states, but some states give the authority to their lieutenant governors. All were in attendance at the winter meeting.

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February 17, 2017

Judicial Watch Planning to Sue FBI, NSA, CIA for Flynn Records

Conservative foundation Judicial Watch is planning to sue several government agencies if they do not hand over records related to the wiretapping of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

The group filed Freedom of Information Act requests for the records weeks ago but are planning to sue by next week for the records if they do not receive anything by then.

Judicial Watch filed the requests with the FBI, NSA, CIA, and Treasury Department, according to the group’s Director of Investigations and Research Chris Farrell.

The group is aiming to find out whether there was ever a warrant allowing the U.S. government to wiretap Flynn’s phone calls, and if so, who requested it and why.

“If you have a warrant, attached to the warrant 99 percent of the time, there is an affidavit, a sworn declaration normally by a law enforcement officer or senior official,” said Farrell.

Such a warrant could be classified, depending on the case, he said.

A wiretapped phone call between Flynn and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak was leaked to the Washington Post and revealed in a Feb. 9 story.

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February 16, 2017

How The Nation’s Spooks Played The Game ‘Kill Mike Flynn

National Security Advisor Gen. Michael T. Flynn (ret.) — who resigned Monday — was the victim of a “hit job” launched by intelligence operatives, Obama government holdovers and former Obama national security officials, according to former intelligence officials who spoke with The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group.

The talk within the tight-knit community of retired intelligence officers was that Flynn’s sacking was a result of intelligence insiders at the CIA, NSA and National Security Council using a sophisticated “disinformation campaign” to create a crisis atmosphere. The former intel officers say the tactics hurled against Flynn over the last few months were the type of high profile hard-ball accusations previously reserved for top figures in enemy states, not for White House officials.

“This was a hit job,” charged retired Col. James Williamson, a 32-year Special Forces veteran who coordinated his operations with the intelligence community.

Noting the Obama administration first tried to silence Flynn in 2014 when the former president fired him as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Williamson called Monday’s resignation, “stage Two of ‘Kill Mike Flynn.”

Former intelligence officials who understand spy craft say Flynn’s resignation had everything to do with a “disinformation campaign” and little to do with the December phone conversation he had with the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

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February 15, 2017

Former Obama Officials, Loyalists Waged Secret Campaign to Oust Flynn

The abrupt resignation Monday evening of White House national security adviser Michael Flynn is the culmination of a secret, months-long campaign by former Obama administration confidantes to handicap President Donald Trump's national security apparatus and preserve the nuclear deal with Iran, according to multiple sources in and out of the White House who described to the Washington Free Beacon a behind-the-scenes effort by these officials to plant a series of damaging stories about Flynn in the national media.

The effort, said to include former Obama administration adviser Ben Rhodes—the architect of a separate White House effort to create what he described as a pro-Iran echo chamber—included a small task force of Obama loyalists who deluged media outlets with stories aimed at eroding Flynn's credibility, multiple sources revealed.

The operation primarily focused on discrediting Flynn, an opponent of the Iran nuclear deal, in order to handicap the Trump administration's efforts to disclose secret details of the nuclear deal with Iran that had been long hidden by the Obama administration.

Insiders familiar with the anti-Flynn campaign told the Free Beacon that these Obama loyalists plotted in the months before Trump's inauguration to establish a set of roadblocks before Trump's national security team, which includes several prominent opponents of diplomacy with Iran. The Free Beacon first reported on this effort in January.

Sources who spoke to the Free Beacon requested anonymity in order to speak freely about the situation and avoid interfering with the White House's official narrative about Flynn, which centers on his failure to adequately inform the president about a series of phone calls with Russian officials.

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