- Trump responds to speculation of Oprah presidential run (video)
- France flooded with record-breaking number of asylum requests
- Trump admin announces major cuts to bloated EPA staff
- BREAKING: NY assemblywoman indicted for stealing gov’t funds (video)
- BREAKING: Arpaio announces run for senate
- Scalise faces new surgery related to shooting
- Oprah’s good friend downplays presidential talk (video)
- University sued by white nationalist over security costs
- Claim: Hamas leader critical after accidentally shooting self in the head
- Morning Joe host makes admission about Obama (video)
- Texts between FBI agents prompt congressional probe into improper leaks
- Report: Elite NY art museums funded by billionaire opioid donors
- Actress says she’d be better president than Oprah
- Report: Where Oprah stands on political issues (video)
- CNN avoids hot topic in interview with Bernie Sanders (video)
- Federal CFPB staff busted in effort to undermine new director
- Bruce Ohr, linked to dossier, booted from another Justice Dept role
- US makes deal to help Christians in Iraq
Posted: 09 Jan 2018 10:33 AM PST
The mainstream media is continuing to fuel speculation that Oprah Winfrey might run for president in 2020, but President Donald Trump isn’t concerned.
“Yeah, I’ll beat Oprah. Oprah would be a lot of fun,” Trump told reporters Tuesday during a meeting with bipartisan lawmakers about immigration.
Still, the president said Tuesday that he likes Winfrey. But knowing her personally, Trump said that he does not think Winfrey will challenge him for the White House.
“I don’t think she’s going to run. … I know her very well,” Trump told reporters.
“I did one of her last shows … I like Oprah,” he added.
Winfrey’s well-received speech at Sunday night’s Golden Globe Awards reignited speculation about a possible bid for president in 2020. While those close to Winfrey signaled that she could consider it, the former talk show host herself has repeatedly tamped down rumors.
The post Trump responds to speculation of Oprah presidential run (video) appeared first on Dennis Michael Lynch.
Posted: 09 Jan 2018 10:19 AM PST
France received a record number of asylum applications in 2017, many from Africa, according to the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons.
The 2017 total of 100,412 asylum applications represented an increase of 17 percent over 2016, according to Le Monde.
More than half of the top 10 countries of origin of those seeking asylum in France were located in Africa, including Sudan, Guinea, Congo and the Ivory Coast.
Since taking office in May 2017, President Emmanuel Macron has undertaken an initiative to diminish the influx of migrants from Africa under which he secured a deal with Niger and Chad to allow the acceptance of a smaller number of vetted migrants into France.
Despite his success in brokering deals regarding the number of migrants allowed in France, Macron has been criticized for remarks he has made regarding the issue. In 2017, he was direct when assessing the problems facing migrants, saying that “demographic transitions” create a larger issue because Africans “have seven or eight children per woman,” Breitbart News reported.
French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said that the number of illegal migrants currently living in France could be as high as 300,000, although others have estimated the number to be approximately 400,000.
Many asylum seekers end up living in makeshift camps in Paris and elsewhere throughout France. Recently in the city of Reims, approximately 40 asylum seekers set up a camp near the University of Reims Champagne-Ardennes, forcing the university to close the campus until the area could be determined as safe for students.
The post France flooded with record-breaking number of asylum requests appeared first on Dennis Michael Lynch.
Posted: 09 Jan 2018 10:05 AM PST
As promised, President Donald Trump is reducing the bloated staff at the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA on Tuesday showed The Washington Examiner the results of its first year cutting staff: “The agency is below levels last seen during former President Reagan's administration.”
A group of staffers pegged to retire by early 2021 will bring the number of staffers at the EPA down; from nearly 15,000, to below 8,000, or a cut of 47 percent.
"We're proud to report that we're reducing the size of government, protecting taxpayer dollars and staying true to our core mission of protecting the environment," Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a statement.
Here are the numbers:
According to an EPA official, "We’re happy to be at Reagan-level employment numbers and the future retirements shows a preview of how low we could get during this administration. It would be fair to say anywhere from 25 to 47 percent of EPA could retire during this administration."
The Examiner report said that Pruitt has used buyouts to spur some of the cuts and attractive retirement benefits that have also led many to leave the agency. He also instituted a hiring freeze.
Under Pruitt, the agency has gone the "back to basics" of protecting the environment while shucking former President Obama's political agenda focused heavily on climate change, according to the report.
The post Trump admin announces major cuts to bloated EPA staff appeared first on Dennis Michael Lynch.
Posted: 09 Jan 2018 09:50 AM PST
An assemblywoman in the state of New York was indicted Tuesday on multiple federal corruption charges for allegedly stealing “tens of thousands of dollars” in federal and city funds, and tampering with witnesses.
Pamela Harris, 57, the assemblywoman who represents Bay Ridge, Coney Island, Dyker Heights and other nearby communities, was charged with two counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, four counts of making false statements, two counts of bankruptcy fraud, one count of witness tampering and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, CBS New York reported.
Harris is accused of defrauding multiple entities between 2012 and 2016, including the New York City Council, the city's Department of Youth and Community Development, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the city's Build it Back Program and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of New York.
"As alleged in the indictment, the defendant defrauded government agencies out of tens of thousands of dollars in public funds and tried to fraudulently obtain even more," said U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue. "She conducted her schemes victimizing the federal and New York City governments, and then obstructed a federal investigation into her crimes while a sitting New York State Assemblywoman. When she learned that law enforcement was investigating her various fraud schemes, she pressured witnesses to lie to the FBI and cover them up."
A special election held in 2015 allowed Harris to win a seat on the Assembly, and she was reelected in 2016. Federal prosecutors contend that Harris was committing crimes as the leader of a non-profit group assisting children in Coney Island prior to taking public office.
Harris is accused of depositing into her checking account more than $70,000 from the City Council that was intended to pay the organization's rent. According to the indictment, Harris spent the money on airline tickets, a cruise and to pay bills from Victoria's Secret.
Some of the charges against Harris stem from allegations that she stole money from FEMA for recovery from Sandy and Built It Back funds from New York City when she falsely claimed she was forced to relocate due to storm damage to her home.
Harris is scheduled for arraignment on Tuesday afternoon.
From a press release by the Department of Justice on Tuesday:
"Both before and during her tenure as a public servant, as alleged, Assemblywoman Pamela Harris went to great lengths to defraud local and federal agencies out of thousands of dollars," stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney. "In fact, at a time when many residents in her district were dealing with the horrific aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Harris was busy brewing a storm of her own, one that resulted in her receiving significant payouts by the very federal agency charged with helping those truly in need. As if these allegations weren't enough, Harris allegedly obstructed a federal investigation into the matters at hand, asking others to lie on her behalf, as alleged. These types of crimes threaten the financial stability of our local and federal governments, but when a public official is involved, even more is at risk. Today we are proud to put an end to this inexcusable scheme."
"The brazen corruption charged as a result of this investigation tramples on the very definition of a public servant," stated DOI Commissioner Peters. "This elected official exploited the public she was elected to serve by stealing from City and federal programs and then concealing the fraud with false statements and asking witnesses to obstruct the investigation, according to the indictment. DOI thanks the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York and the FBI for their partnership in working together to expose the array of wrongdoing charged in this indictment."
The following video was from January 2016, when Harris first took her seat an a new Assemblymember. Harris said that “the 46th District has to get what they deserve, and I’m gonna stand steadfast and make sure that my district is well taken care of.”
The post BREAKING: NY assemblywoman indicted for stealing gov’t funds (video) appeared first on Dennis Michael Lynch.
Posted: 09 Jan 2018 09:10 AM PST
Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, a frequent critic of President Trump, announced in October that he will be retiring, as he lamented the “alarming and dangerous state of affairs” under Trump.
Now a longtime staunch Trump supporter is intending to take his place.
Republican Joe Arpaio, otherwise known as “Sheriff Joe,” announced in an exclusive telephone interview with the Washington Examiner, that he is running for the Senate seat that Flake is vacating.
Arpaio, 85, was the sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona for 24 years, until he was ousted by a Democrat in 2016, thanks in part to heavy political contributions from globalist Democrat billionaire, George Soros.
Arpaio is well known for being tough on illegal immigration, and was convicted by a judge for ignoring a federal court order to stop “racial-profiling” of illegal aliens. President Trump pardoned him of the charges last summer.
Arpaio will have some competition in the primaries from Kelli Ward and Rep. Martha McSally.
The Washington Examiner published their report Tuesday morning:
In a telephone interview with the Washington Examiner, Arpaio shrugged off concerns about his age, dismissed Republican insiders' anxiety that his poor reputation with nonwhite voters would put the seat in play for the Democrats in the midterm, and discussed plans to work with Trump on behalf of Arizona.
"I have a lot to offer. I'm a big supporter of President Trump," Arpaio said. "I'm going to have to work hard; you don't take anything for granted. But I would not being doing this if I thought that I could not win. I'm not here to get my name in the paper, I get that everyday, anyway."
Arpaio's sharp rhetoric and law enforcement practices also drew intense criticism. Democrats, some Republicans, and advocates for immigrants — both legal and illegal — accused him of unconstitutional racial profiling and even bigotry. Arpaio said he expects more of the same in his Senate campaign, but vowed not to alter his approach.
"My mother and father came here from Italy, legally of course. I have a soft spot for the Mexican community having lived there," he said. "I'm not going to get into my personal life, but I will say we have four grandkids and some have a different ethnic and racial background. I don't say that. I don't use my grandkids. So, I have a soft spot, but still, I'm going to do my job. You have to do it."
"Being a U.S. senator is a little different than being the sheriff, because you can do a lot of things in the U.S. Senate, and I have many plans, believe me. It's tough. It's a tough decision. But, if you're going to come across that border, you should be arrested and get the consequences of it," Arpaio added.
Posted: 09 Jan 2018 08:47 AM PST
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was wounded when a gunman opened fire at a Republican congressional baseball practice last June, announced Tuesday that he will undergo a planned surgery on Wednesday as a part of his recovery process.
Scalise said in a Twitter announcement, "I have been fortunate to make tremendous progress in my healing from last June’s shooting, and tomorrow I will undergo a planned surgery as part of my ongoing recovery process.”
“I appreciate all of the continued prayers as I move forward with my recovery,” Scalies said, “and I continue to be thankful for the dedicated care I am receiving from my medical team.”
Scalise said that he will “remain fully engaged” in his work as he recovers from Wednesday’s “procedure.”
“I look forward to returning to the Capitol as soon as I can within the coming weeks,” Scalise said.
After a bullet tore through his internal organs and fractured bones, Scalise underwent multiple surgeries and blood transfusions. Following three months of recovery, Scalise returned to Congress in September.
Posted: 09 Jan 2018 08:22 AM PST
During the Tuesday broadcast of “CBS This Morning,” a close friend of Oprah Winfrey downplayed the possibility of a presidential run by Winfrey in 2020, contending that the idea was fueled after Stedman Graham, Winfrey’s longtime partner, misunderstood a question.
CBS host Gayle King offered clarification of the exchange between Graham and a reporter.
“Stedman says that he thought the reporter said to him, ‘Would she make a good president,’ and he said, ‘Absolutely, she would,'” King said. “That’s how he interpreted the question because here’s the thing, Stedman would never so cavalierly say, ‘Absolutely, she would do it. It’s up to the people.'”
King revealed that she received emails on Monday from people asking, “Is Stedman being strategic or is he being supportive?”
“He is nothing but supportive,” King said. “He would never just throw it out there like that.”
King said that she “absolutely” did not think Winfrey’s position regarding making a presidential run had changed.
“I do think she’s intrigued by the idea,” said King. “I also know that, after years of watching the ‘Oprah’ show, you always have a right to change your mind. I don’t think at this point she’s actually considering it … She loves this country and would like to be of service in some way.”
King noted that some believe Winfrey wrote the speech she delivered at Sunday’s Golden Globe awards as a “launching pad for what she wants to do.”
“That’s absolutely not true,” King insisted.
On Monday, Peter Alexander, national correspondent for NBC News, tweeted that a source close to Winfrey said that she had “no intention of running” for president in 2020.
“NEW: A source close to @Oprah tells @tvkatesnow as of today, she has no intention of running for President in 2020: ‘It's not happening. She has no intention of running,’ the source said. Source says that's from Oprah herself,” Alexander tweeted.
The post Oprah’s good friend downplays presidential talk (video) appeared first on Dennis Michael Lynch.
Posted: 09 Jan 2018 08:08 AM PST
The organizer of white nationalist Richard Spencer’s tour of the University of Cincinnati has filed a lawsuit against the school’s president for allegedly violating free speech rights.
According to the Associated Press, Cameron Padgett filed the federal lawsuit Monday, claiming that the university required an $11,000 security fee be paid in order for Spencer to speak on campus.
University President Neville Pinto is accused in the lawsuit of "de facto censorship" for demanding that Spencer's team fund security costs. Padgett claims that "violent left-of-center political terrorists" are responsible for the security costs.
"If security costs could be passed on … by universities to event organizers who espouse politically right-of-center political ideas," the lawsuit alleges, "then such would result in de facto censorship insofar as fewer — or no — right-of-center political events could occur on American college campuses due to the massive security costs."
Padgett is seeking $2 million in damages.
Spencer's appearances on college campuses across the county have proven highly controversial, sparking widespread protests that have heightened safety concerns. In 2017, the University of Florida estimated that it would spend $600,000 to secure Spencer's event. Prior to Spencer’s appearance at the school, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, declared a county-wide state of emergency.
Spencer, a prominent leader in the "alt-right" movement, spoke at the "Unite the Right" white nationalist rally last August in Charlottesville, Va., where one counter-protester was killed.
Spencer’s team has filed several lawsuits against universities for not allowing Spencer to speak.
The post University sued by white nationalist over security costs appeared first on Dennis Michael Lynch.
Posted: 09 Jan 2018 07:51 AM PST
Senior Hamas official Imad al-Alami is reportedly in critical condition after accidentally shooting himself in the head on Tuesday, according to the group’s spokesperson, Fawzi Barhoum. Known to be a key link between Hamas and its financial supporters in Iran, al-Alami was supposedly inspecting his weapon when it went off, but there are some on social media now speculating that the shooting may have really been an attempted assassination.
According to a report in the Washington Free Beacon Tuesday, Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry spokesperson Dr. Ashraf al-Qidre said that al-Alami is in critical condition and being treated at the intensive care unit in Gaza’s Shifa Hospital.
The post Claim: Hamas leader critical after accidentally shooting self in the head appeared first on Dennis Michael Lynch.
Posted: 09 Jan 2018 07:47 AM PST
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough made a stunning admission on Tuesday about former President Barack Obama.
“As I’ve suggested before, Barack Obama wasn’t ready in my opinion to be president,” said the “Morning Joe” host. He went on to call Obama “a glorified state senator” in the course of discussing the viral topic of whether or not Oprah Winfrey could be making a run for the White House after her well-received speech at the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday night.
The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson, a guest on Tuesday’s show, said he wouldn’t underestimate Winfrey as a candidate. “Oprah has always shared her struggles and vulnerabilities,” he said explaining her longtime appeal, but he wouldn’t compare her to Trump. “Oprah seems to unite people… while Trump continues to divide people.”
Scarborough recalled how Donald Trump was “always underestimated. He had mad political skills on a bizarre level that few of us understood at the time. He knew how to connect with people and look where we are.”
The former GOP congressman went on to spill his personal feelings about Obama on the show, saying, “There are so many great things personally about Barack Obama, even though so many of his policies drive me crazy, but Barack Obama wasn't ready, in my opinion, to be president. He was, as I said, a glorified state senator.”
Scarborough added, “If Barack Obama stayed in Senate for a term and actually learned the frustrations of Washington, he would have been a much better president in my opinion.”
He went on to praise Marco Rubio for his Washington experience. “Marco understands the frustrations of Washington. And Marco is not doing what Barack Obama did and so many other people are doing, ‘I'm getting elected to the Senate and now I'm going to run for president of the United States.’ It's hard.”
In 2017, Scarborough announced on an episode of Stephen Colbert’s “The Late Show” that he was leaving the Republican Party in protest of President Trump.
"That's not a party that Ronald Reagan can associate with; it's certainly not a party that I can associate with," Scarborough concluded. "And listen, I want lower taxes; I want less regulations; I want a more competitive economy; I want the government taking less money from me. But not at this price,” he told Colbert.
Winfrey, 63, a TV host, producer and philanthropist, has denied she will seek the office. However, her Golden Globes speech gave liberal pundits the fuel they needed to start speculating about renewed hopes that she might take on Trump in 2020.
The post Morning Joe host makes admission about Obama (video) appeared first on Dennis Michael Lynch.
Posted: 09 Jan 2018 07:37 AM PST
Committees led by Republicans in the House and Senate are investigating whether principals in the Russia counterintelligence investigation had contacts with the news media that resulted in improper leaks. The probe was spurred by text messages sent among senior FBI officials which named specific reporters, news organizations and articles.
FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok and bureau lawyer Lisa Page, who were engaged in an affair, exchanged texts shortly before the presidential election in 2016 suggesting they knew in advance about an article in The Wall Street Journal and would need to pretend to have discovered the story by chance so that it could be shared with colleagues.
"Article is out, but hidden behind paywall so can't read it," Page texted Strzok on Oct. 24, 2016.
"Wsj? Boy that was fast," Strzok responded via text. "Should I 'find' it and tell the team?"
The two then proceeded to discuss how they might make it appear that they simply happened upon the article.
"I can get it like I do every other article that hits any Google News alerts, seriously," Strzok wrote, adding he did not want his team to hear about the piece "from someone else."
Strzok and Page also texted their opinions about the media in general. According to The Hill, Strzok called an article in the New York Post about agents being displeased with the outcome of the Clinton email investigation "stupid," and referred to Fox News anchor Chris Wallace as a "turd."
After the presidential debate hosted by Fox News, Strzok also remarked about then-Fox anchor and current NBC anchor Megyn Kelly. "Vaguely satisfying to see Megyn Kelly (who had Botox and looks HORRIBLE) utterly going after Trump," he texted to Page.
Peter Strzok, a highly experienced FBI veteran, headed up the FBI's counterespionage division last year, and was one of the top investigators in the probe of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server during her term as secretary of state. He was also reported to be one of the FBI officials who interviewed Clinton.
In addition, Strzok was on Mueller’s investigative team last summer, in the probe on the alleged Trump Campaign-Russia collusion. Mueller quietly booted him from the team in August, when the text messages were discovered which he and Page sent during the presidential campaign season, showing he expressed anti-Trump views and was supportive of Clinton.
More text messages between the Strzok and Page were shared by The Hill:
A few days earlier Strzok texted Page about another new article, suggesting it was anti-FBI. "Yep, the whole tone is anti-Bu. Just a tiny bit from us," he wrote.
Page texted she had seen the article. "Makes me feel WAY less bad about throwing him under the bus to the forthcoming CF article," she texted. Congressional investigators are still trying to determine what the "CF article" reference means and who the agents thought they were trying to throw "under the bus."
Republicans want to interview Page to determine if she assisted with any "forthcoming" articles or helped another FBI employee "give" information to the news media, particularly because she helped advise then-deputy director McCabe.
Likewise, congressional investigators want to question Strzok about what he meant about the "tiny bit from us" reference.
When the two shared a National Public Radio article on the opening of Trump's new hotel in Washington, the two could barely contain their disdain.
"That's one place I hope I never stay in," Page wrote.
Strzok replied. "Agreed. I hope it fails horribly."
The post Texts between FBI agents prompt congressional probe into improper leaks appeared first on Dennis Michael Lynch.
Posted: 09 Jan 2018 07:21 AM PST
In order to avoid addressing the huge donations received by world-renowned museums and other organizations from a billionaire family that earned its fortune from the opioid epidemic, the institutions recently declined interviews and ejected reporters from their premises.
The Sackler family, private owners of Purdue Pharma, the drug manufacturer that created OxyContin, have donated millions to iconic New York tourist attractions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Metropolitan Opera. Many attractions that received hefty donations honor the Sacklers with plaques on their premises or with entire wings built in their name.
Beneficiaries of the Sacklers’ generosity also include the Dia Art Foundation, which has received $20 million in donations, and the Central Park Conservancy, which has received $1 million.
Representatives of the institutions and organizations who have received donations from the Sacklers have refused to address the topic of contributions from the family, and actively escorted reporters from The Daily Caller News Foundation from their properties.
The Sacklers have become one of America’s richest families by producing a OxyContin, which is widely blamed for its role in initiating the opioid epidemic. After being accused of deceiving doctors about the addictive qualities of the painkiller, Purdue Pharma and three of its top executives entered guilty pleas.
According to The Daily Caller, “Purdue led an effort that encouraged doctors to prescribe painkillers to non-terminal patients in the 1990s. The company produced propaganda that taught the medical community about opioid painkillers and downplayed the risk for abuse. Critics say the emphasis Purdue put on treating pain through opioids primed the system that eventually devolved into the current epidemic of addiction.”
Forbes reported that between 1995 and 2015, OxyContin sales totaled $35 billion, bringing the net worth of the Sacklers to $14 billion.
An investigation by The Daily Caller News Foundation revealed that the Sacklers have never publicly donated to an addiction rehabilitation center, although they have made massive contributions to the arts, humanities and sciences.
The post Report: Elite NY art museums funded by billionaire opioid donors appeared first on Dennis Michael Lynch.
Posted: 09 Jan 2018 07:13 AM PST
During a Monday panel previewing ABC’s revival of the “Roseanne” show at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour, Roseanne Barr contended that she would be a “better president than Oprah.”
When asked by a reporter whether she would vote for Oprah Winfrey should Winfrey launch a presidential bid in 2020, Barr said, “I do love Oprah. Of course, I love Oprah like everybody else. But you know what? I think it was time for us as a country to shake things up and, you know, try something different,” she said, referring to her support of President Donald Trump.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, another member of the media asked Barr if she would support actress Susan Sarandon for president.
“Actually,” Barr replied, “I think I'd be a better president than Oprah and Susan Sarandon, probably even President Trump. And I did run in 2012,” she said.
Barr was also asked about her and John Goodman’s leading characters being portrayed as Trump supporters in the remake of “Roseanne.”
“In the ‘Roseanne’ show, I've always tried to have it be a true reflection of the society we live in. I feel like half the people voted for Trump and half didn't, so it's just realistic,” she said, noting that she has made an effort to realistically portray the American working class. “And, in fact, it was working-class people who elected Trump, so I felt like that was very real and something that needed to be discussed and especially about polarization in the family and people actually hating other people for the way they voted, which I feel is not American.”
Posted: 09 Jan 2018 06:44 AM PST
Oprah Winfrey’s Golden Globe Awards speech on Sunday night gave rise to the notion that the billionaire TV host is considering a run for the White House in 2020.
Winfrey has neither confirmed nor denied the rumor while liberals beg her to run against President Donald Trump under the hashtag #Oprah2020.
Oprah has been in the national spotlight for three decades and she obviously leans left, but media outlets are now wondering what an Oprah Winfrey presidency might look like.
Here are some facts about the media mogul’s political leanings, as compiled by the Daily Caller.
Ben Shapiro, editor-in-chief of The Daily Wire, said on Fox News on Monday that Oprah Winfrey's speech at Sunday's Golden Globes was 20 years too late.
"What the hell kind of risk was she taking? She was standing in front of an entire town filled with sexual abusers and harassers. She said nothing about it for 20 years," Shaprio pointed out. "She's being cheered by people who said nothing about it for 20 years and there she is pretending that she's leading the fight. In what way has she led the fight?"
According to Shapiro, Oprah's speech had absolutely no effect on the entertainment industry.
The post Report: Where Oprah stands on political issues (video) appeared first on Dennis Michael Lynch.
Posted: 09 Jan 2018 06:24 AM PST
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) appeared on Anderson Cooper’s CNN show Monday night, where he was questioned on all sorts of political topics, including Oprah Winfrey, and the investigation on alleged Trump-Russia collusion. But there was one topic that Cooper never brought up: The senator’s wife, Jane Sanders, who is being investigated for bank fraud.
A grand jury is now hearing from witnesses in the case to determine whether indictments should be issued, Vermont-based blogger VT Digger reported. The investigation hinges on whether Jane Sanders, a former Burlington College president, was honest about the amount of donations the Vermont college had received in 2010 to finance the purchase of 33 acres of lakefront property from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington.
The deal relied on pledged donations and projections of increased enrollment, which VT Digger previously reported as being overstated.
Following mainstream news protocol these days, Cooper did not go near that subject, despite the fact that on Monday, the Republican National Committee (RNC) sent out an email featuring a meme of Jane Sanders in jail. “The Obama Justice Department launched a federal probe into allegations that Jane committed bank fraud while she was president of the now-defunct Burlington College, and that Bernie used his official office to grease the wheels on a loan,” the email reads.
Instead of grilling Sanders about these new developments, The Washington Free Beacon reported that Cooper asked the man whether or not he thinks President Donald Trump should testify under oath in the Robert Mueller investigation, and about whether “there’s a legitimate concern regarding the president’s stability.”
Cooper wanted to know which party Sanders thinks a government shutdown would hurt politically and whether funding for a wall along the U.S.’s border with Mexico would be a nonstarter in the DACA debate, but he didn’t say one word about Jane Sanders.
Cooper’s final question to Sanders was regarding Oprah Winfrey’s chances to win the White House in 2020. Noting that he didn’t have a clue, Sanders added, “Everybody knows that Oprah is a tremendously intelligent, articulate person.”
The post CNN avoids hot topic in interview with Bernie Sanders (video) appeared first on Dennis Michael Lynch.
Posted: 09 Jan 2018 06:16 AM PST
Over a dozen employees at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau may have violated federal law by downloading encrypted messaging applications on government-issued phones to use in conspiring to undermine acting director and Trump appointee Mick Mulvaney's agenda, according to court documents.
The Cause of Action Institute, a nonprofit advocate for government transparency, received the documents in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request which followed a December story in The New York Times describing a group of agency employees that had labeled itself "Dumbledore's Army," named after a cadre of fictional wizards in "Harry Potter" books.
Apps utilized by the group include Snapchat, Signal, WhatsApp and others.
The Daily Caller News Foundation reported:
The Federal Records Act requires federal agencies to preserve the records of anything that relates to a government employee's duties. An amendment was added in Nov. 2014 that defines all "electronic messages" as official records covered by the law.
If Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) employees are using third-party applications to avoid having their conduct or day-to-day work recorded, this would potentially violate federal law.
The FOIA request asked for any efforts by CFPB to recover, investigate the use of, or archive any messages sent on these applications from employees as well as any actual messages sent or received on any of these applications. In the agency's response to CoA, the agency claimed it could not locate any of these records.
Emails retrieved through the FOIA request show CFPB employees exchanging random Harry Potter characters to one another with no context. It's unclear whether these employees are the same ones referenced in the original Times article. Another email shows employees from the "Matters Most" team discussing the FOIA request with other Harry Potter references bizarrely included throughout.
One email, however, does show some CFPB managers in a positive light. When an assistant regional director sent two of his managers the Times article, he appears upset by the reporting and replies with the following:
"Thanks for the heads up Andrew. Interesting article. I would hope no one on our team is quietly resisting leadership that all 4 ADs are following."
Rogue employees at federal agencies using encrypted messaging apps has been an ongoing issue under the Trump administration. The Daily Caller News Foundation reported on a CoA lawsuit filed in November against the Environmental Protection Agency for records related to staff members' use of Signal.
"We now know that a small group of career EPA employees used Signal to avoid transparency," CoA counsel Ryan Mulvey told TheDCNF at the time.
"These employees' work-related communications—including their messages concerning any proposed efforts to thwart the new Administration's political appointees from carrying out the President's policy agenda—should have been preserved for disclosure to the public," Mulvey said. "Records released by the EPA, however, prove that this preservation never took place."
The post Federal CFPB staff busted in effort to undermine new director appeared first on Dennis Michael Lynch.
Posted: 09 Jan 2018 06:02 AM PST
Bruce Ohr, the Justice Department official who was demoted last month for concealing his meetings with the men behind the anti-Trump "dossier,” has been ousted as head of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.
According to a report in Fox News, the Justice Department is expected to comply with demands from the House Intelligence Committee to make Ohr available for an interview. He is scheduled to visit the committee on Jan. 17, sources said.
The story first broke on December 13 that Ohr had been demoted from the position of associate deputy attorney general after it came out that he had conducted undisclosed meetings with dossier author Christopher Steele and Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS. In addition, we learned that his wife, Nellie Ohr, worked for Fusion GPS, specifically on research related to the dossier.
According to the report, “At the time of his demotion, DOJ officials told Fox News that Bruce Ohr had been ‘wearing two hats,’ and would fall back to his other title and portfolio – as head of OCDETF.”
Now, former deputy director Thomas Padden has been tapped to take Ohr’s place. Ohr is still an employee with the Department of Justice, but now they’re making jokes about him. According to one DOJ insider, Ohr might end up in "one of those offices without a phone."
As the head of OCDETF, Ohr was directly involved with Project Cassandra, the inter-agency investigation spearheaded by the DEA that tracked a massive international drug and money laundering scheme allegedly run by Hezbollah.
According to Fox News:
The project recently was the subject of a critical and lengthy Politico report looking at how the Obama administration may have hampered the investigation. Those closest to Project Cassandra, including Derek Maltz, the now-retired supervisory DEA agent who was a major player in the operation, claim the project and its potential prosecutions were sidelined by senior Obama administration officials who didn’t want to upset Iran in the lead-up to the historic nuclear deal with Tehran in 2015.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement last month, “While I am hopeful that there were no barriers constructed by the last admission to allowing DEA agents to fully bring all appropriate cases under Project Cassandra, this is a significant issue for the protection of Americans. We will review these matters and give full support to investigations of violent drug trafficking organizations.”
Session was reportedly made aware of Ohr’s role in Project Cassandra and is personally involved in the review.
The post Bruce Ohr, linked to dossier, booted from another Justice Dept role appeared first on Dennis Michael Lynch.
Posted: 09 Jan 2018 05:19 AM PST
In a deal brokered with the United Nations’ international development agency, the Trump administration has committed to provide more aid to ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq.
The United States will send $75 million to the U.N. Development Program’s Funding Facility for Stabilization, of which $55 million will be dedicated to assisting minority groups in areas of Northern Iraq that have been reclaimed from the Islamic State, USAID said Monday.
According to The Hill, the deal was agreed upon more than two months after Vice President Mike Pence announced that the U.S. would no longer fund “ineffective” U.N. relief programs in Iraq, and will provide more assistance directly through USAID and “faith-based groups.”
In July, the U.S pledged $150 million to the Iraqi stabilization fund, which will be divided into two installments of $75 million each — the second being contingent upon UNDP implementing improvements in the accountability and transparency of the fund.
USAID also said on Monday that it is proceeding with a Broad Agency Announcement, a mechanism that allows the agency to solicit proposals from outside groups addressing the best ways to facilitate the return of ethnic and religious minorities to areas of Iraq deemed liberated from the control of ISIS.
In an October speech at the In Defense of Christians annual Solidarity Dinner for Christians in the Middle East, Pence criticized U.N. agencies’ collective failure to effectively assist religious minorities in Iraq, particularly Christians.
“Those days are over,” Pence said. “Our fellow Christians and all who are persecuted in the Middle East should not have to rely on multinational institutions when America can help them directly.”
|You are subscribed to email updates from Dennis Michael Lynch. |
To stop receiving these emails, you may unsubscribe now.
|Email delivery powered by Google|
|Google, 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043, United States|