Daily Dose 2/19/17- Sweden attack?

President Donald Trump’s reference to “what’s happening last night in Sweden” during a Saturday rally in Florida raised questions in Sweden and around the internet about what he really meant and where he gets his information. The President clarified his remarks Sunday, posting on Twitter that his statement “was in reference to a story that was broadcast on @FoxNewsconcerning immigrants & Sweden.” The tweet confirmed suspicions of many that Trump’s remarks stemmed from Tucker Carlson’s show Friday night, in which the host interviewed Ami Horowitz, a filmmaker who has tried to tie Sweden’s taking in of asylum seekers to increased violent crimes in the country. His remarks sparked confusion because he referenced places like Germany and France where there have been immigrant-related terror attacks but when Trump said “You look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this? Sweden.” People hadn’t heard any news about a terror attack in Sweden. The Presidents twitter account later clarified “My statement as to what’s happening in Sweden was in reference to a story that was broadcast on @FoxNews concerning immigrants & Sweden.”

The Senate Intelligence Committee is asking more than a dozen agencies, organizations and individuals to preserve communications related to the panel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, The panel, led by chairman Richard Burr, R-North Carolina, and top Democrat, Mark Warner of Virginia, sent letters asking for those materials to be kept, a Senate aide said Sunday. The letters were sent Friday, the same day committee members discussed Russia in a private meeting with FBI Director James Comey.The move comes amid inquiries into whether President Donald Trump’s campaign officials were in contact with Russian officials and other Russians known to US intelligence during the 2016 race.

British Parliament will debate on Monday whether the government should rescind its invitation to President Donald Trump for an official state visit. A petition to Parliament calling for the invite to be withdrawn has amassed more than 1.8 million signatures as of Sunday, far surpassing the 100,000 signatures needed to prompt a debate in Parliament.  “He should not be invited to make an official State Visit because it would cause embarrassment to Her Majesty the Queen,” the petition reads, citing Trump’s “well-documented misogyny and vulgarity.” London Mayor Sadiq Khan agrees with the petition and said Sunday Trump should be denied due to his “ban on people from seven Muslim-majorities countries” and his decision to block refugees from entering the United States, the Associated Press reports. “In those circumstances, we shouldn’t be rolling out the red carpet,” Khan said.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com

http://www.cnn.com

Daily Dose 2/17/17- immigrants round up

Another big news report was met with an abrupt and unequivocal denial Friday by the Trump administration – this time, over an Associated Press story claiming the team was considering a plan to mobilize National Guard troops to round up illegal immigrants.

The AP cited an 11-page “draft memo” that reportedly called for tapping up to 100,000 troops to track down illegal immigrants in border and non-border states. The memo reportedly said governors in the 11 states cited in the plan could choose whether to have troops participate. But White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer called the report “100 percent not true.”

Reports of a Russian spy ship off the coast of Connecticut raised questions about Putin’s intentions. Crammed with eavesdropping equipment, the Viktor Leonov has loitered in these waters before, but its current visit is the latest in a string of provocations. Earlier this month, according to the Pentagon, four Russian jets flew in an “unsafe and unprofessional” manner near a U.S. Navy destroyer in the Black Sea. Perhaps the Leonov’s visit was a message: “If you turn up on our coast …”

http://www.cnn.com

Daily Dose 2/16/17- Trump’s feud with press

President Trump’s feud with the media turned into an all-out war Thursday afternoon. His early presidency beset by damaging leaks and a burst of staff turmoil, Trump used a hastily called press conference to blast the media’s coverage of his administration in his strongest terms yet. He claimed the press is “out of control,” reports on his team’s ties to Russia are “fake,” and news outlets are attacking him because they oppose his agenda.

“The media’s trying to attack our administration because they know we are following through on the pledges that we made, and they’re not happy about it,” Trump declared at the White House. The president spoke and took questions for more than an hour and 15 minutes, even joking with some reporters toward the end and saying he was having fun. In a bid to preempt negative coverage of his remarks, Trump insisted he was not “ranting and raving.” But he lamented that the “tone” of coverage of his administration is one of “such hatred.”

Ret. Vice Adm. Bob Harward turned down President Donald Trump’s offer to be national security adviser Thursday, depriving the administration of a top candidate for a critical foreign policy post days after Trump fired Michael Flynn.

Trump has since named Ret. Lt. Gen. Joseph Keith Kellogg, who worked under Flynn until Flynn was asked to resign, as the acting national security adviser. When asked if there was a candidate for national security adviser in sight, a White House official told CNN, “Not that I’m aware of.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com
http://www.foxnews.com

Daily Dose 2/15/17- Bibi Netanyahu Meeting

 

President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu participate in a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House on Wednesday.

President Trump touted the prospects for a “great peace deal” in the Middle East while meeting Wednesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as both leaders sought to reaffirm their countries’ alliance and turn the page on years of tensions between the Israeli leader and Trump’s predecessor. The U.S. president, starting early in the negotiations, also used a joint press conference to publicly prod Netanyahu on the sensitive issue of Israeli settlement-building.

 

“I’d like to see you hold back on settlements for a little bit,” Trump said, standing beside Netanyahu at the White House. That being said, Trump said that his administration would “love” to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and that “We’re looking at it very, very strongly.” Doing so would signal U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a move that would infuriate Palestinians. They claim the eastern sector of the city, captured by Israel in the 1967 war, as their capital.

President Donald Trump is considering at least four candidates to be his new nominee for labor secretary after his previous pick abruptly withdrew from the confirmation process. Two administration officials told Fox News late Wednesday that potential nominees include former National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) members Peter Kirsanow and Alexander Acosta, former South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation Director Catherine Templeton and Joseph Guzman, an assistant professor of labor relations at Michigan State University who advised Trump during his presidential campaign.

It looks like Judge Neil Gorsuch would have an easier time making it to the U.S. Supreme Court if voters rather than U.S. Senators had to confirm him. That’s according to the latest Fox News Poll of registered voters nationwide.  President Donald Trump nominated Judge Gorsuch to fill the vacancy created by Justice Antonin Scalia’s death.  If Gorsuch is confirmed by the Senate, it will likely be a razor-thin victory.  Yet voters give him a 12-point edge. The new poll, released Wednesday, finds that by a 49-37 percent margin, voters would confirm Gorsuch.  Fourteen percent are undecided.

http://www.foxnews.com

Daily Dose 2/14/17- Michael Flynn scandal

Embattled White House national security adviser Michael Flynn resigned Monday night. His resignation came after reports that the Trump administration was warned last month that Flynn misled administration officials regarding his communications with the Russian ambassador to the United States and was potentially vulnerable to blackmail by the Russians.

He said in his resignation letter “Unfortunately, because of the fast pace of events, I inadvertently briefed the Vice President Elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian Ambassador.”

This sparks discussion on the hill about What did the president know and when did he know it? “Today, all Democratic Members of the Committee write to you jointly to request that you either reconsider your decision and initiate this investigation, or step aside and allow the Committee to vote on conducting basic oversight going forward,” the Democrats wrote in a letter to Chaffetz, who is the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, chair, noting they’ve been seeking Flynn-related probes since August.

“The President has been keeping a close eye on the Oroville Dam situation in California.  We’ve worked closely with Doug LaMalfa, who represents California’s First District, where the dam is located, and other state officials to help people who have been impacted.” Press secretary spicer said in the press briefing this morning. He was referring to the dam in California that was at risk of breaking and sending water into the residential area below. http://www.cnn.com

http://huffingtonpost.com

Daily Dose 2/12/17- Grammys

Adele swept the top honors at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards, but the night was shared with Beyoncé. Start to stop, surprises and chair-dropping moments were all on tap as the two superstars each provided stellar performances. Dressed as a goddess, Beyoncé spoke the words of poet Warsan Shire, just as she did in “Lemonade,” as the pregnant singer performed “Love Drought” and “Sandcastles” during a nine-minute set that celebrated motherhood. Some of the other winners included: “25,” Adele for album of the year, “Hello,” Adele for record of the year and song of the year, Chance The Rapper for the best new rapper, and “Lemonade,”  by Beyoncé for the best urban contemporary album.

Damage to a spillway on California’s Oroville Dam — which prompted an urgent call for residents downstream to evacuate to higher ground — may not be as bad as previously thought, the Butte County sheriff said Sunday. Still, the evacuation orders for cities and counties near Lake Oroville remain in effect. “I would rather be safe than sorry. I would rather have people move out of the area hopefully to safety,” Sheriff Kony Honea said.

After President Donald Trump last week repeated the false claim that massive voter fraud kept him from winning the popular vote in November, his senior adviser Stephen Miller on Sunday attempted to defend the statement ― without providing any evidence.

“It’s very real, it’s very serious,” he said on ABC News’ “This Week.” Host George Stephanopoulos repeatedly pressed Miller to back up his claim, but Miller wouldn’t.

“We can talk about it more in the future,” Miller said. “The reality is, we know for a fact, you have massive numbers of noncitizens registered to vote in this country. Nobody disputes that.”

Daily Dose 2/10/17- Michael Flynn

Democrats on Friday began calling for the removal of Michael Flynn?(above) , Donald Trump’s national security adviser, over reports he discussed sanctions and cooperation with Russia’s ambassador to the United States before President Donald Trump was sworn into office.

Top Trump officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, said last month that Flynn and Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador, talked simply to arrange a phone call between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Trump. But according to a report published in The Washington Post Thursday, Flynn told the ambassador that Trump would ease sanctions on the country once he took office. At the time of Flynn’s call, former President Barack Obama was about to impose new sanctions on Russia for interfering in the November presidential election. The sanctions were imposed after intelligence officials concluded that Russia had interfered, with the goal of boosting Trump’s chances of winning. Officials told The New York Times that Flynn did not explicitly promise sanctions relief, but there was the suggestion that it would be possible.

Protesters briefly blocked Education Secretary Betsy DeVos as she tried to enter a public school on Friday morning.  Demonstrators holding signs greeted DeVos when she arrived at Jefferson Middle School Academy in southwest Washington, not far from the Department of Education building. A video showed DeVos then turned around and walked away, with one protester walking beside her shouting, “Go back! Shame, shame” as she got into an SUV and drove off. In a statement issued Friday afternoon, DeVos said she subsequently got inside the school to meet with students, faculty, and administrators.

President Donald Trump said that he is still deciding whether to move the Embassy of the United State in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, suggesting he is open to abandoning a controversial campaign promise.

“I’m thinking about it. I’m learning the issue and we’ll see what happens,” Trump told the Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom, Haaretz reported. “It’s not an easy decision. It’s been discussed for so many years. No one wants to make this decision, and I’m thinking about it seriously.”

As a candidate, Trump repeatedly promised to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the U.S. embassy, including in a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in September. Since his inauguration, however, Trump has been more equivocal on the matter.

Referring to the embassy move in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity last month, Trump said, “I don’t want to talk about it yet. It’s too early.”

Daily Dose 2/9/17-Trump

In a major setback for the Trump administration, a federal appeals court on Thursday declined its urgent request to restore the controversial executive order restricting refugees and travel by immigrants from a number of Muslim-majority countries. Rejecting arguments that the government would be “irreparably harmed” if the judicial system reviewed President Donald Trump’s immigration ban, which he premised on his authority over national security matters, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit determined unanimously that the judiciary has a proper role in safeguarding people’s rights. There is almost certainly going to be a supreme court case on the subject in the near future.

Rejecting arguments that the government would be “irreparably harmed” if the judicial system reviewed President Donald Trump’s immigration ban, which he premised on his authority over national security matters, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit determined unanimously that the judiciary has a proper role in safeguarding people’s rights. There is almost certainly going to be a supreme court case on the subject in the near future.

Under Armour has landed in the middle of a storm after Steph Curry, one of its most valuable athletes, called President Trump an asset — “if you remove the ‘et’ from asset.”The Golden State Warriors guard said he raised his objections with the company after Plank praised Trump’s “pro-business” approach during an interview with CNBC on Tuesday.”I spent all day yesterday on the phone,” Curry told the newspaper on Wednesday, “with countless people at Under Armour, countless people in Kevin Plank’s camp, my team, trying to understand what was going on and where everybody stood on the issue.”Under Armour (UA) released a statement Wednesday saying it engages in “policy, not politics.” The company also distanced itself from some of Trump’s more controversial positions, saying it advocates for free trade and inclusive immigration policy.

A U.S. Navy patrol plane and a Chinese jet had an “unsafe” encounter over the South China Sea earlier this week, the U.S. Pacific Command said Friday.The “interaction” between the U.S. Navy P-3C plane and a Chinese KJ-200 took place on Wednesday in international airspace over the waters, Robert Shuford, a spokesman for the command, said in a statement. He didn’t specify what was unsafe about the encounter. A U.S. official told Reuters that the aircraft came within 1,000 feet of each other near the Scarborough Shoal, which is located between the Philippines and the Chinese mainland.Shuford said the U.S. plane was on a routine mission and operating according to international law.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com

Daily Dose 2/8/17- Sean Spicer

 

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 02: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer answers questions in the White House briefing room.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Wednesday that critics of the recent raid in Yemen, including Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, should apologize.Spicer was asked at a White House briefing about criticism of the raid, including comments by McCain, who said he could not describe the operation as a “success” earlier in the day. The operation left a US service member dead.”It’s absolutely a success, and I think anyone who would suggest it’s not a success does a disservice to the life of Chief Ryan Owens,” said Spicer, citing intelligence obtained in the operation.

A senior national security official in the Trump administration wrote under a pseudonym last year that Islam is an inherently violent religion that is “incompatible with the modern West,” defended the World War II-era America First Committee, which included anti-Semites, as “unfairly maligned,” and called diversity “a source of weakness, tension and disunion.”Michael Anton, who served as a speechwriter for President George W. Bush, joined President Donald Trump’s administration earlier this year as a staffer on the National Security Council. But in the year leading up to the 2016 election, Anton operated as an anonymous booster of then-candidate Trump. Using the pen name Publius Decius Mus (the name of a self-sacrificing Roman consul), Anton promoted Trump’s anti-Islam, anti-immigration platform on fringe websites. The Weekly Standard revealed Publius to be Anton last week.

Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch told a US senator Wednesday that President Donald Trump’s tweets about the judiciary are “demoralizing” and “disheartening.”In a meeting with Connecticut Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Gorsuch, who’s largely been silent since Trump nominated him last week, took exception to Trump calling a federal judge in Seattle a “so-called judge” after blocking the President’s travel ban.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com

Daily Dose 2/7/17-Betsy DeVos swearing in

Vice President Mike Pence cast a historic tie-breaking vote Tuesday to confirm Betsy DeVos as the next education secretary after the Senate was evenly divided over the controversial pick.  The 51-50 vote ends Trump’s toughest confirmation battle yet.  Senate Democrats debated through the night and into Tuesday morning in a last-ditch attempt to derail DeVos.  She was sworn into office shortly after 6 p.m. ET.

https://youtu.be/UNVas5-NSGE

In a stunning moment on the Senate floor, Sen. Elizabeth Warren clashed with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Tuesday night after McConnell determined the Massachusetts Democrat had violated a Senate rule against impugning another senator.  In an extremely rare rebuke, she was instructed by the presiding officer to take her seat. The emotional exchange occurred during debate on the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, to be attorney general. Warren was reading from a 1986 letter Coretta Scott King, the widow of Martin Luther King Jr., had written to Sen. Strom Thurmond critical of Sessions who was then a nominee to be a federal judge.  Sen. Steve Daines, R-Montana, who was presiding over the Senate at the time said: ”The senator is reminded that it is a violation of Rule 19 of the standing rules of the Senate to impugn another senator or senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a senator.”

A Florida man suspected of being involved in four killings is dead and his female alleged accomplice was taken into custody, the Troup County Sheriff’s Office in Georgia said Tuesday.

Sgt. Stewart Smith said William “Billy” Boyette Jr., 44, died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound inside the West Point Motel near the border with Alabama. His companion, Mary Barbara Craig Rice, was taken into custody.