Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), the former prosecutor who led the investigation into the Benghazi attacks when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, says he is ready to “pull out all the stops” to learn whether laws were broken when National Security Advisor Michael Flynn held talks with Russia about lifting sanctions while Barack Obama was still president.
“If the contacts were in fact about the lifting of sanctions, then that would be a clear violation of U.S. law and appropriate steps would have to be taken,” says Gowdy, who earned a reputation in Congress for his tough prosecutorial approach when he led the special committee on what Hillary Clinton knew and didn’t know about the raid on the U.S. embassy in Libya that led to the deaths of four Americans, including the ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens.
Gowdy said he’s been in contact with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and they’re in agreement that Congress must get to the bottom of this potential violation of the law. “What the Speaker told me was, he will make every resource available to me to make sure I conduct a thorough and fair investigation into this very serious matter,” he says.
According to reports, Flynn, then an advisor to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, had a series of contacts with the Russian government “at the highest levels” to work out what Trump would do to remove sanctions the United States imposed on Russia in retaliation for its meddling in the U.S. elections. Such contacts, if verified, would amount to unprecedented collusion between a U.S. citizen and a foreign power and could result in Flynn being prosecuted under what’s known as the Logan Act, which make such collusion against the law.
“You have a person who was in line to be the next top security advisor to the president cutting a deal as a favor to the Russian government for helping to elect a particular candidate by exposing emails of the Democratic National Committee,” says Ronald Powers, professor of foreign affairs and national security at Harvard University. “It’s seriousness easily eclipses anything Clinton did in Benghazi, which, investigations have shown, is basically nothing.”
Republican members of Congress were quick to praise Gowdy for stepping up to lead an investigation into Pence and Flynn despite the damage such an investigation will do to Republicans. “It just shows that what we care about is the United States and not just Republicans,” says Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.). “If we have to indict one of our own for treason, we will. It will hurt, but we’ll do it.”
In other news, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says he was wrong to block the Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, the new attorney General, former U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), says he will make civil liberties, gay rights, marijuana legalization, and women’s right to choose his priorities, and President Donald Trump says he will step down because he realizes three weeks into his presidency that he lacks the temperament for so important a job.
This is a work of satire. It is fictional news article not meant to be taken seriously. Photos (some modified): pd (Creative Commons). Not necessarily an endorsed use of images.
Vice President Mike Pence, amidst revelations that he used a personal email account to conduct official business when he was governor of Indiana, said what he did was different from Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of personal email when she was secretary of state. “What Hillary Clinton did was a clear violation of law and a threat to national security while my use of personal email was a smart and necessary action that benefitted the people of Indiana,” Pence said in a statement released today. Pence’s use of a personal AOL email account was revealed yesterday in a report by The Indianapolis Star. More.
President Donald Trump introduced his the latest picks for national security advisor, deputy secretary of state, and director of the secret service, but none of the appointees allowed themselves to be publicly identified. “I am ‘honored’ to be chosen to help keep our country safe as national security advisor,” said the person named to that post, whose face was kept hidden by a bag. “I have worked in national security for decades and have dedicated my life to our country’s safety. I guess you’ll just have to take my word for it.” The appointee, who stands about 6′ 1″ and looks to be between 195 and 210 pounds, said he accepted this “very important position” out of love of country. More.
President Donald Trump said his brain has performed as well as he had expected and often better over the first four weeks of his presidency. “It’s given me great advice on so many things, important national security maters,” said Trump, who spoke to Fox News in an interview Wednesday night. Trump said his brain gave him “particularly good advice” when he learned Michael Flynn, his national security advisor until he resigned earlier this week, had been talking to Russian officials while Barack Obama was still president about lifting sanctions. “My first instinct was to fire him, but my brain told me to wait until the press found out,” said Trump. More.
President Donald Trump, on the defensive for staff contacts with the Russian government before he was sworn in as president, said the only scandal is the unsecured server Hillary Clinton used as secretary of state when Barack Obama was president. “You have 30,000 emails that could have been compromised because of Hillary Clinton’s illegal use of a private server,” said Trump, who continues to use an unsecured phone for conversations and tweeting and who has taken national security briefings in public locations, including the main dining room at his Mar-a-Lago resort. “We must get to the bottom of her use of a private server when she was communicating with foreign leaders.” To that end, he is directing the Department of Justice to open up an investigation into what Clinton did, and didn’t do, with her server. “Nothing less than our national security is at stake,” he said. More.
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder cause a diplomatic row when he tried to slip Detroit over the border and leave the bankrupt and crisis-ridden American city with Canada, U.S. and Canadian authorities have confirmed. Officers of the Canadian Border Services Agency apprehended the governor late last night when he was caught trying to redirect the Detroit River two miles to the south, which would have left Detroit on the Canadian side of the border while leaving the more affluent suburbs on the American side. “I will only confirm that officers of the Canadian Border Services Agency, approaching by watercraft, apprehended an American government official at 3 a.m., Eastern Time, approximately three feet into Canadian territory,” said James Haprer, head of the Canadian Border Services Agency. More.
CENTER JUNCTION, Iowa—Calling it an example of how he’s helping “America become great again,” President Donald Trump praised the owner of a family-owned manufacturing company here for opening a paperclip factory in the United States instead of Mexico. “We’re going to make trenendous paperclips here,” Trump told a group of employees on the factory floor. “They’re going to be the best paper clips ever made, and they’re going to be made right here in Iowa, because no one knows how to make paperclips better than the fine people of Iowa.” More.
Saying war with China or any other country will require the combat leadership of a certain seven-year Navy veteran, Senate Democrats this morning introduced the “Stephen K. Bannon Combat Leadership Act of 2017.” Under the bill, Stephen K, Bannon, a top advisor to President Donald Trump and an acknowledged “lover of war,” will have to “lead troops into battle in the first, second, and third waves of attack against enemies of the United States in any theater of war of his devising.” The legislation names “the South China Sea” as a potential “theater of war” but also says other areas of the world would qualify as long as “the lives of U.S. troops are at stake as a result of war started by Stephen K. Bannon.” More.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said the decree by President Donald Trump to institute martial law in the United States “to protect Americans from foreign and domestic enemies” is an unfortunate necessity given the state of the world, but he took issue with the “hasty and sloppy” execution of the law. “Should the Administration have put out guidance earlier to minimize confusion? Yes, I think it could have,” Ryan said. “The order was clearly drafted in haste—I get that, given the threats we face from people who want to harm American liberty and freedom—but the people on the ground that must carry it out should have had detail instructions. The result was the confusion and unnecessary mistakes that characterized the rollout.” More.
British Prime Minister Theresa May says she held the hand of President Donald Trump as they walked to the White House press room for their news conference earlier this week so she would know where his hand was at all times. “Frankly, I thought it was more important to keep tabs on his hand than worry about any ridicule I might incur from the international community,” May said today. May said she normally doesn’t worry about where the hands of world leaders are, but she didn’t want to take a chance on joining the more than two dozen women who have accused Trump of groping them. “If it were just one woman who was accusing him, then I wouldn’t be too concerned,” she said. “But there have been some two dozen, which is not a small number.” More.
LONDON—After a raucous parliamentary debate, members of the House of Commons voted to allow the combover of Donald Trump into Great Britain, should he be elected president of the United States, but Trump himself was not welcome. “We do not want to hold Donald Trump’s bigotry and nativism against his hair,” said Gavin Blair, an MP from the southwest district of London. Nigel Robinson, an MP from Birmingham, argued that the hair should be banned as well, but his argument left many unconvinced. “I made my case and I lost, and I accept that,” he said. “But I do believe his hair should not be allowed to get off scot free in this debate. My apologies to the Scots, who I hope won’t try to secede again.” More.
Not waiting to get into the White House to exercise his unique brand of Twitter diplomacy, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump late last night wondered aloud if Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, and his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, get their pantsuit ideas from the same JC Penney catalog. “I notice it’s not a catalogue Melania has laying around on her nightstand,” he said. “Maybe there’s a reason for that. Does Victoria Secret make sizes big enough for them? I doubt it!” He also called North Korea’s launch of a ballistic missile from a submarine two weeks ago a “pathetic” attempt to be relevant in the global arena and said it makes the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, look “small and sad.” Trump also revisited one of his favorite topics about China—its currency manipulation—by condemning the International Monetary Fund for adding the Yuan to its list of reserve currencies. “Just like it manipulates its currency, China has manipulated the losers at the IMF,” he said. More.
President Donald Trump says his first three days in office have been the “most presidential of any president at any time in the history of the United States” and the incredible presidential quality of his presidency will only get “more presidential” from here. Trump says his first action on his first day was to suspend, “very presidentially,” a rule that President Obama implemented right before he left office to lower the insurance premium for federally backed FHA home loans. The lower premiums were expected to make homeownership more affordable for millions of middle class households, which Trump called a very “unpresidential move” because it wasn’t done with the kind of presidential quality he would have done it with. More.
In a sensational claim, the supermarket tabloid Weekly National Report says a 50-year-old woman in Fayetteville, Ark., Dannielle Eggles, is the daughter of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and she’s demanding a “White House bedroom” for her and her husband if he is elected president. “This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I feel I must come forward because it’s time for my daddy to stop pretending I don’t exist,” Eggles said at a press conference in Fayetteville yesterday. Eggles, a clerk at Target, said she had resigned herself to living in the shadow of her famous father and her glamorous half brothers and sisters, but six months ago she and her husband, Ron Eggles, decided she could no longer do that. “We just thought it wasnt fair that Ivanka, Tiffany, Eric, Donald, Jr., and Barron all get to live the high life while we have to scrape our fingers to the bone just because daddy pretends I don’t exist.” More.
Lawmakers in the U.S. Senate this week are tweaking 2017 budget legislation to allocate money for construction of the Mexican border wall, a priority of incoming president Donald Trump, but the budgetary maneuver faces a high hurdle to get past Democrats—and might not even be necessary. A consortium of Russian businessmen, including one who is a close friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has come forward with a proposal to create a private fund that would pay for the wall, enabling Trump to meet his highest-profile campaign promise without taking money away from other U.S. priorities or adding to the federal deficit. More.
After 146 years, the iconic traveling show company, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, says it’s closing its doors because of low attendance. “Ticket sales have been declining for years, but they really took a nose dive starting about 18 months ago,” says Kenneth Feld, CEO of Feld Entertainment, the producer of Ringling. Feld attributed the dramatic drop in attendance to the company’s decision to stop using elephants, the growing unease people feel around clowns, and the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump. More.
It’s been a busy six months for Arthur Mann, whose book, When Your President is a Psychopath (Knolle, 2016), unexpectedly rocketed to the top of the New York Times bestseller list. We caught up with Mann, a professor of psychology at MIT, while he was between flights at LaGuardia Airport in New York City. To recap our conversation, Mann said there’s an easy way to cope with Donald Trump’s presidency, but it’s probably not what you think. More.
President-elect Donald Trump said today he has created so much doubt about what is true and what is not that any compromising information the Russians could reveal about him would not hurt his political standing among his supporters. “If Russian hackers were to reveal that I, say, participated in a golden shower with prostitutes, no one who supports me would believe it,” Trump said today at Trump Tower in New York City. “I’m not saying I participated in that on any of my tips to Moscow when I was seeking Russian money to bail my company out of bankruptcy. But even if I did and the Russians released a video of me doing it, it wouldn’t affect me. Everything is doctored, everything is fake. More.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump acknowledged he plans to govern as a dictator but he wanted to reassure voters that he would make decisions in the interests of the country. “When I curb the press, it wont be to hurt America, it will be to make America stronger,” he said. “If I let the press criticize everything I do—and they will, because they’re totally dishonest—I can’t get anything done. I want to get things done, so I have to curb the press. But we’ll still have some free press. We’ll keep the good ones. It won’t be entirely gone.” Trump promised to take a firmer hand on how cases get settled in the courts. “Right now our courts are a disaster,” he said. “We have cases backlogged. Why do we use juries as much as we do? Especially if the person is guilty. Let’s get these guilty criminals directly into jail and save he courts for when we really need them.” More.
Is Republican presidential nomination front-runner Donald Trump a dictator in the making? A report from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology suggests he is, based on a body-language analysis that finds he and former Iraq strongman Saddam Hussein, along with other strongmen throughout history, share a key oratorical gesture. The gesture is called “Dictator’s Finger,” because it’s seen only in people who believe they are infallible. “The moment we saw Donald Trump raise his index finger for the first time in a debate, we saw the connection with dictators throughout history,” says Nelson Pottsmann, professor of communications at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and director of the MIT Center for Body Language and Non-Verbal Communication Studies. More.
“Hi, I’m Omar Mateen, and I just wanted to let you know there’s no better weapon of freedom and liberty then the AR-15. You know, if you ever find yourself in a nightclub full of gays and just want to take ’em all out, the AR-15 is the gun for you. It’s quick loading, has amazing range and accuracy, and each magazine comes with enough bullets to kill many people. And a well-designed barrel site makes it easy to find and shoot your target before he/she has a chance to ‘hit the deck!’ Yes, when you’re deep into a mass shooting, it’s not easy to keep track of all the people you want to kill. But with the AR-15, you have a piece of equipment that removes a lot of the guesswork. Plus, the National Rifle Association says the gun is great for hunting and home security! Not to mention freedom fighting! More.
Wayne LaPierre, the head of the National Rifle Association, said today the United States will never get a handle on its problem with violence until more people get their hands on guns so more people can meet violence with violence. “There simply aren’t enough people with enough firepower to stop the violence,” LaPierre said. His remarks came in the wake of the of the latest random mass shooting in the United States. Yesterday, Omar Mateen used several automatic weapons to kill more than 50 people and wound an equal number at an Orlando, Fla., gay nightclub. “Would so many people be dead if some of the people had been armed in that nightclub?” LaPierre said at his news conference. More.
WASHINGTON—The National Rifle Association today staged a protest outside the U.S. Department of Transportation here against that agency’s ban on privately owned military assult-styled vehicles on federally funded highways. “It looks like Barack Hussein Obama wants to make sure only the government has the right to bear arms when those arms are attached to motorized vehicles,” NRA President Wayne LaPierre said at the protest, which involved blocking Constitution Ave. with dozens of privately owned vehicles adapted to accommodate military-styled automatic weapons, including several with grenade launchers. “Well, the U.S. Constitution makes clear that guns don’t have to be carried on one’s person for us to enjoy the freedom to have them. Just because they’re mounted on vehicles doesn’t make us any less free to carry our guns.” More.