Crime & Legal

Republican Congressman Calls for Independent Prosecutor to Investigate Donald Trump

by Laurel Raymond – Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) said that Attorney General Jeff Sessions should recuse himself. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) said on Friday night that an independent special prosecutor should investigate potential ties between Russia and the Donald Trump campaign. “You’re right that you cannot have somebody — a friend of mine, Jeff Sessions — who was on the campaign and who is an appointee,” Issa said on HBO’s Real Time. “You’re going to need to use the special prosecutor’s statute and office.” He also added that it wouldn’t be enough to hand the job instead to the deputy attorney general, who is also a political appointee. The Priebus/FBI segment begins at approx. 5:30 Issa formerly served as the head of the House Oversight committee, where he conducted repeated investigations of the Obama White House. Issa once called Obama “one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times.” Issa’s high-theater investigations, however, often failed to...

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Top Obama Lawyers Join To Dig Into Trump’s Abuse of Power

by CathyM – I really, really think we need to tell folks about this group! I haven’t seen them mentioned before. Obama lawyers form ‘worst-case scenario’ group to tackle Trump Fearful the new administration will abuse its power, the former president’s lawyers are uniting to fight back. Top lawyers who helped the Obama White House craft and hold to rules of conduct believe President Donald Trump and his staff will break ethics norms meant to guard against politicization of the government — and they’ve formed a new group to prepare, and fight. United to Protect Democracy, which draws its name from a line in President Barack Obama’s farewell address that urged his supporters to pick up where he was leaving off, has already raised a $1.5 million operating budget, hired five staffers and has plans to double that in the coming months. They’ve incorporated as both a 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4), allowing...

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New Deportation Rules Could Cost the Economy Trillions

by Bryce Covert – Deporting all undocumented immigrants would have extreme effects on the economy. President Trump pushed forward on his campaign promise to deport all undocumented immigrants on Tuesday by releasing new guidelines to expand and speed up deportations. The memos from the Department of Homeland Security target all undocumented immigrants for deportation, even those who haven’t committed serious crimes, while necessitating the hiring of thousands of new agents and building new detention facilities. These policies are going to wreak havoc on the lives, families, and communities of those who end up deported. And they will also come with a steep cost for everyone in this country. It’s still not clear whether the administration will actually have the resources and ability to deport every undocumented immigrant. But even if it were able to deport just the 7 million undocumented workers in this country, out of the estimated 12 million total, it...

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Law Professors File Misconduct Complaint Against KellyanneConway

by CathyM – As bad as all the crap that’s pouring from the White House is, it is heartening today to see people pushing back: Law professors file misconduct complaint against Kellyanne Conway A group of law professors from around the country has filed a professional misconduct complaint against White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, a graduate of George Washington University Law School who was admitted to the D.C. Bar in 1995. The letter, filed with the office that handles misconduct by members of the D.C. Bar, said Conway should be sanctioned for violating government ethics rules and “conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation,” the letter says. The 15 professors, who specialize in legal ethics, cite several incidents,including a television interview in which Conway made the “false statement that President Barack Obama had ‘banned’ Iraqi refugees from coming into the United States for six months following the ‘Bowling Green Massacre,’ ”...

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White House Asked FBI to Rebut Stories of Campaign-Russia Collusion but the FBI Refused

by Hunter – Is the Trump White House now attempting to use the Federal Bureau of Investigations as their own political prop? Why yes. Yes they are. The FBI rejected a recent White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Donald Trump’s associates and Russians known to US intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign, multiple US officials briefed on the matter tell CNN. The direct communications between the White House and the FBI were unusual because of decade-old restrictions on such contacts. Such a request from the White House is a violation of procedures that limit communications with the FBI on pending investigations. There seems to be some disagreement on who called who first (that is, somebody here is lying) but the contacts were between White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. Priebus wanted the FBI to rebut press stories about...

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RUSSIA-GATE: Senate Intelligence Committee Investigation – Let’s Meet the Members Shall We

by Doctor Who – This weekend’s 2.5 hour meeting of the Senate Intelligence Committee with FBI Director Comey, ended in a bunch of Senate Committee Members walking out stone faced and pale as if they had seen a ghost, and followed the next day by a letter from the Committee asking all individuals and Agencies to preserve any and all records having to do with Russia-Gate.  With these recent developments I though it might be a good time to take a look at the makeup of this Committee that arguably has the fate of the US Democracy in its hands. So here they are: REPUBLICANS: 1. Richard Burr (R-NC), Chairman 2. James Risch (R-ID) 3. Marco Rubio (R-FL) 4. Susan Collins (R-ME) 5. Roy Blunt (R-MO) 6. James Lankford (R-OK) 7. Tom Cotton (R-AR) 8. John Cornyn (R-TX) DEMOCRATS: 1. Mark Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman 2. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) 3. Ron...

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GOP Senator Wants Mike Flynn to Testify Before Congress about his Russia Connections

by Aaron Rupar – Sen. Susan Collins says she’s also open to subpoenaing Trump’s tax returns. Despite many unanswered questions about connections between President Donald Trump, his inner circle, and Russian officials, Republican members of Congress have so far been reluctant to pursue a robust investigation. But during an interview with Maine Public Radio on Wednesday, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) expressed confidence that Congress will conduct a thorough, bipartisan investigation. “I am confident that since this is a completely bipartisan investigation with full-time staff, that we’ll get to the bottom of this,” she said, adding that she anticipates the investigation will culminate in a public report. Collins, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said she and other members want former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to testify before them. Flynn lost his job last Monday after it was revealed he had lied about discussing Russian sanctions during his pre-inauguration communications with...

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The Constitutional Apocalypse

by Les Leopold – As Trump vilifies the press, the courts, immigrants, Muslims, Democrats, protestors and anyone who disagrees with him, it isn’t hard to imagine a modern day Mussolini… or worse. But, an even greater threat lies in the Republican’s march towards full control of state government. If they get there, they will have the frightening power to amend the Constitution into their own authoritarian image… or Ayn Rand’s. Republicans now control 32 state legislatures and 33 governorships. They have majorities in both state legislative chambers as well as the governorships in 25 states. The Democrats have total control in only six states and legislative control in two more (see here). If Republicans achieve veto-proof control in 38 states, they can do something that has never been done before ― hold a constitutional convention, and then ratify new amendments that are put forth. To date all amendments have been initiated...

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Appeals Court Upholds Maryland’s Assault-Style Rifle Ban

by Meteor Blades – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit on Tuesday upheld a Maryland ban on assault-style semi-automatic rifles. The 10-4 ruling in the case of Kolbe v. Hogan overturned a decision by a three-judge panel of the same court. The ruling held that the designated firearms are “not protected by the Second Amendment.” The 2013 law was passed in the wake of the massacre of six adults and 20 first-graders at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in December 2012. The young killer committed the murders with an assault-style rifle, the Bushmaster XM15-E2S, a firearm patterned on the widely available AR-15. Specifically, the law prohibits sales or other transfers of a list of 81 guns and similar models. It includes both pistols, shotguns, and centerfire, semi-automatic rifles that accept detachable magazines and have at least two of three characteristics—grenade launcher, flash suppressor/flare launcher, or folding stock. Also banned are sales or transfers of magazines than can hold more than...

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Judge: Texas can’t Kick Planned Parenthood out of Medicaid

by MARISSA EVANS – U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks ruled Tuesday afternoon that Texas clinics affiliated with Planned Parenthood can continue to care for patients under the state’s Medicaid program, a phew-worthy victory for reproductive rights advocates and a loss for the state’s GOP leaders. In a 42-page ruling, Sparks wrote that the state’s arguments in the case were “the building blocks of a best-selling novel rather than a case concerning the interplay of federal and state authority through the Medicaid program.” “After reviewing the evidence currently in the record, the Court finds the Inspector General, and thus , likely acted to disenroll qualified health care providers from Medicaid without cause,” the ruling read. “Such action would deprive Medicaid patients of their statutory right to obtain health care from their chosen qualified provider.” The ruling comes more than a year after Planned Parenthood first sued Texas to...

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Muslims Raise $55,000 to Fix Vandalized Jewish Cemetery

Muslim activists launch crowdfunding bid to repair Missouri’s Chesed Shel Emeth graves after anti-Semitic desecration. A crowdfunding project launched by Muslim activists has raised more than $55,000 in one day to repair a vandalised Jewish cemetery in St Louis. On Tuesday, Linda Sarsour of the grassroots civil rights MPower Change group and Tarek El-Messidi of the non-profit CelebrateMercy organisation called on people to donate after more than 100 headstones at the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery in the St Louis suburb of University City were toppled. By early Wednesday, at the time of  publishing, $55,341 had been raised. According to reports, police said they did not yet know who was responsible for the vandalism. “Muslim Americans stand in solidarity with the Jewish American community to condemn this horrific act of desecration,” the activists said. They launched the campaign with a goal to raise $20,000, a target that was hit in three...

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Did Jury in Etan Patz Murder Case Receive Improper Information?

by Joaquin Sapien and Joe Sexton – Attorneys for the former bodega clerk convicted last week of murdering 6-year-old Etan Patz in 1979 are exploring whether the jury was exposed to improper information during the course of the four-month trial and prior to deliberations. After the Manhattan jury reached a unanimous guilty verdict last week, Newsday reported that a juror from the trial — the second brought against 56-year-old Pedro Hernandez — had been told by a court officer that one or more jurors from the first trial were attending the second proceeding, where they sometimes sat with the dead boy’s father, Stan Patz. The first trial involving the disappearance and death of one of the most famous missing children in American history ended in a hung jury in May 2015. But afterward many jurors spoke passionately and publicly of their belief that Hernandez was, in fact, guilty. Several forged relationships...

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French Police Search Marine Le Pen’s Party Headquarters (VIDEOS)

Raid is part of an investigation into allegations that far-right leader used EU funds to pay staff of her FN party. French police have searched the Paris-based headquarters of far-right leader Marine Le Pen’s National Front (FN) party in relation to a probe into alleged misuse of EU funds, according to a party statement. The European Parliament (EP) says Le Pen, a member of the European institution since 2004, had paid FN party staff with EP funds. According to EU rules, parliamentary money should be used only to pay assistants working with the institution. Inside Story – Can Marine Le Pen win the French presidential election? The parliament says the breach happened during the 2011-12 legislature, after Le Pen assumed her role as FN leader in January 2011. The EP says 20 assistants presented as parliamentary aides back then continued to work for the FN elsewhere. Al Jazeera’s Natacha Butler,...

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Schumer: DOJ Rules Require Jeff Sessions to Recuse Himself from Flynn Investigation

by Laura Clawson – Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is calling on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s dealings with Russia. In a Washington Post op-ed, Schumer points to the Justice Department rule barring any member of the department from participating in an investigation “if he has a personal or political relationship with any person or organization substantially involved in the conduct that is the subject of the investigation or prosecution or any person or . . . has a specific and substantial interest that would be directly affected by the outcome of the investigation or prosecution.” Donald Trump has an interest that would be affected by the investigation—and that’s if he wasn’t substantially involved in the conduct in question, which is far from certain. And Sessions isn’t just a Trump appointee: During the campaign, Sessions was identified by the Trump campaign and by Trump...

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Florida Supreme Court Reminds Politicians That Women Are Capable of Making Their Own Decisions

by Julia Kaye – Every day, people face important medical decisions. When tough choices arise, we consult with our health care providers about the pros and cons of different treatment options. We meditate on our goals and fears. Some of us will turn to family or friends for advice. Some of us will pray. No one goes to the state capitol building to ask a politician their opinion. Yet when it comes to a woman’s decision to end her pregnancy, politicians feel entitled to insert themselves into the equation. We all agree that a woman seeking abortion care, like every other patient, should receive all medically appropriate information. But in dozens of states, legislators demand that a woman who has decided to have an abortion — unlike any other patient seeking any other form of medical care — delay her procedure by a certain amount of time (typically 24 hours...

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New Study Confirms Just How Racially Discriminatory Voter ID Laws Truly Are

by Stephen Wolf – We’ve always suspected it, but now new academic research confirms it: Strict voter ID laws do indeed disproportionately lower turnout among Latino, black, and Asian voters compared to whites, which of course benefits conservatives and the Republican Party. The authors of this new study found that strict ID laws—where registered voters must show a photo ID to have their vote count, and no exceptions are permitted—depressed Latino turnout rates the most, followed by black and Asian-American turnout, yet white turnout was largely unaffected.  Those findings held true even when researchers accounted for a variety of other factors, and they were even more acute in primaries. That latter point is critical because many states and cities hold elections for important races such as city council seats, judgeships, and even state constitutional amendments at times other than November general elections. It also means voter ID can make even Democratic...

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Media Bites Back: Newspaper Threatens Lawsuit for GOP Senator Calling Them “Fake News”

by SemDem – “Fake News” is a very real thing. It is the publication of hoaxes, propaganda, and disinformation purporting to be real news with the deliberate intent to mislead. Many fake news websites originate from Russia, Macedonia, and Romania. What it is NOT is an editorial from a respected, established newspaper entitled “Better open records”, which supports a bill to give journalists better access to government records. The Daily Sentinel, which is the local newspaper for Grand Junction, CO, urged moving forward with the bill and called on State Senator Ray Scott to quit delaying the bill and bring it up for a vote.  Their exact words were: “We call on our own Sen. Scott to announce a new committee hearing date and move this bill forward.” This is how Ray Scott responded: On Twitter, he said: We have our own fake news in Grand Junction… On Facebook, he said: The very liberal...

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NYT: AG Sessions Must Appoint Special Prosecutor for Trump-Russia Ties

by Andrea Germanos – ‘The need for an independent actor who can both investigate and prosecute criminal wrongdoing in the executive branch is clear,’ Times editorial board writes. The New York Times has called for a special prosecutor to lead an impartial investigation into possible ties between the Trump administration—”which seems uninterested in telling the truth in matters large and small”—and Russia. The Times editorial board writes the scope of a potential investigation expanded sharply in the last four days, with the firing of Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn, for lying to the White House about his contacts with the Russian ambassador, and the news that members of the Trump campaign’s inner circle were in repeated contact with Russian intelligence agents last year, at the same time that Russia was actively attempting to swing the election to Mr. Trump. The calls for investigations into the potential links have swelled,...

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Trump Invents Fake Attack on Sweden (VIDEO)

by Ian Millhiser – An even greater tragedy than the Bowling Green massacre. “We got to keep our country safe!” President Trump warned at a rally in Melbourne, Florida on Saturday night. He told a horror story about a Northern European nation that “took in large numbers” of refugees and is now facing “problems like they never thought possible.” “Look at what happened last night in Sweden!” Trump told his audience. “Sweden! Who would believe this, Sweden?” Trump is right to wonder who would believe his tale of innocent Swedes cowering before a grave new threat, because as multiple journalists and at least one former Prime Minister of Sweden pointed out not long after Trump’s remarks, there was no attack on Sweden Friday night. Carl Bildt ✔@carlbildt Sweden? Terror attack? What has he been smoking? Questions abound. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-sweden-terror-lie_us_58a8f397e4b045cd34c263d3 … 2:40 AM – 19 Feb 2017 Donald Trump Appears To Make Up Sweden...

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Hispanic Dems Blast ‘Dictatorial Shenanigans’ at Meeting With ICE (VIDEO)

by Deirdre Fulton – “After attending the ICE meeting it’s hard not to conclude that President Trump has started his mass deportation plan,” says Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas. Two members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Reps. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) and Norma Torres (D-Calif.), said they were asked to leave a meeting Thursday between lawmakers and the top U.S. immigration official, while others said they were barred entry in the first place. Gutiérrez and Torres both expressed incredulity after being kicked out of the meeting between lawmakers and acting Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) director Thomas Homan—one of them by an aide to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and the other by a GOP lawmaker himself. The meeting, requested by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to discuss the recent uptick in immigration raids and detentions, was originally scheduled for Tuesday—but ICE canceled at the last minute, saying too many people had expressed interest...

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Immigrants are Fleeing the United States to Seek Refuge in Canada (VIDEO)

by Tara Culp-Ressler – Some of them are crossing the border on foot in freezing conditions. A growing number of immigrants who initially sought refuge in the United States are now fleeing to Canada — and, in many cases, are risking frostbite to make it across the northern border on foot. Immigrant advocates say desperate people are being driven away from the U.S. thanks to the fear and uncertainty sparked by President Donald Trump’s policies — including, recently, an executive order that temporarily halts refugee resettlement from Syria and bars people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. Nine asylum-seekers from Sudan, including four children, barely made it across the Canadian border on Friday in an exchange that was captured by a photographer from Reuters. After a cab dropped off the group near the border line in Champlain, New York, they dodged a U.S. border patrol officer trying to examine their passports, climbed...

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Trump Preparing to Open New Front in His Dangerous, Misguided War on Immigrants

by Silva Mathema, Rachel West, and Shawn Fremstad – President Donald Trump is actively considering opening a new front in his war on immigrants through another hastily drafted and vaguely worded executive order. Drafts of this new order have been leaked to various press outlets and offer a worrying look into the administration’s complete disregard for commonsense immigration policy. If issued, the order would expand the focus of the administration’s anti-immigrant campaign beyond unauthorized immigrants, refugees, and Muslims—groups that Trump’s campaign and administration have already targeted extensively—to include green card holders—also known as lawful permanent residents, or LPRs—living in the United States. It would also affect potential immigrants seeking visas to lawfully enter the United States to reunite with family members. Under the draft order, individuals who are otherwise eligible for green cards could be denied admission to the United States if they could conceivably become eligible for any kind of...

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Kurt Eichenwald: European Allies have Intel on Trump, Too

by blue aardvark – Article is here. As part of intelligence operations being conducted against the United States for the last seven months, at least one Western European ally intercepted a series of communications before the inauguration between advisers associated with President Donald Trump and Russian government officials, according to people with direct knowledge of the situation. Our allies are willing to investigate. Our own Congress? Not so much. The foreign agency is also gathering electronic and human source information on Trump’s overseas business partners, at least some of whom the intelligence services now consider to be agents of their respective governments. These operations are being conducted out of concerns that Russia is seeking to manipulate its relationships with Trump administration officials as part of a long-term plan to destabilize the NATO alliance. Our President has business partners who are Russian agents seeking to destabilize NATO. But hey, what about the...

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$300 Million Dollar Potential Conflict Of Interest Between Trump And Deutsche Bank Emerges

by Whitney Webb – The massive German bank faces huge potential fines from the US government following federal probes into conflicts of interest between them and President Trump. According to Trump biographers Michael Kranish and Marc Fisher – authors of the recent publication “Trump Revealed” – Trump has long relied on a unique bargaining tool as leverage with banks: his personal guarantee. Using his name as leverage, he has repeatedly negotiated better terms worth hundreds of millions of dollars in loans to his Trump Organization, a Trump-owned private real estate development company owning and operating several properties, hotels and casino resorts among other businesses Bloomberg reported. This has been especially true of Deutsche Bank, Germany’s largest bank as well as one of the world’s most insolvent banks – largely believed to be on the brink of collapse. As a result of this unique agreement with one of its highest profile clients,...

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Immigrant Communities Battle New Anti-Sanctuary-City Bills in Red States

by Candice Bernd, Truthout | Report – Emboldened by President Trump’s executive order withholding federal funds from “sanctuary” jurisdictions, Republican-dominated state legislatures are seeking to deny their own state funds to counties or cities refusing to comply with federal immigration authorities. Several states, including Tennessee, Florida, North Carolina, Iowa, Idaho and Pennsylvania have introduced measures that would require police agencies to hold anyone in custody until US Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) can determine if they should be deported, or potentially lose state funding. Some states are going even farther than that. In Ohio, state lawmakers introduced a bill that would hold local officials accountable for crimes committed by undocumented immigrants in the officials’ sanctuary jurisdictions. Legislators in Colorado have introduced legislation that would let victims of particular crimes committed by undocumented immigrants sue the politicians who supported a sanctuary designation. Alaska and Maine are now reportedly considering similar...

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Trump on Whether His Campaign Team Coordinated with Russia: ‘Nobody that I know of’

by Hunter – Here’s all the times Trump was asked about contact between his staff and Russia during that very, very strange press conference. As you can see, his answers varied from denying the premise of the questions to denying that he himself had anything to do with Russian contacts, without ever vouching for the notion that nobody on his staff did. Answer one: Fake news! TRUMP: And, you know, you can talk all you want about Russia, which was all a, you know, fake news, fabricated deal, to try and make up for the loss of the Democrats and the press plays right into it. In fact, I saw a couple of the people that were supposedly involved with all of this — that they know nothing about it; they weren’t in Russia; they never made a phone call to Russia; they never received a phone call.It’s all fake news....

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Southern Poverty Law Center Finds Disturbing Growth in Anti-Muslim Hate Groups in 2016

by Adrienne Mahsa Varkiani – “Trump’s election has been absolutely electrifying to the radical right,” says the SPLC. The number of anti-Muslim hate groups increased almost three-fold in 2016, according to a new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPLC’s quarterly census of hate groups found that anti-Muslim hate groups increased from 34 in 2015 to 101 last year. Mark Potok, a Senior Fellow at the SPLC, pointed to Trump’s rhetoric about Muslims and his election victory to explain some of the increase in anti-Muslim hate across the country. “I think the most important factor probably driving the growth of these groups, in the states at least, has been Donald Trump and his campaign: his vilification of Muslims; his description of them as so dangerous that we need to keep them out of the country; his idea that we have to form a registry, Nazi-esque registry, in which we’re going...

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Carter Page, at Center of Trump Russian Investigation, Writes Letter to DOJ Blaming Hillary

by PlinytheWelder – This just keeps getting weirder… From a story in The Intercept CARTER PAGE, briefly a foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, sent a peculiar, rambling letter this week to the Department of Justice, asking it to review “the severe election fraud in the form of disinformation, suppression of dissent, hate crimes and other extensive abuses led by members of Mrs. Hillary Clinton’s campaign and their political allies last year.” Page is reportedly one of several targets of a counterintelligence investigation by the FBI into possible links between Trump associates and Russian officials. This is looking like panic mode. They must know that more is coming out and will try to drown it in a flood of BS (alternative facts). To begin with, it is addressed to the voting section of the Justice Department’s civil rights division, which is charged exclusively with enforcing federal laws that protect the right to vote. It then...

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New York Attorney General Reviewing Request to Bring Action to Dissolve Trump Organization

by Kira Lerner – An alternate legal route, when impeachment isn’t possible. Non-profit advocacy group Free Speech for People has asked New York’s attorney general to investigate whether to file a lawsuit to revoke the charter of The Trump Organization for violating state business laws. In a letter to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the group and four attorneys said that the attorney general’s office has the power to revoke the corporate charter from Trump’s organization, which has violated laws that prohibit the president from receiving payments from foreign governments. Schneiderman’s press secretary Amy Spitalnick told ThinkProgress that the attorney general’s office will review the letter. In an FAQ document, Free Speech for People and attorneys Jonathan S. Abady, Andrew G. Celli, Jr., Ben T. Clements, and Fordham University School of Law Professor Jed Shugerman explain how Schneiderman could bring about a lawsuit. “Under Section 1101 of New York’s Business Corporation Law,...

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#FreeDaniel: Community United in Outrage After ICE Detains ‘Dreamer’ With No Criminal Record

by Nika Knight – ‘Seattle stands with Daniel and we will not back down until he is free.’ U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has arrested and detained a ‘Dreamer,’ or an undocumented immigrant brought to the U.S. as a young child and given permission to live and work legally in the country, stunning civil rights defenders nationwide and provoking fierce local opposition. While President Donald Trump has issued a draconian anti-immigrant executive order that appears to have set in motion a sharp increase in ICE raids nationwide, the arrest of Daniel Ramirez Medina in Seattle last week marks the first detention of an immigrant allowed to live and work legally in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program since Trump took office. “Arresting a young DACA recipient with deep roots in our country is not only cruel and outrageous but an affront to our core principles...

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Study Shows that in Over 40 Years of Data there is no Link Between Immigration and Increased Crime

by Walter Einenkel – There are numerous reasons why Trump’s and the Republican administration’s Muslim ban security policy is erroneous. But one conservative talking point for decades has always been that immigration means crime as “undesirable” people come into our country with their “undesirable” ways. If you look on any conservative news feed it is awash in horror stories of “illegal immigrants,” or “refugees” molesting women and girls, murdering people at gas stations, and the like. When Donald Trump kicked off his presidential campaign, he famously did so by calling undocumented Mexicans living in our country rapists and drug dealers. A University of Buffalo-led study has pored over decades of data and come out with very quantifiable evidence that these kinds of statements are simply false. “Our research shows strong and stable evidence that, on average, across U.S. metropolitan areas crime and immigration are not linked,” said Robert Adelman, an associate professor of...

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Trump is Reportedly Preparing a New Muslim Ban. It Looks Like More of the Same

by Adrienne Mahsa Varkiani – Families are still left in limbo as the courts battle it out and Trump weighs issuing a new order. The Muslim ban is facing a series of legal challenges, just a little over two weeks since President Donald Trump first signed it. Trump has been confident that he will win Washington v. Trump, one of the most prominent cases thus far, but last week he also said that he may simply rewrite the ban. Still, it’s not guaranteed that even a revised version of the ban will survive judicial scrutiny. “We will win that battle. The unfortunate part is that it takes time statutorily, but we will win that battle,” Trump told reporters on the way to Florida on Friday. “We also have a lot of other options, including just filing a brand new order.” When asked what changes there might be in a new executive order,...

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Intel Community to Trump: “Now we go nuclear. He will die in jail.”

by Frank Vyan Walton – In the last two days the Drumpfter Fire that is currently raging in the White House seems to have hit a flashpoint with the sudden resignation of NSA Advisor Michael Flynn and then the revelation by the New York Times that several members of the Trump campaign were in regular contact with Russian Intelligence during the election. WASHINGTON — Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials. American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said. The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign...

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The Worst Case Scenario if Supreme Court Nominee, Neil Gorsuch, is Confirmed

by Ian Millhiser – A child-exploiting, racist, security state hellscape. So how bad could Neil Gorsuch be? As is turns out, when trying to assess President Donald Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court, this isn’t an especially easy question to answer. We know that Gorsuch placed the rights of religious conservatives ahead of the rights of women seeking birth control coverage. We know that he took highly unusual steps in an attempt to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood. We know that he wants to consolidate power in the federal judiciary at the very moment that Republicans are seizing control over that branch of government, and that such a newly empowered judiciary would have the power to slash and burn labor and environmental regulations. We also know that Gorsuch was a great admirer of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative icon. Indeed, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee says that he...

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We Must Know the Truth

by BILL MOYERS AND MICHAEL WINSHIP – This is the worst scandal involving the White House and a foreign power since Iran-Contra. Demand the facts. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: there MUST be an investigation by an independent, bipartisan commission of Russia’s ties to Donald Trump and his associates and that nation’s interference in our elections. Emphasize independent and bipartisan. That commission must have full subpoena power to call witnesses and make them testify under oath or risk prosecution. Hearings must be held out in the open, and televised live for the nation and the world to see. That’s what a democracy is all about. The resignation of national security advisor Michael Flynn makes such an inquiry even more imperative. On Friday, winging his way to Mar-a-Lago on Air Force One, Trump told the press he knew nothing about the previous night’s Washington Post report that Flynn had...

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Half-Brother of Kim Jong-un ‘Killed’ in Malaysia

Kim Jong-nam reportedly poisoned at Kuala Lumpur airport by female North Korean operatives, S Korean media says. The half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been killed in Malaysia, South Korean media reported, with one TV station saying he was attacked at the country’s main airport with poisoned needles. Officials in South Korea and Malaysia on Tuesday could not confirm the death of Kim Jong-nam. Malaysian police said a North Korean had been taken sick at Kuala Lumpur International Airport and since died. A senior security source told Al Jazeera that Malaysian police “strongly” believe the deceased individual was Kim Jong-nam. In a statement, Malaysian police said the 46-year-old dead man was travelling on a passport under the name Kim Chol. “Kim Jong-nam has been known to travel using a fake name,” Al Jazeera’s Florence Looi, reporting from the airport in Kuala Lumpur, said. She added that the body of...

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What did Trump Know About Flynn’s Talks With Russia, and When did He Know it?

by Mark Sumner – There’s something about the words “full confidence.” In any administration, the fact that someone has to come out and say that a cabinet officer has the full confidence of the president is enough to let you know that there are very good reasons for that position to be in doubt. When the person on the receiving end of that “confidence” is carefully hiding out of public sight, then it’s a pretty good bet there are packing boxes being unfolded. For Michael Flynn, it was Kellyanne Conway who delivered the full confidence speech following his heartfelt apology — pointedly delivered over the phone — to Mike Pence. So what was coming next seems almost obvious. On the surface, Flynn’s apology should have been enough. If the extent of his sins was bobbling his statement to Pence, when he had given some vague response to a question on the topic of sanctions, it would have...

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North Dakota Bills Could Strip Dakota Access Pipeline Protesters of Their Rights

by Carimah Townes – Standing Rock protesters face five new threats. Over the weekend, veterans flocked to Standing Rock to shield Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) protesters from law enforcement — the second time they’ve done so in recent months. But North Dakota lawmakers are now planning to radically constrict the right of DAPL opponents, including veterans, to demonstrate against the project. There are currently four bills in the state’s House and Senate that create new criminal penalties for acts of protest or heighten existing penalties. And there is a fifth bill that could put demonstrators in physical danger. HB 1193 turns a misdemeanor offense into a felony if the offense is “done intentionally to cause direct or indirect economic harm in excess of one thousand dollars to the government or to a person.” HB 1203 states that drivers who “negligently” injure or kill people obstructing traffic will not be responsible for the damage caused....

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Mississippi Replaces Lethal Injection With Firing Squad, Gassing, And Electrocution

by Whitney Webb – The southern state’s use of lethal injection drugs has been called into question, leading its house of representatives to approve new, similarly controversial measures. The death penalty in Mississippi, realized primarily through lethal injection since 1984, is now being reviewed by the state legislature. House Bill 638 proposed a revision to the death penalty by amending the original 1972 code (section 99-19-51). The amendment retains lethal injection as the first option for execution. If lethal injection is found unconstitutional, nitrogen hypoxia will be used. Firing squad will be the third option, and electrocution the fourth. The amendment passed the Mississippi House of Representatives in a 75-43 vote. According to the Republican House Judiciary B Committee Chairman Andy Gipson, House Bill 638 is a consequence of lawsuits filed by “liberal, left-wing radicals”. One of these “radicals” is attorney Jim Craig, who is suing Mississippi over lethal injection...

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The Federal Election Commission Just Told Trump They’re Done With His ‘Voter Fraud’ Lies

by Rika Christensen – Trump is still beating his “widespread voter fraud” drum, and it hasn’t escaped the notice of the Federal Election Commission. Now it seems their frustration has overflowed, because one of the commissioners finally demanded that Trump produce his evidence. Ellen Weintraub, the commissioner in question, issued a formal statement on the matter after Trump told the Senate that thousands of people were bussed from Massachusetts to New Hampshire on Election Day. Apparently those people who were bussed to New Hampshire to vote against him are why he and Kelly Ayotte lost. Weintraub didn’t mince words in her statement. She said: “The scheme the President of the United States alleges would constitute thousands of felony criminal offenses under New Hampshire law… …The President has issued an extraordinarily serious and specific charge. Allegations of this magnitude cannot be ignored.”  She’s right – if there really is this kind of...

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Defending Trump Voter Fraud Delusions, Stephen Miller Again Lies to the American Public

by Hunter – It’s Sunday, which means the new American administration is overtly lying to the public on television again. Today’s propaganda effort was devoted to assuring American citizens that our national elections are, in fact, almost unimaginably corrupted. This is being done, by members of the new leader’s team, for two reasons. The first is because their boss lost the popular vote and, because he is an unstable and easily infuriated little man-child, will tolerate no explanation other than invisible foul play. The second is as propaganda effort; the white nationalist elements of Trump’s staffers and cabinet have a plan to widely roll back the rights of non-white voters in this nation. If that requires falsely telling Americans that their own election system has been, all this time, so corrupt that they were foolish to ever trust the results then that is what rat-faced traitor to his nation Stephen Miller will...

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Step One to Impeachment? One Congressman’s Probe Targets Trump’s Conflicts of Interest

by Nika Knight – “Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) filed a ‘resolution of inquiry’ that amounts to the first legislative step toward impeachment.” New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler has made use of an obscure legislative tool that would force a floor debate on President Donald Trump’s potentially unconstitutional conflicts of interest—a move widely seen as an initial step toward impeaching Trump. Nadler, a Democrat, on Thursday “filed a ‘resolution of inquiry’ that amounts to the first legislative step toward impeachment,” wrote co-founder of RootsAction.org Norman Solomon in an op-ed for Common Dreams. A resolution of inquiry is “a relatively obscure parliamentary tactic used to force presidents and executive-branch agencies to share records with Congress. Under House practice, such a resolution must be debated and acted upon in committee or else it can be discharged to the House floor for consideration,” explains the Washington Post. The resolution (pdf) filed by Nadler specifically calls...

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The Unique Legal Problem Presented by a Know-Nothing President

by Ian Millhiser – The law is not built for Donald Trump. Eight of the most powerful words in American national security law are “the President of the United States has determined.” The Trump administration’s motion to a federal appeals court asking to restore Trump’s Muslim ban starts with these eight words. In that case, Washington v. Trump, the President of the United States has determined that “deteriorating conditions” in seven majority-Muslim nations “increase the likelihood that terrorists will use any means possible to enter the United States.” And so the administration asked the court to defer to that presidential determination. For now, Trump has not fared well in Washington. On Thursday evening, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit announced that it would leave a temporary order suspending Trump’s travel ban in place. Their opinion, however, still leaves many open questions. And the legality of Trump’s travel ban...

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Deutsche Bank Remains Trump’s Biggest Conflict of Interest Despite Settlements

by Jesse Eisinger – Deutsche Bank is Trump’s largest lender. While the troubled bank has settled several of the charges against it, it’s still undergoing scrutiny by the Justice Department and other federal regulators, and is being overseen by six independent monitors, making conflicts of interest inescapable. If you measure President Donald Trump’s conflicts of interest by the amount of money at stake, or the variety of dicey interactions with government regulators, one dwarfs any other: his relationship with Deutsche Bank. In recent weeks, Deutsche Bank has scrambled to reach agreements with American regulators over a host of alleged misdeeds. But because the president has not sold his company, the bank remains a central arena for potential conflicts between his family’s business interests and the actions of officials in his administration. “Deutsche poses the biggest conflict that we know about in terms of dollar amounts and the scale of legal exposures,”...

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Sheriffs Still Looking for Clarity on Deportation

by Tim Henderson – Despite tough talk on sanctuary cities from the Trump administration, many sheriffs still fear that they lack the legal right to hold prisoners for possible deportation, even at the request of federal authorities. Sheriffs, who operate 85 percent of local jails, are still waiting for courts to clarify the legality of “detainers,” or federal requests to hold prisoners for possible deportation. President Donald Trump signed an executive order Jan. 25 promising to punish any “sanctuary jurisdictions” that “attempt to shield aliens from removal from the United States.” The order threatened cuts to federal funding and public shaming of “any jurisdiction that ignored or otherwise failed to honor any detainers.” But the new administration in Washington hasn’t altered the legal landscape — at least not yet. Court rulings over the past several years have dissuaded even red-state sheriffs from honoring detainers, fearing that doing so would make them...

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NJ Congressman Invokes 1924 Tax Law Giving Congress Power to Examine Trump’s Returns

by Jen Hayden – Rep. Bill Pascrell (NJ-09) serves on the House Ways and Means Committee and he wants to use a 1924 tax law that allows Congress to examine tax returns for the purpose of determining whether conflicts of interest exist, even if those tax returns belong to the president. From NorthJersey.com: After privately examining returns — Pascrell is seeking 10 years’ worth — the committee could decide to share them with the full House, which would in effect make them public. The 1924 law gives congressional committees that set tax policy the power to examine tax returns. It was used in 1974 when Congress looked at President Richard Nixon’s returns, and in 2014 when the Ways and Means Committee released confidential tax information as part of its investigation into the Internal Revenue Service’s handling of applications for nonprofit status If Sen. Mitch McConnell can invoke the rarely used “Rule 19”, Rep. Pascrell and Congress...

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Snowden: ‘Finally: Irrefutable Evidence That I Never Cooperated with Russian Intel’

by Common Dreams staff – “I think Snowden is a terrible threat, I think he’s a terrible traitor and you know what we used to do in the good old days when we were a strong country, you know what we used to do to traitors right?” Trump has said. Whistle-blower Edward Snowden has spoken on a report suggesting Vladimir Putin is considering sending him back to the US as a “gift” to President Donald Trump, claiming the story proves he is not a spy. “Finally: irrefutable evidence that I never cooperated with Russian intel,” Snowden said. “No country trades away spies, as the rest would fear they’re next.” Edward Snowden ✔@Snowden Finally: irrefutable evidence that I never cooperated with Russian intel. No country trades away spies, as the rest would fear they’re next. https://twitter.com/CNBCnow/status/830190986697523203 … 6:43 PM – 10 Feb 2017 Late Friday NBC News reported: U.S. intelligence has collected information...

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House GOP Quietly Moves to Kill Commission Charged With Securing Elections

by Lauren McCauley – House Committee also voted to abolish public financing for presidential elections. Amid national outrage over possible foreign interference in the 2016 election and President Donald Trump’s own lies about so-called voter fraud, House Republicans on Tuesday quietly advanced two bills that “could profoundly impact the way we administer and finance national elections,” watchdogs are warning. The GOP-dominated Committee on House Administration voted along party lines to approve the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) Termination Act (HR 634), which would abolish the only “federal agency charged with upgrading our voting systems” and “helping to protect our elections from hacking,” as Wendy Weiser, director of the Democracy Program at NYU School of Law’s Brennan Center for Justice, put it. During the same session, the committee also reportedly voted to abolish public financing for presidential elections, passing the Eliminating the Presidential Election Campaign Fund Act (HR 133). According to USA Today...

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Michael Flynn Lied About Russian Sanctions, Sent ‘Inappropriate and Potentially Illegal Signal’

by Mark Sumner – A month before Trump was inaugurated, National Security Adviser-to-be Michael Flynn held multiple conversations with Russia’s Ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak. Asked whether those conversations included US sanctions imposed against Russia, Flynn gave a definitive answer. Flynn on Wednesday denied that he had discussed sanctions with Kislyak. Asked in an interview whether he had ever done so, he twice said, “No.” Flynn wasn’t the only one. Other officials in the Trump regime, including Mike Pence, also denied that there had been any discussion of the sanctions. The problem with that answer—it’s not true. National security adviser Michael Flynn privately discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with that country’s ambassador to the United States during the month before President Trump took office, contrary to public assertions by Trump officials, current and former U.S. officials said. The discussion of lifting sanctions took place during the transition, but it wasn’t Flynn’s only...

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When the Government Really Did Fear a Bowling Green Massacre — From a White Supremacist

by A.C. Thompson – Assault rifles, body armor, a possible kill list, but not much attention when feds arrested a white man they said was bent on “race war.” The year was 2012. The place was Bowling Green, Ohio. A federal raid had uncovered what the authorities feared were the makings of a massacre. There were 18 firearms, among them two AR–15 assault rifles, an AR–10 assault rifle and a Remington Model 700 sniper rifle. There was body armor, too, and the authorities counted some 40,000 rounds of ammunition. An extremist had been arrested, and prosecutors suspected that he had been aiming to carry out a wide assortment of killings. “This defendant, quite simply, was a well-funded, well-armed and focused one-man army of racial and religious hate,” prosecutors said in a court filing. The man arrested and charged was Richard Schmidt, a middle-aged owner of a sports-memorabilia business at a mall...

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Trump: “SEE YOU IN COURT” Us: “That Was Court, You Doofus.” Trump’s Choices in a Nutshell

by Frank DiPrima – In the wake of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision, leaving in place the temporary restraining order staying his Muslim travel ban, Mr. Trump has three main procedural choices.  First, he can go to the United States Supreme Court and seek to have the stay lifted there.  Second, he can skip the SCOTUS appeal from the stay and simply instruct the Department of Justice to prepare and seek to expedite the underlying action on the merits in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.  Third, he can moot both proceedings by issuing an executive order revoking the first executive order and announcing that is will be rewritten. There is opportunity and danger for Mr. Trump in the SCOTUS appeal of the stay.  If he goes through with that, there are three possible outcomes, but only two are in the realm of likelihood.  First, he...

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Melania Trump Reveals Plan to Leverage Presidency to Ink ‘Multi-Million Dollar’ Endorsement Deals

by Judd Legum – The admission came in a defamation lawsuit the First Lady filed against the Daily Mail. In a lawsuit filed Monday, First Lady Melania Trump revealed her intention to leverage the presidency to ink new “licensing, branding, and endorsement” deals worth many millions of dollars. In the filing, Melania Trump’s lawyer described the position of First Lady as a “once-in-a-lifetime” money making opportunity. She told the court she intended to pursue deals in “apparel, accessories, shoes, jewelry, cosmetics, hair care, skin care, and fragrance.” These kind of endorsement deals would be especially lucrative while Melania Trump is First Lady and thus “one of the most photographed women in the world.” Melania Trump v. Mail Media Inc, Supreme Court of The State of New York. Filed 2/6/17 The First Lady’s lawsuit is against the Daily Mail, which published a story repeating allegations in a Slovenian magazine that Melania Trump once worked...

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Judge Gorsuch Criticized Trump. The President isn’t Handling it Very Well

by Aaron Rupar – Trump’s SCOTUS pick called Trump’s attacks on the judiciary “demoralizing” and “disheartening.” On Wednesday, news broke that Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s choice to fill an open U.S. Supreme Court seat, criticized the president during a meeting with Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). Gorsuch told Blumenthal that he finds Trump’s attacks on the judiciary“demoralizing” and “disheartening.” In the wake of federal judge James Robart ordering a temporary halt to Trump’s Muslim ban last Friday, Trump called Robart a “so-called judge” and said that if a terrorist attack happens in the U.S., Robart “and the court system” is to blame. Blumenthal told the press about Gorsuch’s criticism of Trump. The senator’s account of the conversation was later confirmed by a spokesperson for the judge. Josh Dawsey  ✔@jdawsey1 Spokesman for Neil Gorsuch, Supreme Court nominee, confirms he called Trump’s comments on federal judge “demoralizing” and “disheartening.” 4:56 PM – 8...

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Judge Orders NYPD to Disclose Surveillance Records of Black Lives Matters Activists

by Lauren C. Williams – A New York judge has ordered the New York Police Department to disclose records pertaining to the undercover surveillance of Black Lives Matter activists during protests following the police killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Protester James Logue filed a public records request for video and audio footage taken by uniformed and plain-clothed NYPD officers of the crowds during two Grand Central Terminal protests in 2014 and 2015. The NYPD refused to comply with the request, arguing that disclosing any records would obstruct its ability to do police work. Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Manuel Mendez ruled Wednesday that NYPD assistant intelligence chief John Donahue’s claims that releasing the data would expose details of ongoing terrorism investigations. “His speculative and conclusive claims of potential related ongoing investigations of incidents against police officers, both in New York and outside of the state and generalized references to use...

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Parents Of Slain Backpackers Furious Trump Lied About “Terrorist” Involved In Their Deaths

by Dartagnan – The parents of two British-born backpackers killed by a mentally disturbed man in the remote outback of Australia have reacted with fury to Donald Trump including their children as victims of a “terror attack” to bolster his phony claim that the media are deliberately “underreporting” terrorism. Their anger and disgust at Trump is just another reflection of this Administration’s sheer incompetence and disregard for the impact of its lies to the lives of ordinary people. Mia Ayliffe-Chung, 21, was backpacking in Australia when she stopped to stay in a remote hostel. There she met Tom Jackson, another backpacker staying there.  Unfortunately an emotionally disturbed 29-year old French national named Smail Ayad, another hostel guest, apparently developed an infatuation for her during her brief stay. Despite his “Arabic sounding name” the police ultimately determined Ayad was neither an Islamic fundamentalist or even a practicing Muslim, nor had he ever set foot...

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Despite His Racist Past, Jeff Sessions Confirmed as Attorney General

by Carimah Townes – Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) was confirmed as the next Attorney General of the United States on Wednesday, following a final Senate vote. That means a man with white supremacist ties, a racist and homophobic legislative record, and a history of opposing voting rights is now the top law enforcement officer in the country. The final vote was 52 senators in favor of confirming Sessions and 47 against, largely along party lines. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) was the only Democrat to vote yes. Sessions, like newly-minted Secretary of Education Betty DeVos, faced extreme opposition from civil rights organizations, lawmakers, and constituents nationwide. Public outcry began soon after his nomination in November. When Sessions was up for a federal judgeship in 1986, Coretta Scott King — the late widow of Martin Luther King, Jr. — begged the Senate Judiciary Committee to vote against his appointment. Senators on both sides of the aisle ultimately...

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Republican Congressman says White Terrorists are Different (VIDEO)

by Aaron Rupar – Rep. Duffy characterized a shooting at a mosque in Canada as “a one off.” During a CNN appearance on Tuesday, Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) asserted that “there’s a difference” between attacks carried out by Muslim extremists and attacks carried out by white supremacists or other attackers who aren’t Muslim. While discussing President Trump’s list of 78 attacks his administration thinks haven’t been sufficiently covered — a list conspicuously devoid of attacks perpetrated by white supremacists, Islamophobes, or right-wing extremists — CNN Alisyn Camerota asked Duffy, “Why isn’t the president talking about the white terrorists who mowed down six Muslims praying at their mosque?” “I don’t know, but I would just tell you there’s a difference,” Duffy replied. “You don’t have a group like ISIS or Al Qaeda that is inspiring around the world. That was a one off, Alisyn.” Camerota challenged him on the point, noting that attacks like the Oklahoma...

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‘Shocking’ Scale of Catholic Church Sex Crimes Revealed

More than 1,250 Catholic priests accused of child sex abuse in Australia with few allegations pursued in cover-up drive. About seven percent of Catholic priests in Australia were accused of sexually abusing children between 1950 and 2010, but few allegations were investigated, an inquiry in Sydney has heard. The scathing figures, released as hearings began on Monday over the allegations dating back decades, were compiled with the cooperation of the church as part of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The commission, Australia’s highest level of inquiry, reported 4,444 alleged incidents of sexual abuse by Catholic priests between 1980 and 2015. The inquiry also heard that 1,265 priests and religious brothers and nuns had been accused during a 60-year period ending 2010. “These numbers are shocking. They are tragic and they are indefensible,” Franklin Sullivan, head of the church’s Truth, Justice and Healing Council, told the commission in Sydney....

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Beyond ‘Law and Order’

by Ed Chung and Danyelle Solomon – The Senate will soon vote on the nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) to be the 84th attorney general of the United States. If confirmed, Sessions would be America’s chief law enforcement officer and the primary implementer of President Donald Trump’s “law and order” regime to address the so-called “American carnage.” But at a time when crime rates in America remain near historic lows and policymakers look to thoughtfully redesign and limit the breadth of justice systems, the new administration is set to reinstitute a philosophy that will precariously and unnecessarily enlarge the entire enterprise. Sessions would return the nation to failed “law and order” policies These days, a “law and order” platform is synonymous with a tough-on-crime approach that favors more policing and leads to more arrests and convictions and longer jail sentences. It diminishes strategies such as prevention, treatment, and longer-term remedies like...

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US Court Grills Trump Lawyer Over ‘Terror’ Threats (VIDEOS)

Ruling on US administration’s travel ban expected soon after judges demand ‘terrorism’ evidence linked to seven nations. A US federal appeals court has questioned whether a travel ban ordered by President Donald Trump unfairly targeted people from seven Muslim-majority countries. During an oral argument lasting more than an hour, a three-judge panel of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals pressed a government lawyer on Tuesday over whether the Trump administration’s national security argument was backed by evidence that people from the seven nations posed a danger. The San Francisco-based 9th Circuit said at the end of the session it would issue a ruling as soon as possible, thought to be this week. The matter is ultimately likely to go to the US Supreme Court. “I actually can’t believe that we’re having to fight to protect the security, in a court system, to protect the security of our nation,”...

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Trump’s List of ‘Unreported’ Terror Attacks is Out, and it’s Absurd

by Rika Christensen – On Monday, Trump said to a crowd at MacDill Air Force Base that the “very dishonest media” wasn’t reporting on the terror attacks that are happening all across Europe all the time. Later on, the media pressed Sean Spicer on that topic while aboard Air Force One, and Spicer’s response was to say that they’d provide a list “later on.” Well, that list is out, and surprise surprise, it’s completely ridiculous. Since Trump’s comments focused on Europe and, by extension, the U.S., the following lists are focused there, despite many, many other attacks happening around the world. Perhaps one of the most ridiculous things about the White House’s list of attacks is that it includes high-profile attacks that were covered for days on end, such as the 2015 attack against Charlie Hebdo in Paris, and the fateful attack at a Paris club in November. It also includes...

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Eric Schneiderman – A Champion Against Trump

by BadBoyScientist – If you want to feel optimistic, I suggest you read the full article in politico — it isn’t very long.    Some highlights follow. Eric Schneiderman is New York’s Attorney General and lead the suit against Trump University and forces Trump to settle that case for $25 million — despite Trump’s pledges not to settle it.  He also launched an investigation into the Trump Foundation — and when Trump won the election and attempted to dissolve the Foundation, Schneiderman ordered him not to. Schneiderman has experience dealing with Trump’s smear tactics: Schneiderman had seen dirty pool in his years as the state’s chief law enforcement officer, but his fight with the Trump Organization was, he says, “on the outer edge of normal.” Trump himself retaliated by filing a complaint against the AG with the New York State board of ethics. He alleged that Schneiderman and his aides several times approached [Trump...

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Syria Hanged 13,000 in Saydnaya Prison: Amnesty

Syrian government executed thousands of prisoners in mass hangings at Saydnaya prison, says rights watchdog. As many as 13,000 people were hanged in five years at a notorious Syrian prison near Damascus, Amnesty International has said, accusing the government of a “policy of extermination”. Titled “Human Slaughterhouse: Mass hanging and extermination at Saydnaya prison,” Amnesty’s damning report, released on Tuesday, is based on interviews with 84 witnesses, including guards, detainees, and judges. It found that at least once a week between 2011 and 2015, groups of up to 50 people were taken out of their prison cells for arbitrary trials, beaten, then hanged “in the middle of the night and in total secrecy.” Thousands of photos ‘prove crimes against humanity’ in Syria The report said: “Throughout this process, they remain blindfolded. They do not know when or how they will die until the noose was placed around their necks.”...

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A Yiannopoulos, Bannon, Trump Plot to Control American Universities?

by Robert Reich – I don’t want to add to the conspiratorial musings… but I wouldn’t bet against it either. The events at Berkeley Wednesday night have been a boon to Milos Yiannopoulos, of Breitbart News, and to Steve Bannon, formerly head of Breitbart News and now Trump’s consigliere. As you may know, on Wednesday night, February 1, Berkeley gave Yiannopoulos a major forum to spout his racist and misogynistic vitriol. But police had to cancel the talk because about 150 masked agitators threw Molotov cocktails, smashed windows where Yiannopoulos was scheduled to speak, and threw rocks and fireworks at the police – delivering made-for-TV images of a riot. According to a promotional Breitbart story that ran before the event, Yiannopoulos was going to “call for the withdrawal of federal grants and the prosecution of university officials who endanger their students with their policies.” Which is exactly what Trump did via...

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Trump Shrugs off Putin’s Killings: ‘You Think our Country’s so Innocent?’

by Jessica Goldstein – To Russia, with love. In a taped interview with Fox’s Bill O’Reilly that aired Sunday before the Super Bowl, President Donald Trump said he has “respect” for Vladimir Putin, the Voldemort doppelgänger and alleged saboteur of our fair nation’s election. Lest Putin let such a fine compliment go to his head, Trump quickly followed up this declaration — “I do respect him” — by saying, “Well, I respect a lot of people.” Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States: He respects Putin, but thinks civil rights hero John Lewis is “all talk and no action.” Trump went on to say that it would be “better to get along with Russia than not,” and that “if Russia helps us in the fight against ISIS, which is a major fight, and Islamic terrorism all over the world — that’s a good thing. Will I get along with him? I have no idea.” O’Reilly said,...

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Trump says Pence Will Lead Investigation into Non-Existent Voter Fraud

by Ned Resnikoff – The President still won’t back down from his lies about illegal voting. In a pre-Super Bowl interview that aired on Sunday, President Donald Trump told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly that he would establish a commission led by Vice President Mike Pence to investigate allegations of widespread voter fraud. “We’re going to look at it very, very carefully,” said Trump. There is, of course, no widespread voter fraud, and multiple independent observers have debunked Trump’s claims to the contrary. But the president has spent weeks repeating the false claim that undocumented immigrants cast three to five million votes against him — a lie that seems intended to explain away his loss of the popular vote by more than two million ballots cast. In response to questioning about the “voter fraud” lie, White House press secretary Sean Spicer indicated in late January that the Trump administration would pursue an investigation into it....

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Neil Gorsuch Would Be a Dream Justice for Corporations Suing the Government

by Billy Corriher – President Donald Trump has nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch to a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court. Judge Gorsuch, now on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, did not appear on President Trump’s first list of potential Supreme Court nominees in May 2016, but he appeared on Trump’s second list just weeks after writing a judicial manifesto arguing that judges should have more power to strike down federal regulations. The approach outlined in Judge Gorsuch’s August 2016 opinion would benefit wealthy corporations challenging laws that protect workers, consumers, and the environment. This approach would tie the government’s hands in keeping Americans safe and healthy and let judges strike down common-sense regulations that ensure the nation’s air and water are clean. If he becomes a justice, the Supreme Court would very likely continue its trend of ruling in favor of big business. No deference to the EPA Judge...

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Large Majority Opposed to Extreme Positions Trump’s Pick for Supreme Court Espouses

by Joan McCarter – New polling from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner shows that a very large majority of voters are opposed to Republicans strong-arming an ultraconservative nominee like popular vote loser Donald Trump’s pick, Neil Gorsuch, to the Supreme Court. The poll on behalf of NARAL Pro-Choice America, Every Voice, and End Citizens United find that 69 percent of voters oppose ending the Senate filibuster on Supreme Court nominees, and 72 percent think the next justice “will have a big difference on the direction of the country.” Americans see this as a fight that matters to them. When presented with potential consequences and rulings that could result from Gorsuch’s confirmation, including overturning Roe v. Wade and leaving the flow of special interest money in politics unchecked, large majorities of voters say they are more likely to oppose the nominee. Americans strongly object to any GOP attempts to use political tactics to...

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Trump Blasts Ruling of “So-Called Judge” as DHS Forced to Halt Muslim Ban

by Jon Queally – President Trump “is learning about separation of powers”—but the most frightening aspect for many is how much disdain he is showing for the concept.   Even as President Donald Trump lashed out at a federal court ruling issued Friday by labeling the federal judge who ordered it a “so-called judge,” the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Saturday morning said it was suspending all enforcement of the controversial executive order on immigration that sparked outrage nationwide. Late Friday, U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle, Washington issued a nationwide restraining order against further enforcement of Trump’s immigration order which legal analysts and immigration experts say specifically targeted Muslims from the seven specific nations named in the directive. Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, called the ruling “another stinging rejection of President Trump’s unconstitutional Muslim ban.” But in his response to the ruling, Trump took...

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In Bowling Green ‘Massacre,’ FBI Agents Foiled an FBI Terror Plot

by Elizabeth Nolan Brown – A 2011 “terrorist plot” in Kentucky is oft used to warn against Muslim refugees. But the only terrorists in this case were manufactured by the FBI. Fresh off of making-up a massacre on national television, Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway has been trying to rationalize her rhetoric—a rant about how the media didn’t cover Obama’s refugee ban after the “Bowling Green Massacre” of 2011—by claiming that what she meant to say was “Bowling Green terrorists.” While there may not have been a terrorist “massacre”—or any terrorist violence at all—in Bowling Green, Kentucky, there was a terrorist plot uncovered, Conway noted Friday on Twitter, quickly shifting the spotlight back to the supposed danger posed by Islamic refugees. Conway is correct about a few things: there were two Bowling Green men arrested for terrorism; they were Iraqis who had come to the U.S. through a refugee resettlement program; and...

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Trump’s Muslim Ban Underscores the Need for National Resistance

by Sam Fulwood III – It’s hard to imagine a worse unfurling of bad federal policy than President Donald Trump’s executive order preventing nationals of select Muslim nations from entering the United States. The order curtailed all refugee resettlement for 120 days, suspended Syrian refugee resettlement indefinitely, and barred nationals from seven countries—Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Libya, and Yemen—from entering the United States for 90 days. White House officials claimed the order is a strategy of “extreme vetting” to screen out terrorists. Of course, the policy shouldn’t come as a surprise. Trump said repeatedly during last year’s presidential campaign that he would, as president, bring about a “total and complete shutdown of the entry of Muslims to the United States.” What is sadly surprising about Trump’s making good on a signature campaign pledge is the severe ineptitude of its execution. The executive order was drafted and discharged in such a...

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More Than 100,000 Visas Revoked in Wake of Trump Travel Ban

by Deirdre Fulton – “The number 100,000 sucked the air out of my lungs,” says lawyer working on lawsuit challenging executive order. Belying the government’s claim that only 109 legal immigrants were “inconvenienced” by President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration, news outlets reported Friday that more than 100,000 visas have been revoked in the wake of the recent travel ban. According to the Washington Post, which reported the figure citing a government attorney at a federal court hearing in Virginia: The number came out during a hearing in a lawsuit filed by attorneys for two Yemeni brothers who arrived at Dulles International Airport last Saturday. They were coerced into giving up their legal resident visas, they argue, and quickly put on a return flight to Ethiopia. “The number 100,000 sucked the air out of my lungs,” said Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg of the Legal Aid Justice Center, who represents the brothers.  ...

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Class Action Suit Filed for Tens of Thousands of Legal Immigrants Affected by Ban

by Deirdre Fulton – ‘The halt to the processing of applications has caused fear and anxiety to thousands of non-citizens who legally are entitled to benefits.’ The ACLU and other civil and immigrant rights groups have filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of tens of thousands of immigrants who are currently residing legally in the United States but have been impacted by President Donald Trump’s executive order suspending the U.S. refugee program and temporarily barring entry for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries. The order has wreaked havoc across the country; indeed, the class action suit was filed one day before 50 ACLU affiliates filed 18 coordinated Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with local U.S. Customs and Border Protection offices seeking clarity on how Trump administration officials are interpreting and executing the president’s order at over 55 international airports across the country—and whether they are acting in violation of federal...

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Neil Gorsuch’s Crusade Against Planned Parenthood

by Ian Millhiser – Rules be damned! In the grand scheme of the law, Planned Parenthood Association of Utah v. Herbert was not an important case. It turned primarily on a factual dispute over whether Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) had an unconstitutional motive when he cut off funding to Utah’s Planned Parenthood affiliate, as well as another dispute over whether a three-judge panel that temporarily restored that funding misread a trial judge’s opinion. It was a case that turned upon, in the language that lawyers use, a “question of fact,” rather than on a question of law that could have major implications for future cases. In other words, if the judges hearing this case were wrong about the facts (or about what a specific trial opinion said), while that would obviously have very serious implications for Planned Parenthood, it wouldn’t have any implications for future cases. And yet Judge Neil Gorsuch,...

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Protesters Flood Texas Capitol as Committee Debates Sanctuary Cities Bill

by JULIÁN AGUILAR for The Texas Tribune – Hundreds of opponents of a controversial immigration proposal descended on the state Capitol Thursday as senators began the process of getting the bill to the governor’s desk.  Even as groups shouted down at them from the state Capitol’s Senate gallery, Republican lawmakers on Thursday held steady in their attempt to move a controversial immigration law past its first procedural hurdle. Senate Bill 4, by state Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, seeks to outlaw sanctuary cities, the common term for local governments that don’t enforce immigration laws. It is being heard in a Senate committee Thursday and if voted out, will make its way to the full Senate for a vote. The proposal would allow local police to enforce immigration laws if the officer is working with a federal immigration officer or under an agreement between the local and federal agency. It would also punish local governments...

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