Politics Review – 4:03 PM 5/23/2017: Security sources identify suspected Manchester attacker | DOJ says special prosecutor’s office ‘up and running’ | Former CIA Chief Brennan Says Russians 'Brazenly' Interfered in U.S. Election

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Former CIA Chief Brennan Says Russians Were in Contact With Trump Campaign Associates – wsj

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WASHINGTON—Former CIA director John Brennan testified Tuesday that contacts by Donald Trump campaign associates with Russian officials last year raised concerns that the Kremlin could try to cultivate people close to Mr. Trump, shedding light on why federal agents began a full investigation.

Mr. Brennan also disclosed that the intelligence community’s alarm about Russia “brazenly” interfering in the 2016 presidential election prompted him to warn his Russian intelligence counterpart last summer to stop meddling in U.S. politics.

In testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Mr. Brennan explained the basis for the Federal Bureau of Investigation counterintelligence investigation that was opened after the election, which is looking at potential collusion between the campaign and Russia.

“I encountered and I’m aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign,” said Mr. Brennan, the head of the Central Intelligence Agency under former President Barack Obama.

Mr. Brennan said he didn’t know if these contacts by people tied to the campaign amounted to “collusion” with Russian officials, but said that a common Russian intelligence technique involved cultivating Americans as either witting or unwitting intelligence assets.

Mr. Brennan said he was concerned because of “known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals.”

He said that the contacts picked up by U.S. intelligence justified the opening of an FBI investigation that has overshadowed Mr. Trump’s presidency.

“I know that there was a sufficient basis of information and intelligence that required further investigation by the bureau to determine whether or not U.S. persons were actively conspiring, colluding with Russian officials,” said Mr. Brennan.

Mr. Brennan declined to discuss the specific information that his assessments were based on in the open hearing, saying that much of the information was classified. The House Intelligence Committee subsequently continued the hearing with Mr. Brennan in a classified, closed-door setting.

Mr. Trump has denied that he or his campaign coordinated with any foreign entity, and Russia has denied meddling in the election. Mr. Trump has said continuing questions about his campaign’s Russia contacts amount to a “witch hunt.”

The FBI investigation is now being overseen by a special counsel, Robert Mueller, after Mr. Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey raised questions about whether the president was trying to quash the probe into whether his associates had contacts with Russians.

Mr. Trump asked Mr. Comey to end an investigation into his former national security adviser, Mike Flynn, according to people close to Mr. Comey. Mr. Trump has denied he made the request.

In a separate hearing Tuesday morning, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats declined to confirm or deny that Mr. Trump had asked him to publicly state there was no collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and the Russian government in response to a Washington Post report.

The Post reported that the president asked Mr. Coats and the National Security Agency director, Adm. Mike Rogers, to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion between the campaign and Russia.

Mr. Coats said it wasn’t appropriate to comment about the topic in his public testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“We discuss a number of topics on a very regular basis,” Mr. Coats said. “On this topic, as well as other topics, I don’t feel it’s appropriate to characterize discussions, conversations with the president.”

Mr. Coats was asked if he had discussed with Adm. Rogers any request from Mr. Trump regarding collusion. Mr. Coats responded: “That is something that I would like to withhold, that question, at this particular point in time.”

Mr. Coats was also asked if he knew of any efforts by the White House to interfere in other aspects of the Russia inquiry, including allegations the president asked Mr. Comey to ease off investigating Mr. Flynn. “I am not aware of that,” Mr. Coats said.

Mr. Brennan, the former CIA chief, said in his testimony that the intelligence community determined by last August that there was a “very aggressive” effort by Russia to intervene in the 2016 election.

Mr. Brennan described a previously undisclosed warning he made to his counterpart in Russian intelligence, Alexander Bortnikov, the head of the Russian FSB service, not to interfere in the U.S. election in an August phone call. According to Mr. Brennan’s account, Mr. Bortnikov denied any attempt to intervene and said Moscow is routinely and falsely blamed for such efforts by the U.S. government.

Write to Byron Tau at byron.tau@wsj.com and Joshua Jamerson at joshua.jamerson@wsj.com

Security sources identify suspected Manchester attacker

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DOJ says special prosecutor’s office ‘up and running’

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Special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s office is now operating from an office in Washington, beginning its work of probing the impact of Russian influence on the 2016 presidential election, Justice Department officials said Tuesday.

“The special counsel’s office is up and running now,” Assistant Attorney General for Administration Lee Lofthus told reporters at an annual briefing on the Justice Department’s budget. “What its total staff size is going to be is something that I’m not aware of. I just don’t know yet and that’s in the hands of the special counsel, not here.”

A Justice Department spokeswoman said earlier Tuesday that Mueller and his team are working out of a privately-owned office building in downtown Washington. The building also houses offices for other Justice Department units.
Mueller has 60 days to propose a budget for this fiscal year and a deadline at the beginning of July to propose a budget for the next fiscal year, according to the regulations used to create his position.

“The office of Special Counsel budget is not something that’s part of the FY18 budget,” Lofthus said in response to questions from POLITICO. “It’s something that obviously needs to be done now because the special counsel is being stood up now.”

Lofthus said the special counsel will be funded via a “permanent and indefinite appropriation” at the Treasury Department that is separate from other Justice Department accounts.

“There’s an appropriation and we’re going to make sure the special counsel is funded and it’s out of that appropriation,” Lofthus said. “We work with them on their expected estimates. … That’s all underway.”

The man who appointed Mueller to the post last week, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, opened the budget briefing with a statement, but declined to take questions from reporters. He said he had to go to another meeting.

At the outset of the session, Rosenstein joked about how he’s suddenly found himself in the spotlight after more than two decades at the Justice Department.

With everyone present seemed well aware of his role, he identified himself as the deputy attorney general, before quipping: “It’s a low-profile middle management job.”

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Former CIA Chief Brennan Says Russians ‘Brazenly’ Interfered in U.S. Election

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Former Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan said Tuesday that Russia “brazenly” interfered in the 2016 presidential election despite a direct warning to a top Kremlin official in August 2016 to stay out of U.S. politics.

(6) Coats won’t answer Trump – Russia question – YouTube

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Published on May 23, 2017

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats gave a non-answer when directly asked by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) if the Washington Post reporting that President Trump asked Coats to publicly say there was no collusion with the Russians was true.

Former CIA Chief Brennan Says Russians ‘Brazenly’ Interfered in U.S. Election
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Former CIA Chief Brennan Says Russians ‘Brazenly’ Interfered in U.S. Election

Former Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan said Tuesday that Russia brazenly interfered in the 2016 presidential election despite a direct warning to a top Kremlin official in August 2016 to stay out of U.S. politics.
TheNewYorkTimess YouTube Videos: President Donald Trump Shifts Stances On Key Israeli Issues | The New York Times 1:52 PM 5/22/2017

TheNewYorkTimes’s YouTube Videos: President Donald Trump Shifts Stances On Key Israeli Issues | The New York Times

From: TheNewYorkTimes
Duration: 05:06
CBSNewsOnlines YouTube Videos: Trump makes history with visit to Western Wall 2:21 PM 5/22/2017

CBSNewsOnline’s YouTube Videos: Trump makes history with visit to Western Wall

From: CBSNewsOnline
Duration: 10:37
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Цирк Братьев Ринглинг, Барнума и Бейли с полуторавековой историей выступил в последний раз 4:03 PM 5/22/2017

1. VIDEO NEWS from mikenova (66 sites): golosamerikius’s YouTube Videos: Цирк Братьев Ринглинг, Барнума и Бейли с полуторавековой историей выступил в последний раз
 

From: golosamerikius
Duration: 01:01

 

President Donald Trump has a packed schedule filled with photo ops during his first trip abroad.

See the Highlights of President Trumps First Trip Abroad
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 President Donald Trump has a packed schedule filled with photo ops during his first trip abroad.
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manchester explosion – Google Search

Trump asked intelligence officials to deny connections with Russia

1. VIDEO NEWS from mikenova (66 sites): Washington Posts YouTube Videos: Trump asked intelligence officials to deny connections with Russia
 

From: Washington Post
Duration: 01:53

The Washington Posts Adam Entous explains how President Trump asked two top ranking intelligence officials to publicly deny any connection between his campaign and Russia.

Washington Posts YouTube Videos

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ABC: Manchester Attack Likely to Inflame Anti-Islamic Sentiment

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On Tuesday’s “Good Morning America,” co-host George Stephanopoulos and ABC Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz stated that the attack in Manchester could lead to anti-Muslim backlash. Stephanapolous said that while people are determined to go back to their normal lives, “this is also likely to inflame anti-Islamic sentiment across Britain, across Europe.” Raddatz responded, “It sure could, George. You know, Manchester itself is a very multicultural city. There’s a large Muslim population, with many there for generations. So, a headscarf attracts little attention there. And notably, Manchester did not vote in favor of Brexit, but an attack like this, as you said, is much bigger than Manchester itself, and will likely create backlash depending, of course, on the details of this attack, George.” (h/t WFB) Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett
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DOJ says special prosecutors office up and running

Special prosecutor Robert Muellers office is now operating from an office in Washington, beginning its work of probing the impact of Russian influence on the 2016 presidential election, Justice Department officials said Tuesday.The special counsels office is up and running now, Assistant Attorney General for Administration Lee Lofthus told reporters at an annual briefing on the Justice Departments budget. What its total staff size is going to be is something that Im not aware of. I just dont know yet and thats in the hands of the special counsel, not here.A Justice Department spokeswoman said earlier Tuesday that Mueller and his team are working out of a privately-owned office building in downtown Washington. The building also houses offices for other Justice Department units.
Mueller has 60 days to propose a budget for this fiscal year and a deadline at the beginning of July to propose a budget for the next fiscal year, according to the regulations used to create his position.The office of Special Counsel budget is not something thats part of the FY18 budget, Lofthus said in response to questions from POLITICO. Its something that obviously needs to be done now because the special counsel is being stood up now.Lofthus said the special counsel will be funded via a permanent and indefinite appropriation at the Treasury Department that is separate from other Justice Department accounts.

Theres an appropriation and were going to make sure the special counsel is funded and its out of that appropriation, Lofthus said. We work with them on their expected estimates. Thats all underway.

The man who appointed Mueller to the post last week, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, opened the budget briefing with a statement, but declined to take questions from reporters. He said he had to go to another meeting.

At the outset of the session, Rosenstein joked about how hes suddenly found himself in the spotlight after more than two decades at the Justice Department.

With everyone present seemed well aware of his role, he identified himself as the deputy attorney general, before quipping: Its a low-profile middle management job.”

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While were never eager to see the far side of spring, its hard not to get excited about the prospect of summer being just around the bend. And Memorial Day (make that Memorial Day Weekend), marks the unofficial start of barbecuing, beachcombing, and fruity, frozen drinks. Now’s the time to get primed for the season at the following summer-courting spots!
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1. Politics Review from mikenova (18 sites)
POLITICO – TOP Stories: Trump budget: Long on wishful thinking, short on shared sacrifice

President Donald Trumps new balanced budget plan is a little like his famous hungering for a Purple Heart.As a candidate last summer, Trump allowed that he had always coveted the military decoration for those wounded in combat. But when given his chance to earn one as a young man, Trump avoided the draft in the Vietnam War.The pattern repeats itself now in the presidents budget, where he again takes the path of wishful thinking without showing much commitment to shared sacrifice.For example, fully $2 trillion of Trumps deficit reduction plan rests in large part on what many contend are overly optimistic economic assumptions. At the same time, the president doesnt hesitate to demand very large savings from programs for the poor and disabled all ahead of the policy debate over how to actually reform these benefits.To understand the stakes, one good starting point is to compare the White House documents Tuesday with those prepared by Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) when he first took over the House Budget Committee in 2011.

Like Trump, Ryans Path to Prosperity back then defined success as bringing government spending and revenues into rough balance at about 19 percent of the nations gross domestic product or GDP.
Ryan, like Trump, endorsed tax cuts and defense spending increases while demanding domestic savings. But as scored by the Congressional Budget Office, it took Ryan almost 20 years to get to his goal. And that was only after he put himself at risk by ratcheting down the growth in Medicare, the healthcare program for the elderly.

Trump avoids such politically tough decisions yet still promises to achieve a balanced budget in 10 years. He does this by projecting robust economic growth to make his task easier. And to a remarkable degree, Trump takes Republicans down a path that shifts the economic burden ever more onto low income families.

Social Security retirement benefits and Medicare important to elderly of all incomes are largely spared. By 2027 these two entitlements alone would represent more than half of government spending under the presidents plan, according to White House tables.

Instead, the lions share of Trumps proposed entitlement savings would come from programs for the disadvantaged: Medicaid, food stamps, welfare and disability benefits. At the same time, the relative balance that exists today between defense and non-defense appropriations would be radically altered, making it harder for Congress to fill holes in the safety net.

Indeed, non-defense discretionary outlays would drop to $429 billion in fiscal 2027, according to White House tables. That is 42 percent less than whats projected now for 2027 under the spending caps in current law. As a share of the nations economy, it translates to just 1.4 percent of GDP for 2027 less than half the 3.3 percent level just last year in fiscal 2016.

Put another way, Trumps vision of a government in balance would mean two-thirds of all outlays in 2027 would be consumed by just four areas: defense, interest payments, Medicare and Social Security.

For sure, the White House rounds up the usual suspects like farmers and threatens some $38 billion in cuts to agriculture subsidies and related programs. But with a new farm bill on the horizon, Trump also goes well beyond Ryans fiscal 2012 budget and demands more than $190 billion in 10-year savings from food stamps.
That includes a new plan to ask states to pick up as much as 25 percent of the annual costs in the future. On a long-term basis, that could translate into an estimated $11 billion burden for governors each year. And for food stamp advocates, it represents a retreat from what has been an historic commitment by Washington to address hunger issues from the federal level.

In the case of Medicaid, Trumps $610 billion in new savings come on the heels of a bitter healthcare debate in which future funding for the same program would be severely cut by the House. All this after Republicans with Trumps blessing plan to roll back capital gains and payroll taxes on the wealthy, surrendering billions of dollars in 10-year revenues that could have been used to narrow the deficit or protect elements of the safety net.

Former Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), who once chaired the Senate Budget Committee and remains a voice on deficit politics, said he had no problem with giving up those revenues. Those were tax increases that shouldnt have occurred, Gregg said. But going forward, he said the White House erred by not addressing Medicare and relying too much on the magic wand of dynamic scoring when they all know thats a dead end street.

Its clear youre not going to get deficits under control until you address the entitlements but the biggest one is Medicare, Gregg said. If they think this is a realistic budget they are more out of touch than they appear to be, which is pretty far out of touch.

This is a statement budget, Gregg added. I give them credit for opening the debate on Medicaid. It needs to be discussed. And disability needs to be discussed and the earned income tax credit needs to be discussed. But unfortunately they have postured it more on a numbers basis than a policy basis which is always a mistake.

Its legitimate to address those programs but if you dont do the policy first to make it clear you want to make the programs better, not just arbitrarily to cut them, you lose the debate coming out of the starting gate, Gregg said.

POLITICO – TOP Stories

POLITICO – TOP Stories: Trump’s magical budget math

On the campaign trail, candidate Donald Trump said he would eliminate the national debt over a period of eight years. But his first budget as president would increase the debt by more than $3 trillionand thats only through rosy assumptions about economic growth and double-counting of tax revenue.Despite these budget gimmicks, the White House is touting the 62-page plan as a model of fiscal responsibility, criticizing the Obama administrations spending and promising that the Trump administration will restore fiscal discipline and make the hard decisions to put our country on a path to repay the debt in full, according to a fact sheet accompanying the budget. Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget director, told reporters Tuesday that the blueprint was a Taxpayer First budget.On paper, Mulvaney is right: under Trumps plan, the government would have a $16 billion surplus by 2027; during the 10-year budget window, the annual deficit would average 1.4 percent of GDP, less than half its 2016 level. And the U.S. debt-to-GDP ratioa measure of the countrys ability to pay its debtwould fall from 77 percent in 2018 to under 60 percent in 2027, according to White House figures.But those figures are, at best, misleading and, at worst, a willful attempt to deceive Americans about the true fiscal implications of Trumps agenda. The budget uses an optimistic assumption about economic growth, which few economists believe is realistic, and assumes the presidents tax plan is deficit-neutral, despite independent scores that the plan would reduce revenues by around $5 trillion. Worse, it double counts up to $2.1 trillion in revenue, a blatant accounting error. Corrected, the $5.6 trillion in savings could disappear entirely; in fact, Trumps budget may even increase the debt.On close reading, the budget is less a credible attempt to eliminate, or even pay down, the U.S. debt and more an ideological policy agenda disguised as a program of fiscal responsibility. It makes sharp cuts to domestic spending programs, including nearly $200 billion from food stamps and $72 billion from disability programs. But when it comes to the hard decisions that the White House professed to make in this budget, Trump chooses the easy route, refusing to consider any cuts for the two biggest drivers of the U.S.s long-term debt: health care and retirement benefits for seniors.

The decisions that they are calling hard would cut benefits for the Americans who deserve our support the most, said Doug Elmendorf, the former head of the Congressional Budget Office. Thats not making a difficult decision. Thats making a bad decision.

To some extent, all politicians use rosy assumptions and budget gimmicks to promote their policy agendas, but the Trump White House goes beyond normal practices in its 2018 budget. The administration assumes that its policies, including tax reform, Obamacare repeal, and the rollback of Obama-era regulations, will jumpstart the economy, eventually pushing growth from its current 2 percent level to 3 percent by 2021. Almost no economists believe such an increase is possible because structural forces, including reduced productivity growth and the aging of baby boomers, are a drag on growth.

Trumps most egregious budget gimmick occurs in the accounting of his tax reform plan. The White House includes the plan, which right now is just a one-page outline, in the budget but assumes the plan is revenue neutral. In the past, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has said that the tax plan will pay for itself through increased economic growth, a promise that economists have deemed unlikely. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a fiscal watchdog, estimates that the plan would actually cut revenues by $5.5 trillion, a figure that Mnuchin rejected at a congressional hearing last week. We would never propose a plan that we thought would cost $5 trillion, he said.

Mulvaney, in his briefing on Monday, said the administration assumed revenue neutrality in its budget because it was, in all honesty, the most efficient way to look at it. Otherwise, he said, the White House would have had to provide more details about the plan. In doing so, though, the White House is effectively admitting that its revenue baseline may be inaccurate, potentially by trillions of dollars.

The administration also makes an even more basic accounting error in its tax plan: it assumes that revenue generated through increased economic growth can both offset the cost of the tax plan and also reduce the deficit. In other words, the tax plan already uses any revenue generated through increased growth to offset cuts in the plan. But then the White House uses the same money, which totals up to $2.1 trillion, to reduce the deficit. This is as if a consumer decides to use a $100 salary bonus to pay a $100 cable bill and make a $100 car payment using the same money. In fact, of the $5.6 trillion in total savings, as much as 38 percent may come from this double-counting of revenue.

Mnuchin, at the Peterson Foundations Fiscal Summit Tuesday, did not reject the double-counting criticism but instead said, This will be a preliminary document that will be refined. An OMB spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

For all these mathematical errors, the biggest flaw in the budget is conceptual: It doesnt do much to address the true drivers of the U.S.s long-term debt, which is caused by the growing costs of Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security. Trump does propose $600 billion in Medicaid cuts, in addition to the more than $800 billion in cuts in the Republican health care bill. But he doesnt touch Medicare or Social Security retirement benefits. According to CBO, Social Security costs will grow from 4.9 percent of GDP today to 6.3 percent in 2047 while Medicares costs will rise 3.1 percent of GDP to 6.1 percent GDP. By 2047, CBO projects, those two programs alone will equal more than 40 percent of total spending.

Social Security and Medicare are called entitlements because Americans are entitled to those payments by law. So instead, Trump takes a sledgehammer to non-defense discretionary spendingbasically the government funding for items like education, housing and veterans programs. In this category, the budget cuts everything from crop subsidies to student loans. Overall, non-defense discretionary spending would fall to 1.4 percent of GDP by 2027, lower than any point going back to at least 1967, the first year the Congressional Budget Office publishes data.

These drastic cuts to domestic spending programs would reduce overall government spending to 18.4 percent of GDP by 2027, down from 21 percent today. But they dont do anything to make Medicare and Social Security sustainable. Leaving the two old-age entitlement programs untouched simply postpones the day of reckoning, using short-term cuts to push off long-term reforms. (Trump does propose reforms to Social Security Disability Insurance but SSDI makes up only a small percentage of Social Security.)

A budget proposal that cordons off large parts of the budget for consideration and incorporates unduly optimistic assumptions about economic growth is not a responsible budget proposal, said Elmendorf.

Politicians like to talk tough about reducing the debt and making hard decisions about the budget. But reducing the long-term debt is impossible without real reforms to Social Security and Medicare or large increases in federal revenue. This is the fundamental problem that few politicians of either party will level with voters, and for all his apparent truth-telling bluster, neither does Trump.

To the White House, the fact that the budget incorporates such steep spending cuts while leaving Social Security and Medicare untouched is a success in itself. This plan will put our nations budget back into balance and begin to reduce the national debt through fiscally conservative principles that respect American taxpayers all while preserving Social Security and Medicare, the accompanying fact sheet reads. But from a different perspective, Trump is sacrificing basic government programs and support for the poor in an attempt to fulfill his twin campaign promises of reducing the debt and protecting Medicare and Social Security.

Its a playbook that isnt that different from House Speaker Paul Ryan, who became famous for the budgets he released as chair of the House Budget Committee. Like Trump, Ryan used rosy revenue assumptions and deep cuts to non-defense discretionary spending to balance the budget within 10 years. But Ryan differed in one big way: He actually proposed a major reform to Medicare. That reform, known as premium support, wouldnt take effect for 10 years under the Ryan budget, grandfathering all Americans over the age of 55 into the current Medicare program. But premium support nevertheless represented a radical reform, one that was eventually accepted by his House GOP colleagues but has yet to garner enough support in the Senate.

While Trump has ruled out any such changes to entitlement programs, he has already flip-flopped on his past promise to reject cuts to Medicaid. Its possible he will come to support premium support, or a different Medicare or Social Security reform, in the future. But so far, there are no signs that he is changing his mind. In the meantime, with promises to cut taxes, protect Medicare and Social Security and reduce the debt, he has nowhere else to cut but domestic programs.

POLITICO – TOP Stories

Reuters: Politics: Congress hearings show no Trump campaign-Russia collusion: White House official

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Hearings in the Senate and House of Representatives on Tuesday showed there is no evidence of collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia and that President Donald Trump never jeopardized intelligence sources, a White House spokesman said.

Reuters: Politics

Politics: Schumer criticizes Trump’s budget proposal

Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) calls President Trump’s budget “a comic book villain-bad budget.”Politics
Politics: Senate Democrats: Trump would cut more in infrastructure spending than he proposes to add

An analysis cites $206 billion in cuts to an array of infrastructure programs.Politics
Politics: Trey Gowdy poised to seize House Oversight gavel after Jason Chaffetz departs

A potential rival, Rep. Jim Jordan, said he will not challenge Gowdy for the chairmanship.Politics
POLITICO – TOP Stories: DOJ says special prosecutors office up and running

Special prosecutor Robert Muellers office is now operating from an office in Washington, beginning its work of probing the impact of Russian influence on the 2016 presidential election, Justice Department officials said Tuesday.The special counsels office is up and running now, Assistant Attorney General for Administration Lee Lofthus told reporters at an annual briefing on the Justice Departments budget. What its total staff size is going to be is something that Im not aware of. I just dont know yet and thats in the hands of the special counsel, not here.A Justice Department spokeswoman said earlier Tuesday that Mueller and his team are working out of a privately-owned office building in downtown Washington. The building also houses offices for other Justice Department units.
Mueller has 60 days to propose a budget for this fiscal year and a deadline at the beginning of July to propose a budget for the next fiscal year, according to the regulations used to create his position.The office of Special Counsel budget is not something thats part of the FY18 budget, Lofthus said in response to questions from POLITICO. Its something that obviously needs to be done now because the special counsel is being stood up now.Lofthus said the special counsel will be funded via a permanent and indefinite appropriation at the Treasury Department that is separate from other Justice Department accounts.

Theres an appropriation and were going to make sure the special counsel is funded and its out of that appropriation, Lofthus said. We work with them on their expected estimates. Thats all underway.

The man who appointed Mueller to the post last week, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, opened the budget briefing with a statement, but declined to take questions from reporters. He said he had to go to another meeting.

At the outset of the session, Rosenstein joked about how hes suddenly found himself in the spotlight after more than two decades at the Justice Department.

With everyone present seemed well aware of his role, he identified himself as the deputy attorney general, before quipping: Its a low-profile middle management job.”

POLITICO – TOP Stories

debate – Google News: West Chester to debate medical pot regulations – Hamilton Journal News
 


Hamilton Journal News
West Chester to debate medical pot regulations
Hamilton Journal News
The trustees plan to debate the issue tonight at their regular meeting. Trustee George Lang remains steadfast in his belief any action at this time is premature since the state has not yet released all the rules governing the cultivation, testing and

debate – Google News

Politics: Court revives Wikimedia lawsuit against NSA

Organization is suing over data collection.Politics
CSPAN’s YouTube Videos: 1915 Civil War Veterans Parade on Pennsylvania Ave.
 

From: CSPAN
Duration: 02:26

Courtesy National Archives. Watch more Reel America programs online: https://www.c-span.org/series/?reelAmerica

CSPAN’s YouTube Videos

POLITICO – TOP Stories: Security sources identify suspected Manchester attacker
 

POLITICO – TOP Stories

Breitbart News: ABC: Manchester Attack Likely to Inflame Anti-Islamic Sentiment

Screenshot
On Tuesday’s “Good Morning America,” co-host George Stephanopoulos and ABC Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz stated that the attack in Manchester could lead to anti-Muslim backlash. Stephanapolous said that while people are determined to go back to their normal lives, “this is also likely to inflame anti-Islamic sentiment across Britain, across Europe.” Raddatz responded, “It sure could, George. You know, Manchester itself is a very multicultural city. There’s a large Muslim population, with many there for generations. So, a headscarf attracts little attention there. And notably, Manchester did not vote in favor of Brexit, but an attack like this, as you said, is much bigger than Manchester itself, and will likely create backlash depending, of course, on the details of this attack, George.” (h/t WFB) Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchettBreitbart News
POLITICO – TOP Stories: Mnuchin pans central pillar of House tax reform plan

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin took the unusual step Tuesday of openly criticizing a House Republican plan that would tax imports but not exports, a major pillar of the tax overhaul being pushed by Speaker Paul Ryan and other GOP leaders.One of the problems with the border adjustment tax is that it doesnt create a level playing field, Mnuchin said at the Peter G. Peterson Fiscal Policy Summit, using the plans technical name. It has very different impacts on different companies. It has the potential to pass on significant costs to the consumer. It has the potential of moving the currencies. We want to make sure were creating a level playing field.Mnuchin also backed off his pledge that the administration will not propose a tax plan that would ultimately cut taxes for the wealthy.”I can’t pledge what the results will be since the results are going to be a combined effort of the administration, the House and the Senate,” he said.The border adjustment tax is becoming a major flashpoint between House Republicans and the Trump administration. Mnuchin and other officials have expressed their concerns to GOP leaders behind closed doors, but his comments Tuesday were a more pointed public critique.

Ryan and other House GOP leaders have pushed a blueprint for major changes to the tax code built around border adjustment for close to a year. Supporters say the plan would help preserve American jobs and discourage U.S. corporations from moving operations abroad.

But import-reliant industries, notably retailers, are waging a fierce battle against border adjustability, saying it would pummel their bottom lines, despite assurances from supporters that the plan would boost the value of the dollar and take much of the sting out of the tax hit.
The House Ways and Means Committee held its first hearing Tuesday on the provision. A committee spokesperson responded by email with an excerpt from opening remarks given by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas), a staunch advocate of border adjustment.

We recognize this is a significant change from our current tax code, Brady said. We know there are legitimate concerns including from some of our witnesses here today and our colleagues on the other side of the aisle about how it will affect American workers, businesses, and consumers.

Brady pledged to pledged to work with critics to address their concerns.

In wide-ranging comments on tax reform, Mnuchin also backed off his pledge that tax reform will not lead to a net tax cut for the wealthy. He said he couldn’t predict how the plan will affect individual income brackets since it is in flux.

But, he said, “The president’s priority is about creating a middle income-tax cut.”

POLITICO – TOP Stories

NYT > Politics: Democrats Warn Trump Against Pre-emptive Attack on North Korea

Sixty-four members of Congress sent a letter to President Trump exhorting him to resolve the standoff with North Korea peacefully.NYT > Politics
Breitbart News: Trump Budget Projects $142 Billion In Revenue From Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Fannie Mae
Bad news for hedge funds and other investors in the mortgage giants.Breitbart News
NYT > Politics: Former C.I.A. Chief Reveals Mounting Concern Over Trump Campaign and Russia

John O. Brennan, the former director of the C.I.A., offered the fullest public account yet of how the federal investigation into Russian election meddling began.NYT > Politics
Reuters: Politics: Trump budget proposal would dramatically cut foreign aid

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s proposed budget would slash nearly a third in funding for diplomacy and foreign aid including global health and food aid, peacekeeping and other forms of non-military foreign involvement.

Reuters: Politics

NYT > Politics: Since Ouster, Sheriff Arpaio Has Lots of Time, but Not for Regrets

The Arizona sheriff, tough on inmates and accused of targeting Latinos in Maricopa County, reflects on his reputation and his decades in law enforcement.NYT > Politics
Breitbart News: McCain: Trumps Budget Dead on Arrival

UNITED STATES - JANUARY 10: Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., attends a news conference in the Capitol introducing a bipartisan bill to increase sanctions on Russia for it's role in U.S. computer hacking, January 10, 2017.(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Tuesday Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said President Donald Trump’s budget was dead on arrival. In a statement, McCain said, President Trumps $603 billion defense budget request is inadequate to the challenges we face, illegal under current law, and part of an overall budget proposal that is dead on arrival in Congress.” McCain was asked by MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt, “Can I ask you about president’s budget? Is it dead on arrival?” He replied, “Yes. and the commitment to rebuilding the military cannot be fulfilled with this level of spending. It is $30 billion too short.” Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNENBreitbart News
elections – Google News: Costs for some election recounts double under bill passed by state Senate – Detroit Free Press
 


Detroit Free Press
Costs for some election recounts double under bill passed by state Senate
Detroit Free Press
“We don’t want to discourage future recounts, be we also need to acknowledge that … the cost of the recount should be paid for by the candidate and not by the local governments that have legitimate concerns of the costsassociated with thoseelections.”.and more »

elections – Google News

Reuters: Politics: Amid opposition, Trump makes low budget request for Mexico border wall

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump is asking Congress for $1.6 billion to begin building a wall along the border with Mexico, far short of the amount needed for a project sharply criticized by Democrats and even some conservative Republicans.

Reuters: Politics


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