12:57 PM 5/31/2017 – Trump faces shrinking talent pool for new hires – The Hill

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WSJ.com: World News: Trump Leans Toward Unwinding Climate Commitment

President Donald Trump is leaning toward unwinding a commitment to emissions cuts the U.S. made under the 2015 Paris climate accord, but he has yet to make a final decision.

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AssociatedPress’s YouTube Videos: AP Top Stories 27 P | Tillerson declines to host Ramadan event at State Department, a bipartisan tradition for nearly 20 years – sources – 5:47 PM 5/26/2017

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Boehner: Trump has been ‘complete disaster’ – Reuters
golosamerikius’s YouTube Videos: Новости США за 60 секунд. 26 мая 2017 года
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AssociatedPress’s YouTube Videos: AP Top Stories 27 P
 

From: AssociatedPress
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Here’s the latest for Friday, May 27th: Clinton jabs at Trump during commencment speech; Tillerson takes responsbility for Manchester leaks; Pence tells grads the era of military budget cuts is over; One-month-old panda cubs doing well.

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Boehner: Trump has been ‘complete disaster’ – Reuters
 


Reuters
Boehner: Trump has been ‘complete disaster’
Reuters
And while he praised Trump’s aggressive steps to challenge the Islamic State militant group and other moves in international affairs, he was highly critical of the president’s other early efforts. “Everything else he’s done has been a complete disaster
Boehner: Trump has been a ‘complete disaster’Politico
Boehner: Trump’s Term ‘Disaster,’ Aside From Foreign AffairsNBCNews.com
Boehner: Trump’s presidency so far is mostly ‘a complete disaster’USA TODAY
Washington Post –Salon
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golosamerikius’s YouTube Videos: Новости США за 60 секунд. 26 мая 2017 года
 

From: golosamerikius
Duration: 01:01

Трамп на саммите G-7 призвал решить ядерную проблему КНДР // Цукерберг предложил ввести в США всеобщий базовых доход // Леброн Джеймс установил новый рекорд в НБА
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golosamerikius’s YouTube Videos: Неожиданная инициатива Марка Цукерберга
 

From: golosamerikius
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Один из самых богатых бизнесменов Америки выступил за введение в стране «гарантированного базового дохода»
Оригинальное видео: http://www.golos-ameriki.ru/a/mark-zuckerberg-initiative/3872980.html

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FoxNewsChannel’s YouTube Videos: NC police make $500 million poppy plant bust
 

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Homeowner mistakenly confessed to authorities

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FoxNewsChannel’s YouTube Videos: Boehner says Trump’s presidency has been ‘complete disaster’
 

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Bre Payton and Richard Fowler react

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FoxNewsChannel’s YouTube Videos: Gregg Jarrett: Not a crime to talk to Russian ambassador
 

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Attorney and Fox News anchor talks Russia investigation on ‘America’s News HQ’

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Hourly News Summary: NPR News: 05-26-2017 4PM ET

NPR News: 05-26-2017 4PM ET

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Washington Post’s YouTube Videos: Untangling the web of Jared Kushner
 

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What you need to know about Jared Kushner’s ties to Russia.

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CSPAN’s YouTube Videos: Hillary Clinton commencement address at Wellesley College (C-SPAN)
 

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Hillary Clinton commencement address Wellesley College. Full video here: cs.pn/2rpTeK3

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Washington Post’s YouTube Videos: Gunmen attack bus carrying Coptic Christians in Egypt
 

From: Washington Post
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Gunmen left at least 28 people dead after attacking a bus in the Minya region of Egypt on May 26. Read more: http://wapo.st/2rpGdjP

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AFP’s YouTube Videos: Britain arrests ‘large part’ of Manchester attack network
 

From: AFP
Duration: 00:31

Britain has arrested a “large part” of the network behind Manchester’s suicide bomb attack, police say, with Chief Constable Ian Hopkins of the Greater Manchester Police stating “there’s been loads of progress in the investigation” during a press conference in Manchester.

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During Ramadan, Home Cooks Shine

Amanda Saab bakes her grandmothers syrup-soaked cake in preparation for Ramadan at her home in Huron Charter Township, Mich.
FoxNewsChannel’s YouTube Videos: Driver’s gas station ramming spree caught on camera
 

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Military mortuary employee under investigation

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Protesters block highway, clash with police

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FoxNewsChannel’s YouTube Videos: Kushner’s attorneys say he’d be willing to testify on Russia
 

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Reports that the senior White House adviser faces scrutiny by the FBI; reaction from Fox News contributor Doug Schoen and Republican strategist Ed Rollins

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Clinton: Trump budget an ‘attack of unimaginable cruelty’

WELLESLEY, Mass. (AP) — Hillary Clinton peppered her Wellesley College commencement address Friday with barbs aimed at her rival in last year's presidential election, criticizing President Donald Trump's budget proposal as a mean-spirited "con."…
World Leaders Increase Pressure on Trump to Stay in the Paris Accord – New York Times
 

World Leaders Increase Pressure on Trump to Stay in the Paris Accord
New York Times
TAORMINA, Italy World leaders on Friday intensified their pressure on President Trump to keep the United States in the Paris climate agreement, as negotiators for seven Western powers labored to bridge differences between Mr. Trump and his …and more »

Boehner Says Trump Is ‘Still Learning How To Be President’ – Western Journalism
 


Western Journalism
Boehner Says Trump Is ‘Still Learning How To Be President’
Western Journalism
Former House Speaker John Boehner said President Donald Trump is still in the learning phase of his presidency during a candid discussion Wednesday on Trump’s first 100 days in office. Boehner said Wednesday at the KPMG Global Energy Conference …and more »

The Awkward Language of Donald Trumps Body New York Times 3:47 PM 5/26/2017

The Awkward Language of Donald Trump’s Body – New York Times AssociatedPress’s YouTube Videos: S.C. Man Pleads Guilty in 7 Killings RussiaToday’s YouTube Videos: Assange: Ecuador can be confident WikiLeaks will publish any evidence of corruption May 26, 2017 Candidates Call to Save Canadian Values? Un-Canadian, Critics Say GOP holds onto Montana seat, yet both … Continue reading “The Awkward Language of Donald Trump’s Body – New York Times – 3:47 PM 5/26/2017”

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Chinese fighter jets conduct unsafe maneuver near US aircraft – CNN
 


CNN
Chinese fighter jets conduct unsafe maneuver near US aircraft
CNN
Washington (CNN) Two Chinese J-10 fighter jets conducted unsafe maneuvers while intercepting a US surveillance aircraft that was operating in international airspace near the South China Sea, according to the Navy. The incident occurred Wednesday and …
US: 2 Chinese jets conduct unsafe intercept of Navy aircraftWashington Post
Trump Signals New US Approach to China With Tough ActionsDaily Signal

Chinese jets come within several hundred feet of US plane over South China SeaABC News
Trump Signals New US Approach to China With Tough ActionsDaily Signal

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Scrutiny of Jared Kushner’s Russia contacts brings the probe to … ABC News-2 hours ago The revelation that Jared Kushner’s meetings with Russians are under scrutiny brings the federal investigation into Russian meddling in the … Jared Kushner: Trump son-in-law’s link to Russia investigation and … Fox News-2 hours ago Jared Kushner now a focus in … Continue reading “Jared Kushner – Google Search”
The Awkward Language of Donald Trump’s Body – New York Times
 


New York Times
The Awkward Language of Donald Trump’s Body
New York Times
Body language both his and that of the pitiable people around him is telling the story of Donald Trump’s foreign adventure better than anything else. When I say pitiable, I’m thinking about the pope, of course, and the first lady, naturally and more »


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Here’s everything you need to know about the ongoing investigation into ties between Trump associates and Russia | Jared Kushner – Google Search – 5:31 PM 5/26/2017

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Snakes can actually hunt in packs… – 2:40 PM 5/26/2017 – E! Brooklyn – ebklyn.com

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The Awkward Language of Donald Trump’s Body

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But not for long! Trump batted him out of the way, perhaps mistaking him for a political reporter or picturing James Comey. Then, triumphal, Trump straightened his suit jacket, stiffened his posture and raised his fleshy chin. He was ready for his close-up.

With Trump, struts, scowls and pouts reveal every bit as much as what tumbles from his lips, which is a lot less trustworthy. His words can be counterfeit. His gestures are genuine. So it only makes sense that we lean on them for the narrative of his post-truth presidency, whose latest, foreign chapter brimmed with more awkward physicality than a toddlers’ gymnastics class.

The shove heard round the world was preceded by the curtsy heard round the world, when Trump did precisely what he maligned President Obama for — well, one of the countless things he maligned President Obama for — and approached Saudi Arabia’s monarch, King Salman, in a pose of deference. Hypocrisy, thy name is Trump, and thy knees are bent and thy head is bowed.

Thy sense of rhythm doesn’t exist. Did you see him during that Saudi dance, not so much rattling his saber as dangling it while he wobbled, like a Weeble, from side to side? I imagined the following dialogue balloon above his head: “When I told the king I was a swordsman, this wasn’t what I meant.”

And the dialogue balloon above Pope Francis’s head when he posed with Trump in Vatican City later in the week would have said: “Forgive me, Father, for I cannot fake delight.” I’ve been told by Vatican insiders that the pope never forgets that he’s on camera and that the precise angle of his eyes and curl of his lips are being captured. He stared straight ahead, his mien as joyless as a gulag.

George Bernard Shaw wrote a play titled “Arms and the Man.” Someday somebody will write a Trump biography titled “Hands and the Man.”

From Spy magazine’s long-ago caricature of Trump as a “short-fingered vulgarian” to that unforgettable moment during a Republican presidential debate when he displayed his digits to try to prove the opposite — Look, Ma, big hands! — his paws have been at center stage.

That remained true on the trip. In Israel, there was the swat heard round the world, when, walking alongside Bibi Netanyahu across a red carpet, he noticed that Netanyahu was holding his wife’s hand and so reached back for Melania’s.

To say that she withheld it would be an understatement. To say that Twitter and comedians had a field day would be even more of one.

After another, subsequent incident in Rome when Melania seemed to decline the heady opportunity to hold her husband’s hand, Seth Meyers, the host of “Late Night,” joked: “Former C.I.A. Director John Brennan testified today that there was contact between President Trump’s campaign and Russian officials. However, still no contact between Donald and Melania.”

There’s so much she could still be smarting over, including the inauguration back in January, when her husband bounded out of the car and up the steps before her, rushing to greet the Obamas and leaving her in his wake.

Courtesy: absent. Chivalry: dead. Her revenge came soon after, on the inaugural stage. She let a smile at her husband drop from her face so quickly and emphatically that it was like an announcement to the world that she’d been wearing a mask.

But back to our president’s paws, which aren’t just at center stage but also at the center of so much controversy. When Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany visited him in Washington in mid-March, there was debate over whether he denied her a handshake that she’d suggested or simply didn’t hear her request.

The tension in their postures prompted observations about how much more relaxed she and Obama always seemed, but there was another point of comparison — a weirder one — if President George W. Bush came into the picture. At a G8 summit meeting in St. Petersburg in 2006, he walked up behind Merkel, who was seated, and massaged her shoulders. This visibly surprised her. It didn’t seem to amuse her much, either.

Amusement wasn’t a word that popped to mind when you saw pictures and read accounts of Trump’s encounters with Emmanuel Macron, the newly elected president of France, in Brussels on Thursday. Maybe that’s because Trump was once again sowing doubt about his commitment to NATO. Or maybe that’s because he reportedly told Macron that he’d supported him, even though his affections had clearly been for Marine Le Pen of the National Front.

Whichever the case, Macron at one point seemed to swerve away from Trump, despite Trump’s outstretch arms, so he could embrace Merkel instead.

At another point, during a formal greeting, Macron and Trump “ grabbed each other’s hands, jaws clenched, in an extended grip that turned Mr. Trump’s knuckles white,” according to The Times.

“Their faces tightened,” reported The Washington Post. “Trump reached in first, but then he tried to release, twice, but Macron kept his grip.”

Sacred texts have received less scrupulous analysis than Trump’s foreign-leader handshakes, his presidential-debate snorts (remember those?) and the reactions — aghast, awe-struck, puzzled, peeved — of those who bump up against (or happen to be married to) him.

I think that’s fitting, not just because his actual speech is so honesty-challenged but also because the analyzers are paying respect to the way he takes in information. He prefers television to reading, images to pesky words. Shouldn’t we return the favor when appraising him?

And aren’t we in the right to take note of an Israeli diplomat’s physical reaction when Trump said, in Israel, “We just got back from the Middle East,” as if Israel were in South America or something? The diplomat, Ron Dermer, briefly buried his head in one of his hands.

Do cry for us, Montenegro.

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Inmate hijacks van full of Lino Lakes prisoners and escapes

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An inmate being transported from a Minnesota Correctional Facility-St. Cloud to the prison in Lino Lakes hijacked a white transport van full of other prisoners and escaped this morning, authorities said.

The escape occurred just before 11 a.m. Nine have now been taken into custody. One is still at large, James Douglas Mitchell, 26, who is serving prison for felony assault, said Sarah Fitzgerald, a spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections. Mitchell was last seen wearing standard prison garb: blue jeans, a white t-shirt and blue button-down shirt.

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The Minneapolis Police Department is searching for Mitchell in north Minneapolis, warning residents to stay indoors and call 911 if they any suspicious activity.

Five inmates were arrested at gunpoint shortly after the escape, and the other four arrested about an hour later. The Department of Corrections has identified five of the inmates involved in the escape.Three were serving time for assault, one for domestic assault and one for a weapons violation. They are: Mitchell, Kevin Ladell Mitchell, 31, Mitchell Dale Saltzman, 36, Dylan Cantrell Bathke, 21, and Paul Jerome Thunder, 39.

Lino Lakes houses about 1,800 minimum- and medium-security male prisoners.

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Ex-Jared Kushner employee explains why he’s unqualified to hold any job

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‘The Germans are bad, very bad’: Trump’s alleged slight generates confusion, backlash

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BERLIN — Allegedly heated comments by President Trump about a key U.S. ally — Germany — generated a fresh swirl of confusion Friday around an administration that has already had more than its fill.

During a meeting Thursday with European Union officials in Brussels, Trump allegedly said, “The Germans are bad, very bad,” according to Germany’s Spiegel Online, which cited unnamed sources in the room. He continued, the outlet said, by saying: “See the millions of cars they are selling in the U.S.? Terrible. We will stop this.”

On Friday, the report spread rapidly through the German press and social media, igniting a backlash, including one response by a German industry group saying Trump’s protectionist stance would make him “a loser.”

But what did Trump actually say?

European officials — and Trump’s administration — offered contradictory accounts.

Trump scolds world leaders at NATO ceremony

President Trump criticized leaders at a dedication ceremony at the new NATO headquarters in Brussels, May 25, saying they need to increase financial contributions to combat “the threat of terrorism.” Trump says leaders need to increase financial contributions to combat “the threat of terrorism.” (The Washington Post)

(The Washington Post)

Part of the backlash stemmed, perhaps, from a poor translation: In its German-language editions, Spiegel used the word “böse” — which can mean “bad” but is closer to the English word “evil.” In another report, the German outlet Süddeutsche Zeitung cited a similar quote from Trump but translated the word he used as “schlecht” — a milder German word for “bad.”

In a later tweet from Spiegel Online’s main account, it clarified that Trump had indeed used the English word “bad” and not “evil.”

Yet even that remained in dispute, with the administration offering no clarity — again highlighting the communication problems that continue to plague the White House.

[Trump’s visit to Israel was a success for what he didn’t say]

One of the key figures in the room during the meeting, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, said the Der Spiegel report was off.

“He didn’t say the Germans are behaving badly,” Juncker told journalists in Sicily ahead of the start of a Group of Seven summit involving the leaders of the United States, Germany, France, Italy, Britain, Canada and Japan. “He said we have a problem, as others do, with the German surplus. So he was not aggressive at all. Bad doesn’t mean evil.”

Soon afterward, White House press secretary Sean Spicer appeared to leap on Juncker’s comments to debunk the story. Responding to a tweet by New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman about the Der Spiegel article, Spicer wrote: “Except it’s not true: Juncker says Trump was not aggressive on German trade surplus.”

[Sean Spicer didn’t get to meet the pope. Even reporters feel sorry for him.]

And yet, when asked on the sidelines in Sicily, chief White House economic adviser Gary Cohn seemed to confirm that the president had said something about “bad” German trade practices.

“He said they’re very bad on trade but he doesn’t have a problem with Germany,” Cohn said. “He said his dad is from Germany. He said, ‘I don’t have a problem with Germany. I have a problem with German trade.’ ”

Another official with direct knowledge of the Thursday meeting told The Washington Post on Friday that Trump had never used the word “bad.”

“He did say yesterday that there’s a massive deficit that he doesn’t intend to put up with, but nothing about Germany being bad,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a private meeting with top leaders. Cohn was not taking formal notes during the conversation, the official said.

During an appearance with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump ignored a question from a reporter who asked whether he had called the Germans “bad.”

In Germany, however, the incident seemed to highlight suggestions of a growing rift between Washington and Berlin after the frosty March meeting between the president and Chancellor Angela Merkel, who Trump repeatedly jabbed at on the campaign trail last year. In a January interview with the European press, Trump called out German corporate titans including BMW, warning that they may face fat tariffs on U.S. imports should they keep building cars in Mexico.

Asked about Trump’s alleged comments, Germany’s deputy government spokesman, Georg Streiter, said in Berlin on Friday that “a trade surplus is neither bad nor evil; it’s the result of the interplay between supply and demand on world markets.”

Martin Schulz, the candidate from the center left who is challenging Merkel in this year’s election, appeared to more generally condemn Trump’s aggressive behavior toward Germany as Europe as a whole Europe at the Brussels gathering. In the meeting, Trump also demanded that allies pay more for their defense and held back on offering an unconditional pledge to honor NATO’s treaty commitment that an attack on a single alliance nation is an attack on all.

[Trump chastises fellow NATO members, demands they meet payment obligations]

“Such humiliating treatment is to be rebuffed,” Schulz said in Berlin, according to German press reports. “One does not need to accept something like that.”

Norbert Röttgen, head of the foreign affairs committee of the German parliament who hails from Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, told Spiegel Online: “U.S. President Trump isn’t capable to lead the Western alliance. In any case, he isn’t interested in it at the moment.”

The daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung quipped: “It’s worth having a look at other Trump quotes: Who else does the president find “bad.” Suddenly the Germans find themselves in the company of North Korea . . . and Mexican drug gangs.”

Some wore the alleged slight as a badge of honor: “#The Germans are very, very bad’ #Trump. Haven’t been praised like that in a while,” tweeted Bernd Ulrich, a journalist with Die Zeit.

André Schwarz, spokesman for the Federation of German Wholesale and Foreign Trade (BGA), called Trump’s stance on Germany’s trade surplus wrongheaded.

“The right way is to improve one’s own competitiveness instead of trying to gain advantages by means of some kind of import tariffs” on “good” German products, he said.

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He added, “We shouldn’t be too concerned with rhetoric, but it’s important to clarity that [his position] will make him a loser.”

Some in Germany, however, gave Trump the benefit of the doubt, instead blaming the German press for stoking the fires of animosity with a bad translation.

“It’s not easy, but sometimes evil German journalists should quote #Trump properly,” tweeted German user Andreas Wolf. “For example when he says BAD instead of EVIL! #germansarebad.”

Philip Rucker in Sicily, Michael Birnbaum in London and Stephanie Kirchner in Berlin contributed to this report.

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What we’ve learned about Trump’s agenda from his first foreign trip

Trump and Obama are having very different trips to Europe

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Washington Post’s YouTube Videos: Gunmen attack bus carrying Coptic Christians in Egypt
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Washington Post’s YouTube Videos: Gunmen attack bus carrying Coptic Christians in Egypt
 

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Gunmen left at least 28 people dead after attacking a bus in the Minya region of Egypt on May 26. Read more: http://wapo.st/2rpGdjP

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Britain has arrested a “large part” of the network behind Manchester’s suicide bomb attack, police say, with Chief Constable Ian Hopkins of the Greater Manchester Police stating “there’s been loads of progress in the investigation” during a press conference in Manchester.

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WELLESLEY, Mass. (AP) — Hillary Clinton peppered her Wellesley College commencement address Friday with barbs aimed at her rival in last year&apos;s presidential election, criticizing President Donald Trump&apos;s budget proposal as a mean-spirited &quot;con.&quot;…
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World Leaders Increase Pressure on Trump to Stay in the Paris Accord
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TAORMINA, Italy World leaders on Friday intensified their pressure on President Trump to keep the United States in the Paris climate agreement, as negotiators for seven Western powers labored to bridge differences between Mr. Trump and his …and more »
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Western Journalism
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The Awkward Language of Donald Trump’s Body – New York Times
 


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The Awkward Language of Donald Trump’s Body
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Body language both his and that of the pitiable people around him is telling the story of Donald Trump’s foreign adventure better than anything else. When I say pitiable, I’m thinking about the pope, of course, and the first lady, naturally and more »
AssociatedPress’s YouTube Videos: S.C. Man Pleads Guilty in 7 Killings
 

From: AssociatedPress
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A man who admitted killing seven people over nearly 13 years in South Carolina while running a successful real estate business has pleaded guilty to seven counts of murder and a number of other charges. (May 27)

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Responding to comments from newly elected Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno warning Julian Assange not to interfere in South American politics, WikiLeaks founder said Ecuador can be confident that any evidence of corruption will still be published.

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But not for long! Trump batted him out of the way, perhaps mistaking him for a political reporter or picturing James Comey. Then, triumphal, Trump straightened his suit jacket, stiffened his posture and raised his fleshy chin. He was ready for his close-up.

With Trump, struts, scowls and pouts reveal every bit as much as what tumbles from his lips, which is a lot less trustworthy. His words can be counterfeit. His gestures are genuine. So it only makes sense that we lean on them for the narrative of his post-truth presidency, whose latest, foreign chapter brimmed with more awkward physicality than a toddlers’ gymnastics class.

The shove heard round the world was preceded by the curtsy heard round the world, when Trump did precisely what he maligned President Obama for — well, one of the countless things he maligned President Obama for — and approached Saudi Arabia’s monarch, King Salman, in a pose of deference. Hypocrisy, thy name is Trump, and thy knees are bent and thy head is bowed.

Thy sense of rhythm doesn’t exist. Did you see him during that Saudi dance, not so much rattling his saber as dangling it while he wobbled, like a Weeble, from side to side? I imagined the following dialogue balloon above his head: “When I told the king I was a swordsman, this wasn’t what I meant.”

And the dialogue balloon above Pope Francis’s head when he posed with Trump in Vatican City later in the week would have said: “Forgive me, Father, for I cannot fake delight.” I’ve been told by Vatican insiders that the pope never forgets that he’s on camera and that the precise angle of his eyes and curl of his lips are being captured. He stared straight ahead, his mien as joyless as a gulag.

George Bernard Shaw wrote a play titled “Arms and the Man.” Someday somebody will write a Trump biography titled “Hands and the Man.”

From Spy magazine’s long-ago caricature of Trump as a “short-fingered vulgarian” to that unforgettable moment during a Republican presidential debate when he displayed his digits to try to prove the opposite — Look, Ma, big hands! — his paws have been at center stage.

That remained true on the trip. In Israel, there was the swat heard round the world, when, walking alongside Bibi Netanyahu across a red carpet, he noticed that Netanyahu was holding his wife’s hand and so reached back for Melania’s.

To say that she withheld it would be an understatement. To say that Twitter and comedians had a field day would be even more of one.

After another, subsequent incident in Rome when Melania seemed to decline the heady opportunity to hold her husband’s hand, Seth Meyers, the host of “Late Night,” joked: “Former C.I.A. Director John Brennan testified today that there was contact between President Trump’s campaign and Russian officials. However, still no contact between Donald and Melania.”

There’s so much she could still be smarting over, including the inauguration back in January, when her husband bounded out of the car and up the steps before her, rushing to greet the Obamas and leaving her in his wake.

Courtesy: absent. Chivalry: dead. Her revenge came soon after, on the inaugural stage. She let a smile at her husband drop from her face so quickly and emphatically that it was like an announcement to the world that she’d been wearing a mask.

But back to our president’s paws, which aren’t just at center stage but also at the center of so much controversy. When Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany visited him in Washington in mid-March, there was debate over whether he denied her a handshake that she’d suggested or simply didn’t hear her request.

The tension in their postures prompted observations about how much more relaxed she and Obama always seemed, but there was another point of comparison — a weirder one — if President George W. Bush came into the picture. At a G8 summit meeting in St. Petersburg in 2006, he walked up behind Merkel, who was seated, and massaged her shoulders. This visibly surprised her. It didn’t seem to amuse her much, either.

Amusement wasn’t a word that popped to mind when you saw pictures and read accounts of Trump’s encounters with Emmanuel Macron, the newly elected president of France, in Brussels on Thursday. Maybe that’s because Trump was once again sowing doubt about his commitment to NATO. Or maybe that’s because he reportedly told Macron that he’d supported him, even though his affections had clearly been for Marine Le Pen of the National Front.

Whichever the case, Macron at one point seemed to swerve away from Trump, despite Trump’s outstretch arms, so he could embrace Merkel instead.

At another point, during a formal greeting, Macron and Trump “ grabbed each other’s hands, jaws clenched, in an extended grip that turned Mr. Trump’s knuckles white,” according to The Times.

“Their faces tightened,” reported The Washington Post. “Trump reached in first, but then he tried to release, twice, but Macron kept his grip.”

Sacred texts have received less scrupulous analysis than Trump’s foreign-leader handshakes, his presidential-debate snorts (remember those?) and the reactions — aghast, awe-struck, puzzled, peeved — of those who bump up against (or happen to be married to) him.

I think that’s fitting, not just because his actual speech is so honesty-challenged but also because the analyzers are paying respect to the way he takes in information. He prefers television to reading, images to pesky words. Shouldn’t we return the favor when appraising him?

And aren’t we in the right to take note of an Israeli diplomat’s physical reaction when Trump said, in Israel, “We just got back from the Middle East,” as if Israel were in South America or something? The diplomat, Ron Dermer, briefly buried his head in one of his hands.

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Inmate hijacks van full of Lino Lakes prisoners and escapes

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An inmate being transported from a Minnesota Correctional Facility-St. Cloud to the prison in Lino Lakes hijacked a white transport van full of other prisoners and escaped this morning, authorities said.

The escape occurred just before 11 a.m. Nine have now been taken into custody. One is still at large, James Douglas Mitchell, 26, who is serving prison for felony assault, said Sarah Fitzgerald, a spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections. Mitchell was last seen wearing standard prison garb: blue jeans, a white t-shirt and blue button-down shirt.

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The Minneapolis Police Department is searching for Mitchell in north Minneapolis, warning residents to stay indoors and call 911 if they any suspicious activity.

Five inmates were arrested at gunpoint shortly after the escape, and the other four arrested about an hour later. The Department of Corrections has identified five of the inmates involved in the escape.Three were serving time for assault, one for domestic assault and one for a weapons violation. They are: Mitchell, Kevin Ladell Mitchell, 31, Mitchell Dale Saltzman, 36, Dylan Cantrell Bathke, 21, and Paul Jerome Thunder, 39.

Lino Lakes houses about 1,800 minimum- and medium-security male prisoners.

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‘The Germans are bad, very bad’: Trump’s alleged slight generates confusion, backlash

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BERLIN — Allegedly heated comments by President Trump about a key U.S. ally — Germany — generated a fresh swirl of confusion Friday around an administration that has already had more than its fill.

During a meeting Thursday with European Union officials in Brussels, Trump allegedly said, “The Germans are bad, very bad,” according to Germany’s Spiegel Online, which cited unnamed sources in the room. He continued, the outlet said, by saying: “See the millions of cars they are selling in the U.S.? Terrible. We will stop this.”

On Friday, the report spread rapidly through the German press and social media, igniting a backlash, including one response by a German industry group saying Trump’s protectionist stance would make him “a loser.”

But what did Trump actually say?

European officials — and Trump’s administration — offered contradictory accounts.

Trump scolds world leaders at NATO ceremony

President Trump criticized leaders at a dedication ceremony at the new NATO headquarters in Brussels, May 25, saying they need to increase financial contributions to combat “the threat of terrorism.” Trump says leaders need to increase financial contributions to combat “the threat of terrorism.” (The Washington Post)

(The Washington Post)

Part of the backlash stemmed, perhaps, from a poor translation: In its German-language editions, Spiegel used the word “böse” — which can mean “bad” but is closer to the English word “evil.” In another report, the German outlet Süddeutsche Zeitung cited a similar quote from Trump but translated the word he used as “schlecht” — a milder German word for “bad.”

In a later tweet from Spiegel Online’s main account, it clarified that Trump had indeed used the English word “bad” and not “evil.”

Yet even that remained in dispute, with the administration offering no clarity — again highlighting the communication problems that continue to plague the White House.

[Trump’s visit to Israel was a success for what he didn’t say]

One of the key figures in the room during the meeting, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, said the Der Spiegel report was off.

“He didn’t say the Germans are behaving badly,” Juncker told journalists in Sicily ahead of the start of a Group of Seven summit involving the leaders of the United States, Germany, France, Italy, Britain, Canada and Japan. “He said we have a problem, as others do, with the German surplus. So he was not aggressive at all. Bad doesn’t mean evil.”

Soon afterward, White House press secretary Sean Spicer appeared to leap on Juncker’s comments to debunk the story. Responding to a tweet by New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman about the Der Spiegel article, Spicer wrote: “Except it’s not true: Juncker says Trump was not aggressive on German trade surplus.”

[Sean Spicer didn’t get to meet the pope. Even reporters feel sorry for him.]

And yet, when asked on the sidelines in Sicily, chief White House economic adviser Gary Cohn seemed to confirm that the president had said something about “bad” German trade practices.

“He said they’re very bad on trade but he doesn’t have a problem with Germany,” Cohn said. “He said his dad is from Germany. He said, ‘I don’t have a problem with Germany. I have a problem with German trade.’ ”

Another official with direct knowledge of the Thursday meeting told The Washington Post on Friday that Trump had never used the word “bad.”

“He did say yesterday that there’s a massive deficit that he doesn’t intend to put up with, but nothing about Germany being bad,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a private meeting with top leaders. Cohn was not taking formal notes during the conversation, the official said.

During an appearance with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump ignored a question from a reporter who asked whether he had called the Germans “bad.”

In Germany, however, the incident seemed to highlight suggestions of a growing rift between Washington and Berlin after the frosty March meeting between the president and Chancellor Angela Merkel, who Trump repeatedly jabbed at on the campaign trail last year. In a January interview with the European press, Trump called out German corporate titans including BMW, warning that they may face fat tariffs on U.S. imports should they keep building cars in Mexico.

Asked about Trump’s alleged comments, Germany’s deputy government spokesman, Georg Streiter, said in Berlin on Friday that “a trade surplus is neither bad nor evil; it’s the result of the interplay between supply and demand on world markets.”

Martin Schulz, the candidate from the center left who is challenging Merkel in this year’s election, appeared to more generally condemn Trump’s aggressive behavior toward Germany as Europe as a whole Europe at the Brussels gathering. In the meeting, Trump also demanded that allies pay more for their defense and held back on offering an unconditional pledge to honor NATO’s treaty commitment that an attack on a single alliance nation is an attack on all.

[Trump chastises fellow NATO members, demands they meet payment obligations]

“Such humiliating treatment is to be rebuffed,” Schulz said in Berlin, according to German press reports. “One does not need to accept something like that.”

Norbert Röttgen, head of the foreign affairs committee of the German parliament who hails from Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, told Spiegel Online: “U.S. President Trump isn’t capable to lead the Western alliance. In any case, he isn’t interested in it at the moment.”

The daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung quipped: “It’s worth having a look at other Trump quotes: Who else does the president find “bad.” Suddenly the Germans find themselves in the company of North Korea . . . and Mexican drug gangs.”

Some wore the alleged slight as a badge of honor: “#The Germans are very, very bad’ #Trump. Haven’t been praised like that in a while,” tweeted Bernd Ulrich, a journalist with Die Zeit.

André Schwarz, spokesman for the Federation of German Wholesale and Foreign Trade (BGA), called Trump’s stance on Germany’s trade surplus wrongheaded.

“The right way is to improve one’s own competitiveness instead of trying to gain advantages by means of some kind of import tariffs” on “good” German products, he said.

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He added, “We shouldn’t be too concerned with rhetoric, but it’s important to clarity that [his position] will make him a loser.”

Some in Germany, however, gave Trump the benefit of the doubt, instead blaming the German press for stoking the fires of animosity with a bad translation.

“It’s not easy, but sometimes evil German journalists should quote #Trump properly,” tweeted German user Andreas Wolf. “For example when he says BAD instead of EVIL! #germansarebad.”

Philip Rucker in Sicily, Michael Birnbaum in London and Stephanie Kirchner in Berlin contributed to this report.

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What we’ve learned about Trump’s agenda from his first foreign trip

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Editor’s note: In the summer of 2016, Emile Ducke traveled (with the help of local fixer and fellow journalism student, Alina Pinchuk) into the Siberian plain east of the Ural Mountains in search of a small enclave of Russians who still practice a 17th century version of Russian Orthodox Christianity. Here is what he found.

In the West Siberian Plain is the isolated village of Aidara. Only reachable by the river Ket, passage to the village requires attention and experience, as fallen trees from the surrounding forest often create obstacles under the water’s surface. The next biggest settlement is about three hours downriver. The village’s 150 inhabitants mainly consist of Russian Orthodox Old Believers, a sect of the church that follows strict rituals that predate 17th century reforms.

Old Believers see themselves as the preservers of original Orthodox traditions. They separated from the main church as a protest and continue liturgical practices that the Russian Orthodox Church had before the implementation of reforms made by Patriarch Nikon in 1652 in an effort to align closer to Greek Orthodox churches.

The Old Believers endured severe punishment until the beginning of the 20th century. To avoid persecution, Old Believers settled mostly in isolated locations. There was a short “Golden Age of the Old Faith” between 1905 and 1917, after Czar Nicholas II signed a measure ending persecution of all religious minorities in Russia. But the Old Believers were again marginalized by the Soviets.

During the Communist era, the village of Aidara was turned into a kolkhoz, a collective farm, and Old Believers, living there at that time, could not practice their faith openly, but they remained in the village. With the fall of the Soviet Union, more Old Believers came to settle in Aidara, one even returning from exile in South America.

Today, several big families in Aidara keep the pre-reform traditions. Because there is no church in Aidara, relatives and neighbors gather in prayer rooms at their homes, to read the sacred scriptures in Church Slavonic language. On some occasions those services take place several times per week, especially on feast days; sometimes lasting all night.

Beside practicing their faith, the lives of Aidara’s inhabitants consists of exhausting work in the farm fields and gardens. Their sustenance is almost self-sufficient. A helicopter delivers whatever else is needed, along with the mail, every two weeks. On mail days, the inhabitants gather at the landing spot, awaiting their connections to the outside world.


Stepan Borisov and his son Maxim work together in the fields during the hay harvest. The cut grass is pulled together and held in haystacks to feed the cows during the winter. (Emile Ducke)

Borisov and his children Andrey, Ustina and Maxim take a break in the hay fields. (Emile Ducke)

Alexandra Lobanova works in the garden of her home. She is growing potatoes, onions, radish and other ground vegetables. (Emile Ducke)

Every two weeks a helicopter delivers freight and mail. On those dates Aidara’s residents gather at the landing spot. (Emile Ducke)

Children get early education in the Church Slavonic language to participate in services. (Emile Ducke)

Antonina Borisova and Stepan Borisov, dressed in their traditional praying clothes. They host services in a special room at their home for family members and neighbors. (Emile Ducke)

The Aidara cemetery is located a somewhat outside the village. The three-barred cross of the Russian Orthodox Church marks the graves. (Emile Ducke)

Dmitriy Polevchuk in the morning after five hours of night service. For the religious service relatives and neighbors gather to pray together and to read sacred scriptures. (Emile Ducke)

Inhabitants of Aidara put a boat in the water to travel down the river to get supplies from the next settlement, which is three hours away. (Emile Ducke)

During the 2016 forest fire, Aidara’s residents use controlled backfires to bring the fire under control and defend their village. (Emile Ducke)

Alexandra Lobanova and her daughter Katya watch the wildfire coming closer. (Emile Ducke)

The villagers make sure that the laid backfire doesn’t change direction. It took the residents of Aidara several days to bring the wildfire under their control, but not before parts of wood stocks for winter were destroyed. (Emile Ducke)

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Jared Kushner now a focus in Russia investigation

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Jared Kushner is now a focus in the Russia investigation

Investigators are focusing on a series of meetings held by Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and an influential White House adviser, as part of their probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and related matters, according to people familiar with the investigation. The Post’s Matt Zapotosky explains the development. Jared Kushner is now a focus in the Russia investigation (Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

(The Washington Post)

Investigators are focusing on a series of meetings held by Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and an influential White House adviser, as part of their probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and related matters, according to people familiar with the investigation.

Kushner, who held meetings in December with the Russian ambassador and a banker from Moscow, is being investigated because of the extent and nature of his interactions with the Russians, the people said.

The Washington Post reported last week that a senior White House official close to the president was a significant focus of the high-stakes investigation, though it did not name Kushner.

FBI agents also remain keenly interested in former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, but Kushner is the only current White House official known to be considered a key person in the probe.

The Post has not been told that Kushner is a target — or the central focus — of the investigation, and he has not been accused of any wrongdoing. “Target” is a word that generally refers to someone who is the main suspect of investigators’ attention, though prosecutors can and do bring charges against people who are not marked with that distinction.

Team Trump’s ties to Russian interests

“Mr. Kushner previously volunteered to share with Congress what he knows about these meetings. He will do the same if he is contacted in connection with any other inquiry,” said Jamie Gorelick, one of his attorneys.

In addition to possible coordination between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign to influence the 2016 presidential election, investigators are also looking broadly into possible financial crimes — but the people familiar with the matter, who were not authorized to speak publicly, did not specify who or what was being examined.

[Russia probe reaches current White House official, people familiar with case say]

Sarah Isgur Flores, a Justice Department spokeswoman, said, “I can’t confirm or deny the existence or nonexistence of investigations or subjects of investigations.” The FBI declined to comment.

At the time of the December meetings, Trump already had won the election. Contacts between people on the transition team and foreign governments can be routine, but the meetings and phone calls with the Russians were not made public at the time.

In early December, Kushner met in New York with the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, and he later sent a deputy to meet with Kislyak. Flynn was also present at the early-December meeting, and later that month, Flynn held a call with Kislyak to discuss U.S.-imposed sanctions against Russia. Flynn initially mischaracterized the conversation, even to Vice President Pence — ultimately prompting his ouster from the White House.

Kushner also met in December with Sergey Gorkov, the head of Vnesheconombank, which has been the subject of U.S. sanctions following Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its support of separatists in eastern Ukraine.

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner listens as President Trump and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni participate in a joint news conference at the White House on April 20. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

In addition to the December meetings, a former senior intelligence official said FBI agents had been looking closely at earlier exchanges between Trump associates and the Russians dating to the spring of 2016, including one at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington. Kushner and Kislyak — along with close Trump adviser and current attorney general Jeff Sessions — were present at an April 2016 event at the Mayflower where then-candidate Trump promised in a speech to seek better relations with Russia. It is unclear whether Kushner and Kislyak interacted there.

The New York Times reported that Kushner omitted from security-clearance forms his December meetings with Kislyak and Gorkov, though his attorney said that was a mere error and he told the FBI soon after that he would amend the forms. The White House said that his meetings were normal and inconsequential.

Kushner has agreed to discuss his Russian contacts with the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is conducting one of several investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

In many ways, Kushner is a unique figure inside the White House.

He is arguably the president’s most trusted adviser, and he is also a close member of the president’s family. His list of policy responsibilities is vast — his foreign policy portfolio alone includes Canada and Mexico, China, and peace in the Middle East — yet he rarely speaks publicly about any of them.

Former FBI director Robert S. Mueller III is now leading the probe into possible coordination between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign, and he has set up shop in the Patrick Henry Building in downtown D.C. Even before he was picked by Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein to take over the case, investigators had been stepping up their efforts — issuing subpoenas and looking to conduct interviews, people familiar with the matter said.

A small group of lawmakers known as the Gang of Eight was recently notified of the change in tempo and focus in the investigation at a classified briefing.

It is unclear exactly how Mueller’s leadership will affect the direction of the probe. This week, Justice Department ethics experts cleared him to take over the case even though lawyers at his former firm, WilmerHale, represent several people who could be caught up in the matter, including Kushner, Manafort and Trump’s daughter Ivanka, who is married to Kushner.

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Mueller resigned from the firm to take over the investigation.

Investigators are continuing to look aggressively into the dealings of Flynn, and a grand jury in Alexandria, Va., recently issued a subpoenas for records related to Flynn’s businesses and finances, according to people familiar with the matter.

Flynn’s company, the Flynn Intel Group, was paid more than $500,000 by a company owned by a Turkish American businessman close to top Turkish officials for research on Fethullah Gulen, a cleric who Turkey’s president claims was responsible for a coup attempt last summer. Flynn retroactively registered with the Justice Department in March as a paid foreign agent for Turkish interests.

Separately from the probe now run by Mueller, Flynn is being investigated by the Pentagon’s top watchdog for his foreign payments. Flynn also received $45,000 to appear in 2015 with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a dinner for RT, a Kremlin-controlled media organization.

Read more:

Here’s why the FBI is likely to be interested in Jared Kushner’s meeting with Russians

The investigation of Jared Kushner fits a very troubling pattern

Read the whole story
· · · · · · · ·

Here’s why the FBI is likely to be interested in Jared Kushner’s meeting with Russians

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From: AssociatedPress
Duration: 02:09

A man who admitted killing seven people over nearly 13 years in South Carolina while running a successful real estate business has pleaded guilty to seven counts of murder and a number of other charges. (May 27)

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From: RussiaToday
Duration: 02:26

Responding to comments from newly elected Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno warning Julian Assange not to interfere in South American politics, WikiLeaks founder said Ecuador can be confident that any evidence of corruption will still be published.

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RT (Russia Today) is a global news network broadcasting from Moscow and Washington studios. RT is the first news channel to break the 1 billion YouTube views benchmark.

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Cuban boa

Snakes can actually hunt in packs

But you should only be scared if you live in a cave in Cuba.

 

Scary enough on its own.

Ger Dekker/Flickr

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The Awkward Language of Donald Trump’s Body

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But not for long! Trump batted him out of the way, perhaps mistaking him for a political reporter or picturing James Comey. Then, triumphal, Trump straightened his suit jacket, stiffened his posture and raised his fleshy chin. He was ready for his close-up.

With Trump, struts, scowls and pouts reveal every bit as much as what tumbles from his lips, which is a lot less trustworthy. His words can be counterfeit. His gestures are genuine. So it only makes sense that we lean on them for the narrative of his post-truth presidency, whose latest, foreign chapter brimmed with more awkward physicality than a toddlers’ gymnastics class.

The shove heard round the world was preceded by the curtsy heard round the world, when Trump did precisely what he maligned President Obama for — well, one of the countless things he maligned President Obama for — and approached Saudi Arabia’s monarch, King Salman, in a pose of deference. Hypocrisy, thy name is Trump, and thy knees are bent and thy head is bowed.

Thy sense of rhythm doesn’t exist. Did you see him during that Saudi dance, not so much rattling his saber as dangling it while he wobbled, like a Weeble, from side to side? I imagined the following dialogue balloon above his head: “When I told the king I was a swordsman, this wasn’t what I meant.”

And the dialogue balloon above Pope Francis’s head when he posed with Trump in Vatican City later in the week would have said: “Forgive me, Father, for I cannot fake delight.” I’ve been told by Vatican insiders that the pope never forgets that he’s on camera and that the precise angle of his eyes and curl of his lips are being captured. He stared straight ahead, his mien as joyless as a gulag.

George Bernard Shaw wrote a play titled “Arms and the Man.” Someday somebody will write a Trump biography titled “Hands and the Man.”

From Spy magazine’s long-ago caricature of Trump as a “short-fingered vulgarian” to that unforgettable moment during a Republican presidential debate when he displayed his digits to try to prove the opposite — Look, Ma, big hands! — his paws have been at center stage.

That remained true on the trip. In Israel, there was the swat heard round the world, when, walking alongside Bibi Netanyahu across a red carpet, he noticed that Netanyahu was holding his wife’s hand and so reached back for Melania’s.

To say that she withheld it would be an understatement. To say that Twitter and comedians had a field day would be even more of one.

After another, subsequent incident in Rome when Melania seemed to decline the heady opportunity to hold her husband’s hand, Seth Meyers, the host of “Late Night,” joked: “Former C.I.A. Director John Brennan testified today that there was contact between President Trump’s campaign and Russian officials. However, still no contact between Donald and Melania.”

There’s so much she could still be smarting over, including the inauguration back in January, when her husband bounded out of the car and up the steps before her, rushing to greet the Obamas and leaving her in his wake.

Courtesy: absent. Chivalry: dead. Her revenge came soon after, on the inaugural stage. She let a smile at her husband drop from her face so quickly and emphatically that it was like an announcement to the world that she’d been wearing a mask.

But back to our president’s paws, which aren’t just at center stage but also at the center of so much controversy. When Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany visited him in Washington in mid-March, there was debate over whether he denied her a handshake that she’d suggested or simply didn’t hear her request.

The tension in their postures prompted observations about how much more relaxed she and Obama always seemed, but there was another point of comparison — a weirder one — if President George W. Bush came into the picture. At a G8 summit meeting in St. Petersburg in 2006, he walked up behind Merkel, who was seated, and massaged her shoulders. This visibly surprised her. It didn’t seem to amuse her much, either.

Amusement wasn’t a word that popped to mind when you saw pictures and read accounts of Trump’s encounters with Emmanuel Macron, the newly elected president of France, in Brussels on Thursday. Maybe that’s because Trump was once again sowing doubt about his commitment to NATO. Or maybe that’s because he reportedly told Macron that he’d supported him, even though his affections had clearly been for Marine Le Pen of the National Front.

Whichever the case, Macron at one point seemed to swerve away from Trump, despite Trump’s outstretch arms, so he could embrace Merkel instead.

At another point, during a formal greeting, Macron and Trump “ grabbed each other’s hands, jaws clenched, in an extended grip that turned Mr. Trump’s knuckles white,” according to The Times.

“Their faces tightened,” reported The Washington Post. “Trump reached in first, but then he tried to release, twice, but Macron kept his grip.”

Sacred texts have received less scrupulous analysis than Trump’s foreign-leader handshakes, his presidential-debate snorts (remember those?) and the reactions — aghast, awe-struck, puzzled, peeved — of those who bump up against (or happen to be married to) him.

I think that’s fitting, not just because his actual speech is so honesty-challenged but also because the analyzers are paying respect to the way he takes in information. He prefers television to reading, images to pesky words. Shouldn’t we return the favor when appraising him?

And aren’t we in the right to take note of an Israeli diplomat’s physical reaction when Trump said, in Israel, “We just got back from the Middle East,” as if Israel were in South America or something? The diplomat, Ron Dermer, briefly buried his head in one of his hands.

Do cry for us, Montenegro.

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Snakes can actually hunt in packs

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Inmate hijacks van full of Lino Lakes prisoners and escapes

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An inmate being transported from a Minnesota Correctional Facility-St. Cloud to the prison in Lino Lakes hijacked a white transport van full of other prisoners and escaped this morning, authorities said.

The escape occurred just before 11 a.m. Nine have now been taken into custody. One is still at large, James Douglas Mitchell, 26, who is serving prison for felony assault, said Sarah Fitzgerald, a spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections. Mitchell was last seen wearing standard prison garb: blue jeans, a white t-shirt and blue button-down shirt.

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The Minneapolis Police Department is searching for Mitchell in north Minneapolis, warning residents to stay indoors and call 911 if they any suspicious activity.

Five inmates were arrested at gunpoint shortly after the escape, and the other four arrested about an hour later. The Department of Corrections has identified five of the inmates involved in the escape.Three were serving time for assault, one for domestic assault and one for a weapons violation. They are: Mitchell, Kevin Ladell Mitchell, 31, Mitchell Dale Saltzman, 36, Dylan Cantrell Bathke, 21, and Paul Jerome Thunder, 39.

Lino Lakes houses about 1,800 minimum- and medium-security male prisoners.

Ex-Jared Kushner employee explains why he’s unqualified to hold any job

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‘The Germans are bad, very bad’: Trump’s alleged slight generates confusion, backlash

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BERLIN — Allegedly heated comments by President Trump about a key U.S. ally — Germany — generated a fresh swirl of confusion Friday around an administration that has already had more than its fill.

During a meeting Thursday with European Union officials in Brussels, Trump allegedly said, “The Germans are bad, very bad,” according to Germany’s Spiegel Online, which cited unnamed sources in the room. He continued, the outlet said, by saying: “See the millions of cars they are selling in the U.S.? Terrible. We will stop this.”

On Friday, the report spread rapidly through the German press and social media, igniting a backlash, including one response by a German industry group saying Trump’s protectionist stance would make him “a loser.”

But what did Trump actually say?

European officials — and Trump’s administration — offered contradictory accounts.

Trump scolds world leaders at NATO ceremony

President Trump criticized leaders at a dedication ceremony at the new NATO headquarters in Brussels, May 25, saying they need to increase financial contributions to combat “the threat of terrorism.” Trump says leaders need to increase financial contributions to combat “the threat of terrorism.” (The Washington Post)

(The Washington Post)

Part of the backlash stemmed, perhaps, from a poor translation: In its German-language editions, Spiegel used the word “böse” — which can mean “bad” but is closer to the English word “evil.” In another report, the German outlet Süddeutsche Zeitung cited a similar quote from Trump but translated the word he used as “schlecht” — a milder German word for “bad.”

In a later tweet from Spiegel Online’s main account, it clarified that Trump had indeed used the English word “bad” and not “evil.”

Yet even that remained in dispute, with the administration offering no clarity — again highlighting the communication problems that continue to plague the White House.

[Trump’s visit to Israel was a success for what he didn’t say]

One of the key figures in the room during the meeting, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, said the Der Spiegel report was off.

“He didn’t say the Germans are behaving badly,” Juncker told journalists in Sicily ahead of the start of a Group of Seven summit involving the leaders of the United States, Germany, France, Italy, Britain, Canada and Japan. “He said we have a problem, as others do, with the German surplus. So he was not aggressive at all. Bad doesn’t mean evil.”

Soon afterward, White House press secretary Sean Spicer appeared to leap on Juncker’s comments to debunk the story. Responding to a tweet by New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman about the Der Spiegel article, Spicer wrote: “Except it’s not true: Juncker says Trump was not aggressive on German trade surplus.”

[Sean Spicer didn’t get to meet the pope. Even reporters feel sorry for him.]

And yet, when asked on the sidelines in Sicily, chief White House economic adviser Gary Cohn seemed to confirm that the president had said something about “bad” German trade practices.

“He said they’re very bad on trade but he doesn’t have a problem with Germany,” Cohn said. “He said his dad is from Germany. He said, ‘I don’t have a problem with Germany. I have a problem with German trade.’ ”

Another official with direct knowledge of the Thursday meeting told The Washington Post on Friday that Trump had never used the word “bad.”

“He did say yesterday that there’s a massive deficit that he doesn’t intend to put up with, but nothing about Germany being bad,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a private meeting with top leaders. Cohn was not taking formal notes during the conversation, the official said.

During an appearance with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump ignored a question from a reporter who asked whether he had called the Germans “bad.”

In Germany, however, the incident seemed to highlight suggestions of a growing rift between Washington and Berlin after the frosty March meeting between the president and Chancellor Angela Merkel, who Trump repeatedly jabbed at on the campaign trail last year. In a January interview with the European press, Trump called out German corporate titans including BMW, warning that they may face fat tariffs on U.S. imports should they keep building cars in Mexico.

Asked about Trump’s alleged comments, Germany’s deputy government spokesman, Georg Streiter, said in Berlin on Friday that “a trade surplus is neither bad nor evil; it’s the result of the interplay between supply and demand on world markets.”

Martin Schulz, the candidate from the center left who is challenging Merkel in this year’s election, appeared to more generally condemn Trump’s aggressive behavior toward Germany as Europe as a whole Europe at the Brussels gathering. In the meeting, Trump also demanded that allies pay more for their defense and held back on offering an unconditional pledge to honor NATO’s treaty commitment that an attack on a single alliance nation is an attack on all.

[Trump chastises fellow NATO members, demands they meet payment obligations]

“Such humiliating treatment is to be rebuffed,” Schulz said in Berlin, according to German press reports. “One does not need to accept something like that.”

Norbert Röttgen, head of the foreign affairs committee of the German parliament who hails from Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, told Spiegel Online: “U.S. President Trump isn’t capable to lead the Western alliance. In any case, he isn’t interested in it at the moment.”

The daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung quipped: “It’s worth having a look at other Trump quotes: Who else does the president find “bad.” Suddenly the Germans find themselves in the company of North Korea . . . and Mexican drug gangs.”

Some wore the alleged slight as a badge of honor: “#The Germans are very, very bad’ #Trump. Haven’t been praised like that in a while,” tweeted Bernd Ulrich, a journalist with Die Zeit.

André Schwarz, spokesman for the Federation of German Wholesale and Foreign Trade (BGA), called Trump’s stance on Germany’s trade surplus wrongheaded.

“The right way is to improve one’s own competitiveness instead of trying to gain advantages by means of some kind of import tariffs” on “good” German products, he said.

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He added, “We shouldn’t be too concerned with rhetoric, but it’s important to clarity that [his position] will make him a loser.”

Some in Germany, however, gave Trump the benefit of the doubt, instead blaming the German press for stoking the fires of animosity with a bad translation.

“It’s not easy, but sometimes evil German journalists should quote #Trump properly,” tweeted German user Andreas Wolf. “For example when he says BAD instead of EVIL! #germansarebad.”

Philip Rucker in Sicily, Michael Birnbaum in London and Stephanie Kirchner in Berlin contributed to this report.

Read more

What we’ve learned about Trump’s agenda from his first foreign trip

Trump and Obama are having very different trips to Europe

Breaking down Trump’s ‘shove’

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Russian Orthodox Old Believers: Keeping their faith and fighting fires in the West Siberian Plain

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Editor’s note: In the summer of 2016, Emile Ducke traveled (with the help of local fixer and fellow journalism student, Alina Pinchuk) into the Siberian plain east of the Ural Mountains in search of a small enclave of Russians who still practice a 17th century version of Russian Orthodox Christianity. Here is what he found.

In the West Siberian Plain is the isolated village of Aidara. Only reachable by the river Ket, passage to the village requires attention and experience, as fallen trees from the surrounding forest often create obstacles under the water’s surface. The next biggest settlement is about three hours downriver. The village’s 150 inhabitants mainly consist of Russian Orthodox Old Believers, a sect of the church that follows strict rituals that predate 17th century reforms.

Old Believers see themselves as the preservers of original Orthodox traditions. They separated from the main church as a protest and continue liturgical practices that the Russian Orthodox Church had before the implementation of reforms made by Patriarch Nikon in 1652 in an effort to align closer to Greek Orthodox churches.

The Old Believers endured severe punishment until the beginning of the 20th century. To avoid persecution, Old Believers settled mostly in isolated locations. There was a short “Golden Age of the Old Faith” between 1905 and 1917, after Czar Nicholas II signed a measure ending persecution of all religious minorities in Russia. But the Old Believers were again marginalized by the Soviets.

During the Communist era, the village of Aidara was turned into a kolkhoz, a collective farm, and Old Believers, living there at that time, could not practice their faith openly, but they remained in the village. With the fall of the Soviet Union, more Old Believers came to settle in Aidara, one even returning from exile in South America.

Today, several big families in Aidara keep the pre-reform traditions. Because there is no church in Aidara, relatives and neighbors gather in prayer rooms at their homes, to read the sacred scriptures in Church Slavonic language. On some occasions those services take place several times per week, especially on feast days; sometimes lasting all night.

Beside practicing their faith, the lives of Aidara’s inhabitants consists of exhausting work in the farm fields and gardens. Their sustenance is almost self-sufficient. A helicopter delivers whatever else is needed, along with the mail, every two weeks. On mail days, the inhabitants gather at the landing spot, awaiting their connections to the outside world.


Stepan Borisov and his son Maxim work together in the fields during the hay harvest. The cut grass is pulled together and held in haystacks to feed the cows during the winter. (Emile Ducke)

Borisov and his children Andrey, Ustina and Maxim take a break in the hay fields. (Emile Ducke)

Alexandra Lobanova works in the garden of her home. She is growing potatoes, onions, radish and other ground vegetables. (Emile Ducke)

Every two weeks a helicopter delivers freight and mail. On those dates Aidara’s residents gather at the landing spot. (Emile Ducke)

Children get early education in the Church Slavonic language to participate in services. (Emile Ducke)

Antonina Borisova and Stepan Borisov, dressed in their traditional praying clothes. They host services in a special room at their home for family members and neighbors. (Emile Ducke)

The Aidara cemetery is located a somewhat outside the village. The three-barred cross of the Russian Orthodox Church marks the graves. (Emile Ducke)

Dmitriy Polevchuk in the morning after five hours of night service. For the religious service relatives and neighbors gather to pray together and to read sacred scriptures. (Emile Ducke)

Inhabitants of Aidara put a boat in the water to travel down the river to get supplies from the next settlement, which is three hours away. (Emile Ducke)

During the 2016 forest fire, Aidara’s residents use controlled backfires to bring the fire under control and defend their village. (Emile Ducke)

Alexandra Lobanova and her daughter Katya watch the wildfire coming closer. (Emile Ducke)

The villagers make sure that the laid backfire doesn’t change direction. It took the residents of Aidara several days to bring the wildfire under their control, but not before parts of wood stocks for winter were destroyed. (Emile Ducke)

More In Sight:

These photos show life for displaced typhoon victims forced into the sex trade

One photographer’s view of President Trump’s first 100 days

These opulent villas are 50 miles from the Islamic State’s front line in Mosul

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Jared Kushner now a focus in Russia investigation

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Jared Kushner is now a focus in the Russia investigation

Investigators are focusing on a series of meetings held by Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and an influential White House adviser, as part of their probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and related matters, according to people familiar with the investigation. The Post’s Matt Zapotosky explains the development. Jared Kushner is now a focus in the Russia investigation (Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

(The Washington Post)

Investigators are focusing on a series of meetings held by Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and an influential White House adviser, as part of their probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and related matters, according to people familiar with the investigation.

Kushner, who held meetings in December with the Russian ambassador and a banker from Moscow, is being investigated because of the extent and nature of his interactions with the Russians, the people said.

The Washington Post reported last week that a senior White House official close to the president was a significant focus of the high-stakes investigation, though it did not name Kushner.

FBI agents also remain keenly interested in former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, but Kushner is the only current White House official known to be considered a key person in the probe.

The Post has not been told that Kushner is a target — or the central focus — of the investigation, and he has not been accused of any wrongdoing. “Target” is a word that generally refers to someone who is the main suspect of investigators’ attention, though prosecutors can and do bring charges against people who are not marked with that distinction.

Team Trump’s ties to Russian interests

“Mr. Kushner previously volunteered to share with Congress what he knows about these meetings. He will do the same if he is contacted in connection with any other inquiry,” said Jamie Gorelick, one of his attorneys.

In addition to possible coordination between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign to influence the 2016 presidential election, investigators are also looking broadly into possible financial crimes — but the people familiar with the matter, who were not authorized to speak publicly, did not specify who or what was being examined.

[Russia probe reaches current White House official, people familiar with case say]

Sarah Isgur Flores, a Justice Department spokeswoman, said, “I can’t confirm or deny the existence or nonexistence of investigations or subjects of investigations.” The FBI declined to comment.

At the time of the December meetings, Trump already had won the election. Contacts between people on the transition team and foreign governments can be routine, but the meetings and phone calls with the Russians were not made public at the time.

In early December, Kushner met in New York with the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, and he later sent a deputy to meet with Kislyak. Flynn was also present at the early-December meeting, and later that month, Flynn held a call with Kislyak to discuss U.S.-imposed sanctions against Russia. Flynn initially mischaracterized the conversation, even to Vice President Pence — ultimately prompting his ouster from the White House.

Kushner also met in December with Sergey Gorkov, the head of Vnesheconombank, which has been the subject of U.S. sanctions following Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its support of separatists in eastern Ukraine.

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner listens as President Trump and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni participate in a joint news conference at the White House on April 20. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

In addition to the December meetings, a former senior intelligence official said FBI agents had been looking closely at earlier exchanges between Trump associates and the Russians dating to the spring of 2016, including one at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington. Kushner and Kislyak — along with close Trump adviser and current attorney general Jeff Sessions — were present at an April 2016 event at the Mayflower where then-candidate Trump promised in a speech to seek better relations with Russia. It is unclear whether Kushner and Kislyak interacted there.

The New York Times reported that Kushner omitted from security-clearance forms his December meetings with Kislyak and Gorkov, though his attorney said that was a mere error and he told the FBI soon after that he would amend the forms. The White House said that his meetings were normal and inconsequential.

Kushner has agreed to discuss his Russian contacts with the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is conducting one of several investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

In many ways, Kushner is a unique figure inside the White House.

He is arguably the president’s most trusted adviser, and he is also a close member of the president’s family. His list of policy responsibilities is vast — his foreign policy portfolio alone includes Canada and Mexico, China, and peace in the Middle East — yet he rarely speaks publicly about any of them.

Former FBI director Robert S. Mueller III is now leading the probe into possible coordination between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign, and he has set up shop in the Patrick Henry Building in downtown D.C. Even before he was picked by Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein to take over the case, investigators had been stepping up their efforts — issuing subpoenas and looking to conduct interviews, people familiar with the matter said.

A small group of lawmakers known as the Gang of Eight was recently notified of the change in tempo and focus in the investigation at a classified briefing.

It is unclear exactly how Mueller’s leadership will affect the direction of the probe. This week, Justice Department ethics experts cleared him to take over the case even though lawyers at his former firm, WilmerHale, represent several people who could be caught up in the matter, including Kushner, Manafort and Trump’s daughter Ivanka, who is married to Kushner.

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Mueller resigned from the firm to take over the investigation.

Investigators are continuing to look aggressively into the dealings of Flynn, and a grand jury in Alexandria, Va., recently issued a subpoenas for records related to Flynn’s businesses and finances, according to people familiar with the matter.

Flynn’s company, the Flynn Intel Group, was paid more than $500,000 by a company owned by a Turkish American businessman close to top Turkish officials for research on Fethullah Gulen, a cleric who Turkey’s president claims was responsible for a coup attempt last summer. Flynn retroactively registered with the Justice Department in March as a paid foreign agent for Turkish interests.

Separately from the probe now run by Mueller, Flynn is being investigated by the Pentagon’s top watchdog for his foreign payments. Flynn also received $45,000 to appear in 2015 with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a dinner for RT, a Kremlin-controlled media organization.

Read more:

Here’s why the FBI is likely to be interested in Jared Kushner’s meeting with Russians

The investigation of Jared Kushner fits a very troubling pattern

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Here’s why the FBI is likely to be interested in Jared Kushner’s meeting with Russians

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Exclusive: NSA Chief Admits Donald Trump Colluded With Russia

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President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey continues to reverberate in the KremlinGate scandal, which threatens to consume the Trump administration. By abruptly removing Comey, then mangling his excuses for why he did so, Trump created a needless crisis for the White House which shows no signs of abating.

The impartial observer might think that Trump fired Comey because he feared what the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation of the president’s contacts with Russia might reveal—as the commander in chief has essentially admitted. Moreover, Trump’s inappropriate efforts to secure Comey’s personal “loyalty” had fallen flat—the FBI director rightly assured the president of his honesty but abjured any fealty to Trump personally—after which the president is reported to have developed a palpable fear of the incorruptible Bureau boss. To protect Team Trump, Comey had to go.

But cashiering Comey was insufficient. True to form, Trump seemingly took the offensive against the FBI. According to multiple reports, the president approached top intelligence bosses to coax them into joining Trump’s personal war with Comey. In particular, Trump is reported to have asked Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence (DNI), and Admiral Mike Rogers, director of the National Security Agency, to go public in denying that Team Trump had any ties to Russia during the 2016 election campaign.

The president’s take on the FBI investigation is well known, thanks to his frequent tweets castigating it as “fake news,” a “hoax” and even a “witch hunt.” However, asking top intelligence officials to publicly attack the FBI and its director isn’t just unusual—it’s unprecedented. Even President Nixon, in the depths of the Watergate scandal, which ultimately unraveled his administration, never went quite so far as to drag NSA into his public mess.

Admiral Rogers anecdotally flatly denied Trump’s request, which—if true—was inappropriate, unethical and dubiously legal, while Coats, a Trump appointee who’s only been in the DNI job since mid-March, likewise refused to back the president against the FBI. This was a stunning setback for Trump, who seems to view our nation’s top security officials as his personal employees who ought to follow his presidential whim rather than the law and the Constitution, which all of them take an oath to defend.

Last week, when he appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Coats declined to answer questions about the White House’s effort to undermine the FBI investigation of Team Trump, stating, “I don’t feel it’s appropriate to characterize discussions and conversations with the president” in open session. Presumably DNI Coats would be more forthcoming in a closed Congressional session, where classified information can be revealed.

Director Rogers, in contrast, has made no public statements about the president’s effort to enlist him in his anti-Comey campaign. This is typical of his famously tight-lipped agency—for decades, NSA was humorously said to stand for Never Say Anything—and why Trump approached Rogers is no mystery. As the nation’s signals intelligence force, NSA isn’t just the biggest source of intelligence on earth—it’s also the agency possessing the bulk of the classified information which establishes collusion between Trump and the Russians. Although whispers of such SIGINT have reached the media, the lion’s share remains hidden from public view, though it’s all known to the FBI.

If Trump could co-opt NSA in his fight with the Bureau, that would be a big win, protecting the White House from dangerous information, so it’s safe to assume that Rogers’ refusal burned Trump personally. Perhaps that’s why, early this week, Admiral Rogers took the unusual step of addressing the entire NSA workforce to tell them what transpired with the president.

This is not Rogers’ style. Indeed, his tenure as NSA’s director (called DIRNSA by insiders) has been characterized by distance from his employees, which has made things rockier than necessary. To be fair to Rogers—a career intelligence officer well equipped for his current position—when he became DIRNSA in the spring of 2014, he inherited an agency in crisis. NSA was still reeling from the disastrous Ed Snowden affair, the biggest theft of classified information in espionage history.

While Snowden has taunted NSA with tweets sent from his Russian hideaway, more security disasters have followed. The strange case of Harold Martin, yet another rogue defense contractor who stole gigantic amounts of classified information from the agency, constituted another Snowdenesque embarrassment, even though there’s no evidence that Martin was engaged in espionage.

Worse for Rogers was the theft of highly classified hacking tools from NSA by the so-called Shadow Brokers, which is widely believed to be a front for Russian intelligence. The dumping of those top-secret exploits online, after modification by rogue hackers, has resulted in worldwide cyberattacks impacting millions—yet another black mark on Rogers’ tenure as DIRNSA. In response to these very public setbacks, Rogers has seldom addressed the NSA workforce about them or much else.

This week’s town hall event, which was broadcast to agency facilities worldwide, was therefore met with surprise and anticipation by the NSA workforce, and Rogers did not disappoint. I have spoken with several NSA officials who witnessed the director’s talk and I’m reporting their firsthand accounts, which corroborate each other, on condition of anonymity.

In his town hall talk, Rogers reportedly admitted that President Trump asked him to discredit the FBI and James Comey, which the admiral flatly refused to do. As Rogers explained, he informed the commander in chief, “I know you won’t like it, but I have to tell what I have seen”—a probable reference to specific intelligence establishing collusion between the Kremlin and Team Trump.

Rogers then added that such SIGINT exists, and it is damning. He stated, “There is no question that we [meaning NSA] have evidence of election involvement and questionable contacts with the Russians.” Although Rogers did not cite the specific intelligence he was referring to, agency officials with direct knowledge have informed me that DIRNSA was obviously referring to a series of SIGINT reports from 2016 based on intercepts of communications between known Russian intelligence officials and key members of Trump’s campaign, in which they discussed methods of damaging Hillary Clinton.

NSA employees walked out of the town hall impressed by the director’s forthright discussion of his interactions with the Trump administration, particularly with how Rogers insisted that he had no desire to “politicize” the situation beyond what the president has already done. America’s spies are unaccustomed to playing partisan politics as Trump has apparently asked them to do, and it appears that the White House’s ham-fisted effort to get NSA to attack the FBI and its credibility was a serious mistake.

It’s therefore high time for the House and Senate intelligence committees to invite Admiral Rogers to talk to them about what transpired with the White House. It’s evident that DIRNSA has something important to say. Since Mike Rogers is said to have kept notes of the president’s effort to enlist him in Trump’s personal war with the FBI, as any seasoned Beltway bureaucrat would do, his account ought to be impressively detailed.

John Schindler is a security expert and former National Security Agency analyst and counterintelligence officer. A specialist in espionage and terrorism, he’s also been a Navy officer and a War College professor. He’s published four books and is on Twitter at @20committee. 

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It’s time to plan an escape route, for you and your money, from Trumpland

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There are two great dangers when managing your own money and, indeed, the rest of your affairs. The first is reacting too much to recent events. The other is reacting too little.

And when it comes to what’s now happening in this country, the second danger is every bit as risky as the first.

To cut to the chase, it is becoming increasingly clear that Americans should be taking reasonable steps to diversify their investments outside the U.S., including holding assets in currencies other than dollars, and where possible to acquire a second passport.

Yes, I’m serious. Jewish-, Irish- and Italian-Americans, for example, should be checking out whether they qualify automatically for dual citizenship. Others should be looking into their options too. It is always a good thing to be diversified globally and to have the option of leaving the country and living and working elsewhere. But right now it is more important than usual.

Sixty-two million people voted for Trump. The Republican Party and the people of Montana have now legitimized violence. The next step in the sequence is obvious.

It is no longer a certainty that America will remain a stable country governed by an impartial rule of law. You could argue it no longer is.

I am not saying that a further breakdown is guaranteed or even likely, but I am saying it is possible. Maybe things will end happily, but maybe not. What we are witnessing today is exactly how it has happened historically. It goes in steps. Countries do not leap from civilization to barbarism in a single bound. You do not wake up one morning to discover mobs burning books in the streets. The decline happens by degrees. Each step enables the next.

And what is being normalized here now is not normal.

The voters of Montana have just rewarded Greg Gianforte for beating up a reporter by electing him to Congress as their representative. Many on the right are crowing. Gianforte was reportedly swamped with extra donations following the attack. Republican congressman Duncan Hunter of California said the attack was merely “inappropriate” — unless, he added, the reporter “deserved it.” The president has celebrated the result. Popular right-wing radio host Laura Ingraham actually mocked the reporter and suggested he should have fought back against Gianforte and his aides. (One can only imagine what she would have said if he actually had done so.) She was not alone.

None of these people are being subject to moral sanction by the market or their supporters so far as anyone can tell. Gianforte has only been cited legally for a misdemeanor by the local sheriff, who was a campaign contributor. The smart money says he will get away with it, and take up his lucrative sinecure in Washington.

And as every conservative knows, human beings respond to incentives. If this sort of action is rewarded and not punished, it will happen more often.

The reporter in question, the Guardian’s Ben Jacobs, was doing exactly — not roughly, but exactly — what people like Thomas Jefferson were thinking about when they included the First Amendment in the Constitution. He was trying to ask the Republican congressional candidate for his view on the new health-care bill, which according to the Congressional Budget Office will cost 23 million people their health insurance. There is, literally, no more legitimate function of a reporter in our democracy than asking a congressional candidate for his position on a new law just before an election.

Yet there is no longer even a consensus in defense of this.

What I personally find most depressing is the tribalism. People on the right are defending Gianforte because he’s on their “team” and Jacobs is on the “other” team. Their reaction would have been exactly the opposite if it had been the other way around. If you want to see how commonplace this is, check out social media — or, indeed, the likely comments below this article.

But such thinking is the logic of soccer hooligans. It should have no place, zero, in public debate. To witness people in public life incorporating this into their reasoning and behavior is more than ominous.

How do you get here? First you lay the groundwork with a long-term, cynical marketing campaign against the “mainstream” press. Then a presidential candidate urges his supporters to “knock the crap” out of protestors.

Then he gets his supporters so mad at the press that a reporter needs to be escorted from a rally by the Secret Service for her own protection.

Then the candidate jokes about whether he would ever kill reporters. Then he calls them the “enemy of the people.” Then one of his colleagues physically attacks one of them.

And at each stage along the process, some people cheer him, others defend him, and others shrug it off. Each unsanctioned outrage enables the next. Sixty-two million people voted for Trump. The Republican Party and the people of Montana have now legitimized violence. The next step in the sequence is obvious.

When you travel abroad these days, it’s like a cloud lifts. Stepping outside Trumpland, even for a few days, reminds you of what life is like in the normal world. You and your family should have that option as a matter of right.

The point about a stable country is that it has the rule of law, and the point about the rule of law is that, above all, it is impartial. This is why the traditional figure of justice is blindfolded. Assault is assault. There aren’t “teams” or sides.

Partisan justice is not a feature of a civil society. It is a feature of a civil war.

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Sources: Comey acted on Russian intelligence he knew was fake

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Washington (CNN)Then-FBI Director James Comey knew that a critical piece of information relating to the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email was fake — created by Russian intelligence — but he feared that if it became public it would undermine the probe and the Justice Department itself, according to multiple officials with knowledge of the process.

As a result, Comey acted unilaterally last summer to publicly declare the investigation over — without consulting then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch — while at the same time stating that Clinton had been “extremely careless” in her handling of classified information. His press conference caused a firestorm of controversy and drew criticism from both Democrats and Republicans.

Comey’s actions based on what he knew was Russian disinformation offer a stark example of the way Russian interference impacted the decisions of the highest-level US officials during the 2016 campaign.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that this Russian intelligence was unreliable. US officials now tell CNN that Comey and FBI officials actually knew early on that this intelligence was indeed false.

In fact, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe went to Capitol Hill Thursday to push back on the notion that the FBI was duped, according to a source familiar with a meeting McCabe had with members of the Senate intelligence committee.

The Russian intelligence at issue purported to show that then-Attorney General Lynch had been compromised in the Clinton investigation. The intelligence described emails between then-Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and a Clinton campaign operative suggesting that Lynch would make the FBI investigation of Clinton go away.

In classified sessions with members of Congress several months ago, Comey described those emails in the Russian claim and expressed his concern that this Russian information could “drop” and that would undermine the Clinton investigation and the Justice Department in general, according to one government official.

Still, Comey did not let on to lawmakers that there were doubts about the veracity of the intelligence, according to sources familiar with the briefings. It is unclear why Comey was not more forthcoming in a classified setting.

Sources close to Comey tell CNN he felt that it didn’t matter if the information was accurate, because his big fear was that if the Russians released the information publicly, there would be no way for law enforcement and intelligence officials to discredit it without burning intelligence sources and methods.

In at least one classified session, Comey cited that intelligence as the primary reason he took the unusual step of publicly announcing the end of the Clinton email probe.

In that briefing, Comey did not even mention the other reason he gave in public testimony for acting independently of the Justice Department — that Lynch was compromised because Bill Clinton boarded her plane and spoke to her during the investigation, these sources told CNN.

Multiple US officials tell CNN that to this day Russia is trying to spread false information in the US — through elected officials and American intelligence and law enforcement operatives — in order to cloud and confuse ongoing investigations.

CNN’s Manu Raju contributed to this report.

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DEA: Made-in-China Lethal Opioid Fueling U.S. Drug Epidemic

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A homemade designer version of fentanyl, the highly addictive opioid which is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent, has been the center of drug busts across the country this month—with law enforcement pinpointing its origin from underground labs in China. The DEA says the China-U.S. supply is further fueling the country’s drug epidemic.

“This stuff is unbelievably potent. It is so powerful that even a tiny amount can kill you,” DEA spokesman Rusty Payne tells FOX Business. “China is by far the most significant manufacturer of illicit designer synthetic drugs. There is so much manufacturing of new drugs, [it’s] amazing what is coming out of China. Hundreds of [versions], including synthetic fentanyl and fentanyl-based compounds.”

Fentanyl, the opioid that killed singer Prince and is often prescribed to late-stage cancer patients, has been classified as a schedule II drug in the U.S. for decades, which makes it a felony to sell or use without a prescription. China only made the drug illegal in 2015, and at that point black market Chinese labs began increasing production of their own versions, including the one turning up recently across the country called furanyl fentanyl.

“While heroin gets harder to buy on the street or from a dealer, fentanyl comes via FedEx,” Brad Lamm, CEO of <a href=”http://Intervention.com” rel=”nofollow”>Intervention.com</a>, tells FOX Business.

Authorities say dealers across the country have been lacing heroin with the potent analog. Payne adds that Mexican drug cartels are now switching from heroin to fentanyl because of the high-profit margin.

“A kilogram of fentanyl is so much [more] lucrative for a trafficker than a kilogram of heroin, because you can mix a very small amount of fentanyl with a lot of other things and sell it on the streets and take that kilogram a lot farther. And the profits are so much greater,” he says.

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But the powder alone is deadly.

“Fentanyl is scary because if it touches your skin you can have major side effects to it, including death,” adds Payne.

The cost of counterfeit pills containing fentanyl or fentanyl-related compounds retail for $10 to $20 per pill in the U.S. (Depending on the purity of the fentanyl and the dosage).

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced this week details on a mail-order furanyl fentanyl smuggling ring bust. The operation had been bringing the drug — which has been dubbed “White China” — into the U.S from Asia. NYPD Chief of Detective Bob Boyce said that this was the first time investigators have seen this type of fentanyl in New York City.

Also this week, Cincinnati Customs and Border Protection agents said they seized 83 shipments of illegal synthetic drugs, including 36 pounds of furanyl fentanyl, from China. However, law enforcement said the six shipments of furanyl fentanyl were originally destined for Camden, New Jersey.

Meanwhile, local and state police in Boston this week recovered approximately 520 grams of a white powder that tested positive for fentanyl from behind a freezer in a restaurant basement. Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley called it a “major” drug seizure, but did not disclose if the drug was furanyl fentanyl, or if it was made in China.

According to the DEA, fentanyl overdose outbreaks have recently hit Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, Alaska, Louisiana and Oregon. In 2015, opiates factored in 33,091 U.S. deaths, which was up more than 4,000 from the previous year, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Payne says China has “really stepped up lately,” working hand-in-hand with the U.S. to help curb this growing problem. In January, DEA acting administrator Chuck Rosenberg was invited to China to meet with Beijing drug control officials at the invitation of the China Ministry of Public Security.

Lamm, who runs a drug and alcohol rehab center in California, warns that while the drug “makes you feel great, like the best high ever,” the potency makes it extremely easy to overdose on.

“It mellows you out to such an extent that you could potentially stop breathing,” he says.

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Story image for opioids epidemic in america from New York Post

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Daily chart: America’s opioid epidemic is worsening

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ON TUESDAY February 28th, in an address to a joint session of Congress, Donald Trump vowed to end America’s “terrible drug epidemic”. When discussing America’s social ills, Mr Trump has a tendency to exaggerate. But on the subject of drugs, the president’s characteristically dark and apocalyptic tone may well have been warranted.

In 2015 more than 52,000 Americans died of drug overdoses, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. That is an average of one death every ten minutes. Approximately 33,000 of these fatal overdoses—nearly two-thirds of them—were from opioids, including prescription painkillers and heroin. Although the absolute death toll from opioids is greatest in big cities like Chicago and Baltimore, the devastation is most concentrated in rural Appalachia, New England and the Midwest (see map). Many of the victims hail from white middle-class suburbs and rural towns.

The opioid epidemic has its roots in the explosive growth of prescription painkillers. Between 1991 and 2011, the number of opioid prescriptions (selling under brand names like Vicodin, Oxycontin, and Percocet) supplied by American retail pharmacies increased from 76m to 219m. As the number of pain pills being doled out by doctors increased, so did their potency. In 2002 one in six users took a pill more powerful than morphine. By 2012 it was one in three.

States have since cracked down on prescription opioid abuse, creating drug-monitoring programmes and arresting unscrupulous doctors. Pharmaceutical companies have reformulated their drugs to make them less prone to abuse. Unfortunately, as the supply of painkillers has dropped, many addicts have turned instead to heroin (see chart), which is cheap and plentiful. In 2014 more Americans sought treatment for heroin than for any other drug. In 2015, as total opioid deaths grew by 15%, heroin deaths increased by 23%.

To stem the tide of deadly overdoses, states rely increasingly on naloxone, a drug that reverses heroin’s effect on the brain and jump-starts breathing in addicts who have overdosed. First approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1971, naloxone has been used by doctors and paramedics for decades. In recent years, states struggling with a surge in overdose deaths have passed laws making the drug available to police officers, firefighters and addicts’ friends and family. A recent working paper suggests that such laws—which are now on the books in 45 states and in Washington, DC—reduce opioid-related deaths by 9-11%.

That is still not enough. Data released in recent months show that the opioid epidemic is worsening, driven largely by the rise of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid painkiller 50-100 times more powerful than morphine. In 2016 fatal overdoses increased by 26% in Connecticut, 35% in Delaware, and 39% in Maine. During the first three quarters of 2016, deadly overdoses in Maryland jumped by a whopping 62%, prompting the state’s governor to declare an official state of emergency. Mr Trump’s promise to end the scourge of opioid abuse in America is looking more challenging by the day.

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America’s addiction epidemic | US news

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America’s Addiction to Opioids: Heroin and Prescription Drug Abuse

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Good Morning, Madam Chair and members of the Caucus.  Thank you for inviting the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to participate in this important hearing and contribute what I believe will be useful insights into the growing and intertwined problems of prescription pain relievers and heroin abuse in this country.

Background

The abuse of and addiction to opioids such as heroin, morphine, and prescription pain relievers is a serious global problem that affects the health, social, and economic welfare of all societies.  It is estimated that between 26.4 million and 36 million people abuse opioids worldwide,[1] with an estimated 2.1 million people in the United States suffering from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers in 2012 and an estimated 467,000 addicted to heroin.[2]   The consequences of this abuse have been devastating and are on the rise.  For example, the number of unintentional overdose deaths from prescription pain relievers has soared in the United States, more than quadrupling since 1999.  There is also growing evidence to suggest a relationship between increased non-medical use of opioid analgesics and heroin abuse in the United States.[3]  

To address the complex problem of prescription opioid and heroin abuse in this country, we must recognize and consider the special character of this phenomenon, for we are asked not only to confront the negative and growing impact of opioid abuse on health and mortality, but also to preserve the fundamental role played by prescription opioid pain relievers in healing and reducing human suffering. That is, scientific insight must strike the right balance between providing maximum relief from suffering while minimizing associated risks and adverse effects.

Abuse of Prescription Opioids: Scope and Impact

Prescription opioids are one of the three main broad categories of medications that present abuse liability, the other two being stimulants and central nervous system (CNS) depressants.

Several factors are likely to have contributed to the severity of the current prescription drug abuse problem.  They include drastic increases in the number of prescriptions written and dispensed, greater social acceptability for using medications for different purposes, and aggressive marketing by pharmaceutical companies.  These factors together have helped create the broad “environmental availability” of prescription medications in general and opioid analgesics in particular.

Rate of opiate prescriptions showing steady increases from 76 million in 1991 to peak of 219 million in 2011 and slight drop off to 207 million in 2013.Figure 1 – Opioid Prescriptions Dispensed by US Retail Pharmacies

IMS Health, Vector One: National, years 1991-1996, Data Extracted 2011. IMS Health, National Prescription Audit, years 1997-2013, Data Extracted 2014.

To illustrate this point, the total number of opioid pain relievers prescribed in the United States has skyrocketed in the past 25 years  (Fig. 1).[4]  The number of prescriptions for opioids (like hydrocodone and oxycodone products) have escalated from around 76 million in 1991 to nearly 207 million in 2013, with the United States their biggest consumer globally, accounting for almost 100 percent of the world total for hydrocodone (e.g., Vicodin) and 81 percent for oxycodone (e.g., Percocet).[5]

This greater availability of opioid (and other) prescribed drugs has been accompanied by alarming increases in the negative consequences related to their abuse.[6] For example, the estimated number of emergency department visits involving nonmedical use of opioid analgesics increased from 144,600 in 2004 to 305,900 in 2008;[7] treatment admissions for primary abuse of opiates other than heroin increased from one percent of all admissions in 1997 to five percent in 2007[8]; and overdose deaths due to prescription opioid pain relievers have more than tripled in the past 20 years, escalating to 16,651 deaths in the United States in 2010.[9]

In terms of abuse and mortality, opioids account for the greatest proportion of the prescription drug abuse problem.  Deaths related to prescription opioids began rising in the early part of the 21st century.  By 2002, death certificates listed opioid analgesic poisoning as a cause of death more commonly than heroin or cocaine.[10]

Because prescription opioids are similar to, and act on the same brain systems affected by, heroin and morphine (Fig.2), they present an intrinsic abuse and addiction liability, particularly if they are used for non-medical purposes.  They are most dangerous and addictive when taken via methods that increase their euphoric effects (the “high”), such as crushing pills and then snorting or injecting the powder, or combining the pills with alcohol or other drugs.  Also, some people taking them for their intended purpose risk dangerous adverse reactions by not taking them exactly as prescribed (e.g., taking more pills at once, or taking them more frequently or combining them with medications for which they are not being properly controlled); and it is possible for a small number of people to become addicted even when they take them as prescribed, but the extent to which this happens currently is not known.  It is estimated that more than 100 million people suffer from chronic pain in this country,[11] and for some of them, opioid therapy may be appropriate. The bulk of American patients who need relief from persistent, moderate-to-severe non-cancer pain have back pain conditions (approximately 38 million) or osteoarthritis (approximately 17 million).[12]  Even if a small percentage of this group develops substance use disorders (a subset of those already vulnerable to developing tolerance and/or clinically manageable physical dependence[13]), a large number of people could be affected.  Scientists debate the appropriateness of chronic opioid use for these conditions in light of the fact that long-term studies demonstrating that the benefits outweigh the risks have not been conducted. In June 2012, NIH and FDA held a joint meeting on this topic,[14] and now FDA is requiring companies who manufacture long-acting and extended-release opioid formulations to conduct post-marketing research on their safety.[15]

The Effects of Opioid Abuse on the Brain and Body

Opioids include drugs such as OxyContin and Vicodin that are mostly prescribed for the treatment of moderate to severe pain.  They act by attaching to specific proteins called opioid receptors, which are found on nerve cells in the brain, spinal cord, gastrointestinal tract, and other organs in the body.  When these drugs attach to their receptors, they reduce the perception of pain and can produce a sense of well-being; however, they can also produce drowsiness, mental confusion, nausea, and constipation.[16]  The effects of opioids are typically mediated by specific subtypes of opioid receptors (mu, delta, and kappa) that are activated by the body’s own (endogenous) opioid chemicals (endorphins, encephalins).   With repeated administration of opioid drugs (prescription or heroin), the production of endogenous opioids is inhibited, which accounts in part for the discomfort that ensues when the drugs are discontinued (i.e., withdrawal). Adaptations of the opioid receptors’ signaling mechanism have also been shown to contribute to withdrawal symptoms.

Opioid medications can produce a sense of well-being and pleasure because these drugs affect brain regions involved in reward. People who abuse opioids may seek to intensify their experience by taking the drug in ways other than those prescribed.  For example, extended-release oxycodone is designed to release slowly and steadily into the bloodstream after being taken orally in a pill; this minimizes the euphoric effects. People who abuse pills may crush them to snort or inject which not only increases the euphoria but also increases the risk for serious medical complications, such as respiratory arrest, coma, and addiction. When people tamper with long-acting or extended-release medicines, which typically contain higher doses because they are intended for release over long periods, the results can be particularly dangerous, as all of the medicine can be released at one time. Tampering with extended release and using by nasal, smoked, or intravenous routes produces risk both from the higher dose and from the quicker onset.

Opioid pain relievers are sometimes diverted for nonmedical use by patients or their friends, or sold in the street.  In 2012, over five percent of the U.S. population aged 12 years or older used opioid pain relievers non-medically.[17]  The public health consequences of opioid pain reliever abuse are broad and disturbing.  For example, abuse of prescription pain relievers by pregnant women can result in a number of problems in newborns, referred to as neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), which increased by almost 300 percent in the United States between 2000 and 2009.[18]  This increase is driven in part by the high rate of opioid prescriptions being given to pregnant women. In the United States, an estimated 14.4 percent of pregnant women are prescribed an opioid during their pregnancy.[19]

Prescription opioid abuse is not only costly in economic terms (it has been estimated that the nonmedical use of opioid pain relievers costs insurance companies up to $72.5 billion annually in health-care costs[20]) but may also be partly responsible for the steady upward trend in poisoning mortality. In 2010, there were 13,652 unintentional deaths from opioid pain reliever (82.8 percent of the 16,490 unintentional deaths from all prescription drugs),[21] and there was a five-fold increase in treatment admissions for prescription pain relievers between 2001 and 2011 (from 35,648 to 180,708, respectively).[22] In the same decade, there was a tripling of the prevalence of positive opioid tests among drivers who died within one hour of a crash.[23]

A property of opioid drugs is their tendency, when used repeatedly over time, to induce tolerance. Tolerance occurs when the person no longer responds to the drug as strongly as he or she did at first, thus necessitating a higher dose to achieve the same effect.  The establishment of tolerance hinges on the ability of abused opioids (e.g., OxyContin, morphine) to desensitize the brain’s own natural opioid system, making it less responsive over time.[24]  This tolerance contributes to the high risk of overdose during a relapse to opioid use after a period in recovery; users who do not realize they may have lost their tolerance during a period of abstinence may initially take the high dosage that they previously had used before quitting, a dosage that produces an overdose in the person who no longer has tolerance.[25]  Another contributing factor to the risk of opioid-related morbidity and mortality is the combined use of benzodiazepines (BZDs) and/or other CNS depressants, even if these agents are used appropriately. Thus, patients with chronic pain who use opioid analgesics along with BZDs (and/or alcohol) are at higher risk for overdose. Unfortunately, there are few available practice guidelines for the combined use of CNS depressants and opioid analgesics; such cases warrant much closer scrutiny and monitoring.[26] Finally, it must be noted in this context that, although more men die from drug overdoses than women, the percentage increase in deaths seen since 1999 is greater among women: Deaths from opioid pain relievers increased five-fold between 1999 and 2010 for women versus 3.6 times among men.[27]

Relationship between Prescription Opioids and Heroin Abuse

The recent trend of a switch from prescription opioids to heroin seen in some communities in our country alerts us to the complex issues surrounding opioid addiction and the intrinsic difficulties in addressing it through any single measure such as enhanced diversion control (Fig.3). Of particular concern has been the  rise in new populations of heroin users, particularly young people.

Types of opioids used to get high - see captionFigure 3 – Growing Evidence

suggests that abusers of prescription opioids are shifting to heroin as prescription drugs become less available or harder to abuse. For example, a recent increase in heroin use accompanied a downward trend in OxyContin abuse following the introduction of an abuse-deterrent formulation of that medication (dashed vertical line)

The emergence of chemical tolerance toward prescribed opioids, perhaps combined in a smaller number of cases with an increasing difficulty in obtaining these medications illegally[28], may in some instances explain the transition to abuse of heroin, which is cheaper and in some communities easier to obtain than prescription opioids.

The number of past-year heroin users in the United States nearly doubled between 2005 and 2012, from 380,000 to 670,000 (Fig. 4).[29] Heroin abuse, like prescription opioid abuse, is dangerous both because of the drug’s addictiveness and because of the high risk for overdosing.  In the case of heroin, this danger is compounded by the lack of control over the purity of the drug injected and its possible contamination with other drugs (such as fentanyl, a very potent prescription opioid that is also abused by itself).[30]  All of these factors increase the risk for overdosing, since the user can never be sure of the amount of the active drug (or drugs) being taken. In 2010, there were 2,789 fatal heroin overdoses, approximately a 50 percent increase over the relatively constant level seen during the early 2000s.[31]   What was once almost exclusively an urban problem is spreading to small towns and suburbs.  In addition, the abuse of an opioid like heroin, which is typically injected intravenously, is also linked to the transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis (especially Hepatitis C), sexually-transmitted infections, and other blood-borne diseases, mostly through the sharing of contaminated drug paraphernalia but also through the risky sexual behavior that drug abuse may engender.

NIDA Activities to Stem the Tide of Prescription Opioid and Heroin Abuse

NIDA first launched its prescription drug abuse public health initiative in 2001.  Our evidence-based strategy calls for a comprehensive three-pronged approach consisting of (1) enhancing our understanding of pain and its management; (2) preventing overdose deaths; and (3) effectively treating opioid addiction.

Research on Pain and Next Generation Analgesics.

Although opioid medications effectively treat acute pain and help relieve chronic pain for some patients,[32] their addiction risk presents a dilemma for healthcare providers who seek to relieve suffering while preventing drug abuse and addiction.  Little is yet known about the risk for addiction among those being treated for chronic pain or about how basic pain mechanisms interact with prescription opioids to influence addiction potential.  To better understand this, NIDA launched a research initiative on “Prescription Opioid Use and Abuse in the Treatment of Pain.”  This initiative encourages a multidisciplinary approach using both human and animal studies to examine factors (including pain itself) that predispose or protect against opioid abuse and addiction.  Funded grants cover clinical neurobiology, genetics, molecular biology, prevention, treatment, and services research.  This type of information will help develop screening and diagnostic tools that physicians can use to assess the potential for prescription drug abuse in their patients.  Because opioid medications are prescribed for all ages and populations, NIDA is also encouraging research that assesses the effects of prescription opioid abuse by pregnant women, children, and adolescents, and how such abuse in these vulnerable populations might increase the lifetime risk of substance abuse and addiction.

Another important initiative pertains to the development of new approaches to treat pain.  This includes research to identify new pain relievers with reduced abuse, tolerance, and dependence risk, as well as devising alternative delivery systems and formulations for existing drugs that minimize diversion and abuse (e.g., by preventing tampering and/or releasing the drug over a longer period of time) and reduce the risk of overdose deaths. New compounds are being developed that exhibit novel properties as a result of their combined activity on two different opioid receptors (i.e., mu and delta).  Preclinical studies show that these compounds can induce strong analgesia but fail to produce tolerance or dependence.  Researchers are also getting closer to developing a new generation of non–opioid-based medications for severe pain that would circumvent the brain reward pathways, thereby greatly reducing abuse potential.  This includes compounds that work through a type of cannabinoid receptor found primarily in the peripheral nervous system.  NIDA is also exploring the use of non-medication strategies for managing pain.  An example is the use of “neurofeedback,” a novel modality of the general biofeedback approach, in which patients learn to regulate specific regions in their brains by getting feedback from real-time brain images.  This technique has shown promising results for altering the perception of pain in healthy adults and chronic pain patients and could even evolve into a powerful psychotherapeutic intervention capable of rescuing the circuits and behaviors impaired by addiction.

Developing More Effective Means for Preventing Overdose Deaths

The opioid overdose antidote naloxone has reversed more than 10,000 overdose cases between 1996 and 2010, according to CDC. [33]  For many years, naloxone was available only in an injectable formulation and was generally only carried by medical emergency personnel.  However, FDA has recently approved a new hand-held auto-injector of naloxone to reverse opioid overdose that is specifically designed to be given by family members or caregivers.  In order to expand the options for effectively and rapidly counteracting the effects of an overdose, NIDA is also supporting the development of a naloxone nasal spray—a needle-free, unit-dose, ready-to-use opioid overdose antidote that can easily be used by an overdose victim, a companion, or a wider range of first responders (e.g., police) in the event of an emergency.[34]

Research on the Treatment of Opioid Addiction

Drug abuse treatment must address the brain changes mentioned earlier, both in the short and long term.  When people addicted to opioids first quit, they undergo withdrawal symptoms, which may be severe (pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, hypertension, tachycardia, seizures). Medications can be helpful in this detoxification stage, easing craving and other physical symptoms that can often trigger a relapse episode.  However, this is just the first step in treatment. Medications have also become an essential component of an ongoing treatment plan, enabling opioid-addicted persons to regain control of their health and their lives.

Agonist medications developed to treat opioid addiction work through the same receptors as the addictive drug but are safer and less likely to produce the harmful behaviors that characterize addiction, because the rate at which they enter and leave the brain is slower. The three classes that have been developed to date include (1) agonists, e.g., methadone (Dolophine or Methadose), which activate opioid receptors; (2) partial agonists, e.g., buprenorphine (Subutex, Suboxone), which also activate opioid receptors but produce a diminished response; and (3) antagonists, e.g., naltrexone (Depade, Revia, Vivitrol), which block the receptor and interfere with the rewarding effects of opioids.  Physicians can select from these options on the basis of a patient’s specific medical needs and other factors.  Research has shown methadone- and buprenorphine-containing medicines, when administered in the context of an addiction treatment program, can effectively maintain abstinence from other opioids and reduce harmful behaviors; we believe their gradual onset and long duration contribute to this ability to “stabilize” patient behavior.

Chart showing that methadone helps people stay in treatment and reduces drug use Figure 5 – Methadone Treatment Pre- and Post Release Increases Treatment Retention and Reduces Drug Use

(Findings at 12 month post-release)

Scientific research has established that medication-assisted treatment of opioid addiction is associated with decreases in the number of overdoses from heroin abuse,[35] increases retention of patients in treatment and decreases drug use, infectious disease transmission, and criminal activity. For example, studies among criminal offenders, many of whom enter the prison system with drug abuse problems, showed that methadone treatment begun in prison and continued in the community upon release extended the time parolees remained in treatment, reduced further drug use, and produced a three-fold reduction in criminal activity (Fig. 5).  Investment in medication-assisted treatment of opioid addiction also makes good economic sense.  According to a 2005 published analysis that tracked methadone patients from age 18 to 60 and included such variables as heroin use, treatment for heroin use, criminal behavior, employment, and healthcare utilization, every dollar spent on methadone treatment yields $38 in related economic benefits—seven times more than previously thought.[36]

Buprenorphine is worth highlighting in this context for its pioneering contributions to addiction treatment.  NIDA-supported basic and clinical research led to the development of this compound, which rigorous studies have shown to be effective, either alone or in combination with naloxone, in significantly reducing opiate drug abuse and cravings.

The arrival of buprenorphine represented a significant health services delivery innovation. FDA approved Subutex® (buprenorphine) and Suboxone® tablets (buprenorphine/naloxone formulation) in October 2002, making them the first medications to be eligible for prescribing under the Drug Addiction Treatment Act  of  2000. Subutex contains only buprenorphine hydrochloride. This formulation was developed as the initial product. The second medication, Suboxone, contains naloxone to guard against misuse (by initiating withdrawal if the formulation is injected).  Subutex and Suboxone are less tightly controlled than methadone because they have a lower potential for abuse and are less dangerous in an overdose.  As patients progress in their therapy, their doctor may write a prescription for a take-home supply of the medication.  To date, of the nearly 872,615 potential providers registered with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), 25,021 registered physicians are authorized to prescribe these two medications. The development of buprenorphine and its authorized use in physicians’ offices gives opioid-addicted patients more medical options and extends the reach of addiction medication to remote populations.

Medication-assisted treatments remain grossly underutilized in many addiction treatment settings, where stigma and negative attitudes (based on the misconception that buprenorphine or methadone “substitute a new addiction for an old one”) persist among clinic staff and administrators.  This leads to insufficient dosing or limitations on the duration of use of these medications (when they are used at all), which often leads to treatment failure and the perception that the drugs are ineffective, further reinforcing the negative attitudes toward their use.[37]  Policy and regulatory barriers also can present obstacles.

Integrating Drug Treatment into Healthcare Settings

Medication-assisted treatment will be most effective when offered within the larger context of a high-quality delivery system that addresses opioid addiction not only with medication but also with behavioral interventions to support treatment participation and progress, infectious disease identification and treatment (especially HIV and HCV), screening and treatment of co-morbid psychiatric diseases, and overdose protection (naloxone).  NIDA’s research over the last two decades has provided us with evidence that a high quality treatment system to address opioid addiction must include all these components, yet there are currently very few systems in the United States that provide this bundle of effective services.[38]  Health care reform—with a focus on both expanding access to treatment and improving the quality of care—offers hope that we may be better able to integrate drug treatment into healthcare settings and offer comprehensive treatment services for opioid addiction.  We also are examining ways to use health care reform and the focus on health promotion and wellness to pay for and deliver prevention interventions targeted at children, adolescents, young adults, and high-risk adult populations like those with chronic pain or returning veterans.

promo for Medscape CMEs - see captionFigure 6 – Medscape’s Test-and-Teach

is one example of NIDA’s multi-platform approach to enhance a physician’s ability to properly manage pain while preventing the abuse of prescription opiods

Prevention, Education, and Outreach

Because prescription drugs are safe and effective when used properly and are broadly marketed to the public, the notion that they are also harmful and addictive when abused can be a difficult one to convey.  Thus, we need focused research to discover targeted communication strategies that effectively address this problem.  Reaching this goal may be significantly more complex and nuanced than developing and deploying effective programs for the prevention of abuse of illegal drugs, but good prevention messages based on scientific evidence will be difficult to ignore.[39]

Education is a critical component of any effort to curb the abuse of prescription medications and must target every segment of society, including doctors (Fig.6).  NIDA is advancing addiction awareness, prevention, and treatment in primary care practices, including the diagnosis of prescription drug abuse, having established four Centers of Excellence for Physician Information.  Intended to serve as national models, these Centers target physicians-in-training, including medical students and resident physicians in primary care specialties (e.g., internal medicine, family practice, and pediatrics).  NIDA has also developed, in partnership with the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), two online continuing medical education courses on safe prescribing for pain and managing patients who abuse prescription opioids.  To date, combined, these courses have been completed over 80,000 times. Additionally, NIDA is directly reaching out to teens with its PEERx initiative, an online education program that aims to discourage prescription drug abuse among teens,[40] by providing factual information about the harmful effects of prescription drug abuse on the brain and body.

NIDA will also continue its close collaborations with ONDCP, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and other Federal Agencies. It will also continue to work with professional associations with a strong interest in preserving public health. For example, NIDA recently sponsored a two-day meeting in conjunction with the American Medical Association and NIH Pain Consortium, where more than 500 medical professionals, scientific researchers, and interested members of the public had a chance to dialogue about the problems of prescription opioid abuse and to learn about new areas of research.   In another important collaborative effort, NIDA, CDC, SAMHSA, and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology reviewed eight clinical practice guidelines on the use of opioids to treat pain and developed a common set of  provider actions and associated recommendations.[41]

Conclusion

We are seeing an increase in the number of people who are dying from overdoses, predominantly after abuse of prescribed opioid analgesics. This disturbing trend appears to be associated with a growing number of prescriptions in and diversion from the legal market.

We commend the Caucus for recognizing the serious and growing challenge posed by the abuse of prescription and non-prescription opioids in this country, a problem that is exceedingly complex.  Indeed, prescription opioids, like other prescribed medications, do present health risks but they are also powerful clinical allies.  Therefore, it is imperative that we strive to achieve a balanced approach to ensure that people suffering from chronic pain can get the relief they need while minimizing the potential for negative consequences.  We support the development and implementation of multipronged, evidence-based strategies that minimize the intrinsic risks of opioid medications and make effective, long term treatments available.

References

[2] Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Results from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings, NSDUH Series H-46, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 13-4795. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2013.

[4] IMS’s National Prescription Audit (NPA) & Vector One ®: National (VONA).

[6] To clarify our terminology here, when we say “prescription drug abuse” or “nonmedical use,” this includes use of medications without a prescription, use for purposes other than for what they were prescribed, or use simply for the experience or feeling the drug can cause.

[7] Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Drug Abuse Warning Network, 2007: national estimates of drug-related emergency department visits.

[8] Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) Highlights – 2007. National Admissions to Substance Abuse Treatment Services. SAMHSA

[9] Mack, K.A. Drug-induced deaths – United States, 1999-2010. MMWR Surveill Summ. 2013 Nov 22;62 Suppl 3:161-3. CDC

[10] Paulozzi et al. Increasing deaths from opioid analgesics in the United States Pharmacoepidemiol. Drug Saf., 15 (2006), pp. 618–627

[11] Relieving Pain in AmericaExternal link, please review our disclaimer.: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research. REPORT BRIEF JUNE 2011; Johannes et al. The prevalence of chronic pain in United States adults: results of an Internet-based survey. J Pain. 11(11):1230-9. (2010); Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.

[12] De Leon Casada. Opioids for Chronic Pain: New Evidence, New Strategies, Safe Prescribing The American Journal of Medicine, 126(3s1):S3–S11. (2013)..

[13]American Academy of Pain Medicine; American Pain Society; American Society of Addiction Medicine. Definitions Related to the Use of Opioids for the Treatment of Pain. Glenview, IL, and Chevy Chase, MD: American Academy of Pain Medicine, American Pain Society, American Society of Addiction Medicine; 2001

[19] Bateman, B.T. et al. Patterns of Opioid Utilization in Pregnancy in a Large Cohort of Commercial Insurance Beneficiaries in the United States. Anesthesiology.  in press (2014)

[21] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , National Center for Health Statistics. Multiple Cause of Death 1999-2010 on CDC WONDER Online Database, released 2012. Data are from the Multiple Cause of Death Files, 1999-2010, as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program.

[22] Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS): 2001-2011. National Admissions to Substance Abuse Treatment Services. BHSIS Series S-65, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 13-4772. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2013.

[23] Brody and Li. Am. J. Epidemiology. 2014

[24] Williams, J. Regulation of μ-opioid receptors: desensitization, phosphorylation, internalization, and tolerance. Pharmacol Rev. 65(1):223-54. (2013).

[25] Møller et al. Acute drug-related mortality of people recently released from prisons. Public Health.  124(11):637-9. (2010); Buster et al. An increase in overdose mortality during the first 2 weeks after entering or re-entering methadone treatment in Amsterdam. Addiction. 97(8):993-1001. (2002).

[26] Paulozzi, L. Prescription drug overdoses: a review. J Safety Res. 43(4):283-9 (2012)

[27] CDC.Vital signs: overdoses of prescription opioid pain relievers and other drugs among women–United States, 1999-2010. MMWR 62(26):537-42. (2013).

[28] Slevin and Ashburn. Primary care physician opinion survey on FDA opioid risk evaluation and mitigation strategies. J Opioid Manag. 2011 Mar-Apr;7(2):109-15.

Hooten and Bruce. Beliefs and attitudes about prescribing opioids among healthcare providers seeking continuing medical education. J Opioid Manag. 7(6):417-24.(2011).

[29] Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Results from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings, NSDUH Series H-46, HHS Publication No. (SMA) 13-4795. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2013.

[30] SAMHSA advisory Bulletin 2/7/14  <a href=”http://www.samhsa.gov/newsroom/advisories/1402075426.aspx” rel=”nofollow”>http://www.samhsa.gov/newsroom/advisories/1402075426.aspx</a>).

[31] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , National Center for Health Statistics. Multiple Cause of Death 1999-2010 on CDC WONDER Online Database, released 2012. Data are from the Multiple Cause of Death Files, 1999-2010, as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program.

[32] Moore, A. et al. Expect analgesic failure; pursue analgesic success BMJ. 3;346 (2013).

[33]Community-Based Opioid Overdose Prevention Programs Providing Naloxone. United States, 2010. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. MMWR. Vol 61/No.6 February 17, 2012.

[34]NIDA STTR Grantee: AntiOp, Inc., Daniel Wermerling, CEO.

[35] Schwartz, R.P. et al. Opioid agonist treatments and heroin overdose deaths in Baltimore, Maryland, 1995-2009. Am J Public Health. 103(5):917-22 (2013).

[36] Zarkin, G. Benefits and costs of methadone treatment: results from a lifetime simulation model.  Health Econ. 14(11):1133-50 (2005).

[37] Knudsen, H.K.; Abraham, A.J.; and Roman, P.M. Adoption and implementation of medications in addiction treatment programs. J Addict Med 2011; 5:21-27.

[39] Spoth et al. Longitudinal substance initiation outcomes for a universal preventive intervention combining family and school programs. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors 16(2):129–134, 2002.

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Inside a Killer Drug Epidemic: A Look at America’s Opioid Crisis

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Opioid epidemic – Wikipedia

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The opioid epidemic (also called opioid crisis) refers to the rapid increase in the use of prescription and non-prescription opioids in the United States. Opiates are a class of analgesic drugs, including those naturally derived from opium, such as morphine and heroin, and opioids are similar synthetic and semi-synthetic drugs such as Percocet, Vicodin, OxyContin and fentanyl. According to the DEA, “overdose deaths, particularly from prescription drugs and heroin, have reached epidemic levels.”[2]:iii

In 2015 there were 52,000 American deaths from all drug overdoses. Two thirds of them, 33,000, were from opioids, compared to 16,000 in 2010 and 4,000 in 1999.[3][4] In 2016, deaths from overdoses increased over the previous year by 26% in Connecticut, 35% in Delaware, 39% in Maine, and 62% in Maryland.[5] Nearly half of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid.[6]

The governor of Maryland declared a State of Emergency in March 2017 to combat the epidemic.[7]CDC director Thomas Frieden has said that “America is awash in opioids; urgent action is critical.”[8] President Donald Trump may set aside $500 million in the 2017 budget to combat opioid addiction and has launched a commission to deal with the epidemic.[9][10][11]

Overdose Deaths Involving Opioids, United States, 2000-2015 – Opioid epidemic

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Overdose Deaths Involving Opioids, United States, 2000-2015. Deaths per 100,000 population.

[1]

The opioid epidemic (also called opioid crisis) refers to the rapid increase in the use of prescription and non-prescription opioids in the United States. Opiates are a class of analgesic drugs, including those naturally derived from opium, such as morphine and heroin, and opioids are similar synthetic and semi-synthetic drugs such as Percocet, Vicodin, OxyContin and fentanyl. According to the DEA, “overdose deaths, particularly from prescription drugs and heroin, have reached epidemic levels.”[2]:iii

In 2015 there were 52,000 American deaths from all drug overdoses. Two thirds of them, 33,000, were from opioids, compared to 16,000 in 2010 and 4,000 in 1999.[3][4] In 2016, deaths from overdoses increased over the previous year by 26% in Connecticut, 35% in Delaware, 39% in Maine, and 62% in Maryland.[5] Nearly half of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid.[6]

The governor of Maryland declared a State of Emergency in March 2017 to combat the epidemic.[7]CDC director Thomas Frieden has said that “America is awash in opioids; urgent action is critical.”[8] President Donald Trump may set aside $500 million in the 2017 budget to combat opioid addiction and has launched a commission to deal with the epidemic.[9][10][11]

Background[edit]

Main causes and effects[edit]

Opioid addiction has mostly been an American problem. Between 1991 and 2011, prescriptions of painkillers in the U.S. grew from 76 million to 219 million per year. Among the opioid pills prescribed are Percocet, Vicodin, Oxycodone or OxyContin. Along with that increase in volume, the potency of the opioids also increased. By 2002, one in six drug users were being prescribed drugs more powerful than morphine; by 2012 the ratio had doubled to one in three.[5]

In the late 1990s many Americans were diagnosed with chronic pain, estimated to affect around 100 million people or a third of the US population. This led to a push by drug companies and the federal government to expand the use of painkiller opioids.[5] But when some patients continue to take the medication beyond what a doctor prescribes, whether to minimize pain or to enjoy the euphoric feelings it gives, it can mark the beginning stages of a deadly addiction. Over time, tolerance develops and a person needs to use more to get the same effect. Dependence, or addiction, occurs when a person relies on the drug to prevent withdrawal symptoms.[12]

Opiate self-injection paraphernalia

To remedy that growth, in 2010 the government began cracking down on pharmacists and doctors who were over-prescribing opioid pain killers. But this led to the unintended consequence of users turning to illegal heroin, an even more addictive drug, as a substitute.[5] Some addicted patients were also being denied opioid prescriptions as doctors tried to cut back painkiller drug abuse.[13] A 2017 survey in Utah found that about 80 percent of heroin users started with prescription drugs.[14]

In Maine, new laws were imposed which capped the maximum daily strength of prescribed opioids and which limited prescriptions to seven days. But some doctors were then concerned that patients would turn to using street drugs like heroin to extend their use of painkillers.[13] Heroin is significantly more potent and cheaper than prescription opioids. As a result, by 2015 while deaths from prescription opioids had increased by 15% nationwide, for heroin users it had increased 23%.[5][15]

Despite the increased use of painkillers, however, there has been no change in the amount of pain reported in the U.S.[16][17] Nonetheless, the current opioid epidemic has become the worst drug crisis in American history. More than 33,000 people died from overdosing in 2015, nearly equal to the number of deaths from car crashes, with deaths from heroin alone more than from gun homicides.[18] It is also leaving thousands of children suddenly needing foster care after their parents have died from an overdose.[19]

Fentanyl[edit]

There have always been drug addicts in need of help, but the scale of the present wave of heroin and opioid abuse is unprecedented. In Maryland, the first six months of 2015 saw 121 fentanyl deaths. In the first six months of 2016, the figure rose to 446.

Christopher Caldwell,
senior editor The Weekly Standard[13]

Fentanyl, a newer synthetic opioid painkiller, is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin,[13] with only 2 mg becoming a lethal dose.[20] Fentanyl-laced heroin has become a big problem for major cities, including Philadelphia, Detroit and Chicago.[21] As a result, its use has caused a spike in deaths among users of heroin and prescription painkillers, while becoming easier to obtain and conceal. Some arrested or hospitalized users are surprised to find that what they thought was heroin was actually fentanyl.[13] According to CDC director Thomas Frieden:

As overdose deaths involving heroin more than quadrupled since 2010, what was a slow stream of illicit fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine, is now a flood, with the amount of the powerful drug seized by law enforcement increasing dramatically. America is awash in opioids; urgent action is critical.[8]

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), death rates from synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, increased over 72% from 2014 to 2015.[12] In addition, it reports that the total deaths from opioid overdoses may be under-counted, since they do not include deaths that are associated with synthetic opioids that are used as pain relievers. The CDC now presumes that a large proportion of the increase in deaths is due to illegally-made fentanyl; as the cause of overdose deaths do not distinguish pharmaceutical fentanyl from illegally-made fentanyl, the actual death rate could therefore be much higher than reported.[22]

Those taking fentanyl-laced heroin are more likely to overdose because they don’t know they also are ingesting the more powerful drug.[23] In March 2017, New Jersey police arrested a person possessing nearly 31 pounds (14 kg) of fentanyl (14 kg would yield 7 million lethal doses.)[24][25] Among those who died from overdosing on fentanyl is singer Prince.[25][26]

Fentanyl has surpassed heroin as a killer in several locales: the CDC identified 998 fatal fentanyl overdoses in Ohio in all of 2014, which is the same number of deaths for the first five months of 2015.[27] In Cleveland, a person was caught selling blue fentanyl pills disguised to look like doses of the milder opioid painkiller, oxycodone.[27] The U.S. attorney for Ohio stated:

One of the truly terrifying things is the pills are pressed and dyed to look like oxycodone. If you are using oxycodone and take fentanyl not knowing it is fentanyl, that is an overdose waiting to happen. Each of those pills is a potential overdose death.[27]

While Mexican cartels are a main source of heroin smuggled into the U.S., for fentanyl, Chinese suppliers provide both raw fentanyl and the machinery necessary for its production, according to medical publication STAT.[27] In British Columbia, police discovered a lab making 100,000 fentanyl pills each month, which they were shipping to Calgary, Alberta. 90 people in Calgary overdosed on the drug in 2015.[27] In Southern California, a home-operated drug lab with six pill presses was uncovered by federal agents; each machine was capable of producing thousands of pills an hour.[27]

Earlier decades[edit]

In the early 1900’s WWI veterans were returning. At this point in time, there were very few options to help relieve pain. Doctors mainly turned to morphine. [28] Opioids soon became known as the wonder drug. They were being used for even minor things such as cough relief. No one knew of their addictivness until around 1920, and not too long after heroin was deemed to be an illegal drug. [28] Again in the mid 1900’s (around WWII), doctors were using opioids in lieu of surgery. This made the prescriptions that were made for opioids skyrocket. [28]

In the 1950s, while heroin addiction was known among jazz musicians, it was still fairly unknown by average Americans, many of whom saw it as a frightening condition.[13] That fear extended into the 1960s and 1970s, although it became common to hear or read about drugs such as marijuana and psychedelics, which were widely used at rock concerts like Woodstock.[13] But heroin and opioid addiction began to make the news when famous people such as Janis Joplin, John Belushi, Jim Morrison and Lenny Bruce, whom most people didn’t know were addicted, died from overdoses.

During and after the Vietnam war, heroin addiction grew when addicted soldiers returned from Vietnam, where heroin was easily bought. It also increased within low-income housing projects during the same time period.”The Nixon White House panicked,” writes political editor Christopher Caldwell.[13] In 1971 some congressmen released an explosive report on the growing heroin epidemic among U.S. servicemen in Vietnam; it found that ten to fifteen percent of the servicemen were addicted to heroin, which led President Nixon to declare drug abuse “public enemy number one”.[29] By 1973 there were 1.5 overdose deaths per 100,000 people.[13]

Then followed the crack epidemic from cocaine in the mid to late 1980s. The death rate was worse, reaching almost 2 per 100,000. In 1982, Vice President George H. W. Bush and his aides began pushing for the involvement of the CIA and U.S. military in drug interdiction efforts.[30]

In comparison, the present opioid epidemic is killing 10.3 people per 100,000. In some states it is far worse: over 30 per 100,000 in New Hampshire and over 40 in West Virginia.[13] And with the ongoing opioid epidemic, opinions about drug abuse have changed.[13] The arguments about heroin and opioid use, once supported by strong moral codes, whether social, cultural, or legal, have become weaker.[13]

Demographics[edit]

Opioid addiction is also now a serious problem outside the U.S., mostly among young adults.[31] The majority of deaths worldwide from overdoses were from either medically prescribed opioids or illegal heroin. In Europe, prescription opioids accounted for three-quarter of overdose deaths among those between ages 15 and 39.[31] Some now worry that the epidemic could become a worldwide pandemic if not curtailed.[16]

That concern not only relates to the drugs themselves, but to the fact that in many countries doctors are less trained about drug addiction, both about its causes or treatment.[16] Silvia Martins, an epidemiologist at Columbia University, explains:

Once pharmaceuticals start targeting other countries and make people feel like opioids are safe, we might see a spike [in opioid abuse]. It worked here. Why wouldn’t it work elsewhere?[16]

Prescription drug abuse among teenagers in Canada, Australia, and Europe were at rates comparable to U.S. teenagers.[16] In the Middle East countries of Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, and in parts of China, surveys found that one in ten students had used prescription painkillers for non-medical purposes. Similar high rates of non-medical use were found among the young throughout Europe, including Spain and the United Kingdom.[16]

In the U.S., addiction and overdose victims are mostly white and working-class. Geographically, those living in rural areas of the country have been the hardest hit as a percentage of the national population.[32] Although more affluent areas, such as Palm Beach County Florida, have seen overdose deaths increase by 91 percent since 2015.[33]

There has also been a difference in the number of prescriptions written by doctors in different states. In Hawaii, doctors wrote about 52 prescriptions for every 100 people, whereas in Alabama, they wrote almost 143 prescriptions per 100 people. Researchers suspect that the variation results from a lack of consensus among doctors in different states about how much pain medication to prescribe. Nor does a higher rate of prescription drug use lead to better health outcomes or patient satisfaction, according to studies.[3]

Recent governmental measures[edit]

As the number of opioid prescriptions between 1991 and 2011 rose by 300%, drug cartels began flooding the United States with heroin. For opioid users, it made heroin cheaper, more potent, and often easier to acquire than prescription medications. That easier accessibility became one of the main factors leading many to using heroin.[3]

Mexican transnational criminal organizations are the main suppliers of heroin to the U.S. Heroin production in Mexico has increased by over 600% in four years, from an estimated 8 metric tons in 2005 to 50 metric tons in 2009.[3] And between 2010 and 2014, the amount seized at the border more than doubled.[35] According to the DEA, smugglers and distributors “profit primarily by putting drugs on the street and have become crucial to the Mexican cartels.”[2]:3

  • In July 2016, the governors of most U.S. states and territories entered into a formal “Compact to Fight Opioid Addiction.” They agreed that collective action would be needed to end the opioid crisis, and they would coordinate their responses across all levels of government and the private sector, including opioid manufacturers and doctors.[36]
  • In Maryland, as an urgent response to the crisis, Governor Larry Hogan, on March 1, 2017, declared a State of Emergency to combat the rapid increase in overdoses. The declaration would increase and speed up coordination between the state and local jurisdictions.[37] In 2016 approximately 2,000 people in the state had died from opioid overdoses.[38]
  • In March 2017, Delaware, which has the 12th highest overdose death rate in the country, introduced bills to both limit doctors’ ability to over-prescribe painkillers and improve access to treatment. In 2015 228 people died from overdose, which increased 35%—to 308—in 2016.[39]
  • A similar plan was begun in Michigan the same month, with the state introducing its Michigan Automated Prescription System (MAPS), which would let doctors check to see when and what painkillers have already been prescribed to a patient, and thereby help keep addicts from switching doctors to get a fresh supply of drugs.[40][41]
  • Utah is trying to pass a law that would allow relatives to petition a court to mandate substance- use treatment for adults.[14]

Local governments are also becoming involved in trying to control their opioid crisis. Officials in Everett, Washington filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer of OxyContin, a leading opioid pain medication, claiming the manufacturer was negligent for allowing drugs to be illegally trafficked to residents and failing to prevent it. The city wants the company to pay the costs of handling the crisis.[42]

The U.S. Surgeon General has listed some statistics which describe the extent of the problem:[17]

  • 78 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.
  • In 2014, more than 10 million people in the United States reported using prescription opioids for nonmedical reasons, and close to 2 million people older than 12 years met diagnostic criteria for a substance use disorder involving prescription opioids.
  • There has been a quadrupling of prescriptions for opioids since 1999, but there has not been an overall change in the amount of pain that Americans report.
  • As many as one in four patients receiving long-term opioid therapy in a primary care setting struggles with addiction.

In 2011, the Obama administration released a white paper describing the administration’s plan to deal with the crisis. The administration’s concerns about addiction and accidental overdosing have been echoed by numerous other medical and government advisory groups around the world.[43][44][45]

Monitoring of prescriptions[edit]

As of April 2017, Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMP) exist in every state.[46] PDMPs allow pharmacists and prescribers to access patients’ prescription histories to identify suspicious use. However, a survey of US physicians published in 2015 found only 53% of doctors used these programs, while 22% were not aware these programs were available.[47] The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was tasked with esbtablishing and publishing a new guideline, and was heavily lobbied.[48] [49]

In 2016, the CDC published its Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain, recommending opioids only be used when benefits for pain and function are expected to outweigh risks, and then used at the lowest effective dosage, with avoidance of concurrent opioid and benzodiazepine use whenever possible.[50] Silvia Martins, an epidemiologist at Columbia University, has suggested getting out more information about the risks:

The greater “social acceptance” for using these medications (versus illegal substances) and the misconception that they are “safe” may be contributing factors to their misuse. Hence, a major target for intervention is the general public, including parents and youth, who must be better informed about the negative consequences of sharing with others medications prescribed for their own ailments. Equally important is the improved training of medical practitioners and their staff to better recognize patients at potential risk of developing nonmedical use, and to consider potential alternative treatments as well as closely monitor the medications they dispense to these patients.[31]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • “Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health” (2016)[51]

References[edit]

  1. Jump up ^ Data Overview. Drug Overdose. CDC Injury Center. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  2. ^ Jump up to: a b “2015 National Drug Threat Assessment Summary”, DEA, Oct. 2015
  3. ^ Jump up to: a b c d “How Bad is the Opioid Epidemic?”, PBS, Feb. 23, 2016
  4. Jump up ^ “America’s Addiction to Opioids: Heroin and Prescription Drug Abuse”, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), May 14, 2014
  5. ^ Jump up to: a b c d e “America’s opioid epidemic is worsening”, the Economist (U.K.) March 6, 2017
  6. Jump up ^ Opioid Overdose, CDC
  7. Jump up ^ Turque, B. Maryland governor declares state of emergency for opioid crisis. The Washington Post. March 1, 2017. Accessed May 5, 2017
  8. ^ Jump up to: a b “CDC Chief Frieden: How to end America’s growing opioid epidemic”, Fox News, Dec. 17, 2016
  9. Jump up ^ “Opioid Epidemic: Trump to Set Up Commission on Addiction Crisis”, NBC News, March 29, 2017
  10. Jump up ^ “It’s time to ‘Trump’ opioid addiction in the United States”, The Hill, Feb. 27, 2017
  11. Jump up ^ “President Trump Hosts an Opioid and Drug Abuse Listening Session”, Real Clear Politics, March 29, 2017
  12. ^ Jump up to: a b “Why opioid overdose deaths seem to happen in spurts”, CNN, Feb. 8, 2017
  13. ^ Jump up to: a b c d e f g h i j k l Caldwell, Christoper. “American Carnage: The New Landscape of Opioid Addiction”, First Things, April 2017
  14. ^ Jump up to: a b “Poll: Many Utahns know people who seek treatment for opioid addiction, but barriers remain”, The Salt Lake Tribune, April 3, 2017
  15. Jump up ^ “Overdose Death Rates”, NIDA, Jan. 2017
  16. ^ Jump up to: a b c d e f “The opioid epidemic could turn into a pandemic if we’re not careful”, Washington Post, Feb. 9, 2017
  17. ^ Jump up to: a b “Opioids: Extent of the issue”, U.S. Surgeon General
  18. Jump up ^ “Heroin deaths surpass gun homicides for the first time, CDC data shows”, Washington Post, Dec. 8, 2016, Retrieved 2017-05-08
  19. Jump up ^ “The Children of the Opioid Crisis”, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 15, 2016
  20. Jump up ^ “Fentanyl drug profile”, The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA)
  21. Jump up ^ “Orlando man pleads guilty to selling heroin mixed with fentanyl”, <a href=”http://Orlando.com” rel=”nofollow”>Orlando.com</a>, March 20, 2017
  22. Jump up ^ “Opioid Data Analysis”, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  23. Jump up ^ “Coroner: Franklin County fentanyl deaths hit ‘unprecedented’ rate of one per day”, The Columbus Dispatch, March 16, 2017
  24. Jump up ^ “State, feds seize 14 kilos of dangerous opioid fentanyl in N.J.”, <a href=”http://NJ.com” rel=”nofollow”>NJ.com</a>, March 17, 2017
  25. ^ Jump up to: a b “Prince’s Autopsy Result Highlights Dangers of Opioid Painkiller Fentanyl”, ABC News, June 2, 2016
  26. Jump up ^ “Documents highlight Prince’s struggle with opioid addiction”, Seattle Times, April 17, 2017
  27. ^ Jump up to: a b c d e f “‘Truly terrifying’: Chinese suppliers flood US and Canada with deadly fentanyl”, STAT, April 5, 2016
  28. ^ Jump up to: a b c Moghe, Sonia. “Opioids: From ‘wonder drug’ to abuse epidemic”. CNN. Retrieved 11 April 2017. 
  29. Jump up ^ WGBH educational foundation. Interview with Dr. Robert Dupoint. <a href=”http://PBS.org” rel=”nofollow”>PBS.org</a> (February 18, 1970)
  30. Jump up ^ Scott, Peter Dale; Marshall, Jonathan. Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Central America, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press (1991) p. 2
  31. ^ Jump up to: a b c “Nonmedical use of prescription drugs in adolescents and young adults: not just a Western phenomenon”, World Psychiatry, Jan. 26, 2017
  32. Jump up ^ Sullivan, Andrew.“The Opioid Epidemic Is This Generation’s AIDS Crisis”, New York Magazine, March 16, 2017
  33. Jump up ^ “Patient brokering exacerbates opioid crisis in Florida”, South Bend Tribune, April 2, 2017
  34. Jump up ^ “Vital Signs: Variation Among States in Prescribing of Opioid Pain Relievers and Benzodiazepines — United States, 2012”, CDC, July 4, 2014
  35. Jump up ^ “Heroin Production in Mexico and U.S. Policy”, Congressional Research Service report, March 3, 2016
  36. Jump up ^ “A Compact to Fight Opioid Addiction”, National Governors Assoc., July 13, 2016
  37. Jump up ^ “Hogan-Rutherford Administration Declares State of Emergency, Announces Major Funding to Combat Heroin and Opioid Crisis in Maryland”, Maryland.gov, March 1, 2017
  38. Jump up ^ “Gov. Hogan Announces Opioid Epidemic State Of Emergency”, CBS Baltimore, March 1, 2017
  39. Jump up ^ “Delaware lawmakers tackle opioid addiction epidemic”, Newsworks, March 23, 2017
  40. Jump up ^ “Governor Snyder rolls out plan to fight opioid addiction”, WILX, March 23, 2017
  41. Jump up ^ “Snyder: Efforts to stop opioid abuse aren’t working”, Michigan Radio, March 23, 2017
  42. Jump up ^ “U.S. City Sues OxyContin Maker For Contributing To Opioid Crisis”, NPR, Feb. 3, 2017
  43. Jump up ^ “Tackling the Opioid Public Health Crisis”, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario
  44. Jump up ^ “First Do No Harm: Responding to Canada’s Prescription Drug Crisis”, Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, March 2013
  45. Jump up ^ “UK: Task Force offers ideas for opioid addiction solutions”. <a href=”http://Delhidailynews.com” rel=”nofollow”>Delhidailynews.com</a>. 2014-06-11. Retrieved 2016-01-07. 
  46. Jump up ^ Missouri is final state to pass PDMP program; US News & World Report; April 13, 2017
  47. Jump up ^ Rutkow Lainie; et al. (2015). “Most primary care physicians are aware of prescription drug monitoring programs, but many find the data difficult to access”. Health Affairs. 34 (3): 484–492. doi:10.1377/hlthaff.2014.1085. 
  48. Jump up ^ Matthew Perrone, Associated Press. “Painkiller politics: Effort to curb prescribing under fire”. <a href=”http://Philly.com” rel=”nofollow”>Philly.com</a>. Retrieved 2016-01-07. 
  49. Jump up ^ Ghorayshi, Azeen. “Missouri Is The Only State In The US Where Doctors Have No Idea What Prescriptions People Are Getting”. BuzzFeed. Retrieved 11 April 2017. 
  50. Jump up ^ Dowell, Deborah; Haegerich, Tamara; Chou, Roger (March 15, 2016). “CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain—United States, 2016”. JAMA. 315: 1624–45. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.1464. PMID 26977696. Retrieved March 18, 2016. 
  51. Jump up ^ “Facing Addiction in America”, U.S. Surgeon General (2016)
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opioids – Google Search

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opioids – Google Search

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Story image for opioids from MarketWatch

They may be highly addictive, but opioids are still the best pain drug …

MarketWatch33 minutes ago
For more than two decades, drugmakers, doctors and patients have been looking for a better pain medication than opioids, which have …

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Mandating Coverage Of Abuse-Deterrent Opioids Would Be A …

Health Affairs (blog)2 hours ago
The devastating societal effects of the national opioid crisis are as far reaching as they are complex and require multimodal and highly …

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Baby among those killed by opioids in Kent County’s deadliest year

<a href=”http://WOODTV.com” rel=”nofollow”>WOODTV.com</a>May 24, 2017
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — At only 10 months old, Chance Powell was the youngest victim of the opioid epidemic in Kent County in …

Opioids: To Prescribe or Not?

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A look back at how opioid addiction plagued the city 20 years ago

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One look at the front page of Sunday’s Daily News — the arm, the needle, the headline, “Opioid Nation” — took me back to a summer afternoon 20 years ago. That was the day I met Gloria Colon.

Daily News reporter Linda Yglesias and I had gone to the Hunts Point section of the Bronx for a story about an outreach effort to supply clean needles and condoms to a notorious gathering place for heroin-addicted prostitutes. Gloria was one of them.

I can still see her as I saw her then — a frail, painfully thin woman stumbling down an industrial, pocked-marked sidewalk, barely alive. Her body — all five feet and 90 pounds of it — was an emaciated ruin, with fresh wounds overlapping old ones on scarred, scabbed flesh. She had no teeth, only ill-fitting, chipped-top dentures once given to her by a john who happened to be a dentist.

When I introduced myself, she answered in a shrill, rasping voice, but there was remarkable warmth and kindness in it too. I asked if we could hang out with her to document what her life was like, and she agreed.

A Desperate Life: One woman’s struggle with heroin addiction

She led us through a mangled chain-link fence to a “shooting gallery” that was littered with broken glass, dirty needles, garbage and human waste — a place just like the one I saw in the Daily News last Sunday.

She cooked her fix, tightened her purse strap around her arm and wiped away blood as she probed for a vein. Finally, she found one, and for a moment, as the heroin took hold, she steadied herself against a wall.

What followed, though, was not the slump into oblivion seen in other addicts. It was an explosion of rage — at her need to smoke crack just to jolt herself awake, at her need to prostitute herself to support her 10-bag a day habit. As Linda wrote in our story: “Every moment of her life is an act of desperation: Converging demons of drugs and johns and violence have turned her into predator and prey.” She wanted out.

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Gloria’s story ran on the front page of Sunday, July 27, 1997. Headlined “A Desperate Life,” the eight-page chronicle of Gloria’s life on the streets hit New Yorkers hard. They could no longer look away. Gloria was not a nameless statistic— she was someone’s daughter, mother or sister.

One Day at a Time: A former heroin addict’s fight for recovery

In the days that followed, the paper was showered with calls and letters from sympathetic readers filled with compassion. Drug treatment programs, religious organizations and private citizens extended offers of help. Phoenix House was one of seven area rehab centers that put its staff on standby in case Gloria made it off the streets. “A Desperate Life” became part of the lesson plan for incarcerated women at Rikers Island. Parents used it as a cautionary tale for their children.

It’s the only story I’ve done that I know saved lives. One of them was Gloria’s.

I will never forget her horror when she saw the story herself for the first time. It was her mirror. “This will either be my way out or my obit,” she said.

Gloria entered rehab shortly after publication. She spent months in Phoenix House, the 50-year-old drug-treatment facility, battling her demons and fighting through her addiction. When we visited her there, the managing director, Loretta Hinton, told us, “I haven’t seen that kind of abuse of anyone’s body in 20 years.”

Here’s who to contact if you’re struggling with opioid addiction

“A hundred times I’ve thought about leaving,” Gloria told us then. “But I take ‘A Desperate Life’ out of my drawer to make myself remember.”

She and her fellow addicts called their group “chrysalis,” a hopeful image of butterflies in gestation.

And on Sunday, Nov. 30, 1997, the Daily News was able to celebrate her successful metamorphosis in “A New Life,” another eight-page special report, this one a story of recovery.

Gloria was luckier than some others at Phoenix House: She had the love and support of a devoted family behind her. They cheered her on, and the city cheered her on.

How NYC’s opioid epidemic plays out in the Bronx

And, of course, I cheered her on too. By then we had developed a deep and lasting bond of friendship.

Her delightfully squeaky voice on the other end of the telephone always sounded like music to me during our many late-night phone calls, and the family barbeques she invited me to were filled with love, laughter and dancing.

On the 4th of July 2009, Gloria messaged me: “Girl how are you? We have to talk and by the way I am still clean and sober. [I]am living and working in the bx. You would never believe what I do 4 a living…substance abuse counselor! Please call me.”

Gloria died on January 9, 2015, five days after her 51st birthday. She was 33 when I met her. During those eighteen additional years that her body allowed her to live, she gave others the courage to save themselves from addiction, and she got the chance to raise her beautiful daughter, who had been taken from her as a one-year-old.

NYC mother’s loss echoes national heroin addiction crisis

Gloria emerged from her chrysalis as one of the strongest and most inspirational people I have ever known. She had her setbacks, as all of us do, but she never gave up. And nobody ever gave up on her.

“Now I’m really doing the most desperate thing,” she said once. “Living.”

I feel privileged to have known her. I will miss her dearly.

Susan Watts has been an award-winning photojournalist in New York City for more than 20 years. Since 1995, she’s been a staff photographer at the Daily News covering local, national and international news stories.

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OPIOID NATION: A look back at how opioid addiction plagued New York City 20 years ago http://nydn.us/2qVSDOK pic.twitter.com/sektDCCV92

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Trump ‘aggressively pursued’ government post in USSR in 1980s

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Donald Trump, in the mid-1980s, aggressively pursued an official government post to the USSR, according to a Nobel Peace Prize winner with whom Trump interacted at the time.

“He already had Russia mania in 1986, 31 years ago,” asserts Bernard Lown, a Boston-area cardiologist known for inventing the defibrillator and sharing the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize with a top Soviet physician in recognition of their efforts to promote denuclearization.

Lown, now 95 and retired in Newton, Mass., tells The Hollywood Reporter that Trump sought and secured a meeting with him in 1986 to solicit information about Mikhail Gorbachev. (Gorbachev had become the USSR’s head of state — and met with Lown — the year before.)

During this meeting, Lown says, the fast-rising businessman disclosed that he would be reaching out to then-president Ronald Reagan to try to secure an official post to the USSR in order to negotiate a nuclear disarmament deal on behalf of the United States, a job for which Trump felt he was the only one fit.

“He said to me, ‘I hear you met with Gorbachev, and you had a long interview with him, and you’re a doctor, so you have a good assessment of who he is,'” Lown recalls.

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“So I asked, ‘Why would you want to know?’ And he responded, ‘I intend to call my good friend Ronnie,’ meaning Reagan, ‘to make me a plenipotentiary ambassador for the United States with Gorbachev.’ Those are the words he used. And he said he would go to Moscow and he’d sit down with Gorbachev, and then he took his thumb and he hit the desk and he said, ‘And within one hour the Cold War would be over!’ I sat there dumbfounded. ‘Who is this self-inflated individual? Is he sane or what?'”

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

Lithuania-born Lown, who today is professor of cardiology emeritus at the Harvard School of Public Health, had been the subject of considerable media attention shortly before he first heard the name Trump.

In October 1985, he and Yevgeny I. Chazov, the personal physician of the Kremlin’s senior leadership (including Gorbachev), were chosen to share the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, a group they co-founded in 1980 that had grown to include more than 150,000 members in 49 countries.

And in December 1985, shortly after collecting their Nobel medals in Oslo, Lown joined Chazov for a meeting at the Kremlin with Gorbachev, who unexpectedly had come into power that March, making Lown one of the first Westerners to spend time with him.

It wasn’t long after Lown returned to the United States that he learned about Trump. “I get a call from New York and it was a Wall Street broker who was a friend of Trump’s,” Lown recalls, declining to name the individual.

“He says, ‘Trump would like to see you,’ and I said, ‘Who is Trump?’ I had no idea.”

He continues, “This fellow was a member of the board of the Lown Cardiovascular Research Foundation, this Wall Street fellow, and he knew that we were short on funds for the research that I outlined and that we had to do in the following few years. He says, ‘Here’s somebody who might be a source of [FUNDING]. Why don’t you meet him? He wants to talk to you — he asked me to arrange it.’ So I came into New York and went to Trump Tower and met him for lunch.”

Appeals Court Deals Blow to Trump Administration Travel Ban

Lown says it quickly became apparent that Trump had an agenda of his own. “I was sitting there in this glass bubble, overlooking New York, and feeling, ‘What am I doing here?'” he recalls. “He seemed totally disjointed.”

“I talked to [TRUMP]extensively about my experience with Gorbachev,” Lown recalls. “I talked for about 20 minutes or so, about how I thought Gorbachev behaved, blah, blah, and he sat there, sort of listening. He was fidgeting and I realized he had a short attention span.”

Lown emphasizes that the whole situation felt strange.

“I thought there was another agenda, perhaps, but I didn’t know what that was,” he says. “I was not sure about his motivation for why he was doing it. But it puts together sort of a continuum that began way back in ’86, with his fixation on Russia — the Soviet Union, then.”

Trump and Lown never spoke again.

Though the lengths to which Trump went to learn about Gorbachev and to secure an official post from the Americans never have been revealed, Trump’s interest in “making a deal” with the Soviets was widely reported — and mocked — at the time.

In an April 8, 1984 profile in The New York Times, Trump revealed that concern about a nuclear holocaust had plagued him since his uncle, the groundbreaking nuclear physicist Dr. John Trump, first spoke to him about it 15 years earlier.

“His greatest dream is to personally do something about the problem,” wrote the Times’ William E. Geist (NBC anchor Willie Geist’s father), “and, characteristically, Donald Trump thinks he has an answer to nuclear armament: Let him negotiate arms agreements — he who can talk people into selling $100 million properties to him for $13 million.”

President Trump Appears to Push Aside Montenegro Prime Minister at NATO

Geist continued, somewhat snarkily, “The idea that he would ever be allowed to go into a room alone and negotiate for the United States, let alone be successful in disarming the world, seems the naive musing of an optimistic, deluded young man who has never lost at anything he has tried. But he believes that through years of making his views known and through supporting candidates who share his views, it could happen someday.”

Trump expounded on these ambitions in a November 15, 1984 Washington Post profile at the urging, he said, of his mentor and lawyer Roy Cohn, who was best known as Joseph McCarthy’s chief counsel during the Army-McCarthy hearings.

The Post’s Lois Romano asked Trump for specifics about how he would approach a U.S.-Soviet deal, and recounted how he demurred (using terms familiar to those who followed the 2016 presidential campaign): “‘I wouldn’t want to make my opinions public,’ he says. ‘I’d rather keep those thoughts to myself or save them for whoever else is chosen… It’s something that somebody should do that knows how to negotiate and not the kind of representatives that I have seen in the past.’ He could learn about missiles, quickly, he says. ‘It would take an hour-and-a-half to learn everything there is to learn about missiles… I think I know most of it anyway. You’re talking about just getting updated on a situation.'”

In Ron Rosenbaum’s November 1985 profile of Trump in Manhattan, Inc. magazine (later republished as part of the 1987 book Manhattan Passions: True Tales of Power, Wealth and Excess), Trump discussed his obsession with brokering this ultimate deal, stating, “Nothing matters as much to me now.”

He coyly suggested that he already was “dealing at a very high level on this,” hinting at connections in Washington and at the White House, and that negotiators like him were needed: “There’s a vast difference between somebody who’s been consistently successful and somebody who’s been working for a relatively small amount of money in governmental service for many years, in many cases because the private sector, who have seen these people indirectly, didn’t choose to hire these people, any of them, because it didn’t find them to be particularly capable.”

By December 1985, Trump’s infatuation with negotiating a deal between the Americans and the Soviets was so widely known that The New York Times’ George Vecsey proclaimed, “People used to titter when Donald Trump said he wanted to broker a nuclear-arms reduction… If the United States gave Donald Trump an official title and let him loose on the arms race, he might lay off on his threat to darken the western sky of Manhattan with his personal Brasilia North. Make peace, not skyscrapers, that’s the general idea.”

It wasn’t long after the Trump-Lown meeting in 1986 that Trump made his first trip to the Soviet Union: In July 1987, he traveled to Moscow and met with Gorbachev.

“The ostensible subject of their meeting was the possible development of luxury hotels in the Soviet Union by Mr. Trump,” The New York Times wrote at the time. “But Mr. Trump’s calls for nuclear disarmament were also well-known to the Russians.” (Trump told Playboy three years later, “Generally, these guys are much tougher and smarter than our representatives.”)

In the fall of 1987, Trump, a registered Republican who had made large contributions to Democrats as well, hinted that he might make a run for the presidency in 1988 — but for which party it wasn’t clear.

That Sept. 2, he took out a full-page advertisement in three major newspapers criticizing the Reagan Administration’s foreign policy under the headline, “There’s nothing wrong with America’s Foreign Defense Policy that a little backbone can’t cure.” Asked why he had done so, his spokesperson said, “There is absolutely no plan to run for mayor, governor or United States senator. He will not comment about the Presidency.” A month later, though, he did: ”I’m not running for anything,” he told The New York Times, while adding, ”I believe that if I did run for President, I’d win.”

Trump went on to give a series of political speeches that fall, some of which, according to the Times, touched on “speeding up nuclear disarmament negotiations with the Soviet Union.”

In December 1987, Gorbachev made an historic three-day trip to the U.S. for a summit with Reagan that included a White House state dinner. There, in a receiving line, was Trump, whom Gorbachev had met in Moscow just five months earlier.

Trump subsequently recounted their conversation to The Washington Post: “They want to have a great hotel, and they want me to be the one to do it.”

Trump didn’t run for president in 1988. A Trump hotel never was built in the Soviet Union, which collapsed in 1991. But Trump’s interactions with Russia were only just beginning.

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Plates of Cake/Hans Chew/Rosali/Dark Tea – Union Pool Sat May 27 – Brooklyn Local News

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Plates of Cake/Hans Chew/Rosali/Dark Tea – Union Pool Sat May 27

May 27 @ 9:00 pmMay 28 @ 12:30 pm

<a href=”http://NYCTaper.com” rel=”nofollow”>NYCTaper.com</a> presents:
Plates of Cake (11:30p)
Hans Chew (10:45p)
Rosali (10p)
DARK TEA (9:30p)
at Union Pool
Saturday, May 27th
9pm $10

Details

Start:
May 27 @ 9:00 pm
End:
May 28 @ 12:30 pm
Website:
https://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1490584?utm_medium=bks

Organizer

Hans Chew
Website:
https://www.facebook.com/HansChewMusic/

Venue

Union Pool

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What Mussolini and Democrats Have in Common: Neo-Fascism is in Fashion

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“You’re a fascist!” Today this is a label as commonly hurled as it is poorly understood. President Donald Trump, that progressive New York guy, is a fascist, we’re told. Then there’s the Antifa (“anti-fascist action”) movement, which “fights” the F-threat by committing violence in the streets like Brownshirts. Well played.

The Online Etymology Dictionary, generally sober in its rendering of information, amusingly writes of “fascism” that it was applied to certain groups’ ideology from 1923 and has been “applied to everyone since the internet.” In reality, however, the term’s misapplication didn’t start with the virtual world but with virtual history. Yet since I’m fairly sure at least a few of us aren’t fascists, let’s examine what the ideology is, starting with what it isn’t.

Authentic fascism never had, contrary to popular belief, a racial agenda. Its primary founding father, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, said in 1932, “Race? It is a feeling, not a reality. Ninety-five percent, at least. Nothing will ever make me believe that biologically pure races can be shown to exist today… National pride has no need of the delirium of race.”

The fascists considered racialism destructive of one of their chief aims: national unity. In fact, when Mussolini deferred to Adolf Hitler and enacted some anti-Jewish laws (strictly speaking, these weren’t “racial” laws, but reflected their spirit) just prior to WWII, they were often decried as anti-fascist.

A Creature of the Right?

Mussolini had always been a socialist. He’d actually been the chief editor of the Italian Socialist Party’s newspaper Avanti! (in Italian, “Forward!” which, interestingly, became one of Barack Obama’s slogans). He was expelled at WWI’s start—but not for rejecting socialist dogma. Rather, while the party opposed the war, Mussolini was among a group of dissident leftists who wanted to fight Germany and Austria-Hungary to, you might say, “make the world safe for socialism.”

While a spurned child of the ideology, one of its progeny he remained. At the 1914 Milan Socialist Party meeting where his expulsion was announced, he shouted, “You cannot get rid of me because I am and always will be a socialist. You hate me because you still love me.” And he perhaps had a point. Vladimir Lenin said before a delegation of Italian socialists in 1922, “What a waste that we lost Mussolini. He is a first-rate man who would have led our party to power in Italy.”

Writer George Bernard Shaw, a Fabian Society socialist, might have seconded this endorsement. He once said of the dictator, “Mussolini was further to the left in his political opinions than any of his socialist rivals.” UC Berkeley Professor of Political Science Emeritus Anthony James Gregor, known for research on fascism and Marxism, has called Mussolini “a Marxist ‘heretic.’”

Having said this, there’s debate and confusion over whether Mussolini (and Hitler) was left or right largely because the terms themselves are confusing—and relative. Originating with the French Revolution in 1789, the designations were born because monarchists sat on the right side in the National Assembly, while republicans (that is, those endeavoring to create a republic) occupied the left. Of course, rightists today don’t espouse monarchism, and American leftists fight republicans—at least the capital “R” variety.

Noting that “right” and “left” correspond with “conservative” and “liberal,” also consider that while 1950s American conservatives were staunchly anti-communist, a conservative in the Soviet Union was a communist. And today, European “conservatives” are far more “liberal” than ours.

The explanation is that the only consistent definitions of “conservative” and “liberal” are, respectively, a “desire to maintain the status quo” and a “desire to change it;” thus, as the status quo varies from time to time and place to place, so do the actual beliefs represented by the two political terms.

So the first question is not whether fascism is left or right (in fact, its adherents called it “the Third Way”), which can be a distraction. Before we can place it anywhere on any political spectrum, we must ask: What are actual fascist beliefs?

The ideology, again, was birthed at WWI’s inception when the Italian left split over involvement in the conflict. Mussolini then became the primary founder of fascism, whose name largely derives from the fasces, a “bundle of rods containing an axe with the blade projecting” that would be carried before a Roman magistrate and which symbolized power. But what kind of power was Mussolini’s focus?

Well, as the dictator described fascism, “All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.” Does this sound more like American traditionalists, with their focus on small government, or the Democrats, who seek to unconstitutionally centralize and aggregate ever more power?

Mussolini also once said, “I declare that henceforth capital and labor shall have equal rights and duties as brothers in the fascist family.” Is this reminiscent of American conservatives and their emphasis on economic freedom or the class warfare and regulatory tyranny of our left?

The Italian additionally stated in 1924, “God does not exist—religion in science is an absurdity, in practice an immorality and in men a disease.” Does this sound more like a party known for its “Christian Right” or one whose standard bearer once derided Middle America for clinging to “religion”?

The sad reality is that a neo-fascism is in fashion today, but not because of Trump. Rather, by growing government, empowering it to regulate most everything and allowing “crony capitalism,” we get ever closer to Mussolini’s ideal, “All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.”

And the dictator certainly agreed. Praising Democrat icon Franklin Roosevelt’s 1933 book Looking Forward, he wrote, “Reminiscent of Fascism is the principle that the state no longer leaves the economy to its own devices… Without question, the mood accompanying this [New Deal] sea change resembles that of Fascism.”

Whether we view Mussolini as a man of the “left” or just a man who left sanity, the similarities between fascism’s founding father and our liberals should make them just a tad nervous. It certainly had this effect on one of them, late leftist activist and politician Tom Hayden.

During a radio appearance on “The Chip Wood Show” years ago, Hayden was accused by a caller of being a “communist agitator.” The host defended him, saying that Hayden had no problem with business remaining in private hands as long as the government guaranteed things were done “fairly.” Hayden agreed, providing several examples of how the state must ensure goods and services are distributed equitably.

Wood related their conversation’s denouement in 2010. He told Hayden, “‘What you’ve described isn’t communism or socialism. …Isn’t the system you want—where ownership remains in private hands, but its use is controlled by government—actually a form of fascism?’”

“There was a stunned silence as I continued, ‘In fact, Tom, isn’t it fair to say that the economic system you want to impose on us in the United States is actually classical fascism, as practiced in Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy?’”

Hayden’s response? “Click.” He’d hung up the phone. And that’s what happens when you’re hung up on an ideology that may not be quite as “liberal” as you’d like to fancy.

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Your Ideal Week: May 25-31, Memorial Day weekend is here

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A carpet of bluebells is blooming at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Photo: BBG Memorial Day weekend is nigh, and if you are jetting off the Hamptons, the Catskills, the Shore, or somewhere even more exotic, well, good for you, lucky duck! The rest of us will be here holding down the fort, but don’t feel too bad for us because there is–as always–a lot to do around these parts over the course of the next week. On Friday night, lace up your skates and get ready to do the hustle at Lola Star’s Dreamland Roller Disco, which is doing Saturday Night Fever-themed version of its popular skate night at the LeFrak Center in Prospect Park from 7:30-10pm. After selling out a Friday night show at King’s Theater, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds have added a second night on Saturday and there are still tickets available. If you happened to catch them… Read MoreThe post Your Ideal Week: May 25-31, Memorial Day weekend is here appeared first on Brooklyn Based.
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I have several different accents; The Brooklyn accent, Long Island accent, and the Northern NY accent. #NYBot

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I have several different accents; The Brooklyn accent, Long Island accent, and the Northern NY accent.

PBSNewsHour’s YouTube Videos: What to expect when President Trump meets Pope Francis – 10:59 PM 5/23/2017

CNN’s YouTube Videos: Who is Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats?

PBSNewsHour’s YouTube Videos: What to expect when President Trump meets Pope Francis
5 takeaways from intel leaders Trump testimony 7:52 PM 5/23/2017
CNN’s YouTube Videos: Who is Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats?
PBSNewsHour’s YouTube Videos: PBS NewsHour full episode May 23, 2017
More Corporate Sponsors Abandon Puerto Rican Day Parade
Despite Security, Concerts Provide Target-Rich Environments
What Ariana Grande Represents to Her Fans
Cuts to AIDS Treatment Programs Could Cost a Million Lives
Trump retains outside lawyer Marc Kasowitz to help with Russia investigations
PBSNewsHour’s YouTube Videos: UK raises terror-threat level as Manchester mourns attack
CBSNewsOnline’s YouTube Videos: What are investigators looking for in the aftermath of the Manchester attack?
Video – Former CIA Director Brennan: “I shared classified information with the Russians while I was Director of the CIA.” Full video here: http://cs.pn/2rMhwLt
CBSNewsOnline’s YouTube Videos: U.K. raises threat level to critical following Manchester terror attack
Hourly News Summary: NPR News: 05-23-2017 10PM ET
FoxNewsChannel’s YouTube Videos: President Trump renews efforts for peace in the Middle East
FoxNewsChannel’s YouTube Videos: Media so Trump-deranged, it ignores Manchester aftermath
CBSNewsOnline’s YouTube Videos: Will Steve Bannon win the war between White House factions?
CBSNewsOnline’s YouTube Videos: Ex-CIA Director: Russia “brazenly interfered” with 2016 election
Video – Former CIA Director Brennan: “I shared classified information with the Russians while I was Director of the CIA.” Full video here: http://cs.pn/2rMhwLt
5 takeaways from intel leaders’ Trump testimony
Morrissey Rips British Politicians after Manchester Attack: Petrified to Admit Islamic Extremism Behind Terror
This is now LIVE on C-SPAN3. https://twitter.com/cspan/status/867104325503528961 
CIA ex-chief cites signs of possible Trump campaign ties to Russia
Amid opposition, Trump makes low budget request for Mexico border wall
Trump budget proposal would dramatically cut foreign aid
Saved Stories – None
PBSNewsHour’s YouTube Videos: What to expect when President Trump meets Pope Francis
 

From: PBSNewsHour
Duration: 05:08

President Trump will meet Pope Francis at the Vatican on Wednesday. Despite the gulf separating them in terms of personality and policies, the pontiff insists he has an open mind about their meeting. Special correspondent Malcolm Brabant reports on what each man stands to gain, potential stumbling blocks and why it matters.

PBSNewsHour’s YouTube Videos

5 takeaways from intel leaders Trump testimony 7:52 PM 5/23/2017

(6) Coates Wont Say If Trump Asked Him To Deny Collusion Full Hearing YouTube Tuesday May 23rd, 2017 at 9:30 PM 1 Share Published on May 23, 2017 Daniel R. Coats, director of national intelligence, and Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Vincent R. Stewart, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, testify before the Senate 5 takeaways from intel leaders Trump testimony Morrissey Rips British Politicians after Manchester Attack: Petrified to Admit Islamic Extremism Behind Terror This is now LIVE on C-SPAN3. https://twitter.com/cspan/status/867104325503528961  CIA ex-chief cites signs of possible Trump campaign ties to Russia Amid opposition, Trump makes low budget request for Mexico border wall Trump budget proposal would dramatically Continue reading“5 takeaways from intel leaders Trump testimony 7:52 PM 5/23/2017”

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CNN’s YouTube Videos: Who is Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats?
 

From: CNN
Duration: 01:46

The Director of National Intelligence has a long history in Washington.

CNN’s YouTube Videos

PBSNewsHour’s YouTube Videos: PBS NewsHour full episode May 23, 2017
 

From: PBSNewsHour
Duration: 55:01

Tuesday on the NewsHour, an alleged suspect is named after a bombing kills more than 20 in Manchester, England. Also: Former CIA director John Brennan shares concern over Russian election meddling, deep cuts to social programs in President Trump’s proposed budget, previewing a presidential visit with the pope and shifting education dollars to school choice.

PBSNewsHour’s YouTube Videos

More Corporate Sponsors Abandon Puerto Rican Day Parade

The decision by parade organizers to honor a nationalist militant, Oscar López Rivera, led AT&T to withdraw sponsorship and Coca-Cola to scale back.
Despite Security, Concerts Provide Target-Rich Environments

Security consultants and music promoters look ahead to what measures can be taken after the Ariana Grande concert attack.
What Ariana Grande Represents to Her Fans

The singer is self-assured, talented and proudly feminine, with a loyal fan base that rallied to her side after the Manchester bombing with the hashtag #ThisIsNotYourFaultAriana.
Cuts to AIDS Treatment Programs Could Cost a Million Lives

Researchers said at least one million people would die worldwide if the Trump administrations proposed funding cuts to public health programs were enacted.
Trump retains outside lawyer Marc Kasowitz to help with Russia investigations
 

Trump retains outside lawyer Marc Kasowitz to help with Russia investigations

President Trump has retained the services of a trusted lawyer, Marc E. Kasowitz, to help him navigate the investigations into his campaign and Russian interference in last years election, according to people familiar with the decision. Kasowitz, who has known Trump for decades, has represented Trump in numerous cases, including on his divorce records, real […]

PBSNewsHour’s YouTube Videos: UK raises terror-threat level as Manchester mourns attack
 

From: PBSNewsHour
Duration: 07:11

The United Kingdom is mourning the victims of a suicide bombing. Twenty-two people were killed, including an 8-year-old girl, Monday night at the end of a pop concert. The attacker has been identified as a Briton of Libyan descent, and police have raided two sites and arrested one man in connection. Hari Sreenivasan learns more from special correspondent Natalie Powell of Feature Story News.

PBSNewsHour’s YouTube Videos

CBSNewsOnline’s YouTube Videos: What are investigators looking for in the aftermath of the Manchester attack?
 

From: CBSNewsOnline
Duration: 03:23

Jeffrey Ringel, a director at the New York-based security firm, Soufan Group, joined CBSN to break down what investigators might be looking for in the aftermath of the attack in Manchester, and what other resources U.S. officials might need to prevent an attack like this in the U.S.

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CBSN is the first digital streaming news network that will allow Internet-connected consumers to watch live, anchored news coverage on their connected TV and other devices. At launch, the network is available 24/7 and makes all of the resources of CBS News available directly on digital platforms with live, anchored coverage 15 hours each weekday. CBSN. Always On.

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Video – Former CIA Director Brennan: “I shared classified information with the Russians while I was Director of the CIA.” Full video here: http://cs.pn/2rMhwLt
 

mikenova shared this story from FB-RSS feed for C-SPAN.

Former CIA Director Brennan: “I shared classified information with the Russians while I was Director of the CIA.” Full video here: http://cs.pn/2rMhwLt

CBSNewsOnline’s YouTube Videos: U.K. raises threat level to critical following Manchester terror attack
 

From: CBSNewsOnline
Duration: 02:43

British Prime Minister Theresa May raised the country’s threat level to critical — the highest possible — following the terrorist attack Monday at the Manchester Arena. CBS News justice and homeland security correspondent Jeff Pegues spoke to CBSN about what this will mean going forward.

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CBSN is the first digital streaming news network that will allow Internet-connected consumers to watch live, anchored news coverage on their connected TV and other devices. At launch, the network is available 24/7 and makes all of the resources of CBS News available directly on digital platforms with live, anchored coverage 15 hours each weekday. CBSN. Always On.

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Hourly News Summary: NPR News: 05-23-2017 10PM ET

NPR News: 05-23-2017 10PM ET

Download audio: https://play.podtrac.com/npr-500005/npr.mc.tritondigital.com/NPR_500005/media/anon.npr-mp3/npr/newscasts/2017/05/23/newscast220627.mp3?orgId=1&d=300&p=500005&story=529785606&t=podcast&e=529785606&ft=pod&f=500005

Hourly News Summary

FoxNewsChannel’s YouTube Videos: President Trump renews efforts for peace in the Middle East
 

From: FoxNewsChannel
Duration: 04:13

What will it take to make a deal for peace between Israel and Palestine? A Fair and balanced debate.

FoxNewsChannel’s YouTube Videos

FoxNewsChannel’s YouTube Videos: Media so Trump-deranged, it ignores Manchester aftermath
 

From: FoxNewsChannel
Duration: 05:20

The mainstream media are so hyperfocused on bringing Pres. Trump down with alleged Russia collusion story that it didn’t treat the aftermath of the Manchester attack as important as they should. Are the media not derelict in their duties? #Tucker

FoxNewsChannel’s YouTube Videos

CBSNewsOnline’s YouTube Videos: Will Steve Bannon win the war between White House factions?
 

From: CBSNewsOnline
Duration: 06:18

Rumors of a White House staff shakeup have been swirling for months. But who will come out on top? Award-winning documentary filmmaker Michael Kirk joins “Red & Blue” to discuss his new film “Bannon’s War” for the PBS series Frontline, where he profiles White House strategist Steve Bannon.

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Get new episodes of shows you love across devices the next day, stream local news live, and watch full seasons of CBS fan favorites anytime, anywhere with CBS All Access. Try it free! http://bit.ly/1OQA29B


CBSN is the first digital streaming news network that will allow Internet-connected consumers to watch live, anchored news coverage on their connected TV and other devices. At launch, the network is available 24/7 and makes all of the resources of CBS News available directly on digital platforms with live, anchored coverage 15 hours each weekday. CBSN. Always On.

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CBSNewsOnline’s YouTube Videos: Ex-CIA Director: Russia “brazenly interfered” with 2016 election
 

From: CBSNewsOnline
Duration: 03:09

Former CIA Director John Brennan revealed for the first time Tuesday that he contacted his Russian counterpart about the country’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election. CBS News chief Congressional correspondent correspondent Nancy Cordes spoke to CBSN about what Brennan revealed.

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CBSN is the first digital streaming news network that will allow Internet-connected consumers to watch live, anchored news coverage on their connected TV and other devices. At launch, the network is available 24/7 and makes all of the resources of CBS News available directly on digital platforms with live, anchored coverage 15 hours each weekday. CBSN. Always On.

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Video – Former CIA Director Brennan: “I shared classified information with the Russians while I was Director of the CIA.” Full video here: http://cs.pn/2rMhwLt

Former CIA Director Brennan: “I shared classified information with the Russians while I was Director of the CIA.” Full video here: http://cs.pn/2rMhwLt
5 takeaways from intel leaders’ Trump testimony

Current and former U.S. intelligence leaders made it clear on Tuesday that they have little interest in helping President Donald Trump escape the scandal surrounding his campaigns ties to Russia.During three congressional hearings, the leaders lent new weight to questions about whether Trumps campaign aides colluded with Russian officials to influence the presidential election providing yet another setback as the White House seeks a reset during Trumps foreign trip.

Former CIA Director John Brennan said U.S. intelligence agencies had picked up contacts between Russia and people involved in Trump’s campaign, and left open the possibility that Russian officials may have been successful in recruiting some of the aides.

Across Capitol Hill, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats declined to comment on a Washington Post report that Trump had asked him to deny evidence of Russia collusion, though Coats left the door open to answering such questions in the future. And National Security Agency chief Adm. Mike Rogers did nothing to douse the Post’s allegation that Trump had made a similar request to him as lawmakers failed to ask him a single question about the issue.

Here are POLITICOs takeaways from Tuesdays hearings:

Brennan adds to Trumps troubles

Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee asked Brennan repeatedly whether he had seen evidence of collusion between Trump aides and Moscow seemingly hoping that Brennan, like former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper before him, would say he had not seen direct evidence.

But Brennan took a different tack, saying he had seen contacts between Russia and “U.S. persons” that concerned him, and that these contacts had been passed to the FBI for investigation. This was the most direct acknowledgment yet by a current or former U.S. official that investigators believe Russia sought to recruit Americans to help affect the 2016 election.
The remarks also provided lend some additional heft to the Russia investigations being conducted by the FBI and House and Senate intelligence committees, which Trump has sought to dismiss as a witch hunt.

“I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals,” Brennan told lawmakers. “And it raised questions in my mind again whether or not the Russians were able to gain the cooperation of those individuals.”

Republicans get backup on leaks

The Brennan hearing wasnt all bad news for Trump. The former CIA chief took a hardline stance on government officials who have leaked classified information to the news media, saying the leakers need to be tracked down.

“These continue to be very, very damaging leaks, and I find them appalling, Brennan said.

During a House Intelligence Committee hearing in March, Republicans took heat for focusing on leaks rather thanon Russias election meddling and possible collusion with the Trump campaign. Republicans appeared cognizant of this criticism on Tuesday, with Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) saying he wanted to save his leak questions until the end of the hearing.

After the hearing, the White House issued a statement touting Brennans remarks on leaks.

Even Obama’s CIA director believes the leaks of classified information are ‘appalling’ and the culprits must be ‘tracked down,'” said a White House spokesperson.

Coats willing to talk, just to a different panel

The first question Tuesday at the Senate Armed Services Committee’s hearing with Coats was about the Posts report the night before that before, which said Trump had asked him and Rogers to publicly deny evidence of cooperation between his campaign and Russia.

I don’t feel its appropriate to characterize discussions and conversations with the president, Coats responded.

But asked later if hed be willing to divulge such talks with the Senate Intelligence Committee which is spearheading the probe into Russias election-year meddling and possible ties to Trumps team the nations top spy changed his tune.
I do believe that the information and discussions that I’ve had with the president are something that should not be disclosed, said Coats, who had vowed to cooperate with the inquiries during his confirmation hearing. On the other hand, if I’m called before an investigative committee, I certainly will provide them with what I know and what I don’t know.

The former Indiana Republican senator said he had no documents to make relevant to the intelligence panels or to Robert Mueller, the former FBI director whom the Justice Department tapped as the special counsel overseeing its Russia investigation.

Senate Democrats look to keep intelligence controversies alive

Armed Services Democrats repeatedly tried to draw Coats into criticizing Trumps decision to share classified intelligence possibly from Israel with senior Russian officials in the Oval Office earlier this month.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and other lawmakers asked whether if the disclosure would affect intelligence sharing with other U.S. allies.

I’ve not seen anything that would lead to that conclusion, Coats replied.

Defense Intelligence Agency chief Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart backed up the claim at the same hearing. That brought a rebuke from Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.): Theyre very worried, general.

Democrats also latched onto another evasive answer from Coats as evidence that the spy chief was aware of pressure from the president on the intelligence community to disavow the government’s Russia investigation.

While Coats wouldn’t comment broadly on the allegations that Trump tried to stifle the FBIs investigation, the intelligence leader also wouldn’t actively deny that he had discussed the issue with Rogers.
That is something that I, um, would like to withhold, that question, at this particular point in time,” he said in response to the query from Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).

Panel Democrats took the response as a de facto yes, though McCain skewered that interpretation.

Maine Sen. Angus King, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, also pried out of Coats that the intelligence community has not begun what is often called a bomb damage assessment of the ramifications of Trump sharing the secret information with the Russians.

Rogers gets off easy

Comparatively, lawmakers treated Rogers with kid gloves during his testimony before a House Armed Services subcommittee.

None of the panel members asked about Trumps reported requests during the 75-minute session, which dealt with the military’s U.S. Cyber Command budget proposal for the 2018 fiscal year. Rogers offered no comments about the accuracy of the Posts story during his opening statement or in any of his answers.

Morrissey Rips British Politicians after Manchester Attack: Petrified to Admit Islamic Extremism Behind Terror


Musician and songwriter Morrissey angrily excoriated British politicians following Monday night’s deadly terrorist attack at a pop music concert in Manchester, England, claiming that it is easy for politicians to say they are “unafraid” and to remain resolute while failing to address the root causes of terrorism and hiding behind their own robust security.
This is now LIVE on C-SPAN3. https://twitter.com/cspan/status/867104325503528961 
 

This is now LIVE on C-SPAN3. https://twitter.com/cspan/status/867104325503528961 …

CIA ex-chief cites signs of possible Trump campaign ties to Russia

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former CIA Director John Brennan said on Tuesday that he does not know whether President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign colluded with Russia but that he saw “information and intelligence that was worthy of investigation.”

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.

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.


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PBSNewsHour’s YouTube Videos: PBS NewsHour full episode May 23, 2017
More Corporate Sponsors Abandon Puerto Rican Day Parade
CBSNewsOnline’s YouTube Videos: Ex-CIA Director: Russia “brazenly interfered” with 2016 election
(6) Coates Wont Say If Trump Asked Him To Deny Collusion – Full Hearing – YouTube
Video – Former CIA Director Brennan: “I shared classified information with the Russians while I was Director of the CIA.” Full video here: http://cs.pn/2rMhwLt
Former CIA Director Brennan testifies on #Russia before @HouseIntelComm LIVE on C-SPAN3 http://cs.pn/2rMhwLt pic.twitter.com/Xjw0iCSkLp
Trump retains Marc Kasowitz as private attorney for Russia probe: Fox Business
Former CIA Chief Brennan Says Russians Were in Contact With Trump Campaign Associates
Security sources identify suspected Manchester attacker
DOJ says special prosecutors office up and running
Former CIA Chief Brennan Says Russians ‘Brazenly’ Interfered in U.S. Election
(6) Coats won’t answer Trump – Russia question – YouTube

PBSNewsHour’s YouTube Videos: PBS NewsHour full episode May 23, 2017

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From: PBSNewsHour
Duration: 55:01

Tuesday on the NewsHour, an alleged suspect is named after a bombing kills more than 20 in Manchester, England. Also: Former CIA director John Brennan shares concern over Russian election meddling, deep cuts to social programs in President Trump’s proposed budget, previewing a presidential visit with the pope and shifting education dollars to school choice.

PBSNewsHour’s YouTube Videos

More Corporate Sponsors Abandon Puerto Rican Day Parade

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The decision by parade organizers to honor a nationalist militant, Oscar López Rivera, led AT&T to withdraw sponsorship and Coca-Cola to scale back.

CBSNewsOnline’s YouTube Videos: Ex-CIA Director: Russia “brazenly interfered” with 2016 election

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From: CBSNewsOnline
Duration: 03:09

Former CIA Director John Brennan revealed for the first time Tuesday that he contacted his Russian counterpart about the country’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election. CBS News chief Congressional correspondent correspondent Nancy Cordes spoke to CBSN about what Brennan revealed.

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Get new episodes of shows you love across devices the next day, stream local news live, and watch full seasons of CBS fan favorites anytime, anywhere with CBS All Access. Try it free! http://bit.ly/1OQA29B


CBSN is the first digital streaming news network that will allow Internet-connected consumers to watch live, anchored news coverage on their connected TV and other devices. At launch, the network is available 24/7 and makes all of the resources of CBS News available directly on digital platforms with live, anchored coverage 15 hours each weekday. CBSN. Always On.

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(6) Coates Won’t Say If Trump Asked Him To Deny Collusion – Full Hearing – YouTube

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Published on May 23, 2017

Daniel R. Coats, director of national intelligence, and Marine
Corps Lt. Gen. Vincent R. Stewart, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee, May 23, 2017.

“I don’t feel it’s appropriate to characterize conversations with the president,” Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coates told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.

Coates was called before the committee to discuss worldwide threats, but the first question – from Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) — dealt with the latest leak to the Washington Post intended to undermine the Trump presidency.
Video courtesy Department of Defense

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Video – Former CIA Director Brennan: “I shared classified information with the Russians while I was Director of the CIA.” Full video here: http://cs.pn/2rMhwLt

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Former CIA Director Brennan: “I shared classified information with the Russians while I was Director of the CIA.” Full video here: http://cs.pn/2rMhwLt

Former CIA Director Brennan testifies on #Russia before @HouseIntelComm – LIVE on C-SPAN3 http://cs.pn/2rMhwLt pic.twitter.com/Xjw0iCSkLp

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Former CIA Director Brennan testifies on before – LIVE on C-SPAN3http://cs.pn/2rMhwLt 

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Trump retains Marc Kasowitz as private attorney for Russia probe: Fox Business

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

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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

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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.

5 takeaways from intel leaders’ Trump testimony – 7:52 PM 5/23/2017

(6) Coates Won’t Say If Trump Asked Him To Deny Collusion – Full Hearing – YouTube

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Published on May 23, 2017

Daniel R. Coats, director of national intelligence, and Marine
Corps Lt. Gen. Vincent R. Stewart, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee, May 23, 2017.

“I don’t feel it’s appropriate to characterize conversations with the president,” Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coates told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.

Coates was called before the committee to discuss worldwide threats, but the first question – from Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) — dealt with the latest leak to the Washington Post intended to undermine the Trump presidency.
Video courtesy Department of Defense

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Video – Former CIA Director Brennan: “I shared classified information with the Russians while I was Director of the CIA.” Full video here: http://cs.pn/2rMhwLt

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Former CIA Director Brennan: “I shared classified information with the Russians while I was Director of the CIA.” Full video here: http://cs.pn/2rMhwLt

Former CIA Director Brennan testifies on #Russia before @HouseIntelComm – LIVE on C-SPAN3 http://cs.pn/2rMhwLt pic.twitter.com/Xjw0iCSkLp

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5 takeaways from intel leaders’ Trump testimony

Current and former U.S. intelligence leaders made it clear on Tuesday that they have little interest in helping President Donald Trump escape the scandal surrounding his campaigns ties to Russia.During three congressional hearings, the leaders lent new weight to questions about whether Trumps campaign aides colluded with Russian officials to influence the presidential election providing yet another setback as the White House seeks a reset during Trumps foreign trip.

Former CIA Director John Brennan said U.S. intelligence agencies had picked up contacts between Russia and people involved in Trump’s campaign, and left open the possibility that Russian officials may have been successful in recruiting some of the aides.

Across Capitol Hill, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats declined to comment on a Washington Post report that Trump had asked him to deny evidence of Russia collusion, though Coats left the door open to answering such questions in the future. And National Security Agency chief Adm. Mike Rogers did nothing to douse the Post’s allegation that Trump had made a similar request to him as lawmakers failed to ask him a single question about the issue.

Here are POLITICOs takeaways from Tuesdays hearings:

Brennan adds to Trumps troubles

Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee asked Brennan repeatedly whether he had seen evidence of collusion between Trump aides and Moscow seemingly hoping that Brennan, like former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper before him, would say he had not seen direct evidence.

But Brennan took a different tack, saying he had seen contacts between Russia and “U.S. persons” that concerned him, and that these contacts had been passed to the FBI for investigation. This was the most direct acknowledgment yet by a current or former U.S. official that investigators believe Russia sought to recruit Americans to help affect the 2016 election.
The remarks also provided lend some additional heft to the Russia investigations being conducted by the FBI and House and Senate intelligence committees, which Trump has sought to dismiss as a witch hunt.

“I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals,” Brennan told lawmakers. “And it raised questions in my mind again whether or not the Russians were able to gain the cooperation of those individuals.”

Republicans get backup on leaks

The Brennan hearing wasnt all bad news for Trump. The former CIA chief took a hardline stance on government officials who have leaked classified information to the news media, saying the leakers need to be tracked down.

“These continue to be very, very damaging leaks, and I find them appalling, Brennan said.

During a House Intelligence Committee hearing in March, Republicans took heat for focusing on leaks rather thanon Russias election meddling and possible collusion with the Trump campaign. Republicans appeared cognizant of this criticism on Tuesday, with Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) saying he wanted to save his leak questions until the end of the hearing.

After the hearing, the White House issued a statement touting Brennans remarks on leaks.

Even Obama’s CIA director believes the leaks of classified information are ‘appalling’ and the culprits must be ‘tracked down,'” said a White House spokesperson.

Coats willing to talk, just to a different panel

The first question Tuesday at the Senate Armed Services Committee’s hearing with Coats was about the Posts report the night before that before, which said Trump had asked him and Rogers to publicly deny evidence of cooperation between his campaign and Russia.

I don’t feel its appropriate to characterize discussions and conversations with the president, Coats responded.

But asked later if hed be willing to divulge such talks with the Senate Intelligence Committee which is spearheading the probe into Russias election-year meddling and possible ties to Trumps team the nations top spy changed his tune.
I do believe that the information and discussions that I’ve had with the president are something that should not be disclosed, said Coats, who had vowed to cooperate with the inquiries during his confirmation hearing. On the other hand, if I’m called before an investigative committee, I certainly will provide them with what I know and what I don’t know.

The former Indiana Republican senator said he had no documents to make relevant to the intelligence panels or to Robert Mueller, the former FBI director whom the Justice Department tapped as the special counsel overseeing its Russia investigation.

Senate Democrats look to keep intelligence controversies alive

Armed Services Democrats repeatedly tried to draw Coats into criticizing Trumps decision to share classified intelligence possibly from Israel with senior Russian officials in the Oval Office earlier this month.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and other lawmakers asked whether if the disclosure would affect intelligence sharing with other U.S. allies.

I’ve not seen anything that would lead to that conclusion, Coats replied.

Defense Intelligence Agency chief Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart backed up the claim at the same hearing. That brought a rebuke from Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.): Theyre very worried, general.

Democrats also latched onto another evasive answer from Coats as evidence that the spy chief was aware of pressure from the president on the intelligence community to disavow the government’s Russia investigation.

While Coats wouldn’t comment broadly on the allegations that Trump tried to stifle the FBIs investigation, the intelligence leader also wouldn’t actively deny that he had discussed the issue with Rogers.
That is something that I, um, would like to withhold, that question, at this particular point in time,” he said in response to the query from Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).

Panel Democrats took the response as a de facto yes, though McCain skewered that interpretation.

Maine Sen. Angus King, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, also pried out of Coats that the intelligence community has not begun what is often called a bomb damage assessment of the ramifications of Trump sharing the secret information with the Russians.

Rogers gets off easy

Comparatively, lawmakers treated Rogers with kid gloves during his testimony before a House Armed Services subcommittee.

None of the panel members asked about Trumps reported requests during the 75-minute session, which dealt with the military’s U.S. Cyber Command budget proposal for the 2018 fiscal year. Rogers offered no comments about the accuracy of the Posts story during his opening statement or in any of his answers.

Morrissey Rips British Politicians after Manchester Attack: Petrified to Admit Islamic Extremism Behind Terror


Musician and songwriter Morrissey angrily excoriated British politicians following Monday night’s deadly terrorist attack at a pop music concert in Manchester, England, claiming that it is easy for politicians to say they are “unafraid” and to remain resolute while failing to address the root causes of terrorism and hiding behind their own robust security.
This is now LIVE on C-SPAN3. https://twitter.com/cspan/status/867104325503528961 
 

This is now LIVE on C-SPAN3. https://twitter.com/cspan/status/867104325503528961 …

CIA ex-chief cites signs of possible Trump campaign ties to Russia

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former CIA Director John Brennan said on Tuesday that he does not know whether President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign colluded with Russia but that he saw “information and intelligence that was worthy of investigation.”

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.

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.

Trump proposes deep U.S. spending cuts in Mexico, Central America

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Tuesday proposed drastically slashing U.S. foreign aid spending in Mexico and Central America, which are struggling with drug violence, graft and poverty that prompts many from the troubled region to migrate north.

Senate panel says it will subpoena Michael Flynn businesses

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The leaders of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee said on Tuesday they would subpoena two of former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s businesses after Flynn declined to comply with a subpoena for documents in the panel’s Russia probe.

Trump retains Marc Kasowitz as private attorney for Russia probe: Fox Business

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump has retained Marc Kasowitz as his private attorney for the special counsel’s probe of alleged Russian meddling in the U.S. election and possible ties between the Trump campaign and Moscow, a Fox Business Network reporter said on Twitter on Tuesday.

U.S. lawmakers gear up to block Trump plan to slash oil stockpile

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A Trump administration plan to sell off half the U.S. emergency crude oil stockpile to help balance the budget faces opposition in Congress, with lawmakers from both parties worried the proposal would undermine the drilling industry and make the country vulnerable to supply shocks.

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After the appointment of a special counsel to investigate possible ties between President Trump’s campaign and Russia, can the White House return to business as usual? The FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast crew looks at whether past presidents have been … 

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The litany of potentially impeachable offenses by Donald Trump grows longer by the day from the possible violations of the foreign emoluments Dump Trump heartsmindears via Foterclause to firing a sitting FBI director investigating the “Russia thing. 

Statement on coverage of Seth Rich murder investigation – Fox News
 

Statement on coverage of Seth Rich murder investigation
Fox News
On May 16, a story was posted on the Fox News website on the investigation into the 2016 murder of DNC Staffer Seth Rich. The article was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting. Upon and more »

Mahmoud Abbas, Donald Trump, and the Politics of Peace – The New Yorker
 


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But Palestinians have a politics, too, which usually gets only cursory attention. Abbas has an ongoing rivalry with Hamas, but other challenges besides; if the Trump Administration procrastinates, or expects significant new concessions from him, Abbas
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“Holding hands,” Pete Souza wrote in a succinct caption.

Trump calls Kim Jong Un a madman with nuclear weapons, according to transcript of Duterte call

Trump also told Duterte he is doing an unbelievable job on the drug problem during call.

Fox News retracts unfounded story about DNC staffer’s death

Days after it was debunked, Fox News retracted on Tuesday an unfounded story it ran last week alleging that the 2016 death of a Democratic National Committee staffer may have been a murder in retaliation for communicating with the website WikiLeaks. But Fox News host Sean Hannity is doubling down.According to D.C. police, the staffer, Seth Rich, was killed last summer during a robbery attempt, but a conspiracy theory has circulated online claiming that he had really been murdered because he leaked DNC emails to WikiLeaks. The police have said there is no evidence to support the claim, and Richs family also denied that Rich had communicated with anyone from WikiLeaks before his death.

But Fox News picked up the story and ran an article about it online, and conservative host Sean Hannity promoted the unfounded claims on his primetime program and through social media, spurring widespread condemnation from other media.

The network released a statement Tuesday afternoon saying that the May 16 story was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting.

Upon appropriate review, the article was found not to meet those standards and has since been removed, the statement said. We will continue to investigate this story and will provide updates as warranted.
The statement did not mention Hannity, who as recently as Tuesday afternoon had continued to share tweets about it. And after Fox issued the retraction, Hannity refused to follow suit, saying on his radio show, “all you in the liberal media, I am not FoxNews.com. I retracted nothing.”

“For those accusing me of pushing a conspiracy theory, you are the biggest phony hypocrites in the entire world,” he said on the afternoon program.

Hannity described himself as feeling “so badly” for Rich’s family and “what they have been through and what they are going through,” but refused to apologize for promoting the unfounded claims.

“Take Seth out of it, there was a whistleblower, within the DNC a truthteller that actually was the source for WikiLeaks and not Russia working with the Trump campaign,” Hannity said. “These are questions I have a moral obligation to ask. And I will do the mainstream media’s job like I have most of my career.”

American intelligence officials say they are confident in their conclusion that the Russian government was behind the cyberattack on the DNC last year. President Donald Trump has repeatedly denied that his campaign coordinated with the Russians on the hacking, and his campaign is the subject of multiple investigations into whether or not it did.

On Monday evening, he shared a link to a Daily Beast story reporting that other Fox News employees were dismayed by his embrace of the unfounded story and indicated that he had no regrets. Very interesting, he wrote. My heart is not troubled in the least.Richs family thanked Fox for retracting the story in a statement sent through a spokesman on Tuesday.

The family would like to thank Fox News for their retraction on a story that has caused pain and anguish to the family and has done harm to Seth Richs legacy, the family said. We are hopeful that in the future that Fox News will work with the family to ensure the highest degree of professionality and scrutiny is followed so that only accurate facts are reported surrounding this case.

The Daily Caller, a conservative website, has also taken down a story promoting the conspiracy theory.

Local affiliate Fox 5 has not retracted its story on the subject, and a spokesperson referred a reporter to a clarification the publication issued last week reporting that a source had backed down from the account.


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Download audio: http://podcasts.c-spanvideo.org/trimmed/program/047/471480/program.471480.MP3-STD.mp3

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Messiah College professor John Fea teaches a class about the people and ideas that shaped the Pennsylvania Constitution, written in 1776.

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University of Washington professor Margaret O’Mara teaches a class about the 1968 presidential election and the events that affected the outcome.

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Former CIA Director Brennan testifies on #Russia before @HouseIntelComm – LIVE on C-SPAN3 http://cs.pn/2rMhwLt pic.twitter.com/Xjw0iCSkLp

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Former CIA Director Brennan testifies on before – LIVE on C-SPAN3http://cs.pn/2rMhwLt 

Trump retains Marc Kasowitz as private attorney for Russia probe: Fox Business

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

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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

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· · ·

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.

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(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.

News In Photos – 6:40 PM 5/23/2017

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WSJ.com: World News: Former CIA Chief Brennan Says Russians ‘Brazenly’ Interfered in U.S. Election

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WSJ.com: World News

WSJ.com: World News: Suicide Bomber Kills 22 at U.K. Concert; Children Among Victims

The suicide bomber who killed 22 people and injured dozens of others outside a pop concert in Manchester on Monday night hit one of the softest of soft targets a mostly young crowd pouring from the exits at the end of the show, police said.

WSJ.com: World News

WSJ.com: World News: Japan Pushes Ahead With Antiterrorism Bill

Japan took a decisive step toward a new law bolstering police powers to prevent terror attacks despite concerns about a possible erosion of civil liberties.

WSJ.com: World News

WSJ.com: World News: Australia Opens New Trade Horizon in Latin America

Australia plans to begin free trade talks on Wednesday with Peru, hoping to use a resulting pact to broaden commerce with three more Latin American countries and help counter a U.S. tide of protectionism.

WSJ.com: World News

WSJ.com: World News: Big Brother Comes for Foreign Firms in China

A new threat to foreign businesses in China is looming in the form of a social-credit system that harnesses big data to monitor and rate companies, what one think tank calls IT-backed authoritarianism.

WSJ.com: World News

WSJ.com: World News: Pope Francis, Donald Trump to Seek Common Ground at Vatican

When President Donald Trump visits Pope Francis on a trip the White House has cast as a pilgrimage of peace, the two leaders could struggle to find significant areas of agreement after a public show of acrimony.

WSJ.com: World News

WSJ.com: World News: Men Punished With Lashings for Same-Sex Relations in Indonesia

Two men were lashed with a cane in Aceh province as punishment for having same-sex relations, part of a growing intolerance of sexual minorities that has marked the rise of more conservative Islam in the worlds largest Muslim-majority country.

WSJ.com: World News

The World Web Times worldwebtimes.com: 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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The World Web Times worldwebtimes.com

WSJ.com: World News: At Least 19 Killed at U.K. Concert; Police Investigating as Terror

A suspected suicide bomber killed at least 19 people were killed and about 50 injured at a concert hall in Manchester, England, according to U.S. and U.K. authorities. A loud explosion was set off outside the venue just after American singer Ariana Grande closed a show, sending screaming fans streaming toward the exits, according to witnesses and British authorities.

WSJ.com: World News

WSJ.com: World News: Ousted South Korean President’s Corruption Trial Opens

The trial of former South Korean President Park Geun-hye began less than three months after she was removed from office as part of a sweeping corruption scandal. Also on trial are Ms. Parks former friend and Lottes chairman.

WSJ.com: World News

 

1. News in Photos from mikenova (4 sites)
WSJ.com: World News: One Protester Killed, Hundreds Hurt in Clash With Bahraini Police
WSJ.com: World News: Mexico and Canada Want Nafta Talks With U.S. to Be Trilateral
The World Web Times worldwebtimes.com: 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.
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WSJ.com: World News: Former CIA Chief Brennan Says Russians ‘Brazenly’ Interfered in U.S. Election
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WSJ.com: World News: Japan Pushes Ahead With Antiterrorism Bill
WSJ.com: World News: Australia Opens New Trade Horizon in Latin America
WSJ.com: World News: Big Brother Comes for Foreign Firms in China
WSJ.com: World News: Pope Francis, Donald Trump to Seek Common Ground at Vatican
WSJ.com: World News: Men Punished With Lashings for Same-Sex Relations in Indonesia
The World Web Times worldwebtimes.com: Trump asked intelligence officials to deny connections with Russia
WSJ.com: World News: At Least 19 Killed at U.K. Concert; Police Investigating as Terror
WSJ.com: World News: Ousted South Korean President’s Corruption Trial Opens

 

1. News in Photos from mikenova (4 sites)
WSJ.com: World News: One Protester Killed, Hundreds Hurt in Clash With Bahraini Police

Bahraini security forces clashed with Shiite Muslim protesters, killing one person and wounding hundreds in the latest flare-up between the countrys Sunni monarchy and majority Shiite population.

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

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.”

Read the whole story

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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Цирк Братьев Ринглинг, Барнума и Бейли с полуторавековой историей выступил в последний раз 4:03 PM 5/22/2017
President Donald Trump has a packed schedule filled with photo ops during his first trip abroad.
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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
Leaked Documents Reveal What Facebook Will Let You Post 3:38 PM 5/22/2017

Leaked Documents Reveal What Facebook Will Let You Post
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.
Manchester explosion Google Search Monday May 22nd, 2017 at 11:44 PM

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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

1. VIDEO NEWS from mikenova (66 sites)

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: 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.
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
Security sources identify suspected Manchester attacker
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Organization is suing over data collection.
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.”

Trey Gowdy poised to seize House Oversight gavel after Jason Chaffetz departs

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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.

Brooklyn Magazine: Where to Celebrate Memorial Day in BK

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!
Feltmans/Kitchen 21

1. Politics Review from mikenova (18 sites)
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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

Nineteen people have been killed and about 50 injured in a suspected terror attack at Manchester Arena. The blast happened at about 22:35 BST on Monday following a pop concert by the US singer Ariana Grande.

Image result for manchester explosion

1. World and Politics from mikenova (23 sites)
The World Web Times worldwebtimes.com: Manchester explosion Google Search Monday May 22nd, 2017 at 11:44 PM
Reuters: World News: Yemen raid kills seven al Qaeda militants: U.S. military
AP Top News at 11:40 p.m. EDT: Corruption trial begins for ex-South Korean President Park
Reuters: World News: China’s imports from North Korea sink below $100 million as coal ban bites
AP Top News at 11:40 p.m. EDT: Much-anticipated Ariana Grande concert ends in blood, horror
AP Top News at 11:40 p.m. EDT: Reaction to Manchester explosion at Ariana Grande concert
1. VIDEO NEWS from mikenova (66 sites): FoxNewsChannel’s YouTube Videos: US official: Reports of shrapnel suggest premeditation
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1. Podcasts from mikenova (14 sites): Hourly News Summary: NPR News: 05-22-2017 11PM ET
1. VIDEO NEWS from mikenova (66 sites): FoxNewsChannel’s YouTube Videos: UK police treating concert blast as terrorism
1. VIDEO NEWS from mikenova (66 sites): FoxNewsChannel’s YouTube Videos: Concert-goer describes ‘floor-shaking explosion’ then panic
1. World and Politics from mikenova (23 sites)
The World Web Times worldwebtimes.com: Manchester explosion Google Search Monday May 22nd, 2017 at 11:44 PM
 

manchester explosion – Google Search

The World Web Times worldwebtimes.com

Reuters: World News: Yemen raid kills seven al Qaeda militants: U.S. military

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States military said a raid against an al Qaeda compound in Yemen on Tuesday morning (local time) killed seven militants, with two U.S. officials saying the primary objective of the raid was to gather intelligence.

Reuters: World News

AP Top News at 11:40 p.m. EDT: Corruption trial begins for ex-South Korean President Park

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Former President Park Geun-hye stared straight ahead in court Tuesday and denied that she engaged in bribery and leaking government secrets at the start of a criminal trial that could send South Korea&apos;s first female leader to prison for life if convicted….

AP Top News at 11:40 p.m. EDT

Reuters: World News: China’s imports from North Korea sink below $100 million as coal ban bites

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s imports of North Korean goods fell below $100 million to fresh multi-year lows in April, accelerating a months-long decline after China halted coal shipments from its isolated neighbor, data showed on Tuesday.