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US Monthly Headline News September 2019 Page 7

By Jason Lemon
Senior White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said on Sunday that it was "important" to have a president like Donald Trump because he and his administration officials don't "study" or form "commissions" in order to inform decisions before they're made. "This is why it's so important to have a president who isn't a typical politician, because he and his team don't sit around and say, 'well, let's study it, let's have a commission about it,'" Conway said during an interview with Fox News Sunday as she discussed the Trump administration's response to a drone attack on Saudi oil fields that disrupted 5 percent of the global oil supply over the weekend. "Secretary [of State Mike] Pompeo went right out there and pointed the finger at the aggressor here, the Iranian regime," she continued. The attack targeting Saudi Arabia's state oil company Aramco was claimed by the Houthis, a Yemeni group, which is allied with Iran. Yemen's Houthis overthrew their government back in 2015 and have been fighting against a Saudi-led coalition supported by the U.S. The coalition has reportedly killed large numbers of civilians in the conflict and has helped create a large-scale humanitarian crisis in the country. On Saturday, Pompeo tweeted: "Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply. There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen." Iran's Foreign Ministry dismissed the accusation in an official statement on Sunday. "In international relations, even 'hostility' [should have] a minimum degree of credibility and logical frameworks, but the U.S. officials have ignored even such minimum principles," foreign ministry spokesperson Abbas Mousavi said, according to Iran's Tasnim News Agency. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif followed that statement with a tweet of his own, calling out Pompeo specifically. "Having failed at 'max pressure', @SecPompeo's turning to 'max deceit'. US & its clients are stuck in Yemen because of illusion that weapon superiority will lead to military victory," Zarif wrote. Despite Pompeo's accusation, Conway suggested that Trump would still consider meeting with Iran's President Hassan Rouhani during the United Nations General Assembly later this month. "He said he'll consider it, and the conditions always must be right with this president," the Trump adviser said. more... - Kellyanne Conway must be a dumb as Trump, that is the dumbest thing ever said how can you make a decisions if you don’t know what is going on.

A congressional report Clinton helped pen during Watergate was later used to justify impeaching her husband. Now it's guiding Democrats angling to oust Trump.
By DARREN SAMUELSOHN
A document Hillary Clinton helped write nearly a half century ago has returned from the dead to threaten the man she couldn’t vanquish in 2016. The bizarre, only-in-D.C. twist centers on a congressional report penned by a bipartisan team of young attorneys that included Hillary before she was a Clinton and written in the throes of Watergate. Then, unlike now, not a single lawmaker had been alive the last time Congress impeached a president. They had little understanding of how to try and remove Richard Nixon from the White House. So they tapped Clinton and a team of ambitious staffers to dive into the history of impeachment, stretching back to the 14th century in England: How has impeachment been used? What were the justifications? Can we apply it to Nixon? The resulting document became a centerpiece of the congressional push to drive the Republican president from office. But then Nixon resigned. The memo was buried. That was just the report’s first life. In an ironic twist, the document was resurrected in the late 1990s. Republicans gleefully used it to bolster their unsuccessful bid to oust Clinton’s now-husband, President Bill Clinton. Then it faded from public conscience — again. Until now, that is. The 45-year-old report has become a handbook House Democratic lawmakers and aides say they are using to help determine whether they have the goods to mount a full-scale impeachment effort against President Donald Trump, the same man who three years ago upended Hillary Clinton’s bid for a return trip to the White House. Essentially, Clinton, albeit indirectly, might get one last shot at accomplishing what she couldn’t in 2016 — defeating Donald Trump. “I can only say that the impeachment Gods have a great sense of humor,” Alan Baron, an expert on the topic who has staffed four congressional impeachments against federal judges, said of the recurring role Hillary Clinton keeps playing in this story. It started in early 1974. The walls were closing in on a beleaguered Richard Nixon. His aides were going down one by one. He had tried — and failed — to halt the investigations into his behavior by cleaning house during the infamous “Saturday Night Massacre.” On Capitol Hill, Hillary Rodham, a 26-year-old law school graduate, was hired by the House Judiciary Committee to work on a bipartisan staff effort to help determine whether to impeach Nixon. She joined a team of aspiring lawyers that also included Bill Weld, who would go on to his own illustrious career as a top Justice Department prosecutor, Massachusetts governor and most recently as a longshot 2020 GOP primary challenger against Trump. Over a couple of months just before the climactic end of the Watergate scandal, the team dug deep into constitutional and legal arcana scouring documents that dated to the country’s founding, as well as century-old newspaper clippings in the Library of Congress. more...   

CNN New Day - In an interview with CNN's John Berman, former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci said President Donald Trump's Twitter threat that the US is "locked and loaded," after an attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities, has less of an impact because Trump's words show a "predictable level of irrationality." more...

The Massachusetts Democrat, who had already introduced a massive anti-corruption bill, is adding some new aspects to her plan.
By Gideon Resnick
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is adding some new proposals to her anti-corruption plan, this time with one particularly provocative target: President Trump’s sister. In a Medium post published Monday, the Massachusetts Democrat proposes closing the loophole that “allows federal judges to escape investigations for misconduct by stepping down from their post.” In outlining the idea, Warren specifically references a case involving Trump’s sister Maryanne Trump-Barry, whose retirement brought an abrupt end to an investigation into her role in various tax schemes of the family and potential fraud therein.  “Under my plan, investigations will remain open until their findings are made public and any penalties for misconduct are issued,” Warren writes in the post. In spotlighting the Trump-Barry case, Warren becomes the first Democratic presidential candidate to take an overt shot at the president’s sister.  But Trump-Barry isn’t the only judge that Warren cites as a basis for her ethics policy. The Senator also cites allegations of sexual misconduct against the former appeals court judge Alex Kozinski and how a probe into the allegations was scuttled when he resigned.  Nor is the proposal dealing with federal judges the lone plank in the new policy. The proposal is one of many in a larger package that includes banning “lobbyists from making political contributions” and “from bundling donations or hosting fundraisers for political candidates." It would also ban senior officials and members of Congress from serving on for-profit boards and prohibit courts from using sealed settlements to conceal evidence in cases involving public health and safety. Collectively, the program is ambitious in its scope. But it would face hurdles for passage. Warren is attaching it to her current ethics bill which requires congressional approval in order for enactment. more...    

Congressman Adam Schiff claimed on Sunday that the official who sits atop the intelligence community is rejecting a subpoena to turn over a whistleblower complaint in order to protect an even higher-ranking official, possibly a top administration official or even President Trump. "According to the director of national intelligence (DNI), the reason he's not acting to provide it, even though the statute mandates that he do so, is because he is being instructed not to. This involved a higher authority, someone above the DNI," Schiff, who is chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said in an interview with CBS News' "Face the Nation." Schiff had issued a subpoena Friday to Joseph Maguire, the acting DNI, alleging that he was unlawfully withholding the whistleblower complaint from the committee. A letter sent with the subpoena said that Maguire's office had "improperly" cited the complaint's "confidential and potentially privileged communications" as its reason for withholding it. "The Committee can only conclude, based on this remarkable confluence of factors, that the serious misconduct at issue involves the President of the United States and/or other senior White House or Administration officials," Schiff wrote in the letter. While he said he couldn't divulge the contents of the complaint, the fact that the DNI had cited "privileged communications" means that it would involve a "pretty narrow group of people." "So, I think it's fair to assume this involves either the president or people around him or both," Schiff said. Further, the complaint had been deemed "credible" by the inspector general of the intelligence community (IC IG). By Friday, more than 10 days had lapsed since Maguire was supposed to hand over the complaint. "At the end of the day, if the director of national intelligence is going to undermine the whistleblower protections," Schiff said. "It means that people are going to end up taking the law into their own hands and going directly to the press, instead of the mechanism that Congress set to protect classified information." That, he said would threaten U.S. national security and the whistleblower system "that encourages people to expose wrongdoing." more...    

Tanya McDowell was arrested and charged with first-degree larceny and served five years behind bars for the "stolen" education
By Claudia Harmata
Felicity Huffman‘s 14-day sentencing has spotlighted school-related cases of parents who received longer jail time in comparison to the actress’ role in the college admissions scandal. A homeless woman from Bridgeport, Connecticut, was sentenced to five years in prison for enrolling her son in a school district where he did not reside. In 2011, Tanya McDowell wanted a better education for her then 5-year-old son Andrew, and enrolled him in an elementary school in the neighboring town of Norwalk — using her son’s babysitter’s address for registration papers. At the time, she and her son were living out of her van and homeless shelters, and spending nights at an apartment in Bridgeport, the Connecticut Post had reported. The mother was arrested and charged with first-degree larceny and served five years behind bars for the “stolen” education. “Who would have thought that wanting a good education for my son would put me in this predicament?” McDowell, who also had prior drug charges, said in court at the time of her sentencing. “I have no regrets seeking a better education for him, I do regret my participation in this drug case.” On Friday, actress Huffman was sentenced to 14 days behind bars for her role in the college admissions scandal, which included paying $15,000 to admissions consultant William “Rick” Singer and his nonprofit organization, Key Worldwide Foundation (“KWF”), who then facilitated cheating on Huffman’s daughter’s SAT test by having a proctor correct the teen’s answers after the fact. more...    

The Guardian - Stanley Greenberg makes key points about Republican decline – but the president’s opponents face tough challenges too A supporter of Robert Kennedy in 1968, Greenberg saw class, not race, as the lever of choice in wooing Democratic voters. A quarter-century later, he was Bill Clinton’s pollster in his victorious 1992 presidential bid. Now Greenberg delivers RIP GOP, in which he predicts that the rage engendered by Donald Trump will lead to his defeat in 2020, Democratic control of the Senate and the collapse of the current Republican party. Imagine the past midterms on steroids. An illustration of a dead elephant lying on a mound of dirt, all four legs skyward, graces Greenberg’s cover. Apparently, the author is less interested in unifying the US than in forging durable coalitions. Think math, not therapy. It’s about 50% +1. The book is methodically and meticulously researched. It portrays an America where white voters without a four-year degree remain nearly a majority and suburbia is home to half of the population. A country grown less worshipful and more diverse. We really do live in a bubbling cauldron of contradictions and countervailing forces. Nearly 35 years ago, the pollster Stanley Greenberg took a hard look at Macomb county, Michigan, wanting to better understand the political DNA of “Reagan Democrats”. He concluded: “These white Democratic defectors express a profound distaste for blacks, a sentiment that pervades almost everything they think about government and politics.” In Greenberg’s telling, a galvanized Democratic party led by minorities, single women, younger voters and women with degrees will upend a decade of Republican ascendance built on the Koch brothers’ money, hostility toward modernity, racial resentment and nativism. It’s a bold prediction, even if Trump’s approval ratings are underwater and the GOP is scrapping primaries to avoid embarrassing their guy. First, presidents seldom lose re-election, and unlike Bush 41, Trump is not mired in a recession. Inverted yield curves are not the same as actual negative growth or mass unemployment. Second, Greenberg is betting progressive economics tethered to multiculturalism will not cost the Democrats the White House, a wager open to debate if the latest polling from Wisconsin, a state Trump won, is reflective of the state of play. In the Badger state, Joe Biden, an establishment liberal with a marked following among older voters and African Americans, is the only Democrat holding a solid lead (nine points) over the president. Elizabeth Warren, whose kind words grace RIP GOP’s jacket, is in a dead heat with Trump. Reminiscent of 2016, she and the president are both weighed down by negatives. more...    

By Sarah Westwood, CNN
(CNN) - White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway said Sunday that President Donald Trump has "many options on the table" in terms of what he could do to respond to what his administration has described as Iran's role in a crippling strike on Saudi Arabia's oil production this weekend.
Conway, in keeping with the Trump administration's policy of declining to outline possible military responses to provocations, declined to say whether a retaliatory strike on Iranian oil is under consideration. But she did leave open the door to a potential meeting between Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani next week in New York -- something that was a possibility before the attack in Saudi Arabia. "The President will always consider his options," Conway said on "Fox News Sunday" when asked if Trump would still sit down with Rouhani under current circumstances. "We've never committed to that meeting at the United Nations General Assembly. The President's just said he's looking at it." "When you attack Saudi Arabia ... you're not helping your case much," she added. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pinned the blame on Iran for an attack at a Saudi oil field in a pair of tweets Saturday. Drone strikes on crucial Saudi Arabian oil facilities have disrupted about half of the kingdom's oil capacity, or 5% of the daily global oil supply, CNN Business reported earlier Saturday. Yemen's Houthi rebels took responsibility for the attacks but they are often backed by Iran. Yemen's Houthi rebels took responsibility for the attacks but they are often backed by Iran. But preliminary indications are that the attacks did not originate from Yemen and likely originated from Iraq, according to a source with knowledge of the incident. The same official said the damage was caused by an armed drone attack. Conway also downplayed the impact of likely disruptions to the global oil market by pointing to Trump's efforts to develop domestic energy. "This President also through his energy policy, Bill, has made us less dependent on these foreign leaders and bad regimes for our energy supply," she told Fox's Bill Hemmer. "We have energy under our feet and off our shore and this President is leading the way to responsibly develop it." CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen said there have been more than 200 drone attacks launched by Houthi rebels from Yemen into Saudi Arabia, and none have been as effective as Saturday's attack, lending credence to the belief that the attack did not originate from Yemen. more...   

By Kate Sullivan, CNN
Washington (CNN) - President Donald Trump called on his Justice Department Sunday to "rescue" Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh after The New York Times published an excerpt of a new book detailing sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh that he has previously denied.
The excerpt from "The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation," written by Times reporters Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly, revisits an allegation raised during the Supreme Court justice's confirmation process in 2018. That allegation from Deborah Ramirez accused Kavanaugh of exposing himself to her at a party when he was a freshman at Yale, according to an account published in The New Yorker. Kavanaugh has repeatedly denied the allegation. The book revisits Ramirez's claim and contains a new allegation -- told to the authors -- by a former male classmate who sources say came forward to the FBI and senators concerning an incident he witnessed. The authors said the FBI did not investigate this incident. CNN is not reporting any details related to the allegation because we have not independently verified it. Trump tweeted Sunday that Kavanaugh "should start suing people for libel, or the Justice Department should come to his rescue." (The President initially misspelled the word "libel" before deleting the tweet and correcting the word in a subsequent tweet.) In nominating Kavanaugh, Trump seized a rare opportunity to solidify a conservative majority for a generation on the Supreme Court. The President and those who worked to get him on the bench are now waiting to see if their calculation was correct, and for a sense of how far and how fast the conservative majority will move. The President's pick for the Supreme Court faced allegations of sexual misconduct that threatened to derail his confirmation in 2018. more...

As authorities work to understand the spate of vaping-related lung illnesses, a small-town drug bust offers a closer look at the vast black market for vaping supplies.
By Julie Bosman and Matt Richtel
BRISTOL, Wis. — The drug bust shattered the early-morning stillness of this manicured subdivision in southeastern Wisconsin. The police pulled up outside a white-shuttered brick condo, jolting neighbors out of their beds with the thud of heavy banging on a door. What they found inside was not crystal meth or cocaine or fentanyl but slim boxes of vaping cartridges labeled with flavors like strawberry and peaches and cream. An additional 98,000 cartridges lay empty. Fifty-seven Mason jars nearby contained a substance that resembled dark honey: THC-laced liquid used for vaping, a practice that is now at the heart of a major public health scare sweeping the country. Vaping devices, which have soared in popularity as a way to consume nicotine and THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, have been linked in the last several months to nearly 400 illnesses and six deaths. State and federal health investigators have not yet determined a cause, but authorities are focusing on whether noxious chemicals have found their way into vaping supplies, perhaps from a flourishing nationwide black market of vaping products fueled by online sales and lax regulation. The bust this month in Wisconsin, where THC is illegal, offers an intimate look at the shadowy operations serving large numbers of teenagers and adults around the country who are using black-market vaping products, sometimes unknowingly because it is difficult to tell them apart from legitimate ones. more...   

Donald Trump came storming to the defence of Brett Kavanaugh on Sunday, after the publication of new allegations about the supreme court justice’s behaviour while he was a student at Yale led to renewed calls for his impeachment. Trump is seriously, frighteningly unstable – the world is in danger “The Radical Left Democrats and their Partner, the LameStream Media, are after Brett Kavanaugh again,” the president tweeted. On Saturday, the New York Times, a leading target for Trump’s ire, published an essay adapted from a new book by two of its reporters, Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly. In the extract from The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: an Investigation, Pogrebin and Kelly look into the judge’s time at Yale in the 1980s. The piece concerned a claim by another student, Deborah Ramirez, that at a drunken party, Kavanaugh “pulled down his pants and thrust his penis at her, prompting her to swat it away and inadvertently touch it”. Ramirez’s claim first surfaced during Kavanaugh’s stormy confirmation last year, though it did not attract as much attention as that of Dr Christine Blasey Ford, an academic who said Kavanaugh attempted to rape her at a high school party. Pogrebin and Kelly wrote: “While we found Dr Ford’s allegations credible during a 10-month investigation, Ms Ramirez’s story could be more fully corroborated. During his Senate testimony, Mr Kavanaugh said that if the incident Ms Ramirez described had occurred, it would have been ‘the talk of campus’. Our reporting suggests that it was.” The reporters also said they had “uncovered a previously unreported story about Mr Kavanaugh in his freshman year that echoes Ms Ramirez’s allegation”. A classmate, they wrote, “saw Mr Kavanaugh with his pants down at a different drunken dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student”. The Times said senators and the FBI were notified about that claim but it was not investigated. Kavanaugh vehemently denied all allegations against him. He was confirmed on a 50-48 vote, the narrowest for a supreme court pick in more than a century. As Trump’s second pick, he has tilted the court firmly to the right. Pogrebin and Kelly’s book comes on the heels of another book by Times reporters, She Said by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, about the investigation and downfall of Harvey Weinstein, which triggered the #MeToo movement. more...   

Save yourself hassles and regrets by learning more about the program.
by Selena Maranjian | The Motley Fool
There may be 50 ways to lose your lover – and when it comes to Social Security, there are quite a few ways to lose your benefits, too. Maybe not 50, but they're still problematic, since Social Security income is crucial for many retirees, and any decrease in benefits can really hurt. Here are three ways you can lose some of that income. Heed these cautions to get the most out of Social Security. 1. Claiming your benefits too soon. The Social Security checks in your future are not fixed. Not only will they be adjusted for inflation, but there are also actions you can take to make them bigger or smaller. A key decision for most retirees is when to start collecting benefits – because delaying can make your checks plumper. For every year beyond your full retirement age that you delay receiving benefits, you'll increase their value by about 8% until age 70. Delay from age 67 to 70, and you can end up with checks that are about 24% larger. If you start collecting early, your checks will be smaller. For every year before your full retirement age that you start collecting, your benefits shrink by about 7%. So if your full retirement age is 67 and you start collecting benefits at age 62, your checks will be about 30% smaller. more...   

The Associated Press
By CLAIRE GALOFARO and LINDSAY WHITEHURST
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The photo that flashed onto the courtroom screen showed a young man dead on his bedroom floor, bare feet poking from the cuffs of his rolled up jeans. Lurking on a trash can at the edge of the picture was what prosecutors said delivered this death: an ordinary, U.S. Postal Service envelope. It had arrived with 10 round, blue pills inside, the markings of pharmaceutical-grade oxycodone stamped onto the surface. The young man took out two, crushed and snorted them. But the pills were poison, prosecutors said: counterfeits containing fatal grains of fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid that has written a deadly new chapter in the American opioid epidemic. The envelope was postmarked from the suburbs of Salt Lake City. That's where a clean-cut, 29-year-old college dropout and Eagle Scout named Aaron Shamo made himself a millionaire by building a fentanyl trafficking empire with not much more than his computer and the help of a few friends. This story was produced in partnership with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. For three weeks this summer, those suburban millennials climbed onto the witness stand at his federal trial and offered an unprecedented window into how fentanyl bought and sold online has transformed the global drug trade. There was no testimony of underground tunnels or gangland murders or anything that a wall at the southern border might stop. Shamo called himself a "white-collar drug dealer," drew in co-workers from his time at eBay and peppered his messages to them with smiley-face emojis. His attorney called him a fool; his primary defense was that he isn't smart enough to be a kingpin. How he and his friends managed to flood the country with a half-million fake oxycodone pills reveals the ease with which fentanyl now moves around the world, threatening to expand the epidemic beyond America's borders. It is so potent, so easy to transport, experts say, large-scale traffickers no longer require sophisticated networks to send it to any corner of the globe. All they need is a mailbox, internet access and people with an appetite for opioids. And consumption rates are rising from Asia to Europe to Latin America as pharmaceutical companies promote painkillers abroad. more...

By Clay Masters
Farmers in the rural Midwest say they are struggling because of President Trump's ongoing trade war and a recent decision the president made on renewable fuels made from corn and soybeans that benefits the oil industry. "We're tightening our belt," farmer Aaron Lehman says while driving his tractor down a rural road near his farm north of Des Moines. "We're talking to our lenders, our landlords [and] our input suppliers." Lehman, the president of the Iowa Farmers Union, says his members say they're trying to find any way to cut costs just to make ends meet. He says they're concerned about the escalating trade war. "Instead we chose to insult our trade allies, pick all sorts of fights with our trade allies," Lehman says. "And then go to China and make outrageous demands that we knew were not going to be met." The Trump administration has doled out billions of dollars in relief to farmers for taking the brunt of the trade war. It's an economic short-term positive deal to fill in a gap but it doesn't fix a long-term problem of not having access to foreign markets. Back in June, President Trump came to Council Bluffs, Iowa with an announcement meant to calm those concerns. His administration cleared the way for higher blends of corn-based ethanol. Forty percent of the United States' corn crop goes to ethanol production. "We lifted the restrictions on E-15 just in time to fuel America's summer vacations," President Trump said to cheers in Council Bluffs. "We just made it." more...   

Trump ally’s political influence may be on the wane as he calls for investigation at evangelical university
Since January 2016, when the head of Liberty University, Jerry Falwell Jr, endorsed Donald Trump for president, the influential evangelical university has been on a fast-track to the heart of American politics. Since being credited with helping Trump earn the loyal support of the Christian right, Falwell has become a regular presence at the White House. Meanwhile, the university, founded in 1971 by his late father, the Rev Jerry Falwell Sr, has expanded exponentially. Under Falwell Jr’s leadership, the Lynchburg, Virginia, not-for-profit university’s assets have reportedly grown from $259m in 2007 to over $3bn and it has more than 100,000 students. But lately, a series of alleged scandals appear to be threatening Falwell’s grip on power. And this week, the stakes were raised even higher amid accusations of corruption and Falwell’s own demand for an FBI investigation. On Monday, Politico published a report, citing more than 24 current and former “high-ranking” Liberty officials, which claims they are losing confidence in him. Falwell, it alleges, “presides over a culture of self-dealing, directing university resources into projects and real estate deals in which his friends and family have stood to make personal financial gains”. Jim Guth, politics and international affairs professor at Furman University and an expert on the religious right, said: “There’s becoming a lot of unease within the Liberty network among people in response to all of these kinds of reports that have been circulating for the last couple of years and seem to be becoming more serious, and I think that in some ways parallels what’s going on in the larger evangelical community politically. And although it’s remained very much supportive of Mr Falwell’s favorite politician, President Trump, there seem to be increasing cracks in that approval – and I think that the same thing is happening in terms of Falwell’s image within his network.” more...    

By Chris Kirkham, Jeffrey Dastin
(Reuters) - As U.S health officials scramble to identify the root cause of hundreds of severe lung illnesses tied to vaping, one possible culprit identified so far is a line of illicit marijuana vape products sold under the brand names “Dank Vapes” and “Chronic Carts.” A study published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine found that more than half of patients with the lung illness - 24 of 41 - who were extensively interviewed in Wisconsin and Illinois reported having used the “Dank Vapes” brand. The New York State Department of Health identified “Dank Vapes” and “Chronic Carts” as products containing Vitamin E acetate, a thickening agent in THC oil that has been a key focus in its investigation into the illnesses. THC is the psychoactive compound in cannabis. While Vitamin E acetate is often applied to skin or used as a dietary supplement, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned against inhalation because “data is limited about its effects” on the lungs. The agency has advised consumers to avoid vaping THC oils or using devices bought outside of stores. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is investigating 380 confirmed or probable cases of lung illnesses tied to vaping, said the condition has not definitively been linked to a specific product or ingredient, including Vitamin E acetate. The CDC advises against using any e-cigarette or vaping products, since most of the patients interviewed used both THC and nicotine liquids, while 20 percent used only nicotine. more...    

By Daniel Dale
Washington (CNN) - President Donald Trump made a three-tweet argument Friday morning about why he should not be impeached, touting what he said were his accomplishments. Over the course of 139 words, he made six false claims -- plus three others that aren't false but could benefit from additional context. Let's go claim by claim. First the false claims, in the order he tweeted them: more...  

By Michelle Mark
A former college classmate of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh tried to tip off US senators and the FBI last year to another previously unreported sexual misconduct allegation, The New York Times reported Saturday. According to the newspaper, a former Yale student named Max Stier said he saw Kavanaugh at a drunken dorm party where his friends pushed his penis into a female student's hands. Kavanaugh was reportedly a freshman at the time of the incident. Stier declined to discuss the allegation with The Times, but the reporters said they corroborated details of the story with two officials who spoke about the matter with Stier.  It's unclear from The Times' report if Stier knew who the female student was, and if she has verified that the incident occurred as Stier described it. Stier's account bears similarities to an allegation made by Deborah Ramirez, another Yale classmate who accused Kavanaugh of pulling his pants down and thrusting his penis in her face at a different dorm party. The FBI did not investigate Stier's claims, The Times reported. Though the FBI did interview Ramirez in September 2018, it did not interview some 25 individuals named by Ramirez as potentially having corroborating evidence of her allegations, according to The Times.  The newspaper added that many of the potential witnesses on Ramirez's list tried, but failed, to reach out to the FBI. Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court last October after a rancorous battle over the multiple allegations of sexual misconduct he faced. more...  

By Chris Joyner Rosalind Bentley, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The rally is effectively over. Participants are mainly walking around chanting “USA.” They have the space at the Dahlonega square for about another 30 minutes. Some speakers didn’t show. Principal organizer Chester Doles was on the mic for a second time. The rally is effectively over. Participants are mainly walking around chanting “USA.” They have the space at the Dahlonega square for about another 30 minutes. Some speakers didn’t show. Principal organizer Chester Doles was on the mic for a second time. - Chris Joyner. Here are the live updates from our reporters at the rally today in Dahlonega. Return to AJC.com later today for a recap story and more photos. The rally is effectively over. Participants are mainly walking around chanting “USA.” They have the space at the Dahlonega square for about another 30 minutes. Some speakers didn’t show. Principal organizer Chester Doles was on the mic for a second time. - Chris Joyner. "Get hate off our streets" was one of several messages written by Dahlonega residents last night in advance of the rally. (Photo: Rosalind Bentley/AJC). A little more than 100 counterprotesters — which would be about twice the number of rally attendees — were chanting “Whose streets? Our streets!” and “No Nazis, no KKK, no fascist USA!” - Rosalind Bentley. more...   

There was no evidence that medical procedures were performed at the Illinois property where the remains were found, the authorities said. By Derrick By Bryson Taylor
The family of a doctor in Illinois discovered more than 2,200 medically preserved fetuses at his property a little over a week after his death, the authorities said. The Will County Coroner’s Office received a call on Thursday from a lawyer representing the family of the doctor, Ulrich Klopfer, who died on Sept. 3, the Will County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. While going through Dr. Klopfer’s property, the family found 2,246 medically preserved fetal remains, the release said. At the request of the family, the lawyer asked the coroner’s office to remove the remains. It was unclear how the fetuses were preserved, where on Dr. Klopfer’s property they were discovered or where exactly the property was. Public records showed the doctor owned a home in Crete, Ill., a village about 35 miles south of Chicago. The release only said officials responded to “an address in unincorporated Will County.” more...    

By Caroline Kelly, CNN
Washington (CNN) - Former Attorney General Eric Holder predicted President Donald Trump may be prosecuted after his presidency if he doesn't first face impeachment proceedings while in office -- but warned of the possible risks to the nation. The Obama-era attorney general's comments come as impeachment advocates hailed Thursday's Judiciary Committee's vote to formalize the rules of its investigation, though House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has avoided labeling the committee's probe as an impeachment inquiry. CNN "Axe Files" host David Axelrod asked Holder whether he thought Trump is subject to prosecution upon leaving office, Holder replied, "Well, I don't think there's any question about that." Holder referenced former Trump attorney Michael Cohen's guilty plea last year to campaign finance violations tied to hush money payments he made or orchestrated on behalf of Trump. "We already have an indictment in the Southern District of New York where Michael Cohen (was charged) relative to the payoffs, Michael Cohen's already in jail with regard to his role there," Holder added, referencing court filings in the case referring to Trump as "Individual-1." "It would seem to me that the next attorney general, the next president is going to have to make a determination," he added. Axelrod also asked Holder whether there would be a cost to prosecuting Trump post-presidency in the absence of impeachment proceedings, citing former President Gerald Ford opting to pardon his predecessor Richard Nixon. "Yes, I think there is a potential cost to the nation by putting on trial a former president, and that ought to at least be a part of the calculus that goes into the determination that has to be made by the next attorney general," Holder said. more...   

The national security adviser departed abruptly after President Trump suggested he might lift some sanctions as an incentive for Tehran to get to the negotiating table.
By Carol E. Lee and Courtney Kube
WASHINGTON — Former national security adviser John Bolton’s abrupt departure on Tuesday came after President Donald Trump suggested he might lift some U.S. sanctions on Iran as an incentive for Tehran to come to the negotiating table, according to a person close to Bolton. This person said Trump raised the idea of lifting sanctions during a discussion with Bolton in the Oval Office on Monday afternoon. Bolton made clear to the president that he strongly disagreed with the idea, this person said. Bolton was out as national security adviser the following morning, though he and Trump disagree over who made that decision. The president has said he fired him, while Bolton has said he resigned. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. As national security adviser, Bolton was a leading advocate of the Trump administration’s so-called “maximum pressure campaign,” designed to squeeze Iran’s economy until its leadership was forced to curtail its aggression in the region and concede to U.S. demands to dismantle its nuclear program. Trump withdrew the U.S. from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal last year. Iran has since decided not to comply with the agreement. Trump recently has said he would meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, perhaps later this month on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly session in New York, without preconditions. Iran has said it won’t negotiate with the U.S. until sanctions are lifted. This was not the first time Trump has brought up the idea of easing sanctions to bring Iran to the negotiating table, according to a U.S. official familiar with the Iran policy discussions. more...  

The Republican party has taken “a wrong turn” under Donald Trump, according to three GOP challengers to the president, and is heading down the road to totalitarianism as states cancel primaries in an attempt to give Trump an unimpeded path to the nomination in 2020. In a joint opinion column for the Washington Post, Mark Sanford, Joe Walsh and Bill Weld noted that “the Democratic primary challengers are still engaged in a heated competition of debates, caucuses and primaries to give their voters in every corner of our country a chance to select the best nominee”. They asked: “Do Republicans really want to be the party with a nominating process that more resembles Russia or China than our American tradition?” Sanford, a former South Carolina congressman and governor, and Walsh, a Tea Party congressman from Illinois turned talk radio host, recently joined Weld, a former governor of Massachusetts, in seeking to offer a Republican alternative to Trump. Pending any legal challenges, they will not be able to do so in Arizona, Nevada, Kansas and South Carolina, which have cancelled their nominating contests. “A president always defines his or her party,” the three men wrote, “and today the Republican party has taken a wrong turn, led by a serial self-promoter who has abandoned the bedrock principles of the GOP. “In the Trump era, personal responsibility, fiscal sanity and rule of law have been overtaken by a preference for alienating our allies while embracing terrorists and dictators, attacking the free press and pitting everyday Americans against one another. “No surprise, then, that the latest disgrace, courtesy of Team Trump, is an effort to eliminate any threats to the president’s political power in 2020.” more...     

By Benjamin Fearnow
A New Mexico Republican congressional candidate has been forced to defend 2015 posts which blasted now-President Donald Trump as an "a**hole unworthy of the office" and railing against the man she now openly backs. Claire Chase, who is running to defeat Democratic Rep. Xochitl Torres Small in New Mexico's 2nd Congressional District, was outed as a "Never Trump" Republican Party member during the 2016 presidential election. Right-wing website Breitbart News first reported on Chase's anti-Trump past despite her current candidacy portraying herself as an ardent supporter of the Trump administration. Facebook posts dating back to 2015 see her ridiculing Trump as a Vietnam War draft-dodger and threatening to vote for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson should Trump win the GOP primary. A representative for Chase's U.S. House campaign now insists that she voted for Trump in November 2016 despite ridiculing him for at least two years. Her post-election comments continued to deride Donald Trump on a personal level -- but now she has "come around." "For all my friends who like Donald Trump, I'm working on a fuller rant than he's an a**hole unworthy of the office and the power of the President of THE United States," Chase wrote on Facebook on August 30, 2015, as the New York businessman and reality TV host began surging against his GOP primary rivals. "Marco Rubio is the guy. Carly Fiorina is the woman. This is the ticket to beating Hillary Clinton," she added alongside a link to an article from The Washington Post touting the Florida Republican senator. A few weeks later in 2015, Chase shared a Politico article discussing whether former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin would become the Trump administration Energy Secretary should he win the following year. "This is reason enough not to vote for Trump, among the other 836,297 reasons not to vote for him," Chase wrote on Facebook. more...  

CNN Reliable Sources - Hosts and guests on Fox News are questioning Joe Biden's "senility" and strength. Julie Roginsky, a former Fox contributor, says "everything that Shawn Hannity and everyone else has said about Biden applies to Trump times a thousand. And yet, that's never pointed out." more...

By Nadia Kounang and Steve Almasy, CNN
(CNN) - The US Food and Drug Administration's Allergenic Products Advisory Committee on Friday voted in favor of approving a treatment for peanut allergies in children.
The drug Palforzia is designed to minimize the incidence and severity of allergic reactions in people from ages 4 to 17 with peanut allergies. While the advisory committee has voted in favor of the treatment, the FDA will make its final approval by January. The agency frequently follows the lead of the advisory committee. If approved, this will become the first FDA approved treatment for peanut allergy. "We are very pleased that the FDA Allergenic Products Advisory Committee has voted in support of Palforzia," said Jayson Dallas, CEO of drug manufacturer Aimmune Therapeutics. This recommendation recognizes the urgent need for patients to have a treatment option for their potentially life-threatening allergy." More than 3 million Americans are allergic to peanuts and tree nut allergies. The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology says that more than 2.5% of American children are allergic to peanuts. Peanut allergy is one of the most common food allergies in US children. If children who are allergic to peanuts are exposed to them, they may experience an array of symptoms including cramping, indigestion, diarrhea, shortness of breath, tightness of breath, hives and swelling. The most severe reaction is anaphylaxis, when the entire body responds with symptoms including impaired breathing, a sudden drop in blood pressure, and fainting and dizziness. If not treated immediately, anaphylaxis can be fatal. Current advice for people with allergies is to avoid peanuts. If exposed, people with allergies should use a drug like injectable epinephrine, commonly sold as EpiPen, or for milder reactions, antihistamines. more...   

by AJ Gersh
ABILENE, Texas — President Donald Trump announced a proposal on Wednesday to ban flavored e-cigarettes amid a string of mysterious vaping-related illnesses and deaths. In the past few years, vaping among young non-smokers has risen drastically. But out of the six reported deaths from vaping in the United States, three of them are THC oil-related, while the other three deaths have not been connected to any specific underlying issue. ABILENE, Texas — President Donald Trump announced a proposal on Wednesday to ban flavored e-cigarettes amid a string of mysterious vaping-related illnesses and deaths. In the past few years, vaping among young non-smokers has risen drastically. But out of the six reported deaths from vaping in the United States, three of them are THC oil-related, while the other three deaths have not been connected to any specific underlying issue. "In response to the rising number of lung disease [cases] related to 'vaping', the CDC released a statement that people should avoid using e-cigarettes," Sam Salaymeh, the President and CEO of AMV Holdings, the largest brick-and-mortar vaping retailer in the country, said. "They failed to direct the public's attention to the fact that a large portion of patients reported that they were vaping illicit THC products." "It's a pretty new phenomenon," Pulmonologist Dr. Amelia Yeh said, when discussing vaping. Yeh said that vaping, whether with nicotine or THC, is especially dangerous due to the uncertainty and lack of long-term studies about it. "There isn't quite the wealth of data for example with cigarettes," said Yeh. "I think we're gonna see more and more of these [vaping] problems down the road, as unfortunately, more and more people are doing this. It's really an unfortunate new fad that people are picking up." However, Salaymeh said that what people do not understand is that the e-cigarettes with nicotine differ from the e-cigarettes with illicit THC oil, which is only intended for topical use and is dangerous if inhaled. more...

Felicity Huffman won't be doing hard time when she spends 2 weeks behind bars, but it ain't Hollywood glamour either ... she can do some sunbathing, but only after she makes her bed. The actress is turning herself in to FCI Dublin Oct. 25, where she will serve her 14 days for her role in the college bribery scandal ... and we've got an inside look at what Felicity's life will be like. Upon entry, Felicity will be stripped searched and then she'll get a jumpsuit, with 3 pairs of underwear. She'll get a hygiene kit with a comb, deodorant, toothbrush and some crappy toothpaste, plus a roll of toilet paper. She better conserve her squares -- Felicity gets one roll of TP every other week, which in her case means the roll needs to last her entire stay. Felicity will be required to make her bed by 6:30 AM every weekday morning. On the weekends, she'll have to straighten up her prison cot by 10 AM. No maids, of course. Most of her time will be spent inside, but Felicity can still catch some rays. Sunbathing is allowed at FCI Dublin, but only on the sun decks from 4 PM Friday until 8:30 PM Sunday. BTW ... inmates get at least 1 hour of recreation time each day. more...

By Asher Stockler
Ted Nugent—the rock guitarist and National Rifle Association board member who frequently threatened former President Barack Obama with violence—sent a letter to the NRA's entire board of directors ahead of the board's meeting in Washington, D.C., on Friday calling for transparency and reform at the gun-rights group. "Representing the direct pulse of many thousands of NRA members across America face to face and on social media, it is more than obvious we must dedicate all our efforts to make this historical American civil rights organization 100% transparent and compliant with all legal considerations and ethical responsibilities," Nugent wrote in an e-mail distributed Thursday night, a copy of which was obtained by Newsweek. Nugent is a highly provocative figure, controversial even within the nation's most prominent Second Amendment advocacy group. During a concert in 2007, while brandishing two machine guns, he proclaimed that then-presidential candidate Barack Obama was "a piece of s***." "I told him to suck on my machine gun," he said on the Feather Falls Indian Casino stage in Oroville, California. "Hey Hillary, you might want to ride one of these into the sunset, you worthless b****." In 2012, Nugent told NRA members at the group's annual gathering that he would either "be dead or in jail" if Obama won a second presidential term. Those comments were widely interpreted as a threat on Obama's life, and they prompted a Secret Service investigation. Nugent has previously claimed that he "never made any threats of violence towards anyone," though the rock star has acknowledged calling for Hillary Clinton to be hanged and has referred to Obama as a "communist-nurtured subhuman mongrel" and a "chimpanzee." While Nugent may be most recognized for his diatribes against Obama, Thursday's letter could indicate a broader shift in how some otherwise disengaged board members are responding to the group's financial crisis. more...

By Sarah Westwood, Evan Perez and Ryan Browne, CNN
(CNN) - President Donald Trump in a statement on Saturday said late al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's son Hamza bin Laden had been "killed in a United States counterterrorism operation in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region." He did not give a time period for the operation or the death. "The loss of Hamza bin Ladin not only deprives al-Qa'ida of important leadership skills and the symbolic connection to his father, but undermines important operational activities of the group," the President said in the statement. Trump also said "Hamza bin Ladin was responsible for planning and dealing with various terrorist groups." CNN previously reported on July 31 that the US believed Hamza bin Laden was dead, citing a US official. The official told CNN at the time that the US had a role in this death but did not provide details. CNN terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank told CNN at the time that one thing puzzled researchers who are closely tracking al Qaeda: "If Hamza bin Laden has indeed been dead for months, you would expect al Qaeda to have released some form of eulogy before today. The fact they haven't is highly unusual, given his status in the group." US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper also appeared to confirm in a Fox News interview in August that Hamza bin Laden was dead. more...

After the collapse of his peace deal with the Taliban, Trump’s answer seems to be no. So we've learned nothing
by Lucian K. Truscott IV
It’s been a week since Donald Trump canceled the peace talks with the Taliban that were supposed to happen at the presidential retreat at Camp David last weekend. Negotiations between the United States and Taliban leaders had been going on in Doha for nearly a year. Former U.S. ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad led the U.S. delegation through nine rounds of talks and produced an “agreement in principle” for the U.S. to pull about 5,000 troops out of Afghanistan in return for the Taliban’s assurances that the country would not become a haven for terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaida. After 18 years,  more than 2,000 American soldiers dead and 20,000 wounded, that seems like a reasonable goal, don’t you think? Especially considering that keeping Afghanistan from being a safe haven for al-Qaida terrorists was the reason we invaded in the first place. So what are we doing walking away from an agreement of any kind that would reduce the number of troops we have in Afghanistan and potentially lead to an end to that misbegotten war? Well, we could ask the president’s national security adviser, except Trump doesn’t have one of those anymore, having fired his third one, John Bolton, a couple of days after ending the peace talks. Or we could ask Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who presumably had something to do with the peace talks, since they were an exercise in diplomacy. But we don’t have a secretary of state. What we’ve got instead is a portly, grinning yes-man whose major accomplishment in office so far seems to be having survived longer than the portly yes-man who preceded him, Rex Tillerson. Or we could ask the secretary of defense, Mark Esper, but he’s only been in office for about a month, and is probably still having a hard time finding his way around the E-Ring of the Pentagon. We could ask a couple of the other guys who have served as acting secretaries of defense over the last six months or so, but they weren’t around for long, and nobody can remember who the hell they were, so why bother? Do you see where I’m going with this? We’ve got 14,000 troops still serving in Afghanistan and there is nobody in Washington who’s been around long enough to be able to tell you where they are on the ground over there, or what they’re doing, much less why they’re still there. more...  

By Joseph Zeballos-Roig
President Donald Trump astonished US officials at the G7 summit in France when he jokingly referred to Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi as "my favorite dictator." According to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news, Trump made the comments while waiting to meet with the Egyptian president. He searched over a gathering of Egyptian and US officials and loudly called out: "Where's my favorite dictator?" The Journal reported that Trump's question was met with a shocked silence. It was unclear whether el-Sisi heard the remarks.   The White House declined Insider's request for comment. Trump's comments cast attention on his coziness with authoritarian leaders overseas. Others he has lavished praise on include Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and Chinese President Xi Jinping. El-Sisi seized power in a military coup that ousted Egypt's first elected government in 2013. And he has racked up accusations of gross human-rights violations that include imprisoning tens of thousands of political opponents, crushing press freedom, and torturing and killing prisoners. The Egyptian government has justified its actions by saying it is combating extremism. more...    

By Caroline Kelly, CNN
(CNN) - All three Republican primary challengers lambasted state GOP leaders -- and President Donald Trump -- for opting to cancel their 2020 presidential primary elections in a show of support for the President. "In the United States, citizens choose their leaders," former Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, former Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois and former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld said in a Washington Post op-ed on Friday. "The primary nomination process is the only opportunity for Republicans to have a voice in deciding who will represent our party," they added. "Let those voices be heard." Their pushback comes after party leaders in Kansas, South Carolina and Nevada canceled their Republican primaries, with Arizona expected to make it official over the weekend. The scrapped primaries pose a further obstacle for the long-shot challengers, already fighting the incumbent President, who, according to a CNN/SSRS Poll, has an 88% approval rating among Republicans. It is not unprecedented for state Republicans or Democrats to decide not to hold a presidential primary when an incumbent is running essentially uncontested. In South Carolina, a key early primary state, Republicans decided to nix their presidential primaries in 1984 and 2004, when Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush were up for their second terms, while state Democrats skipped their contests in 1996 and 2012, with Bill Clinton and Barack Obama running for reelection. "Each of us believes we can best lead the party. So does the incumbent. Let us each take our case to the public," the three GOP candidates wrote on Friday. "The saying 'may the best man win' is a quintessential value that the Republican Party must honor if we are to command the respect of the American people." "Cowards run from fights," they added, in a thinly veiled jab at Trump. "Warriors stand and fight for what they believe. The United States respects warriors. Only the weak fear competition." more...   

By Bill McCarthy
Fox News host Tucker Carlson celebrated the departure of former national security adviser John Bolton, saying the moustachioed war hawk was actually a lefty. "If you’re wondering why so many progressives are mourning Bolton’s firing tonight, it’s because Bolton himself fundamentally was a man of the left," Carlson said Sept. 10 on his show. Carlson said Bolton was "one of the most progressive people in the Trump administration" and alleged that he "promoted Obama loyalists within the National Security Council." "There was not a human problem John Bolton wasn’t totally convinced could be solved with the brute force of government," Carlson said. "That’s an assumption of the left, not the right." "Don’t let the moustache fool you," he added. But it’s Carlson’s claims about the former national security adviser that are ridiculous. (Fox News did not respond to requests for comment.) A lifelong conservative: First, a note about ideologies: In the United States, we tend to associate the terms "left" and "right" with the Democratic and the Republican Parties, respectively. In that context, Carlson’s claim is "nonsense," said William LeoGrande, professor of government at American University, who previously served on staff for the Senate Democratic policy committee and the House Democratic caucus task force on Central America. "Obviously it’s is wrong if you’re defining it in terms of Democratic versus Republican politics," added Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, chief executive officer of Valens Global, a counter-terrorism consulting firm, and a former advisor for the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Community Partnerships under both President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump. "There’s no question that, based on the American political context, he would be considered a man of the right," Gartenstein-Ross said. more...  

By Laura Davison and Erik Wasson
One of President Donald Trump’s favorite political promises is a second tax cut. But lawmakers in Congress -- who would need to develop and pass another reduction -- are more focused on making their first tax cut permanent. Trump on Thursday promised House Republicans another middle-class tax cut that he said would be “very substantial” and “very, very inspirational,” without giving details. Republican leaders say they support the idea, but they haven’t detailed what a plan would look like. Trump has said his proposal will be released next year, in time to be a campaign issue ahead of the 2020 election. “We will gather together the best ideas from the Hill and the administration and the outside groups to provide a significant new round of middle-class tax relief,” White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters Friday. “This is not a recession measure at all. The economy is very strong.” Congressional tax writers, led by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and the House Ways and Means panel’s top Republican, Kevin Brady, are focused on a different Tax Cut 2.0: Preserving the individual rate reductions from their 2017 law that are set to expire in 2025. “The first and most important step is we can make the cuts for families and small business permanent,” Brady told reporters Friday at a House GOP policy retreat in Baltimore. He was referring to the lower rates for individuals and pass-through companies that were made temporary in the GOP’s signature tax law to avoid running afoul of budget rules. more...  

By Anna Edney and John Lauerman
Global health regulators sounded a coordinated alarm about the possibility that a stomach drug taken by millions of people could be tainted with the same cancer-causing agent that has sparked a worldwide recall of blood-pressure pills. Drug-safety officials in the U.S. and Europe said Friday that they were looking into whether Sanofi heartburn medication Zantac and generic versions made by numerous manufacturers contain levels of the probable carcinogen NDMA that could pose a danger to patients. Ranitidine, as the drug is known in generic form, is an antacid and antihistamine used to treat and prevent a range of gastrointestinal disorders. The chemical NDMA, or N-Nitrosodimethylamine, is a likely human carcinogen found in cooked or cured meats such as bacon, and is a common industrial byproduct. The discovery further underscores the challenge pharmaceutical-industry regulators face in overseeing a vast global supply chain of drugs, drug ingredients and factory processes. Dozens of versions of the hypertension treatment valsartan have been recalled since last year out of concern they could be contaminated with NDMA. Many of those drugs were made in China or India, raising questions about the quality of generic manufacturing in far-flung factories around the globe. Bloomberg News has reported on how poor quality controls and efforts to conceal manufacturing problems from the FDA have complicated oversight of overseas drug producers. more...   

By Savannah Behrmann, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — John Bolton wasted no time getting back in the political game Friday, just a few days after being ousted as President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser. Bolton has resumed his old job as the head of two political action committees, the John Bolton PAC and John Bolton Super PAC, announcing that he would be donating $10,000 to five Republican incumbent re-election campaigns for 2020. These include Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) and Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.). The website reads, "The John Bolton PAC and John Bolton Super PAC seek a strong, clear, and dependable US national security policy, resting on constancy and resolve.” “The experience that these incumbent members of Congress have provides them with a remarkable understanding and knowledge of the threats we face from international terrorism and rogue regimes such as Iran and North Korea,” the statement continues. more...   

By Nick Sibilla
In Kansas v. Glover, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether or not police have “reasonable suspicion” to pull a car over simply because it’s owned by someone with a revoked driver’s license, a decision that could have major ramifications for the Fourth Amendment. Today, at least 11 million drivers in more than 40 states (including Kansas) have had their licenses suspended simply because they have unpaid court debts, according to the newly formed Free to Drive Coalition, which consists of over 100 different organizations. Several of the coalition’s members, including the Fines and Fees Justice Center, the Institute for Justice, and the Southern Poverty Law Center, joined with the Cato Institute and R Street Institute to jointly file an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to declare the stops unconstitutional. more...  

By Madeline Holcombe, CNN
(CNN) - California lawmakers were evacuated Friday after a woman tossed a feminine hygiene product containing what appeared to be blood onto the Senate floor, officials said. The woman threw the object from the Senate gallery, according to a statement from the California Highway Patrol, which is investigating the incident. It said the liquid landed on several Senate members. "The California state Senate, it's a crime scene," Sen. Richard Pan's office said. When the woman walked out into the hallway, she was arrested on several charges, including assault, vandalism and interfering with the use of state property. On Monday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed two bills -- SB 276 and a companion bill SB 714 -- limiting medical exemptions for vaccines. Anti-vaccination activists have been protesting at the capitol for the past two weeks. Pan introduced SB 276 in February, and compared Friday's incident to an assault against him by an anti-vaccination activist last month. more...   

It’s not a matter of opinion, but Fox News treats it as such.
By Aaron Rupar
During a Friday morning interview on Fox & Friends, Donald Trump Jr. was asked if the Trump family is profiting off his office. He responded by lying. The question really isn’t a matter of opinion. The fact of the matter is that following Donald Trump’s precedent-breaking decision not to divest from his business interests, the Trump family is financially benefitting from his office — not necessarily intentionally, but benefitting nevertheless. Trump has claimed he loses “billions of dollars” as president, but there’s no evidence that’s true. Meanwhile, Trump’s most recent financial disclosures reveal the Trump International Hotel alone made him nearly $41 million alone last year. But, on Fox & Friends, Trump Jr. flatly denied reality. “Are you guys benefitting financially from the president holding office?” host Brian Kilmeade asked him. “It’s ridiculous,” Trump Jr. responded. “We voluntarily stopped doing any international deals. Just think of the opportunity cost.” Trump Jr.’s claim about how the Trump Organization has “stopped doing any international deals” is dubious — recent reports indicate they’ve actually been working on an “aggressive global expansion.” But facing no pushback from hosts, Trump Jr. went on to downplay the significance of people spending money at the president’s hotels, echoing a talking point his father used in response to a similar question earlier this week. “They talk, ‘someone bought a cheeseburger at the Trump hotel!’ It’s asinine,” Trump Jr. said. Fox & Friends’ interview with Trump Jr. came while multiple stories about the president profiting off his office are swirling in the news cycle. During a recent diplomatic trip, Vice President Mike Pence and his entourage went far out of their way to stay at one of the president’s resorts during a diplomatic trip to Ireland. The Air Force has increasingly been stopping at an airport in Scotland close to another Trump property for refueling stops, with personnel then staying overnight at a nearby Trump property. Attorney General William Barr was recently in the news for spending $30,000 on a holiday party at the Trump International Hotel. And on Thursday night, Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke at an event at the hotel organized by one of the president’s paying customers. During yet another speech at the Trump International on Friday, Pompeo even pretended in a joking way to not know who owns the hotel. more...  

Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was hounded Thursday with multiple questions about whether the House Judiciary Committee is engaged an impeachment inquiry. Pelosi pushed back that six committees are and have been engaged the entire year in investigating the President and his administration. Source: CNN. more...

By David Shortell, CNN
(CNN) - The Justice Department said Friday that a request to a federal court from House Democrats seeking access to secret grand jury material underlying special counsel Robert Mueller's report should be turned down because the lawmakers have "come nowhere close to demonstrating a particularized need" for the information. House Democrats first filed suit in July, days after Mueller's testimony on Capitol Hill, asking the court to order the release of grand jury information connected to the Mueller report to the House Judiciary Committee. The Democrats argue they need the information to consider whether to move toward impeachment proceedings. Specifically, the lawmakers are seeking the unredacted Mueller report, as well as transcripts of grand jury testimony related to President Donald Trump's knowledge of Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election and links between members of his campaign and Russians. Lawmakers also want any grand jury testimony related to Trump's knowledge of any potential "criminal acts" by him or his associates. In the filing, the the Justice Department called lawmakers' request an "extraordinary order" that is overly broad. "The Committee's failure to provide a tailored request accompanied by a concrete explanation for why this material is necessary is particularly striking given the extensive investigations Congress has already conducted into Russian inference with the 2016 election, gathering information to which the Committee already has access," the Justice Department wrote. The Justice Department argued that the committee's application for materials relies on authorization related to a "judicial proceeding." The department argues that impeachment proceedings in Congress "including hypothetical removal proceedings in the Senate -- are not 'judicial proceedings' under the plain and ordinary meaning of that term." When House Democrats first filed the lawsuit, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler of New York and other committee Democrats said that the legal challenge was a new step that signals the committee is actively considering whether to introduce articles of impeachment. In the filing the Justice Department seizes on the ongoing debate among House Democrats over how to describe their impeachment inquiry, citing Speaker Nancy Pelosi's denial that the House is engaged in an impeachment proceeding. It also cites comments by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who earlier this week suggested that the ongoing effort in the House Judiciary Committee regarding the scope of the impeachment inquiry was an exercise to expedite litigation. more...  

by Mary Catherine Wellons
Representatives from VF Corporation, Columbia Sportswear, Nester Hosiery, and NEMO Equipment met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill this week, letting them know just how hard the U.S.-China trade war is hitting their bottom-line. “We want our message to get across that this is effecting American businesses, American jobs, American innovation and it’s just delaying all of that,” said Katie Kumerow, sustainability manager for Nester Hosiery, which manufactures specialty socks. From September 2018 to July 2019, outdoor recreation businesses have paid $1.8 billion more in tariffs compared to the year ago period, according to new data released Thursday by the Outdoor Industry Association. This tariff increase is nearly triple what outdoor industry companies paid last year, according to the trade group’s latest data. “Our growth is being hampered right now because we are not able to expand our workforce,” says Brent Merriam, Nemo Equipment Chief Operating Officer, who joined fellow association members on Capitol Hill Thursday. NEMO Equipment, a 30-person New Hampshire-based manufacturer of sleeping bags and tents, has paid $175,000 in tariffs so far. While that might not seem like much, Merriam says it means a lot to his business, and has resulted in putting three jobs on hold. more...    

Bill Barr and his DOJ keep trying to satisfy Trump's demand for a show trial of enemies. Have they found a victim?
By Heather Digby Parton
One of the most dramatic moments during Attorney General William Barr's appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee last spring was an exchange between him and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., about whether he had ever been asked by Trump or anyone in the White House to investigate someone. Barr's reply was one of the few times the extremely self-assured Trump lieutenant appeared to be rattled: He said, “I’m trying to grapple with the word ‘suggest,’ I mean there have been discussions of, of matters out there that uh ... they have not asked me to open an investigation.” When Harris then asked whether the White House had hinted at an investigation, Barr said, “I don’t know.” Not that there was any mystery. Trump has been publicly demanding investigations of his perceived adversaries since he took office. He's never tried to hide it. He's said it to reporters and tweeted it out frequently. He has no regard whatever for the principle that a president should not interfere with the Department of Justice in general, and has no comprehension of why a democratic society wouldn't want a president to use the power of federal law enforcement to punish his political enemies. Since that hearing, Barr has made it clear that he relishes the role of Trump henchman. He has launched a probe into the "origins" of the Russia investigation (the third such inquiry) and is personally looking into the intelligence community's conduct, having been given blanket access to all classified information by an unprecedented presidential edict. Barr may not have received a direct order to do these things, but there can be no doubt about the president's deep desire for retaliation against all those who investigated and pursued the Russia claims. It appears that Barr has found some fellow Trump travelers to help him fulfill the president's desires. On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, Rod Rosenstein's replacement and a longtime GOP player — with no previous experience in the Department of Justice — had given the go-ahead to prosecute former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe. Donald Trump has had a couple of rough weeks. But that must have made his day. You may recall that McCabe has been accused of lying to the FBI during a leak investigation, and then later to the inspector general, about whether he gave permission to agents to speak to the Wall Street Journal in 2016, regarding negative information about Hillary Clinton. McCabe claims it's all a misunderstanding and most legal observers think a prosecution is overkill, especially considering that the Justice Department fired him from the FBI one day before he would have qualified for a full pension, which would normally be considered a harsh penalty for such an infraction. more...  

By Ryan Naumann
NFL star Antonio Brown has rushed to court to try and block his long-time sports agent from testifying in his court battle. According to court documents obtained by The Blast, Brown has filed a motion to shut down a scheduled deposition of his sports agent, Drew Rosenhaus. Brown is in the middle of a nasty battle with his former landlord, over a $7 million Miami rental property. The landlord recently told Brown’s agent he wanted to grill him about the case. They also demanded he turn over documents including, “communications between you and Antonio Brown or any of his agents, attorneys or other representations, relating or pertaining to Brown’s occupancy of Unit 1402.” Further, they had been asking for “text messages emails, correspondence and voicemails, between you and any other third party relating or pertaining to the schedule for the “Organized Team Activities” for the Oakland Raiders. more...

The black market still dominates. And more enforcement and fines aren’t going to fix it.
By Scott Shackford
Thanks to high taxes and overregulation, California reportedly has three times as many illegal marijuana dispensaries as it does licensed shops. And that's probably an undercount. The numbers—873 legal vs. 2,835 unlicensed—come from a marijuana dispensary trade association that made its calculations by looking at who is advertising on Weedmaps, a site helping pot users order marijuana from dispensaries online. There's probably more than a few unlicensed dispensaries out there who don't advertise on Weedmaps either. The trade association that provided this count, the United Cannabis Business Association (UCBA), has a mad-on for Weedmaps because it has been allowing unlicensed dispensaries to use its platform. The UCBA, which already pushed through a law increasing the fines on unlicensed vendors, is now lobbying for a bill that would prohibit sites like Weedmaps from hosting advertisements from unlicensed dispensaries, enforced by even more fines. The Los Angeles Times reports that the state has served 19 search warrants and has seized more than $16.5 million in unlicensed marijuana products this year. That's barely even a drop in the bucket. One marijuana industry market research firm predicts about $3 billion in marijuana sales through licensed dispensaries in California and a whopping $8.7 billion in sales through illegal pot operations this year. Both the state and local governments lump a host of taxes on legal marijuana sales, driving the prices up by more than 30 percent in many places. And in Los Angeles, the city has been dragging its feet when it comes to actually licensing people who want to open legally operating storefronts. The city has received more than 1,600 applications to operate legally, but it has licensed only 187 so far this year. Only now, in September—nine months after it became legal to operate recreational marijuana dispensaries—is it going to approve 100 additional licenses. If these folks are going through the effort to invest in storefronts or in on-call delivery services and apply for licenses rather than lurking on street corners, it would seem like they actually want to operate legally. But the government has made it too costly for them to do so. And rather than making it easier for these folks to get licenses, UCBA and city leaders are promoting punitive responses, calling for bigger fines and more enforcement. The City of Los Angeles even went so far as to shut down the utilities of illegal dispensaries and do perp walks of the people they arrested. Yet it's largely the city's own fault that it can't get its act together to hand out the licenses people are asking for. more...   

By Jonathan Allen
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Justice examined using fentanyl in lethal injections as it prepared last year to resume executing condemned prisoners, a then untested use of the powerful, addictive opioid that has helped fuel a national crisis of overdose deaths. The department revealed it had contemplated using the drug in a court filing last month, which has not been previously reported. In the end, it decided against adopting the drug for executions. Attorney General William Barr announced in July his department instead would use pentobarbital, a barbiturate, when it resumes federal executions later this year, ending a de facto moratorium on the punishment put in place by the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama. But the special consideration given to the possibilities of fentanyl, even as federal agents were focused on seizing illegal imports of the synthetic opioid, show how much has changed since the federal government last carried out an execution nearly 20 years ago. Many pharmaceutical companies have since put tight controls on their distribution channels to stop their drugs being used in executions. more...   

By Oliver Darcy, CNN Business
New York (CNN Business) - A federal appeals court on Friday revived a lawsuit filed against Fox News by the parents of Seth Rich, a Democratic National Committee staffer whose unsolved murder became the basis for conspiracy theories on the far-right. "We would not wish what we have experienced upon any other parent -- anywhere," the Riches said in a statement provided to CNN. "We appreciate the appellate court's ruling and look forward to continuing to pursue justice." The parents, Joel and Mary Rich, filed a lawsuit in March 2018 against Fox News, one of the network's reporters, and a Texas businessman. The lawsuit said that Malia Zimmerman, the Fox News reporter named in the lawsuit, worked with Ed Butowsky, the Texas businessman, to develop a "sham" story about Rich's death that Fox News published online in May 2017 and referenced on-air multiple times. The Rich family sought compensation for "mental anguish and emotional distress, emotional pain and suffering, and any other physical and mental injuries."  The complaint argued that actions taken by the defendants "were so outrageous in character and so extreme in degree as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency and are atrocious and utterly intolerable in a civilized community." But Judge George B. Daniels of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed the case in its entirety in August 2018. Daniels wrote in his opinion that he had granted the motion to dismiss the lawsuit over the plaintiffs' "failure to state a claim." However, on Friday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit overturned Daniels' decision. The appeals court said that upon review, it determined that the lawsuit contained "sufficient facts" to survive a motion to dismiss the lawsuit based on failure to state a claim. To that end, the appeals court ordered proceedings to continue in the lawsuit. Lenny Gail, an attorney representing the Rich family, said in a statement, "This decision now clears the way for a thorough investigation into the facts. We will now obtain documents from Fox News and other parties and take testimony under oath from those involved." Fox News released a statement expressing confidence in its case, despite the legal setback Friday. more...    

By Daniel Burke, CNN Religion Editor
(CNN) - Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., facing a growing controversy over business dealings at the university, is now facing a backlash over e-mails in which he allegedly belittled a student and staff during the past decade. Speaking to CNN Friday, Falwell confirmed the emails were authentic, but said they lacked critical context. "I would have to see the full thread to see what I was talking about," he told CNN. On Friday, a small band of students protested on Liberty's campus, demanding that Falwell be held accountable. Standing in the rain, the students carried signs that said, "If you won't answer to us, answer to God!" and "Accountability," according to CNN affiliate WSET. Elizabeth Brooks, a sophomore at the school and a main organizer of the protest, told Religion News Service, that the protest is not aimed at ousting Falwell, but wants to "bring to light the truth of these allegations of various misconduct." There were counterprotesters as well, including one who held a sign that said "Keep Jerry as president. Change my mind." Falwell told CNN on Friday that he was not bothered by the protests. "I just think that what college is all about, letting kids speak their minds," Falwell said. "It shows how healthy Liberty is as a free and open university that protest like that can take place, and I am proud of it." more...  

by Jordan McDonald
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring’s office will not say whether he will investigate Liberty University in light of a recent bombshell Politico article detailing alleged self-dealing and other controversial actions by the college’s president, Jerry Falwell Jr., at the nonprofit university. A spokesman for Herring told CNBC, when asked whether the attorney general was probing Liberty’s practices, “We generally do not comment on pending investigations, even to confirm whether or not one is ongoing.” A senior Liberty University official said that the school has “absolutely not” been notified that it is the subject of an investigation from Herring’s office, the FBI, or any other government authority. An Internal Revenue Service spokesman declined to comment whether it will investigate Liberty University, citing department policy. Virginia’s Department of Education did not respond to a request for comment. Experts in nonprofit law who were interviewed for the Politico article told CNBC this week that the allegations involving Falwell, a prominent supporter of President Donald Trump, were more than than enough to warrant a probe by Herring and his office into Liberty University’s business practices. “The allegations in the Politco exposé of Liberty University and its management are serious and likely merit investigation from state and federal regulators,” said Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, a professor at Stetson University College of Law. Ellen Aprill, a professor of tax law at Loyola Law School, said, “I think the self-dealing transactions are violations of tax law and probably the state nonprofit law.” “I do think they merit both AG and IRS investigation,” Aprill said. Virginia’s attorney general has not been shy about taking action against charities and nonprofits that have violated state law. Herring’s office filed lawsuits against sham cancer charities, deceptive veterans’ charities and a service dog nonprofit between 2016 and 2018. more...

By Aris Folley
The California state Legislature has passed a bill that would ban the use of private prisons and some detention centers operated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the state. Lawmakers in the California State Assembly passed Assembly Bill 32 in a 65-11 vote on Wednesday, a day after the state Senate voted overwhelmingly to approve the measure. The bill, authored by Assembly member Rob Bonta (D), seeks to bar the state’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation from entering into or renewing a contract with a private prison starting in 2020. The legislation also seeks to bar the state from housing inmates in private, for-profit prison facilities after Jan. 1, 2028. It would also bar California from sending prisoners to for-profit facilities outside of the state. However, under an exception recently added to the bill, the department would be allowed to renew or extended a contract to house state prison inmates “in order to comply with any court-ordered population cap.” Bonta said that he added the exception to increase the bill’s chances of getting green-lighted by Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), according to The San Francisco Chronicle. Bonta’s bill would also apply to for-profit detention centers operated by ICE. ICE declined to comment on the California legislation but warned that state law cannot bind "the hands of a federal law enforcement agency," according to NBC News. more...

In a court filing, the state attorney general’s office says that it has found new account transfers by family members who own Purdue Pharma, the maker of opioids.
By Danny Hakim
The New York attorney general’s office said Friday that it had tracked about $1 billion in wire transfers by the Sackler family, including through Swiss bank accounts, suggesting that the family tried to shield wealth as it faced a raft of litigation over its role in the opioid crisis. Earlier this week, thousands of municipal governments and nearly two dozen states tentatively reached a settlement with the Sackler family and the company it owns, Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin. But the attorneys general of a majority of states, including New York and Massachusetts, are balking at the proposed deal, contending that the Sackler family has siphoned off company profits that should be used to pay for the billions of dollars in damage caused by opioids. The wire transfers are part of a lawsuit against Purdue and individual Sacklers in New York. Letitia James, now the state’s attorney general, had issued subpoenas last month to 33 financial institutions and investment advisers with ties to the Sacklers in an effort to trace the full measure of the family’s wealth. “While the Sacklers continue to lowball victims and skirt a responsible settlement, we refuse to allow the family to misuse the courts in an effort to shield their financial misconduct,” Ms. James said in a statement. “Records from one financial institution alone have shown approximately $1 billion in wire transfers between the Sacklers, entities they control, and different financial institutions, including those that have funneled funds into Swiss bank accounts,” she added. From the team at NYT Parenting: Get the latest news and guidance for parents. We'll celebrate the little parenting moments that mean a lot — and share stories that matter to families. Forbes has estimated that the family fortune is worth $13 billion, a figure the family has not disputed, but many state attorneys general believe that the family has far more hidden away, as a safeguard against the cascade of litigation. more...    

By Rachel Frazin
New York's Attorney General's Office has allegedly uncovered $1 billion in wire transfers by the Sackler family, which owns Purdue Pharma, which could suggest attempts to hide its wealth as it faces litigation over its role in the opioid crisis. The transfers include some done through Swiss bank accounts, The New York Times reported. State Attorney General Letitia James reportedly issued subpoenas last month to 33 financial institutions and investment advisers in an attempt to fully discover the family's wealth. "While the Sacklers continue to lowball victims and skirt a responsible settlement, we refuse to allow the family to misuse the courts in an effort to shield their financial misconduct," James told the Times in a statement. "Records from one financial institution alone have shown approximately $1 billion in wire transfers between the Sacklers, entities they control, and different financial institutions, including those that have funneled funds into Swiss bank accounts." Court documents filed by James's office on Friday reportedly show initial findings from one unnamed financial institution. The filing reportedly shows a series of transfers by former Purdue board member Mortimer D.A. Sackler. more...   

by Daniel Chaitin & Jerry Dunleavy
Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz has officially completed his investigation into alleged Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act abuses by the Justice Department and the FBI. Rep. Doug Collins, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, revealed in a letter Thursday that Horowitz notified Attorney General William Barr of the completion of his investigation earlier in the day. Horowitz said in a letter to congressional leaders that his team is in the "process of finalizing our report by providing a draft of our factual findings to the Department and FBI for classification determination and marking." Once redactions are made and the report is returned to the inspector general, Horowitz's team will "proceed with our usual process for preparing final draft public and classified reports, and ensuring that appropriate reviews occur for accuracy and comment purposes." Horowitz's team examined the FISA application and three renewals beginning in October 2016 to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. The applications relied on the unverified dossier compiled by British ex-spy Christopher Steele, who was hired by opposition research firm Fusion GPS and funded by Democrats. Republicans have alleged the FBI and the Justice Department misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court about the dossier's Democratic benefactors, which included Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign and the Democratic National Committee, and its author's anti-Trump bias were left out of the FISA applications, and they have demanded accountability. Democrats countered that the FBI acted appropriately, saying the Justice Department and the FBI met the rigor, transparency, and evidentiary basis for probable cause. Meanwhile, Barr's "investigation into the investigators" is underway, and the attorney general has said he is working very closely with Horowitz. The inspector general can recommend prosecutions, and U.S. Attorney John Durham, whom Barr tasked to lead the review of the origins of the Russia investigation, has the ability to convene a grand jury and subpoena people outside the government. Collins said his committee "must act swiftly to address concerns outlined in the Inspector General’s report" and implored Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler to hold a hearing with Horowitz and FBI Director Christopher Wray. Nadler, confronted by GOP Rep. Jim Jordan earlier this week, said a hearing with Horowitz will happen at the "appropriate time." more...   

By Morgan Chalfant and Olivia Beavers
The Justice Department inspector general has completed an internal review on whether the FBI complied with the law and its own policies while applying for a warrant to surveil former Trump campaign aide Carter Page during the 2016 election. Inspector General Michael Horowitz wrote in a letter to members of Congress on Friday that his office had “reviewed over one million records and conducted over 100 interviews” in connection with the inquiry and is in the early stages of finalizing its report.  Horowitz wrote that he has submitted a draft of the “factual findings” of the inquiry to the Justice Department and FBI for a classification review, after which the inspector general’s office will begin the process of preparing final classified and public drafts of the report. “The team has reviewed over one million records and conducted over 100 interviews, including several witnesses who only recently agreed to be interviewed,” Horowitz wrote. “We have now begun the process of finalizing our report by providing a draft of our factual findings to the Department and the FBI for classification determination and marking.” Horowitz did not provide any details on the findings, nor did he offer a timeline on when a report might be released to the public. The inspector general said he would update the committees on his progress toward issuing the final report when possible. The letter was sent to the top Republicans and Democrats on the House and Senate Oversight and Judiciary Committees on Friday. The inspector general disclosed in May 2018, at the request of congressional Republicans, that he would review whether the Justice Department and FBI complied with legal requirements and followed appropriate policies and procedures in applying to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) for a warrant related to “a certain U.S. person.” While the individual was not named in the announcement, the person is widely known to be Page, the former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser who was investigated in connection with the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the election. more...   

The fight over the fundraising platform WinRed highlights worries among Republicans that they won't win back the House.
By MELANIE ZANONA
BALTIMORE — House Republicans sparred behind closed doors with Trump-aligned political operatives at a GOP retreat over the new online fundraising platform backed by party leaders and the White House. The fight Thursday over WinRed's data and competitiveness highlights long simmering tensions between GOP lawmakers and operatives allied with the president, and underscores the growing frustrations in the party as they try to hash out a strategy to win back the House next year. The creation of WinRed was a top priority for the GOP that has been plagued with implementation problems over the last year. If the initiative isn't a success, Republicans fear their chances of taking back the House and holding on to the White House in 2020 will be imperiled. During a testy exchange on the first day of the House GOP’s annual retreat, members expressed misgivings with WinRed, a small donor apparatus designed to compete with the Democrats’ online fundraising behemoth ActBlue that was launched this summer by the national campaign arms after months of delays. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) specifically raised concerns about data sharing, while other lawmakers were confused with how the operation works and pressed operatives for more information about the fundraising tool, according to aides and lawmakers who were present. Stefanik, who formerly led recruitment efforts for the GOP’s campaign arm, pressed WinRed president Gerrit Lansing about whether lawmakers who use the apparatus would have to share their data with other people and questioned how it could be protected, several sources said. Lansing tried to assure lawmakers that their data is their own. But Stefanik expressed worry that once information is shared with the RNC’s clearinghouse for voter information, Data Trust, other people — including primary opponents — can access it. Lansing however, warned members that if they don’t build their donor files, they risk getting crushed by ActBlue again. more...

By Rebekah Riess and Theresa Waldrop, CNN
(CNN) - Two employees of a day care in Ohio were arrested after failing to stop the "extreme bullying" of a 5-year-old girl in their care, police said.
Emma Dietrich, 31, and Joshua Tennant, 27, were charged Tuesday with child endangerment, according to a Columbus police report. A video of the August 13 incident at the Worthington Learning Center shows the two employees sitting at a table, watching as a group of students start "grabbing, pulling, dragging, swinging, and just 'bullying'" the girl, according to the police report. The girl "appears frightened and keeps her eyes closed or covered and attempts to curl up into a fetal position," in the video, the police report said. When she tried to get away, the other children grabbed her and held her down, the report said. In the video, Dietrich and Tennant "do not attempt to stop" the bullying, police said. more...  

Casey Viner, 19, of North College Hill, Ohio, also is restricted from gaming activity for two years, U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren said in announcing the sentence.
By Associated Press
WICHITA, Kan. — An Ohio gamer upset about a $1.50 bet while playing Call of Duty: WWII online was sentenced Friday to 15 months in prison for recruiting a prankster to make a bogus emergency call that resulted in the fatal shooting of a Kansas man by police. Casey Viner, 19, of North College Hill, Ohio, also is restricted from gaming activity for two years, U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren said in announcing the sentence. Viner pleaded guilty in April to felony charges of conspiracy and obstruction of justice in the hope that he would not be sentenced to prison. Viner admitted trying to hide his involvement in the 2017 incident when he realized the antic had gotten someone killed. Prosecutors and defense lawyers in their plea agreement had recommended a sentence of two years of probation, with the added condition that Viner be confined for six months to his home unless attending school, work or church. They also jointly recommended the gaming restriction. more...   

By Cory Shaffer, cleveland.com
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The brother of Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles on Friday pleaded not guilty to a host of charges including murder in a New Years Eve triple homicide in Cleveland. Tevin Biles-Thomas appeared at his arraignment via live video feed from the Cuyahoga County Jail, where he has been held since Wednesday. Common Pleas Court Judge Joan Synenberg set Biles-Thomas’s bond at $1 million. She will oversee the case. The next court hearing is set for Wednesday. A grand jury indicted Biles-Thomas charged with murder, voluntary manslaughter and other charges in connection with a shooting that ended with three people dead and two others injured at a party at an Airbnb rental above a pizzeria on Dennison Avenue near Fulton Road. Devaughn Gibson, 23, DelVaunte Johnson, 19, Toshaun Banks, 21, all died in the incident, according to the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner. A 21-year-old man who was shot in the back of the head and a 23-year-old woman shot in the arm survived the shooting. Police at the time said a fight broke out after a group of men showed up to the party uninvited and were asked to leave. Gunfire ensued and the three men were found dead. Biles said in a message posted on Twitter shortly after her brother was charged in the crime that she was still processing the news. “My heart aches for everyone involved, especially the victims and their families. There is nothing that I can say that will heal anyone’s pain, but I do want to express my sincere condolences to everyone affected by this terrible tragedy,” the statement sad. more...    

By Donna Borak, CNN Business
Washington (CNN Business)The US budget deficit widened to $1.067 trillion for the first 11 months of the fiscal year, an increase of 19% over this time last year, the Treasury Department reported Thursday. The current shortfall exceeds the full-year deficit for fiscal 2018, which was $898 billion. President Donald Trump, who promised during the 2016 campaign to eliminate the federal debt, has instead overseen a dramatic increase in deficits. The White House's Office of Management and Budget has predicted that the deficit will exceed $1 trillion for the entire fiscal year, which ends on September 30. On Monday, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the federal deficit had surpassed $1 trillion in the first 11 months of fiscal 2019, according to its budget review. The last time the gap was that big was in 2012, in the aftermath of the financial crisis. A number of factors are driving the US deficit increase, including the $1.5 trillion tax cuts signed into law by Trump in 2017 along with a massive spending package passed by Congress. more...  

By Chantal Da Silva
GOP Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has sought to discourage Bahamians fleeing the destruction of Hurricane Dorian from coming to his state, telling them to stay put and seek relief in their country instead. "If you just need the relief, that's not what Florida's set up for," DeSantis said at a news conference in Dania Beach, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel. "Florida is helping to send resources to the Bahamas so the relief can be administered there," he said. DeSantis' comments came as the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Florida unit continued to process the thousands of Bahamians making their way to the state in search of refuge. Tens of thousands of people have been displaced by Hurricane Dorian, while at least 50 people have been declared dead, with the death toll expected to rise as officials continue to try to locate at least 1,300 people who remain missing. In addition to trying to deter Bahamians from coming to his state, DeSantis also suggested that he supports the Trump administration's decision to deny Temporary Protected Status to those fleeing the Bahamas. TPS, which would allow Bahamians to live and work legally in the U.S. until their country has recovered sufficiently from the Category 5 storm, is "only for people who are already here," DeSantis said. "So, I think when people are saying, 'Oh, let the people who came get it.' That's not what it's for," the Florida governor said. "TPS is if you're in the United States, something happens in your home country, then you can apply for it. So, I don't even think it's applicable, and I think the Bahamian government has not asked for it. And so I just don't think it would even apply." more...   

The debate spent three hours ignoring women’s issues.
By Christina Cauterucci
Early this year, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand told the New York Times why she had decided to run for president: to give a voice in the race to the issues that disproportionately affect women. “I was concerned maybe the rest of the team doesn’t focus on these issues,” she said. “Maybe the rest of the team doesn’t get where they need to go.” At Thursday’s Democratic debate, the first since Gillibrand dropped out of the race on Aug. 28, the senator was proven right. Over three hours, the 10 candidates onstage barely touched on any of the issues Gillibrand placed at the center of her candidacy. Nobody talked about sexual assault and harassment, paid family leave, or the president’s vicious misogyny. Only a couple of candidates offered brief lines that nodded at child care, gender-based violence, and racial disparities in maternal mortality. Not one mentioned abortion.  This was partly the fault of the ABC moderators. They shepherded lengthy and illuminating segments on climate change, anti-black racism, immigration, and gun violence—and overall, they did a much better job than the previous two sets of debate moderators. But they didn’t ask any of the candidates to speak on the Republican Party’s coordinated assault on women’s health care access, the economic strain caused by our lack of universal paid parental leave, or the looming threat of a Supreme Court poised to overturn or substantially weaken Roe v. Wade. The omission felt particularly glaring in light of the Trump administration’s recent introduction of a domestic gag rule—a policy that denies federal family planning dollars to any health care facility that so much as refers patients for abortion care. Thursday’s debate took place just days after Planned Parenthood, which has been forced to forgo the up to $60 million it’s accepted every year to offer subsidized contraception, announced that it would close two Ohio clinics amid recent state and federal funding rollbacks. more...   

North Carolina's sleazy 9/11 veto override is just the tip of the iceberg: Republicans don't respect democracy
By Sophia Tesfaye
A change is coming in 2020. Gerrymandered maps are being struck down by courts across the country, and the 2018 midterm elections point to massive turnout in the next election. Republicans, clearly running scared, are preparing for the course correction by breaking, bending and reshaping the rules in an obvious attempt to make a mockery of the democratic process. From Oregon to North Carolina, GOP lawmakers have used every dirty trick they can to seize power and undermine the power Democrats even after they win elections. They have taken Grover Norquist’s goal — to turn the tone in state capitals toward bitterness and partisanship — to heart in a major way. “Our goal is to inflict pain. It is not enough to win. It has to be a painful, devastating defeat. Like when the king would take his opponent's head and spike it on a pole for everyone to see,” Norquist infamously said in the National Review. Except for the shock election of Donald Trump to the presidency, however, Republicans haven’t had the best record of winning of late. Based on their behavior while losing, it seems that the revised Republican goal goes beyond pain to utter destruction.  Take for instance the extreme and ridiculous proposal by a Texas Republican state lawmaker to abolish the state capital of Austin. Apparently upset that the progressive city approved $150,000 in grants to organizations like Planned Parenthood, GOP state Rep. Briscoe Cain called for direct retaliation against the city of more than 950,000 people, saying the Republican-controlled state legislature should get “supreme authority over mayor and council.” more...   

"The light is the worst," Trump said. His administration earlier this month announced it would roll back regulations for increased energy efficiency.
By Phil Helsel
On a night that featured the Democratic debate, President Donald Trump said he's being cast in a harsh light. Trump's complaint wasn't about the candidates vying for the nomination and the chance to make the 45th president a one-termer, but was rather was directed at light bulbs. "People said what's with the light bulb? I said here’s the story, and I looked at it: The bulb that we're being forced to use — No. 1, to me, most importantly, the light's no good. I always look orange," Trump said during a speech at a House Republican retreat dinner. The audience at the 2019 House Republican Conference Member Retreat Dinner laughed at the comment. It's not the first time the president has been described as orange. The hue of his hair and skin are often a source of jokes among his critics. He said he's not the only one that the bulbs affect: He told the crowd that they, too, take on an orange tone under the lights. The Trump administration last week said it would roll back requirements for energy-efficient light bulbs under two previous administrations. Under one action, the Department of Energy plans to repeal a regulation enacted under President Obama requiring an expanded number of light bulbs in the U.S. to be in compliance with stricter energy efficiency standards; and nixed new energy efficiency standards for all pear-shaped light bulbs that were also scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1, 2020. more...    

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
(CNN) - While 10 Democrats spent two-plus hours Thursday night making the case for why they are uniquely suited to beating Donald Trump in 2020, the President traveled to Baltimore to do what he does best: Throw red meat to adoring fans. In this case, the fans were House Republicans, who were in Baltimore -- a city Trump referred to as a "rodent and rat-infested mess" over the summer -- for their annual retreat. Trump's speech, which ran for 68 minutes, was a sort of greatest hits album for the President as he railed against paper straws, windmills and always, always, always Democrats. Below the most, er, notable lines from Trump's speech. more...  

By Jacob Pramuk
Presidential candidate Andrew Yang plans to give more Americans $1,000 a month as he broadens a test of his signature campaign proposal. The entrepreneur will give 10 more randomly selected families the monthly sum, his announced during Thursday’s Democratic primary debate. Yang has already started to give out $1,000 a month payments to several recipients out of his own pocket. As he announced the move on the debate stage Thursday, Yang called it “unprecedented.” He urged Americans who “believe that you can solve your own problems better than any politician” to enter the online raffle for the $1,000 monthly sum. Yang’s announcement was met with cheers from the debate crowd – and laughter and disbelief among his rivals on stage. “It’s original, I’ll give you that,” South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg quipped. A proponent of so-called universal basic income, Yang wants to give all Americans $1,000 a month. He calls it a “freedom dividend” designed to counter the rising threat of automation to jobs. more...   

By catherine thorbecke
A man using Google Earth to have a look around his old property ended up spotting something unusual -- sparking a chain of events that led to the remains of a person who disappeared two decades ago. As he scanned a pond behind the home, the man spotted a lump that appeared to be a vehicle and reached out to the property's current resident, who then used a drone to scan the Grand Isles, Florida, property. That resident then contacted the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, which confirmed it was a vehicle, it said in a statement. The sheriff's office removed the vehicle from the pond, which they say was "heavily calcified" and had been in the water "for a significant amount of time." more...   

By Daniel Burke, CNN
(CNN) - Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt on Friday said he is referring 12 cases of alleged sexual abuse by members of the Catholic clergy to local authorities for possible prosecution. The announcement came as Schmitt released a 185-page report detailing his review of 2,000 priests' personnel files, dating from 1945 to the present day.  The attorney general's office said it reviewed the records of more than 300 deacons, seminarians and religious women who served in the state's four Roman Catholic dioceses: the Archdiocese of St. Louis, the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau and the Diocese of Jefferson City. In all, the report said it found "credible allegations of 163 instances of sexual abuse or misconduct by Catholic diocesan priests and deacons against minors." The offenses range from the violation of "boundary issues," such as priests engaging in inappropriate discussions or correspondence with children, to forcible rape as defined by Missouri statute, according to the attorney general's office. In Missouri, jurisdiction to formally investigate alleged criminal activity of this nature lies with local law enforcement, not the attorney general. "It is impossible to quantify the number of victims based on the information available to the AGO, but instances of priests abusing more than one victim are frequent," the report said. more...   

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
(CNN) - Beto O'Rourke's best moment on Thursday's Democratic presidential debate -- which also doubled as his best moment in the 2020 campaign to date -- came when ABC's David Muir asked whether he supported a mandatory buyback of assault weapons. "Hell, yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47," O'Rourke said to raucous applause from the crowd in Houston, Texas. "We're not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore." The former Texas congressman defended that stance in an interview on CNN's "New Day" Friday, insisting the issue would not hurt his party. "It's not a concern of mine and that's in part informed by listening to people in conservative parts of America," he said. "And folks are saying, 'Look, I would give up that AR-15 or that AK-47. I don't need it to hunt, don't need it to defend myself in my home.' They recognize this is a weapon designed for war, to kill people as effectively, as efficiently, and in a great a number as possible." Which, well, count me skeptical that O'Rourke's idea will gain widespread political support. Here's why. For decades, the National Rifle Association -- and its Republican allies in Congress and now in the White House -- have used the idea of confiscation to win the gun debate. If Democrats were in control, they'd come to your house and take your guns!, the argument goes. It's why gun purchases soared in the immediate aftermath of Barack Obama's election in 2008, for example.
"It depends on if Democrats want to take your guns away," President Donald Trump said in response to questions Thursday about whether some sort of gun control measure might be passed by Congress this fall. "If this is a movement by the Democrats to take your guns away, it's never going to happen." Up until very recently, the Democrats-want-to-get-rid-of-the-Second-Amendment talk was, like so much of Trump's rhetoric, outlandish and without any basis in facts. Obama in 2008 and 2012 and Hillary Clinton in 2016 expressly made clear they had no interest in any sort of mandatory collection or buyback program. more...  

By Fredreka Schouten, CNN
(CNN) - Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Thursday criticized a television ad from a new Republican-aligned political action committee that calls her "ignorant" and sets fire to her picture. "Republicans are running TV ads setting pictures of me on fire to convince people they aren't racist," the New York Democrat tweeted. "Life is weird!" The 30-second spot, which aired during Thursday's Democratic national debate on ABC, is the first public splash from the New Faces GOP PAC, run by former congressional candidate Elizabeth Heng. It opens with an image of Ocasio-Cortez, whom Heng calls the "face of socialism and ignorance." Ocasio-Cortez's face then burns away to reveal images of skulls. Heng, a Cambodian American touted as a young, rising Republican star during her unsuccessful bid for a US House seat in California last year, recounts her family's flight from socialism in Cambodia in the 30-second spot. "Does Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez know the horror of socialism?" Heng asks. "Mine is the face of freedom," Heng says to the camera during the ad's closing seconds. "My skin is not white. I'm not outrageous, racist nor socialist. I'm a Republican." The ad was met with outrage online, and #BoycottABC was trending early Friday morning. Heng responded to Ocasio-Cortez on Friday morning, tweeting, ".@aoc response is the Democratic party in a nutshell. They are more offended by truthful words than the acts of their political ideology that has killed millions of innocent victims. I don't care about @AOC feelings - I care about stopping her lies about the lies of socialism." In a news release previewing the ad, the PAC's organizers say the mission is twofold: Broaden the GOP's image and "lead the fight against socialism." more...   

by Caitlin Yilek
Ivanka Trump told Republican donors that her father, President Trump, passed his moral compass on to her. Trump, 37, made the remark at an August fundraiser in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, according to Politico. About 120 top-dollar donors were present when she was asked to share which personality traits she inherited from her parents. The first daughter and White House adviser said that her mother, Ivana Trump, showed her what it means to be a powerful, successful woman. At the Republican National Convention in 2016, Trump also told attendees her father taught her and her siblings “the importance of positive values and a strong ethical compass.” more... - Donald J. Trump has no moral compass what does that say about Ivanka's moral compass.

Twenty-three children have died by gunfire in and around St. Louis so far this year.
By Phil Helsel and Elizabeth Chuck
Two children died in gun violence near St. Louis on Thursday, bringing the total number of youths fatally shot this year in and near the Missouri city to nearly two dozen. A 3-year-old boy in St. Louis County is thought to have found an unsecured gun and shot himself shortly before noon, officials said. Despite the efforts of police officers who rushed him to the hospital while attempting life-saving measures, he died, the St. Louis County Police Department said in a statement. Hours later, a 13-year-old boy, identified by police Friday as Clifford Swan III, was fatally shot outside a north St. Louis County apartment building. An 18-year-old male suspect, Jabari Lowery, was taken into custody at about 6 p.m. Thursday in connection with the teen's shooting, which "does not appear to be a random act," St. Louis County police Sgt. Ben Granda said in a statement. The two deaths bring the number of children fatally shot in the St. Louis area to at least 23 so far this year, according to the station. "This is heartbreaking," St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar told reporters after the 3-year-old was shot. "It is certainly beyond the pale and heartbreaking when we lose a child anywhere in the communities we live in," he said. The child involved in that incident was identified by police Thursday night as Rodney March III. The St. Louis County Police Department was called about a shooting at 11:35 a.m., and right after that call, a woman driving erratically flagged down two patrol officers who discovered the boy with a gunshot wound in that vehicle. Belmar said there was no time to wait for an ambulance, and that police drove the boy to a hospital; one officer drove while the other performed life-saving measures. more...   


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