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U.S. News December 2018:
Months after President Trump took office, Russia’s disinformation teams trained their sites on a new target: special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. Having worked to help get Trump into the White House, they now worked to neutralize the biggest threat to his staying there. The Russian operatives unloaded on Mueller through fake accounts on Facebook, Twitter and beyond, falsely claiming that the former FBI director was corrupt and that the allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election were crackpot conspiracies. One post on Instagram — which emerged as an especially potent weapon in the Russian social media arsenal — claimed that Mueller had worked in the past with “radical Islamic groups.” Such tactics exemplified how Russian teams ranged nimbly across social media platforms in a shrewd online influence operation aimed squarely at American voters. The effort started earlier than commonly understood and lasted longer while relying on the strengths of different sites to manipulate distinct slices of the electorate, according to a pair of comprehensive new reports prepared for the Senate Intelligence Committee and released Monday. - The Russians and the GOP are both trying to protect Trump.

The Trump administration is planning to roll back Obama-era policies aimed at ensuring that minority children are not unfairly disciplined, arguing that the efforts have eased up on punishment and contributed to rising violence in the nation’s schools, according to documents obtained by The New York Times. The decision culminates a nearly yearlong effort begun by the Trump administration after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. The deaths of 17 students and staff members on Feb. 14 prompted lawmakers in both parties to demand tougher gun laws, but after a brief flirtation with gun control, President Trump abandoned that focus and instead empowered a school safety commission, led by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Almost immediately, the commission turned away from guns and instead scrutinized the Obama administration’s school discipline policies, though none of the most high-profile school shootings were perpetrated by black students.

After former FBI Director James Comey testified again Monday before a House panel about the 2016 FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server, he talked with reporters outside the room, weighing in on President Trump's recent tweet calling Michael Cohen "a rat." "It undermines the rule of law," Comey said. "This is the president of the U.S. calling a witness who is cooperating with his own Justice Department a 'rat.' Say that again to yourself at home and remind yourself where we ended up. This is not about Republicans and Democrats. This is about — what does it mean to be an American? ...There's a set of values that represent the glue of this country, and they are under attack by things just like that. We have to stop being numb to it." Comey also had harsh criticism for Republican lawmakers, who he urged to "stand up and speak the truth — not be cowed by mean tweets or fear of their base. There is a truth and they're not telling it." He added, "Their silence is shameful."

Russia used every major social media platform to influence the 2016 US election, a report claims. New research says YouTube, Tumblr, Instagram and PayPal - as well as Facebook and Twitter - were leveraged to spread propaganda. The report, released today by the US Senate, exposes the scale of Russian disinformation efforts. Its authors criticise the "belated and uncoordinated response" by tech firms. The report was put together by University of Oxford's Computational Propaganda Project and the social network analysis firm Graphika. It is the first analysis of millions of social media posts provided by Twitter, Google and Facebook to the Senate Intelligence Committee. While Facebook and Twitter have previously disclosed Russian interference, little has been known about the use of other platforms. The report suggests YouTube, Tumblr, PayPal and Google+ were all affected, with Russia adapting techniques from digital marketing to target audiences across multiple channels. "It's a whole family of social media sites," says Dr Philip N. Howard, director of the Oxford Internet Institute. "We think the goal was to make the campaigns seem more legitimate."

If it had stuck with its original mission — digging up dirt on the rich and famous, without a care for the rules of traditional journalism — The Enquirer would have had the tabloid story of a lifetime. The most powerful print publication in America might just be The National Enquirer. It functioned as a dirty-tricks shop for Donald J. Trump in 2016, which would have been the stuff of farce — the ultimate tabloid backs the ultimate tabloid candidate — if it hadn’t accomplished its goal. The Enquirer’s power was fueled by its covers. For the better part of the campaign season, Enquirer front pages blared sensational headlines about Mr. Trump’s rivals from eye-level racks at supermarket checkout lanes across America. This stroke-of-genius distribution apparatus was dreamed up by the man who made The Enquirer the nation’s biggest gossip rag: its previous owner, Generoso Pope Jr. The Enquirer’s racks, under the current chief, David J. Pecker, were given over to the Trump campaign. This was a political gift even more valuable than the $150,000 that The Enquirer paid in a “catch-and-kill” deal with the former Playboy model Karen McDougal for her story of an affair with Mr. Trump. Wondering what The Enquirer’s covers were worth to the Trump campaign, I called Regis Maher, a co-founder of Do It Outdoors, the national mobile and digital billboard company. He said a campaign with that level of national prominence would cost $2.5 million to $3 million a month. - The National Enquirer interfered with the election by prompting false stories about Trumps opponents, while hiding bad stories about Trump at the same time promoting good stories about Trump and not telling the America people they had made a deal to protect Trump from bad stories.

Conservative John Podhoretz lambasted the white supremacist congressman on Twitter after King applauded the magazine’s closure. White supremacist congressman Steve King (R-Iowa) tweeted over the weekend that the recently shuttered magazine The Weekly Standard “deserved” to shut down and was met with major pushback from magazine co-founder John Podhoretz. The 23-year-old conservative publication known for being critical of President Donald Trump released its final issue on Monday after announcing last week that it would be folding. Trump addressed the closure, referring to the publication as “pathetic and dishonest” and lambasting the editor-at-large, Bill Kristol.

When a Manhattan judge sentenced Michael Cohen to three years in prison, the Justice Department issued what appeared to be a standard press release trumpeting the events. The announcement, however, carried an unexpected subhead, stating that the Justice Department had also entered into a nonprosecution agreement with American Media Inc., the parent company of the National Enquirer. The news was a powerful example of the strength of the government’s investigation—making clear the severity of the potential campaign finance case against President Donald Trump and securing an unusual admission of electoral interference by a national corporation. But it also exposed the Justice Department’s weakest quality—its inability to impose significant (or in this case any) penalties on corporations. While its message to Trump is strong, the case tells America’s corporate entities that they can do what they want—they have little to fear from DOJ.

The Senate Intelligence Committee is set to release two reports on Monday detailing the breadth of the Russian social media campaign to sow discord in the United States. The reports, both of which were commissioned by the committee, are based on troves of data that Facebook, Twitter, and Google handed over to the committee about the Russian campaign to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election and American politics generally. Much of the data has not previously been disclosed publicly. Researchers analyzed more than 10 million tweets, 116,000 Instagram posts, 61,000 Facebook posts and 1,000 videos posted by the Russian government-linked Internet Research Agency (IRA), the troll group indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller earlier this year.

The Russian influence campaign on social media in the 2016 election made an extraordinary effort to target African-Americans, used an array of tactics to try to suppress turnout among Democratic voters and unleashed a blizzard of activity on Instagram that rivaled or exceeded its posts on Facebook, according to a report produced for the Senate Intelligence Committee. The report adds new details to the portrait that has emerged over the last two years of the energy and imagination of the Russian effort to sway American opinion and divide the country, which the authors said continues to this day. “Active and ongoing interference operations remain on several platforms,” says the report, produced by New Knowledge, a cybersecurity company based in Austin, Texas, along with researchers at Columbia University and Canfield Research LLC. One continuing Russian campaign, for instance, seeks to influence opinion on Syria by promoting Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president and a Russian ally in the brutal conflict there.

Facebook Inc.’s Instagram played a much bigger role in Russia’s manipulation of U.S. voters than the company has previously discussed, and will be a key Russian tool in the 2020 elections, according to a report commissioned by the Senate Intelligence Committee. The Russian Internet Research Agency, the troll farm that has sought to divide Americans with misinformation and meme content around the 2016 election, received more engagement on Instagram than it did on any other social media platform, including Facebook, according to a joint report by three groups of researchers. “Instagram was a significant front in the IRA’s influence operation, something that Facebook executives appear to have avoided mentioning in Congressional testimony,” the report says. IRA activity shifted there after the media began to write about Russian activity on Twitter and Facebook. “Our assessment is that Instagram is likely to be a key battleground on an ongoing basis.”

The report, a draft of which was obtained by The Washington Post, is the first to analyze the millions of posts provided by major technology firms to the Senate Intelligence Committee. A report prepared for the Senate that provides the most sweeping analysis yet of Russia’s disinformation campaign around the 2016 election found the operation used every major social media platform to deliver words, images and videos tailored to voters’ interests to help elect President Trump — and worked even harder to support him while in office. The report, obtained by The Washington Post before its official release Monday, is the first to study the millions of posts provided by major technology firms to the Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), its chairman, and Sen. Mark Warner (Va.), its ranking Democrat. The bipartisan panel also released a second independent report studying the 2016 election Monday. Lawmakers said the findings “do not necessarily represent the views” of the panel or its members.

Two former business associates of Michael T. Flynn, President Trump’s first national security adviser, have been indicted as part of a federal investigation into Turkey’s secret 2016 lobbying campaign to pressure the United States to expel a rival of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Charges against the two former associates, Bijan Kian and Ekim Alptekin, were unsealed on Monday in an Alexandria, Va., courtroom. The two men were charged with a conspiracy to violate federal lobbying rules, and Mr. Alptekin also was charged with making false statements to F.B.I. investigators. The indictment is further evidence of a broad crackdown on unregistered foreign lobbying growing from the inquiry by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel who has investigated foreign flows of money from Ukraine, Turkey and other countries designed to manipulate decision-making in Washington. Mr. Mueller referred the Turkey case to prosecutors in Northern Virginia earlier this year.

“Talk low or I’ll kill you,” the officer told a young Alphonse Capone, dressed in a blue shirt, green pajama bottoms and shoes with no socks. He had accosted the hoodlum outside his Brooklyn home, fearful that Capone might reveal that he had recently seen the policeman flee the scene of a crime. “I’m no rat,” Capone assured the officer, as recounted in “Young Al Capone: The Untold Story of Scarface in New York, 1899-1925,” by John and William Balsamo. Capone’s rise to power as a prohibition-era gangster roughly coincides with the use of the rodent name for someone who “secretly aids the police to apprehend criminals,” as defined in the “Dictionary of the American Underworld Lingo.” Experts date its use in the “underworld” — the abode of criminals and organized crime — to 1902, while it began to be employed by police in the 1920s, as they squeezed the underlings of gangsters and mafia bosses enriching themselves in the illicit liquor trade.

Ryan Zinke’s time in the Trump cabinet is ending, but his legal troubles are likely far from over. When Mr. Zinke was forced to resign as interior secretary on Saturday, he joined a line of officials who have left the Trump administration under a cloud of ethics inquiries. But the investigations into Mr. Zinke’s actions are likely to continue, according to Delaney Marsco, the ethics counsel at the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan watchdog group. And if those inquiries turn out badly for him, Mr. Zinke still faces the threat of criminal penalties that could hobble his political future. “It’s not a Get Out of Jail Free card to just quit,” Ms. Marsco said. The most damaging could be a Justice Department examination of a real estate deal in Montana involving Mr. Zinke’s family and a development group backed by David J. Lesar, the chairman of Halliburton, the giant energy services company. If the department finds that Mr. Zinke willfully used his official position to influence the deal and benefit himself, he could be prosecuted under a federal conflict of interest law and, if convicted, face a sentence of up to five years in prison and a $50,000 fine for each violation. The attorney general has discretion over whether to bring the charges.

Representative Chris Collins was narrowly re-elected to a fourth term, overcoming his indictment on insider trading charges and a prolonged vote count that left him with more than a 2,500-vote cushion. Mr. Collins, a Republican from Western New York, defeated Nate McMurray, the Democratic town supervisor of Grand Island, N.Y., The Associated Press declared on Friday. Mr. McMurray had initially conceded the race on Election Day, but reconsidered the next morning, saying the race was “too close to call.”. The race represented a startling turnaround for Mr. Collins, who had withdrawn from the contest in the 27th District after his indictment in August. Federal prosecutors charged Mr. Collins with insider trading and lying to federal agents.

At least six entities linked to President Donald Trump are the focus of investigations, with the possibility of others that have not been made public. CNN's Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul take a closer look.

CNN's SE Cupp breaks down the multiple investigations President Trump is facing in addition to the Mueller probe.

Weeks of devastating legal revelations have left Donald Trump's political career clouded by criminality and his life, presidency and business empire under assault by relentless prosecutors on multiple fronts. Days of court filings, flipped witnesses, damaging disclosures and sentencing hearings over the last month have delivered blows that appear to expose Trump and key associates to deep legal and political jeopardy. But the head-spinning volume of material being churned out by special counsel Robert Mueller and other jurisdictions often also blurs the bigger picture of a presidency beset by a span of scandal that is staggering in its breadth. Simply put, Trump's campaign, transition, inaugural committee and presidency are now under active criminal investigation. His business -- the Trump Organization -- and his defunct charity -- The Trump Foundation are also under investigation (the charity investigation is a civil one). His college -- Trump University -- has already been deemed a fraud. The President himself has been indirectly fingered by New York prosecutors overseen by his own Justice Department of directing criminal attempts to subvert campaign finance laws. Then there is a civil lawsuit brought by Democratic-led states rooted in claims that Trump's refusal to fully disengage from his businesses means he is using his position to profit from deals in his hotel chain that contravene the Constitution.

Forget about the Truffula trees. The Lorax is now saving real-life forests. A panel of federal judges in Virginia cited the beloved Dr. Seuss character to block the construction of an underground gas pipeline that would cross two national forests and a portion of the Appalachian Trail. "We trust the United States Forest Service to 'speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues,'" the panel's ruling states, citing Seuss' orange environmental ambassador. The decision, issued last week by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, says the US Forest Service failed to preserve national forest resources when it authorized the construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

Jack Leitner outside the Beach Haven Apartments in Brooklyn. A tax scheme created by the Trumps, who owned the building, artificially inflated rent paid by him and thousands of other tenants. They were collateral damage as Donald J. Trump and his siblings dodged inheritance taxes and gained control of their father’s fortune: thousands of renters in an empire of unassuming red-brick buildings scattered across Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. Those buildings have been home to generations of strivers, municipal workers and newly arrived immigrants. When their regulated rents started rising more quickly in the 1990s, many tenants had no idea why. Some heard that the Trump family had spent millions on building improvements, but they remained suspicious. In October, a New York Times investigation into the origins of Mr. Trump’s wealth revealed, among its findings, that the future president and his siblings set up a phony business to pad the cost of nearly everything their father, the legendary builder Fred C. Trump, purchased for his buildings. The Trump children split that extra money.

Mick Mulvaney, named acting White House chief of staff on Friday by President Trump, said in a debate shortly before Election Day 2016 he was supporting Mr. Trump for president even though "he's a terrible human being." The White House chief of staff is one of the most powerful jobs in government. "Yes, I'm supporting Donald Trump. I'm doing so as enthusiastically as I can given the fact that he's a terrible human being," Mulvaney said on Nov. 2, 2016. "But the choice on the other side is just as bad."

The FBI on Friday released a redacted version of the memo that top intelligence officials, including former FBI Director James Comey, used to brief President Donald Trump about the compilation of information detailing his possible connections to Russia -- a document which came to be known as the Trump dossier. The two-page document says, "An FBI source ... volunteered highly politically sensitive information ... on Russian influence efforts aimed at the US presidential election." The document was provided to CNN by the public records advocacy group James Madison Project, which, alongside Politico, had sued for it and received it from the FBI on Friday night following a judge's order. The dossier, which was compiled by ex-British intelligence agent Christopher Steele, has been at the center of the political firestorm over probes into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The investigations, including a special counsel probe, have looked into any potential ties between Trump campaign associates and the Kremlin. Trump has repeatedly denied any collusion. Mueller probe shows some material contained in the Steele dossier to be true.

President Trump’s foreign policy has shredded the status quo on a range of issues, from global trade and transatlantic relations to Iran and North Korea. But the Trump administration’s tough turn on China will have the most lasting global consequence, altering the terms of the epochal contest of our times. Global markets have underestimated the stakes, largely responding to momentary events — Trump tariff tweets and tentative trade truces. They should instead be banking in the generational nature of this drama, and its potential impact on debt, currency, tech and equity markets of all sorts.

Turkey’s foreign minister claimed Sunday that President Trump is moving to extradite an opponent of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from the U.S. "In Argentina, Trump told Erdogan they were working on extraditing [Turkish cleric Fethullah] Gulen and other people," Mevlut Cavusoglu said Sunday at a conference in Doha, according to NBC News. Trump and Erdogan attended the G-20 summit two weeks ago in Argentina.

“The reality is everybody knows Trump can’t talk without lying,” says Van Jones on CNN. Just weeks after President Donald Trump wrote out the answers to a series of questions from Robert Mueller, the special counsel is pressing to interview the president face to face, sources have told CNN. “Nothing has changed in that sense from the first day,” one source said. And the Trump camp is resisting. In one area of interest, Mueller wants to get to Trump’s “state of mind” regarding possible obstruction of justice in the investigation into any Russian collusion with the Trump campaign to manipulate the U.S. presidential election, a source told CNN

Editorial dings Interior secretary as another “cheerleader” for the president’s “boneheaded” energy strategy. The New York Times ripped outgoing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Saturday as a cheerleader for President Donald Trump’s “boneheaded” policy of “energy dominance.” The editorial noted that Zinke is leaving his job under the shadow of an” impressive number” — 15 — “ethics investigations.”. Zinke “had a Western swagger to him that some found appealing, but on matters of public relations he was not the sharpest knife in the drawer,” the editorial declared. “On his first day in office, Mr. Zinke rode a horse to work, in plain imitation of Teddy Roosevelt. As president, Mr. Roosevelt protected 230 million acres of American wilderness, including 18 national monuments. Ten months into his tenure as Interior Secretary, Mr. Zinke recommended the withdrawal of some two million acres from two national monuments in Utah established by Mr. Obama and Bill Clinton, the largest shrinkage of public land protection in history.”

A federal judge in Texas ruled on Friday the entire Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional due to a recent change in federal tax law. The ruling came a day before the December 15 deadline to sign up for 2019 health coverage through the Affordable Care Act's marketplace. People can still sign up for coverage through Saturday. "Court's decision does not affect this season's open enrollment," reads a notice on HealthCare.gov, where people can sign up for coverage. The Trump White House has said that the law will remain in place for now. The ruling is certain to be appealed. "We expect this ruling will be appealed to the Supreme Court. Pending the appeal process, the law remains in place," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

For the second time, the Trump administration has announced their intention to unilaterally reinterpret a 2008 agreement between Vietnam and the United States that protects immigrants who arrived in America prior to the United States’ resumption of diplomatic ties with Vietnam in 1995. President Trump first pursued this policy beginning in April 2017 but walked the initiative back after widespread backlash and the resignation of the United States ambassador to Vietnam.

Email chain shows Ivanka Trump helped facilitate the negotiation in late 2016. Money from Trump's inaugural fund went to Trump International Hotel in DC. The $106M fund raised from donations was the largest of any inauguration ever. Contractor for Trump's inaugural committee complained of Trump Org prices.Trump Hotel offered a 'reduced' rate of $175,000 per day ballroom rental. Federal prosecutors are reportedly investigating inaugural committee finances. Comes as Ivanka's husband Jared is tied to National Enquirer hush money issue.

Two years after Donald Trump won the presidency, nearly every organization he has led in the past decade is under investigation. Trump’s private company is contending with civil suits digging into its business with foreign governments and with looming state inquiries into its tax practices. Trump’s 2016 campaign is under scrutiny by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, whose investigation into Russian interference has already led to guilty pleas by his campaign chairman and four advisers. Trump’s inaugural committee has been probed by Mueller for illegal foreign donations, a topic that the incoming House Intelligence Committee chairman plans to further investigate next year. Trump’s charity is locked in an ongoing suit with New York state, which has accused the foundation of “persistently illegal conduct.”. The mounting inquiries are building into a cascade of legal challenges that threaten to dominate Trump’s third year in the White House. In a few weeks, Democrats will take over in the House and pursue their own investigations into all of the above — and more.

As if the country didn’t have enough to be divided about, now the forces aligned for and against President Trump are battling over whether his presidency is legitimate. The evidence emerging in recent days and months of crimes committed to help Trump win the presidency is fueling arguments from Democrats and other Trump critics that the man in the Oval Office got the job through nefarious means. Even without proof that those crimes swayed votes, the critics say Trump has no moral hold on the office. In the past week, the legitimacy debate has swelled with each new court filing in cases stemming from the investigations into Trump’s 2016 campaign.

The decision spells bad news for Republicans by allowing Democrats to replay a potent health care message that helped them flip 40 House seats. Congress was ready to move on from Obamacare. The midterm elections took repeal off the table, and Democrats were gearing up for a party-defining fight over “Medicare for All.” But Friday night’s ruling by a federal judge in Texas that the Affordable Care Act must be scrapped once again puts the law front and center when Democrats take back the House just weeks from now. The ruling is sure to be appealed, and the Trump administration says it's business as usual in the meantime. But the decision spells bad news for Republicans, by allowing Democrats to replay a potent health care message that helped them flip 40 House seats: the GOP remains hellbent on gutting Obamacare and rolling back protections for pre-existing conditions. - Last Christmas Trump and the Republicans gave the rich big tax breaks so this Christmas they could take away the health care from the poor and the middle class.

Mick Mulvaney will become the acting White House chief of staff at the end of the year, President Donald Trump announced in a tweet on Friday. He most recently served as the Office of Management and Budget director. While Mulvaney was named as an acting chief of staff, he will step down from his role as OMB director, a White House official said. A senior administration official said there is "no time limit" for Mulvaney to remain in the top White House post. Mulvaney could lose the "acting" part of his title if things go well, according to another senior administration official. "It's his to lose," this administration official told CNN. The President's decision to appoint Mulvaney as his chief of staff began to materialize around 4 p.m. Friday afternoon, this official said. Trump had been marinating on this idea throughout the day and ultimately decided to pull the trigger because the speculation and bowing out of candidates had begun to get out of hand.

Michael Cohen, President Trump's onetime lawyer and fixer, says his former boss knew it was wrong to order hush money payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign to two women who say they had affairs with Trump — but he directed Cohen to do it anyway to help his election chances. Cohen also said in an interview with ABC News that aired Friday that the president's repeated assertions that Cohen is lying about the payments and other aspects of his work for Trump were false. "He knows the truth. I know the truth. Others know the truth," Cohen said. "The man doesn't tell the truth. And it is sad that I should take responsibility for his dirty deeds."

President Donald Trump sought the open arms of Twitter and Fox News to creatively explain away inconvenient facts about his legal peril and his promised border wall before GOP senators dragged him back to reality with a rebuke from his own party for ignoring a cold-blooded murder OK'd by a foreign colleague. In Trump's universe, Mexico is already paying for the wall. And the crimes for which Michael Cohen is going to jail aren't crimes after all; they were added to his rap sheet by prosecutors as a dig at Trump. But alternative facts, to borrow the phrase coined by White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway to reject facts they reject without evidence, only go so far. Trump learned their limits Thursday afternoon when Republican senators lobbed at him a resolution condemning Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the murder of US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Trump had ignored the clear conclusion of the CIA that bin Salman was involved in the killing when he issued an exclamation point-laden official statement last month that it was unproven that Saudi Arabia and its crown prince were complicit. It wouldn't matter anyway, the President said, since Saudi Arabia is buying US military equipment.

Special counsel Robert Mueller urges a federal judge to reject an attempt by President Donald Trump’s former national security advisor Michael Flynn “to minimize the seriousness” of his crime days before his sentencing date. In pre-sentencing documents, Flynn’s lawyers and the special counsel had both recommended a light sentence for the highly decorated U.S. Army veteran. Mueller said Flynn has cooperated extensively with the government in 19 interviews with law enforcement officials, which began even before he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

A leaked federal study showing that refugees to America brought in $63 billion more in government revenues than they cost in the last 10 years was "banned" by the Trump administration. That study was not "banned"; rather, mention of the fiscal benefits of admitting refugees was excised from it before it was finalized.

Recent revelations in memoranda filed by the government against Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort describe even more widespread and troubling contacts with the Russians. However, since the inception of the Mueller investigation, President Donald Trump, his lawyers, legal pundits on both sides of the aisle, and everyone in between has either claimed or conceded that "collusion" is not a crime. President Trump has tweeted, "Collusion is not a crime. ..." Rudy Giuliani told Fox News, "I have been sitting here looking in the federal code trying to find collusion as a crime. ... Collusion is not a crime." Jay Sekulow told The New Yorker, "For something to be a crime, there has to be a statute that you claim is being violated. ... There is not a statute that refers to criminal collusion. There is no crime of collusion." Having worked as a federal prosecutor for 13 years in the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations, I can report that the President and his lawyers are wrong. Collusion is a crime. The federal criminal code says so. The federal bribery statute -- 18 U.S.C. § 201(b)(2)(B) -- makes it a federal crime for a public official to "collude" in a fraud on the United States. More specifically, the federal bribery statute expressly states that a crime is committed when a public official "directly or indirectly, corruptly demands, seeks, receives, accepts, or agrees to receive or accept anything of value ... in return for ... being influenced to ... collude in ... any fraud ... on the United States." - Trump and the Republicans trying to protect Trump tell us that collusion is not a crime, the federal bribery statute -- 18 U.S.C. § 201(b)(2)(B) -- makes it a federal crime for a public official to "collude" in a fraud on the United States.

President Donald Trump claimed Thursday that "money we save" from a new trade deal with Mexico and Canada would make good on his long-standing promise to have Mexico pay for a new southern border wall. Trump's highly questionable assertion, in a morning tweet, comes as he is lobbying Congress for $5 billion to help fund construction of the wall and threatening a partial government shutdown if he does not get his way. In recent days, as the debate over the wall has come to the fore, Trump has faced renewed criticism for appearing to have abandoned his campaign pledge to make Mexico pay for it. "I often stated, 'One way or the other, Mexico is going to pay for the Wall,'" Trump wrote on Twitter. "This has never changed. Our new deal with Mexico (and Canada), the USMCA, is so much better than the old, very costly & anti-USA NAFTA deal, that just by the money we save, MEXICO IS PAYING FOR THE WALL!" Mexican officials have said there was no discussion in the trade-deal negotiations of mechanisms under which Mexico would pay for the wall. And on Thursday, both House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., ridiculed Trump for his assertion. - Now that is just plain stupid, how dumb does Donald J. trump think we are?

Comments by science review board chairman add weight to fears that Trump administration is aiming to discredit research to justify scrapping regulations. A conservative science adviser to the Trump administration is casting doubt on longstanding research linking fossil fuel pollution to early deaths and health problems, worrying environmental experts. At a meeting to review air pollution science compiled by staffers at the Environmental Protection Agency this week the advisory board chairman, Tony Cox – a consultant and statistician who has worked for the industry and criticized EPA standards – questioned whether soot from coal plants and cars can be directly blamed for asthma and cardiopulmonary problems. Cox pushed staffers to specify what percentage of health problems are directly caused by the pollution or are just associated with it, a figure that the US government has not required in order to restrict pollutants that are known to harm people.

Another day, another known investigation into President Trump and the organizations/people around him. The Wall Street Journal: “Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating whether President Trump’s 2017 inaugural committee misspent some of the record $107 million it raised from donations, people familiar with the matter said. The criminal probe by the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office, which is in its early stages, also is examining whether some of the committee’s top donors gave money in exchange for access to the incoming Trump administration, policy concessions or to influence official administration positions, some of the people said.”. The New York Times has additional details of this investigation. “The inquiry focuses on whether people from Middle Eastern nations — including Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — used straw donors to disguise their donations to [the inaugural committee and a pro-Trump Super PAC]. Federal law prohibits foreign contributions to federal campaigns, political action committees and inaugural funds.”

We now have details as to how the indicted former campaign manager worked with the president to undermine federal law enforcement. Paul Manafort, who served as the manager for President Trump’s presidential campaign, provided advice to the president and senior White House officials during the earliest days of the Trump administration on how to undermine and discredit the FBI’s investigation into whether the president, his campaign aides, and family members conspired with the Russian Federation and its intelligence services to covertly defeat Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to government records and interviews with individuals familiar with the matter. Manafort himself was under criminal investigation by the FBI during this same time, a fact then known to the White House. Last Friday, special counsel Robert Mueller alleged in court filings that Manafort told “multiple discernible lies” to FBI agents and prosecutors, in violation of the cooperation agreement between Manafort and the special counsel’s office. Among those, Mueller charged, were lies by Manafort to investigators that he had not been in contact with anyone in the White House. Manafort urged the president to attack the FBI. First, Manafort advised the president and his political surrogates to more aggressively and directly attack the FBI and other elements of the federal law enforcement apparatus investigating his administration. The goal of Manafort’s advice was to “delegitimize” the investigation itself, one person familiar with the advice explained to me. Manafort wanted nothing less than to “declare a public relations war on the FBI,” this same person said. Another goal was to discredit then-FBI Director James Comey and other senior FBI officials — as it had become increasingly likely they would be witnesses against the president. Trump later did just that, but it’s unclear what role, if any, Manafort’s advice played in the president deciding to go on the attack.

Speaking at a meeting of the Presidential Council for Human Rights in the Kremlin on December 11, President Vladimir Putin expressed puzzlement over the fate of Maria Butina, the Russian agent indicted in the United States. Putin said that Butina was “guilty of nothing” – a claim she refuted herself on the morning of Thursday, December 13, when she pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court in Washington, DC two days after the Russian president pronounced her innocent. Before accepting Butina’s plea, Judge Tanya Chutkan established that Butina had entered into a plea deal voluntarily, knowingly and with no pressure or coercion, and also without any mental or psychological conditions. - Is that the Russian version of the coffee boy defense used by the Trump campaign?

The Department of Education said Thursday that it would wipe away student debt for 15,000 borrowers, implementing an Obama-era rule that Secretary Betsy DeVos has fought to block for more than a year. The debt cancellations will total about $150 million. The rule, known as Borrower Defense to Repayment, was designed to help students cheated by for-profit colleges get relief on their education debt. The announcement comes about two months after a federal judge ordered immediate implementation of the rule. The judge had sided with attorneys general from 18 states and the District of Columbia who sued DeVos for delaying the rule while she worked on rewriting it. Those students who will immediately see their loans canceled were at schools that closed while they were enrolled. About half of the debt was owed by borrowers who attended one of the now defunct for-profit Corinthian Colleges. The network of schools folded in 2015 after it was fined $30 million by the government for misleading prospective students with inflated job placement numbers. At the time, about 16,000 students were enrolled at its remaining 28 campuses. But the rule also was designed to make it easier for students to apply for relief if they believe their schools misled them, by inflating job placement rates, for example -- even if they weren't enrolled when the schools closed.

US President Donald Trump's former lawyer insists Mr Trump knew making hush money payments during the 2016 presidential campaign was wrong. Speaking after he was sentenced to prison for campaign finance and fraud crimes, Michael Cohen told ABC News: "He directed me to make the payments." "Nothing at the Trump organisation was ever done unless it was run through Mr Trump," he said. The president has denied ever asking Cohen to make illegal payments. "He was a lawyer and he is supposed to know the law," Mr Trump tweeted on Thursday, suggesting Cohen had pleaded guilty "to embarrass the president".

Federal prosecutors are examining whether foreigners illegally funneled donations to President Trump’s inaugural committee and a pro-Trump super PAC in hopes of buying influence over American policy, according to people familiar with the inquiry. The inquiry focuses on whether people from Middle Eastern nations — including Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — used straw donors to disguise their donations to the two funds. Federal law prohibits foreign contributions to federal campaigns, political action committees and inaugural funds. The line of questioning underscores the growing scope of criminal inquiries that pose a threat to Mr. Trump’s presidency. The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, is focusing on whether anyone in the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to tip the 2016 presidential election in Mr. Trump’s favor, while prosecutors in New York are pursuing evidence he secretly authorized illegal payments of hush money to silence accusations of extramarital affairs that threatened his campaign.

An expert explains how Obama left Trump a North Korea mess, and how Trump found a way to make it more dangerous. “Most people are not aware of how close we came to nuclear war and how plausible it actually was throughout 2017 and early 2018.”. That’s North Korea expert Van Jackson’s stunning conclusion. In his new book On the Brink: Trump, Kim, and the Threat of Nuclear War, Jackson retraces the Washington-Pyongyang standoff during President Donald Trump’s first two years in office. He identified at least “seven or eight moments” when he believed war between the US and North Korea was possible. And while much of the tensions had to do with North Korea’s aggression before Trump took office, the president found ways to make it much, much worse. “Trump talks shit everywhere about everybody, but only as it relates to North Korea did we come close to nuclear war because of it,” Jackson, a former Obama administration official now at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, told me. “So I blame Trump, but I don’t blame him entirely.” What’s scarier is that Jackson doesn’t see the relationship improving anytime soon.

The "Statement of Admitted Facts" says that AMI admitted making a $150,000 payment "in concert with the campaign". Donald Trump was the third person in the room in August 2015 when his lawyer Michael Cohen and National Enquirer publisher David Pecker discussed ways Pecker could help counter negative stories about Trump's relationships with women, NBC News has confirmed. As part of a non-prosecution agreement disclosed Wednesday by federal prosecutors, American Media Inc., the Enquirer's parent company, admitted that "Pecker offered to help deal with negative stories about that presidential candidate's relationships with women by, among other things, assisting the campaign in identifying such stories so they could be purchased and their publication avoided." The "Statement of Admitted Facts" says that AMI admitted making a $150,000 payment "in concert with the campaign," and says that Pecker, Cohen, and "at least one other member of the campaign" were in the meeting. According to a person familiar with the matter, the "other member" was Trump.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating whether President Trump’s 2017 inaugural committee misspent some of the record $107 million it raised from donations, people familiar with the matter said. The criminal probe by the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office, which is in its early stages, also is examining whether some of the committee’s top donors gave money in exchange for access to the incoming Trump administration, policy concessions or to influence official administration positions, some of the people said.

Dozens of businesses and institutions across the country received email threats Thursday afternoon, prompting evacuations and sweeps of buildings. At this time it's unclear if the threats -- which have been received in San Francisco, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Miami, Washington, DC and other locations nationwide -- are connected. The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said they are aware of the threats and are working with law enforcement to provide assistance. "As always, we encourage the public to remain vigilant and to promptly report suspicious activities which could represent a threat to public safety," the FBI said. This email demanding $20,000 via Bitcoin was forwarded to CNN affiliate KOCO-TV in Oklahoma City by a viewer who received it at her business. It's unclear whether everyone who received a threat on Thursday received the same email.

For nearly two years the Trump-Russia affair has dominated front pages and mired the president's administration in conflict and controversy. But what is it exactly? How did it begin? And where is it going? The inquiry is being led by Robert Mueller, a widely respected former director of the FBI. Holed up in an unremarkable office in Washington DC, Mr Mueller's team is quietly going about one of the most high-profile political inquiries in US history. Five people connected with Donald Trump's campaign and presidency have been charged with criminal offences. One of them, his former lawyer Michael Cohen, could be jailed on Wednesday on several charges, making him the first member of the president's inner circle to be imprisoned in relation to the inquiry. President Trump denies any wrongdoing and says the charges against his former staff are "peanuts". We've put together a straightforward guide to what we know, what we don't know, and what Mr Mueller may know that we don't.

Kentucky's Supreme Court has struck down a pension law that spurred thousands of the state's teachers to protest last spring. The court ruled that the way the pension bill was passed didn't give state lawmakers a "fair opportunity" to consider it. In a surprise maneuver, both chambers pushed the measure through in a matter of hours — before the public and even some lawmakers had had a chance to read it. On March 29, after previous versions of the legislation had stalled, the Republican majority turned what had been an 11-page sewer bill into a 291-page pension bill and passed it in just hours. Kentucky law requires a bill to be read three times over three different days; the legislature tried to claim that readings when it was still a sewer bill counted, but the judge disagreed.

To the conservative Americans she courted, Maria Butina was the right kind of Russian. She loved guns and the church and networking with top officials in the National Rifle Association. She schmoozed with Republican presidential candidates, and became a supporter of Donald J. Trump. She spent Thanksgiving at a congressman’s country house, took a Trump campaign aide to see the rock band Styx and helped a Rockefeller heir organize “friendship dinners” with influential Washingtonians. On Thursday, Ms. Butina, 30, pleaded guilty to a single charge of conspiring to act as a foreign agent in a deal with federal prosecutors. In doing so, she acknowledged that her activities were motivated by more than mere personal conviction. As part of the deal, Ms. Butina admitted to being involved in an organized effort, backed by Russian officials, to open up unofficial lines of communication with influential Americans in the N.R.A. and in the Republican Party, and to win them over to the idea of Russia as a friend, not a foe. Ms. Butina’s guilty plea now casts a spotlight on the Americans she worked with, including prominent members of the N.R.A. and her boyfriend, Paul Erickson, 56, a longtime Republican operative who ran Patrick J. Buchanan’s 1992 presidential campaign and who now faces accusations of fraud in three states. Officials have said federal investigators are examining what Mr. Erickson and others who helped Ms. Butina knew about her links to the Russian government.

US President Donald Trump has said he never directed his former private lawyer to break the law, a day after he was was sentenced to prison. "He was a lawyer and he is supposed to know the law." Mr Trump tweeted of Michael Cohen, adding that he pleaded guilty "to embarrass the president". His comments came a day after Cohen received a three-year jail sentence for campaign finance and fraud crimes. Cohen had blamed Mr Trump's influence and "dirty deeds" at his sentencing. In a series of tweets on Thursday, Mr Trump also insisted that he "did nothing wrong" in regards to campaign finance laws. He said Cohen "probably was not guilty" of those campaign violations but pleaded guilty to benefit himself. "As a lawyer, Michael has great liability to me!"

A new proposal would threaten waterways and drinking-water supplies. On Tuesday, in the Trump administration’s latest assault on the environment, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed rolling back Clean Water Act protections that have helped make America’s rivers and streams fishable and swimmable, in the process threatening drinking-water supplies across the country. Once again, the E.P.A. is disregarding basic science. This latest proposal obscures its harmful effects with legalese that draws dubious distinctions between certain streams even though pollution flows downstream regardless of the legal terminology the agency deploys. This is a thinly veiled effort to slash water pollution protections that have long been embraced by both Republican and Democratic administrations.

President Donald Trump is facing pushback for saying he may intervene in a legal case involving the chief financial official of Huawei Technologies — if such a move would help Washington secure a trade deal with Beijing. Canadia’s foreign minister warned the U.S. not to politicize extradition cases, saying that the legal process should not be hijacked for political purposes. “Is it really the job of the president to start intervening or interfering in judicial matters?” asked David Kuo, CEO of The Motley Fool Singapore, a financial services firm. He added: “We’re not talking about a president who can intervene in everything — it’s not a banana republic after all.”

Even as the president continues to rail about the “Witch Hunt” on Twitter, Mueller’s strategy looks like anything but. Nearly every defendant he’s targeted has pleaded guilty, meaning he’s moving against people with overwhelming evidence. Those targets have mostly, in turn, cooperated—naming more alleged crimes and suspects. Similarly, in the one instance he has been forced to go to trial, Mueller prevailed handedly, winning convictions against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in every category of charges he brought. Mueller has also assiduously handed off certain crimes to other prosecutors, be it identity theft stemming from Russia’s Internet Research Agency, foreign lobbying questions, and even referring the original Cohen case to the Southern District in New York. Together, those facts paint the picture of a conservative prosecutor, focused on demonstrable crimes and clear cases of criminal behavior. Mueller famously sees the world in black and white, right versus wrong, and all of his investigations have Russia and Russian influence as their core focus. Thus far he’s stayed clear of anything that might appear gray. CNN’s John Berman has described it as the “12 days of Mueller.” The filings thus far, taken together, have clarified where Mueller is heading, and appear to help delineate who is likely on the special counsel’s “naughty list” this holiday season. The past two weeks of rapid-fire filings, court appearances, and news reports show several people and entities potentially in Mueller’s sights.

New York (CNN Business)Federal prosecutors announced Wednesday that they have struck a non-prosecution agreement with National Enquirer parent company American Media Inc., effectively ruling out charges for the tabloid publisher over its role in securing hush money from President Trump's longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen. As part of the agreement, AMI admitted to making a payment of $150,000 in cooperation with members of Trump's presidential campaign in order to prevent former Playboy model Karen McDougal's claims of an affair with Trump from being made public during the 2016 race. AMI chairman David Pecker is a longtime friend of Trump's, and the Enquirer was one of Trump's most reliable and enthusiastic media boosters during the campaign. Pecker met with Cohen "and at least one other member of the campaign" in August of 2015, according to the non-prosecution agreement, which was struck with prosecutors from the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. "At the meeting, Pecker offered to help deal with negative stories about that presidential candidate's relationships with women by, among other things, assisting the campaign in identifying such stories so they could be purchased and their publication avoided," the agreement read. "Pecker agreed to keep Cohen apprised of any such negative stories."

As the U.S. opioid epidemic grinds on, fentanyl is fast becoming the main culprit in drug overdose deaths, health officials report. Cocaine and heroin remain the street drugs of choice, but more overdose deaths involve fentanyl, either mixed with those narcotics or taken alone. Between 2013 and 2016, overdose deaths involving fentanyl increased about 113 percent per year, researchers found. "The drugs most frequently involved in overdose deaths change quickly from one year to the next," said lead researcher Dr. Holly Hedegaard, a medical epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics. Many of these deaths involve more than one drug, Hedegaard said. "A lot of the deaths that mention fentanyl also mention heroin, and a lot of the deaths that mention cocaine also mention fentanyl," she explained.

Incoming New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) told NBC News on Wednesday that she plans to launch an exhaustive investigation into President Trump and his business dealings once she takes office in January. "We will use every area of the law to investigate President Trump and his business transactions and that of his family as well," James said. "We want to investigate anyone in his orbit who has, in fact, violated the law." James said she plans to probe any illegitimacies concerning Trump's real estate holdings in New York, particularly in light of an October New York Times investigation, which found that Trump participated in "dubious tax schemes" in the 1990s that helped him earn additional wealth from his father's real estate business. James said she will also investigate a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Trump campaign officials and a Russian lawyer, as well as any potential violations of the Constitution's Emoluments Clause. The meeting, along with a number of other events being probed by special counsel Robert Mueller, would fall under James's jurisdiction, NBC News noted. "Taking on President Trump and looking at all of the violations of law I think is no match to what I have seen in my lifetime," she said.James floated the idea of pursuing investigations into the president on the campaign trail.

The company that owns The National Enquirer tabloid will not be prosecuted for its efforts to protect Donald Trump during his presidential campaign. AMI, which owns the tabloid National Enquirer, admitted to making a $150,000 hush money payment, and will cooperate with investigators. AMI chief David Pecker is (was?) a longtime friend of Donald Trump, long before the campaign. Pecker has been granted immunity. He is singing. Trump should be worried. The U.S. Southern District of New York reached a non-prosecution agreement with AMI, in which the firm admitted it made "catch and kill" payment to Trump's alleged ex-paramour Karen MacDougal. AMI admitted that it paid her “in concert with” the Donald Trump presidential campaign. Said the SDNY prosecutors, “AMI admitted that it made the $150,000 payment in concert with a candidate’s presidential campaign, and in order to ensure that the woman did not publicize damaging allegations about the candidate before the 2016 presidential election.” Prosecutors say AMI admitted “its principal purpose in making the payment was to suppress the woman’s story so as to prevent it from influencing the election.”

After a Friday memo from federal prosecutors appeared to implicate President Donald Trump in Michael Cohen’s campaign finance crimes related to hush money payments to women who allegedly had affairs with the president, Trump has maintained that he is not concerned about the possibility of impeachment. “It’s hard to impeach somebody who hasn’t done anything wrong and who’s created the greatest economy in the history of our country,” Trump told Reuters in an interview Tuesday. He added: “I’m not concerned, no. I think that the people would revolt if that happened.” Talk of impeachment appeared to boil up again after the release of the memo, which stated as fact that Trump appeared at a meeting with Cohen and National Enquirer President David Pecker to discuss a catch-and-kill payment to Karen McDougal. Cohen has also said that the president directed him to make a hush payment to Stormy Daniels. Both of these payments were found to be criminal. Some Democrats have argued that campaign finance violations could warrant impeachment, but other congressional leaders have expressed doubt that the crimes would be serious enough to justify impeachment proceedings. - Sorry Donnie they will be dancing in streets and singing songs of joy with the hope that criminal Don goes to jail.

President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer sparred before news cameras over the effectiveness of a southern border wall, at times fact-checking and speaking over one another. While all three leaders said they wanted border security, there was clearly no consensus over how much money they would set aside for Trump’s barrier. Trump said he would be "proud to shut down the government for border security."

President Donald Trump insisted on Tuesday that much of the border wall he wants has already been built and has been "very effective."  But he appears to be referring to old border fencing built decades ago. And, despite his hard-line policies and tough rhetoric, border arrests have actually spiked in the past year. Here's a look at what Trump said during a tense meeting with congressional Democrats and why it doesn't match reality.
 
Michael Cohen, the former personal lawyer and fixer for President Donald Trump, was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison. Cohen pleaded guilty in August to tax fraud, lying to banks and violating campaign finance laws. The campaign finance charges relate to hush-money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal. Cohen pleaded guilty in November to lying to Congress about an aborted deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. That case was lodged by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin explained how “all of Trump’s collusion denials” may crumble. One seven-letter word ― “synergy” ― may prove critical in proving the allegations that President Donald Trump colluded with Russia, according to Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin. Rubin asked in her column Monday what would happen if “collusion” wasn’t just defined (as it has been by many) as the alleged “plot operating in 2016 between then-candidate Donald Trump and Russians to manipulate the election” but was actually widened to include an earlier alleged 2015 “plot” for Trump to “make hundreds of millions” on projects while denying “any deals” with the Russians. “Notice the word ‘synergy’” in special counsel Robert Mueller’s sentencing memorandum in the case of Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, Rubin wrote. She added: “According to Mueller, Michael Cohen was contacted shortly after Trump declared his candidacy, in November 2015, by a ‘trusted person’ in the Russian government who could offer the campaign ‘political synergy’ and ‘synergy on a government level.’” Rubin claimed that “all of Trump’s collusion denials crumble” if there was “concrete evidence of Trump’s approval (how could there not be?) to cooperate with Russia to make money and get some help.”

The Fact Checker has evaluated false statements President Trump has made repeatedly and analyzed how often he reiterates them. The claims included here – which we're calling "Bottomless Pinocchios" – are limited to ones that he has repeated 20 times and were rated as Three or Four Pinocchios by the Fact Checker.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) shrugs off news that federal prosecutors implicate President Trump in two crimes committed by his former attorney Michael Cohen.

An Oval Office meeting with President Trump, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and presumptive incoming Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi Tuesday spiraled out of control over funding the border wall Tuesday, in what Schumer described as a Trump "temper tantrum." With a potential government shutdown looming less than two weeks away, Pelosi told Mr. Trump, "you will not win" on the border wall. The president demanded border wall funding — and said he's not afraid the shut down the government over it. In fact, he said, he's proud to do so, and will take credit for it. "If we don't get what we want one way or the other ... I will shut down the government," the president said. "And I am proud ... I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck." Minutes before, at the beginning of the meeting, the president had said the opposite: "I'd like not to see a government closing, a shutdown. We will see what happens." Mr. Trump is pushing for $5 billion for his border wall — Democrats don't want to give him much more than $1 billion. Government funding runs out Dec. 21, days before Christmas. - Sorry Don the Con your wall would not have stopped 9/11 nor does it stop right wing domestic terrorist.

The Trump administration is expected on Tuesday to unveil a plan that would weaken federal clean water rules designed to protect millions of acres of wetlands and thousands of miles of streams nationwide from pesticide runoff and other pollutants. Environmentalists say the proposal represents a historic assault on wetlands regulation at a moment when Mr. Trump has repeatedly voiced a commitment to “crystal-clean water.” The proposed new rule would chip away at safeguards put in place a quarter century ago, during the administration of President George H.W. Bush, who implemented a policy designed to ensure that no wetlands lost federal protection. “They’re definitely rolling things back to the pre-George H.W. Bush era,” said Blan Holman, who works on water regulations with the Southern Environmental Law Center. Wetlands play key roles in filtering surface water and protecting against floods, while also providing wildlife habitat. - Donald J. Trump and the GOP are taken away clean water to protect companies and help them make more money.


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