U.S. Politics

Russian Election Interference Demands A Special Prosecutor

Russian Election Interference Demands A Special Prosecutor

Donald Trump sits with U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York, U.S., October 7, 2016 | REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

THE NATIONAL MEMO

President Donald J. Trump has repeatedly claimed that Hillary Clinton’s supporters committed massive voter fraud and that he would have won the popular vote, in addition to the Electoral College, if there had not been a well-organized campaign to cast illegal ballots.

That’s a lie. There is not one scintilla of evidence to suggest that Clinton’s popular vote victory — she garnered nearly 3 million more votes nationwide than Trump — was the result of illicit activity.

As usual, Trump has turned the truth on its head. Any illegal activity associated with the last presidential election was committed by the foreign power with which Trump is so peculiarly aligned: Russia. Here’s what is true: A well-organized and illicit offensive to influence the election did take place, and Trump was its beneficiary.

This may easily be the worst scandal in American political history, and it demands the appointment of a special prosecutor. The involvement of a foreign power in a presidential election — perhaps with the complicity of American citizens — is deeply disturbing and clearly dangerous, a threat to the republic. It is certainly far worse than anything Bill Clinton did with Monica Lewinsky.

Yet, leading Republicans, who have previously been skeptical of Russia and critical of its authoritarian leader, Vladimir Putin, see nothing amiss. While a few, such as Arizona Sen. John McCain, have called for an independent investigation of Russian interference in the election, most are minimizing it. Indeed, on Thursday, U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes, GOP chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, issued a not-so-veiled threat to reporters who insisted on asking questions: “Do you want us to conduct an investigation on you or other Americans because you were talking to the Russian Embassy?”

Then there is Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has sold himself to the public as a stickler for the letter of the law. He lied to Congress about his contacts with the Russian ambassador during the campaign, when he was already acting as a Trump surrogate. That should not only disqualify him from overseeing an investigation into Russian involvement in the election, but it should also force him from office.

Certainly, we are in a hyper-partisan age. But does that mean partisans set aside every principle they ever held dear and watch democratic norms be destroyed just to protect a president from their party? Are institutional checks and balances meaningless?

Denials notwithstanding, it is apparent that Putin, a ruthless dictator who should be considered an enemy of American interests, approved a shrewd cyber campaign that leaked private emails and documents linked to Clinton, dribbling them out so that they dominated several news cycles.

While the revelations were hardly damning, they were controversial enough to suck the oxygen out of Clinton’s efforts to convey an effective message. In other words, Clinton had difficulty getting reporters to talk about her plans for, say, a higher minimum wage when they were breathlessly discussing infighting among Clinton’s aides.

And there are strong intimations that Putin’s government did not act in a vacuum. While we don’t yet know whether there was coordination between Trump’s campaign and the Russians — that’s why a special prosecutor is necessary — it looks as though several of Trump’s allies and campaign surrogates met with Russians here and abroad. (That is odd enough to raise several bright red flags.)

According to the New York Times, U.S. intelligence agencies have amassed reams of evidence documenting those contacts. The Times says the Obama administration worked hard to get that evidence compiled before Trump’s inauguration, fearing that his administration might try to hide or destroy it.

Already, one Trump aide, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, has been forced to resign because he lied about possibly illicit conversations with Russian officials. There’s no telling how many of Trump’s aides were ultimately involved or how close to treason they went.

We will find out sooner or later. This is such a grotesque and wide-ranging perversion of democratic principles and basic national security standards that journalists will continue to ask probing questions and intelligence operatives will continue to leak what they know.

The only question is whether the United States, as we know it, will still be standing when all is revealed.

Cynthia Tucker

U.S. Politics

10 things you need to know today: March 3, 2017

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

THE WEEK

1. Sessions recuses himself from campaign investigations
Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday recused himself from any investigation into possible Russian meddling in last year’s presidential election. His decision came a day after The Washington Post reported that Sessions, then a senator, met twice with Russia’s ambassador during the campaign season. During his confirmation hearing, Sessions said he had no contact with Russian officials in the run-up to the election. Sessions’ office said his statement was not misleading, because he met with the ambassador as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, not as a Trump surrogate. Several leading Republicans had called on Sessions to recuse himself as investigators look into contact between Trump aides and Russian officials. Democrats stepped up calls for Sessions to resign, saying he lied to Congress. Trump said Sessions was “an honest man” targeted in “a total witch hunt.”

Source: The Associated Press, The Washington Post

2. As Indiana governor, Pence used private AOL account for state business
As governor of Indiana, Vice President Mike Pence frequently used a private AOL email account to conduct public business, including corresponding with top advisers about homeland security matters, the Indianapolis Star reported Thursday. The office of Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) released about 30 pages of emails in response to a public records request, but declined to release other emails considered too sensitive to share. The account was hacked last summer. A scammer emailed Pence’s contacts saying the governor and his wife were attacked in the Philippines and needed money. Pence, a strong critic of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server as secretary of state, said he was complying with state law on preserving official email. Pence’s spokesman said it was “absurd” to compare Pence’s email handling to Clinton’s, noting he didn’t handle classified information.

Source: IndyStar

3. Senate confirms Rick Perry and Ben Carson
The Senate on Thursday confirmed former Texas governor Rick Perry as energy secretary, and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson as secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Both men ran against President Trump in the primaries, and at times seemed unlikely additions to Trump’s Cabinet. Perry said during his 2012 presidential run that he would dismantle the Energy Department, a vow he reversed after his nomination. Carson had said he lacked the government and management experience to run a federal department, but after talking with Trump agreed to take the job. Environmentalists and some leading Democrats opposed Perry’s confirmation, but both he and Carson proved less controversial than several other Trump nominees. Both were sworn in later in the day.

Source: Politico, The New York Times

4. Trump vows major defense spending increase
President Trump promised “one of the largest” defense spending increases in U.S. history, speaking aboard a next-generation Naval aircraft carrier in Virginia on Thursday. Trump vowed to give American forces “the finest equipment in the world” to make sure no nation can challenge U.S. military might. “Hopefully it’s power we don’t have to use,” he said, “but if we do, they’re in big, big trouble.” The White House released Trump’s draft budget plan earlier this week, calling for raising the Pentagon’s budget by $54 billion or 10 percent over the more than half trillion dollars the U.S. now spends annually on defense, more than the next seven countries combined.

Source: The Associated Press

5. Syrian government forces retake Palmyra from ISIS
Syria’s military announced Thursday that it had recaptured the ancient city of Palmyra from the Islamic State, with the help of Russian air power. The victory marked the second time Syrian forces had driven ISIS out of Palmyra in a year. The city, 150 miles northeast of Damascus, is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and was long one of Syria’s leading tourist attractions. ISIS militants have pilfered or destroyed many of the city’s antiquities.

Source: USA Today, The New York Times

6. EPA reverses Obama administration call for data on methane emissions
The Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday that it was withdrawing the Obama administration’s request that oil and gas well operators provide information on their equipment and methane emissions. The Obama administration only started the effort to gather more information about methane, which is blamed for a quarter of global warming, two days before Trump’s election. The EPA said it received a letter from attorneys general of several conservative and oil-producing states saying the request imposed “burdensome climate rules on existing sites, the cost and expense of which will be enormous.” EPA administrator Scott Pruitt said reversing the request “will reduce burdens on businesses” while the EPA considers whether it needs more information from the industry. The White House is proposing deep cuts to the EPA budget that would reduce its staff by one-fifth.

Source: The Washington Post

7. CNN says Yemen raid yielded valuable intel, countering NBC report
CNN reported Thursday that the U.S. is using information obtained in a Yemen raid to “locate and monitor hundreds” of al Qaeda contacts, contradicting an NBC report that said a day earlier that the material seized had yet to yield any actionable intelligence. Officials told CNN that the raid, which resulted in the death of Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens, obtained information “pertaining to the location of safe havens, explosives manufacturing, training, and targets,” and has given investigators leads to actively pursue. President Trump has repeatedly defended the raid as a success, saying in his speech to Congress on Tuesday night that Defense Secretary James Mattis called the operation “a highly successful raid that generated large amounts of vital intelligence that will lead to many more victories in the future.”

Source: CNN, NBC News

8. EU Parliament strips immunity from Marine Le Pen
The European Parliament on Thursday lifted the parliamentary immunity for Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s far-right National Front, over tweets she posted in 2015 showing killings by Islamic State militants. French prosecutors have accused Le Pen, now a leading candidate for the French presidency, of “dissemination of violent images,” a crime punishable with up to three years in prison. Le Pen shrugged off the setback. Le Pen, a deputy in the European Parliament, has said she posted the pictures in protest after a journalist compared her to ISIS. She said she was being targeted in a “politicized investigation.” The first round of the French presidential vote is April 23.

Source: The New York Times

9. Snap shares rise by 44 percent on first day of trading
Snap stock soared in its first day of trading on Thursday, gaining 44 percent over its initial public offering price of $17 a share, which was already higher than expected. The stock closed at $24.48 after rising as high as $26.05 during the day. Snap, the parent company of popular messaging app Snapchat, is the biggest tech company to go public since Facebook in 2012, and the biggest tech IPO globally since Alibaba in 2014. The closing price put Snap’s value near $35 billion, although one analyst said the buzz drove up the price and made the stock “significantly overvalued.”

Source: CNN

10. More Trump aides reportedly met with Russian envoy
Reports surfaced Thursday identifying several more people who were involved in President Trump’s campaign who had contact with Russia’s U.S. ambassador, Sergey Kislyak. One of the Trump aides was his son-in-law Jared Kushner, who, along with ousted adviser Michael Flynn, met Kislyak in December for what a senior administration official described as an “introductory meeting” and “kind of inconsequential hello.” Another campaign national security adviser, J.D. Gordon, also disclosed Thursday that he and fellow Trump advisers Carter Page and Walid Phares had talked to Kislyak in July, during the Republican National Convention. Gordon said he expressed the desire to improve U.S.-Russia relations in the meeting. Page, who has called reports of Trump campaign contacts with Russia “fake news,” said he did not deny the meeting happened.

Source: CNN, Politico

U.S. Politics

Politicus USA Newsletter 3-3-2017

POLITICUS USA

Sessions’ Sermon On the Dangers of Legal Marijuana Is a Pack of Lies

Jeff Sessions told so many lies about non-existent dangers associated with legal recreational marijuana that it likely made his audience’s heads spin.

Read more »

Rachel Maddow Uses Leaked Document To Expose Trump’s Muslim Ban As Total BS

Rachel Maddow obtained a leaked DHS document that revealed that entire rationale behind President Trump’s Muslim ban is untrue BS.

Read more »

Sessions Couldn’t Even Get Through A Softball Fox News Interview Without Falling Apart

“I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with a U.S. Senator meeting with an ambassador from Russia,” he said.

Read more »

Private Email Account Mike Pence Used As Indiana Governor Was Hacked Last Year

After Trump and Pence spent an entire campaign complaining about Hillary Clinton’s email use, Pence had his own email problems all along.

Read more »

Rand Paul Says It’s Time To Move Past Russia Scandal, Focus On Taking People’s Healthcare

As the Russia scandal continues to blow up, Rand Paul is urging the country to look away and focus on repealing the Affordable Care Act.

Read more »

Top House Democrat Accuses FBI Director James Comey Of Withholding Info From Congress

According to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), FBI Director James Comey is withholding information from Congress about the investigations into Donald Trump and Russia.

Read more »

Russia Scandal Blows Up As Jeff Sessions Recuses Himself From Trump Investigations

In a move that will only add fuel to the Russia scandal fire, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from all investigations related to the Trump campaign.

Read more »

New DNC Chair Tom Perez Says Sessions Needs to Resign Because Nobody is Above the Law

New DNC Chair Tom Perez shows that he’s on message, telling MSNBC Sessions should resign, “The rule of law is the rule of law. Nobody is above the law.”

Read more »

Here’s The Kill Shot On The GOP Argument That Sessions Met with Russians Like All Senators

Republicans are trying to advance the argument that Sessions was just doing his job when he met with the Russian ambassador twice during 2016, but it turns out he was the only member of the 2016 Armed Services Committee to do so.

Read more »

Instead Of Being President, Trump Is Spending Hours A Day Watching Fox News

According to people inside the White House, Donald Trump spends time when he should be carrying out his job of being president planted in front of his television for hours a day watching Fox News.

Read more »

A Reeling Trump Tries To Cover His Backside By Saying Sessions “Probably” Told The Truth

President Trump told reporters he still has “total” confidence in his Attorney General amid calls for AG Jeff Sessions to resign or recuse himself, according to a pool report sent to PoliticusUSA.

Read more »

Trump’s Horrible Day Gets Worse As Senators Want Former Spy Behind Russia Dossier to Testify

The British spy behind the Trump Russia dossier “has been approached about testifying before the US Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into the new President’s alleged links with Russia.”

Read more »

Al Franken Just Hammered Jeff Sessions With An Amazing Letter Demanding Answers

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) is pulling no punches as he just dropped an amazing letter demanding answers on Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Read more »

GOP Intelligence Chair Threatens To Investigate Reporters Who Talk To Russia About Trump

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) threatened to investigate journalists who talk to Russia about Donald Trump.

Read more »

Bernie Sanders Blasts Through The Republican BS On Sessions And Goes Straight For Trump

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) went straight to the heart of the matter, and the Oval Office, by calling on Jeff Sessions to immediately resign so that the American people can find about what Trump knew about his campaign’s contacts with Russia.

Read more »

A Humble Former President Obama Graciously Accepts The Passing Of The JFK Torch To Him

The John F Kennedy Library foundation awarded President Barack Obama its “Profile in Courage” award Thursday, saying “He picked up the torch from President Kennedy” and citing Obama’s profound “grace under pressure.”

Read more »

Republicans Rip Off Their Patriotic Masks With Un-American Defense of Jeff Sessions

Republicans have their talking point, and it’s that AG Jeff Sessions might want to maybe recuse himself from the Russia probe. If he wants to. Because patriotism.

Read more »

The Noose Tightens As Nancy Pelosi Connects The Dots On Why Sessions Lies Are Trouble For Trump

Democratic House Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) connected the dots during her weekly news conference and explained why Attorney General Sessions’ lies before Congress are a big problem for Trump.

Read more »

Watch Jeff Sessions Say That “No One Is Above the Law” When It Comes To Perjury

Here’s a clip of that time when then Senator Sessions said on perjury, “No one is above the law.”

Read more »

As the Russian Dominoes Fall, Trump Will Soon Be Left With No One to Blame

“If Jeff Sessions is the AG 24 hours from now, understand — Trump WH is fine with being lying, lawless & in bed with Russian intelligence.”

Read more »

U.S. Politics

Jimmy Kimmel asks George W. Bush if he was jealous of Trump’s inauguration crowd

THE WEEK

Jimmy Kimmel pressed former President George W. Bush with the tough questions on Thursday night. Chief among them: “Were you jealous of the size of the crowds at Trump’s inauguration?” Kimmel wanted to know.

The inquiry elicited a good laugh from Bush. “I was there,” Bush said — a skillful dodge, as he might not want to upset Trump with the facts. An estimated 300,000 people attended Bush’s first inauguration while estimates for Trump’s inauguration clocked in around 250,000, although Trump claimed 1.5 million people were in attendance.

Watch the conversation (including the ensuing poncho talk) below. Jeva Lange

U.S. Politics

Congress should prioritize protection of online privacy

Congress should prioritize protection of online privacy

© Getty Images

THE HILL

In the coming weeks and months, Congress will debate issues critical to online privacy. Before Congress starts these debates, it is necessary to ask “what is privacy and why is it important?”

Broadly stated, online privacy is an individual’s ability to control personal information disclosure over the Internet and to “control who could access that information.” Because there are many facets of this definition, it is imperative to establish a few perimeters.

Since Congress will be debating laws impacting the relationship of the citizen to the government, this discussion will remain within the confines of that relationship. This discussion will not be an expose about how companies are trying to cull consumer data to better predict shopping patterns and needs.

Two of the topics Congress will address this year could impact how the government collects various types of information about citizens. Because the topics relate to how the government collects information, the online privacy debate is best understood by briefly examining how the British government utilized warrants prior to the Revolutionary War. The Founding Father’s disdain for general warrants and writs of assistance birthed the Fourth Amendment. The British government’s use of general warrants, incidentally, creates an interesting connection between free speech and privacy.

Prior to discussing online privacy, it is important to dispel a myth. Supporting privacy does not mean opposing law enforcement. Privacy advocates look to the text of the Fourth Amendment, which permits law enforcement to conduct searches after obtaining warrants. The Fourth Amendment guarantees the “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated, and no warrant shall issue, but upon probable cause…”

There is no opposition to lawful investigations targeted at specific individuals. Most privacy advocates will agree that if law enforcement agencies have probable cause indicating evidence of a crime exists on electronic devices, the police may obtain warrants to search the devices.

Online privacy advocates draw the line where law enforcement agencies use technology to gather large amounts of data from innocent citizens. Technology does not provide law enforcement carte blanche to access a person’s sensitive information. Technology employed by law enforcement today allows agencies to track all cellphones within a certain radius of a cell site simulator. Technology employed by law enforcement allows police to record and catalogue license plates. Technology today permitsfederal agencies to install software on computers that allows it to access files, activate cameras, and track a person’s Internet browsing patterns.

Technology permits law enforcement to capture sensitive data in dragnet fashion. In many respects, law enforcement agencies can cull the data looking for evidence suggesting that people have committed crimes. For most of the citizens whose data has been captured, they have neither committed an offense nor do police have reason to believe a crime has been committed.

In the 1700s, the British government utilized general warrants to search the houses of individuals suspected of criticizing the king and Parliament. The printing press as a technology had come into its own. Authors anonymously published pamphlets expressing their displeasure about the government. The king’s agents would break into the houses of publishers and suspected authors in efforts to discover evidence of speech crimes. They would take locked boxes filled with writings, confiscate drawers filled with papers and other files, and take suspects’ books. The agents often did not have any evidence linking the suspects to speech crimes, but were instead on a quest to find the incriminating evidence.

Writs of assistance worked much the same way, and were considered a type of general warrant. The British government needed to pay for the French and Indian War. One of the methods it employed was to crack down on merchants smuggling goods into the American colonies. The writs provided customs officials the authority to enter any house or place of business in search of those smuggled goods. The colonists reacted strongly to the writs, since the government’s agents did not need any evidence the home or business owner possessed smuggled goods. The writs were often used to harass people, to build cases against business owners, or both.

Online privacy means ensuring law enforcement agencies at all levels cannot engage in dragnet-type information gathering activities. It also means ensuring law enforcement has access to electronic information when investigations are targeted at specific suspects and where the government has properly obtained warrants.

People should have the authority to control who has access to their personal data. When the government employs technology to capture the data of individuals not suspected of crimes, the relationship between the citizen and government fundamentally changes. The government becomes big brother and the average citizen a perpetual suspect.

Jonathon Hauenschild, J.D., is a technology policy analyst. He is the founder and principal of Franklin Adams & Co., LLC.

U.S. Politics

“We cannot find the bill”: inside the frantic hunt for the GOP Obamacare replacement

VOX

A Republican bill to replace Obamacare is reportedly hidden somewhere on Capitol Hill — and on Thursday morning, legislators and reporters ended up on a bipartisan wild goose chase to find it.

Republicans have been hard at work drafting a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. House Speaker Paul Ryan has repeatedly promised it is coming quite soon. Yesterday, multiple news outlets reported that some Republican legislators would have a first chance to look at the bill Thursday.

The briefings would be secretive. Members wouldn’t actually receive copies of the legislation. The copies would remain locked in an undisclosed room for members to look at — but not take home.

Democratic House members and Republican senators were not to be included in this process. But by Thursday morning, they decided to take the matter into their own hands.

The draft legislation was rumored to be in H-157, a nondescript meeting room in the House of Representatives. When legislators arrived, Capitol Police were guarding the entrance, and dozens of reporters were waiting outside for the much-anticipated legislation.

But the first Congress member to arrive — Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who appeared to have a mobile printer in tow, perhaps to make copies of the bill — was promptly denied entry.

“We’re here asking for written copy of this because this should be an open and transparent process,” Paul said after being denied entry into Room H-157. “This is being presented as if it’s a national secret. As if it’s a plot to invade another country.”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is denied entry to Room H-157.(Sarah Kliff/Vox)

The next legislator to attempt to get in was Rep. Paul Tonko, a Democrat from New York, who was also denied entry.

“Ranking member [Rep. Frank Pallone] knew about the number, I don’t know if it was shared officially, so we came over here to read the bill,” said Tonko, who serves on the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee with Pallone. Tonko said he was told the bill was not in the room, but was not given any information on where it was.

Shortly after, Ways and Means Chair Kevin Brady exited room H-157 with the same news: no bill inside. He said he was there for a different meeting, with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who chairs the Republican Governors Association. “There’s no bill in there,” he said. When I asked him where the bill was, he said, “You’ll have to ask someone who has got the bill.”

Another strike.

Last to arrive to the treasure hunt were a group of Democratic legislators, including House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD). In a surprising turn of events, a staff member allowed Hoyer into the room. He wandered through the hallway, back to a larger room with green carpet. No people were in it. Nor were any bills.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) enters room H-157, only to find no bill in sight.(Sarah Kiff/Vox)

“There were comments that it was in room 157,” Hoyer said. “I’ve looked in the Ways and Means Committee Room, I’ve looked in the Ways and Means conference room, I’ve looked here, I’ve asked [Brady] if he knew where it was. And we cannot find the bill.”

Hoyer exited room H-157 trailed by a gaggle of reporters. He proceeded to walk to a very large bust of Abraham Lincoln nearby. He began to speak to it.

“Mr. Lincoln, I can’t find the bill,” Hoyer said. “Mr. Lincoln, you said public sentiment is everything. But if the public can’t see the bill, they can’t give us their sentiment. That’s not regular order. That’s not democracy. That’s not good for our people. I know, Mr. Lincoln, you are as upset with your party as I am.”

The crowd at room H-157 dispersed. But the search for the GOP replacement bill is still ongoing.

___________

WATCH: OBAMACARE IN TRUMP COUNTRY

U.S. Politics

Forget Trump’s first 100 days, his first 100 lies are where it’s at

attribution: GETY IMAGES

DAILY KOS

Donald Trump may be sucking wind on his first 100-day promises, but where he’s really blown away expectations is in his ability to lie, lie, lie. In fact, lying is like an infectious disease that has permeated his entire staff, and Igor Bobic has assembled a gloriously lengthy list of 100 sometimes deeply egregious, sometimes eminently mockable pants-on-fire whoppers from the bloviator-in-chief and his minions.

Here’s a sampling:

3. As Trump fondly recalled his Inauguration Day, he said it stopped raining “immediately” when he began his speech. A light rain continued to fall throughout the address. (Jan. 21)

8. Spicer said during his first press briefing that there has been a “dramatic expansion of the federal workforce in recent years.” This is false. (Jan. 23)

15. Spicer said in a press briefing that Trump received more electoral votes than any Republican since Ronald Reagan. George H.W. Bush won 426 electoral votes in 1988, more than Trump’s 304. (Jan. 24)

22. At the GOP retreat in Philadelphia, Trump said the national homicide rate was “horribly increasing.” It is down significantly. (Jan. 26)

25. Trump said he predicted the so-called “Brexit” when he was in Scotland the day before the vote. He was actually there the day after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. (Jan. 27)

29. Trump defended the swiftness of his immigration order on the grounds that terrorists would have rushed into the country if he had given the world a week’s notice. Even if terrorists wanted to infiltrate the refugee program or the visa program, they would have had to wait months or even years while being vetted to get into the country. (Jan. 30)

32. Spicer said that “by and large,” Trump has been “praised” for his statement commemorating the Holocaust. Every major Jewish organization, including the Republican Jewish Coalition, criticized it for omitting any specific references to the Jewish people or anti-Semitism. (Jan. 30)

40. In defending the GOP’s blockade of Merrick Garland, Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Spicer said no president had ever nominated a justice “so late” in his term. It previously happened three times. (Jan. 31)

47. Spicer called a U.S. raid in Yemen “very, very well thought out and executed effort” and described it as a “successful operation by all standards.” U.S. military officials told Reuters the operation was approved “without sufficient intelligence, ground support, or adequate backup preparations.” (Feb. 2)

50. Conway cited the “Bowling Green massacre” to defend Trump’s travel ban. It never happened. (Feb. 3)

C’mon, this is like shooting fish in a barrel—we’re only at the first 50 here. These guys are epic liars on a scale that, frankly, no one in their wildest dreams could have ever imagined. It’s the new White House normal.

But hey, when it comes to Russia, we should all definitely just trust ’em, dontcha know.

Meteor Blades

U.S. Politics

Rachel Maddow Obtains Document That Means VERY BAD News For Trump’s Muslim Ban

TIMES SQUARE, NEW YORK, NY, UNITED STATES - 2017/02/19: New Yorkers of all faiths and ethnic backgrounds gathered in New York's Times Square, (at the corner of 48th Street & Broadway, Manhattan) and join hip-hop pioneer Russell Simmons. The prominent religious leaders declare their solidarity with the American Muslims who recently impacted by a discriminatory rhetoric and travel ban by the Trump's Administration. (Photo by Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

ADDICTING INFO

Ever since the courts blocked Donald Trump’s ridiculous Muslim ban, the White House has been saying that they will fight it all the way, that the ban would be back in short order. However, the Trump Administration keeps putting it off. Now, it seems that the ban may not happen at all.

The Rachel Maddow Show has obtained a document from the Department of Homeland Security that essentially says that the travel ban based upon nationality has absolutely nothing to do with protecting the nation from terrorist attacks. In fact, the new document says that most extremists are brainwashed into their ideology right here on American soil. They generally tend to be citizens and legal residents. So, in other words, there is absolutely no reason to ban people based upon nationality. Couple that with the fact that Trump and those in his orbit are openly anti-Muslim, and one can only conclude that this “travel ban” is nothing but an attempt to make Trump’s call to keep Muslims out of the country pass constitutional muster.

Even more damning is the fact that the chaos caused by the clumsy roll out of Trump’s original Executive Order regarding this matter, and we can only come to the conclusion that Trump will again be met with resistance from the courts if he tries to do this again.

Watch the report below:

U.S. Politics

AGAIN: TRUMP’S TEAM GETS CREAMED

Winn McNamee / Getty Images

THE HUFFINGTON POST

MORE: Two OTHER Trump Advisers Met With Russia… New Report Undermines Sessions’s Excuse… Al Franken: I Have Questions… Meeting Happened Right As Russia Tensions Flared… How Lindsey Graham Can Guarantee A Special Prosecutor…