Friday, July 28, 2017
ObamaCare ‘skinny repeal’ amendment fails in Senate while Russian collusion story crumbles
A GOP-led measure that would strip parts of former President Obama’s signature health law failed in the Senate early Friday, 51 to 49. Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Susan Collins, R-Maine, were among those who voted against the bill.
IN OTHER NEWS
Fusion GPS Ties To Russia Exposed
There is some incredible new information about Democrats and Russian backed Fusion GPS.
To summarize the web of connections outlined below:
- A know a Russian backed, Democrat connected research firm, with a history of smearing individuals and pitching fake information to reporters, was hired by opponents of President Trump to compile a “dossier” of supposed Trump ties to Russia.
- The information that was compiled was taken seriously by the highest levels of our intelligence community along with our media, despite obvious signs that the firm behind it was tied to Russia.
- As a reminder, this phony “dossier” helped spark the investigation now led by Special Counsel Mueller.
This issue deserves A LOT more reporting and interest.
· Fusion GPS is the firm that hired ex-British spy Christopher Steele to put together a phony dossier during the 2016 campaign on supposed Trump ties to Russia.
· The dossier, full of Russian sourced information, was shopped to dozens of U.S. journalists during and immediately after the 2016 campaign, and eventually reported on despite obvious red flags to its accuracy.
· The dossier’s claims made it into the hands of U.S. intelligence officials, and were included in a top secret intelligence briefing for President Obama.
· The dossier's claims of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia helped spark the FBI investigation now supervised by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
· We now know the dossier is full of bogus, false information. Christopher Steele even admitted in a lawsuit recently that most of his work in the dossier was never fully verified.
· Fusion GPS is deeply connected to Democrat politics. The co-founder of Fusion GPS is reportedly a Hillary Clinton donor. Fusion GPS allegedly was retained by Planned Parenthood, and did work for Democrats to investigate Mitt Romney in 2012.
In recent days, we have learned more about Fusion GPS:
· According to the testimony of William Browder this morning, along with other reporting, Fusion GPS was hired by Russians to defend Russian government connected officials from allegations of fraud.
· Fusion GPS was also employed by Russians to fight against the Magnitsky Act and has worked on issues with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.
· Browder spoke this morning about Fusion GPS’ tactics to work over reporters, and its efforts to run smear campaigns on behalf of their clients.
· It is troubling to hear about allegations that a Russian-backed opposition research firm, with a history of smearing individuals and pitching fake information to reporters, was then hired by opponents of President Trump and the information that was compiled was taken seriously by the highest levels of our intelligence community along with our media.
See below for more information on this morning’s testimony on Fusion GPS, and HERE for an RNC Research document on the firm. Click below to hear Browder's Congressional testimony:
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: This whole story reads like some kind of novel that nobody would buy, it’s got to be fiction, but unfortunately maybe it’s true. Let’s just break down sort of why you’re here. You believe that Fusion GPS should of registered under FARA, because they were acting on the behalf of the Russians?
WILLIAM BROWDER: That’s correct.
SEN. GRAHAM: So, I just want to absorb that for a moment. The group that did the dossier on President Trump hired this British spy, wound up getting it to the FBI. You believe they were working for the Russians?
BROWDER: And in the Spring and Summer of 2016 they were receiving money indirectly from a senior Russian government official.
SEN. GRAHAM: Okay. So, these are the people that were trying to undermine Donald Trump by showing the nefarious ties to Russia. Is that what you’re saying?
BROWDER: Well, what I’m saying with 100% certainty is that they were working to undermine the Magnitsky act and the timing of that.
SEN. GRAHAM: But, the Fusion GPS products apparently as they hired a guy to look into Trump?
SEN. GRAHAM: Right?
Click Below To Hear Senator Graham's Questions:
SHANNON BREAM: Good to see you this morning, Senator. Why should Americans care about what this guy is telling you this morning and what it means with regard to Russia?
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: Well who is this guy? He was the lawyer for Mr. Magnitsky, who was killed by Putin, because he exposed a bunch of fraud and criminal misconduct inside Putin’s Russia. So as a tribute to Mr. Magnitsky, he is trying to tell the world about how Putin works. But this was the most fascinating exchange yet. Fusion GPS is an organization that was colluding with the Democratic Party, hired a former British spy to go out and try to find dirt on Donald Trump and the Russians. The dossier – that – the famous dossier, came out of this exercise and this man in 2016 filed a complaint against Fusion GPS saying they were actually working for the Russian government. So what blows my mind is that the Russians were backing Fusion GPS, who produced a dossier to undercut Donald Trump.
Compiled by the Republican National Committee__________________
ABC, NBC, And CBS Pretty Much Bury IT Scandal Engulfing Debbie Wasserman Schultz's OfficeBy Matt Vespa
Well, just in case you didn’t hear, an information technology officer has been accused of bank fraud. He tried to flee the country, and now Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s (D-FL) office has finally fired the aide, despite this person being under investigation since last winter. His termination was made official on Tuesday.
Imran Awan is the name of the subject in question. The Capitol Police launched a probe, where he’s been accused of “serious, potentially illegal, violations on the House IT network.” He also provided technical assistance to other Democratic members of Congress.
It was a family affair as well. As Jenn noted over the weekend, his two brothers, along with two of their wives, also worked for members of Congress. Imran moved out of his house in Virginia when he found out he was under investigation last February.
He rented the home to a Marine Corps veteran and his wife, a naval officer, who found hard drives that Awan had reportedly tried to destroy. The FBI now has possession of those drives. Jenn added that Imran tried to enter the home to retrieve them, though the Marine refused entry.
On Monday, Imran was arrested trying to leave the country at Dulles airport (via The Hill):
Awan, an IT staffer who has worked for many House Democrats and was employed by Wasserman Schultz, was allegedly at the center of a scheme that involved double-charging the House for IT equipment, and may also have exposed House information online, according to Fox.
Awan and his family have reportedly worked for House Democrats for years. He declared bankruptcy in 2012, but has made millions of dollars on the House payroll over at least a decade of work for various members, according to a Politico report.
In March, a group of House Democrats fired Awan and one other staffer over their alleged involvement in the scheme and the looming criminal investigation. However, Fox News reported Tuesday that Wasserman Schultz still has Awan on her staff's payroll despite him being barred from accessing the House's computer system since February.
Concerning media coverage, Politico has reported something on it, but the big three—ABC, NBC, and CBS—have virtually buried this story, preventing the millions of viewers that tune into these respective networks from learning about it. NBC and ABC have been silent in their broadcasts, but CBS did devote 37 seconds to it. That's it (via Newsbusters):
ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today continued on Wednesday morning the liberal media’s attempts to help Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fl.) cover up the scandal involving now-fired I.T. staffer Imran Awan after his arrested Monday when he tried to flee the country.
After all three ignored the story until Wednesday, CBS This Morning arrived at the scene, albeit it with a 37-second news brief by co-host Gayle King that only scratched the surface on this scandal concerning Awan and his family.
As The Daily Caller has reported for months, Awan and his family have provided I.T. services to not just Wasserman Schultz but prominent congressional Democrats across key committees such as the House Intelligence Committee.
The news outlet also found that Awan and his brother secretly took $100,000 of Iraqi money, owed money to an Iraqi politician who’s been linked to Hezbollah, and possibly kept their stepmother “in ‘capivity’” for better access to offshore money.
On Monday, The Daily Caller’s Luke Rosiak reported that the FBI had “seized smashed computer hard drives” from Awan’s home in addition to the Capitol Police’s seizure of “computer equipment tied to [Wasserman Schultz].”
Awan’s attorney is blaming the media attention on “anti-Muslim bigotry.” Awan is from Pakistan.
Oh yeah, I forgot about the bank fraud part (via USA Today):
Awan, who lives in Lorton, Va., was arraigned Tuesday on charges of bank fraud for allegedly attempting to get a loan from the Congressional Federal Credit Union on a rental property by claiming it as his primary residence.
He pleaded not guilty. His passport was confiscated and he was outfitted with a GPS monitoring device.
Awan's wife, Hina Alvi, flew to Pakistan in March with the couple's three children. A federal court complaint, which noted the children had been abruptly taken out of school in Virginia, said an examination of her luggage found she was carrying $12,400 in cash. She was allowed to leave for Pakistan.
The quest to prove collusion is crumblingBy Ed Rogers
…[T]he media has been trying to sneak away from the “Russian collusion” story. That’s right. For all the breathless hype, the on-air furrowed brows and the not-so-veiled hopes that this could be Watergate, Jared Kushner’s statement and testimony before Congress have made Democrats and many in the media come to the realization that the collusion they were counting on just isn’t there.
Clinton Scandal Only Deepens — So Why Is Trump, Not Hillary, Targeted For Investigation?
Corruption: Amid the trivial fault-finding by the media of President Trump's every move, it's important to note that the very same pundits who now rip Trump have completely ignored the growing scandal of Hillary Clinton's pay-for-play tenure as secretary of state. It's reasonable to wonder why no charges have yet been filed, yet the media, blinded by their Trump hatred, seem strangely incurious.
The legal investigative think tank Judicial Watch recently released 448 pages of documents that it dug up from the U.S. State Department, the fruit of months of Freedom of Information Act requests and document-digging. The documents are damning, showing even more instances of Hillary Clinton performing official favors for those who donated to the Clinton Foundation and certain political campaigns.
To put it even more bluntly, the emails make a prima facie case for a criminal prosecution of Clinton. As Judicial Watch notes:
"In July 2009, in reference to the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, Clinton Global Initiative head Doug Band told (Huma) Abedin that she "Need(s) to show love" to Andrew Liveris, the CEO of Dow Chemical (DOW). Band also asked for Liveris to be introduced to Hillary, "and have her mention both me and wjc." Dow gave between $1 million and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative. Band also pushes for Clinton to do a favor for Karlheinz Koegel, a major Clinton Foundation contributor, who wanted Hillary Clinton to give the 'honor speech' for his media prize to 'Merkel.' "
Further, "The emails reveal that on June 19, 2009, Clinton's brother, Tony Rodham, passed a long a letter for Hillary Clinton for Clinton donor Richard Park. Park donated $100,000 to Bill Clinton as far back as 1993 and is listed by the Clinton Foundation as a $100,000 to $250,000 donor."
This wasn't all, not by a long shot. Ben Ringel, a Clinton donor, emailed top Clinton aide Huma Abedin seeking a U.S. visa for an unnamed Iranian woman. Ringel donated between $10,000 and $25,000 to the Clinton Foundation.
Foundation head Band shows up in numerous emails, seeking favors, including trying to get people jobs in the State Department. At times, the Clinton Foundation's top executive seems almost to be an adjunct State Department official.
In August 2009, for instance, Band tried to get his candidate installed as ambassador to Barbados. Abedin answered: "I know, he's emailed a few times. But she wants to give to someone else." In another instance earlier that year, Band sought a "career post" in East Timor for someone. Abedin told him that Hillary Clinton's chief of staff Cheryl Mills was working on that request "under the radar."
Still other emails show a stunning contempt for any notion of protecting classified information, with emails revealing sensitive matters being routinely exposed on Hillary Clinton's and Huma Abedin's unsecured email server, ranging from classified emails from U.S. ambassadors to the planned schedule for President Obama while in Cairo, Egypt, to a sensitive document of a Clinton phone call with "Chinese Foreign Minister Yang."
All on a server that many experts believe was probably hacked by the Chinese, the Russians, or both.
Old news, you say? Hardly. As most know, the hoo-ha over Donald Trump Jr.'s talks with Russian officials revolves around a somewhat mysterious yet nearly ubiquitous Russian lawyer named Natalia Veselnitskaya, who purported to have some dirt on Hillary Clinton that she would exchange for help with the Global Magnitsky Act, a 2012 law that imposed sanctions on Russians who were deemed to be human-rights violators.
Now, if you reach way back in your memory banks, recall that Bill Clinton, on June 29, 2010, gave a speech in Moscow for $500,000, paid for by the Russian government-tied financial firm Renaissance Capital. And also remember that before Bill's speech was made, Hillary had refused a congressional request to reject visas for several Russian officials who were thought to be implicated in human-rights abuses.
Which raises a big question: Was Bill's speech a quid pro quo for Hillary's help?
Subsequent events suggest the answer was yes. For despite Hillary Clinton's and President Obama's hopes of a "reset" with Russia, Congress in 2012 passed the Global Magnitsky Act. And for the record, Renaissance Capital was allegedly party to the scandal that led to the Magnitsky Act.
Documents from WikiLeaks show that Hillary was aware of the potential trouble this could create for her campaign. As Jesse Lehrich, part of the Clinton campaign's "Rapid Response Communications" team, wrote in May of 2015: "With the help of the research team, we killed a Bloomberg story trying to link HRC's oppostion to the Magnitsky bill a $500,000 speech that WJC gave in Moscow."
In an ironic addendum, it was to get help with avoiding restrictions under the Magnitsky Act that Veselnitskaya sought to meet with Donald Trump Jr.
Collusion? There's plenty of it. As we've noted repeatedly in the last year, the conflicts of interest and criminal collusion between Hillary Clinton's State Department, the Clinton Foundation and the Russians, among others, are numerous and profound. They warrant a thorough investigation. Why Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been tasked to look into the pathetically trivial meetings between the Trump camp and a handful of Russians — not a violation of any law we're aware of — is inexplicable.
Sessions Intensifies Crackdown on Sanctuary CitiesBy Alice Greene
As announced this Tuesday, sanctuary cities that fail to meet certain requirements risk losing access to millions of dollars in law enforcement grants.
The requirement is twofold:
1. Cities must notify authorities 48 hours before releasing an immigrant that is wanted by ICE
2. Cities must allow DHS officials into their jails to interview inmates.
Giving agents the ability to interview inmates “would knock aside a major hurdle for immigration agents trying to carry out Mr. Trump’s policies,” reports The New York Times. “Instead of trying to round up unauthorized immigrants on the street or during raids, they would be able to collect their targets straight from local jails.”
The new policy is the next step in the Trump Administration’s broader goal to decrease illegal immigration by tightening our borders and punishing sanctuary cities for their failure to obey federal law.
“This is what the American people should be able to expect from their cities and states,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Under previous rules, cities looking for grant money were simply required to show that they did not prohibit local cops from communicating with ICE agents.
“So-called sanctuary policies make all of us less safe because they intentionally undermine our laws and protect illegal aliens who have committed crimes,” said Sessions. “These policies also encourage illegal immigration and even human trafficking by perpetuating the lie that in certain cities, illegal aliens can live outside the law.”
President Trump has long sought to withhold federal money from cities that refuse to cooperate with immigration enforcement.American cities should be sanctuaries “for law abiding Americans,” said Trump Tuesday at a campaign-style rally in Ohio. “Not for criminals and gang members that we want the hell out of our country!”
One of his earlier moves was to ask the DHS to periodically release lists of jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with ICE and the crimes committed by illegal aliens they released from prison. As I wrote in March, the first such list detailed crimes including sexual assault, domestic violence, and drunk driving.
Trump attempted to withhold grant money from sanctuary cities earlier this year, but the policy was blocked by a federal judge in California.
The policy announced this week is different than the previous policy in that it requires advance notice before illegals are released, but does not require cities to hold inmates after they have finished their sentences.
Despite continuous threats from the Trump Administration, several big cities across the country have vowed to maintain sanctuary policies. San Francisco city attorney Dennis Herrera is actually suing the Trump Administration over its attempts to withhold funding to sanctuary cities, arguing that the newest policy violates the Constitution.
The new policy will take effect in September.