Two prominent GOP Senators, Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson, have accused their Democratic colleagues of “selectively leaking” information from their joint investigation into Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine while his father was vice president.
Yahoo News reported last week that the Treasury Department had complied with Republicans who were asking for financial records on Biden, citing “a leading Democrat on one of the committees conducting the investigation.” The report quoted the Democrat as saying the evidence turned over to the Senate committees was “of questionable origin.”
“We have shared our ongoing investigation efforts with our Democrat ranking members as a courtesy and with the understanding that sensitive information would be treated appropriately and remain confidential,” Johnson and Grassley said in a statement. “It is disappointing that one or more of our colleagues would actively seek to undermine our legitimate oversight by selectively leaking information to the press.”
The Republican senators called the leaks “highly inappropriate” and emphasized that any responses from the Treasury Department to the senators’ queries would be “highly sensitive.”
Democrats contrasted the Trump administration’s responsiveness to the Senate probe with its complete stonewalling of last year’s House impeachment investigation, alleging hypocrisy.
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who sits on the Finance Committee, told Yahoo News that the swift response from Treasury is a “blatant double standard” considering how the Trump administration responded — or rather, did not respond — to Democrats’ effort to obtain documents and witness testimony in his impeachment trial.
“The administration told House Democrats to go pound sand when their oversight authority was mandatory while voluntarily cooperating with the Senate Republicans’ sideshow at lightning speed,” a spokesman from Wyden told the website.
Grassley and Johnson said there was no double standard, as there was no implication of executive privilege in the documents on “suspicious financial transactions” that the Senate sought on Hunter Biden. Executive privilege is a procedural shield that protects the president from being forced to turn over information about his deliberations with advisors, particularly on foreign policy.
“In fact, Democrats have recently received productions from Treasury pursuant to their oversight requests,” the Republicans said. “If the administration were to claim privilege over requested material, as the Obama administration did in the ‘Operation Fast and Furious’ investigation, members of Congress can use other tools at their disposal – including the courts – to compel cooperation.”
Unless you have been living under a rock, you realize that the world that we live in may be facing an epidemic of major proportions. This has come into light with the onset of the Coronavirus. When one looks into our past, it would be easy to find data supporting humanity or certain groups of people being attacked by some deadly disease that threatens the lives of millions.
Could there actually be a zombie apocalypse one day? That’s an interesting yet scary question to ask. A few years ago in Florida, we had the bath salt incidents where people would ingest the bath salts then proceed to eat the faces off of unsuspecting victims. How soon do we forget. There was one case where a young college student named Austin Harrouff brutally beat, stabbed and murdered a husband and wife in Martin County. Oh yeah, he also ate their face. A neighbor bore witness to this act and tried to intervene to no avail. The guy was jacked up on the salts and out of his mind. Harrouff was shot, tased and repeatedly kicked in the head by the police but persisted to gnaw on the face of the male victim. Toxicology tests showed that he had only marijuana in his system. I wonder.
On May 26, 2012, a homeless man in Miami, Randy Eugene, after indulging in bath salts, gnawed Ronald Poppo’s face down to the goatee. A witness said that the forehead was eaten down to the bone and there was no nose or mouth. Eck. There were several cases like these across the nation which makes one wonder if someone or group of individuals were attempting to create zombies. Keep in mind that Hollywood loves to keep this zombie narrative going. We had World War Z starring Brad Pitt, Night Of The Living Dead movies and the series on network TV. One must begin to connect the dots.
Most of us go to the doctor and whatever the doctor prescribes as an injury, sickness, disease or ailment, we take it. Easy to pull the wool over unsuspecting eyes. Heres what I learned about the coronavirus: The virus has an 83% infection rate and a 17% fatality rate. This virus can go symptomless for 14 days but is still highly contagious in this incubation period. There has been 170 deaths in China due to the Coronavirus and the number of cases is now over 8000 worldwide. This virus was biochemically engineered. This means it was made in a lab either for research or to create a biological weapon. It was created by combining 2 forms of SARS virus found in bats. It is said to be able to infiltrate the human body via the eyeballs. 500 thousand people evacuated China prior to the quarantine which will aid in the spreading of the virus. China knew about the leak of the virus prior to the outbreak. Right now the Wuhan Coronavirus is worse than that of the Swine Flu.
This information was updated by Dr. Paul Cotrell of Harvard University. Oligarchs like Bill Gates keep touting population reduction. In laboratories, they create killer bugs. Meanwhile, there is a Superbowl game this weekend that nobody has mentioned postponing until further notice due to a possible epidemic or pandemic. I wonder why? I will leave you with this, stay away from densely populated areas unless you have a hazmat suit. Let us all pray for a speedy resolution to this confusion.
In what can only be described as a “tit for tat” scenario, a freshman GOP senator has said that if Joe Biden should somehow be elected president in November, he could face immediate impeachment.
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) has warned that former Vice President Joe Biden could immediately face calls for impeachment if elected president. The first-term Republican went on the offense in a recent interview with Bloomberg News, saying that Biden’s prior dealings with Ukraine puts a target on his back.
“I think this door of impeachable whatever has been opened,” she said. “Joe Biden should be very careful what he’s asking for because, you know, we can have a situation where if it should ever be President Biden, that immediately, people, right the day after he would be elected would be saying, ‘Well, we’re going to impeach him.’”
Ernst accused Biden of interfering in an investigation into the Ukrainian energy company Burisma. She said then-President Barack Obama tasked Biden with weeding out corruption, but that Biden ignored “Burisma because his son was on the company’s board making over a million dollars a year.”
Ernst’s comments come as President Trump’s own impeachment trial in the Senate is set to conclude this week. Trump has continually said, as has his defense team, that he withheld congressionally approved aid to the war-torn country due to his own concerns about internal corruption – and nothing to do with the Bidens.
In an interview with CNN, Ernst said she will vote to acquit Trump on Wednesday, arguing that what he did does not merit being removed from office.
She added that Trump meant well but went about things in “the wrong manner.”
“I think, generally speaking, going after corruption would be the right thing to do,” she said. “He did it maybe in the wrong manner.”
Ernst has since walked back the comments she made over the weekend about impeaching Biden. Speaking with reporters just off the Senate floor, on Monday, Ernst said her weekend remarks were overblown and that she was trying to argue that Democrats have made impeachment — once a political tool reserved for extreme circumstances — the new normal in today’s partisan warfare.
“That was taken entirely out of context. The point is that the Democrats have lowered the bar so far that … regardless of who it is, if you have a different party in the House than that of an elected president, you can have just random comments thrown out there with folks saying we’re going to impeach,” Ernst said when asked by The Hill about her earlier Biden comments.
Independent Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, has surged ahead in Iowa, just as the long anticipated Iowa Caucus begins. The sudden Sanders surge has mainstream leaders of the Democratic Party concerned that the self-described “democratic socialist” could win in Iowa, sending him on a trajectory to win the party nomination. That is something that many “old guard” Democrats fear. Former Secretary of State, John Kerry, was overheard by reporter saying that “Bernie could take down the party.”
For the first time, the Iowa Democratic Party will report both the number of state delegates won by each candidate — as had been done in previous years — as well as who had the most votes at the beginning and the end of the night. Sanders’ campaign has placed emphasis on the early vote count, leading his rivals to worry that touting those initial and unofficial tallies could sway the final result.
“Everybody is playing by one set of rules except for Bernie,” an aide for another Democratic campaign told Politico. “They don’t really care if they disrupt it. They hate the Democratic Party. They hated them from four years ago, and they hate them now.”
Campaign aides told the outlet they are concerned that Sanders’ campaign or supporters could use early results to prematurely claim victory, which could affect the final outcome by leading voters who support other candidates to leave instead of supporting alternative candidates in later rounds. Under the rules, after the first round of voting in the caucuses, voters whose candidates do not receive at least 15 percent are able to switch candidates. That means the tallies will inevitably shift after the initial round.
The new rules were put in place after Sanders’ supporters complained that a narrow victory in 2016 by Hillary Clinton did not adequately reflect the raw number of voters turning out to support Sanders. Politico says that the new rules were designed to make the caucus system more transparent and to make sure that even the lowest-performing candidates get credit for all the votes they receive.
Ultimately, the figure that matters in the long run is the number of delegates a candidate receives to represent them at the Democratic convention, but Sanders’ chief adviser, Jeff Weaver, has suggested otherwise.
“At the end of the day, the first impression is probably the most accurate portrayal of who won the night,” Weaver told The Associated Press in January.
This is very different from the position held by the state’s Democratic Party.
“This is a contest for delegates,” Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Troy Price told the AP. “Campaigns will highlight whatever number is the most advantageous for them. But in the end, what matters is the delegates that come out of Iowa to the national convention, and (state delegates) will remain the best indicator of that.”
Sen. Rand Paul read aloud the name of the alleged whistleblower who first raised alarms about President Donald Trump’s conduct toward Ukraine.
After being denied by Chief Justice John Roberts last week, Paul used a period reserved for senators’ impeachment speeches to read aloud the name of an intelligence community official alleged to be the whistleblower.
But Paul first pointed out that the question he wanted to pose, which Roberts denied, while using the name of an NSC official reported by conservative media to be the whistleblower, did not actually identify the person as such.
“They made a big mistake not allowing my question. My question did not talk about anybody who is a whistleblower, my question did not accuse anybody of being a whistleblower, it did not make a statement believing that someone was a whistleblower. I simply named two people’s names because I think it’s very important to know what happened,” Paul said on the floor.
The names were not made public, but it is safe to assume that at least one of them was Eric Ciaramella, a name we have reported on these pages, and whom Donald Trump himself has said is the alleged whistleblower. Ciaramella is an ex-CIA operative who has ties to major Democrats and anti-Trump members of the intelligence community. It has also been reported that he dated Adam “Shifty” Schiff’s daughter!
The Kentucky senator also displayed the question on a poster board positioned nearby. It alleged that an official at the White House National Security Council (NSC) conspired with a Democratic staffer of the House Intelligence Committee, which spearheaded the impeachment inquiry.
Trump and his Republican allies have long sought to out the anonymous whistleblower who used official channels to raise concerns about a July 25 phone conversation in which Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, who is now a leading Democratic presidential candidate.
Lawyers for the whistleblower and Democrats have accused Trump and other Republicans of jeopardizing the personal security of the person by seeking to publicize the name.
Paul said Tuesday that he supports protections against reprisal for whistleblowers but not necessarily anonymity.
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), also used the alleged whistleblower’s name during the House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment hearings back in December, though he, too, did not identify the person as the whistleblower.
The Democratic 2020 mission to oust President Donald Trump could not have got off to a more disastrous and embarrassing start.
The party couldn’t even deliver a first-in-the-nation election night winner after a vote-reporting debacle in Iowa — where candidates spent months and millions of dollars vying for a glittering opening prize in their nominating contest.
“Iowa, you have shocked the nation,” said former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. However, that did not stop Mayor Pete from claiming victory, late Monday night, even while no official results had been tabulated.
“Tonight, an improbable hope became an undeniable reality,” Buttigieg told a cheering crowd. “So we don’t know all the results, but we know by the time it’s all said and done — Iowa, you have shocked the nation. Because by all indications, we are going on to New Hampshire victorious.”
Buttigieg’s official Twitter account also sent out some tweets in which the former mayor appeared to declare victory.
“The skeptics said ‘not now,'” said one tweet. “‘Not this time.’ All this talk of ‘belonging,’ of bridging divides, is too naive. Too risky. So tonight I say—with a heart filled with gratitude—Iowa, you’ve proved those skeptics wrong.”
Iowa is the first state to hold a contest in the Democratic primary. The caucuses began at around 7 p.m. CT, but the night ended without any official vote totals because of technical difficulties with the reporting process that resulted in widespread delays.
Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders said he has a “good feeling” and his campaign also says he got the most delegates. Elizabeth Warren called the outcome “too close to call.” Joe Biden, who said he would “walk out of here with our share of delegates,” had his campaign send a letter of complaint about the reporting difficulties.
And, of course, the Trump campaign did not miss an opportunity to crow that “Democrats are stewing in a caucus mess of their own creation with the sloppiest train wreck in history.”
In fact, the ultimate winner in last night’s debacle was probably the president. The caucus nightmare played right into the hands of Trump who has been trying for months to brand all of his rivals as weak, disorganized and even worse — plotting to rig the results to hand its crown to an establishment favorite. The Trump campaign’s aim is to create a narrative that tars the eventual nominee as illegitimate. And on the eve of his State of the Union address and two days before he’s set to be acquitted in his impeachment trial, things cannot have worked out better for the President.
“It would be natural for people to doubt the fairness of the process. And these are the people who want to run our entire healthcare system?” Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said, gleefully wringing every last drop of political advantage out of the Democratic foul-ups.
CNN is reporting that the official results should come in sometime Tuesday.
Two prominent Republican Senators are appealing to Attorney General William Barr, to declassify certain parts of IG Michael Horowitz’s report on the Russia investigation, without which they say the report is “misleading” to the public regarding the IG’s findings.
A classified letter sent to Barr asks that he declassify four footnotes in the report to create a more transparent picture of what transpired during the FBI’s inquiry, dubbed Crossfire Hurricane.
“We have reviewed the findings of the Office of the Inspector General with regard to the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation, and we are deeply concerned about certain information that remains classified,” wrote Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, the chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, in an accompanying unclassified letter.
“Specifically, we are concerned that certain sections of the public version of the report are misleading because they are contradicted by relevant and probative classified information redacted in four footnotes,” Johnson and Grassley added. “This classified information is significant not only because it contradicts key statements in a section of the report but also because it provides insight essential for an accurate evaluation of the entire investigation. The American people have a right to know what is contained within these four footnotes and, without that knowledge, they will not have a full picture as to what happened during the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.”
Horowitz investigated allegations of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) abuses against President Trump’s 2016 campaign and released a report just before the end of the year. While he determined that the genesis of the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign was not tainted by bias, the independent watchdog did fault the Justice Department and the FBI for 17 “significant errors and omissions” during the process of obtaining FISA warrants to wiretap Trump campaign adviser Carter Page and for relying on British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s salacious and unverified dossier. He also could not say whether bias tainted that FISA process, which is now undergoing reforms.
Johnson and Grassley did not divulge any further information about what they expect from the four redacted footnotes in the unclassified letter, but they do note that Trump has given Barr full declassification authority for U.S. Attorney John Durham’s inquiry into the origins of the Russia investigation, which Democrats have decried as an effort to discredit the work of special counsel Robert Mueller and shield Trump.
The Washington Examiner, who first reported on the letter, said that a DOJ representative did not immediately respond to their request for comment.
An angry President Trump has said that any and all allegations being made by his former national security advisor in his soon to be released book are simply “false.”
The president made these statements in the wake of lead Impeachment Manager Adam Schiff pushing to have Bolton testify, after the dramatic leak of the manuscript on Monday 1/27.
Bolton allegedly claimed President Trump told him he would withhold aid from Ukraine unless the country agreed to investigate the Bidens. Rep. Schiff is now hoping Bolton could provide evidence of that.
“He should be placed under oath and this is why we think the testimony should be public,” he stated. “It should be live; let the American people, along with the senators, evaluate John Bolton’s credibility when he testifies and make their own judgment.”
President Trump denied the claims and said he never told Bolton he would pressure Ukraine. He believes his former national security adviser is trying to “sell his book” by suggesting the president tied Ukrainian security aide to Democrat investigations.
Bolton has said he is willing to testify in the impeachment trial if subpoenaed, however, it is unclear if the Senate will choose to call him as a witness.
Meanwhile, moderate Republicans who were “on the fence” about calling witnesses are reportedly under more pressure after the Bolton book leak. According to The Hill, Republicans could see Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) defect and vote in favor of new evidence and witnesses. This follows their comments last week in support of issuing new subpoenas.
Before the Bolton report was released, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), a known swing vote, did not mention whether she backed more witnesses. She said she needs to review her notes to make an informed decision.
Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) suggested Bolton’s credibility could be called into question because he left the White House on bad terms.
It’s unknown at this point whether the Senate has 51 votes to call new witnesses to speak under oath to lawmakers. President Trump has threatened to invoke executive privilege to block Bolton’s testimony and tie-up any subpoena for his statement in the courts.
The second case of coronavirus was confirmed Friday in the United States, as China’s efforts to control its outbreak expanded on many fronts. Travel bans were extended in central China to put tens of millions of people effectively on local lockdowns. In Wuhan, where the virus was first detected, workers are racing to build a 1,000-bed hospital to treat victims of the disease.
Authorities around China, including in the capital, Beijing, have canceled the temple fairs and festivals that accompany the Spring Festival to avoid having large public gatherings where the airborne virus could spread.
What We Know So Far
- There are more than 830 confirmed cases of infection, and at least 26 people have died. A total of 8,420 people are reported to be under observation.
- A young, previously healthy man died in Wuhan, raising concerns about the deadliness of the virus. Until now, the vast majority of victims have been older than 60 with preexisting conditions.
- Infections have been confirmed in South Korea, Japan, Nepal, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Taiwan and the United States.
- Authorities are enforcing a lockdown across large parts of the province of Hubei, affecting more than 35 million people, but the precise number remains unclear.
- The Chinese medical system has clearly struggled to cope with the outbreak, with reports of crowded hospitals, stressed doctors and dwindling supplies.
The second case in the US is a woman in her 60s. She has been hospitalized in Chicago, and is reportedly doing well. She had traveled to Wuhan, China, in December, and flew home to Illinois on Jan. 13. She was not symptomatic on the flight home.
The woman had not spent much time in public after arriving back in the U.S., and had not taken public transportation, health officials said. The risk that she had infected others is low, but some close contacts are being monitored for symptoms.
The CDC is also investigating another 61 potential cases from 22 states. Eleven have tested negative, and results from the rest are pending.
Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said that it’s important to keep in mind that there are still many unknowns about the virus.
“This virus was only identified within the past month, and there is much we don’t know yet,” Messonnier said during a call with journalists last week.
She added it’s likely there will be more cases in the U.S., including among close contacts of travelers.
The first reported case of the virus in the states was a 30 year old Seattle man, who fell ill after returning to his home in Washington state following a trip to Wuhan.
President Trump has blasted Democrat lawmakers, following their statements thus far in the Senate impeachment trial. He took to Twitter Thursday to state that their arguments, specifically those of lead impeachment manager Adam Schiff’s, were full of “lies and misrepresentations.”
The president was particularly irate about the fact that his democratic accusers have ignored the facts of the many times that President Obama also held back foreign aid that was approved by Congress.
During Wednesday’s hearings, Schiff called President Trump’s decision to withhold foreign aid to Ukraine funds highly unusual.
“It was President Trump himself who originally authorized additional financial military assistance to Ukraine in 2017 and 2018, without reservation,” said Schiff. “Making his abrupt decision to withhold assistance in 2019, without explanation, all the more surprising to those responsible for Ukraine policy.”
However, President Trump said that Schiff, along with his colleagues, are refusing to state that the Obama administration also withheld aid from many countries in an effort to side-step the fact that doing so has historically been a common practice for presidents. He further noted that Obama withheld aid to several countries undergoing political strife, including Ukraine as well as Pakistan, the Philippines, Egypt, Honduras and Mexico.
This comes as President Trump maintains there was no pressure in his communications with Ukraine and gave this explanation on releasing aid to the country, “That’s the whole case right there. There was no pressure whatsoever. I do say two things — we have to check corruption and we also have to find out why is it that the United States is always giving foreign countries money.”
The president concluded his series Thursday tweets against the Democrats, noting that the Democrat impeachment efforts are a “witch hunt!”