Attorney General William Barr has met with foreign intelligence officials, including during a trip to Italy earlier in September, regarding an investigation into surveillance activities against the Trump campaign, The Washington Post reported. Barr was joined in the meeting by John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, WaPo reported, citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter.“As the Department of Justice has previously announced, a team led by U.S. Attorney John Durham is investigating the origins of the U.S. counterintelligence probe of the Trump 2016 presidential campaign,” department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec told Politico in a statement. “Mr. Durham is gathering information from numerous sources, including a number of foreign countries. At Attorney General Barr’s request, the President has contacted other countries to ask them to introduce the Attorney General and Mr. Durham to appropriate officials.” Barr tapped Durham earlier in 2019 to … [Read more...] about Report: AG Barr Is Ramping Up His Probe Of CIA, FBI Activities In 2016
Yes, another legislative train wreck is in the offing for the last month of the year. Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images It’s not getting much attention in a political commentariat focused on tax cuts and sexual misconduct. But very soon Congress is going to have to deal with the can of worms it kicked down the road in September via an unlikely deal between Donald Trump and congressional Democrats. The short-term spending measure and debt-limit extension passed on September 8 expires on December 8. A consensus has developed to pass a stopgap bill continuing federal spending at current levels until right around the end of the year, or possibly until very early in 2018. But the specter of partisan gridlock and possibly a government shutdown hangs over the desultory negotiations over a spending deal and other issues that each side is insisting on cramming into the bill. Unlike the health-care and tax legislation that has consumed so much congressional energy in 2017, the spending … [Read more...] about December Disaster Looms As Spending, Debt, and Tax Controversies Pile Up
By next year, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski will be the only pro-choice Republicans in Congress. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images As the Senate and the nation gear up for an intense Supreme Court confirmation battle that is likely to revolve around the possibility that Anthony Kennedy’s successor will provide a fifth SCOTUS vote to restrict abortion rights, the polarization of the two parties on this issue is worth reassessing. The survival of a small anti-abortion faction in the Democratic Party is still an open question, as evidenced by Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair Ben Ray Luján’s statement last year that the party would not impose any reproductive rights “litmus test” on candidates, and the survival of Representative Dan Lipinski in a hotly contested Illinois primary earlier this year in which his conservative views on the subject were front and center. The takeover of the GOP by those who oppose reproductive rights has … [Read more...] about The Near-Extinction of Pro-Choice Republicans in Congress
Using a clip from a recent appearance on Conan, a YouTuber “deepfaked” Arnold Schwarzenegger’s head onto comedian Bill Hader’s body. Photo: YouTube A shadow looms over the 2020 election: Deepfakes! The newish video-editing technology (or really, host of technologies) used to seamlessly paste one person’s face on another’s body, has activated a panic among pundits and politicians. During an appearance on CBS This Morning this week, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri summed up the general attitude toward deepfakes, which his platform currently doesn’t have a policy against: “I don’t feel good about it.” Earlier this month, deepfaked and manipulated videos of Mosseri’s boss Mark Zuckerberg and Nancy Pelosi were each the subject of breathless mainstream media coverage; last week, Congress held hearings on deepfakes. The media, a Politico headline claims, is “gearing up for an onslaught of fake video.” An onslaught! I … [Read more...] about Can You Spot a Deepfake? Does It Matter?
Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeOn The Money: Retirement savings bill blocked in Senate after fight over amendments | Stopgap bill may set up December spending fight | Hardwood industry pleads for relief from Trump trade war Retirement bill blocked in Senate amid fight over amendments Senators press NSA official over shuttered phone surveillance program MORE (R-Utah) has been granted a visa to visit Russia after Moscow previously rejected two other senators’ requests to be allowed to travel to the country.A spokesman for Lee told The Hill that the Utah Republican will travel to Russia from Sept. 5 to 8 and will meet with government officials and members of the business community, as well as outgoing U.S. Ambassador to Russia and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.Jon HuntsmanSen. Mike Lee granted visa to Russia after other senators' requests are denied Jon Huntsman Jr. — Good for Everybody MOREADVERTISEMENTLee intends to discuss “trade and military relations, … [Read more...] about Sen. Mike Lee granted visa to Russia after other senators’ requests are denied