Daily Archives: February 5, 2018

House Intelligence Committee approves release of Democratic Memo rebutting Nunes Memo; NY Times asks FISA Court for Carter Page warrant info

The House Intelligence Committee on Monday voted unanimously to release a memo drafted by Democrats to rebut a GOP-crafted document alleging surveillance abuses at the Department of Justice (DOJ). Intelligence Committee Republicans last week voted down a measure that would have made the Democratic memo public at the same time as the Nunes memo. House Intel votes to release Dem countermemo:

The 10-page classified document now goes to President Trump, who has five days to block its release if he so chooses. It remains an open question whether he will do so.

Don’t hold your breath.

The Democratic memo is expected to lay out a point-by-point rebuttal of the assertions in the Nunes memo and make the case that the FBI had good reason to spy on Page as part of the counterintelligence probe into the Trump campaign.

A decision by the Trump White House to block its publication would almost certainly set off a firestorm of accusations from Democrats that he is attempting to obstruct justice.

The White House has signaled that it is open to allowing the release of the Democratic memo, but included a caveat for national security protections.

There were no redactions made by the White House to the Nunes Memo for national security reasons.

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No deal on DACA or immigration is possible

Last week, President Trump proposed a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million young immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children, but holds them hostage to his ransom demand that Democrats support $25 billion for border security, including his proposed border wall, and strict new limits on legal immigration. Trump’s immigration plan draws harsh reviews from left and right, and some conservatives label him ‘Amnesty Don’:

The 1.8-million figure would go well beyond the nearly 700,000 immigrants currently covered by the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, expanding the protections primarily to cover people who were eligible for DACA but did not apply.

The White House designed that element of the plan in hopes that it would provide a strong enticement for Democrats, who offered little sign of support on Thursday.

But the plan quickly generated opposition from some Republican conservatives.

“Amnesty comes in many forms, but it seems they all eventually grow in size and scope. Any proposal that expands the amnesty-eligible population risks opening Pandora’s box,” said Michael A. Needham, the head of Heritage Action for America, an influential conservative group. “That should be a nonstarter.”

And even before details of the plan emerged, blowback was building among parts of Trump’s base.

“Immigration Shock: Amnesty Don Suggests Citizenship for Illegal Aliens,” read a headline on Breitbart News, the conservative, nationalist website once run by Trump’s former strategist, Stephen K. Bannon.

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Donald Trump goes full authoritarian demagogue despot (Updated)

As Robert Mueller closes in, Donald Trump is becoming more authoritarian.  Now he is accusing anyone who does not bow down and kiss the feet of King Trump of “treason” (he is the one doing the bidding of his pal Putin).  If you are not one of his blindly loyal sycophant supporters in his cult of personality, you are “un-American.” Quite the opposite is true.  Trump accuses Dems of ‘treasonous’ behavior:

President Trump on Monday accused Democrats of “treasonous” behavior during his State of the Union address, escalating partisan tensions during a crucial stretch for Congress.

Trump took aim at Democratic lawmakers who refused to applaud during his speech last week when he mentioned his achievements during his first year in office, a reaction he called “un-American.”

Can we call that treason? Why not?” the president said during a speech in Ohio. “They certainly didn’t seem to love our country very much.”

Trump signaled that Democrats’ refusal to cheer “very positive news” in his speech, such as low unemployment rates for Hispanics and African-Americans, will make it difficult for him to work with them on government spending and immigration.

He said the Democrats “would rather see Trump do badly than our country do well,” calling their behavior “very selfish.”

The president used the 47-minute speech as a warm-up act for the 2018 midterm elections, even though the White House billed it as an official event, and not a political one, meaning taxpayers footed the bill.

He took repeated shots at Democratic congressional leaders Rep. Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and praised Ohio GOP Rep. Jim Renacci, who is running for Senate in the fall.

Trump also attacked Democratic incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio) for voting against his tax overhaul, which the president said is bolstering the economy.

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Pennsylvania will have to redistrict its congressional districts this year

The Washington Post’s Supreme Court reporter Robert Barnes reported Sunday on the status of gerrymandering cases pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. Opponents of gerrymandering keep winning, but it might not affect 2018:

Opponents of gerrymandering have won a historic string of victories in the courts recently, yet millions of voters will cast their ballots this fall in districts that judges have declared to be unconstitutional.

Federal courts in Texas, North Carolina and Wisconsin found that either politics or intentional discrimination played an unacceptable role in drawing electoral lines and ordered new districts in place for the 2018 elections.

But the Supreme Court stopped them all. The justices are traditionally reluctant to order changes in an election year, for one thing. And they have never thrown out a state’s redistricting plan because they found it so infected with partisan bias that it violates voters’ constitutional rights.

Unless and until it does — the subject is under review at the high court — the justices have routinely told states found to be offenders that they do not have to immediately redraw the maps, which almost surely means they won’t be in place for the 2018 elections.

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The most consequential of the stay requests is at the Supreme Court right now, and the decision could play a role in determining which party controls the House after the November midterm elections.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court last month ruled that the congressional map drawn by the Republican legislature in 2011 “clearly, plainly and palpably violates” the commonwealth’s constitution. It demanded a quick redrawing of the lines so that 2018 elections could be held in fairer districts.

But Republican legislative leaders in Pennsylvania have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to put the decision on hold.

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Celebrate Chinese New Year of the Dog 2018

Several celebrations on Feb. 10, 17, 18  coming up for Chinese New Year of the Dog.  Update –  Feb. 10 performance schedule below.

More info: http://www.tucsonchinese.org/.

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More government shutdown theatrics this week?

After a weekend government shutdown a few weeks ago, Congress once again kicked the can down the road with a continuing resolution (CR) spending bill to keep the government open until February 8.

So have they made any progrrss since then? What do you think.

The Hill reports, This week: Congress races to prevent another shutdown:

Time is running short for Congress to avoid another shutdown once funding runs out after Thursday.

The vote comes roughly three weeks after the government closed for three days amid a fight over the fate of an Obama-era immigration program.

But GOP leadership appears confident Democrats won’t risk another shutdown, after they folded last month on their demand to link immigration policy to a must-pass bill.

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House Democrats are scheduled to depart for Cambridge, Md., for their retreat on Wednesday, which may help ease the skids for passing another temporary stopgap measure to keep the government open in time.

A vote in the House is expected on Tuesday, per a Republican aide.

Two sources familiar with the situation told The Hill that the continuing resolution (CR) would fund the government through March 23, though the decision hasn’t been finalized.

Asked about a six-week CR, an aide for the Senate Appropriations Committee said they are “on board, with a primary interest in accepting any date that makes the most sense in context of getting a deal and final resolution of the [fiscal year] 2018 appropriations.”

Lawmakers are hoping a longer CR will allow them to clinch a budget deal, which has been hamstrung by the immigration fight and demands of equal increases in defense and nondefense spending, as well as write a longer “omnibus” bill that could take weeks.

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