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27 мая, 01:17

James Comey Needs To Get His Clinton Investigation Story Straight...Again

function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); The primary bogeyman that’s been seared into our consciousness during the sprawling, ongoing investigations into Russian interference into the 2016 election has been the specter of collusion between members of and adjacent to President Donald Trump’s inner circle and Russian malefactors. There’s a solid argument to be made that the intense attention to this alleged connivance has been, as Just Security’s Julian Sanchez puts it, “misplaced.” But, as recent revelations demonstrate, you don’t need to connect the dots of collusion to conclude that Russian actors managed to breed some dire discord into our democracy. And, if you think we might soon retrieve a sense of order from this chaos anytime soon, let’s briefly consider the Curious Case Of The Dubious Russian Document, which has caught former FBI Director James Comey and his defenders spinning some contradictory tales. Back in April, the public learned about the document in question when it made an appearance in a New York Times magazine piece penned by Matt Apuzzo, Michael S. Schmidt, Adam Goldman, and Eric Lichtblau. In it, they describe how U.S. intelligence agencies could, from time to time, successfully “peer ... into Russian networks and see what has been taken” during “Russia’s hacking campaign against the United States.” On one of those occasions, FBI agents saw something unusual in a tranche of hacked documents. As the Times reported: The document, which has been described as both a memo and an email, was written by a Democratic operative who expressed confidence that [U.S. Attorney General Loretta] Lynch would keep the Clinton investigation from going too far, according to several former officials familiar with the document. As the Times’ report makes clear, this document was discovered at a time during which Comey was apparently more and more certain that Hillary Clinton was not going to be charged with any crime, and the case into her email server was going to be closed. However, as the Times went on to report, the implications this document presented colored everything Comey did from there. If the FBI recommended that the case be closed, there was going to necessarily be a public to-do about it. So, who would stand in front of the press and make the announcement? If it fell to Lynch, then the threat of this document becoming public would raise serious questions about the independence and credibility of the investigation. In the end, Comey took it upon himself to explain the closure of the case. This left Justice Department officials feeling like the FBI director just wanted some attention for himself. However, as the Times noted, “Mr. Comey’s defenders regard this as one of the untold stories of the Clinton investigation, one they say helps to explain his decision making.” So let’s pause right here to review. This New York Times story, in which Comey’s defenders are contending that this whole matter “helps to explain his decision making,” was published on April 22, 2017. So it was just one month ago that the Comey-backing sources of this story were contending that this document was the key to unlock Comey’s mindset on the Clinton case back in the summer of 2016. Now, let’s flash-forward. Earlier this week, The Washington Post’s Karoun Demirjian and Devlin Barrett returned to the story about a “secret document that officials say played a key role in then-FBI director James B. Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.” The Post provided further details about the document ― which apparently described an email correspondence between then-DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz to an official with the George Soros-funded Open Society Foundation. Per The Washington Post: In the supposed email, Wasserman Schultz claimed [U.S. Attorney General Loretta] Lynch had been in private communication with a senior Clinton campaign staffer named Amanda Renteria during the campaign. The document indicated Lynch had told Renteria that she would not let the FBI investigation into Clinton go too far, according to people familiar with it. But I’m burying the lede. The most important revelation that the Post provided this week was that this document was actually a forgery ― and that it had “long been viewed within the FBI as unreliable.” How long had it been viewed that way though? Per the Post: Current and former officials have said that Comey relied on the document in making his July decision to announce on his own, without Justice Department involvement, that the investigation was over. That public announcement — in which he criticized Clinton and made extensive comments about the evidence — set in motion a chain of other FBI moves that Democrats now say helped Trump win the presidential election. But according to the FBI’s own assessment, the document was bad intelligence — and according to people familiar with its contents, possibly even a fake sent to confuse the bureau. The Americans mentioned in the Russian document insist they do not know each other, do not speak to each other and never had any conversations remotely like the ones described in the document. Investigators have long doubted its veracity, and by August the FBI had concluded it was unreliable. In the most charitable interpretation of these events, we can allow that if consensus within the FBI about the document’s lack of authenticity had not yet been achieved by August, then Comey could have been understandably influenced by its contents in July, when he abruptly closed the case amid a controversy that would only swing back with a fury at the end of October, when Comey announced that new emails had been discovered. But why were FBI sources ― Comey defenders ― treating the document as if it were legitimate, in conversations with New York Times reporters months after this consensus had been reached, assuring them that this was the linchpin in Comey’s strategy? This does not add up, and so it’s no surprise to see some damage-control efforts being manifested. Here’s the new version of the story, being woven Friday morning on the pages of CNN.com: Then-FBI Director James Comey knew that a critical piece of information relating to the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email was fake ― created by Russian intelligence ― but he feared that if it became public it would undermine the probe and the Justice Department itself, according to multiple officials with knowledge of the process. That’s right, sources are now telling CNN’s Dana Bash, Shimon Prokupecz, and Gloria Borger, that “Comey and FBI officials actually knew early on that this intelligence was indeed false,” and that if Russians ever released this document, then ― false or not ― it would cloud the entire case and put the FBI in a no-win situation, where agents could not “discredit it without burning intelligence sources and methods.” “It is unclear why Comey was not more forthcoming in a classified setting,” reports CNN. Yeah, I’ll say! Still, it’s not hard to see why Comey might have been reticent to disclose that this document was a forgery. Without revealing sources and methods, he wouldn’t have been able to demonstrate the fakery. He’d have been asking the public to trust him ― and walking straight into a partisan buzzsaw that would have likely dogged those efforts. Reasonable people can probably understand that he and his agency might have emerged from that effort with diminished public trust. But that doesn’t explain why Comey-backing sources were treating the document as authentic in conversations with reporters from The New York Times in April. Once it was clear that discussion of this dubious document was going to happen in full view of the public, it’s puzzling why no one simply reverted to the story that’s being told by CNN today. After all, the threat posed to trust and credibility is the same: As soon as The New York Times reports the document as legitimate, the clock starts ticking on the eventual reveal that it’s not. At the very moment the FBI, through these sources, should have been cutting its losses and giving The New York Times the straight story, it was instead running a cover-your-ass operation ― and a misguided one at that, considering it didn’t diminish any of the risk to which the bureau would be exposed when the truth about the forged document came out. The end result is that the FBI has ended up with the same diminished trust and credibility over the matter that it feared in the first place. And, as an added bonus, four very reliable and clear-eyed Times reporters now know they got burned in the process. There are some obvious missing pieces here, and matters worthy of further explanation. We still don’t know why The New York Times’ sources didn’t just try to come clean on the nature of this document once they had the chance ― in hindsight it looks like that this would have been the more advantageous option. There is a clue, perhaps, elsewhere in CNN’s reporting from Friday (emphasis mine): The Washington Post reported Wednesday that this Russian intelligence was unreliable. U.S. officials now tell CNN that Comey and FBI officials actually knew early on that this intelligence was indeed false. In fact, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe went to Capitol Hill Thursday to push back on the notion that the FBI was duped, according to a source familiar with a meeting McCabe had with members of the Senate Intelligence Committee. There you go. All of this michegas may have simply been caused by the fact that nobody wanted it to be known that they had never, at any time, been tricked, even briefly. This is the saddest, and most “Beltway” explanation ― which is why it’s also the most plausible reason why this happened. This is an unforgiving town where a lacerated pride is a fatal wound, and admitting error is a mortal sin. For Pete’s sake, the entire existence of a “Hillary Clinton private email server” scandal is completely down to the fact that Clinton didn’t just simply and forthrightly say something to the effect of, “Yeah, I screwed up.” Instead, she hardened her defenses to preserve her amour-propre. And, as anyone who’s even done a cursory study of Beltway mores might say, “Typical, typical, typical.” From Clinton, to Comey, to Congress, and everywhere in between, our dumb political culture ― which holds that admitting a mistake is the worst thing you can do, and where the incentive to build a warren of spin and bullshit overrides everyone’s good judgment ― proves again and again to be the undoing of everything. And to a Russian spy, it might be the easiest and most obvious exploit of all. ~~~~~ Jason Linkins edits “Eat The Press” for The Huffington Post and co-hosts the HuffPost Politics podcast “So, That Happened.” Subscribe here, and listen to the latest episode below.   -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

26 мая, 23:32

Puerto Rico governor pushes statehood as vote looms despite no U.S. support

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló has just the solution for the decade-long recession and crippling debt crisis his island is facing: U.S. statehood.Trouble is, Rosselló has little support from Congress for his dream of making the territory the 51st state — and possibly even less from the Trump administration.That didn't stop the popular young leader, elected in January, from traveling to the U.S. Capitol this week to make his pitch as a plebiscite on the island's political status looms.Though Rosselló tweeted out pictures of himself with several senior Republican lawmakers from his trip to Washington on Thursday, he acknowledged he had no assurances from Congress or the White House that they would honor the result of a vote that fulfills a campaign pledge of his for statehood. That did not keep him from vehemently defending the legitimacy of the vote. “I am appalled that any process that is a democratic process would be considered a political exercise,” he told reporters. “This is a real process, important for the people of Puerto Rico, important for our determination." His quest has drawn rebukes from critics and political rivals, including opposition parties that have vowed to boycott the June 11 vote. Puerto Rico is mired in recession and a $70 billion debt crisis — which already triggered the largest local government bankruptcy in U.S. history in early May — and desperately needs health care funds.“It doesn’t make sense to me for anybody in Puerto Rico to be pushing the plebiscite right now,” said Mike Soto, president of the Center for a New Economy, a nonpartisan, San Juan-based think tank. Soto supports changing the island's political status but says, “Time and energy are a zero sum game, so any time you spend on this is time you don’t spend on Medicaid [funding] and other issues.”The MIT-educated Rosselló, who's just 38, won his party’s candidacy for the governorship by campaigning for a plebiscite. The controversial measure, which his supporters love, is Rosselló’s equivalent of President Donald Trump’s border wall: A campaign promise whose practicality has been called into question. The Justice Department must approve ballot language for the vote on whether to keep Puerto Rico’s political status, which at first only included two options: statehood or independence. Rosselló, joined by the commonwealth's nonvoting member of Congress Rep. Jenniffer Gonzalez, and Puerto Rico Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz, told reporters and congressional staff assembled on Capitol Hill that the ballot would be consistent with language the Justice Department had required. “This is a mandate that Congress did,” Gonzalez said, referring to a broader 2014 government funding law passed by Congress that provides $2.5 million for a referendum. While the bill didn’t actually mandate a vote, it did require the Justice Department to certify language at least 45 days before ballots were cast and allowed that some of the money could also be used for educational materials if Puerto Rico opted for the referendum. Even if the Justice Department were to approve ballot language, Congress has shown little interest in adding a new state. Republicans worry that Puerto Rico would consistently send Democrats to the House and Senate. And the commonwealth would bring the baggage of a massive debt crisis and sky-high unemployment.Gonzalez also seemed to indicate that Puerto Rico’s government had a green light from the Justice Department. Rosselló and Rivera Schatz argued that the ballot language was consistent with what the federal government asked for, including the option to vote for remaining a territory. However, a Justice Department spokesperson emailed POLITICO that, “The Department has not reviewed or approved the current ballot language and any suggestion to the contrary is incorrect.” Statehood could negate the debt-restructuring law Congress passed last year to provide Puerto Rico debt relief. While Congress was able to allow Puerto Rico a process resembling bankruptcy, states cannot declare bankruptcy. Bondholders of Puerto Rico’s largest debt class, general obligation debt backed by the full faith and credit of the commonwealth, could then argue that they must be paid in full rather than accept a reduction in payments. That could mean a difference of billions in debt owed by the island. While it might provide more federal help for health care — an urgent need for the island — becoming a state would also subject Puerto Rico to federal income taxes, adding more of a burden to a struggling economy. If passed into law Puerto Rican statehood would send two senators and five representatives chosen by the governor to Washington and demand ask that they be seated as full voting representatives of the island. Rosselló said he and his party were “not asking for a blessing but informing the members of Congress, informing them that we the people of Puerto Rico are taking action, that we have a plebiscite that is consistent with what the Department of Justice has established, and that we expect results and movement right after 3.5 million U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico have taken action.” Bianca Padró Ocasio contributed to this report.

26 мая, 23:17

Hillary Clinton’s Wellesley Homecoming

Returning to her alma mater to celebrate the class of 2017, she acknowledged her defeat—and offered a vision for the next generation of women leaders.

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26 мая, 21:01

Pope And President -- The Vatican Visit

President Donald Trump, at the conclusion of his diplomatic meeting with Pope Francis assured the Pontiff, “I won’t forget what you said.” While most visitors to Vatican City will not sit across a desk from the Pope in his Papal library, thousands saw the Holy Father after his meeting with Trump.

26 мая, 16:22

Wells Fargo (WFC) Penalized by Court on Abusive Tax Shelter

Following a three-week trial in a federal court in Minnesota, the jury passed a verdict on Wells Fargo & Company (WFC). The bank has been penalized with a 20% negligence fine in relation to the foreign tax credits claimed on the basis of STARS

26 мая, 16:15

5 Top-Ranked Stocks with Strong Sales Growth to Buy Now

Sales growth is a major financial indicator, which is often neglected while searching for a profitable investment strategy.

26 мая, 14:53

Info-leak era? Intel sharing scandal amid Manchester attack probe

The UK has resumed sharing intelligence with the Pentagon after receiving fresh assurances. This comes after unauthorized leaks splashed across US media following the Manchester terrorist attack, according to Reuters, citing Britain's most senior counter terrorism officer. RT LIVE http://rt.com/on-air Subscribe to RT! http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=RussiaToday Like us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/RTnews Follow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/RT_com Follow us on Instagram http://instagram.com/rt Follow us on Google+ http://plus.google.com/+RT Listen to us on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/rttv RT (Russia Today) is a global news network broadcasting from Moscow and Washington studios. RT is the first news channel to break the 1 billion YouTube views benchmark.

26 мая, 14:16

Paul Krugman: It’s All About Trump’s Contempt

"The mother of all sucker punches": It’s All About Trump’s Contempt, by Paul Krugman, NY Times: For journalists covering domestic policy, this past week poses some hard choices. Should we focus on the Trump budget’s fraudulence — not only does...

26 мая, 12:11

U.S., Japan agree to enhance North Korea sanctions: White House

TAORMINA, Italy (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed on Friday to expand sanctions against North Korea for its continued development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, the White House said.

26 мая, 08:44

Gianforte apologizes for body slam incident

Shortly after winning the race for Montana's lone congressional seat, Greg Gianforte apologized to the reporter he was charged with assaulting a day before. The Republican candidate's campaign was rocked after he was cited on misdemeanor assault charges for a Wednesday altercation in which a reporter for The Guardian newspaper, Ben Jacobs, claimed Gianforte "body-slammed" him, an incident caught on audio tape and witnessed by other journalists. Gianforte, whose official victory against Democrat Rob Quist was called by the Associated Press shortly after midnight on Friday EST, gave Jacobs a personal apology. “When you make a mistake, you have to own up to it," he said at a victory party in Bozeman, Montana. "That’s the Montana way. Last night I made a mistake and I took an action that I can’t take back and I’m not proud of what happened. I should not have responded in the way that I did and for that I am sorry." "I should not have treated that reporter that way and for that I am sorry Mr. Ben Jacobs," he said. The comments served as a sharp reversal for Gianforte and his team, who remained mum on the subject for most of Thursday, and who shortly after the incident released a statement calling Jacobs' actions in seeking to interview the candidate "aggressive.""Tonight, as Greg was giving a separate interview in a private office, The Guardian's Ben Jacobs entered the office without permission, aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg's face, and began asking badgering questions. Jacobs was asked to leave," Gianforte spokesman Shane Scanlon said.He added: "After asking Jacobs to lower the recorder, Jacobs declined. Greg then attempted to grab the phone that was pushed in his face. Jacobs grabbed Greg's wrist, and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground. It's unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene at our campaign volunteer BBQ."Jacobs had called for an apology from the GOP candidate during an appearance on CNN earlier Thursday. "[Apologizing] would be the civilized thing to do when one adult acts -- physically assaults someone else, an apology would be in order," he said early Friday morning, adding that physical altercations were "not an appropriate way for human beings to interact with each other."Gianforte stressed to his supporters that his recent behavior would not be reflected in his upcoming work in Washington."That’s not the person I am, and that’s not the way I’ll lead this state," he said. "Rest assured, our work is just beginning, but it does begin with me taking responsibility for my own actions.”

25 мая, 00:47

Remarks by the Vice President at Cajun Industries, Baton Rouge, LA

Cajun Industries Baton Rouge, Louisiana 1:48 P.M. CDT   THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Louisiana!     It is great to be back, and it is my great honor to bring greetings from the 45th President of the United States of America -- the man Louisiana voted for overwhelmingly last fall -- President Donald Trump.  (Applause.)    Thank you all for coming out today.  You know, I just spoke to the President.  He arrived in Brussels just a few short hours ago, after a historic meeting with Pope Francis in Rome.  He’s arrived in Europe now to reaffirm our commitment to NATO.  Earlier this week, he was in Saudi Arabia across the Middle East, visited our most cherished ally Israel.  And all along the way, he’s been strengthening relationships and alliances throughout the world.   The American people are witnessing the strong leadership of President Trump on the world stage, and the world is seeing that President Donald Trump is stepping into the role of leader of the free world, and he is leading for America.  (Applause.)    Now, before I continue, allow me to take a moment to just speak a few words about the horrific terrorist attack in Manchester, England, this past Monday night.   Our hearts break for the families of the victims and the injured, and they are all in our prayers.  And let me say with deep conviction, the United States stands in absolute solidarity with the people of the United Kingdom in their loss, and in our shared determination to protect our people and rid the world of the threat of terrorist violence.  (Applause.)    Thank you for letting me share that.  It is great to be back in the Pelican State.  And I thank you all for coming out on a busy afternoon.  And everybody keeps telling me the weather isn’t always like this in Louisiana.  (Laughter.)  So thanks for sparing such a beautiful day.   To Administrator Verma, thank you for that kind introduction, thank you for your leadership at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.    Let me also like to thank Congressman Garret Graves for joining us, and for representing Louisiana with such conservative principle in Washington, D.C.   (Applause.)    And I also want to thank the whole team here at Cajun Industries, Todd Grigsby and the family for hosting us here today.  For nearly 45 years, Cajun Industries has built Louisiana, and every day you're building the American Dream for families all across this region.  President Trump and I couldn’t be more proud of all that you've accomplished and by your hospitality today.  So give a big round of applause, would you, for Cajun Industries and all the great team that's here?  (Applause.)    Now I’m sure one of the secrets of the success of this company is they know how to make a budget work, and so does President Donald Trump.  (Applause.)    Just yesterday, our administration unveiled the President’s first budget, and it’s exactly what Louisiana elected him to do.   The President’s plan puts America back on a path to fiscal responsibility.  In fact, the President’s budget balances the federal budget in the next 10 years.  (Applause.)    And in this time of widening threats and new provocations, President Trump made it a priority in this budget.  And we will with his support and with the strong support of your representatives in Washington -- we will rebuild our military.  We will restore the arsenal of democracy, and we will give our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guard the resources and training they need to accomplish their mission defending our nation and come home safe.  (Applause.)    In this recent budget, President Donald Trump just proposed one of the largest increases in defense spending since the days of President Ronald Reagan.  We're committed to making the strongest fighting force in world even stronger still.   But it’s not just about our military.  This President is also keeping his promise on domestic security.  We're providing all new resources to strengthen our borders, enforce our laws.  Even as we speak this administration, working with local law enforcement -- are taking gang members, drug dealers, and criminal illegal aliens off the streets of Louisiana and off the streets of America.  (Applause.)    And in the budget we just proposed, President Donald Trump is requesting the resources we’ll need to build a wall.  (Applause.)    Thanks to the President’s leadership I’m pleased to report already -- illegal crossings at our southern border are already down more than 70 percent since January 1st of this year.  (Applause.)    And let me also say President Trump is also standing with renewed vigor for those who keep our families and our communities safe, the brave men and women who wear the uniform of law enforcement.  (Applause.)    I want to share with you that America watched with horror last year as three police officers were brutally gunned down and three more were grievously injured here in Baton Rouge.  And I want to assure you President Donald Trump beginning with our law enforcement memorial last Monday is stepping forward, and we will restore the tradition of respect that is due to all the men and women of law enforcement in this nation.  (Applause.)    Just last week, at the National Peace Officers Memorial Service, where we mourned the fallen from Baton Rouge, President Trump declared clearly that America today and always stands strong with the men and women on the Thin Blue Line.  There’s an awful lot of members of law enforcement here today making this event possible and keeping us all safe.  Would you join me in just giving a round of applause for the men and women serving in law enforcement at every level who are with us today?  (Applause.)     I know our President is going to fight every day to protect those who protect us, and we will make America safe again.   President Donald Trump has no higher priority than the safety and security of the American people, but he knows that security at the end of the day is the foundation for our quality of life and a foundation for the prosperity that the American people all aspire to.  And President Trump I promise you is fighting every day to make America prosperous again and renew the prosperity of the American people in our time.  (Applause.)     You know, literally since the outset of this administration, the President has had a three-part agenda:  Jobs, jobs, and jobs.  (Applause.)    And I can tell you since day one, the President has been taking decisive action to put America back to work and get our economy moving again.  He ordered every agency in Washington, D.C., for instance, to find two regulations to get rid of before issuing any red tape on businesses large and small across America.  (Applause.)    The President is slashing so much red tape he’s been breaking records.  He’s eliminated rules and mandates that have cost the American economy as much as $18 billion every year.   And the President is fighting every day for American energy, so important here in the great state of Louisiana.  (Applause.)    The President knows that our energy -- oil and gas in particular -- are the lifeblood not only of Louisiana but of America.  That's why he’s been breaking down barriers standing in the way of offshore drilling, and President Trump approved the Keystone and Dakota pipelines -- (applause) -- putting America on a path to energy independence.   And the President’s leadership is already making a remarkable difference in the American economy.  Businesses are responding to the President’s call to Buy American and Hire American.   You may not have read this in the newspaper, but the truth is more than 700,000 new American jobs have been created by businesses large and small just this year alone.  (Applause.)    Business after business has announced record investment in American workers -- billions of dollars, thousands of jobs, optimism is sweeping America.  The American economy is roaring back under the leadership of President Trump.  (Applause.)    Small businesses like those so well represented here haven’t been this confident in a decade.  Manufacturers haven’t been this optimistic in more than 20 years.  From coast to coast, the American people know that President Trump has turned America around.   But as Louisiana knows, one of the most important things we need to do to create jobs and restore boundless opportunity in America is to repeal and replace Obamacare.  (Applause.)   And I got good news for you:  Thanks to the leadership of President Trump and to strong support in the Congress, the Obamacare nightmare is about to end.  (Applause.)    I just heard once again firsthand from Todd and all the small-business owners who gathered for a conversation earlier about the burden that Obamacare is placing on job creators like Cajun Industries and all of those that are with us today.   Every day, you see another grim reminder that Obamacare is a burden on the American people too.  We all remember all the promises that were made to pass Obamacare, right?  They said if you like your doctor you can keep them -- not true.  They said if you like your health insurance you could keep it -- not true.  We were told that health insurance costs would go down -- not true.    That's why President Trump is showing the numbers that the last administration never wanted the American people to see, I guess.  According to a new study published just last night by the Department of Health and Human Services, it’s now official, Obamacare, in the facts, has caused premiums to skyrocket across the America.  Here are the numbers.  This is fresh out from Health and Human Services yesterday.  The average premium across this country has actually doubled under Obamacare -- more than 100 percent increase in only four years.    Here in Louisiana, Obamacare premiums have spiked by nearly 125 percent.  The average plan here in the Pelican State costs more than $3,500 more than it did just a few short years ago.  I heard one story after another from the small-business owners that were just gathered here.  These are the real numbers that have been released by our administration, and they're numbers that the past administration just never would release to the public.        And the sad fact is, as Seema Verma just said, that politicians in Washington, D.C., who gave us this failed policy in 2010, are refusing to even lift a finger to bring relief to hurting families and American businesses.   Louisiana knows the truth -- every day Obamacare survives is another day the American economy and American families struggle.   But let me make you a promise:  Help is on the way, Louisiana.  (Applause.)    Last month, thanks to the leadership of our President and the support of Congressman Graves and every single Republican from Louisiana in the House of Representatives, Congress in the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act, which is the first step to keeping our promise to repeal and replace Obamacare.  And they should be commended.  (Applause.)    The bill that passed the House is the right bill to start the fix of American health care.  It holds back Obamacare’s mandates on the American people by literally repealing the taxes and penalties at the heart of Obamacare.  It gives working families more choices with expanded health savings accounts and a new tax credit to help buy the insurance at a price that you can afford.   And to all the parents that are here today, just know that this bill also to keep your kids on your plans till they turn 26, and the bill also ensures -- and let’s be clear on this -- at the President’s insistence, the legislation that passed the House of Representatives ensures that Americans with preexisting conditions will have access to the coverage and care they need.  No exceptions.  (Applause.)    But the American Health Care Act also gives states like Louisiana the freedom and the flexibility they need with Medicaid to help your most vulnerable in the way that’s best for you; because state-based solutions are the best way to give better coverage, better health care, and a better future for the people of the Pelican State.  Let’s let Louisiana develop Louisiana solutions for the people of this state.  (Applause.)    The American Health Care Act starts the process of repealing and replacing Obamacare with a health-care system that will actually work.  But we need Louisiana’s help to get it across the finish line.   I really am grateful to say again, every Republican in Louisiana’s congressional delegation voted to repeal and replace Obamacare.  (Applause.)  I hope you’ll call -- I hope you’ll leave here today and call your congressman a call and thank them, thank them for their leadership and their principled stand.   But I’d also suggest that you might call your two Republican senators and tell them it’s time for the Senate to step up and do their part to repeal and replace Obamacare.  (Applause.)    We’re counting on Senator Cassidy and we’re counting on Senator Kennedy to keep their promise to the American people and pass this legislation to bring Obamacare to an end.  (Applause.)    With your senators’ support, I know that in the months ahead we’ll pass this legislation and begin the process of repealing and replacing Obamacare and finally giving the American people the kind of healthcare they deserve built on American principles of competition and state-based flexibility and reform.  (Applause.)    And once we repeal and replace Obamacare, we’ll get to the rest of the President’s agenda.  In case Cajun Industries didn’t notice, in case the rest of you didn't notice, you actually elected a builder to be President of the United States of America, and Donald Trump, your President, is going to rebuild the infrastructure of this country.   President Trump is committed to make historic investments in American infrastructure to ensure that we have the best roads, the best bridges, the best highways, airports, and the best future we could possibly imagine.   And the President is going to continue to slash through red tape, rein in unelected bureaucrats so they can’t cripple Louisiana’s economy from the comfort of those taxpayer-funded metal desks in Washington, D.C.    And get ready, come this summer, we're going to roll our sleeves up, we're going to work with the House and the Senate, and we're going to pass the most significant tax cut since the days of Ronald Reagan and one of the largest tax cuts in American history.  (Applause.)    With the President’s leadership, we’re going to cut taxes across the board for working families, small businesses, and family farms.  Also we're going to reform the tax code.  There’s an old joke that the American tax code is 10 times the size of the Bible with none of the good news.  (Laughter.)  We're going to change that.     Rest assured, the President is going make the tax code simpler, flatter, and fairer for everyone.  He’s going to put more money in your pockets, keep it out of the hands of wasteful bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.     And this President also knows the time has come to make sure that businesses here in Louisiana, businesses across America have a competitive business tax rate to be able to create jobs and keep jobs here in America.  And we're going to slash the business rate to 15 percent.  (Applause.)    By lowering the corporate tax rate, which today is one of the highest corporate tax rates in the industrialized world -- by lowering the corporate tax rate to 15 percent, we're going to make American businesses more competitive.  We're going to make it more possible for businesses to reinvest in ways that will create jobs and also have an opportunity to increase wages for all the hardworking people at their companies today.   It’s the greatest privilege of my life to serve as Vice President to a President who is so committed to restoring an America of prosperity and freedom and security.  And no matter what the media and the establishment in Washington, D.C. may be focused on at any given moment, let me assure of you this:  President Trump and I will never stop fighting for the issues that matter most to the American people -- good jobs, safe streets, national security and a boundless American future.  (Applause.)    I think we've reached a pivotal moment in the life of this nation.  I really do.  And in this moment, President Trump and I need the support of every freedom-loving American -- all of you.  (Applause.)  Everyone who believes that we can be strong again, everyone who believes we can be prosperous again, we need you to stand up and we need you to speak out.   From this day forward, I would offer to you that your President, our entire administration need every ounce of your energy and enthusiasm, the enthusiasm that I see in this crowd today.  Your conviction and your passion.  And we might need just one more thing in these days if you're of a mind to bend the knee and bow the head from time to time.  (Applause.)    But in these challenging times of widening threats and provocations abroad, unknowable threats that can strike in an instant, as we saw this week in our ally England, in these times of a struggling economy, the most powerful economy on Earth that seems to have been unable to get back up, stand up, and lead the world, the truth is that now is the time when we could use your prayers.   And I don't say so much for an agenda.  I think often of what Abraham Lincoln said in his time.  He was asked if he thought that God was on the Union’s side.  And Lincoln said, I rather concern myself more with whether we’re on God’s side than whether God is on our side.  (Applause.)    So just pray for America.  Pray for our country.  The leadership that the people of this world are seeing as the President travels across the Middle East and now in Europe is so essential.  We are in every sense a beacon of hope and freedom.  And so when America is strong, when America is secure, the world is safer.  The world is more prosperous.  And freedom-loving people around the world are better for it.   So I encourage you to remember us in those quiet times.  And when you pray, pray with confidence.  Because I truly do believe those ancient words spoken so long ago are as true today as they were then that, if His people who are called by His name will humble themselves and pray, he’ll do like he’s always done in the long and storied history of this great nation, he’ll hear from Heaven and he’ll heal our land.  (Applause.)  This one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.   So thank you all for being here today.  I’ve got to get back to Washington, D.C. because time is a wasting.  (Laughter.)  But thank you for being here.  Thanks for letting your voice be heard.  And I want to make you a promise.  With your help, with your support, with the strong support of our great Republican leadership in the House and in the Senate, and with God’s help, we will make America safe again.  We will make America prosperous again.  And to borrow a phrase, we will make America great again.   Thank you all very much.  God bless you and God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)    END 2:12 P.M. CDT    

24 мая, 23:40

CBO: House Obamacare repeal bill would leave 23 million more uninsured

The nonpartisan office also forecasts the GOP plan would cut the deficit by $119 billion over a decade, primarily because of its cuts to Medicaid and private insurance subsidies.

24 мая, 16:33

ViaSat (VSAT) Scores Hat-Trick with Huge Q4 Earnings Beat

ViaSat (VSAT) fourth-quarter fiscal 2017 adjusted earnings beat estimates by a huge margin and revenues trumped expectations as well.

24 мая, 16:05

'It Is Irritating': The U.K.'s Anger Over U.S. Intelligence Leaks

The British home secretary says she has “been very clear with our friends” about the release of information related to the Manchester attack.

24 мая, 15:51

Shell (RDS.A) Rejects Emissions Reduction Target Proposal

Royal Dutch Shell plc (RDS.A) was recently criticized for failing to set an annual greenhouse gas reduction target in line with the Paris climate agreement.

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24 мая, 14:57

After assurances by Trump, Bahrain mounts deadliest raid in years on opposition

The raid occurred two days after President Trump publicly assured Bahrain’s king that their relationship would be free of ‘strain.’

24 мая, 11:00

What Does Mitch McConnell Want on Health Care?

The majority leader’s tactical expertise makes his wishes for the American Health Care Act hard to discern.

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24 мая, 03:34

What Ariana Grande Represents to Her Fans

The singer is self-assured, talented and proudly feminine, with a loyal fan base that rallied to her side after the Manchester bombing with the hashtag #ThisIsNotYourFaultAriana.

24 мая, 00:50

Republicans gird for CBO verdict on Obamacare repeal

Republicans are bracing for a report Wednesday expected to say their Obamacare repeal plan would leave millions of Americans without health insurance, further complicating their efforts to pass legislation quickly.The CBO’s analysis of the bill comes three weeks after House Republicans rushed to vote on the legislation without an update on its cost, or its impact on the nation's uninsured. The agency's score will serve as the unofficial framework for Senate lawmakers negotiating their own version of repeal and will likely help those eager to make big changes. It's also expected to become a rallying point for Democrats critical of an effort that could strip health care from millions.The original House bill would have meant 24 million more Americans would be uninsured in a decade, with older Americans hit hardest by skyrocketing premiums. The new version may not fare much better.“I would be shocked if we didn’t wind up with a CBO score that showed more than 20 million people lose insurance,” said Doug Holtz-Eakin, who served as CBO director during George W. Bush’s administration.The labyrinth-like task of scoring the GOP’s extremely complex revised bill will also be a game of survival for the politically bruised agency.The steadfastly nonpartisan office, disparaged by GOP officials trying to preemptively discredit brutal CBO forecasts, is now entangled in what many former CBO staffers describe as the toughest possible legislative analysis.The bill gives states a menu of choices on health care; that gave CBO the formidable task of trying to game out the most likely scenarios and their rippling effect on cost and coverage in 50 separate states, each with its own health care ecosystem, for a decade to come.If the updated score shows the House bill doesn’t match the precise savings targets required under Senate budget rules, the House will have to tinker more — and vote again. Speaker Paul Ryan has downplayed that scenario. But he can’t be certain it’s moot until the agency speaks.CBO’s assessment of the first bill — that shocking 24 million more uninsured — complicated House Republicans’ sprint toward a vote. Moderates in particular got nervous, and the heated town halls focused public attention, especially on the weakened protection for those with pre-existing conditions. Lacking the votes, House leaders pulled that bill in late March, an embarrassing setback for their pledge to uproot Obamacare which they had made to voters for seven years.The reworked version that passed in early May included a pair of amendments that increased the bill’s complexity — and maybe its price tag, too. And there’s little assurance it’ll make a dent in the CBO’s coverage projections, or throw a lifeline to Republicans navigating an even more difficult path in the Senate. They need to get 50 of 52 Senate Republicans to vote for it; the current list of potential defectors has a lot more than two names on it.“The Republicans don’t have any options that will maintain the high level of insurance coverage under the ACA while moving in a sharply conservative direction,” said Douglas Elmendorf, who served as CBO director for six years during the Obama administration. “The point is that tens of millions of people will lose health insurance. There’s no chance that won’t be true.”Senate leaders haven’t pounded the CBO’s credibility with the same intensity as some House and Trump administration officials. But they are emphasizing that the budget score will be just one of many factors that go into crafting their Affordable Care Act replacement. Republican talks so far are centering on bringing down premiums — not on keeping everyone covered.“We need to listen to their advice and their counsel,” Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) said of the CBO. “But I think they’re one of many that we’ll be paying attention to.”Still, it's likely shift the Senate's already-tricky health care discussions into overdrive.“It’s an incredibly important score,” said Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) a critic of the House bill who is pushing his own, more centrist alternative for replacing Obamacare. “We put a lot of importance on the CBO score of the ACA. Now, it would be hypocritical of us not to put similar importance upon it now.”Since the CBO first scored their repeal plan, House Republicans added at least $38 billion in federal spending. Perhaps more importantly, they included provisions allowing states to opt out of key Obamacare protections.That forces CBO to do the most complicated type of government budget math — predicting the politically fraught decisions of all 50 states. The nonpartisan budget scorekeeper must decide not only which protections each state could decide to keep or scrap, but also what those choices will mean for cost and coverage.And even the best budget scorekeepers will have to rely on some guesswork, according to multiple former CBO officials, and raises the prospect that the agency may not be able to come up with a one definitive score.“It’s just too complex and too political,” Alice Rivlin, the founding director of CBO who is now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. “I just don't see how they do this. It will cause complications but the idea that they could come up with a number seems to me, just a bridge too far.”Most other experts to expect the CBO will make a call, even if it’s laden with caveats. The agency could bypass a state-by-state analysis in favor of a broader brush approach that estimates how groups of states with similar politics and economies might act on the waivers. Or it could pluck final numbers from the midpoint of two scenarios—the first assuming that most states opt in, and the second assuming most opt out.“There are a lot of tough judgment calls here,” Holtz-Eakin said. “They’ll come up with a number. They’ll have to.”Some CBO staffers are calling individual states “just to get an impression” of the political reaction there so far, said Bill Hoagland, a former agency staffer who is now vice president of the Bipartisan Policy Center.The complexity means CBO’s projections will invariably be closer to rough estimates than pinpoint predictions– a reality that Republicans turned into an attack on the agency’s credibility after its initial score showed millions losing coverage.“I don’t believe the facts are correct,” OMB Director Mick Mulvaney said in March, adding that the agency ran its own numbers separately from CBO. “I’m saying that based upon a track record of the CBO being wrong before, and we believe the CBO is wrong now.”That strategy did little to dull the report’s impact. In the weeks afterward, coverage concerns convinced nearly every major health care group to oppose the bill.Senate Republicans seem intent on a more circumspect approach, avoiding direct criticism of the CBO while pre-emptively dismissing both its analysis and its likely conclusions.Their health care philosophy is focused on choice and affordability, GOP lawmakers argued, rather than requiring people purchase insurance. By design, that difference will result in fewer people overall having coverage — without accounting for the broader improvements that Republicans say they're committed to delivering.“They have to judge it based on what would happen if Obamacare were to continue for the next 10 years, and recall that Obamacare has failed so dramatically that it's not sustainable for the next 10 years,” said John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), one of the Senate’s leading anti-Obamacare crusaders. “So you put some credibility into it, but not as if it were a real number.”

24 мая, 00:24

Trump Praises Bahrain Days Before Brutal Crackdown

function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); Days after President Donald Trump praised U.S. ties with Bahrain and vowed to mend any “strain” in the countries’ relationship, the Gulf state launched a violent security raid that led to the death of one protester and dozens of arrests.  Bahraini security forces on Tuesday raided the home of prominent Shiite cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim in the village of Diraz. Demonstrators had been taking part in a sit-in outside Qassim’s after authorities revoked the cleric’s citizenship last year on vague charges of aiding a foreign state. Bahrain’s suppression of human rights and violent put-down of protests has created tensions with the U.S in the past. Former President Barack Obama’s administration advocated for reforms and restricted some arms sales. But Trump has taken a different approach, appearing to ignore human rights concerns in dealings with Bahrain, potentially giving the kingdom a free hand to quell dissent. Trump met with Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa on Sunday, and pledged more amicable relations.  “Our countries have a wonderful relationship together, but there has been a little strain, but there won’t be strain with this administration,” Trump said during the meeting. The raid continues a crackdown on dissidents by Bahrain’s Sunni authorities, who have targeted activists and prominent members of the country’s Shiite majority since political uprisings swept the region in 2011. The shift in White House rhetoric on Bahrain continues Trump’s conciliatory line on strongmen and authoritarian governments that have shared interests with Washington. During Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia last weekend, he praised a Saudi airstrike campaign in Yemen that has killed thousands of civilians, and complimented Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for “doing a tremendous job.” Trump’s first foreign visit has seen a prominent focus on securing arms deals and bolstering support for regional powers that want to constrain Iran. Trump announced Saturday that he had struck a $110 billion sale of arms to Saudi Arabia.   In late March, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson decided to waive human rights conditions on the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Bahrain. The Obama administration struck the deal, worth billions, with the caveat that Bahrain refrain from certain rights abuses. Human rights groups condemned the Trump administration’s move to remove those assurances, saying that it would give Bahrain a green light to ramp up repression. Human Rights Watch issued a statement following Tuesday’s raid in Bahrain, saying that the timing of the operation, two days after Trump’s friendly meeting, “can hardly be a coincidence.”  Although the U.S. has a long history of looking the other way on human rights when it is strategically or economically beneficial, the Trump administration has at times signaled that it is willing to do away with even the most milquetoast of condemnations if it could jeopardize potential deals. Tillerson summarized the White House view in a speech  this month to State Department employees, in which he said that putting too heavy of an emphasis on other nations accepting American values “really creates obstacles to our ability to advance our national security interests, our economic interests.” Despite that sentiment, he claimed that the U.S. would not leave its values on the sidelines. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.