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Latest from Jamie Dupree

    In the wake of a fresh round of indictments in the wide-ranging investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election campaign, President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Saturday and Sunday to repeatedly express his frustration with the probe, again proclaiming his innocence, attacking his critics, and demanding attention instead on actions of the Obama Administration and Hillary Clinton. “I never said Russia did not meddle in the election,” the President tweeted on Sunday morning – though Mr. Trump has been very slow to embrace the concept that Russia was at fault, as he derided the investigations into Russian interference in 2016. “They are laughing their asses off in Moscow,” the President said on Twitter. “Get smart America!” Those were just a sampling of a number of tweets from this weekend, as the President let off steam on a number of fronts. I never said Russia did not meddle in the election, I said “it may be Russia, or China or another country or group, or it may be a 400 pound genius sitting in bed and playing with his computer.” The Russian “hoax” was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia – it never did! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 18, 2018 If it was the GOAL of Russia to create discord, disruption and chaos within the U.S. then, with all of the Committee Hearings, Investigations and Party hatred, they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. They are laughing their asses off in Moscow. Get smart America! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 18, 2018 Finally, Liddle’ Adam Schiff, the leakin’ monster of no control, is now blaming the Obama Administration for Russian meddling in the 2016 Election. He is finally right about something. Obama was President, knew of the threat, and did nothing. Thank you Adam! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 18, 2018 The President even rebuked his own National Security Adviser, Gen. H.R. McMaster, over a point that Mr. Trump and his supporters have zeroed in on repeatedly – a lack of evidence that ties any Russian operation to the Trump Campaign. “General McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians,” as the President again tried to switch the attention of the moment to questions that the GOP has raised about Hillary Clinton, the Steele Dossier, and the Democratic National Committee. General McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians and that the only Collusion was between Russia and Crooked H, the DNC and the Dems. Remember the Dirty Dossier, Uranium, Speeches, Emails and the Podesta Company! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 18, 2018 Deputy A.G. Rod Rosenstein stated at the News Conference: “There is no allegation in the indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity. There is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2018 Funny how the Fake News Media doesn’t want to say that the Russian group was formed in 2014, long before my run for President. Maybe they knew I was going to run even though I didn’t know! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2018 “The Fake News Media never fails,” the President wrote on Saturday, repeatedly making the argument that any Russian interference in 2016 did not tip the scales of the election in his favor. “Funny how the Fake News Media doesn’t want to say that the Russian group was formed in 2014, long before my run for President,” the President added. “The Russian “hoax” was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia – it never did!” he tweeted. Critics of the President noted what was missing in his Saturday and Sunday tweets about the Russia investigation was any pledge by Mr. Trump to implement tougher sanctions against Russia which were approved by the Congress, or to order tougher measures to stop any Russian meddling. Last week, the nation’s top intelligence officials all agreed that Russia was going to try to repeat their 2016 effort in the 2018 election – asked by Democrats if there was any specific order from the President to focus on that threat, the intelligence chiefs only indicated that they were focused on the matter. “Look, this is pretty simple,” said retired Gen. Michael Hayden, a former head of the National Security Agency. “The Russians objective was to mess with our heads.” “Based on his late PM – this AM joint Twitter meltdown, it’s safe to say “Trump” is having a nervous breakdown as Mueller’s walls close in,” said John Schindler, a former U.S. intelligence official who has been highly critical of the President’s statements on the Russia probe. Late on Saturday night, the President also drew in the Russia investigation to criticize the FBI over the mass shooting at a high school in Florida last week. ” They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign,” the President said. Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign – there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 18, 2018 Here is the latest Russia indictment from last Friday.
  • The investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election for President on Friday presented some of the first official government evidence of actions taken in the campaign, as a federal grand jury returned an indictment against 13 Russians and 3 Russian entities, alleging that they used social media to support President Donald Trump, and oppose Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. The highly detailed 37 page indictment covered everything from social media ads taken out by the Russian ‘Internet Freedom Agency,’ to efforts to help with Trump rallies in Florida and other states – and even a post-election foray into anti-Trump events. Here is some of what we learned on Friday: 1. Russian interference no longer a “hoax.” For months, President Trump has complained that the Russia investigation is a hoax. But now, the feds have laid out a highly detailed indictment, alleging that 13 Russians and 3 different Russian entities used social media to buy political ads against Hillary Clinton (“Ohio Wants Hillary 4 Prison”), and for Donald Trump (“Trump is our only hope for a better future!”), organized actual rallies to support Mr. Trump (“Florida Goes Trump”), and much more. “If you had any doubt that Russia meddled in our 2016 elections, this is your wake-up call,” said Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE). Back in September, the President derided the idea that Russian groups had bought social media ads in the 2016 campaign. “The Russia hoax continues, now it’s ads on Facebook ,” he tweeted. But Friday, the President seemed to finally accept that there had been Russian interference. Russia started their anti-US campaign in 2014, long before I announced that I would run for President. The results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong – no collusion! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 16, 2018 2. Rosenstein takes the lead on new indictments. While Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is officially the boss of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Rosenstein has not participated in any of the earlier indictment or guilty plea announcements. But today, the ‘DAG’ was front and center at the Justice Department. He laid out the basics of the indictments of 13 Russians and described the outlines of the effort to meddle in the 2016 election. Rosenstein took only a few questions. 3. Trump – and his supporters – proclaim “NO COLLUSION.” On Twitter, and then in a statement issued by the White House on Friday afternoon, the President made clear that the latest indictments showed nothing in the way of collusion between Russians and his campaign. (The all-caps “NO COLLUSION” was in the White House statement.) But what was really said by Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein? “Now, there is no allegation – in this indictment – that any American was a knowing particpant in this illegal activity,” Rosenstein said, as he used “in this indictment” several times. 4. No names revealed of who Russians contacted. As the indictment detailed efforts by the Russians to set up events for Trump supporters in Florida, there were contacts made with people on the Trump Campaign. The indictment doesn’t list the names of those who were contacted by the ‘joshmilton024@gmail.com’ account – instead, they are referred to as “Campaign Official 1,” “Campaign Official 2” and so on. But let me play devil’s advocate for a minute. Why not reveal who those people were? Is it really that big of a deal? 5. Mueller reveals some of his evidence. At one point in the indictment, the feds quote an email from one of the Russians, Irina Viktorovna Kaverzina, in which she said: “We had a slight crisis here at work: the FBI busted our activity (not a joke).” While that jumps off the page of the indictment, it is also seems to send a message – that the FBI has a lot more information, from the social media accounts that were used by the Russians, to emails and more. Could some of this also be from intelligence efforts? We’ll see. This Mueller indictment is good stuff. I gather they got into the Russians' online accounts (likely w/warrants for US-based accounts) and reconstructed the whole arrangement. Well done. — Orin Kerr (@OrinKerr) February 16, 2018 6. Hillary Clinton in a cage – Russian supported? In the indictment, it talks about how the Russians moved “to build a cage large enough to hold an actress depicting (Hillary) Clinton in a prison uniform. That jangled the memory of several reporters, who found stories about such a scene in Florida, during the 2016 campaign. And others remembered the Hillary-in-a-cage routine from other states. I remember a flatbed truck with a depiction of Hillary Clinton in a cage repeatedly drove by a Hillary Clinton rally site in Orlando in Sept. 2016 https://t.co/V5o3vruJXm — Steven Lemongello (@SteveLemongello) February 16, 2018 7. After the election, the Russians play both sides. The indictment also revealed that after the election was over – and President Trump had been declared the victor – the Russians even went into the business of anti-Trump rallies in New York and Charlotte, North Carolina. “Trump is NOT my President,” was the rally in New York – while at the same time, the group was organizing an event to “support President-Elect Donald Trump.” 8. Another guilty plea as well for the Mueller probe. Minutes after the indictments against the 13 Russians was released, the Special Counsel also revealed a recent guilty plea, from February 2, of Richard Pinedo, from California. Pinedo was charged with “Identity Fraud,” which may be related to efforts by the Russians indicted on Friday to use American identities while engaging in their work on the 2016 Presidential election. It wasn’t exactly clear how Pinedo fits in, though it seems that he is the first American to be charged with directly helping the Russian operation to influence the 2016 campaign – but there is no evidence presented that he knew that was happening. Documents show Pinedo could face up to 15 years in prison.  
  • The office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller announced Friday that thirteen Russian nationals and three Russian groups had been charged with violating U.S. criminal laws for interfering with the 2016 election, detailing a string of efforts to help President Donald Trump’s campaign, and sew doubt about Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. “Defendants, posing as U.S. persons and creating false U.S. personas, operated social media pages and groups designed to attract U.S. audiences,” the indictment alleged, detailing efforts to buy political ads on social media. The indictment, returned by a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C. earlier today, charged that the group first went after multiple candidates for President, and then fine tuned their message. “Defendants’ operation included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump (“Trump Campaign”) and disparaging Hillary Clinton.” In a highly detailed 37 page indictment, the Special Counsel’s office described a series of efforts to organize rallies to help Mr. Trump in Florida, Pennsylvania and New York. At one point, the indictment alleges that Russians posing as Americans, communicated directly with Trump Campaign staff officials about organizing efforts in Florida. There was no evidence presented in the indictment that campaign officials knew they were getting help from a Russian group.
  • With the Senate failing to make any headway on how to deal with the status of illegal immigrant “Dreamers,” lawmakers in the Congress went home for a ten day break Thursday with no clear path forward on the politically difficult issue of immigration, with a deadline to deal with DACA set by the President less than three weeks away. “It’s safe to say, this has been a disappointing week,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who repeatedly pointed the finger of blame over at Democrats for the lack of agreement in the Senate, as four different immigration plans were filibustered by both parties. I was hoping we could reach a bipartisan solution,” McConnell added. But the solution backed by McConnell and President Trump actually won the fewest votes in the Senate – just 39 – while a more limited bipartisan effort secured 54, short of the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster. I am deeply concerned that @realDonaldTrump did everything he could to defeat a bipartisan agreement that would have protected Dreamers and strengthened our border security. I will continue working with the Common Sense Caucus and anyone willing to find a path forward. — Sen. Maggie Hassan (@SenatorHassan) February 15, 2018 “We’re not done with this,” said Sen. David Perdue (R-GA), who argues that the President’s plan is still the best course. While Perdue told me that the two sides really aren’t that far apart, there were already GOP Senators looking for something else, with a March 5 deadline barely over the horizon. “We have to do more work,” said Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), who voted for the main bipartisan plan, which netted 54 votes, 15 more than President Trump’s preferred option. GOP Sens. Thune, Portman and Moran are floating a fallback plan to protect Dreamers from deportation: An indefinite extension of administrative DACA in exchange for $25 billion for border security, capped allocation of $5 billion per year. — Alex Bolton (@alexanderbolton) February 15, 2018 But in the President’s camp, there were some who simply said it was time to pull the plug on immigration and move on to other issues. “We move on to confirming judges and banking reform,” said Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), one of the more outspoken defenders of President Trump’s immigration plan, when asked what was next for the U.S. Senate. The White House late on Thursday night threw cold water on the idea of any new legislative effort on DACA in the Senate, instead turning its attention to the House, where Republicans have put together a bill that contains even more immigration enforcement measures than what the President supported in the Senate. “The next step will be for the House to continue advancing the proposal from Chairman Goodlatte and Chairman McCaul,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a written statement, as the White House blamed “Schumer Democrats” for the lack of action on DACA in the Senate. The Goodlatte-McCaul bill though could face the same problems as the President’s did in the Senate – not having enough votes to get to a majority. And as of now – that bill has not been scheduled for a vote in the House.  
  • Unable to find an acceptable middle ground on the politically explosive issue of immigration, and the future of well over a million illegal immigrant “Dreamers,” Senators of both parties on Thursday voted to filibuster a pair of plans from each side, as a high profile legislative effort achieved only failure. “This is it. This is your last chance to vote for a path to citizenship,” said Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), just before the last of four votes, as the Senate failed to find a deal on DACA, with a March 5 deadline for action less than three weeks away. “Our interest was to try and find some common ground,” said Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD). “Our goal is to give the President what he’s asked for.” But the President opposed both bipartisan efforts, as most Democrats returned the favor on a GOP plan that mirrored Mr. Trump’s DACA plan – leaving the Senate with nothing to show for their work on immigration. “I do not know a single Republican,” said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on the Senate floor, “who was elected on a promise of, ‘I will go to the left of Barack Obama on immigration.'” GRAHAM: 'After this crash and burn experience we'll do one of two things: We'll reconfigure the process to be able to get us to a 'yes' position where 70% of Americans reside, by the way, or we'll do what's happened for the last 35 years: punt. And I hope we don't punt.' — Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) February 15, 2018 Senators had advertised this debate as one that would be open and freewheeling. Instead, it turned into four days of finger pointing, with little in the way of actual legislating on the Senate floor. The Senate held four consecutive procedural votes on four different proposals – two bipartisan plans, and two from Republicans – but none of them garnered the needed 60 votes to force an end to debate. In the first vote, the Senate fell short of the 60 vote threshold in a 52-47 vote on a bipartisan plan backed by Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). That allowed a pathway to citizenship for “Dreamers,” but no money for the President’s border wall. A second plan from Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), which only dealt with sanctuary cities, was 13 votes short of 60, on a vote of The Senate then fell short on the main bipartisan effort, which would have funded Mr. Trump’s $25 billion request for border security, in exchange for a 10-12 year path to citizenship. It received 57 votes – 3 shy of the 60 needed to force a final vote. By my count, there were 8 GOP Senators voting for cloture on Rounds-King DACA plan: Alexander, Collins, Flake, Graham, Gardner, Isakson, Murkowski & Rounds — Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) February 15, 2018 That left only a nearly $100 billion plan put together by Senate Republicans, which had the strong support of the President. “There is only one bill that has a chance to pass the House of Representatives, and a chance to get the President’s signature,” said Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR). But as with other plans, there weren’t enough votes to support that either, leaving the Senate in gridlock, unable to advance any legislation on DACA and Dreamers.
  • The mass shooting that killed 17 people Wednesday at a high school in Florida plunged Capitol Hill back into a debate over gun restrictions, as Democrats cried out for some type of legislative response, criticizing the response of President Donald Trump and GOP leaders in the Congress. “Mr. President, are you listening?” said Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL) on the House floor. “We need common sense gun safety legislation.” It was a familiar political reaction in the House and Senate, as Democrats gave anguished speeches, rattled off a list of horrifying mass shootings, and asked when there would be some type of government response. “All I can think is how many more times do we have to go through this?” said Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), who repeatedly asked on the Senate floor, “When is enough, enough?” Florida Sen. Bill Nelson speaks on the Senate floor after the Parkland school shooting yesterday: 'At some point, we've got to say: enough is enough. At some point, we as a society have to come together and put a stop to this' https://t.co/1Ta76ZESYt — CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) February 15, 2018 On the House floor, Democrats cheered when Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) asked the chair, “can you tell us when the House may muster the courage to take up the gun violence?” “What will it take for this body to finally grapple with this issue?” said Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-NJ). “Why is nothing happening?” asked Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL), who cited the lack of action after the Pulse nightclub shooting in his hometown of Orlando. In terms of legislation, Democrats have pressed tighter background checks on gun sales, ‘no fly, no buy,’ which would prohibit people on the airplane ‘no fly’ list from buying weapon, along with other ideas like a ban on certain assault weapons. Democrats again pointed to the use of an AR-15 assault rifle in this latest school shooting, as lawmakers once more said there should be limits on the sale of those type of weapons. Another mass shooting. Reportedly another AR-15. My bill to ban assault weapons is ready for a vote. How long will we accept weapons of war being used to slaughter our children? — Sen Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) February 15, 2018 “An AR-15 is not for hunting, it is for killing,” said Sen. Nelson of Florida. Just a few months ago, there had been talk of doing something about “bump stocks,” which were used in the mass shooting at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas – but no legislative action has taken place. Democrats have increasingly criticized expressions of “thoughts and prayers” along with moments of silence, arguing those don’t do anything. “Today we didn’t even have a moment have a moment of silence, because the House knows those are meaningless acts,” said Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN). There had been a plan for a moment of silence on the House floor, but it was evidently scrapped after activists in the House galleries were loudly protesting approval of a piece of legislation related to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Regardless of the calls for action, those in favor of gun control legislation face the same difficulty to move forward on their plans which has existed in Congress since the mid-1990’s – they don’t have anywhere close to the votes needed to approve such measures.
  • Veterans Secretary David Shulkin is facing increased scrutiny from Congress, after the release of an internal watchdog report today which found Shulkin’s 9-day government trip to Europe in the summer of 2017 was more like a personal vacation, as investigators said Shulkin’s top aide misled ethics officials, which allowed his wife’s travel costs to be paid for by taxpayers. The review accused Shulkin’s Chief of Staff, Viveca Wright Simpson, of altering two emails to ethics officials in order to have the VA authorize the travel costs of Shulkin’s wife, who joined him for the Europe trip. The report also found that the Secretary wrongly accepted a gift of tickets to Wimbledon, that a VA employee was basically used by Shulkin as a “personal travel concierge to plan tourist activities,” and that not enough documents were ever turned over to investigators to figure out the true cost of the trip to the VA. The details of the report from the Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General drew quick reaction in Congress, where one GOP lawmaker, Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO), wasted little time in demanding Shulkin’s resignation. “It’s exactly corruption and abuses like this that doesn’t help our veterans,” Coffman tweeted, as he said that Shulkin should resign from the VA. Meanwhile, the top members of the House and Senate committees which have jurisdiction over the VA issued a statement that stopped just short of calling for Shulkin to leave his post. “We believe that public officials must be held to a higher standard, and whether intentional or not, misusing taxpayer dollars is unacceptable,” read the statement from Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Jon Tester (D-MT), along with Reps. Phil Roe (R-TN) and Tim Walz (D-MN). “We’re counting on Dr. Shulkin to actively address all of the allegations outlined in this report,” the group said. “Our veterans deserve no less,” The IG review found that while the VA delegation spent nine full days in Europe, “there were only three-and-a-half days of meetings” on the official schedule, as the report declared the 2017 trip a “misuse of VA resources.” The release of the report came a day before Shulkin is scheduled to testify before the House Veterans Affairs Committee, where the subject is certain to be discussed. Shulkin isn’t the only Cabinet official in the Trump Administration who has faced scrutiny over travel; excessive travel costs was part of the reason that Tom Price resigned as Secretary of Health and Human Services earlier this year. Also, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke have faced questions about their travel.
  • Pressing Democrats to accept an immigration plan along the lines of one endorsed by President Donald Trump, GOP Senators unveiled the details of their plan to address the future of illegal immigrant “Dreamers,” a 592 page, nearly $100 billion measure that focuses mainly on new efforts at border security, limits on family migration, and an end to the Diversity Visa Lottery program. The new GOP plan includes $25 billion for a “Border Security Enforcement Fund,” $18 billion for ‘tactical infrastructure’ improvements by the Border Patrol, and $50 billion in foreign aid described as “financial assistance for foreign country operations to address migration flows that may affect the United States.” The original outline released by GOP Senators on Sunday mentioned only the $25 billion in border security money. The nearly $100 billion in spending authorized under this GOP immigration plan could grow even larger, as the Republican DACA bill includes four different sections where “such sums as may be necessary” would be approved for various immigration changes. The DACA amendment was sponsored by a half dozen GOP Senators who want a plan that runs along the stated goals of President Trump. “Everybody in the room wants DACA,” Mr. Trump told a bipartisan group of lawmakers at the White House on Tuesday. “It would be a great achievement.” Republican leaders have said they want action this week on their DACA plan. “I said we would have an open and fair process,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters on Tuesday. “And the sooner we do that the better.” In one area, this new GOP DACA bill runs directly against Mr. Trump’s 2019 budget issued on Monday, which sought to eliminate the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program – that popular program funnels money to states to deal with the cost of holding illegal immigrants in prison. The Trump budget predicted a savings of $210 million per year from that elimination – but this new GOP immigration plan would increase spending on the SCAAP program to $950 million – seemingly a $3.5 billion increase over a five year period. With a table of contents that runs six pages, the provisions dealing with DACA and illegal immigrant Dreamers are just one small part of a much broader immigration bill, which has already run into united opposition from Democrats. Democrats have said they could go along with Mr. Trump’s call for a $25 billion border security fund, in exchange for a path to citizenship for illegal immigrant Dreamers – but have resisted extra provisions, arguing those are better dealt with in a broader immigration reform measure. Congress has tried repeatedly over the last 15 years to deal with immigration reform, but each effort has run into major controversy. The new GOP plan also includes a number of restrictions on federal judges, to keep them from overturning decisions made by immigration officials on visa revocations, naturalization applications, as well as other specific immigration decisions by the Secretary of Homeland Security. The GOP bill also has some provisions that are not related to immigration, like a section dealing with opioids, the “Stop the Importation and Trafficking of Synthetic Analogues Act.” There is also a section which would prohibit “flight training and nuclear studies for nationals of high risk countries.”  
  • As the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded a public hearing on Tuesday with top intelligence officials, the main headline was a warning for lawmakers that Russia was planning influence operations in 2018 to again stir trouble in the upcoming mid-terms elections in the United States. But then, panel chairman Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) gave his final remarks to end the hearing, sending a series of messages along the way, as he signaled that his panel would have a lot more to say about Russian interference in the 2016 elections. “What was unsaid today is that the Special Counsel is not the only investigation going on in Washington,” Burr told the hearing room, as he went on to make clear that the Intelligence Committee might be in the news a lot in coming weeks. Here’s some of what we learned from Burr’s statement, and some of what you might read between the lines about the Russia probe. 1. Senate Intelligence Committee may give the first big Russia review. While most of the attention has been on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, Senators on the Intelligence Committee have been conducting their own extensive probe, working to better explain what happened in 2016, and what the Russians did. “We realize we have to answer for the American people, what did Russia do to mess with the 2016 elections,” Chairman Burr said on Tuesday. The North Carolina Republican said he hopes his committee in coming months will put out reports on election security in 2018, how U.S. Intelligence dealt with the 2016 Russian interference, and a full review of what happened. Senator Richard Burr of Senate Intel Cmte says the panel intends to make public an 'overview' of its Russia probe findings before 2018 primaries — Max Kutner (@maxkutner) February 13, 2018 2. Burr says Russia focus could include a “company.” In his final comments at Tuesday’s hearing, Burr said his panel would keep investigating to uncover any “cooperation or collusion by any individual, campaign or company” – that last word was a notable one to reporters who have covered the Russia story, because it raised the specter of a specific business being involved in a concrete manner in possible Russian interference in the 2016 elections. In the past, Burr has pointedly refused to rule out collusion involving the Trump Campaign. From his statement, it sounded like he wants his panel’s findings out in coming months – that could make the committee the first authority to produce a report about the election meddling by Moscow. 3. While the House fights, the Senate works. The dynamic could not be any different between the House Intelligence Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee right now on Russia. While Senators are preparing to release a bipartisan array of findings and recommendations in coming weeks and months, the House panel is fighting over dueling partisan memos, with no sign of any final report that could be agreed upon. That’s also true of the situation in the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has split along partisan lines. But on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Burr, and top Democrat Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), have been able to hold together their panel in a way that others have not. If they bring forward a truly bipartisan final report, it will make their findings in the Russia investigation that much more believable. Burr & Warner deserve a lot of credit for bipartisan functionality of ssci on russia investigation vs partisan breakdown at hpsci, sen.jud — Laura Rozen (@lrozen) February 13, 2018 4. More than just Senate Intel focusing on election security. As the Senate Intelligence Committee was warned about possible Russian meddling in the 2018 elections, another committee on Tuesday afternoon looked at the same matter, as experts warned that much needs to be done by the states to protect against cyber threats from Russia and other actors. “The threat to electoral processes remains high,” said Robert Butler, a former senior Pentagon information operations official. Butler suggested – and some Senators embraced – the idea that the U.S. needs to be more aggressive in responding to any Russian meddling in the U.S. elections. Others worry local officials aren’t ready to take on the Russians. “Electoral integrity cannot be protected by leaving civilians alone on the front lines,” said Professor Richard Harknett of the University of Cincinnati. RT CNNPolitics: Coats says Russia views the 2018 midterm election as “a potential target for Russian influence operations” https://t.co/XxT27X3Gv1 — Top News (@TopTwts) February 13, 2018
  • Against the backdrop of an ongoing investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 elections, and any possible ties to the Trump Campaign, top U.S. intelligence officials joined Tuesday on Capitol Hill to once more warn lawmakers that Moscow will try to again stir trouble with the 2018 and 2020 elections. “Any elections that are coming up, we need to assume there might be interference with that, particularly from the Russians,” said Dan Coats, the Director of National Intelligence. “There should be no doubt that Russia perceives that its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 U.S. midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations,” Coats added. At a public hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee, other U.S. Intelligence officials agreed that Russian propaganda efforts will be underway in 2018. FBI and intelligence chiefs at the Senate Intelligence hearing say Russia will continue to meddle in US elections https://t.co/9hAxjX5s8r https://t.co/uRAWGxzuyz — CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) February 13, 2018 “Yes, we have seen Russian activity and intentions to have an impact on the next election cycle here,” said CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Pompeo told Senators there was a “significant effort” to push back against any Russian threat, but when Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) pressed the intelligence chiefs about whether the President had specifically directed to combat interference by Moscow, there were only general responses. Meanwhile, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), said his panel would be issuing a series of reports in coming weeks on what happened in 2016. “Before the primaries begin, we intend to have an overview of our findings that will be public,” Burr announced, saying his panel would hold an open hearing on election security in 2018. Senate Intel Chairman Burr says committee hopes to have its findings from its own #Russia investigation complete before the primaries begin — Suzanne Kianpour (@KianpourWorld) February 13, 2018 Burr also made clear the work of the Senate Intelligence Committee continues on one of the central issues of 2016 – how did the Russians interfere, and did they have any accomplices within the United States. “We will continue to work towards conclusions related to any cooperation or collusion by any individual, campaign, or company, with efforts to influence the outcome of elections or to create societal chaos in the United States,” Burr said. “We realize we have to answer for the American people, what did Russia do to mess with the 2016 elections,” he added. Earlier in the hearing, FBI Director Christopher Wray was asked about a GOP memo written by members of the House Intelligence Committee, which was publicly released earlier this month – Wray again said he had “grave concerns” about the document, saying that evidence had been omitted from the Republican memo. Wray says the FBI had “grave concerns” about the release of Nunes GOP memo https://t.co/w9y0moVghD — CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) February 13, 2018 “We had then, and we continue to have now “grave concerns” about the accuracy of the memo because of omissions,” Wray explained.
  • Jamie Dupree

    Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog.

    A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989. Politics and the Congress are in Jamie’s family, as both of his parents were staffers for members of Congress. He was also a page and intern in the House of Representatives. Jamie has covered 11 national political conventions, with his first being the 1988 Democratic Convention in Atlanta. His political travels have had him on the presidential campaign trail every four years since 1992, chasing candidates throughout the primary calendar.

    He is heard on Cox Radio stations around the country: WSB-AM Atlanta, WDBO-AM Orlando; WOKV-AM/FM Jacksonville; WHIO-AM/FM Dayton, Ohio; and KRMG-AM Tulsa, Oklahoma.

    Jamie and his wife Emily live just outside the Beltway with their three children. Some may know Jamie from his other on-air hobby, as he is a licensed amateur radio operator. When not at work or playing with his kids, you can often find him with a golf club in his hands.

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  • Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones said Sunday he will take steps to bolster local school safety by training those who work there. Jones posted to social media that his office will offer free conceal-and-carry classes to a limited number of teachers in Butler County. He also said training on how to react during school shootings would be provided. He said the details would be coming soon online at the Butler County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page. Jones said Saturday he has “been saying this for years” as he tweeted a Fox News story that Polk County, Florida, Sheriff Grady Judd said it would be a “game changer” to allow some handpicked teachers to carry firearms in the classroo Jones, in a video posted Thursday, urged local schools to act now to improve school security in the wake of the mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school on Wednesday. He said local schools should stop doing fire drills and allow armed former police and military veterans into buildings to help protect students.
  • A self-proclaimed white nationalist was banned from a Fremont gym after the owners learned he is a leader in the alt-right community. The owners of Northwest Fitness Project say Greg Johnson is longer welcome there. “The trainer terminated his contract and we banned him from the gym,” said Kyle Davis, a co-owner of the gym. It's a move that has some people wondering if it violates a city ordinance that says 'places of public accommodation' can't discriminate based on a person's beliefs. But the owners of the gym say that ordinance doesn't apply -- because it’s not a public space. To use the space, you must be the client of a trainer. “There’s no open gym membership, it's not like people can come and go as they please,” Davis said. “Trainers come and run their own businesses out of this location.' “There's a right of first refusal of the independent trainer. And (the trainer) chose to not work with him anymore due to the harm it would cause his reputation, and not wanting to be associated with those views,” Davis said. The Southern Poverty Law Center calls Greg Johnson an 'international figure for white nationalism” and “one of the leading voices of the far-right.” In September 2017, the New York Times interviewed him undercover and posted it on its website. In the interview, Johnson says, “I would identify myself as a white nationalist. That states the goals I have politically.” When asked about people who are Jewish, Johnson says, “The solution would ultimately (be) to expel them.” Davis said he’s disturbed to hear Johnson’s views. “I would feel threatened, yes,” he said. “I'm converting to Judaism, my fiancée is Jewish and we want to raise our kids Jewish.” The owners say after Johnson was banned, a white nationalist publication told followers to post negative reviews on the gym's Yelp and Facebook pages. “We were at a five (star average review); it went down to a three,” said Matthew Holland, the other co-owner of Northwest Fitness Project. But hundreds of people supported the gym on social media, helping it bounce back. “Now we're to like a 4.8,” Holland said. “We have a great community and we didn't realize how awesome they all were. Going through a rough time like this, it was just so encouraging.” The Puget Sound Anarchists first published last week that Johnson lives in Seattle. It’s also how the gym owners found out about Johnson’s beliefs. Johnson did not comment. The gym said it heard Johnson left the area.
  • A motorist spotted a body in the street around 11:27 p.m. Saturday night. The discovery happened near Young and Quaker. Tulsa Sgt. Dave Walker tells us the medical examiner was called out to help. “They were able to determine he had a gunshot wound to the back of the head,” Walker said.  “That is the reason he died.” Investigators believe a shots fired call about an hour before the body was found is related to this case. The name of the victim hasn't been released. Police don’t have a suspect or motive for the homicide.  Anyone with information regarding the case is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 918-596-COPS.   Walker adds this is Tulsa’s fifth homicide of 2018.  
  • Today will be perfect for outdoor activities. National Weather Service Meteorologist Chuck Hodges says we have a nice day ahead of us in and around Tulsa. “Should be topping out in the lower 60’s,” Hodges said.  “We’ll be kicking up a little more wind.” The low Sunday night will be closer to 57 degrees. If you get an extra day this weekend for Monday's holiday, make sure an umbrella is nearby. NWS is reporting we could see a few thunderstorms.   The high for Monday will be close to 61 degrees.  
  • In the wake of a fresh round of indictments in the wide-ranging investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election campaign, President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Saturday and Sunday to repeatedly express his frustration with the probe, again proclaiming his innocence, attacking his critics, and demanding attention instead on actions of the Obama Administration and Hillary Clinton. “I never said Russia did not meddle in the election,” the President tweeted on Sunday morning – though Mr. Trump has been very slow to embrace the concept that Russia was at fault, as he derided the investigations into Russian interference in 2016. “They are laughing their asses off in Moscow,” the President said on Twitter. “Get smart America!” Those were just a sampling of a number of tweets from this weekend, as the President let off steam on a number of fronts. I never said Russia did not meddle in the election, I said “it may be Russia, or China or another country or group, or it may be a 400 pound genius sitting in bed and playing with his computer.” The Russian “hoax” was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia – it never did! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 18, 2018 If it was the GOAL of Russia to create discord, disruption and chaos within the U.S. then, with all of the Committee Hearings, Investigations and Party hatred, they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. They are laughing their asses off in Moscow. Get smart America! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 18, 2018 Finally, Liddle’ Adam Schiff, the leakin’ monster of no control, is now blaming the Obama Administration for Russian meddling in the 2016 Election. He is finally right about something. Obama was President, knew of the threat, and did nothing. Thank you Adam! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 18, 2018 The President even rebuked his own National Security Adviser, Gen. H.R. McMaster, over a point that Mr. Trump and his supporters have zeroed in on repeatedly – a lack of evidence that ties any Russian operation to the Trump Campaign. “General McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians,” as the President again tried to switch the attention of the moment to questions that the GOP has raised about Hillary Clinton, the Steele Dossier, and the Democratic National Committee. General McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians and that the only Collusion was between Russia and Crooked H, the DNC and the Dems. Remember the Dirty Dossier, Uranium, Speeches, Emails and the Podesta Company! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 18, 2018 Deputy A.G. Rod Rosenstein stated at the News Conference: “There is no allegation in the indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity. There is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2018 Funny how the Fake News Media doesn’t want to say that the Russian group was formed in 2014, long before my run for President. Maybe they knew I was going to run even though I didn’t know! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2018 “The Fake News Media never fails,” the President wrote on Saturday, repeatedly making the argument that any Russian interference in 2016 did not tip the scales of the election in his favor. “Funny how the Fake News Media doesn’t want to say that the Russian group was formed in 2014, long before my run for President,” the President added. “The Russian “hoax” was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia – it never did!” he tweeted. Critics of the President noted what was missing in his Saturday and Sunday tweets about the Russia investigation was any pledge by Mr. Trump to implement tougher sanctions against Russia which were approved by the Congress, or to order tougher measures to stop any Russian meddling. Last week, the nation’s top intelligence officials all agreed that Russia was going to try to repeat their 2016 effort in the 2018 election – asked by Democrats if there was any specific order from the President to focus on that threat, the intelligence chiefs only indicated that they were focused on the matter. “Look, this is pretty simple,” said retired Gen. Michael Hayden, a former head of the National Security Agency. “The Russians objective was to mess with our heads.” “Based on his late PM – this AM joint Twitter meltdown, it’s safe to say “Trump” is having a nervous breakdown as Mueller’s walls close in,” said John Schindler, a former U.S. intelligence official who has been highly critical of the President’s statements on the Russia probe. Late on Saturday night, the President also drew in the Russia investigation to criticize the FBI over the mass shooting at a high school in Florida last week. ” They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign,” the President said. Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign – there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 18, 2018 Here is the latest Russia indictment from last Friday.