The Associated Press DAVID SHARP Feb 28th 2019 PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Four Republican and Democratic senators are introducing a resolution to block President Donald Trump's emergency declaration to build a barrier at the U.S.-Mexico border. The measure comes from Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, along with Democratic Sens. Tom Udall of New Mexico and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire. It's identical to the House version that was approved 245-182 on Tuesday. There may be enough Republican support in the Senate to pass a resolution blocking Trump's order, though the next steps are unclear. Trump has pledged to veto the House resolution, and it's unlikely that Congress can override him. The senators say the proposal would terminate the national emergency and uphold the separation of powers in the Constitution. Trump used a 1976 law to declare a national emergency and ordered the shift of $3.6 billion from military construction projects to wall building. Citing other powers, he intends to shift an additional $3.1 billion from Defense Department anti-drug efforts and a fund that collects seized assets. Trump said barriers are needed to stop drugs from Mexico from entering the U.S., though government figures show that 90 percent of drugs intercepted from Mexico are caught at ports of entry, not remote areas where barriers would be constructed. The White House says the money would be used to build steel barriers up to 30 feet tall and other barriers for "law enforcement efforts." The showdown has forced Republicans to cast uncomfortable votes, pitting their support for a president popular with GOP voters against their own fears that his use of emergency powers would invite future Democratic presidents to do likewise. The White House, in a letter to lawmakers threatening to veto the House resolution, said blocking the declaration would "undermine the administration's ability to respond effectively to the ongoing crisis" at the border. Witchy's opinion : This is a very good time to see that some of our Congress have courage and grit to do the right thing for the majority of America. We cannot allow the 33% to dictate what they want and to follow a traitor and dictators words. Trump lives in 1960 with the cult and will stay there no matter what the facts support. We must move forward and stand tall until he is impeached or removed with the 25th Amendment. If the resolution passes house & senate and Trump vetoes with no over ride, congress may as well hang it up & go home. Trump will have the dictatorship he desires and there will no longer be a need for both houses. He and future presidents will be free to do whatever they like! What does the majority of the country call it??? JUST ANOTHER TRUMP LIE! It seems that some more republican Senators are finally starting to have enough of Trump's lying, exaggerating, race-bating, and ABUSE OF POWER. Finally the Republicans are getting a backbone. After yesterday in the House Committee Republicans have to believe it time for Trump's end this crook and mob boss must go. THROW TRUMP OUT OF OFFICE AND THEN LOCK HIM UP ALONG WITH HIS CROOKED FAMILY ...LOCK TRUMP UP LOCK TRUMP UP LOCK TRUMP UP
The Associated Press CHAD DAY AND ERIC TUCKER Feb 23rd 2019 WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump was in full deflection mode. The Democrats had blamed Russia for the hacking and release of damaging material on his presidential opponent, Hillary Clinton. Trump wasn't buying it. But on July 27, 2016, midway through a news conference in Florida, Trump decided to entertain the thought for a moment. "Russia, if you're listening," said Trump, looking directly into a television camera, "I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing" — messages Clinton was reported to have deleted from her private email server. Actually, Russia was doing more than listening: It had been trying to help Republican Trump for months. That very day, hackers working with Russia's military intelligence tried to break into email accounts associated with Clinton's personal office. It was just one small part of a sophisticated election interference operation carried out by the Kremlin — and meticulously chronicled by special counsel Robert Mueller. We know this, though Mueller has made not a single public comment since his appointment in May 2017. We know this, though the full, final report on the investigation, believed to be in its final stages, may never be made public. It's up to Attorney General William Barr. We know this because Mueller has spoken loudly, if indirectly, in court — indictment by indictment, guilty plea by guilty plea. In doing so, he tracked an elaborate Russian operation that injected chaos into a U.S. presidential election and tried to help Trump win the White House. He followed a GOP campaign that embraced the Kremlin's help and championed stolen material to hurt a political foe. And ultimately, he revealed layers of lies, deception, self-enrichment and hubris that followed. Woven through thousands of court papers, the special counsel has made his public report. This is what it says. RUSSIA, LOOKING TO INTERFERE The plot began before Bernie Bros and "Lock Her Up," before MAGA hats and "Lyin' Ted," before there was even a thought of Trump versus Clinton in 2016. It started in 2014, in a drab, concrete building in St. Petersburg, Russia. There, a group of tech-savvy Russian nationals, working at an organization called the Internet Research Agency, prepared "information warfare against the United States of America." The battleground would be the internet, and the target was the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Using a game plan honed on its own people, the troll farm prepared to pervert the social networks — Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram — that Americans had come to depend on for news, entertainment, friendships and, most relevantly, political discourse. It would use deception, disinformation and the expansive reach of the electronically connected world to spread "distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general." Ultimately, it would carry a budget in the millions, bankrolled, according to an indictment, by Yevgeny Prighozin, a man so close to the Russian president that he is known as Putin's chef. (Prighozin's company has denied the charges). It was a long game. Starting in mid-2014, employees began studying American political groups to see which messages fell flat and which spread like wildfire across the internet. The organization surreptitiously dispatched employees to the U.S. — traveling through states such as Nevada, California and Colorado— to collect on-the-ground intelligence about an America that had become deeply divided on gun control, race and politics. As they gathered the research, the trolls began planning an elaborate deception. They bought server space and other computer infrastructure in the U.S. to conceal the true origin of the disinformation they planned to pump into America's social media blood stream. They began preparing networks of fake accounts they would use like sock puppets to masquerade as U.S. citizens. The Russian trolls set up accounts that appeared to be associated with Black Lives Matter, the Tennessee GOP, Muslim and Christian groups and the American South. By late 2015, as Clinton sparred with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, her rival for the Democratic nomination, and as American media still saw Trump as a longshot to emerge from a crowded Republican field, the Internet Research Agency began secretly buying online ads to promote its social media groups. By February 2016, they were ready. A memo circulated internally. Post content about "politics in the USA," they wrote, according to court papers, and "use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump— we support them)." As disinformation scrolled across American computer screens, an entirely different Russian operation readied its own volley. In March 2016, as Clinton and Trump began to emerge as the leaders of their respective parties, Russian military intelligence officers began setting a trap. Hackers in Russia's military intelligence, known as the GRU, started sending dozens of malicious emails to people affiliated with Clinton's campaign, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic National Committee. Like Watergate, it was a break-in. But this time, the burglary tools were emails disguised to fool people into sharing their passwords and in turn provide hackers unfettered access to their emails. The goal was to collect as many damaging documents as possible that could be released online and damage Clinton's candidacy. In a few short weeks, the hackers had penetrated their targets and hit the motherlode: the private Gmail account of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. Stay tune : As The Stomach Turns
Here's Witchy: This is an excellent article by the Associated Press. Now is the time for people of all political persuasions to decide if they love America enough to see justice done, and rid the country of the enemies within.That doesn't make Trump any less innocent if proven to be involved.I don't know why anyone would ever vote republican for prez ever again. You cons are highly unqualified, unfit, unethical, lack valor and honor! You gave us Nixon and now the first KGB agent. I blame you cons for this. I don't know how anyone could claim to be a republican today unless you live your life as crooked and criminal as Trump! Anyone that works with Trump will soon be soiled and ruined for life. Just ask Sessions, Manafort, Flynn, Cohen, Gates, Stone, Sarah Huckabee and more! I blame you cons for putting the first ever KGB agent in our WH. You cons need to raise your standards for who can run for prez in the GOP. A person should be able to pass a background check, show their taxes, tell the truth, have ethics, integrity, honor, valor, read, write, complete a sentence and represent all Americans! I support Truth, Justice and the American Way! It's time to get this criminal out of our WH! Justice will be served when this criminal is Impeached and locked up! All of Trump's friends have turned on Trump. Many are indicted and going to jail. Trump probably ask himself why did he ever run for president? What a huge mistake! Now this traitor is systematically shut down our government from within, Homeland Security included. Just what the traitor wants. Now Trump is turning on Generals! Who is next? Looks like it is Rod! America is in trouble at the hand of Trump and Republican leadership! Why are the Republicans destroying the US? Putin loves his handpicked Mafia Boss! Nuff sez Hehe
Pope Francis has summoned nearly 200 bishops and other Roman Catholic Church leaders to the Vatican for a 4-day summit on protecting minors in the Church. They have been summoned from 130 countries around the world. Ordered to the Vatican by the Pope, to address "the protection of minors in the Church," not to address the punishment and defrocking of guilty priests, at a major conference starting Thursday.
To critics, that's a benign way of referring to the systemic sexual abuse by priests and other Roman Catholic clergy of tens of thousands of children around the world over the past four decades — and its subsequent cover-up.
The Pope's top Canadian at the Vatican said the Church made mistakes. That 25 years ago, there was a belief that with some psychological therapy a pedophile could be healed and returned to the ministry, but it knows now that this is not true.
In an interview with CBC News from Rome, Cardinal Marc Ouellet said the Church was also not aware back then of "the depth of the pain and the consequences of these abuses on children."
"In fact, we've learned it was much more serious than we expected."
Quebec-born Cardinal Marc Ouellet told CBC News the Vatican summit represents a moment of hope. (Stephanie Jenzer/CBC News)
While there is hope both in and outside the Church that this summit will mark a turning point from the ugly history of sexual abuse, others feel it will offer more of what has been seen and done before.
"Various other popes were involved in this kind of thing [in the past]," said David Deane, associate professor at Atlantic School of Theology in Halifax. "And it led to probably what this kind of event can lead to, which is very low level apologies, handwringing, admitting of guilt."
Instead of a meeting at the Vatican, some theologians want an independent investigation into decades of abuse. Not likely to happen. Victims and critics want more than talk on sex abuse in the Church. But hopes are not high that any positive action will take place. The bishops who run the Vatican want to protect the power of the Catholic Church not tear it down. And they wish to protect the institution of Catholicism.
The Vatican itself has sought to set the bar low ahead of the four-day summit, saying it will be about reflection and discussion. Pope Francis himself has called the meeting the "beginning of a dialogue."
He did not heed a call from childhood sexual abuse victims in Rome ahead of the summit opening to speak with them. They met instead with Vatican officials.
On Thursday, Francis stressed the importance of following through on what is discussed at the gathering of 190 leaders of bishops conferences and religious orders.
"Listen to the cry of the young, who want justice," he said. "The holy people of God are watching and expect not just simple and obvious condemnations, but efficient and concrete measures to be established."
Francis arrives at the Vatican Wednesday for his weekly general audience. He did not meet with childhood sexual abuse victims who hoped to speak with him ahead of the summit. (Alessandra Tarantino/Associated Press)
Still, Ouellet calls the Church's will to change "a moment of hope."
"This conviction is now on the way," he said, "and will be deeply rooted." Change, he added, will be reflected in "measures and protocols" undertaken all over the world.
That kind of language concerns Deane, who is currently involved in a project looking at the Roman Catholic Church leadership's response to accusations of sexual abuse against priests.
"My fear is that what will come out of this summit is a further commitment to developing good protocols and procedures and another summit."
Deane believes what's needed instead of another summit is a full, transparent investigation of the church over the past 30 to 40 years, conducted by a diverse body of lay women and men, including people from outside the Catholic Church. No bishops, no pope.
"Only when that happens," he said, "is the Church viable as a church again."
Summit organizers met with a dozen survivor-activists who have come to Rome to protest the Catholic Church's response to date and demand an end to decades of cover-up by church leaders. (Luigi Navarra/Associated Press)
The problem right now, according to Deane, is that Pope Francis doesn't understand that. There is will to move forward, he said, not to look back.
"They are frightened. They don't want to become vulnerable … But they need right now to be Christ-like. And this involves risking everything, risking their reputation, risking their name, risking the future of the church in order to see justice done for the victims."
30 years of horrific cover-up
Ouellet said the Church has already learned from the past.
"The Church knows better now and is determined and has more tools to go forward, and really bring healing and understanding and correction for the future."
That's not enough for Deane. After 30 years of horrific cover-up, he said, only a full, transparent investigation of the past will suffice.
"My hope is that from speaking to victims, from hearing victims' stories, and from remembering the faith that obviously drove them at various stages of their life that they could do what needs to be done. Which is to potentially strip off the layers of protection and power and prestige and to be naked before God in the world and say, 'this is who we are. We have done terrible things. Sometimes through malice, most often through ignorance. And we need to reform
The declaration of a national emergency triggered street protests
A coalition of 16 US states led by California is suing President Donald Trump's administration over his decision to declare an emergency to raise funds for a Mexican border wall. The lawsuit was filed in the court for the Northern District of California.
It comes days after Trump invoked emergency powers to bypass Congress and secure funding for the project - a key campaign pledge. Democrats have vowed to contest it "using every remedy available".
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said they were taking President Trump to court "to block his misuse of presidential power".
"We're suing President Trump to stop him from unilaterally robbing taxpayer funds lawfully set aside by Congress for the people of our states. For most of us, the office of the presidency is not a place for theatre," he added.
The lawsuit filed on Monday seeks a preliminary injunction that would stop Trump acting on his emergency declaration while a legal battle takes place in the courts, the Washington Post reported.
Mr Trump announced the plan after Congress refused funding for the wall. The first legal challenge followed swiftly on Friday. A liberal advocacy group, Public Citizen, sued on behalf of a nature reserve and three Texas landowners who have been told the wall may be constructed on their properties.
Governor Gavin Newsom of California dismissed the president's decision as "political theater" while New York state's Democratic attorney general, Letitia James, promised to "fight back with every legal tool at our disposal".
Joining California in the lawsuit were Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Virginia and Michigan.
The states argue that President Trump's order to divert funds to pay for the wall would cost them millions of dollars, damaging their economies.
Making the announcement in the White House Rose Garden on Friday, the president said the emergency would allow him to get almost $8bn for the wall. This is still considerably short of the estimated $23bn cost of the wall along almost 2,000 miles (3,200km) of border. Mr Trump accepted that he would be sued for the move, and predicted that the emergency order would lead to legal action which was likely to end up in the Supreme Court
"We're going to confront the national security crisis on our southern border," he said.
"Everyone knows that walls work."
However, the president also said that he did not need to declare the emergency but did so in the hope of obtaining the funds for the wall more quickly, but analysts say these comments could undermine his legal arguments.
What is a real national emergency?
The National Emergencies Act is intended for times of national crisis, like a war. Mr Trump has claimed that there is a migration crisis at the nation's southern border - a claim strongly refuted by migration experts.
The largest number of illegal migrants settling in the US each year is those who stay in the country after their visas expire. Declaring a national emergency would give the president access to special powers that effectively allow him to bypass the usual political process, and he would be able to divert money from existing military or disaster relief budgets to pay for the wall.
Emergency declarations by previous presidents have been overwhelmingly used for addressing foreign policy crises - including blocking terrorism-linked entities from accessing funds or prohibiting investment in nations associated with human rights abuses.
Donald Trump's former election campaign chief Paul Manafort breached his plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller by lying to prosecutors, a US judge says. US District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that Manafort "made multiple false statements" to the FBI, Mr Mueller's office and a grand jury.
Manafort was convicted of financial fraud in August. This related to his work as a political consultant in Ukraine. Manafort, 69, then accepted a plea deal on other charges in return for co-operating with Mr Mueller's investigation.
In her ruling on Wednesday, Judge Berman Jackson said there was evidence that showed Manafort had lied about - among other things - contacts he had with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian political consultant. Prosecutors claim Mr Kilimnik had ties to Russian intelligence. The judge also cleared Manafort of allegations that he lied on two other subjects.
The verdict means that Manafort - who has been held in a detention centre in Virginia since June - could now potentially face harsher sentences or have charges against him re-filed.
Last year, Mr Mueller said that Manafort lied "on a variety of subject matters" after signing the plea deal.
Last August, Manafort was convicted on eight counts of fraud, bank fraud and failing to disclose bank accounts. A month later he pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiracy against the US and one charge of conspiracy to obstruct justice in a plea bargain with Mr Mueller. The agreement avoided a second trial on money laundering and other charges.
The plea deal meant Manafort would face up to 10 years in prison and would forfeit four of his properties and the contents of several bank accounts - but deadlocked charges from the previous trial would be dismissed.
It was the first criminal trial arising from the Department of Justice's investigation into alleged Russian interference in the presidential election. However, the charges related only to Manafort's political consulting with pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine, largely pre-dating his role with the Trump campaign.
Manafort worked for the Trump presidential campaign for five months in 2016 and was in charge when Trump clinched the Republican party nomination. President Trump has insisted there was no collusion between his team and Russia.
Manafort was charged by Mueller, last October, of using 31 foreign bank accounts in three different countries to evade taxes on millions of dollars. Prosecutors presented evidence of Manafort's luxurious lifestyle, saying it was only possible because of his bank and tax fraud.
Bye bye Manafort! You can stop lying now. Enjoy your incarceration.