1550268305 vexsome tldr: A shorter front page of the internet

politics

1. Feds Seized ‘Several Years’ of Roger Stone’s Communications

FBI agents seized several years worth of Roger Stone's communications following his arrest last week, prosecutors told a federal judge on Thursday. In a motion to ask for more time to bring Stone's case to trial, the feds said one reason is because discovery is "Both voluminous and complex," adding up to "Several terabytes of information." It includes results of search warrants served on Stone's Apple iCloud accounts and email accounts, as well as warrants served on his home, apartment, and office that seized Stone's cellphones, computers, and hard drives. After the evidence is filtered by a separate FBI team to separate out communications that are privileged, it will be given to prosecutors and shared with Stone's defense.


2. Mitch McConnell, Enemy of the Vote

Several on the left noted that McConnell essentially said the quiet part out loud Wednesday, admitting that an Election Day holiday would hurt Republicans, since their fortunes improve when fewer people vote. McConnell could have amassed a mere 20 Republican votes to join with the 45 Democrats and two Independents to form a veto-proof majority to once again pass a bill that his Senate had already passed by voice vote in December to end the shutdown sooner. McConnell does not seem to be similarly animated about the continued threat of foreign interference in our elections.


3. Donald Trump Admits He Didn't Read Intelligence Report, Then Criticizes Reporting On It

President Donald Trump admitted he had not read an intelligence report when speaking to the press on Thursday. The intelligence report in question-the Worldwide Threat Assessment released by Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats this week-seemingly contradicted many of Trump's claims about North Korea, Russia and the Islamic State militant group. The New York Times reported that Trump received the report "As a scorecard on his foreign policy, and something close to an affront." Indeed, he raged against the report in a tweet on Wednesday.


4. Dems Call For Revoking Kushner's Security Clearance

Don Beyer and came after NBC News reported last week that two career White House security specialists rejected Kushner's application for a top-secret security clearance after an FBI background check raised concerns about potential foreign influence. Their supervisor overruled them and approved the clearance anyway, according to NBC. "We urge you to immediately revoke the security clearance of Senior White House Advisor Jared Kushner, and to comply with past and future oversight requests from Congress related to security clearances, information security, and other matters of national security," Beyer and Lieu wrote. House Oversight Committee Chairman earlier this month requested information from the White House about security clearance issues involving multiple current and former officials, including Kushner, ex-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, former White House staff secretary Robert Porter, and former deputy assistant to the president.


5. If Corporations Are People, Some of Them Should Go to Jail

Up in the Commonwealth-God save it!-we have this attorney general named Maura Healey. In a complaint filed against the company that makes the opioid painkiller OxyContin, Healey alleges Purdue and its owners deceived Massachusetts doctors and patients in an effort to get more people to use its drugs - even though they knew the drugs are addictive and deadly. In internal correspondence beginning in 2014, Purdue Pharma executives discussed how the sale of opioids and the treatment of opioid addiction are "Naturally linked" and that the company should expand across "The pain and addiction spectrum," according to redacted sections of the lawsuit by the Massachusetts attorney general.



7. Fox News poll: Ginsburg is Americans' favorite Supreme Court Justice

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the most popular justice sitting on the Supreme Court, according to a new Fox News poll. ADVERTISEMENT. Four percent of respondents say Justice Neil Gorsuch, 's other high court pick, is their favorite. Fox News reports that 38 percent did not have a favorite justice or were unsure.


8. 'Whistleblower' in White House security clearance office gets suspended; Tricia Newbold was suspended less than a week after NBC reported Jared Kushner's top secret security clearance was approved over staff objections.

Newbold's two-week suspension from the White House security office was for failure to supervise, failure to follow instructions and defiance of authority, according to the suspension decision notice obtained by NBC News. Wednesday's notice is signed by Bailey and mentions that in Newbold's 18-year career she has not faced any "Prior formal disciplinary action." The document also harshly criticizes Newbold for her "Defiance" and notes that Newbold said she would "Continue to do what is best for the Executive Office of the President." The pair had made the decision to deny Kushner the clearance after an FBI background check raised concerns about potential foreign influence on him, two sources familiar with the matter told NBC News.In her EEOC complaint, Newbold, who has a rare form of dwarfism, accused Kline of discriminating against her because of her height.


9. Mueller will use Roger Stone's bank records, texts and emails as evidence

Special counsel Robert Mueller has signaled to defense lawyers for Roger Stone, the longtime adviser to Donald Trump, that prosecutors might brandish Stone's bank records and personal communications going back several years as evidence in the case against him. Legal analysts said the move could be significant because the sizable amount of potential evidence listed by Mueller - and its nature, in the case of the bank records - seemed to go well beyond the current known charges against Stone. "It's interesting that Mueller produced bank and financial records to Roger Stone, given that they don't appear related to the charges he faces," former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti tweeted.


10. Trump’s Use of Undocumented Workers Should Be a Bigger Scandal

A group of undocumented immigrants who worked at Donald Trump's golf clubs in New Jersey and New York met with members of Congress in Washington this week, hoping their personal stories can ultimately lead to a formal investigation into abuses and potentially criminal hiring practices by the Trump Organization. Sedano was among the number of undocumented workers dismissed during a mass firing on Jan. 18, in the midst of Trump's government shutdown over his stupid wall. He's on the verge of declaring this a national emergency so he can use extraconstitutional powers to build a border wall, but he's been employing undocumented Latinx workers in his hotels and resorts for decades, in violation of the law.


11. Trump accused of 'stopping working' as schedule reveals he averaged one event per day in January

Donald Trump participated in just one event per day on average throughout January, according to his public schedule, amid mounting accusations he is not working hard enough as president. Overall, Mr Trump's public schedule showed a total of 32 events in the 31 days throughout January - not including his daily intelligence briefings, personal fundraisers or private White House lunches. That compares with 39 events Mr Trump had on his schedule through January 2018.



13. Mitch McConnell Has Open Disdain for Democracy

There was on Wednesday one of those moments in Mitch McConnell's guardianship of the United States Senate when the least excusable man in government decides, what the hell, I'll just say what everybody knows anyway. On Wednesday, while the Senate was debating a House bill aimed at making voting easier, as well as rolling back Republican voter-suppression laws, Mitch was particularly exercised over a proposal to make federal election day a national holiday. Respond to this post on the Esquire Politics Facebook page here.


14. Ben Carson photographed with key employee of a sanctioned Russian oligarch

In the latest example of Russian officials rubbing elbows with members of the American right, a newly emerged photo shows Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson standing alongside a key employee of sanctioned Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeev. Alexey Komov - shown in the photo to the right of Carson - has worked for years to ingratiate himself with the American far right, from partnering with American homeschool organizations to working with Christian fundamentalist groups to even liaising closely with Christian movie reviewers. The photo took place a few weeks before Komov, the WCF's Russian representative, helped host a "Pro-family" conference in Russia, bringing together some of the most bigoted voices in Russia and the U.S. The conference was itself mired in controversy: It took place shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, leading to the first forced annexation in Europe since World War II. The invasion triggered U.S. sanctions on Russian officials and oligarchs.


15. McConnell says a little too much in his case against an election holiday

On the Senate floor, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced his opposition to a relatively uncontroversial measure that would make Election Day a federal holiday in order to make it easier for people to get to the polls. His case against an election holiday appears to give away too much. McConnell's vision slips into the bizarre: he envisions a dynamic in which federal "Bureaucrats" would exploit an election holiday to "Hover" while other Americans vote.


16. Bernie Sanders to propose dramatic expansion in estate tax on richest Americans, including 77 percent rate on billionaires

Sen. Bernie Sanders will unveil a plan Thursday to dramatically expand the federal estate tax on the wealthy, including a new 77 percent rate on billionaires' estates, as leading Democratic politicians push new taxes on the richest Americans to combat inequality. Sanders's plan would restore the 77 percent top estate tax rate that was in place in the U.S. from 1941 to 1976, tax estates worth more than $3.5 million, and create several new estate tax brackets, including a 55 percent rate on estates worth more than $50 million. It would levy a 45 percent estate tax on those with $3.5 million to $10 million; a 50 percent tax on those with $10 million to $50 million; a 55 percent tax on those with $50 million to $1 billion; and a 77 percent tax on those with more than $1 billion.


17. Trump Finally Realizes Democrats Aren’t Falling for His Wall Renaming Trick

Trump Realizes Democrats Won't Fall for Wall Renaming Trick For a brief period of time, The Wall was transformed into a fence, or a barrier, or perhaps some nice, tasteful slats. Trump hasn't offered anything close to that value - and he almost certainly can't, because Republicans in Congress don't care about the wall and aren't likely to support substantive concessions on policies Democrats want in order to trade for it. The choice to invite Morales follows news stories about the Trump Organization's failure to fully check the work status of all its employees, even as Trump described illegal immigration as a national crisis and demanded funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall.


18. Scientists say Ocasio-Cortez’s dire climate warning is spot on

Back in October, the nations of the world unanimously approved a landmark report from scientists warning that we must make sharp reductions in global carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 to have any plausible chance of averting catastrophic climate change. When the popular freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made the exact same point as the IPCC, the world's foremost scientific panel on climate change - that millennials in the U.S. fear "The world is going to end in 12 years if we don't address climate change" - the right-wing and even some in the media pounced. "Projected impacts look especially bad beyond 2°C or so of planetary warming," leading climate expert Michael Mann told ThinkProgress.


19. Mueller Seeks Order to Keep Roger Stone from Following in the Footsteps of Accused Russian Troll Farm

A day after Special Counsel Robert Mueller alleged in a court filing that accused Russian troll farm Concord Management and Consulting LLC leaked discovery materials, he moved for a protective order to keep Roger Stone from doing something similar. In a filing submitted on Thursday, Mueller and Washington, D.C. United States Attorney Jessie K. Liu requested that the District Court issue an order that would "Ensure the confidentiality of personal information and discovery that are included within the materials to be produced by the government pursuant to its discovery obligations." The evidence Mueller has on Stone was described as "Voluminous and complex" - and there are "Several terabytes" of it.


20. Madeleine Albright ‘stunned’ by Trump's treatment of intel leaders: ‘He doesn't want to learn‘

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on Thursday said that she's "Stunned" by 's public rebuke of his intelligence leaders. Trump on Wednesday characterized intelligence officials as "Extremely passive and naive" and suggested they "Go back to school" on threats posed by Iran after top officials appeared to break with him in high-profile congressional testimony. Director of National Intelligence and other top intelligence officials testified before Warner's committee on Tuesday that a new U.S. assessment does not show Iran to be pursuing new nuclear weapons capabilities.


21. Bernie Sanders proposes a big hike in the estate tax, including a 77% rate for over $1 billion

The debate over tax policy is heating up, as Democrats looking to unseat President Donald Trump in 2020 try to use the GOP tax law against him. Sanders' plan would restore the estate tax rate to levels not seen since the 1970s. Mitch McConnell, Chuck Grassley and John Thune introduced a plan to repeal the estate tax, calling it an "Unfair death tax."


22. Trump orders ‘several thousand’ more troops to US-Mexico border, costing taxpayers over $600m

Reports indicate the president's demands for an increased US military presence along the border are expected to cost American taxpayers over $600m. Mr Trump's "Operation Faithful Patriot," which sent more than 5,000 military personnel to the region just before the 2018 midterm elections, has already reportedly cost taxpayers nearly $235m; $132m for active duty troops and $103m for the National Guard. Mr Trump has previously said he would declare a national emergency over the border if Democrats and Republicans were not willing to provide him the wall funding, though the declaration would likely faced an uphill legal battle and could face injunctions from a slate of federal courts.



24. With Democrats in charge, Colorado now backs clean air rule

DENVER - Colorado's new attorney general said Wednesday the state will withdraw from a lawsuit challenging one of the Obama administration's biggest climate change initiatives. Colorado would be at least the 18th state to sue the Trump administration over mileage standards. The Trump administration also wants to revoke a provision that allows California and other states to set higher mileage standards than the federal government.