January, 2018

Official Leading Anti-Smoking Effort Traded Tobacco Stock

“The Trump administration’s top public health official bought shares in a tobacco company one month into her leadership of the agency charged with reducing tobacco use — the leading cause of preventable disease and death and an issue she had long championed,” Politico reports.

“The stock was one of about a dozen new investments that Brenda Fitzgerald, director of the CDC, made after she took over the agency’s top job.”

“Buying shares of tobacco companies raises even more flags than Fitzgerald’s trading in drug and food companies because it stands in such stark contrast to CDC’s mission to persuade smokers to quit and keep children from becoming addicted.”

Disagreement Derails Trump Choice for South Korea Post

“The White House’s original choice for U.S. ambassador to South Korea is no longer expected to be nominated after he privately expressed disagreement in late December with the Trump administration’s North Korea policy,” the Washington Post reports.

“Victor D. Cha, an academic who served in the George W. Bush administration, raised his concerns with National Security Council officials over their consideration of a limited strike on the North aimed at sending a message without sparking a wider war — a risky concept known as a ‘bloody nose’ strategy.”

Tancredo Ends Campaign for Colorado Governor

Former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R_CO) “is ending his bid for the Republican nomination for Colorado governor on Tuesday because he hasn’t raised the money he believes would be necessary to win an expensive election against a wealthy Democrat willing to spend millions on his campaign,” Colorado Politics reports.

Said Tancredo: “I do not want to win a primary and lose a general, and I fear that was where we were going.”

Probe Eyes McCabe’s Role In Final Weeks of Election

“The Justice Department’s inspector general has been focused for months on why Andrew McCabe, as the No. 2 official at the FBI, appeared not to act for about three weeks on a request to examine a batch of Hillary Clinton-related emails found in the latter stages of the 2016 election campaign,” the Washington Post reports.

“The inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, has been asking witnesses why FBI leadership seemed unwilling to move forward on the examination of emails found on the laptop of former congressman Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) until late October — about three weeks after first being alerted to the issue.”

“A key question of the internal investigation is whether McCabe or anyone else at the FBI wanted to avoid taking action on the laptop findings until after the Nov. 8 election.”

McConnell Sees No Need to Protect Mueller

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he sees no need to act to protect special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, Bloomberg reports.

Said McConnell: “My understanding is there’s no effort under way to undermine or remove the special counsel. Therefore I don’t see any need to bring up legislation to protect someone who appears to need no protection.”

“McConnell declined to say what Republicans would do if Trump sought to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein or Mueller.”

Europe’s Economy Grew Faster than U.S.

“Economic growth in the 19 countries that use the euro currency was 2.5% in 2017… Growth in the 28-member European Union also reached 2.5% last year,” CNN reports.

“It’s the best period of growth for both groupings since 2007, putting Europe just ahead of the 2.3% expansion posted by the U.S. in 2017.”

Gosar Calls for Arrest of Undocumented SOTU Guests

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) announced on Twitter that he has asked the U.S. Capitol Police to check the identification of all State of the Union attendees and arrest any “illegal” immigrants.

Said Gosar: “Of all the places where the Rule of Law needs to be enforced, it should be in the hallowed halls of Congress. Any illegal aliens attempting to go through security, under any pretext of invitation or otherwise, should be arrested and deported.”

Grimm Says ‘Corrupt Forces’ Were Behind Conviction

Former Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY), who served seven months in prison for tax evasion, blamed his conviction in 2014 on the “same politically corrupt team of players” that he claims is driving the Russia investigation, the New York Daily News reports.

He named former FBI director James Comey and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch as part of a “politically corrupt team of players” and blamed them for everything “from sabotaging President Trump with the Russiagate conspiracy theory” to “letting Hillary Clinton off the hook in 2016.”

Pelosi Urges Democrats to Behave Tonight

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is encouraging her caucus to behave during President Trump’s State of the Union address tonight, Politico reports.

Said Pelosi: “Let the attention be on his slobbering self. If you want to walk out, don’t come in.”

She added that expectations are so low for Trump, he’s likely to get good reviews: “If his nose isn’t running and he isn’t burping, he did a great speech.”

Ryan Calls for ‘Cleanse’ of the FBI

Speaker Paul Ryan called to “cleanse” the FBI as he openly backed the release of a controversial memo that purportedly details alleged surveillance abuses by the U.S. government, Fox News reports.

Said Ryan: “Let it all out, get it all out there. Cleanse the organization.”

He added: “I think we should disclose all this stuff. It’s the best disinfectant. Accountability, transparency — for the sake of the reputation of our institutions.”

FBI Director Says McCabe’s Ouster Tied to IG Report

“FBI Director Chris Wray made clear in a message sent to all bureau employees on Monday night that Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s decision to step aside was a result of forthcoming information to be detailed in an Inspector General report,” NBC News reports.

“Wray alluded to having seen aspects of the IG’s report into the way the FBI handled the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server.”

Why Mueller Won’t Indict Donald Trump

The Atlantic: “Mueller will not indict Trump for obstruction of justice or for any other crime. Period. Full stop. End of story. Speculations to the contrary are just fantasy.”

“He won’t do it for the good and sufficient reason that the Department of Justice has a long-standing legal opinion that sitting presidents may not be indicted. First issued in 1973 during the Nixon era, the policy was reaffirmed in 2000, during the Clinton era. These rules bind all Department of Justice employees, and Mueller, in the end, is a Department of Justice employee. More to the point, if we know anything about Mueller, we think we know that he follows the rules—all of them. Even the ones that restrict him in ways he would prefer they not. And if he were to choose not to follow the rules, that, in turn, would be a reasonable justification for firing him. So … the special counsel will not indict the president.”