It’s been a bit of and up and down night.
There are some flips and as we move west. The flips are getting more frequent and many are surprising. Some of my Republican family in the Kansas City suburbs must be acting like the Rockefeller Republicans we’ve always been.
She’s a native American woman and an out lesbian and a now, a Congresswoman! Congrats Congresswoman Sharice Davids representing my family there!
Not only that went right in Kansas but Kris Kobach just went down and Laura Kelly will now be Governor of Kansas. I guess they learned how fucked up things can get after Sam Browback pulled a Jindal on the state. It’s better when you make policy that actually works.
Mitt Romney will be going to the US Senate so no knitting needles for that failed presidential candidate. Nevada, North Dakota, and Montana are all too close too call Senate races
Let’s look and Westward ho!!!
So, it’s 10 pm eastern and the flips are coming fast and furious!
It’s looking much better!!!
California could be really great and you can keep up with it here at CNN if you want!
and Omigawsh Staten Island just flipped from Republican to Dem. The only Republican congressman from NYC is now out!!!
If control of the House comes down to these hours, it’s time to make more coffee.Polls will close on competitive House races in Iowa, Nevada and Washingtonstate in this two-hour span — all states where Democrats believe it is likely they will pick up seats — but the biggest prize of these late-night hours comes from California, where at least nine House races up and down the state are worth watching.An important note: If Democratic control of the House comes down to California, the country is in for a long ordeal. California is notoriously slow at counting votes, meaning races could be decided in days and weeks, not hours.
Only really sad news so far is we’ve lost Heidi Heitkamp.
Make some coffee and hang out!
Well, I voted this morning. I look about as worried as I am …
The votes in Kentucky and Indiana are beginning to be reported. The stories are all about LONG lines and wait times every where!!!
Let’s sit back and let it roll!!!!
Thought I’d put this up for those of us following the Senate hearings for the CIA DIrector. This is an extremely important hearing as it continues to ask us to define who we are as a country. KKKremlin Caligula has a history of loving the idea of torture.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly said that waterboarding “works.” But scientists say otherwise. Research has shown that the stress and pain caused by techniques like waterboarding can hinder a person from recalling information.
The president, who made similar claims on the campaign trail, said in a Jan. 25 interviewwith ABC News’ David Muir when asked about waterboarding, “Absolutely I feel it works.” He said that “I have spoken to others in intelligence. And they are big believers in, as an example, waterboarding. … Because they say it does work. It does work.”
A day later, in a Jan. 26 interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Trump called waterboarding “just short of torture,” and said, “I will tell you, though, it works. And I just spoke to people who told me it worked, and that’s what they do.” Trump and Hannity also agreed that neither of them had “even a doubt that it works.”
This is a test of how we view our public servants and how they respond to requests to violate our standing laws.
” ‘JUST A SYMPTOM’
‘She Should Have Fought Back. Other People Did’: Inside Gina Haspel’s Black Site
Abdul Rahim al-Nashiri’s attorneys say Donald Trump’s pick for CIA director is disqualified by her role in brutality and disrespect for the law.v “
“Under the Convention Against Torture that the U.S. is a party to, we’re obligated to pursue and prosecute torturers, not give them promotions. What does it say to the world that the person who may have been directly responsible, and certainly was indirectly responsible for this torture, who never stood up and said ‘Don’t do it,’ is now the person who might be leading the very agency we know committed that torture?”
Hollander’s client was tortured at a black site in Thailand that Haspel ran in late 2002. Declassified CIA documents indicate that Nashiri’s torture, which his attorneys say has left lasting mental damage, was controversial within the agency. But those documents provide no indication that Haspel opposed it, let alone stopped it—particularly when CIA headquarters pushed to intensify the torture at a subsequent black site. Interrogators who didn’t work directly for Haspel even engaged in a miniature revolt over torture that they considered egregious.
“The person we know most about, whom the [Senate torture report] called the ‘chief interrogator,’ he’s the only person we’re expressly aware protested Nashiri’s torture—after torturing Nashiri for quite awhile,” said Michel Paradis, a senior counsel with the Pentagon’s Office of Military Commissions who has aided Nashiri’s defense. “That’s the only one we’ve found from the black sites.”
Haspel goes before the Senate intelligence committee Wednesday morning and leaked excerpts of her opening statement indicate she will tell the panel that “under my leadership, CIA will not restart such a detention and interrogation program.” But her nomination is so far from assured, even after an intense and unusual public push from the CIA to confirm the three-decade agency veteran, that she considered quitting late last week. While the agency has emphasized everything about Haspel’s career except torture—pushing her basketball fandom and a pre-torture meeting with Mother Teresa—Trump, a vocal torture enthusiast, indicated that he considered her torture record, or “being too tough on terrorists,” a virtue.
Gina Haspel told members of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday that she “will not restart” the CIA’s brutal interrogation program if confirmed to lead the agency, and that she would obey her moral compass, not President Trump, if she is ever instructed to carry out other questionable activities.
“My moral compass is strong,” Haspel said, as the committee’s top Democrat, Sen. Mark R. Warner (Va.), pressed her to define “your moral code.”
“I would not allow CIA to undertake activity that is immoral, even if it is technically legal. I would absolutely not permit it,” Haspel continued. “I believe CIA must undertake activities that are consistent with American values.”
Senators have asked several of Trump’s Cabinet nominees to commit to stand up to the president, and inform Congress if he were to pressure them to do anything legally or morally questionable. But the pledge takes on extra significance with Haspel, whose hearing centered around the role she played in the CIA’s interrogation program — something Trump said on the campaign trail he wouldn’t mind bringing back into practice.
Haspel told senators that she doubted the president would ever ask her to waterboard a suspect, stressing that experience had shown that the “CIA is not the right place to conduct interrogations” as it does not have the proper expertise.
The WAPO site is livecasting the hearing.
Please add what you think about all of this.
But calling Trump’s potential strike against Syria a legitimate humanitarian intervention is absurd. The most comprehensive effort to define that notion came from the Canadian government, which in 2001—in response to pleas from UN Secretary General Kofi Annan—empaneled a commission on the concept known as the “Responsibility to Protect.” That commissionoutlined several criteria that any humanitarian war must meet. No past U.S. intervention has met them fully. A new Syria strike, however, wouldn’t even come close.
One criterion was what the commission called “reasonable prospects.” A military intervention, it argued, must stand “a reasonable chance of success in halting or averting the suffering which has justified the intervention.” When Trump struck Syria for the first time last year, it may have been “reasonable” to hope an American strike would prevent Assad from using chemical weapons again. But it is utterly unreasonable today. That’s because, in the year since Trump’s strike, Assad has used chemical weapons again and again. He didn’t just apparently use them last weekend. According to armscontrol.org, he also allegedly used them on March 11, on March 7 and at least five times in January and February.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Thursday that President Trump has broad authority to attack Syria, precluding the need for Congress to act beforehand.“The existing AUMF gives him the authority he needs to do what he may or may not do,” Ryan said during a press briefing in the Capitol.
We’re striking with the UK and France. The force is on the war.
It’s a very hot Friday here in New Orleans. I’d like to be doing anything but watching the most incompetent person in the world make kissy ass with a KGB trained despot but here it goes. How much damage to the standing, democracy, and reputation of the United States will happen because a bunch of bigoted, superstitious, white throwbacks joined a Russian conspiracy to wreck our country? Will the poster child for dementia and narcissism give away state secrets and sell out the joint goals of our NATO allies?
Has he offered us for membership in a Warsaw Pact yet?
Foreign ministries around the world are filled with anticipation over what will happen when Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump meet for the first time at the G20 summit. But veteran U.S. spies who’ve studied manipulation tactics, particularly from their Russian counterparts, are confident they know what’s going to unfold.
Putin, a former KGB operations officer, will not just be practicing interpersonal diplomacy, they say. He’ll be putting his tradecraft as a spy to work. His main asset: Trump’s massive, delicate ego.
It won’t just be the expected flattery, from the spies’ perspective, though flattery is key to dealing with the “sociopathic narcissist” tendencies one ex-CIA interrogator sees in Trump. Putin is likely to stoke Trump’s ire, encourage him against his perceived enemies and validate his inclinations – particularly the ones that move U.S. policy in the directions Putin wants.
Nowhere are the stakes higher than in Moscow. The Trump-Putin meeting, say Russian politicians and Putin’s former KGB colleagues, is an overdue opportunity to equalize the Washington-Moscow relationship.
“Putin,” one-time KGB general Oleg Kalugin told The Daily Beast, “he has been in power for so many years and, by character, he knows how to handle things and how to outsmart others, including presidents of the United States.”
While everything about this meeting is momentous, the two sides are not on equal diplomatic footing. Russia’s interference in the 2016 election – something U.S. intelligence characterizes as a certainty, while Trump, again, casts doubt on that conclusion – has created a political maelstrom for Trump. Everything resulting from the meeting will be scrutinized in Washington, particularly amongst Trump’s political opposition, for signs of a quid pro quo. Meanwhile, observers have a hard time understanding what U.S. policy toward Russia, its decades-long adversary, even is anymore.
Putin is filling that vacuum. Ahead of meeting the U.S. president in Hamburg, his foreign ministry has said the agenda will concern everything from Syria to Ukraine to returning two intelligence complexes on U.S. soil – even to gay rights in Chechnya. Meanwhile, Trump national security adviser H.R. McMaster has said there won’t be a “specific agenda” for discussion, beyond “whatever the president wants to talk about.” There is confusion on the U.S. side about whether McMaster’s Russia chief, the Putin skeptic Fiona Hill, will attend the meeting.
Putin, former spies say, is well-positioned to dominate the meeting.
Russia has found a huge gap in the American psyche and is moving on in. Just coddle those insecure and visibly lacking white christian men and their house marms. The Russians have stepped up the spying game here.
The officials say they believe one of the biggest US adversaries feels emboldened by the lack of a significant retaliatory response from both the Trump and Obama administrations.
“Russians have maintained an aggressive collection posture in the US, and their success in election meddling has not deterred them,” said a former senior intelligence official familiar with Trump administration efforts.
Russians could also be seeking more information on Trump’s administration, which is new and still unpredictable to Moscow, according to Steve Hall, retired CIA chief of operations.
“Whenever there is a deterioration of relations between countries — the espionage and intelligence collection part becomes that much more important as they try to determine the plans and intentions of the adversarial government,” Hall said.
Since the November election, US intelligence and law enforcement agencies have detected an increase in suspected Russian intelligence officers entering the US under the guise of other business, according to multiple current and former senior US intelligence officials. The Russians are believed to now have nearly 150 suspected intelligence operatives in the US, these sources said. Officials who spoke to CNN say the Russians are replenishing their ranks after the US in December expelled 35 Russian diplomats suspected of spying in retaliation for election-meddling.
“The concerning point with Russia is the volume of people that are coming to the US. They have a lot more intelligence officers in the US” compared to what they have in
other countries, one of the former intelligence officials says.
Russian hackers are the chief suspects in recent efforts to meddle with the computer networks that run various nuclear power plants and other energy facilities.
If Russia is indeed responsible, it suggests that they could attempt to forcibly shut down parts of America’s power grid like they are believed to have done to Ukraine in the past, according to a report by Bloomberg.
The hackers, regardless of nationality, are believed to be responsible for breaching the Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation in Kentucky among a number of other facilities since May, according to the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The New York Times confirmed the joint report with security specialists who have had to cope with the hacking attempts.
‘We look forward to a lot of very positive things happening for Russia, for the United States,’ Trump said at opening of highly anticipated meeting.
President Donald Trump told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday that “it’s an honor to be with you” as the two leaders kicked off their much-anticipated bilateral meeting, one that was scheduled for just 30 minutes but wound up lasting nearly two-and-a-half hours.
Neither Trump nor Putin, who were accompanied by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, respectively, offered specifics of what they would discuss once reporters left the room. Trump did not respond to a shouted question as to whether or not he would raise Russia’s efforts to interfere in last year’s presidential campaign, according to reporters in the room.
“President Putin and I have been discussing various things, and I think it’s going very well. We’ve had some very, very good talks. We are going to have a talk now and obviously that will continue,” Trump said as photographers snapped photos of the two presidents, whose meeting took place at the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. “But we look forward to a lot of very positive things happening for Russia, for the United States and for everybody concerned, and It’s an honor to be with you.”
Putin, through a translator, echoed his U.S. counterpart’s friendly welcome and said he and Trump “will really need personal meetings” in order to resolve certain policy issues.
“We have spoken on the phone with you several times before on very important bilateral and international issues. But phone conversation is never enough,” Putin said. “I’m delighted to be able to meet you personally, Mr. President. And I hope, as you have said, our meeting will yield positive result.”
It’s believed that Trump wants to “team up” with Putin in Syria. This would mean keeping brutal dictator Assad in power.
For once, Rex Tillerson is not freelancing.
Late Wednesday, ahead of the first-ever meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, the secretary of state suggested that the U.S. is willing to explore “joint mechanisms” with Russia to stabilize the vicious Syrian civil war.
After a dizzying series of policy shifts on Syria, administration and congressional sources tell The Daily Beast that Team Trump is introducing the beginnings of a new strategy for Syria—one that, in the short term at least:
• leaves dictator Bashar al-Assad in power;
• acquiesces to the idea of “safe zones” proposed by Russia and its allies;
• leans on cooperation from Moscow, including the use of Russian troops to patrol parts of the country.
A knowledgeable senior administration official discussed the emerging strategy with The Daily Beast on the condition that what the official said could only be paraphrased, not quoted, as the official was not cleared to discuss the issue publicly. The account was backed up by two White House sources and a congressional source.
This is obviously an unfolding story. So, I’d consider this a live blog thread. Share what you read and hear please!
Coverage from The Guardian: ‘G20: Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin conclude lengthy meeting’.
“Putin went straight from meeting Trump to talks with Japanese leader Shinzo Abe. He apologised for his lateness due to the talks with Trump overrunning, and in opening remarks reported by Interfax, Putin said he and Trump had discussed “Ukraine, Syria, and other bilateral problems. We returned to the problems of fighting terrorism and cybersecurity”.
A lot more links are coming as reporters file their stories.
Well, it’s time to watch another reason to regret that we now have a constitutional crisis instead of Taco Trucks on every corner! The 84th AG who is supposed to be upholding the US Constitution instead of enabling those crises will undoubtedly bob and weave the questions like a little white banty rooster pecking or corn. Just exactly how many times did he meet with the Russian Ambassador and why?
When Senator Al Franken asked then-Senator Sessions at his Senate confirmation hearing on January 10 whether he “communicated with the Russian government,” he said, “I’m not aware of any of those activities.” Unprompted, Sessions then went further, saying, “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I didn’t have—did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it.” Then less than two months later, on March 1, The Washington Postreported that Sessions had, in fact, met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak—not once, but twice.
It was a serious omission, especially for the nation’s top law-enforcement officer, and one who is a vocal advocate for law and order. Scrambling to contain the damage, Sessions issued a statement that attempted to draw a very subtle distinction. Calling the report “false,” he said that he had “never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign.” His spokeswoman, Sarah Isgur Flores, spelled it out even more clearly: “He was asked during the hearing about communications between Russia and the Trump campaign—not about meetings he took as a senator and a member of the Armed Services Committee,” she said. (In fact, Franken had made no such qualification.) And a White House official insisted that Sessions had “met with the ambassador in an official capacity as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee,” not a campaign surrogate.
I’m not sure we’re going to learn anything but he may try to contradict the Comey testimony. It could be at least interesting to see how he’s treated by his former colleagues.
Sessions will dispute James Comey’s characterization of a conversation the two men had in February.
- This is a big deal, as Comey gave his account under oath.
- The former FBI director said under oath that after his Feb. 14 conversation with Trump, he told Sessions he didn’t want to have any more direct communication with the President. Comey then said that Sessions remained silent, perhaps shrugging his shoulders and nonverbally indicating that he couldn’t be of help.
- Sessions is expected to counter this, saying he responded to Comey by telling him the FBI and DOJ needed to be aware of official protocol regarding communications with the White House. The DOJ released a statement to that effect a few hours after Comey’s testimony. Sessions is expected to make the same statement under oath.
So, if you’re watching or not, we’re going to be following it here! Hang on!