News from the note…
A round up of the day’s news that might be of interest to you.
This is an OPEN THREAD, folks. Chat about any of the stories listed, share links to stories that caught your eye today, and generally have a good time discussing whatever you want.
A dozen former intelligence officers condemned President Trump’s “ill-considered and unprecedented remarks and actions” after he revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan, and said security clearance decisions should be founded on national security instead of “political views.”
The group of former officers — including former Director of Central Intelligence Robert Gates, former CIA Director Michael Hayden, and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper — said the White House’s move was politicizing these clearances.
“We have never before seen the approval or removal of security clearances used as a political tool, as was done in this case,” the former officials wrote in their statement late Thursday. “Beyond that, this action is quite clearly a signal to other former and current officials.”
The group acknowledged that Brennan has been vocal about his views on national security issues, but said yanking his security clearance was an effort to “stifle free speech.”
Michael Cohen informed a representative for Stormy Daniels he was willing to strike a deal to buy her silence only after the release of the now-infamous “Access Hollywood” recording where President Donald Trump can be heard talking about grabbing women without their consent, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
The Journal cited a person familiar with the conversation that took place between Cohen, Trump’s former attorney, and Daniels’ representative just one day after the October 2016 release of the recording. The newspaper reported that Cohen indicated during that conversation that “he was open to a deal,” despite having “initially balked at the idea.”
The same source told the Journal that Cohen “resisted” making a payment to Daniels when the idea was proposed in September 2016.
In the days before Omarosa Manigault Newman rolled out her White House tell-all, Unhinged, Donald Trump’s advisers were hoping he wouldn’t engage with the book, believing it would only elevate her claims and help sell more copies. “Just ignore it,” one told me, while even Melania Trump told her husband to let it go, Axios reported. Of course, this being Donald Trump, he ignored their counsel and went to war. Now advisers fear his rage at Manigault Newman is fueling irrational outbursts that bolster the claim in her book that Trump said the “n-word” during an Apprentice outtake.Vanity Fair
Senate Democrats are raising questions about whether President Trump‘s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, previously misled the Senate Judiciary Committee about his work on terrorism policy for the George W. Bush administration after 9/11.
Democrats say that documents handed over to the Judiciary Committee indicate that Kavanaugh wasn’t honest during his 2006 confirmation hearing for the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. They are asking the panel’s chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), to publicly release those documents and request papers from Kavanaugh’s time as staff secretary.The Hill
“We have already seen records that call into serious question whether Judge Kavanaugh was truthful about his involvement in the Bush Administration’s post-9/11 terrorism policies when he testified before this Committee during his 2006 nomination hearing,” Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Patrick Leahy (Vt.) and Dick Durbin
Criminal justice reform advocates are escalating their push to shake loose a bipartisan prisons bill backed by President Donald Trump that’s been stalled in the Senate — despite few signs that a long-running GOP rift on the issue has healed.
Trump has stepped up his own calls for a deal on the prisons overhaul that the House passed earlier this year, holding two events so far this month. And groups off the Hill say they’re closing in on a path to pass the legislation through the Senate by adding some of the sentencing changes Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) spent years negotiating with Democrats.
But interviews with a dozen GOP senators show that those talks remain in a precarious state.
That’s because the handful of Republicans who have long protested reducing mandatory-minimum sentences leave Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) without any incentive to call up legislation that would split his conference.
An Iowa appeals board has reversed a judge’s ruling that a woman who disparaged Mexicans can claim unemployment benefits because such rhetoric is “common” after President Trump was elected.
Angela Diers filed for unemployment after said she was fired from her job at Dexter Laundry after she said in front of co-workers that she hated “f—ing Mexicans,” The Des Moines Register reported Wednesday.
Administrative Law Judge Beth Scheetz had originally approved Diers’s request for aid, saying that derogatory comments about “blacks and foreigners” were commonplace at the commercial washer and dryer manufacturing plant where Diers worked.
“Since President Trump’s election, it was common for workers to talk about hating blacks or hating foreigners,” Scheetz wrote in her ruling. “If management wishes all workers to be treated with respect, it must enforce respectful treatment amongst co-workers and supervisors, and apply those expectations consistently throughout the chain of command.”
Republican Sen. Rand Paul said Thursday that he plans to ask President Donald Trump to lift sanctions on members of the Russian legislature so that they are able to travel to the United States.
The Kentucky senator, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, invited the Russian lawmakers to the US capital during a trip to Moscow in early August. He told Fox News on Thursday that members of both houses of the Russian Federal Assembly have “agreed to come to Washington in the fall for further meetings.”
“That’s a good thing,” Paul said. “The downside is the chairman of each of the committees is banned from coming to the United States because of sanctions. So one of the things I’m going to ask the President — I’m going to talk to the President this weekend — is I’m going to say, ‘why don’t we take people off the list who are in the legislature.'”
Valentina Matviyenko, the chairwoman of the Federation Council — the upper House of the Russian legislature — and Vyacheslav Volodin, the chairman of the State Duma — the lower House — are prohibited from traveling to the US. They were among dozens of individuals sanctioned in March 2014 by the Obama White House for their role in Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, including the annexation of Crimea. Both lawmakers have close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and both were named on the “Putin List,” released by the Treasury Department in January 2018, that was meant to punish Russia for US election interference.