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‘Unprecedented’: Experts Stunned as Trump Hands AG Barr Broad Power to Declassify 2016 Election Surveillance Intel



Intelligence and law enforcement experts are stunned after President Donald Trump announced on Twitter that he has just handed his Attorney General strong powers to declassify intelligence on “surveillance activities” undertaken during the 2016 presidential election. That would include actions taken by the FBI, CIA, and Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).

Trump’s order giving Barr carte blanche came just hours after he literally called prosecutors who worked on the Mueller investigation “killers,” and accused FBI, DOJ, and possibly President Barack Obama of “treason” immediately after a reporter reminded him that the punishment for that crime is the death penalty.

Trump is insisting, as he has done for over two years, that President Barack Obama had then-candidate Trump’s “wires tapped,” an accusation the Dept. of Justice actually investigated and reported it could find no evidence to support President Trump’s claim.

Trump expanded that claim to say that the FBI spied on his campaign, despite having no evidence. Attorney General Bill Barr during an open and live-televised congressional hearing told lawmakers, “I think spying did occur.”

The deliberate use of the word “spying” rankled the intel community and many lawmakers.

This via Maddow tonight:

Here’s how some experts are responding to the President’s order and accusations.

Former U.S. Attorney, now a law professor and MSNBC contributor:

Former Chief of Counterintelligence and Export Control Section at Justice Dept.:

Former Director of the Office of Government Ethics:

Former CIA officer and former National Security Council spokesperson, currently an NBC News contributor:

Former Director of the Office of Public Affairs for the Department of Justice, and a current MSNBC Justice & Security Analyst:

Professor at the U.S. Naval War College and academic specialist on international affairs:

New York Times editorial board writer on law and justice issues (and yes, he is being sarcastic):


Vox co-founder and editor:


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Seven Florida Republicans File Slew of Anti-LGBTQ Bills



Seven Florida Republican lawmakers have filed four bills attacking the LGBTQ community.

NBC News reports “the bills would ban gender-affirming health care for transgender children, repeal municipal and county ordinances protecting LGBTQ workers, and legalize so-called gay conversion therapy in places that had banned the medically debunked practice.”

Conversion therapy has been compared to torture by those who have been victims of it, and states have been banning the practice given its ties to suicide and attempted suicide.

The lawmakers are Rep. Anthony Sabatini, Sen. Dennis Baxley, Rep. Bob Rommel, Sen. Joe Gruters, Rep. Michael Grant, Sen. Keith Perry, and Rep. Byron Donalds (images above, in order of NBC’s reporting.) (NCRM has added links to their Twitter accounts.)

Orlando Weekly’s Solomon Gustavo reports on House Bill 136, filed by Sabatini and Baxley, “which would make it a second-degree felony for health care practitioners to administer treatment for transitioning or changing a child’s sex.”




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Elizabeth Warren Calls for Investigation Into Legality of Trump Tipping Off Mar-a-Lago Guests to Soleimani’s Killing



Elizabeth Warren is calling for financial regulatory agencies to investigate whether President Trump broke the law when he told guests at his Mar-a-Lago resort to expect something “big” in response to Iran’s killing of an American contractor in Iraq, The Daily Beast reports.

“Individuals who were guests at President Trump’s resort may have obtained confidential market-moving information,” a letter Warren sent to agencies read. “These private individuals … would have had the opportunity to obtain significant profits simply by being guests or members at President Trump’s private resort.”

Read the full report over at The Daily Beast.

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Rupert Murdoch’s Son Rips Fox News for Pushing Falsehoods About Australian Wildfires



Rupert Murdoch’s younger son and his wife launched an attack on News Corporation for promoting conspiracy theories about Australia’s devastating wildfires.

Columnists and broadcasters from News Corp Australia — which dominates the country’s media — have questioned climate change’s role in the fires and downplayed the devastation, and James Murdoch and his wife Kathryn condemned the family business, reported The Daily Beast.

“Kathryn and James’ views on climate are well established and their frustration with some of the News Corp and Fox coverage of the topic is also well known,” said a spokesperson for the couple. “They are particularly disappointed with the ongoing denial among the news outlets in Australia given obvious evidence to the contrary.”

James Murdoch is CEO of the investment firm Lupa Systems but sits on the board of News Corp, which publishes more than 140 newspapers in Australia, and his brother Lachlan runs the Fox News Channel in the U.S.

“They are pissing inside the tent and that’s unusual,” said a longtime News Corp executive. “It’s evidence of how high tensions are within the family over climate change. The majority of people who work here agree with James. We are hoping this may be the tipping point.”

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