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Watch: Pence Demands America – Even Top Members of Congress – Blindly Trust Trump Decision to Assassinate Soleimani

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After a blowup by Republican Senators Mike Lee and Rand Paul Wednesday the White House sent Vice President Mike Pence out on a media blitz Thursday morning to deflect bipartisan criticism over the rationale for President Donald Trump’s decision to assassinate Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.

Pence in multiple media appearances insisted that Trump made the “right decision,” given what he claimed was the overwhelming amount of evidence that Soleimani must be taken out to avert an “imminent” attack on U.S. forces. But he also defended the administration’s refusal to produce even one iota of that evidence and share it with the American people – or even with top Members of Congress.

Insisting America must blindly trust that Trump made the right decision, Pence said even top Members of Congress, even in a classified briefing during which they would be sworn to secrecy, could not be trusted with the details, lest it compromise “what we call sources and methods.” The Vice President used that stock phrase in interviews with multiple news outlets.

Speaking with NBC News’ Savannah Guthrie on “Today” Pence replied to her questioning why the administration was refusing to deliver to Congress its justification for killing Soleimani.

“Well some of that has to do with what’s called ‘sources and methods,’ Savannah,” Pence said, condescendingly.

Conveniently, Pence insisted that “some of the most compelling evidence that Qassem Soleimani was preparing an imminent attack against American forces and American personnel also represents some of the most sensitive intelligence that we have. It could compromise those sources and methods,” Pence said, justifying why the Trump administration is refusing to comply with its obligation to at least brief the Gang of Eight.

Noteworthy is that President Donald Trump, in the Oval Office in 2017, did exactly that, and not with any Member of Congress but with top Russian officials. Trump revealed code word classified information to Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, compromising members of Israeli Intelligence.

Pence went on to say, “I can assure your viewers that those of us that saw all the evidence in real time, know that President Trump made the right decision to take Qassem Soleimani off the battlefield.”

The Vice President made the same argument on Fox News.

“Let me assure your viewers I was there every step of the way,” Pence told “Fox & Friends.”

“To protect sources and methods we’re simply not able to share with every member of the House and Senate the intelligence that supported the President’s decision to take out Qassem Soleimani,” Pence said, echoing his comments on “Today.”

“I can assure your viewers that there was a threat of an imminent attack.”

“The most compelling evidence to support intelligence to support the fact that there was an imminent attack being developed by Qassem Soleimani is frankly too sensitive to share broadly – it would compromise what we call ‘sources and methods,'” Pence again insisted.

For decades Presidents have shared with the Gang of Eight, frequently before major operations, and definitely after, why they have taken drastic action.

The Gang of Eight, who are sworn to secrecy, consists of the top two Democrats and Republicans on both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. Under most circumstances the President is legally required to inform them of “significant anticipated intelligence activity,” although he can “limit access” to that intel.

CNN National Security and Legal Analyst and Lawfare Executive Editor Susan Hennessey weighs in:

 

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Kobe Bryant Dead in Helicopter Accident: TMZ

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Basketball great Kobe Bryant has died in a tragic helicopter accident, along with everyone on board, TMZ was first to report. The 41-year old NBA star played with the LA Lakers for two decades. He retired in 2016.

“Kobe was traveling with at least 3 other people in his private helicopter when it went down,” TMZ adds. “A fire broke out. Emergency personnel responded, but nobody on board survived. 5 people are confirmed dead. We’re told Vanessa Bryant was not among those on board.”

The LA County Sheriff’s Office posted this tweet, but did not include Bryant’s name.

In 2013 after his own missteps Bryant stepped up to correct a fan for using the word “gay” as a slur. Nearly seven years ago, it was a big moment for awareness and for the LGBTQ community.

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.

Image via Wikimedia

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The Saudi Crown Prince Tried to Have a Comedian and Critic Kidnapped on US Soil — but the FBI Stopped It: Report

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In an exclusive interview with the Daily Beast, 27-year-old comedian and former USD student Abdulrahman Almutairi revealed that he was nearly kidnapped by a suspected agent of the Saudi government and it happened on American soil.

Almutairi, who has a huge social media following, has been an outspoken critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. While the Saudi leader may have the power to take out critics in other countries, in the United States it’s not an acceptable form of legal action.

“After Almutairi used social media to criticize the powerful Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman over the October 2018 murder and dismemberment of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi, an unidentified Saudi man accompanied Almutairi’s father on a flight to collect Almutairi against his will and bring him back to Saudi Arabia, according to The Daily Beast’s sources,” reported the Beast.

Almutairi said that he’s certain if he ever returns to Saudi Arabia that he’ll be killed in the airport.

It was also revealed this week that MBS’s cell phone number was responsible for hacking Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s cell phone.

“There is a pattern of the Saudi authorities, particularly over the last two years, targeting individuals—high profile people with a big Saudi audience, either because they’re critical of MBS or the government or not just for what they say but what they don’t say, if they’re insufficiently supportive,” said Agnes Callamard, the United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings.

Read the full report at the Daily Beast.

 

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‘So We Don’t Have to Fight Russia Over Here’: Schiff Delivers Powerful Statement to Senators in Trump Impeachment Trial

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House Intelligence Chair and Lead impeachment manager Adam Schiff delivered powerful remarks to the U.S. Senate on Wednesday, summing up why what President Donald Trump did – extorting Ukraine – was so damaging to both Ukraine and the U.S.

Schiff reminded the Senators who will decide the fate of the nation’s chief executive that 15,000 Ukrainians have already died fighting Russia. That was after Vladimir Putin illegally annexed Crimea.

And he reminded the Senators that President Trump withheld nearly $400 million in congressionally-approved military aid to Ukraine, despite the nation’s fight against Russia.

That military aid helps “to protect and advance American national security interests in the region and beyond.

Quoting a House impeachment inquiry witness, Schiff said: “The United States aids Ukraine and her people so that we can fight Russia over there so we don’t have to fight Russia here.”

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