Attorney General Bill Barr's decision to appoint U.S. Attorney John Durham as a special counsel to investigate the origins of the probe into Russia and President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign is bad news for Joe Biden and could hinder a potential nomination of Sally Yates as attorney general, George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley writes in an opinion piece.
The appointment also contradicts news reports claiming Durham hadn't found anything of significance after being tapped in May 2019 to conduct the investigation because Barr would have had to find that there was a need for further criminal investigation but that it would have been a conflict of interest for the Department of Justice to conduct it, Turley says in his USA Today article, published on Wednesday.
And after former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith's guilty plea to altering an email that was used to seek surveillance warrants against ex-Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, the further investigation and conflict likely do not involve people in the current administration, but rather those expected to join Biden's administration, said Turley.
Rep. Brooks of Alabama will object to Biden's Electoral College votes
Republican Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama said he plans to challenge the Electoral College votes on Jan. 6 when Congress meets to certify the election for presumptive President-elect Joseph R. Biden.
In comments to reporters, Mr. Brooks is citing allegations of widespread voter fraud as his motivation.
He said he is seeking Republican senators willing to join him. That would enable Congress to suspend a joint session and allow the House and Senate to meet separately to debate objections to the presidential electors.
Trump campaign goes after Lin Wood, pro-Trump attorney who suggested Ga. boycott
President Trump’s campaign is going after Lin Wood, the pro-Trump attorney who has talked openly about Republicans boycotting the upcoming Georgia runoffs in January.
A campaign Twitter account for Mr. Trump shared a Breitbart story late Thursday about Mr. Wood’s past ties to Democrats. Mr. Wood replied that he is historically “nonpartisan” but that he loves Mr. Trump and gave $375,000 to the president’s political action committee.
“Attacks being lodged against me do NOTHING to change my position,” he said on Twitter Thursday. “I have principles. 11/3 election in GA was unlawful & unconstitutional. GA needs to fix system before January election.”
DHS inspector general investigating alleged warrantless surveillance
The Department of Homeland Security is investigating its employees’ alleged warrantless surveillance, according to a letter from Department of Homeland Security Inspector General Joseph V. Cuffari to five Democratic senators.
In October, five Democrats wrote to DHS‘ inspector general to ask that he investigate the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s alleged warrantless domestic surveillance of cellphones via technology developed by a government contractor.
This week, Sen. Ron Wyden, Oregon Democrat, published a reply he and the other Democrats received from DHS‘ inspector general saying that it would investigate whether DHS violated policies involving cellphone surveillance.
Iowa Democrat asks Pelosi, House Democrats to overturn her loss
An Iowa Democrat who lost her election bid by six votes said Wednesday she will ask Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House to overturn the certified result and declare her the winner.
The move is striking, at a time when Democrats and much of the political press is criticizing President Trump for similar challenges in his race against Democrat Joseph R. Biden for the White House.
Iowa this week certified Mariannette Miller-Meeks, a Republican, as the winner in the state’s 2nd Congressional District, defeating Rita Hart, the Democratic candidate.
Ms. Hart could have challenged the result in Iowa but didn’t. Instead, Republicans said, she “ran to Speaker Pelosi” to try to get a favorable ruling from fellow Democrats in Washington.
Pelosi caves, backs bipartisan COVID-19 relief proposal as basis for new negotiations
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi caved Wednesday on her demand for a $2 trillion-plus coronavirus relief package and endorsed a much smaller bipartisan package as a jumping-off point for new talks.
A deal is still a long way off. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, is focusing on an even slimmer approach that is preapproved by President Trump.
As recently as Monday, Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, were offering a bigger relief package to Republicans than the $908 billion plan they now embrace.
David Cohen Top Contender for CIA Chief
Former Deputy CIA Director David Cohen is Joe Biden’s top choice to oversee the spy agency.
The New York Times reported no final decision has been made and one is not expected to be announced until at least next week.
But Biden is said to favor Cohen, who served as CIA deputy director during the Obama administration. The Times attributed the information to multiple people familiar with the process of filling the post. Ultimately, Biden’s pick for the CIA job depends, in part, on the mix of people he wants to lead the Pentagon and other agencies.
Avril Haines, Biden’s pick to serve as director of national intelligence, is also in favor of Cohen, who had succeeded her as deputy CIA chief, the Times noted.
Black Lives Matter movement imploding over internal power struggle, money grabs
Black Lives Matter is facing a rebellion within its own ranks as regional affiliates seek greater control over the movement and demand answers about where millions of dollars in donations have gone.
After years of tensions between the national organization and local outlets, the rift went public this week with the release of a statement by 10 BLM chapters accusing the top brass at the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation of failing to open their books or share the wealth with the rank and file.
“For years, there has been inquiry regarding the financial operations of BLMGN and no acceptable process of either public or internal transparency about the unknown millions of dollars donated to BLMGN, which has certainly increased during this time of pandemic and rebellion,” reads the “Statement from the Frontlines of BLM” posted Monday.
Saudi Arabia, Qatar Near US-Brokered Deal to End Lengthy Rift
Saudi Arabia and Qatar are nearing a preliminary deal to end a rift that’s dragged on for more than three years, prodded by a Trump administration seeking foreign policy wins during its waning days in the White House, three people with knowledge of the talks said.
The tentative agreement does not involve the three other Arab countries that also severed diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar in June 2017 — the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt. A fourth person said a broader realignment remained a long way off as the underlying issues, such as Doha’s relations with Tehran, remained unresolved.
The potential breakthrough follows months of intense diplomacy mediated by Kuwait, which reached fruition with a final push from President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and Middle East envoy Jared Kushner, who visited the Gulf this week. The rapprochement is likely to include reopening air space and land borders, an end to the information war Qatar and Saudi Arabia have waged, and other confidence-building steps as part of a detailed plan to gradually rebuild relations, two of the people said.
Biden: I Won't Immediately Lift China Tariffs
Joe Biden says he won’t immediately lift tariffs placed by President Donald Trump on many imports from China or break Trump’s initial trade deal.
Biden says he wants to maximize his leverage in future talks with the United States' geopolitical rival.
Speaking to New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, Biden said, “I’m not going to make any immediate moves, and the same applies to the tariffs.” Biden adds in Friedman's column published Wednesday: “I’m not going to prejudice my options.”
Lack of third parties may have cost Trump the election
President didn't crater among women, non-Whites, educated voters
In the wake of every election, people try to twist what happened to fit their narrative. This year was no different.
Do voters really want compromise? All the smart people in Washington have hurried to tell us that the split results mean that the people want compromise and cooperation. That is certainly one interpretation. Here’s another: The voters voted for divided government specifically because they are distrustful of giving one party too much power and don’t really want the federal government to do too much.
Which explanation sounds more likely?
Is Biden physically and mentally up to the job of president?
A president of the United States needs to be fit and aware to address every challenge
Whenever President-elect Joe Biden makes a rare public appearance and is out of the immediate control of his team it increases my suspicions that he is not physically, and above all mentally, up to the job he is about to take over.
Last week, Mr. Biden fractured his foot and now must wear a walking boot for several weeks while it heals. The Biden staff claims the fracture occurred while he played with his dog, Major. They also want us to know the German Shepherd is a rescue dog, which is a joke waiting to be told, full of irony. Who will “rescue” Mr. Biden from himself?
The press pool was denied access and not allowed to take pictures of Mr. Biden after he visited an orthopedist and was given the boot (no pun intended). This caused even Andrea Mitchell on liberal MSNBC to complain that the Biden team wasn’t being transparent about his injury. On Tuesday, he finally allowed photographers to take pictures of his boot.