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U.S. tells EU: No laptop ban

Source: Politico

By CATHY BUYCK 05/30/2017 12:47 PM EDT

The U.S. today opted not to introduce a ban on bringing laptops into the cabins of flights to the U.S. from Europe, sources told POLITICO.

“No ban,” a Commission official said. “Both sides have agreed to intensify technical talks and try to find a common solution.”

The decision was made during a conference call Tuesday afternoon between U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and European Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos and Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc.

The U.S Department of Homeland Security would not reveal the content of the conversation between U.S. and EU officials.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/30/united-states-no-laptop-ban-238939

Jerry Springer Urged to Run for Governor

May 30, 2017 By Taegan Goddard

“Influential Ohio Democrats are pushing former Cincinnati mayor and daytime-TV host Jerry Springer to run for Ohio governor in 2018,” Business Insider reports.

“Many said Springer, who sought the Democratic nomination for governor of Ohio in 1982 and remains active in state politics, could be a good fit for the current political climate.”

Springer’s previous run resulted in an extraordinary ad where he admitted to paying a prostitute.



Trump Has Already Proved Himself a Russian Asset

May 30, 2017 By Taegan Goddard

Jonathan Chait: “Over the last several days, the Russia scandal has taken a darker turn. Friday night, the Washington Post reported that Jared Kushner tried during the presidential transition period to set up a secret communications channel with Moscow. Tuesday morning, CNN reported that, during the 2016 campaign, Russian officials discussed having leverage of a financial nature over Trump, which could be used to manipulate the Republican nominee. The exact nature of this relationship remains as yet unknown, but its parameters have shifted. The most innocent explanations of Donald Trump’s shadowy relationship with Russia have grown increasingly fanciful, while the most paranoid interpretations have grown increasingly more plausible.”

“Indeed, in another one of dramatic juxtapositions that would have seemed ham-handed in a spy thriller, the latest scandalous revelations came out just as Trump could be seen carrying out what looks for all the world like his end of a pact with Moscow. If the president did have an objective on his trip to Europe — a premise that, it goes without saying, cannot be assumed — it was to crack up the American alliance with Western Europe. That happens to have been Russia’s primary diplomatic objective since the end of World War II.”



WaPo: Jared Kushner Gets His Own Intelligence Briefings

By CAITLIN MACNEAL Published MAY 30, 2017 7:05 AM

White House senior adviser and son-in-law to the President Jared Kushner receives a separate intelligence briefing from President Donald Trump, earlier in the morning than when Trump sits for his briefing, the Washington Post reported Monday night, citing two unnamed White House officials.

Kushner often joins Trump for his intelligence briefing as well, according to the Washington Post. Trump in November had reportedly said that he wanted Kushner to have access to the presidential intelligence briefings.

Kushner has come under increased scrutiny recently as reports have revealed that he has become a focus of the FBI’s Russia investigation. Kushner also reportedly sought to establish a secret line of communication with the Russian government before Trump took office.

Trump’s intelligence briefings feature visual aides like videos and “killer graphics,” CIA Director Mike Pompeo told the Washington Post.

Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, told the Post that Trump takes the intelligence briefings very seriously. “A president who I think came into the office thinking he would focus on domestic issues — ‘make America great again’ — has learned that you inherit the world and its problems when you’re president of the United States,” Coats told the Post.


Nunes Told Donors Russia Probes Are Just Dems Trying To Justify A Clinton Loss

Source: Talking Points Memo

By CAITLIN MACNEAL Published MAY 30, 2017 11:26 AM

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, offered a different explanation for his decision to step aside from the panel’s investigation of Russian interference in the U.S. election at a fundraiser in California in early April, the day after he stepped down from the probe.

He also hinted that he was eager to return to the probe, which he painted as an attempt by Democrats to explain away Hillary Clinton’s election loss.

Nunes told attendees at the Tulare County Lincoln Dinner that he stepped aside in order to protect vulnerable Republican House members from facing questions about his actions from the media, according to a video of the event published by the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday. The video was provided to the newspaper by someone who attended the event and filmed part of Nunes’ remarks.

“The reporters and the national news were going to chase David and every other member of Congress around the country for the next two weeks. Basically what I said, I said, ‘Well, screw you,’” Nunes said at the fundraiser, referring to neighboring Rep. David Valadao (R-CA). “So I did something that they never thought I would do and I stepped aside, and I gave them a gift.”

Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/devin-nunes-russia-probe-protect-republicans

Nordic leaders troll Trump orb photo

Source: The Hill


A group of Nordic prime ministers is mocking an image of President Trump and Saudi Arabian King Salman touching a glowing orb during Trump's visit to Riyadh last week, reenacting the photo with a European football.

The leaders, including the prime ministers of Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden and Iceland, stood around a soccer ball, each touching it.


The ministers were meeting in Norway to discuss cooperation among the countries, according to the Swedish news source Sveriges Radio.

Trump and Salman were photographed touching a glowing orb at the opening of a terrorism monitoring center, which quickly went viral.


Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/335591-nordic-leaders-troll-trump-orb-photo

Hannity shares call to target Maddow's advertisers

BY JOE CONCHA - 05/30/17 11:18 AM EDT

Fox News host Sean Hannity on Tuesday shared a story that urges people to boycott companies that advertise on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show.

Hannity retweeted a story from conservative blog Media Equalizer that sides with him in the wake of advertisers pulling ads from his Fox show and calls for pressure on those that advertise on MSNBC.


"To counteract these fascistic tactics, #StoptheScalpings has decided to fight fire with fire," the Media Equalizer story says. "As long as Media Matters continues to attack conservatives, we will return them the same kindness."

"We begin with Rachel Maddow who has been the biggest purveyor of lies and propaganda in the media today. Like Media Matters, we will now inform the public and the advertisers about who they are financing," it continues. "While we prefer not to be involved in this type of effort, we need to be on equal footing. We will continue to announce the advertisers that finance these efforts and support these hosts who allow lies and conspiracy theories to permeate the airwaves." The Media Equalizer article includes contact info for companies that advertise on Maddow's show.


Supreme Court sides with immigrant in case challenging sex laws

Source: The Hill

BY LYDIA WHEELER - 05/30/17 11:30 AM EDT

The Supreme Court unanimously sided with a Mexican immigrant Tuesday who was going to be deported under immigration laws for having consensual sex with his 16-year-old girlfriend when he was 20 years old.

The justices said in the context of statutory rape offenses that criminalize sexual intercourse based solely on the ages of the participants, the generic federal definition of “sexual abuse of a minor” requires the age of the victim to be less than 16.

The case centered on Juan Esquivel-Quintana, a Mexican citizen who was admitted to the U.S. as a permanent resident in 2000. In 2009, he pleaded no contest in the Superior Court of California to a statutory rape offense — “unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor who is more than three years younger than the perpetrator,” according to court documents. California considers anyone under the age of 18 to be a minor under the law. But in delivering the opinion of the court, Justice Clarence Thomas said when Congress added sexual abuse of a minor to the Immigration and Nationality Act in 1996 “reliable dictionaries provide evidence that the generic age” then and now “is 16.”

“Absent some special relationship of trust, consensual sexual conduct involving a younger partner who is at least 16 years of age does not qualify as sexual abuse of a minor under the INA, regardless of the age differential between the two participants,” Thomas wrote.

Read more: http://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/335613-supreme-court-sides-with-immigrant-in-case-challenging-sex-laws

Pence to make campaign push amid GOP concerns over Trump

Source: Politico

Increased political activity also stokes speculation that the vice president is positioning himself for post-Trump era.

By ALEX ISENSTADT 05/30/2017 05:05 AM EDT

Vice President Mike Pence is embarking on a cross-country summer campaign tour amid rising fears that the GOP, reeling from a barrage of Trump-fueled controversies, is headed for a midterm election disaster.

Pence is mapping out a schedule that will take him through several Midwestern battlegrounds and to traditionally conservative Southern states like Georgia, where an unexpectedly competitive June special-election runoff is alarming party strategists. The vice president will also attend a series of Republican Party events that will draw major donors and power brokers, where talk about 2018 is certain to be front and center.

The push comes at a time of growing consternation among senior Republicans who say the White House has given them little direction on midterm planning. Many complain that they do not even know who to contact about 2018 in an administration that has been consumed by chaos.

“He has an appetite to fight, so he's going to get out there and fight on the president's behalf,” said Nick Ayers, a longtime Pence strategist.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/30/mike-pence-campaign-push-trump-gop-238921

Jack Kingston: It's fine for Trump to be 'cozy' with authoritarian regimes because...

Jack Kingston: It’s fine for Trump to be ‘cozy’ with authoritarian regimes because ‘EU is extremely liberal’

30 MAY 2017 AT 10:43 ET

CNN contributor Jack Kingston, a former senior adviser to Donald Trump, asserted on Tuesday that the president should appear closer to authoritarian regimes than European allies because the European Union is “extremely liberal.”

Following President Donald Trump’s overseas trip, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Wesley Clark argued that the president made a mistake when he did not personally affirm the foundation of the NATO alliance: an attack on one is an attack on all.

CNN host Alisyn Camerota pointed out to Kingston that Trump had a “cozier relationship with Saudi Arabia” and “chillier” relationships with France and Germany.

“I am comfortable because I don’t think it’s that chilly,” Kingston replied. “But if you look at what the EU has become, the EU is to the left of Bernie Sanders. We know that the EU is extremely liberal,” he added.


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