Donald, when will you fire Putin? Ain’t it enough?! Show them who is the Boss. That’s your real task, not fighting with the Democrats. Hurry!

mikenov on Twitter: Donald, when will you fire Putin? Ain’t it enough?! Show them who is the Boss. That’s your real task, not fighting with the Democrats. Hurry

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Donald, when will you fire Putin? Ain’t it enough?! Show them who is the Boss. That’s your real task, not fighting with the Democrats. Hurry


Posted by mikenov on Wednesday, June 14th, 2017 1:36pm

mikenov on Twitter

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty: Gunman Attacks Republican Politicians Playing Baseball In Washington Suburb

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A gunman opened fire at U.S. Republican politicians playing baseball in a Washington suburb, wounding a senior U.S. congressman and three other other people, officials and news reports said.

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

AP Top News at 9:53 a.m. EDT: The Latest: Congressman says member of his staff wounded

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (all times local):…

AP Top News at 9:53 a.m. EDT

Voice of America: Congressman Scalise Shot Outside Washington

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U.S. Congressman Stephen Scalise was shot in Alexandria, Virginia, just south of Washington, while he and other Republican congressional lawmakers were practicing for an annual baseball game.

Voice of America

Business & Financial News, U.S & International Breaking News | Reuters

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The Early Edition: June 14, 2017

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Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Here’s today’s news.

JEFF SESSIONS TESTIFIES

“An appalling and detestable lie.” Attorney General Jeff Sessions told the Senate Intelligence Committee he never met with any Russian officials last year to discuss the Trump campaign and that he couldn’t remember whether he had a passing encounter with the Russian ambassador at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington or any other undisclosed Russian officials. Aruna Viswanatha, Paul Sonne and Del Quentin Wilber examine yesterday’s hearing at the Wall Street Journal.

“I guess I’ll just have to let his words speak for himself.” Sessions would not say whether he believed President Trump would have fired former F.B.I. director James Comey without recommendations from top Justice Department officials, as Trump himself said, Nolan D. McCaskill identifying this and other key moments from Session’s testimony yesterday at POLITICO.

Sessions was in a meeting at the Oval Office in February with Comey and Trump when the president said he wanted to talk to the then-F.B.I. director privately, and Comey did come to talk to him the next day about that meeting, Sessions acknowledged, confirming elements of Comey’s own testimony last week, report Sari Horwitz, Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky at the Washington Post.

Comey’s claim that Sessions did not respond when he asked for protection from Trump was inaccurate, Sessions told the committee, countering this and other key assertions made by Comey last week. Betsy Woodruff, Andrew Desiderio and Spencer Ackerman write at The Daily Beast.

Sessions defended his misstatements in January to the Judiciary Committee as being taken out of context and refused to answer questions about his conversations with the president about Comey’s firing on the basis of an unspecified longstanding policy at the Justice Department predicated on “protecting the right of the president to assert [executive privilege] if he chooses,” the New York Times editorial board proposing a few more questions the attorney general should answer, but probably won’t, following his testimony yesterday.

An important evolution in Sessions’ account of a critical conversation he had with Comey and a “strange lack of curiosity” about President Trump’s “inappropriate, and possibly illegal” interactions with the former F.B.I. director are revealed by examining Sessions’ comments on the subject during his hearing yesterday, writes Just Security‘s Editor Alex Whiting.

Sessions’ recusal from Trump-Russia investigations was merely a procedural matter precipitated by his position as a prominent Trump campaign surrogate in 2016, not a product of any wrongdoing, Sessions insisted in a testimony that did little to move the White House out of the shadow of the Russia investigations, write Matt Flegenheimer and Rebecca R. Ruiz at the New York Times.

Sessions willingly misled senators during his January confirmation hearing and was trying to brush aside suggestions that he may have lied to lawmakers under oath, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) said in a statement following Sessions’ testimony yesterday, Max Greenwood reporting at the Hill.

The attorney general was particularly weak in explaining how his recusal from the Trump-Russia investigations allowed him to take part in Comey’s firing, his reason for doing so seemingly that he felt he still had to perform all his duties so – reasoning backwards – his recusal could not prevent him from involvement in Comey’s firing. Jennifer Rubin examines Sessions’ testimony at the Washington Post.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein refused to answer question about the scope of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recusal from Trump-Russia investigations during a Senate hearing yesterday on the basis that Sessions is recused from Department of Justice investigations and ongoing investigations are not discussed, Katie Bo Williams reports at the Hill.

Legal analysts are divided on whether Sessions was correct to refuse to answer questions on the basis of executive privilege, a long legal and political tradition which allows private deliberations involving the president and his top advisers to be kept private, for which he was lambasted by lawmakers during his hearing yesterday, Matt Zapotosky writes at the Washington Post.

“A master class in bamboozling, blustering and butt-covering.” Sessions reacted with outrage at any suggestions of wrongdoing on his part and relied on supposedly long-standing Department of Justice rules against talking about private communications in public whenever he met with uncomfortable questions, writes Andrew Rosenthal at the New York Times.

A transcript of Sessions’ testimony is provided at POLITICO.

TRUMP-RUSSIA INVESTIGATION

President Trump has “no intention” of firing special counsel Robert Mueller who is leading the Trump-Russia investigation, White House Spokesperson Sarah Huckerbee Sanders confirmed yesterday, Jordan Fabian reporting at the Hill.

Trump’s top aides talked him down from firing Robert Mueller after he was angered by reports that Mueller was close to former F.B.I. director James Comey, Glenn Thrush, Maggie Haberman and Julie Hirschfeld Davis report at the New York Times.

Friend of James Comey Daniel Richman has handed over copies of his memos describing encounters with President Trump to the F.B.I., the same friend who acted as the go-between in disseminating the content of the memos to the press last month, Kyle Cheney reports at POLITICO.

President Trump “keeps trying to delay and disrupt our honest efforts to get to the bottom of what happened.” The president needs to allow Congress and the F.B.I. to get on with their investigations into Russian interference in last year’s presidential election, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) said yesterday, John Bowden reporting at the Hill.

Firing Robert Mueller would firm up a case that the President is obstructing justice more than anything else Trump has done in office so far, writes the Washington Post editorial board.

Former president Bill Clinton was impeached for charges less serious than the ones attaching to President Trump now, with the fired former F.B.I. director looking into the possibility of American collusion in the Russian plot to influence the presidential election, a treasonous offense, and while it is not time to start drafting articles of impeachment it is certainly time to pursue the Trump-Russia investigation with energy, writes former Rep. Bob Inglis, who was on the House Judiciary Committee that started the consideration of impeaching Clinton and drafted articles of impeachment, at the Washington Post.

James Comey may have revealed that he gave his memos detailing his conversations with the president to his friend Daniel Richman to the Senate Intelligence Committee last Thursday in order to put his own character and judgement in issue and so preemptively inoculate himself from future attack if he gets called as a witness in a future criminal trial, suggests Asha Rangappa at POLITICO.

The KOREAN PENINSULA

American student Otto F. Warmbier was medically evacuated from North Korea in a coma yesterday after he was detained there last year, charged with a “hostile act” and sentenced to 15 years hard labor, his released following secret negotiations between U.S. officials and the Pyongyang government, Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Russell Goldman and Adam Goldman report at the New York Times.

Former N.B.A. star Dennis Rodman’s fifth visit to North Korea got off to a low-key start yesterday, with no clear sign yet that he will meet with leader Kim Jong-un, reports Eric Talmadge at the AP.

Technical details about the methods behind North Korea’s cyberattacks were released by the F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security yesterday, the Hill’s Harber Neidig reports.

The release of Otto F. Warmbier raises the prospect of broader U.S.-North Korea talks, though this may depend on the student’s condition, while White House officials have declined to comment on the geopolitical implications of his case, write David Nakamura and Karen DeYoung at the Washington Post.

Otto F. Warmbier’s treatment at the hands of North Korea is outrageous even by the standards of one of the world’s “most vicious and isolated regimes” and should not go unpunished, writes the Washington Post editorial board.

Three Americans remain imprisoned in North Korea after Warmbier’s release, the striking similarities in their circumstances as “pawns in a complex geopolitical game” examined by Russell Goldman at the New York Times.

The “enduring strangeness” of North Korea as a world stage actor is demonstrated by the confluence of Warmbier’s release and the arrival in North Korea of former N.B.A. start Dennis Rodman in North Korea, observes Ishaan Tharoor at the Washington Post.

GULF-ARAB DISPUTE

The Gulf crisis is “trending in a positive direction,” the State Department said following a discussion between Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on the need to work together in relation to the decision by four Arab nations to diplomatically isolate Qatar, Al Jazeera reports.

Russia is “trying to break any kind of multilateral alliance,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said yesterday, speculating that if the stories about Russia hacking a Qatari news agency are true, the motivation could be Russia’s desire to subvert the international order. Rebecca Kheel reports at the Hill.

There is no military component to the steps taken by Arab nations against Qatar, the U.A.E. ambassador to the U.S. said today, Al Jazeera reports in rolling coverage.

Several high-ranking Iranian officials repeated accusations that Saudi Arabia was behind the twin terror attacks in Tehran last week yesterday, despite the fact that the Islamic State group claimed responsibility, Thomas Erdbrink reports at the New York Times.

Qatar has pulled all its troops from the Djibouti-Eritrea border, it said yesterday, offering no explanation for the move, which comes at a time of Qatar’s diplomatic isolation by other Arab nations. Malak Harb and Elias Meseret report at the AP.

Calls to reopen airspace to flights from Qatar were rejected by Saudi Arabia’s civil aviation authority yesterday, arguing that the measure is necessary to protect Saudi citizens, U.A.E. and Bahrain also issued similar statements, Al Jazeera reports.

Russia cannot officially take sides in the Gulf crisis but it has an interest in maintaining good relations with Saudi Arabia and keeping Qatar on side due to regional politics and access to natural gas reserves, Leonid Issaev writes at Al Jazeera.

AFGHANISTAN

President Trump has delegated control over the number of troops to be deployed to Afghanistan to the Pentagon, the Afghanistan strategy now expected to be completed by next month, according to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Dion Nissenbaum and Gordon Lubold report at the Wall Street Journal.

“We are not winning in Afghanistan right now,” Mattis conceded yesterday in response to questioning by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) over the lack of a strategy, adding that “we will correct this as soon as possible.” Connor O’Brien reports at POLITICO.

Nine insurgents were killed in a suicide bomb attack at a checkpoint in Helmand province today, no group yet claiming responsibility, the AP reports.

SYRIA

The ongoing confrontation between Qatar and Saudi Arabia may deepen divisions within the opposition to the Assad Regime in Syria, Qatar and Saudi Arabia two of the rebels’ biggest state backers along with Turkey and the U.S., Tom Perry and Suleiman Al-Khalidi reporting at Reuters.

The Gulf crisis “does not help consolidate joint efforts in resolving the conflict in Syria and fighting the terrorist threat,” President Putin said in a conversation with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud yesterday, according to a statement issued by the Kremlin, Al Jazeera reporting.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (S.D.F.) made significant progress in the battle for Raqqa yesterday, human rights organizations urging U.S.-backed forces to prioritize protecting the thousands of civilians still trapped in the city, Louisa Loveluck and Zakaria Zakaria report at the Washington Post.

U.S.-backed airstrikes on Raqqa are causing a “staggering loss of civilian life,” U.N. war crimes investigators said today, Stephanie Nebehay reporting at Reuters.

Reports that white phosphorous was used in the Syrian city of Raqqa have been condemned by human rights organizations who claim that, whether used legally or not, its use can cause horrific and long-lasting harm to civilians, the AP reports.

IRAQ

Islamic State fighters in the dozens wearing suicide vests attacked police lines in Mosul today, successfully retaking ground in a large-scale attack starting around 3 a.m. this morning. Loveday Morris and Mustafa Salim report at the Washington Post.

The U.S.-led coalition admitted to using white phosphorous during operations in the city of Mosul to try and get civilians out safely, but human rights organizations have warned of the effects of white phosphorous and warned that its use could amount to a war crime, Alison Meuse reports at NPR.

US-led airstrikes continue. US and coalition forces carried out 29 airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria on June 12. Separately, partner forces conducted eight strikes against targets in Iraq. [Central Command]

THE PHILIPPINES

U.S. troops are on the ground near the Philippine city of Marawi but are not involved in fighting the Islamic State-linked militants holding parts of the city after four weeks of fighting, a Philippines military spokesperson said today. Neil Jerome Morales and Simon Lewis report at Reuters.

A strategy of destroying Marawi to save it seems to have been adopted by the Philippine military, bombing it at least twice a day in an attempt to remove the militants holed up there, observe Richard C. Paddock and Felipe Villamor at the New York Times.

The U.S. presence near Marawi providing “technical assistance” is an embarrassment for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who ordered American forces to leave Mindanao last year and announced that the Philippines would establish closer ties with China and who now says he did not request U.S. help with Marawi, writes the Wall Street Journal editorial board.

RUSSIA

Democrats and Republicans are backing an Russia-Iran sanctions bill that includes an agreement for further penalties against the Russian government, setting hurdles for President Trump should he seek to lift them, Elana Schor reports at POLITICO.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson pushed back against the bipartisan sanctions bill, arguing that the measures included could close channels with Russia which would be detrimental to anti-terrorism efforts and for seeking a resolution to the Syrian civil war, Elana Schor reports at POLITICO.

The decision to veto sanctions against Russia poses a dilemma for President Trump, who has to walk the line between his desire to engage more with Russia and pressure not to appear too friendly to Moscow, David E. Sanger and Matt Flegenheimer write at the New York Times.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION FOREIGN POLICY

Donald Trump’s proposed arms sale to Saudi Arabia was narrowly backed by the Senate yesterday, Helene Cooper report at the New York Times.

“Our budget will never determine our ability to be effective.” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson defended the Trump administration’s plans to cut the State Department’s budget by around 30 percent before senators yesterday, Gardiner Harris reports at the New York Times.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

A federal lawsuit alleging that President Trump violated the Constitution by profiting from business dealings with foreign governments is expected to be filed by almost 200 Democratic members of Congress today, the third suit on the issue against President Trump since he took office, and involving what is believed to be the most members of Congress to ever sue a sitting president, reports Sharon LaFraniere at the New York Times.

The Trump administration was given more time to explain why the high court should consider its revised travel ban by the Supreme Court yesterday, a move that risks delaying the Supreme Court’s consideration of the case until October, Ted Hesson reports at POLITICO.

A Jordanian soldier entered a not guilty plea today to murder charges in the killing of three U.S. military trainers whose convoy came under fire near an air base in U.S.-allied nation last year, the AP reports.

F.A.R.C. rebels in Colombia handed over another 30 percent of their weapons to U.N. inspectors today, the BBC reports.

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Putin taunts Trump as he claims the US thinks it ‘can do anything without consequences’ | World | News

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Speaking to US filmmaker Oliver Stone as part of a tell-all documentary on the Russian president, Mr Putin revealed his true feelings about the US, claiming it “got a false sense that it is able to do everything without any consequences,” in particular after the Soviet Union’s collapse.

He said: “In such a situation, a man or a country begins to make mistakes… The state begins to function ineffectively. One mistake follows another.

“That is the trap in which, as I believe, the United States got caught into.”

He continued: “I believe that if you think you are the only world power, trying to impose on the whole nation the idea of their exclusiveness, this creates an imperialistic mentality in society, which in turn requires an adequate foreign policy expected by society. And the country’s leaders are forced to follow this logic. And in practice this might go contrary to the interest of the Americans… It demonstrates it’s impossible to control everything.”

He even claimed the US “has nurtured both al-Qaeda and [Osama] bin Laden” in a shocking suggestion that will no doubt anger his US counterpart.

Mr Putin explained: “Al-Qaeda is not the result of our activities. This is the result of activities of our US friends. This all started in the times of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, when the US security services supported different movements of Islamic fundamentalism in their struggle against the Soviet troops in Afghanistan.”

The 64-year-old went on to describe the collapse of the Soviet Union as “one of the greatest catastrophes of the 20th century”, claiming “25 million Russians found themselves abroad in one night”.

Mr Putin also addressed recent allegations that Moscow meddled in the 2016 US election, suggesting that accusers do not consider the consequences these claims have on international relations.

He said: “Unfortunately, the United States developed a fashion to speculate and, I’d say, abuse the Russian issue during election campaigns.

“Then they tell us, ‘Don’t you pay attention to this! You need to understand that this is just election rhetoric, we will come to agreement with you later.’ But sacrificing international relations in the course of current political processes is, I believe, a big mistake.”

Mr Putin added Moscow can no longer accept statements coming out of the Pentagon saying Russia was the main threat to the United States.

He said: “On the contrary, we were always ready for the dialogue pretty much on any track of cooperation.”

The Russian leader also said instead of the US spending large amounts on defence it should focus on building a stronger relationship with Russia.

Putin stated: “In 2016, under various estimations, [the US spent] more than $600billion [on defence]. This, of course, is beyond limits. This is more than all the countries of the world spend for this purpose put together.

“The main thing that Russia has, is its people with its self-consciousness.

“This people cannot exist outside its sovereignty, its statehood, and this understanding, and not the threat of a retaliatory nuclear strike, should set all our Western partners on building long-term equitable relations with Russia.

“And then one will not need to spend such money on defence.”

The first episode of the four-part documentary series aired on Showtime on Monday night.

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Washington Free Beacon: Gunman Shoots Congressman, Police at Virginia Baseball Practice

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by: Daniel Wallis

A gunman opened fire on Republican members of Congress during a baseball practice near Washington early on Wednesday, wounding several people including House of Representatives Majority Whip Steve Scalise before being taken into custody, police and media reports said.

The shooter appeared to be a white male, “a little bit on the chubby side,” Representative Mo Brooks told CNN, adding that he only saw the man for second.

Brooks said he heard 10 to 20 rounds from the gunman’s rifle before the security detail returned fire. He said there were 20 to 25 members of team at the practice in Alexandria, Virginia, when the gunfire erupted.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated as more information comes in.

The post Gunman Shoots Congressman, Police at Virginia Baseball Practice appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Washington Free Beacon

DEBKAFile: A gunman shot US House Majority Whip Steve Scalise

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June 14, 2017, 3:32 PM (IDT)Louisiana Rep Steve Scalise, House Majority Whip was shot with two police guards during a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Va, early Wednesday in which a dozen Republican congressman took part. All three men were injured. Witnesses say more than 15 rounds were fired in ten minutes by a man with a rifle at 7:15 am ET. Scalise was reported hit in the hip and an aide used his belt as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. The gunman was hit in an exchange of fire. According to some sources, he was apprehended and taken to hospital.
Scalise was elected to congress eight years ago and is one of the leaders of the conservative group.

One congressman reported that as he left the practice field, he was approached by a man in running clothes who asked whether the players on the field were Republicans or Democrats. He did not appear to be holding a weapon. Police are looking for him.

DEBKAFile

Steve Scalise shot in Virginia, aides also hit

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House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was shot and multiple congressional aides were also hit by a gunman with a rifle who opened fire at a GOP baseball practice in Virginia Wednesday morning, Fox News confirmed.

Scalise was in stable condition. Five people were “transported medically” from the scene, Alexandria Police Chief Michael Brown said; however, it was unclear how many people had been shot.

The gunman was shot by U.S. Capitol Police, apprehended and taken to the hospital, officials said. Sen. Mike Lee told Fox News, however, the gunman was killed. The incident occurred at Simpson Field in Alexandria, about 10 miles from Washington D.C.

“The Vice President and I are aware of the shooting incident in Virginia and are monitoring developments closely,” President Trump said in a statement. “We are deeply saddened by this tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the members of Congress, their staffs, Capitol Police, first responders, and all others affected.”

Trump later tweeted: “Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, a true friend and patriot, was badly injured but will fully recover. Our thoughts and prayers are with him.”

The Department of Homeland Security was monitoring the episode and the FBI was also involved.

Rep. Roger Williams, R-Tex., was seen being taken from the field in a stretcher but it was unclear if he was struck by a bullet.

“Finally the shooter was shot behind home plate as he was circling around to the first base dugout where there were a number of us congressmen and other folks,” Rep. Mo Brooks told FMTALK1065. “Our security detail was able to incapacitate him at that point. I don’t know if he [shooter] was dead. He was wounded. I don’t know how many times he was wounded.”

Brooks reportedly used a belt as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding of an aide who was shot in the leg. Two law enforcement officers were also injured, included one who was hit in the leg, Brooks said.

Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., told Fox News he left just before the shooting. As he walked to his car, a man asked DeSantis if it was Republicans or Democrats practicing. About three minutes later, at around 7:15 a.m. the shooting began, DeSantis said. It reportedly last about 10 minutes.

Rep. Brad Wenstrup told Fox News he “felt like I was in Iraq but without my weapon.” Sen. Jeff Flake said the congressional group were “sitting ducks.”

“Without the Capitol Hill police it would have been a massacre,” Sen. Rand Paul told Fox News, describing the scene as “sort of a killing field.”

Scalise was shot in the hip, sources told Fox News.

“Behind third base, I see a rifle…I hear Steve Scalise over near 2nd base scream,” Brooks said. “…While all of this is going on, Steve Scalise our whip was lying on the ground near the second base position crawling into right field, leaving a trail of blood.”

Brooks said the gunman was using the dugout as cover and estimated the assailant got off 50-100 shots during the attack on the 15-25 people gathered at the field.

“We were there within three minutes,” Brown said. “Two of our officers engaged in gunfire and returned fire.”

Alexandria schools were placed on lockdown as the incident unfolded.

Scalise, 51, is the House majority whip. He has represented Louisiana’s First Congressional District since 2008 and chairs the House Republican Study Committee. He is married with two children. Scalise’s district includes New Orleans.

Since he’s in leadership, Scalise has a security detail.

Scalise, who studied computer science at Louisiana State University, worked as a systems engineer before launching his political career. Scalise endorsed President Trump during last year’s presidential campaign, and has been a vocal backer of Trump’s travel ban. As leader of the powerful study group, he has also spearheaded the effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

The Congressional Baseball Game is scheduled for June 15 at Nationals Park. The game, which has been a tradition since 1909, pits Senate and House members of each party who sport the uniform of their home state.

This is a developing story; check back for updates. Fox News’ Chad Pergram contributed to this report.

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Steve Scalise – Google Search

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Story image for Steve Scalise from Fox News

Steve Scalise, Roger Williams shot in Virginia, aides also hit

Fox News1 hour ago
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and Rep. Roger Williams were shot and multiple congressional aides were also hit by a gunman with a rifle …
Rep. Scalise shot in Virginia
CNN25 minutes ago
Congressman Steve Scalise among 5 shot by gunman at GOP …
In-Depth<a href=”http://Syracuse.com” rel=”nofollow”>Syracuse.com</a>36 minutes ago
Rep. Steve Scalise and Others Shot at Congressional Baseball …
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GOP baseball practice shooting: House Whip Steve Scalise, 2 police …
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Who is Steve Scalise, the Congressman who was shot this morning?

MyDaytonDailyNews16 minutes ago
NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, Majority Whip and (R-La. 1st District),, speaks at President Trump’s press …
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The National Interest: The U.S. Air Force’s Next Killer Drone Is Disposable

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David Axe

Security,

The U.S. Air Force’s latest unmanned aerial vehicle is small, stealthy and cheap enough to be essentially disposable. The Low-Cost Attritable Aircraft, or LCAA, could radically change the way the world’s leading air arm wages war.

The U.S. Defense Department revealed the first LCAA prototype as part of the annual DoD Lab Day, an official even highlighting the work of various military research institutions. A photo accompanying a Lab Day handout depicts an angular, jet-powered drone with a silvery paint job that could have radar-absorbing qualities.

The Air Force wants the LCAA to have a Mach .9 top speed and a 1,500-mile mission-radius with a 500-pound payload in an internal bay.

The LCAA prototype, built by San Diego Kratos under a $41-million contract that the Air Force awarded in July 2016, bears a striking resemblance to Kratos’ XQ-222 drone concept.

Kratos pitched the 29-foot-long XQ-222 as an “affordable alternative” to traditional manned aircraft for strike, air-to-air and electronic-attack missions. Notably, the XQ-222 can be launched via catapult, making it “runway-independent,” according to the company. The LCAA appears to share this catapult-launch capability.

The idea behind the LCAA is to build lots of inexpensive drones and send them into combat without worrying about losing them. Not coincidentally, Kratos made its reputation building expendable target drones.

“These [LCAA] UAVs deliver long-range responsive capability in near-peer environments where forward basing is difficult or prohibited,” the Pentagon stated in its Lab Day handout. “LCAA can fly into highly contested areas ahead of a manned craft. The manned aircraft will thus be supported by UAVs, thereby increasing the engagement abilities in contested areas.”

It’s unclear how autonomous the LCAA would be and who would control them. But it’s worth noting that the Air Force is working on new technologies for combining manned and unmanned aircraft in mixed formations, with the crew of the manned planes issuing commands to highly-autonomous robotic wingmen.

But to be “attritable,” the LCAA must be cheap. The Air Force’s contract with Kratos requires that the LCAA cost no more than $3 million apiece for 99 copies and $2 million or less for batches of 100 or more drones.

To drive down the cost, the Defense Department wants contractors to “use a product-line approach distinguished by continual aircraft design and capability refresh to incorporate emerging technologies in a timely and cost-effective manner.” In other words, the Air Force could slightly improve the LCAA design after each small production batch.

“LCAA can be manufactured at a high rate, reducing touch labor and ultimately reducing cost,” the Pentagon stated. The drones would be relatively flimsy. “LCAA are not built for longevity: acceptance criteria should become less complex, resulting in a quicker production-to-air timeline.”

“This approach has several benefits,” said Dan Ward, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and former project manager. “The main one is that it is easier to experiment — and learn! — when the device in question is cheap and expendable. We can more readily try new ideas — new technologies, new tactics, etc. — because our exposure to loss is low.”

The LCAA program is potentially revolutionary for the Air Force. Hundreds or even thousands of the new drones could augment dwindling numbers of expensive manned warplanes that take decades to develop and field.

But the LCAA is, at present, just an experiment. There’s no guarantee the wider Air Force will embrace the concept of a “throw-away” plane. “There is a long history of great prototypes and small programs started up at various labs,” P.W. Singer, a strategist at the Washington, D.C.-based New America Foundation. “Too few make it into a program of record, where they are deployed widely.”

This first appeared in WarIsBoring here.

The National Interest

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Palmer Report: Twitter heckles Donald Trump over the birthday balloons on his Twitter page

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Donald Trump has spent all week promoting his own birthday in ridiculously inappropriate fashion, plugging it during cabinet meetings and elsewhere. And now that the the three year old Trump has finally turned seventy-one today, his Twitter page is covered with birthday balloons. That set off a round of heckling and backlash.

Twitter automatically places birthday balloons on the pages of all users who have entered their birthday into their profile. But not all users are aware of it, leading to some confusion when Donald Trump’s @realdonaldtrump page was suddenly covered with floating balloons once the clock struck midnight and June 14th arrived. Some users heckled him for the incongruity, while others thought he had somehow rigged it himself, or that Twitter was showing him special treatment. The responses were widely negative.

For instance there was the obligatory “hot air” joke:

Then there was just the general weirdness of it all:

“I went on his Twitter to block him…”:

And of course there’s the Russia scandal:

But the irony award went to the fact that the Trump-manufactured crisis in Qatar is in danger of causing a worldwide shortage of helium for balloons:

Meanwhile Donald Trump’s birthday present today is an all time low approval rating, along with a lawsuit jointly filed by hundreds of Democrats in Congress (link).

The post Twitter heckles Donald Trump over the birthday balloons on his Twitter page appeared first on Palmer Report.

Palmer Report

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Palmer Report: Even Donald Trump’s staff knows he’s committing political suicide

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The optimists among Donald Trump’s base, and the pessimists among Trump’s detractors, have convinced themselves that he’s somehow getting away with all of his antics and scandals. They’re certain that his six-gun approach to the Russia scandal, which has involved making up a new lie about it each week and firing everyone who’s in position to expose the truth, is just crazy enough to work. But one need look no further than Trump’s own petrified staff to see that no such deviously brilliant strategy exists.

After Donald Trump’s friend revealed that Trump was thinking about firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the Democrats double dog dared him to do it, while the Republicans publicly begged him not to. Why? It would have assured, with absolute certainly, his already near-certain eventual demise. Moreover, it would have backed the Republicans in Congress into a corner where, just to avoid having an albatross hung around their necks in the midterm races, they’d have had to reluctantly appoint Mueller as a more powerful Independent Counsel so that he could continue his investigation.

But now comes word that Trump won’t try to fire Robert Mueller after all, and only because his own White House senior staff spent the day begging him not to, according to the NY Times (link). The inference is obvious enough: even Trump’s own staff knows that he’s on a path to self destruction – and they know that if they can’t stop him from committing political suicide, they’ll end up out of a job just as surely as he will.

So no, Donald Trump hasn’t gotten away with any of this. His staff would have tried to stop him from firing FBI Director James Comey if they’d known in advance that he was planning to do it. And now they’re begging him not to fire Robert Mueller, because they know Trump is circling the drain as it is. Take it from his own staff: Donald Trump’s presidency has one foot in the grave, and he’s digging as quickly as he can. Follow Palmer Report on Facebook and Twitter. If you’re a regular reader, feel free to support Palmer Report.

The post Even Donald Trump’s staff knows he’s committing political suicide appeared first on Palmer Report.

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Syrian Artist Paints Trump, Putin And Other World Leaders as Refugees – Google Search

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Syrian Artist Paints Trump, Putin And Other World Leaders as Refugees – Google Search

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Syrian Artist Paints Trump, Putin And Other World Leaders as Refugees – Google Search

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