The Hill

Trump Says He Is Not Considering Firing Mueller

“No, I’m not,” Trump said after a reporter asked him if he was thinking about firing the special counsel.

His remark comes among mounting rumors that Trump was considering firing Mueller and attacks by Trump allies on the special counsel.

The president was also asked about a slew of Trump transition team emails obtained by Mueller as apart of the probe.

“I can’t imagine there’s anything on them frankly because as we’ve said there’s no collusion, no collusion,” he continued.

A lawyer for Trump’s transition team said on Saturday that the emails were obtained illegally.

Mueller’s team responded by defending their possession of the emails.

“When we have obtained emails in the course of our ongoing criminal investigation, we have secured either the account owner’s consent or appropriate criminal process,” Peter Carr, a spokesman for the special counsel’s office, said in a statement to The Hill.

 

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Associated Press

Dreamers Program Will Cost Tax Payers $26B Over Next Ten Years

Allowing 2 million illegal immigrant “Dreamers” to remain in the U.S. would cost taxpayers $25.9 billion over the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office said in a report released Friday.

Dreamers are the prospective beneficiaries of the DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors), legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate earlier this year to provide a pathway to citizenship for some illegal immigrants.

They would include those who’ve participated in DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), received temporary protected status, or have fulfilled certain educational requirements.

Under the bill, immigrants who benefited from DACA would be eligible for Medicaid, food stamps, education funding, and various other programs, provided that the applicants meet certain requirements.

 

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The Hill

McCain Will Miss Vote On Gop’s Tax Bill

Sen. John McCain is reportedly returning to Arizona and will miss the final vote on his party’s tax bill this week.

McCain, who has been hospitalized at Walter Reed Medical Center suffering from the side effects of his treatment for brain cancer, left Washington, D.C., on Sunday to return home for the holidays, CBS News reported Sunday.

The Hill has reached out to McCain’s office for confirmation.

The senator’s daughter, Meghan McCain, tweeted shortly after the news broke that she and her family are “looking forward to spending Christmas together in Arizona.”

“My father is doing well,” she said.

 

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Getty Images

New Poll Shows Majority Of Americans Think Trump Obstructed Justice

A majority of Americans think President Trump has tried to impede or obstruct the Russia investigation and 40 percent believe Trump has done something illegal involving Russia, according to a new poll.

The poll finds that 63 percent of Americans say that Trump has tried to “impede or obstruct” the investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election as well as possible ties between Moscow and his campaign, while 35 percent disagree with that characterization.

Another 38 percent of those polled also believe the investigation is very or extremely important, according to the new AP-NORC poll.

Special counsel Robert Mueller and multiple congressional committees are looking into Russian interference and possible collusion.

A majority, 67 percent, also disapprove of how Trump has responded to the investigations, and 32 percent say that Trump has done something unethical though not illegal in regards to the probes.

 

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Fox News

Al Franken Continues To Stall On Actually Leaving Congress

Sen. Al Franken’s Senate floor announcement that he is leaving Congress amid mounting allegations of sexual misconduct is coming under fire by many for lacking an apology; analysis from Beverly Hallberg, president of the District Media Group, and Erin Delmore, senior political correspondent for Bustle.com.

Minnesota Democratic Sen. Al Franken resigned from Congress two weeks ago amid continuing sexual-misconduct allegations. However, he’s yet to say when he’ll empty his Capitol Hill office, even after his replacement was appointed earlier this week.

“Tina Smith will make an excellent United States senator. …  I look forward to working with her on ensuring a speedy and seamless transition,” Franken said after the state lieutenant governor was appointed, without mentioning when he’ll leave.

In his Dec. 7 resignation speech, Franken said only that he’ll be leaving in the “coming weeks.”

Multiple people on Capitol Hill, including those in Senate leadership, told Fox News that they doesn’t know when Franken will leave.

“I’ll be coming home,” was Franken’s only response to a question after future plans, after his Senate floor resignation speech.

 

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The Hill

Aliens? Pentagon Admits Program To Investigate UFO Encounters

The Pentagon has acknowledged for the first time the existence of a program charged with investigating unidentified flying objects.

According to a New York Times report, the $22 million Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program began in 2007 and was funded primarily at the request of former Sen. Harry Reid, who has long had an interest in the topic.

The Pentagon told the Times that the program ended in 2012. Its supporters say it is still in existence, but that the Defense Department has stopped funding it.

Most of the money went to a Nevada-based research firm and government contractor, Bigelow Aerospace, run by Robert Bigelow, a billionaire businessman and a friend of Reid.

 

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Fox News

Trump Accusers Sought Payment To Come Forward

Attorney Lisa Bloom acknowledges trying to secure funds for her clients, who accused Trump of sexual misconduct

Legal powerhouse Lisa Bloom tried to line up big paydays for women who were willing to accuse President Trump of sexual misconduct during the final months of last year’s election, according to an explosive report.

The Hill reported Friday that Bloom worked with campaign donors and tabloid media outlets to arrange compensation for the alleged victims and a commission for herself, offering to sell their stories. In one case, Bloom reportedly arranged for a donor to pay off one Trump accuser’s mortgage and attempted to score a six-figure payment for another woman. The former ultimately declined to come forward after being offered $750,000, the clients told The Hill.

“I consider myself lucky to have had Lisa Bloom by my side after my old lawsuit resurfaced.”

The Hill cited contract documents, emails and text messages it obtained — including an exchange of texts between one woman and Bloom that referred to pro-Hillary Clinton political action committees.

Bloom, who is the daughter of famous attorney Gloria Allred and, like her mother, specializes in representing women in sexual harassment cases, worked for four women who were considering accusing Trump. Two went public, and two declined.

 

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Ariel Schalit/Rex/Shutterstock

Nazareth Cancels Christmas In Protest Of Trump

Nazareth – the hometown of Jesus – has cancelled Christmas.

All Christmas festivities have been halted because of Donald Trump’s controversial decision to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

The decision has proved hugely unpopular across many parts of the world, and especially in the Middle East among Muslims.

Nazareth is the largest Arab city in modern-day Israel. Some 70 per cent of the population is Muslim and around 30 per cent are Christians, reflecting the importance of Nazareth to followers of that faith.

The New Testament declares Nazareth as the hometown of Jesus.

‘We have decided to cancel the traditional Christmas singing and dancing because we are in a time of dispute, because of what Trump has said about Jerusalem,’ Nazareth city spokesman Salem Sharara said.

He added: ‘Our identity and faith aren’t up for debate.’

‘The decision [by Trump] has taken away the joy of the holiday, and we will thus cancel the festivities this year.’

 

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James Walker

Family Finds Hidden Camera In Bedroom Of Carnival Cruise Ship

A family from Florida is demanding answers from Carnival Cruise Line after finding a hidden camera behind their cabin’s television during an October vacation.

The device was reportedly discovered by the family’s father during an allergy attack, after he moved the TV to inspect for dust. Sticking out from the wires, he said, was a small camera — still warm to the touch — with its lens pointing directly at the bed, The Miami New Times reported. He also snapped photos of what appeared to be an antenna on the back of the device.

The family, who did not wish to be named, added that they only found the camera on the second night of their Carnival Fantasy voyage from Alabama to Mexico.

“I asked my wife, ‘What is this? Is this what I think it is?’ We both just went white as ghosts,” he told the New Times.

The man added that he was especially disturbed by the implications this might have for his underage child.

“My main concern is there is video of him online now. And I’ll never know,” he told The Miami Herald.

 

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The Hill

Republicans Vote To End Net Neutrality

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has voted to repeal its landmark net neutrality protections, capping off a months-long campaign by the agency’s Republicans to deregulate the broadband industry.

The FCC voted 3-2 along party lines Thursday to scrap its 2015 Open Internet Order as Democratic lawmakers and dozens of activists protested outside.

In a dramatic moment, the meeting was abruptly evacuated in the middle of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s remarks ahead of the vote.

Reporters and attendees were forced to exit the hearing room and leave their belongings as police brought in K-9 units to sweep the room. Attendees were allowed to re-enter the room within 15 minutes of the evacuation.

The FCC declined to comment on the reasons for the evacuation.

Democrats, consumer groups and tech companies have been rallying for months to try to stop the repeal plan, arguing that the rules are essential for preventing companies like Comcast and Verizon from abusing their powers as internet gatekeepers.

 

read more at thehill.com

Reuters

Firefighter Killed Battling Massive California Wildfires

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — A firefighter died Thursday while working a colossal wildfire burning in coastal mountains northwest of Los Angeles that has become the fourth largest in California history.

CBS Los Angeles reports the victim was a Cal Fire engineer who worked for the department’s San Diego unit. The death, but no details of the circumstances, was confirmed in a statement from Chief Ken Pimlott of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. A news conference is scheduled for 6 p.m. PT in San Diego.

“The incident is still unfolding, but in this world of fast moving information it is important to me that only actual information be shared,” he said. Police said his family had been notified.

The 242,500-acre Thomas fire, burning in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, was 30 percent contained as of Thursday morning.

With the fire flaring up, Ventura County sheriff’s deputies reiterated that mandatory evacuation orders were in place for several areas in Fillmore.

The blaze has burned more than 379 square miles since it erupted on Dec. 4. It has destroyed 972 buildings, including at least 700 homes, and damaged 221 others. Flames have threatened 18,000 buildings, which prompted evacuations of about 100,000 people.

 

read more at cbsnews.com

Reuters

Kim Jong Un Has Top Aide Executed By Death Squad

A key member of Kim Jong Un’s inner circle touted as a powerful military figure mysteriously vanished from public life recently, sparking rumors he was executed by a North Korean death squad after allegations of bribery, recent reports indicated.

Hwang Pyong-so, a vice marshal who held the most senior position in North Korea’s military, hasn’t been seen in public since Oct. 13, sparking rumors of his death.

Kim has previously dispatched his enemies via a variety of gruesome methods, including shooting them with anti-aircraft weaponry at a close distance and feeding them to a pack of ravenous dogs.

News about Hwang’s troubles within Kim’s regime emerged in mid-November, when South Korea’s spy agency reported the top aide and his deputy, Kim Won-hong, were expelled from the military’s General Politico Bureau and “punished,” Yonhap News Agency reported.

A rare inspection on the bureau was conducted after reports of “impure attitude” toward the volatile regime. The spy agency said it was looking into details about their punishment.

 

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