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Senator proposes TSA-style security for trains after al-Qaeda plans revealed

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – A senator on Sunday called for a “no-ride list” for Amtrak trains after intelligence gleaned from the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound pointed to potential attacks on the nation’s train system.

Sen. Charles Schumer said he would push as well for added funding for rail security and commuter and passenger train track inspections and more monitoring of stations nationwide.

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“Circumstances demand we make adjustments by increasing funding to enhance rail safety and monitoring on commuter rail transit and screening who gets on Amtrak passenger trains, so that we can provide a greater level of security to the public,” the New York Democrat said at a news conference.

U.S. officials last week said evidence found after the raid on bin Laden’s compound inPakistan indicated the al Qaeda leader or his associates had engaged in discussions or planning for a possible attack on a train inside the United States on September 11, 2011.

Schumer, citing U.S. intelligence analysts, said attacks were also considered on Christmas and New Year’s Day and following the president’s State of the Union address.

He called on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to expand the Secure Flight monitoring program, which cross-checks air travelers with the terror watch list in an attempt to prevent anyone on the “no-fly list” from boarding, for use on Amtrak.

Such a procedure would create an Amtrak “no-ride list” to keep suspected terrorists off the U.S. rail system, he said.

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The September 11 Commission recommended in 2004 that the government check travelers’ names against terror watch lists before they board passenger trains or cruise ships, but such a program was not adopted.

Schumer noted that rail and port security grant funding was cut by $50 million under last month’s federal budget compromise, but he said developments warrant reconsideration and increased rail safety funding.

(Reporting by Chris Michaud, editing by Ellen Wulfhorst)

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Source: Reuters US Online Report Domestic News

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Impeachment: Trump’s ‘hearsay’ defense just crashed and burned

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In the panoply of contradictory and incoherent defenses of Donald Trump, a favorite of Republicans has been to harp on the claim that witnesses to Trump's extortion scheme against Ukraine were all "second-hand" or "third-hand." This has always been confounding, as the official summary readout of the famous phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shows Trump clearly conditioning military aid and U.S. support on Zelensky giving a public boost to Trump's conspiracy theories about former Vice President Joe Biden and other Democratic leaders. The witnesses so far have simply affirmed what the written record demonstrates amply.

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WATCH: Dejected Devin Nunes slumps back in his chair after he fails to yield his time to Elise Stefanik

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The top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee was visibly frustrated after once again getting shut down while attempting a parliamentary maneuver.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) has been attempting to ignore the rules governing the impeachment inquiry so that he can yield Republicans' time to fellow members of Congress, instead of just the professional GOP counsel.

Nunes has attempted to yield time to Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), who has been raising re-election funds off of her outbursts in the hearings.

Once again, Nunes attempted to yield his time to a fellow Republican and once again Nunes was told that is against the rules.

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Mike Pompeo wants to run for Senate — but can’t figure out a graceful way to resign: report

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For months, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been dogged by rumors that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is trying to recruit him to run for Senate in his home state of Kansas — a claim that he has flatly denied.

Now, Time reports that multipler Republican sources have confirmed Pompeo does in fact have a Kansas Senate run on his radar. The only problem is that he can't figure out a graceful way to exit the Trump administration.

Pompeo, who has largely remained in President Donald Trump's good graces, has come under national scrutiny for his role in the Ukraine scandal, which has seen several foreign service officers and national security officials testifying that Trump set up a backchannel with his lawyer Rudy Giuliani to Ukrainian leadership to demand political help against former Vice President Joe Biden.

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