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Lawsuit fights Obama ban on wind farm sale to Chinese

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WASHINGTON — A Chinese-owned company has filed suit against President Barack Obama for blocking its purchase of wind farms near a US military base on national security grounds, court documents made public Tuesday showed.

Obama signed the decree on Friday banning the sale of four wind farms in Oregon to the Ralls Corp and its Chinese affiliate, Sany Group.

In the decree, Obama said companies linked to Chinese nationals “might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States.”

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In a complaint filed Monday in a federal court here, Ralls Corp argued that Obama had “exceeded his limited authority to ‘suspend or prohibit’ a ‘covered transaction.'”

It asked the court to declare the executive order “arbitrary and capricious” in contending that the transaction posed national security risks to the United States.

“We believe the lawsuit has no merit, and we intend to defend the case vigorously,” the US Treasury Department said.

The dispute comes just weeks before US presidential elections in which US trade relations with China have figured prominently.

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The presidential order blocked Ralls’ purchase of the Lower Ridge Windfarm, High Plateau Windfarm, Mule Hollow Windfarm and Pine City Windfarm, which are near the Naval Weapons Systems Training Facility Boardman in Oregon.

Ralls is incorporated in Delaware, but controlled by Chinese citizens through the Sany Group, according to US officials.

Ralls defended the wind farm project as one that will generate jobs in Oregon “at a time when American people need more jobs.”

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In filing its complaint, the company said, “Ralls continues to show its profound faith in transparency and due process, and seeks only fair treatment under the law and the constitution.”


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White House pulls new FEMA nominee for barroom brawl — but not for his boss’ bribery

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MSNBC host Rachel Maddow began her Wednesday show detailing that Jeff Byard, President Donald Trump's nominee to lead FEMA, has withdrawn his name from nomination because of an "altercation" previously reported.

Already Trump's FEMA is having problems because of the lead FEMA officials being named in serious bribery scandals. Byard's boss, in particular, is under a 10-count indictment. To make matters worse, a former deputy is also under indictment, but for a completely different case involving a 2013 Navy scandal.

"Any mystery around that part of the guy’s past would have been cleared up this past year in August when he was indicted by a federal grand jury for his alleged involvement in that Navy bribery scheme," Maddow reported. "He was arrested thereafter."

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Right-wing activists call on Mitch McConnell to stop blocking election security bills

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On Wednesday, CNN reported that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is facing renewed pressure to take up election security legislation, from a pair of unlikely sources: Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, and FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon.

Norquist — who once famously said that he wanted to slash government to a size where he could "drown it in a bathtub" — called for hand-marked paper ballots, and urged Congress to pass something similar to the bipartisan Secure Elections Act, which would have given states incentives to switch to secure voting methods and promoted data-sharing to identify threats. The measure was first introduced in 2017 by Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), James Lankford (D-OK), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), but never came to a vote.

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DNI whistleblower complaint stems from promise Trump allegedly made in phone call to foreign leader: report

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On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that the source of the whistleblower complaint currently being suppressed by the Director of National Intelligence is a phone conversation between President Donald Trump and a foreign leader.

According to the report, the whistleblower became aware that the president made a "promise" to this unspecified foreign leader, and was so disturbed by the nature of that promise that he or she filed a complaint through channels set up to help whistleblower claims involving classified information.

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