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Sen. Carl Levin: Only way to hold James Clapper accountable is to ‘fire him’

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The head of the Senate Armed Services Committee said Tuesday the only way to hold the top U.S. intelligence official accountable for lying to Congress was to fire him.

Speaking at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast meeting, Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) stopped short of himself calling on President Barack Obama to fire Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

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“I’m troubled by that testimony,” he said. “I don’t know how he has tried to wiggle out from it, but I’m troubled by it, so how do you hold him accountable? I guess the only way to do that would be for the President to somehow or other fire him. I think he made it clear he regrets saying what he said and I don’t want to call on the President to fire him, although I’m troubled by it.”

During a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in March, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) specifically asked Clapper if the National Security Agency collected “any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” Clapper denied the NSA amassed such data, but that testimony was later proven false by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Clapper has said he provided the “least untruthful answer possible.”

Levin said he felt adequately informed about the NSA’s surveillance programs with the exception of PRISM, a program that intercepted foreign Internet communications. Though “in principle” the NSA was doing what intelligence services had done for decades, current technologies allowed for levels of surveillance that were previously unthinkable, the senator added.

“They can’t look at the substance of my conversations, but they can find out a heck of a lot about me by what phone calls I make,” Levin remarked. “If this technology were in the hands of [former FBI director] J. Edgar Hoover, would I feel comfortable? No. But, on the other hand, I wasn’t comfortable with J. Edgar Hoover with his technology.”

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Watch this video from C-SPAN, broadcast July 16, 2013.

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Fresno Bee burns Nunes to the ground in scathing editorial

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The editorial board of the Fresno Bee has written a scathing takedown of Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) for his extraordinary fealty to President Donald Trump, which the editors say is harming the country.

Specifically, the editorial accuses Nunes of forsaking his oath of office as a congressman to serve as Trump's most loyal toady on the House Intelligence Committee.

"As has been true for nearly all of Trump’s first term, Nunes has relinquished his proper role as an independent representative of Congress and has instead acted like a member of the Trump 2020 re-election team," the editorial states.

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Republicans blundered badly as their own impeachment expert witness wrecked their defenses of Trump: columnist

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Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee pinned their hopes on George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, their sole expert witness on the panel at the hearing on Wednesday, to discredit the impeachment probe into President Donald Trump.

But as anti-Trump conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin wrote for the Washington Post, even Turley's testimony ended up damaging the GOP more than Democrats, because he undercut one of the GOP's most solid narratives in defense of the president: that trying to extort Ukraine with military aid would not be impeachable even if it was proven.

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‘Dirty’ Jared Kushner should be targeted if GOP makes impeachment trial about Bidens: strategist

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President Donald Trump has signaled that he wants Senate Republicans to turn his impeachment trial around on Democrats by actually making it a trial of the Biden family.

The president on Thursday signaled that he wants former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, to testify at his impeachment trial in an effort to make the trial less about his own misconduct and more about purported misconduct by the Democrats.

However, Democratic strategist Simon Rosenberg on Thursday proposed a plan to counter this kind of misdirection: Going after Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, whose shady dealings with world leaders have so far escaped significant scrutiny.

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