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Patrick Leahy calls out Obama administration on terror plots thwarted by NSA spying

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The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said Wednesday that the Obama administration hadn’t been forthcoming about the effectiveness of its phone surveillance program.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said during a hearing on the continued oversight of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that he worried the White House was still providing incomplete or inaccurate statements about the bulk collection of phone records from communications providers.

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“For example, we’ve heard over and over again that 54 terrorist plots have been thwarted by the use of (this program),” Leahy said.

“That’s plainly wrong,” the senator said. “These weren’t all plots and they weren’t all thwarted.”

National Security Agency Director Keith Alexander admitted that only 13 of those suspects had access to the United States, and he told the committee that he believed only two of those suspects were identified as a result of bulk phone record collection.

Leahy scolded Alexander and the administration for providing Americans with false assumptions about the program’s effectiveness.

“We’re told we have to do that to protect us, and the statistics are rolled out that they’re not accurate,” Leahy said. “It doesn’t have the credibility here in the Congress, it doesn’t have the credibility with this chairman and it doesn’t have the credibility with the country.”

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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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