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GOP lead-poisoning truthers say Flint water crisis ‘vastly overstated’ — and might even be ’a hoax’

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A Michigan Republican suggested that Flint’s water crisis wasn’t all that bad — and might even be a hoax — during a lunch meeting of business leaders and elected officials.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said Tuesday during the Detroit Economic Club luncheon that the water crisis had been “vastly overstated,” reported the Detroit Free Press.

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Blood testing has found dangerously high levels of lead in Flint’s children after the cash-strapped city stopped buying pretreated Lake Huron water from Detroit and instead began drawing highly corrosive water from the Flint River.

Patterson, however, said a GOP political analyst and former lawmaker who lives in Flint had opened a debate on the scandal during a radio interview.

“I think, well, that’s the other side,” Patterson said. “Let’s wait and see what the facts show.”

Bill Ballenger said during an appearance on WJR-AM that tests on his own blood had found no elevated lead levels.

BillBallenger (WJBK)

BillBallenger (WJBK)

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“This has been a vastly overblown crisis, perpetuated by a lot of politicians with an axe to grind and, for that matter, the news media, and some national figures, some political, some entertainers who don’t know what they’re talking about,” Ballenger told WJR’s Frank Beckmann.

Ballenger said scientists had not collected enough data to determine the seriousness of the contaminated water, which runs brown from the tap.

“I had my blood tested just yesterday, and I have no elevated blood-lead level — it’s way down there,” Ballenger said.

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“The idea that the entire population of Flint has been poisoned and that we all have elevated blood-levels because of this is just a total canard,” Ballenger said. “It’s just a crock, and for this to be perpetuated as a story is doing a lot of damage to Flint as a community.”

Ballenger’s anecdotal data was good enough for Patterson to doubt whether Flint’s poor children, who don’t even have access to bottled water because the city lacks a single grocery store, had been exposed to contaminated water.

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“He was adamant that he lives in Flint, he drinks the water, he showers in that water,” Patterson said during the business luncheon.

Patterson said Ballenger had described the water crisis as “a hoax,” and said the situation was “one of the most overblown scandals in the history of the state.”

Ballenger stood by his remarks, saying that long-term results would not be known for years, but Patterson’s office said his comments had been misinterpreted by reporters.

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“Patterson never said he agreed with Ballenger’s comments,” his office said in a statement. “He simply noted there are other viewpoints on the subject.”

Both men’s comments contrasted with Republican Gov. Rick Snyder — who has apologized for his administration’s failure to quickly and seriously respond to concerns about the taste, odor and appearance of Flint’s water.

The 77-year-old Patterson is no stranger to controversial remarks, especially when it comes to Oakland County’s less-affluent neighbor.

“Anytime I talk about Detroit, it will not be positive,” he said during a 2014 interview. “Therefore, I’m called a Detroit basher. The truth hurts, you know? Tough shit.”

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“I made a prediction a long time ago, and it’s come to pass,” Patterson added in an interview published by the New Yorker. I said, ‘What we’re gonna do is turn Detroit into an Indian reservation, where we herd all the Indians into the city, build a fence around it, and then throw in the blankets and corn.’ ”

Watch this video report posted online by WJBK-TV:


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Pro-Trump reporter John Solomon attacks Fiona Hill for debunking his Ukraine conspiracy theories

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On Tuesday, National Security Council official Fiona Hill testified that the right-wing narrative Ukraine colluded with Democrats to interfere in the 2016 election — rather than Russia working to help Donald Trump — is a "fictional narrative" and a piece of propaganda promoted by Russia.

One person was enraged at this testimony — John Solomon, the notorious right-wing reporter who covered Ukraine's supposed interference in the 2016 election extensively. He fired off multiple angry tweets attacking Fiona Hill:

How dare Fiona Hill question my patriotism or suggest I was part of a Russian disinformation campaign without a single fact. My sources were all US officials or Ukrainian officials aligned against Russia. Her accusations must have made Joe McCarthy smile up from hell.

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Democrats declare there’s enough evidence for a vote on impeaching Donald Trump: report

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On Thursday, according to CNN House Democrats are announcing that they have enough evidence to move forward with the final vote to impeach President Donald Trump.

Breaking: Dems say enough evidence to move forward on impeachment. Vote likely by mid-December. They will not wait for courts to force additional witnesses - @Phil_Mattingly reporting.

— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) November 21, 2019

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Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani accuses Mike Pompeo’s State Department of obstruction of justice

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Keeping track of the Republican defenses of President Donald Trump got a little more difficult on Thursday when his private attorney appeared to throw his Secretary of State under the bus.

Rudy Giuliani suggested Secretary of State Mike Pompeo may have committed obstruction by refusing visas to three Ukrainians the former New York City mayor wants to testify about conspiracy theories.

"The embassy in Ukraine refuses to give visas for three witnesses, two present prosecutors and the former Prosecutor General, who have direct evidence of major Dem corruption in Ukraine in 2016," Giuliani argued.

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