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Steve Bannon sits on council that oversees the targeting of Americans for death under Obama-era rules

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Steve Bannon will be part of the team with the authority to order the assassination of American citizens in his role on the National Security Council under controversial rules drawn up by the Obama administration.

President Donald Trump’s chief strategist has been consolidating power in the White House during the administration’s chaotic opening days, and the former Breitbart News chief wound up with a seat on the inter-agency group that coordinates national security decisions without any Senate confirmation.

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Related: ‘He is running a cabal’: White House leaker says Steve Bannon runs ‘shadow NSC’ with no paper trail

The NSC reshuffling, which came after Trump signed a widely condemned executive order Friday barring travelers from certain majority-Muslim nations, shuts out the director of national intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – who will be invited to meetings only when their expertise is requested.

Obama’s national security advisor denounced the reshuffling as “stone-cold crazy,” and Robert Gates — who served as defense secretary under Obama and Bush and as CIA director and director of national intelligence — expressed concern that Trump had removed the only two officials who were required by law to advise the president on national security.

There’s another alarming reason to worry about Bannon’s increased national security powers.

Anwar al-Awlaki, a New Mexico-born al Qaeda militant, was targeted for assassination or capture by a secretive panel of senior government officials during the Obama administration and killed five years ago in a CIA airstrike in Yemen.

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The panel that ordered Awlaki killed was a subset of the National Security Council, according to government officials who spoke anonymously to Reuters after the September 2011 drone strike.

No law establishes the panel’s existence or governs its decisions, and there is no public record of its operations or decisions.

Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), who was then the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, walked reporters through the process of targeting Awlaki, which he said began in the NSC and moved to the White House.

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“The National Security Council does the investigation, they have lawyers, they review, they look at the situation, you have input from the military, and also, we make sure that we follow international law,” Ruppersberger told Reuters in 2011.

The Obama administration believed Awlaki — whose 8-year-old daughter was killed Sunday in Yemen, in the first military raid carried out under Trump — was a key figure for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

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Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, who was also American-born, was killed by a U.S. drone attack two weeks after his father’s targeted killing, which wasn’t confirmed for months.

The president’s role in ordering or approving a decision to target a U.S. citizen isn’t clear, according to the Reuters report, but officials said Obama was not required to personally approve Awlaki’s killing — although his objection would have overruled the decision.

The targeting recommendations were drawn up by a group of mid-level NSC and agency officials and then handed over to NSC “principals” — or cabinet secretaries and intelligence chiefs — and lawyers from the Justice Department were consulted before targeting Awlaki, according to Reuters.

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Attorneys justified the decision under the congressional authorization of force after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and they argued that international law permits such killing in defense of national security.

David Barron, a former Obama Justice Department official and now a federal appeals court judge, concluded Awlaki could be killed if he was actively plotting attacks against the U.S. and its allies — although he could find no statutory or constitutional authorization.

“As we understand the facts, the U.S. citizen in question has gone overseas and become part of the forces of an enemy with which the United States is engaged in an armed conflict,” Barron wrote. “That person is engaged in continual planning and direction of attacks upon U.S. persons from one of the enemy’s overseas bases of operations; the U.S. government does not know precisely when such attacks will occur; and a capture operation would be infeasible.”

Awlaki is believed to be the only American citizen targeted for capture or death for alleged terrorist involvement, although at least 10 U.S. nationals have been killed in drone attacks — which the government has said were mostly by accident.

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C-SPAN caller scorched by Muslim comedian for ignoring Jesus after she rants ‘gays are abomination to God’

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Comedian Dean Obeidallah, who is Muslim, told a C-SPAN caller that Republicans are not following the teachings of Jesus Christ even though they may oppose abortion and other policies advocated by evangelicals.

"I am independent," Pam, who called from Arkansas, told Obeidallah. "I vote according to my conscience of who would Jesus vote for if he were here on Earth. And he would not vote a group of people who believe in murdering children in the womb, on gays, which is an abomination to God, on false gods from other countries."

Obeidallah replied with a lesson on the Christian savior.

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Conservative drops mic on complicit press trying to maintain access to Trump: ‘He’s a raving lunatic … tell it like it is’

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Appearing on MSNBC's "AM Joy" conservative Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin excoriated members of the press who -- in the pursuit of appearing "objective" -- refuse to "tell it like it is" when reporting on President Donald Trump.

Speaking with host Joy Reid, Rubin -- one of the president's more avid critics -- got right to the point.

"I think there are two things, "Rubin began. "One, I think that this notion of objectivity of balance has been so inculcated into the media that they now don't call it like they see it at all because they are walking on eggshells."

"When the president had that out of control press conference if you could call it that, when he was rambling on and on, they were so restrained, they described it as a celebration," she continued. "No, he was a raving lunatic. You need to use the words, the verbs and correct description so you give the public a feel of how dangerous this guy is. That is not being biased -- that is being accurate and revealing the danger this guy poses."

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Trump belatedly snarls at media for reporting a portion of his wall fell over — two weeks after it happened

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On what must be a slow news day for President Donald Trump, he took to Twitter on Sunday morning to attack the press for reporting that a portion of his wall on the southern border toppled over two weeks ago -- and then blamed the collapse on "soaking wet" concrete and high winds.

Falling back on his stand-by "Fake News," the president tweeted: "Last week the Fake News said that a section of our powerful, under construction, Southern Border Wall 'fell over', trying to make it sound terrible, except the reason was that the concrete foundation was just poured & soaking wet when big winds kicked in. Quickly fixed 'forever'."

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