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Here’s how ex-Trump advisor George Papadopoulos could take down Jeff Sessions

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A former Trump campaign aide has agreed to plead guilty to misleading federal investigators — and his testimony could potentially bring down Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy advisor, accepted an Oct. 5 plea agreement announced Monday — the same day indictments against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates were unsealed.

According to court documents, Papadopoulos learned from a Russian professor that the Kremlin possessed “dirt” on Hillary Clinton obtained from thousands of stolen emails.

He told investigators he learned about the hacked emails before joining the campaign — but he later admitted to lying and agreed to cooperate with the special counsel probe as part of his guilty plea.

According to court documents, the professor only took an interest in Papadopoulos after he joined the Trump campaign in March 2016.

Three days after joining the campaign as a volunteer advisor, Papadopoulos sent an email to seven campaign officials with the subject line: “Meeting with Russian Leadership – Including Putin.”

He emailed then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski in April 2016 saying “Putin wants to host the Trump team when the time is right,” and he emailed Lewandowski and another campaign adviser, Sam Clovis, on May 4, 2016, to ask again about setting up a meeting.

Papadopoulos met in late April 2016 with the Russian professor, who revealed the stolen emails, and investigators said the Trump advisor then shared the information with a “high-ranking campaign official” and “senior policy advisor” the following day.

That’s about six weeks before a British intermediary approached Donald Trump Jr. with a similar offer from a Russian attorney.

Russia continued trying to arrange meetings with the campaign — including Trump himself — through Papadopoulos for weeks, including a June 1, 2016, conversation the advisor had with a top campaign official who referred him to a “campaign supervisor.”

It’s not clear from the court documents which two top campaign associates Papadopoulos told about the stolen emails, but there wouldn’t have been many possible candidates on the relatively small campaign at that time.

Manafort had joined the Trump campaign on March 29, 2016, to help keep Republican delegates loyal to the real estate developer and former reality TV star, and he was promoted to campaign chairman May 19.

Papadopoulos would have reported to Sessions, then a U.S. Senator from Alabama, who oversaw the Trump campaign’s foreign policy advisory committee and would have signed off on Papadopoulos and other unconventional candidates on the team.

Donald Trump announced his foreign policy team during a March 21, 2016, meeting with the Washington Post editorial board, and described Papadopoulos as “an energy and oil consultant, excellent guy.”

The advisory committee surprised and baffled foreign policy experts, who hadn’t heard of many of the advisors — who, for their part, were unable to describe exactly how they were helping Trump.

Sessions had hands-on involvement with the advisory committee Papadopoulos sat on, according to Stephen Miller — the senator’s communications director and, after the election, a senior advisor to the president.

“For first time, Miller detailed the effort Sessions has poured into this new role,” gushed Breitbart News on March 17, 2016, in a recap of an appearance on Fox News.

“Jeff Sessions has been meeting for hours now putting together a team of foreign policy advisers, military experts, [and] intelligence experts,” Miller told “The Kelly Files.” “I had a chance to speak to Sen. Sessions today and his military advisers for about half an hour before coming here and we discussed some robust foreign policy ideas.”

Sessions recused himself from overseeing the Justice Department probe March 2, 2017, after news reports showed he met twice during the campaign with the Russian ambassador — which appear to contradict statements he made during his confirmation hearings.

He met with the Russian ambassador and a small group of other diplomats after speaking at an event hosted by the Heritage Foundation during the Republican National Convention, in July 2016.

Sessions also met with the ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, at his Senate office on Sept. 8, 2016, but he insists that meeting was one of many he took with other ambassadors as part of his official duties on Capitol Hill.

He admits to speaking with the ambassadors about the presidential election, but he said those conversations were superficial.

Less than two weeks ago, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) grilled Sessions on his shifting explanations for his conversations with Kislyak.

“How your responses morphed from, ‘I did not have any communications with the Russians,’ to, ‘I did not discuss the political campaign,’ and then finally going to, ‘I did not discuss interference in the election’— that to me is moving the goal post every time,” Franken said. “By the end, we’re going to a 75-yard field goal.”

“Saying, ‘I didn’t discuss interfering in the election is your last statement,’ that’s a very different bar than, ‘I can tell you I did not meet with any Russians,’” he added.

After Sessions’ recusal, deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein oversaw the Justice Department probe of alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Rosenstein then appointed special counsel Robert Mueller in May 2017 after the president fired former FBI director James Comey.

It’s not clear whether Papadopoulos, who was introduced to the Trump campaign by Ben Carson, has damaging information on Sessions or anyone else — but his testimony was apparently worth a plea deal from the special counsel.

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Why Mike Pompeo smirked when asked if North Korea executed negotiators

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“Suffer me that I may speak, and after I have spoken, mock on.”
The Book of Job, 21:3

No wonder Mike Pompeo awkwardly laughed or, as it was described by some observers, “smirked,” when asked about the reports of the execution of four of the people with whom Mr. Trump and Mr. Pompeo had been negotiating a few shorts months ago. Their roles might have been reversed.

The smirk made its appearance when Mr. Pompeo was being interviewed on a Sunday news show, and was asked for his reaction to reports that life had not gone well for four of the people he had gotten to know during the two sessions North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump had conducted over the preceding 12 months.

The first session had been a phenomenal success and the second, although cut short, did not extinguish the flame of love that warmed Mr. Trumps’ heart whenever he thought of Mr. Kim.

After the first meeting in Singapore in June 2018, Mr. Trump said at a news conference that he and Mr. Kim had “developed a very special bond. People are going to be very impressed. People are going to be very happy… I think our whole relationship with North Korea and the Korean Peninsula is going to be a very much different situation than it has in the past.” Describing Mr. Kim, Mr. Trump said he was “a very talented man.”

Addressing the United Nations General Assembly in September 2018 and making reference to the historic meeting, Mr. Trump said in the manner of a child explaining the child’s affection for a person of whom the child’s parents disapprove: “He likes me, I like him. We get along. He wrote me two of the most beautiful letters. When I showed one of the letters—just one—to [Japanese] Prime Minister Abe, he said: ‘This is actually a groundbreaking letter.’”

Prior to the February 2019 meeting in Singapore, Mr. Trump said of his relationship with Mr. Kim: “It’s a very interesting thing to say, but I’ve developed a very, very good relationship. We’ll see what that means. But he’s never had a relationship with anybody from this country and hasn’t had lots of relationships anywhere.”

Notwithstanding Mr. Trump’s ardor, the February 2019 summit was cut short by Mr. Trump because he and Mr. Kim could not come to an agreement on the United States lifting economic sanctions and on North Korea cutting back its nuclear arsenal. Mr. Trump explained that “I’d much rather do it [a deal] right than do it fast.”

Mr. Pompeo, the secretary of state who accompanied Mr. Trump on the trip, commented on the early termination of the summit, saying, “We are certainly closer today [to an agreement] than we were 36 hours ago, and we were closer then, than we were a month or two before that.”

Success in negotiations with North Korea is a bit like beauty—it is in the eye of the beholder. What unconfirmed reports say happened in North Korea following the second meeting suggests that Mr. Kim was not quite as pleased with its results as Mr. Pompeo had been. If reports are accurate, Mr. Kim attributed the failure of the talks to four of his representatives and to make sure such an embarrassing failure would not happen again, the negotiators were lined up in front of a firing squad and executed.

During an interview on an ABC News program, Mr. Pompeo was asked about the reported execution and in response, he simply smiled or, as some described it, smirked, while declining to add anything to the reports but saying, “It does appear that the next time we have serious conversations, my counterpart will be someone else.” Here is why Mr. Pompeo smirked.

He is mildly amused by the fact that those negotiators were working for a man whose retributive actions towards his negotiators was so violent. Mr. Pompeo knows that those negotiators work for the same kind of manipulative, corrupt, and unpredictable tyrant as he. Mr. Pompeo smirked because he knows that it was only luck of the draw that he works for Mr. Trump, who lacks the ability, if not the wish, to have those who displease him shot. If he could, he would. He can’t. Mr. Trump’s remedies for dealing with those who displease him is to utter the famous two-word phrase: “You’re fired.”

Mr. Pompeo smirked because he knows how much those who were shot would have preferred to be part of the corrupt Trump White House team rather than the corrupt North Korean entourage, and he knows how lucky he is to be working for his nut job instead of the other one.

There is in truth, little to smirk about when the person who is smirking works for Trump instead of Kim. Both men are beneath contempt.

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Trump says he’ll give Americans the ‘best healthcare ever’ — but only if Republicans win in 2020

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President Donald Trump appears to be holding a healthcare plan hostage unless Americans vote for Republicans in 2020.

In a Fox News interview Sunday with Steve Hilton, Trump said he’s developing a plan that will be far better than the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare). But that bill will never become law in the next two years because he wants Republicans to be elected first.

He began by saying that the 80 million Americans who have health care through their employer are “happy” and Democrats want to take it away. As a fact-check, the “Medicare for All” plan would give free health care to people instead of their employer paying for their health insurance.

“What I want to do, Obamacare is a disaster,” Trump said. “I got rid of the individual mandate, which was the worst part of Obamacare. Frankly, except for the one gentleman who decided after campaigning for eight years to repeal and replace at 2:00 A.M., he walked out on the on the floor and went thumbs, we would have healthcare repealed and replaced, but I’m doing it a different way.”

As another fact-check, the bill Republicans put up was a repeal without a replacement. It’s unclear if McCain voted against it for that reason, but many Republicans suggest it was the major problem with the GOP proposal.

“We get rid of the individual mandate as part of the tax cuts and that’s most we are now coming up with a much better plan than Obamacare if we take the House back, keep the Senate, keep the presidency, they will have phenomenal healthcare at a fraction of the cost,” Trump pledged.

If Trump was interested in actually fixing health care, he could work with Democrats to develop a law that both parties could pass. Instead, he’s hoping to take back both chambers of Congress so he can pass the bill he wants without bipartisan agreement.

Watch the interview with Trump below:

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Conference for local officials devolves into fist-fight — and one councilman in the hospital

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Councilman Leonard Mendoza

A conference for local-government officials began with cooler heads, but it devolved into an outright brawl.

The Cerritos Community News and The Los Angeles Times reported the conference battle Sunday at the Indian Wells resort. Several attendees began throwing punches and it resulted in at least one person being knocked unconscious, witnesses reported.

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department confirmed the fight broke out at the Renaissance Indian Wells Resort & Spa around 12:30 a.m. where seven people were involved in “an altercation and physical battery.” One person was hospitalized.

None of the people involved “were cooperative,” Deputy Mike Vasquez told The Times, noting that there were no arrests.

It’s unclear who started the fight, but it involved members of the Commerce City Council and other officials, a written statement from Mayor John Soria said.

“It was a hectic scene,” one witness said.

The Times reported that a photo was circulating among local officials showing Councilman Leonard Mendoza on the ground with blood at his feet. Another man is seen checking Mendoza’s pulse.

(Screen capture taken from Cerritos Community News)

Mayor Soria said that he learned Mendoza and colleague Ivan Altamirano were talking about something when it “became elevated.” Mayor Soria “went to the area to defuse any potential conflict,” and that’s when he saw Mendoza on the ground. Altamirano was nearby “with a facial injury.”

Altamirano was then attacked “from behind by two individuals” according to Soria.

“I want to be clear in condemning the violent behavior from the individuals who initiated these assaults,” Soria said. “Once additional information is available I intend to call on my council colleagues to take appropriate action regarding any individuals that represent the City of Commerce who were involved in the incident.”

Read the full report from the Cerritos Community News.

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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., November 30, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts