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Democrats may hold ‘hearings with empty chairs’ in response to White House stonewalling: NYT report

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Capitol Hill Democrats are preparing their responses as the White House continues to stonewall all investigations, The New York Times reported Thursday.

“House Democrats, frustrated by President Trump’s efforts to stonewall their investigations and eager to stoke public anger about the president’s behavior, are pinning their diminishing hopes on Robert S. Mueller III yet again,” The Times explained. “But so far Mr. Trump and his allies have successfully parried every one of their moves.”

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Mueller has not agreed to testify before either the House Judiciary Committee or House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

“His absence has left a disappointed House majority with little option but to stage political theatrics like Thursday’s 12-hour reading of the entire unredacted Mueller report in a hideaway Capitol committee room before a few reporters, a guest appearance by the liberal activist actor John Cusack and the unblinking eye of a C-Span (sic) camera,” The Times explained.

Democrats are preparing other options, also.

“Democrats involved in the investigations insist that they still have options. They can hold hearings with empty chairs, summon friendly witnesses and mount new and novel challenges against the administration on health care and other issues,” The Times noted.

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Democrats used an empty chair for Attorney General Bill Barr earlier in the month.

There is, of course, also impeachment, which Pelosi reportedly mentioned at a House Democratic Caucus meeting on Wednesday.

“Some of our folks are a little bit: ‘Why aren’t we impeaching the president? Why aren’t we impeaching him?’” she said, according to someone in the room. “They get a little down, ‘Why aren’t we impeaching the president?’”

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North America lost 3 billion birds since 1970: report

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The number of birds in the United States and Canada has fallen by an astonishing 29 percent, or almost three billion, since 1970, scientists reported Thursday, saying their findings signaled a widespread ecological crisis.

Grassland birds are the most affected, because of the disappearance of meadows and prairies and the extension of farmland, as well as the growing use of pesticides that kill insects that affects the entire food chain.

But forest birds and species that occur in a wider variety of habitats -- known as habitat generalists -- are also part of the downward trend.

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Ben Carson ranted about ‘big, hairy men’ invading women’s shelters in meeting with staff: report

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On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that President Donald Trump's Secretary of Housing and Urban Development unleashed an anti-transgender rant to staffers, complaining that "big, hairy men" are trying to infiltrate women's shelters in America.

The remarks come after Carson suggested that society no longer understands the difference between women and men while visiting HUD's office in San Francisco, California.

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Former four-star general speculates whistleblower scandal could involve Trump giving Putin an American

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It remains unclear exactly what were the issues cited by the whistleblower who expressed concern at actions of President Donald Trump as a threat to national security, at least one of which involved a promise the president allegedly made in a phone call with a foreign leader.

But former Gen. Barry McCaffrey had a chilling thought about what it could possibly be — and posted his speculation on Twitter:

SHEER SPECULATION. Is it possible that the WHISTLEBLOWER issue was Trump discussing with Putin handing over our former US Ambassador to Moscow Mike McFaul to Russian authorities? https://t.co/0PnQn0upiA

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