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EX-DNI counsel points out a huge loophole in Trump’s order that lets Barr to do whatever he wants with declassified intel

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In a look into what might be expected now that Donald Trump has given the order for the US intelligence committee to cooperate with his handpicked attorney general, a former lead counsel to the Director of National Intelligence pointed out to the New York Times some particular phrasing that gives Bill Barr carte blanche to do as he pleases.

According to the report, “Trump allowed Attorney General William P. Barr to declassify information he finds during his review of what the White House called ‘surveillance activities during the 2016 Presidential election'” with his order.

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“Ordinarily, any review of intelligence activities would be done by the Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats. But in giving that authority to Barr, the president has turned to someone he perceives as a loyalist and who has already said that he thinks the government spied on the Trump campaign,” the Times reports.

This has former intelligence officials up in arms, with former FBI counsel James Baker, charging, “This is a complete slap in the face to the director of national intelligence [Dan Coats]. So why is the attorney general doing the investigation? Probably because the president trusts the attorney general more.”

According to Robert Litt, who served as general counsel for the office of the director of national intelligence, what Trump’s order does is provide an opening for Barr who famously likes to parse the meaning of words in order to avoid being questioned — such as when he battled Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) over the meaning of the word “suggested.”

“The part of this order that I find the most troubling says that the attorney general should consult with intelligence community elements on declassification ‘to the extent he deems it practicable,’ ” Litt pointed out. “He apparently doesn’t have to consult with them if he thinks that would be impracticable.”

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The report goes on to note that Barr may face some pushback from Coats who also made a very specific statement of cooperation that indicates he may not give Barr free rein.

You can read more here.


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‘The man who sold America’: Mitch McConnell’s mountain of political sins catalogued in devastating new profile

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Mitch McConnell finally has the power he's longed for since he was a 22-year-old intern for Sen. John Sherman, but his ruthless march to become Senate majority leader has seen him abandon almost all of his stated principles -- and earned him a lot of enemies.

The Kentucky Republican has been unpopular in his home state for years, but this summer has seen his approval rating plunge to 18 percent after MSNBC's Joe Scarborough tarred and feathered him with the nickname "Moscow Mitch," and he's increasingly seen as "the man who sold America," reported Rolling Stone.

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Sarah Sanders rages on Fox News that the ‘out-of-control’ media is ‘making stuff up’ about Trump

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In her new gig as a Fox News contributor, former White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders complained to host Sean Hannity that the "out-of-control" media makes "stuff up" about Donald Trump because they hate him for winning in 2016.

Sanders, who once told reporters that "countless" FBI agents had lost confidence in James Comey only to later tell investigators from special counsel Robert Mueller's office that she made it up, complained to the Fox host about the press being untrustworthy.

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There will be ‘nightmarish’ consequences if ‘buffoon’ Trump starts a war with Iran: Rick Wilson

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Longtime Republican strategist Rick Wilson is warning about the severe dangers that will come from President Donald Trump getting America into a war with Iran.

In a scathing column written for the Daily Beast, Wilson warns that the president is "entirely unequipped to handle" any serious fight against Iran, which has been accused of launching strikes against Saudi oil production facilities.

"The mullahs know what they’re seeing when they behold Trump: a buffoon and a bluffer who just might be dumb enough to start a war with nightmarish consequences," Wilson writes. "Iran sees an American defense and intelligence apparatus run by toadies and temporary/acting/provisional/until-the-next-tweet nonentities whose tenures depend not on strategic insight or depth of knowledge, but on their ability to abase themselves before the Dear Leader."

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