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Another Trump administration official resigns ‘in protest’ after the White House blocked his testimony: report

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President Donald Trump is joined by the Congressional leadership and his family before formally signing his cabinet nominations into law, in the President's Room of the Senate, at the Capitol in Washington, January 20, 2017. From left are Vice President Mike Pence, the president's wife Melania Trump, their son Barron Trump, and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis. REUTERS/J. Scott Applewhite/Pool

Rod Schoonover has resigned as a State Department intelligence official “in protest” over the White House’s decision to block him from presenting evidence and data on the impacts of climate change in Congressional testimony, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

The report cited anonymous State Department officials as sources on the development. Previous reporting had revealed that the White House had blocked the written testimony.

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The Washington Post reported:

According to several senior administration officials, all of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk about internal deliberations, Trump administration officials sought to cut several pages of the document on the grounds that its description of climate science did not mesh with the administration’s official stance. Critics of the testimony included William Happer, a National Security Council senior director who has touted the benefits of carbon dioxide and sought to establish a federal task force to challenge the scientific consensus that human activity is driving the planet’s rising temperatures.

Schoonover still testified before the House Intelligence Committee on June 5, 2019, on the topic of the national security implications of climate change, but he wasn’t allowed to provide evidence and data supporting his conclusions in his written testimony, the Journal reported. His written remarks were reportedly cut in half to exclude this information.

“As an intelligence officer, my job is to provide clear, objective, independent analysis top policymakers to advance U.S. national security,” Schoonover said at the hearing. “The Earth’s climate is unequivocally undergoing a long-term warming trend, as established by decades of scientific measurements from multiple independent lines of evidence.”

He added: “We see few plausible future scenarios where significant harm does not arise from the compounded effects of climate change. People’s choices in the present and future, however, dictate the magnitude of many factors.”

The Journal reported that Schoonover’s last day at the department will be Friday after having worked there for almost a decade.

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The event highlights an ongoing struggle in the Trump administration, which arises from the fundamental failures of the Republican Party more broadly. The federal government has developed layers of experts and career officials who work to provide the analysis and information to elected and appointed officials in order for them to best carry out their duties to the public. But these career officials, while they certainly have political opinions, largely do their work with dedication toward pursuing the objective truth to aid decisionmakers. When a party like the GOP becomes so disconnected from reality that it denies the scientific consensus on climate change, it will likely clash with the government’s experts.

Alternatively, as occurred under President George W. Bush, the intelligence community may be co-opted into building the case for even a deeply misguided policy aim such as the Iraq War. Notably, the Journal pointed out that Schoonover’s agency, the Intelligence and Research Bureau, “was nearly alone among spy agencies in questioning whether Iraq had active weapons of mass destruction programs” when Bush pushed for war in 2003.


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GOP lawmaker in Tennessee admits to prescribing opioids to his second cousin — who was also his lover

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Tennessee state Sen. Joey Hensley (R) is under investigation by a medical review board for providing opioids to family members, one of which was his second cousin -- who also happened to be his lover, the Tennessean reports.

Hensley, an anti-LGBT ideologue who wrote his state's infamous "Don't Say Gay" bill, admits that he prescribed drugs for his relatives, but says he's the only doctor in town.

“There are not many people in the county who haven’t been to see Dr. Hensley, and she was one of them,” defense attorney David Steed said, adding, “Half of the county are Hensleys. Everyone there knows everyone. There were multiple relationships and the physician-patient relationship was only one and somewhat incidental to the others.”

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2020 Election

West Virginia voter: ‘I’ll probably vote for Donald Trump’ because ‘he keeps the people to the TV set’

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A group of West Virginia voters explained their voting choices to MSNBC on Monday.

"I don't have TV, I don't have internet," one woman said. "I'm pretty far behind. And I bet you a lot of around here are because we're poor. I don't know nothing about Joe [Biden]. I ain't never heard nothing about him at all. Donald Trump, I know a little bit about him because of the past couple of years."

"I'll probably vote for Donald Trump," Jeff Kibbey told MSNBC. "He keeps the people to the TV set."

"One, Trump is good," Francis Senter insisted. "Biden -- however you pronounce his name -- is good too. But like I say, I can't judge either one of them. It's the same community it ain't never going to change because if it was going to change it wouldn't look like this right here."

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2020 Election

White nationalist group ‘training for violence’ as Trump’s defeat grows likelier: report

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On Tuesday, BuzzFeed News reported that Patriot Front, a white supremacist group formed from the collapse of groups that participated in the Charlottesville neo-Nazi riots, is preparing for civil unrest as they believe President Donald Trump's re-election is a lost cause.

"BuzzFeed News has received a cache of hundreds of messages exchanged by Patriot Front members on Rocket.Chat, an encrypted group messaging app," reported Jane Lytvynenko. "In logs of the chats, all from this year, around 280 members of the group discuss grandiose goals — creating a white ethnostate from the existing United States. The group wants to expel immigrants, people of color, and Jews, remaking the fabric of America."

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