Wednesday February 15, 2017 5 Top Stories to Start Your Day
To say that Tuesday was a busy news day is quite the understatement. As quickly as the nation learned about the resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, more information was coming forward that those within either the Justice Department or White House was leaking information to the press. The question that the Republicans and the White House want to ask is who is leaking to the press confidential national security secrets. The Democrats and many others are saying, who cares? We have a right to know. The bigger question for them is, what did the President know and when did he know it. We shall see.
1. Tuesday night, the New York Times, reported that the Trump campaign had been in constant communication with Russians known and that was known to US intelligence agencies. According to the report, it was the frequency of the communications between Russia and the Trump campaign, that prompted the US intelligence and law enforcement to investigate. The report does say that it is not unusual for campaigns to be in touch with foreign countries but not the level the Trump campaign did or how high level members of the Trump campaign were involved. The work that the intelligence community gathered were part of routine US intelligence collection and not because people close to Trump were being targeted.
2. An arrest has been made in North Korea relating to the death of the brother of the leader of North Korea. Kim Jong-nam was murdered Monday in what South Korea is calling an assassination that had been carried out Monday at an airport boarding a flight to the island of Macau, a Chinese territory. The attack appears to have been a poisoning. Wednesday it was announced that a woman traveling with a Vietnamese passport was arrested in connection with the murder.
3. The resignation of National Security adviser Michael Flynn Monday night, has left questions as to whether the new Attorney General Jeff Sessions will have to recuse himself from any or all investigations into the question of Russian influence on the Trump campaign and the communications that occurred from members of the Trump campaign. Sessions was the first Senator to throw his support behind President Trump in the campaign season. Democrats believe that in the interest of fairness Sessions has to recuse himself as he was an advisor on national security to the Trump campaign.
4. Tuesday, it was announced that Russian aircraft flew close to a U.S. warship in the Black Sea last week, a U.S. defense official said, a charge the Russian military denied. According to NBC news, four armed Russian fighter planes and two unarmed fighter planes buzzed the USS Porter, a guided missile destroyer, on February 10. U.S. Defense Department spokeswoman Michellle Baldanza stated that, “Several incidents by multiple Russian aircraft in the Black Sea near the destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) on Feb. 10 were assessed by the ship’s commanding officer as unsafe and unprofessional. Such incidents are concerning because they can result in accident or miscalculation.” The Russian Defense Ministry denied the accusations.
5. Andrew Puzder, President Trump’s nominee for labor secretary, is facing increased scrutiny before his confirmation hearing, as a video tape of this former wife, provided by the Oprah Winfrey Network, in which she tells about violent abuse at the hands of the then husband. In addition to that video tape, members of the labor department have written a letter asking that Puzder not be confirmed due to his policies on labor, such as, “1. Mr. Puzder’s own business practices; (2) his derisive public comments about his restaurants’ employees and other low-wage workers; and (3) his equally troubling public comments and behavior towards women.” The letter also states that the employees “are alarmed that Mr. Puzder has presided over a company, CKE Restaurants, whose franchises have repeatedly been found responsible by the Department for violating employment laws … In the anti-discrimination context, Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. have had more federal discrimination lawsuits brought against them since 2000, when Mr. Puzder took over, than any other major hamburger chain.”
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