Thursday March 30, 2017 5 Top Stories to Start Your Day

Thursday March 30, 2017 5 Top Stories to Start Your Day

1. Bowing to political and economic pressure, North Carolina lawmakers and Governor Roy Cooper, on Wednesday, to repeal the “bathroom bill” which caused transgendered people to use the bathroom of their birth not the sex they identify with. Advocates for the transgendered community are arguing though the bill is does not protect the rights of transgender individuals within local communities. The new bill does repeal the controversial HB2 bill and takes control of public restrooms from local municipalities to state control and law. Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality NC, stated the new bill, “The initiative is not a repeal,” he said. “It’s doubling down on the discrimination that HB2 exacts — it’s HB2.0. It doesn’t allow municipalities to protect people from discrimination till 2020. It doesn’t do anything to better the lives of LGBT North Carolinians.” The official vote will take place Thursday morning.

2. Wednesday, in yet another promise made by a Trump member that has been broken, Ivanka Trump will become a formal member of the Trump administration as Assistant to the President. She will not take a pay but many are calling her hiring in violation of anti-nepotism laws enacted after the death of President Kennedy who had his brother Robert, serve as his Attorney General. The law states, “a public official may not appoint, employ, promote, advance, or advocate for appointment, employment, promotion, or advancement, in or to a civilian position in the agency in which he is serving or over which he exercises jurisdiction or control any individual who is a relative of the public official.” Once again ethics problems are abounding within this White House. In December when Mrs. Kushner was asked if she would have a role in the new administration and she replied as “daughter” and nothing more. Mrs. Kushner has not divested herself from her many businesses and her involvement with the Trump Corporation.

3. Jared Kushner, the husband of Ivanka Trump, and senior counsel to the President, is being questioned about his role of as an intermediary for the Trump administration, and his meeting with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Per the Washington Post, Kushner asked the Russian Ambassador for a backchannel to Russian President Putin. Kislyak responded with the name of a Russian banker who has extremely close ties to Putin, Sergey Gorkov, whose bank was under sanctions by the United States, which Russian banks have been lobbying against since they were imposed in 2014. There is confusion over what the meeting with the banker was for. Kushner stated that the meeting was a learning excursion to work with the Putin administration but the bank, VEB, announced the meeting was to work with Kushner’s private real estate company.

4. Thursday morning, the Senate Intelligence Committee opened its door to a public hearing regarding the actions of Russia, the Trump campaign and the effect on the United States Presidential election 2016. Committee Chairman Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, said in his opening remarks. “The public deserves to hear the truth about possible Russian involvement in our elections, how they came to be involved, how we may have failed to prevent that involvement.” The committee has repeatedly called for unity and bi-partisan action to find the truth. Already one new fact has been revealed. The Russian’s campaign to meddle in U. S politics did not stop with the election. Clinton Watts, a senior fellow at the Center for Cyber and Homeland Security at George Washington University stated that as recently as last week, “we observed social media campaigns targeting speaker of the House Paul Ryan hoping to foment further unrest amongst US democratic institutions.” Watts also stated to one member of the committee that Russian manipulations have continued “Senator Rubio, in my opinion, you anecdotally suffered from these efforts.” Watts continued his efforts to warn of the terror that Russian President Putin has caused saying that the United States should, “follow the trail of dead Russians,” a clear reference to Putin critics who have turned up dead.

5. President Trump has threatened journalism with a tweet asking if it is time to change the libel laws on Thursday morning. Trump tweeted about his seemingly favorite nemesis, the New York Times, saying that, “the failing @nytimes has disgraced the media world. Gotten me wrong for two solid years. Change libel laws?” This new attack on the Times and journalism comes after the Times reported on numerous times that there is a connection between Russia and the Trump campaign. Trump has called out the news as fake and that there is no proof of such a connection. Yet Thursday, the Senate Intelligence Committee said that their work is not fake news.

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