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Schumer: Democrats will filibuster Gorsuch nomination

(WaPo) As the Senate Judiciary Committee was hearing from witnesses for and against Judge Neil Gorsuch, his Supreme Court nomination was delivered a critical blow: Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced he would oppose Gorsuch and join other Democrats in filibustering the nomination, making it likely that the judge will struggle to find the support needed to clear a 60-vote procedural hurdle.

Gorsuch “was unable to sufficiently convince me that he’d be an independent check” on Trump, Schumer said in a Senate floor speech.

Gorsuch is “not a neutral legal mind but someone with a deep-seated conservative ideology,” Schumer added. “He was groomed by the Federalist Society and has shown not one inch of difference between his views and theirs.”


McCain: Congress doesn't have 'credibility' to handle Russia probes

(The Hill) Congress no longer has the credibility to independently tackle a probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and President Trump and his associates' ties to Moscow, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Wednesday.

"It's a bizarre situation, and what I think, the reason why I'm calling for this select committee or a special committee, is I think that this back-and-forth and what the American people have found out so far that no longer does the Congress have credibility to handle this alone," McCain told MSNBC's Greta Van Susteren. "And I don't say that lightly."


US officials: Info suggests Trump associates may have coordinated with Russians

(CNN) The FBI has information that indicates associates of President Donald Trump communicated with suspected Russian operatives to possibly coordinate the release of information damaging to Hillary Clinton's campaign, US officials told CNN.

This is partly what FBI Director James Comey was referring to when he made a bombshell announcement Monday before Congress that the FBI is investigating the Trump campaign's ties to Russia, according to one source.

The FBI is now reviewing that information, which includes human intelligence, travel, business and phone records and accounts of in-person meetings, according to those U.S. officials. The information is raising the suspicions of FBI counterintelligence investigators that the coordination may have taken place, though officials cautioned that the information was not conclusive and that the investigation is ongoing.

In his statement on Monday Comey said the FBI began looking into possible coordination between Trump campaign associates and suspected Russian operatives because the bureau had gathered "a credible allegation of wrongdoing or reasonable basis to believe an American may be acting as an agent of a foreign power."


Schiff: there is evidence that is "not circumstantial" of campaign/Russia coordination

(The Atlantic) Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said MSNBC Wednesday afternoon that there is evidence that is “not circumstantial” of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

Schiff’s statement escalates the rhetoric on Capitol Hill about allegations of ties between Russia and the president’s circle. It follows two major developments. On Monday, FBI Director James Comey confirmed that his bureau is investigating collusion. Then, on Wednesday, Representative Devin Nunes, the chair of the House intelligence committee, made a puzzling announcement about so-called incidental collection of information from Trump team members. Nunes made that announcement without informing Schiff first.

Schiff was furious. During a press conference Wednesday afternoon, he cast doubt on whether the House investigation was still viable.

“The chairman will need to decide whether he is the chairman of an independent investigation into conduct which includes allegations of potential coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russians, or he is going to act as a surrogate of the White House, because he cannot do both,” Schiff said. “Unfortunately I think the actions of today throw great doubt in the ability of the both the chairman and the committee to conduct the investigation the way it ought to be conducted.”

Mr. Sparkle

Ex-CIA Chief of Staff: Other House Intel Committee Members Likely Horrified Over Nunes Actions

(Mediaite) Following House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes’ press conference on his briefing of President Donald Trump over his finding of “incidentally collected” communications of Trump transition members, a former CIA chief of staff lit into the Republican lawmaker over his actions.

MSNBC security analyst Jeremy Bash noted that he served as counsel to the House Intelligence Committee in the past while pointing out that he “never heard of a chairman of an oversight committee going to brief the President of the United States about concerns he had about things he read in an intelligence report.”

“The job of the committee is to do oversight of the executive branch,” Bash exclaimed. “Not to bring them into their investigation or to tip them off to things they may be looking at.”

Fast Walker 52

While Gorusch was testifying, the Supreme Court unanimously said he was wrong

(Think Progress) About 40 minutes after Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch began his second day of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, all eight of the justices he hopes to join said a major disability decision Gorsuch wrote in 2008 was wrong.

Both the Supreme Court’s decision and Gorsuch’s 2008 opinion involved the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which requires that public school systems which take certain federal funds provide a “free appropriate public education” to certain students with disabilities.

Applying this law to individual students, the Supreme Court acknowledged in its Wednesday opinion in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, is not an exact science. “A focus on the particular child is at the core of the IDEA,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the unanimous Supreme Court. “The instruction offered must be ‘specially designed’ to meet a child’s ‘unique needs’ through an ‘individualized education program.’”


Manafort's plan to 'greatly benefit the Putin Government'

(AP) President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, secretly worked for a Russian billionaire to advance the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin a decade ago and proposed an ambitious political strategy to undermine anti-Russian opposition across former Soviet republics, The Associated Press has learned. The work appears to contradict assertions by the Trump administration and Manafort himself that he never worked for Russian interests.


Elizabeth Warren Calls for Postponement of Gorsuch Hearing Until After Trump FBI Investigation

(Politicus USA) Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) doesn’t think the Senate should proceed forward with the Supreme Court nomination hearings as if there is no Russian smoke clouding President Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

Warren noted that Gorsuch is up for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court by a President “whose campaign is under FBI investigation… for collusion w/ Russia. Lifetime court appointments can wait.”

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