The striking similarity between a newly released Treasury Department report of Russian oligarchs and a 2017 list of wealthy Russians published in Forbes magazine is no coincidence. On Tuesday, a Treasury Department spokesperson confirmed to BuzzFeed News that the unclassified annex of the report was derived from Forbes' ranking of the "200 richest businessmen in Russia 2017." The revelation is likely to invite criticisms of the thoroughness of the Treasury Department's report and reinforce the notion that the list is primarily a who's who of the Russian elite rather than an official accounting of Kremlin-linked political corruption as some US lawmakers intended. Congress mandated the report in a law President Trump grudgingly signed in August. At the time, the president called the legislation "seriously flawed." read more
Matthew, Live and Let's Fly: Recently, I argued that airlines must crack down on the abuse of emotional support animals. Passengers continue to twist federal law to bypass pet cargo fees and bring animals onboard who do not belong onboard. Case in point: a woman tried to bring a peacock onboard a recent United Airlines flight at Newark Liberty International Airport. She did offer to pay for a second seat for this oversized bird, but claimed she had a right to bring it onboard as her emotional support animal.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) won't run for another term, he announced Wednesday, making him the latest GOP chairman to announce he's heading for the exits in recent months. "I will not be filing for re-election to Congress nor seeking any other political elected office," Gowdy said in a statement. "Instead I will be returning to the justice system. Whatever skills I may have are better utilized in a courtroom than in Congress, and I enjoy our justice system more than our political system." His announcement makes him the ninth Republican committee chairman to announce he's leaving, the second this week alone, and the second Oversight chairman in less than a year, as former Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) quit to take a job at Fox News last year.
This weekend the New York Times published an investigation called The Follower Factory, a story naming names of those who pay for Twitter followers. Now comes the fallout. The Chicago Sun-Times issued a statement saying that film critic Richard Roeper is under investigation. "We became aware over the weekend of issues relating to Rich Roeper's Twitter account," the statement reads. "We're investigating these issues. We will not be publishing any reviews or columns by Rich until this investigation is complete."
A train carrying Republican lawmakers to their GOP retreat in West Virginia collided with a dump truck in the crossing grade on Wednesday, according to several GOP aides and lawmakers. "The President has been fully briefed on the situation in Virginia and is receiving regular updates. There is one confirmed fatality and one serious injury. There are no serious injuries among members of Congress or their staff," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. read more
President Donald Trump's top public health official resigned Wednesday amid mounting questions about financial conflicts of interest. Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald's resignation comes one day after POLITICO reported that one month into her tenure as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, she bought shares in a tobacco company. Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death, and preventing it is an issue Fitzgerald had long championed. read more
FBI Director Christopher Wray told the White House he opposes the release of a controversial, classified GOP memo alleging bias at the FBI and Justice Department because it contains inaccurate information and paints a false narrative, according to a person familiar with the matter. President Donald Trump was overheard Tuesday night telling a Republican lawmaker that he was "100 percent" planning to release the memo, which was written by staffers on the House Intelligence Committee and is aimed at raising questions about the validity of the investigation into possible collusion between Trump's campaign and Russia, now led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The FBI isn't included in the inter-agency review process led by the White House aimed at deciding whether -- and how much of -- the memo can be made public following a vote Monday by the House Intelligence panel to release it. Wray was allowed to read the memo on Sunday. read more
Jimmy Kimmel introduced a group of hardcore conservatives against DACA to a woman who was brought to America illegally at age two. The women held her young daughter on her lap and explained that she has submitted paperwork, has a social security card and pays taxes. None were moved to say the woman should not be deported. When one guest told her to leave and apply to comeback legally, she explained it could take 10 years. The man had no sympathy saying then that's what it takes. When her American soldier fiance was brought into the picture, one of anti-DACA guests did kind of say the woman should not be deported.
Under the cover of his soothing rhetoric about unity and bipartisanship, Trump called on Congress to give him unprecedented and unquestionably antidemocratic powers: "Tonight," he said, "I call on the congress to empower every Cabinet secretary with the authority to reward good workers -- and to remove federal employees who undermine the public trust or fail the American people." read more
Williamson, W.Va., sits right across the Tug Fork river from Kentucky. The town has sites dedicated to its coal mining heritage and the Hatfield and McCoy feud and counts just about 3,000 residents. But despite its small size, drug wholesalers sent more than 20.8 million prescription painkillers to the town from 2008 and 2015, according to an investigation by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The opioids -- hydrocodone and oxycodone pills -- were provided to two pharmacies just four blocks apart. Committee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., and ranking member Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., issued a joint statement on its findings.
epening slump in U.S. motorcycle demand is spurring more job cuts and a plant closure at Harley-Davidson Inc., a company President Donald Trump has cast as a model American manufacturer. The Milwaukee-based motorcycle maker will close its factory in Kansas City, Missouri, and consolidate production in York, Pennsylvania, according to a statement Tuesday. The restructuring will eliminate about 260 U.S. jobs, Chief Executive Officer Matt Levatich said on a conference call. Trump praised the company last year as a "great example" of a business creating jobs and building factories in the country. In closing the Kansas City plant, Harley will eliminate about 800 jobs; it will add 450 in York, a mix of full-time, part-time and contract positions. read more
Taliban fighters, whom US-led forces spent billions of dollars trying to defeat, are now openly active in 70% of Afghanistan, a BBC study has found. Months of research across the country show how areas the Taliban threaten or control have surged since foreign combat troops left in 2014. The Afghan government played down the report, saying it controls most areas. But recent attacks claimed by Taliban and Islamic State militants have killed scores in Kabul and elsewhere. read more
President Donald Trump has been talking to his friends about possibly asking Attorney General Jeff Sessions to prosecute Robert Mueller, the special counsel overseeing the Russia probe, and his team, NBC News reported. The revelation appears in a news analysis piece written by Howard Fineman, an NBCNews.com contributor and an analyst for MSNBC. Fineman quotes an unnamed Trump advisor as saying: "Here's how it would work: 'We're sorry, Mr. Mueller, you won't be able to run the federal grand jury today because he has to go testify to another federal grand jury.'" It's unclear what charges Mueller could possibly face in such a situation. read more