President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he supports a government shutdown if Democrats won't agree to tighten immigration laws, undercutting ongoing bipartisan negotiations on Capitol Hill. The comment, which came during a White House meeting on the violent MS-13 gang, was not well received in the room. Rep. Barbara Comstock, a Virginia Republican who represents a district with thousands of federal workers, confronted Trump about the remark and urged him to avoid another government shutdown. "If we don't change it, let's have a shutdown," Trump said of the nation's immigration laws. "We'll do a shutdown and it's worth it for our country. I'd love to see a shutdown if we don't get this stuff taken care of." read more
A contractor who was awarded a massive contract to provide millions of meals to Puerto Ricans affected by Hurricane Maria drastically underdelivered, according to a New York Times investigation. Tiffany Brown, an Atlanta entrepreneur and self-described government contractor who owns Tribute Contracting LLC, was awarded the $156 million contract by FEMA on Oct. 3 to provide 30 million self-heating meals to Puerto Rico, but only followed through on 50,000. Brown, the sole employee of her company, hired an 11-person wedding catering company and a Texas nonprofit that had shipped food to a Houston food bank during Hurricane Harvey to provide the meals.
John Prager: You know how Republicans are playing up the story that the FBI failed to disclose that one of its many many sources providing information about Trump goon Carter Page was partially paid by Democrats after they took over funding from Republicans? ... While Republicans have been saying this information is "worse than Watergate," there's just one tiny problem -- the FBI actually disclosed that information in a pretty standard location: the footnote of the page of the application itself. read more
Max Boot, Washington Post: Let us stipulate that Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, is not exactly the second coming of "Tail Gunner Joe ": that dubious honor more properly belongs to the conspirator in chief, President Trump. But for his deceptive, demoralizing and dangerous assault on the FBI -- an institution that, like the Army, is dedicated to defending America -- Nunes, too, deserves to be censured by his colleagues and stripped of his chairmanship. read more
Josh Marshall, TPM: The biggest impact of the Nunes Memo -- and the accompanying wave of propaganda -- is that conventional news and commentary is incapable of handling willful lying in the public sphere. This is a pattern we've seen again and again. It's one of the hallmarks of this political age. It's worth saying it again: conventional media is not equipped to deal with willful lying in the public sphere. This is actually quite black and white. There's no evidence of politicized intelligence or law enforcement or counter-intelligence work at all. Actually not any. All the evidence is based on false claims, logical fallacies or intentionally misleading representations of how standard law enforcement procedures work. If the leadership of the FBI or the DOJ had been trying to throw the election against Trump as opposed to doing their counter-intelligence jobs, they had information in their hands that quite possibly would have destroyed Trump's candidacy. It remained secret. read more
Over five years, millions of dollars were funneled to a Chao family foundation via two offshore firms that list a New York address but are not incorporated in the US. Two entities with those same names are incorporated in the Marshall Islands, one of the world's most secretive offshore tax havens. The Chao family's shipping business is New York based. Neither the Foremost Group nor the Department of Transportation would comment on the two firms actual and imaginary paper locations. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell joined his wife, Elaine Chao, now U.S. secretary of transportation, at a ceremony on the Harvard Business School campus to dedicate a new building emblazoned with the Chao family name. Funded by a $40 million gift from the Chao family and its foundation. The family's generosity appears to have come at the expense of taxpayers, since the money would already be in the public treasury had it not been sheltered in offshore tax havens. read more
Kimberly-Clark announced on Tuesday that it would cut between 5,000 and 5,500 jobs, or roughly 12 or 13% of the company's employees. The personal care product company also announced plans to shut down 10 manufacturing facilities. The restructuring program is estimated to save Kimberly-Clark $500 to $550 million by the end of 2021. The company said it plans to use savings from the Republican tax plan to fund the cuts and other restructuring efforts, The New York Times reported. Tax savings would additionally be used for capital investments and to allocate capital to shareholders, CFO Maria Henry said in a call with analysts.
Pope Francis received a victim's letter in 2015 that graphically detailed how a priest sexually abused him and how other Chilean clergy ignored it, contradicting the pope's recent insistence that no victims had come forward to denounce the cover-up, the letter's author and members of Francis' own sex- abuse commission have told The Associated Press. The fact that Francis received the eight-page letter, obtained by the AP, challenges his insistence that he has "zero tolerance" for sex abuse and cover-ups. It also calls into question his stated empathy with abuse survivors, compounding the most serious crisis of his five-year papacy.
No, it's not legal, but that didn't stop someone from taking a remote joyride on McCarran International Airport's flight path. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating an incident in which someone apparently piloted a drone right above a jet landing at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. The FAA can fine individuals up to $1,437 for each violation of flight safety rules. Business' fines can reach $32,666 per violation. Then there are criminal penalties of up to $250,000 in fines and three years in prison. read more
The Defense Logistics Agency in the Pentagon has reportedly "lost track" of hundreds of millions of dollars that it has spent, according to a Politico report about an internal audit. Accountants from Ernst & Young are said to have conducted the audit and found the agency did not properly document more than $800 million in construction projects -- and it's only one of the audit's examples of a lack of receipts and unreliable financial tracking system. The documents, according to Politico, renew questions about whether the Department of Defense as a bureau can handle managing its $700 billion annual budget, which President Trump has called to greatly increase.
Year after year, southern states consistently rank among the worst in the U.S. for health and wellness. This is not a new trend. The rankings have changed little over the last quarter century. What's causing residents of Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana and other southern states to live such short lives, while experiencing higher rates of cancer, diabetes and heart disease? A July study found a 20-year difference in life expectancy by county, with most of the counties with lower life expectancy located in the Southeast. The life expectancy gap is also growing year to year.
Republican gubernatorial candidate and State Rep. Jeanne Ives' (R-42nd) new attack ad has attracted criticism from both sides of the aisle as being divisive and insensitive. The ad includes an actor portraying a transgender woman, as well as depictions of a black Chicago Teachers Union member, a woman in a pink "pussyhat" and an immigration advocate. They address Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, saying, "Thank you for betraying Illinois Republicans." In a statement released Saturday, Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider said the ad does not reflect the views of the Republican Party. He said Ives should pull the ad and "apologize to the Illinoisans who were negatively portrayed in a cowardly attempt to stoke political division." read more
The former director of the Central Intelligence Agency on Sunday blasted a Republican memo alleging abuses of power by the FBI and the Justice Department. John Brennan accused Rep. Devin Nunes (R.-Calif.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, of selectively releasing information to accuse law enforcement officials of improperly obtaining a warrant to monitor the communications of a former Trump campaign adviser. "It's just appalling and clearly underscores how partisan Mr. Nunes has been," Brennan said in an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press." "He has abused the chairmanship of [the Intelligence Committee]," Brennan said.
Lawfare: We received 103 pages of records (from four FOIA requests) ... messages from FBI leadership around the country and across the bureau regarding the firing of Director James Comey. The bureau identified 116 pages of responsive material and withheld only 13 pages, so this material constitutes the overwhelming bulk of communications to staff on the subject of the firing. What does it show? Simply put, it shows ... a reaction of "shock" and "profound sadness" at the removal of a beloved figure to whom the workforce was deeply attached. It also shows that no aspect of the White House's statements about the bureau were accurate -- and, indeed, that the White House engendered at least some resentment among the rank and file for whom it purported to speak. As Amy Hess, the special agent in charge in Louisville, put it: "On a personal note, I vehemently disagree with any negative assertions about the credibility of this institution or the people herein." read more
Lawrence Wilkerson: Fifteen years ago this week, Colin Powell, then the secretary of state, took to the podium at the United Nations to sell pre-emptive war with Iraq. As his chief of staff, I helped Secretary Powell paint a clear picture that war was the only choice, that when "we confront a regime that harbors ambitions for regional domination, hides weapons of mass destruction and provides haven and active support for terrorists, we are not confronting the past, we are confronting the present. And unless we act, we are confronting an even more frightening future." Following Mr. Powell's presentation on that cold day, I considered what we had done. read more
SpaceX's Falcon Heavy took flight Tuesday, and everything appears to be going seamlessly. Around 3:45 pm ET, the world's most powerful rocket took off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. About two and a half minutes after launch, the two side boosters on the rocket detached and headed back to Earth. Thousands of onlookers could be heard cheering through SpaceX's livestream. read more