Little Known FBI’s Race-Based Surveillance

There have been numerous media reports about a very troubling practice by the FBI to designate Black activists as “Black Identity Extremists”, an often bogus designation which is then used to justify subjecting the said activists to all levels of surveillance–private, local, state, federal and even military surveillance in major cities like Houston, LA, Chicago, New York and others. The rationale, a bogus one, is that a “Black Identity Extremist” or BIE is more likely to attack law enforcement officers and thus needs to be placed under 24-hour surveillance.

The controversy surrounding this program, beyond its prima facie racism, centers around the ease with which a Black activist could end up in this designation. Several media reports have said that even mundane activities like organizing or attending a Black Lives Matter rally could in the eyes of the FBI qualify a Black activist as a BIE subjecting them to unjustified long-term government surveillance, the fruits of which could be used in their criminal prosecution. Needless to say, Black activists who support/sympathize with Black Lives Matter on social media (Twitter, Facebook) can also very easily be designated as BIEs. Simply put, this is a very serious problem that is yet to garner the mainstream media attention it deserves.

Yours Truly has ranted and raved about the lack of mainstream media attention surrounding this seemingly–let’s face it–racist surveillance by the FBI for quite a while now, wondering when House Democrats would take up this serious issue with the justice department.

Well, it turns out Rep Sheila Jackson-Lee (R-TX) did indeed raise this issue with then U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions at a House hearing on November 14, 2017. Rep Jackson-Lee asked Sessions; “My question is, as I hold up the poster dealing with the report under your jurisdiction–Black Identity Extremists. It is interesting to me that you are opposing [meant targeting] individuals who are opposing lethal force, similar to the attack on Reverend Dr Martin Luther King on Cointelpro, but there seems to be no report dealing with the tiki torch parade in Charlottesville chanting ‘Jews will not replace us’. Why is there an attack on Black activists versus any report dealing with the Alt Right and the White Nationalists?” AG Sessions responded that he was not aware of the report.

Cointelpro which Rep Jackson-Lee referenced in her questioning was a controversial and secret surveillance program the FBI deployed on Black civil rights activists in the 60s, most notably, on the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. Historians agree that the primary reason the FBI ran Cointelpro on Black civil rights activists was to scare them into silence. This is precisely why when Black activists hear about “Black Identity Extremists” they are immediately reminded of stories they’ve read about Cointelpro and are justified in questioning whether the FBI has indeed reverted back to its 1960s tactic of stifling Black dissent.

Bottom line the “Black Identity Extremist” debate is one that begs for serious mainstream media attention. The mainstream media and indeed members of Congress must not remain silent as a section of the population is unjustly subjected to heightened levels of government surveillance all in an effort to stifle their first amendment compliant political speech. At moments like these, Martin Niemoller’s famous words come to mind; “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist, then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist, then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

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Florida Police Arrested 6 Yr Old Black Girl Over Tantrum At School

In one of the most outrageous cases illustrating the ease with which children of color get caught up in the criminal justice system, we now get a shocking report out of Florida that police in Orlando arrested, handcuffed, fingerprinted and took a mugshot of a 6 year old Black girl because she threw a tantrum at Lucious & Emma Nixon Elementary School where she’s a first-grader. Yeah, Orlando police charged first-grader Kaia with battery and threw her in the back of a squad car for a trip to a juvenile detention center. Absolutely outrageous!!

According to her visibly upset Grandma Meralyn Kirkland, Orlando police charged her granddaughter with battery because she got upset and kicked somebody (presumably one of her classmates). Kirkland says she tried to explain to an officer that her granddaughter had a medical condition (sleep apnea) which the family was trying to resolve but the officer was very dismissive. The officer she spoke to apparently responded saying, “I have sleep apnea and I don’t behave that way.”

Rebecca J. Kavanagh a New York City Public Defender has dug up the name of the officer who arrested little Kaia and surprise surprise, the officer, Dennis Turner, also arrested an 8 year old Black boy on the same day for an unrelated incident. Folks, it appears the school-to-prison pipeline is alive and well in Orlando, Florida.

Bottom line folks, there are a lot of problems with the criminal justice system and it may be easy for us members of the public to simply sit on the bleachers and point fingers at law enforcement for all the problems. The reality however is that these are systemic problems in the criminal justice system that sooner or later consume even well-meaning, good-natured individual officers. In other words, even though the officer mentioned above is cast in very negative light, the real problem is that he finds himself in a culture at the Orlando Police Department where it is very normal to criminally prosecute children of color for being children. While there will certainly be an effort to go after officer Dennis Turner individually, one only hopes that this troubling incident will spark a real debate about the real systemic problem which is the school-to-prison pipeline.

On a lighter note, if little Kaia can kick so hard at 6 years old as to warrant a battery charge, maybe the Miami Dolphins or Jacksonville Jaguars should keep an eye on her for a future Hall of Fame Kicker spot.

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Is Tulsi Gabbard The Trump Candidate?

The question as to whether Dem Presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard is a “spoiler” has been around ever since she announced her bid for the U.S. Presidency. Some in the mainstream media have even accused her of being a Russian plant out there to forment chaos in the Democratic Presidential nomination thereby handing Trump an easy win. Tulsi’s camp has of course vociferously denied these allegations

When news came out after the first Democratic Presidential debate that Tulsi was the most Google-searched candidate, rumors flared up again with some claiming that Russian troll bots were the ones engineering those searches. Google even temporarily shut down Tulsi’s advertising campaign during these wild searches which the tech giant characterized as “suspicious”. Team Tulsi countered Google’s action with a massive $50 million dollar lawsuit accusing the tech giant of among other things, violations of her free speech rights. The lawsuit is still pending in federal court.

The “Tulsi is a Russian plant” controversy however officially blew up yesterday during the second Democratic Presidential debate in Detroit where she eviscerated one of the leading and beloved Dem Presidential candidates Kamala Harris over her record as a California prosecutor.

The issue that got most people’s attention is not the fact that Tulsi eviscerated Senator Kamala Harris, but the manner in which Fox News and it’s most valued customer President Trump, amplified the attacks. This to many “Tulsi is a Russian plant” enthusiasts was the “a-ha” moment they’d been waiting for. You don’t have to take Yours Truly’s word for it, just look at mainstream media’s S.E. Cupp‘s Tweet which says it all. So Team Tulsi before you start gunning for Yours Truly, a near certainty at this juncture, maybe you should go after mainstream media’s S.E. Cupp first.

Bottom line in every election cycle there are always accusations of “spoiler” candidates–you’ll remember Jill Stein in 2016. Yours Truly is by no means saying Tulsi is the spoiler candidate in 2020. All Yours Truly is pointing out is that this “Tulsi is a Russian plant” narrative has been simmering amongst grassroots Democrats for a while now and it appears to have finally boiled to the surface after last night’s debate. Why is Trump’s favorite TV network Fox News so interested in and even cheering on Tulsi? Is Tulsi the Trump candidate? All these are questions that will only get louder as the Dem Presidential nomination contest progresses and as Trump famously says, “We’ll see what happens.”

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Mitch McConnell’s Disgusting Hypocrisy On Obstruction Of Justice

A stunning video from Now This News shows Mitch McConnell some 20 years ago severely criticizing the Clinton administration for what he considered obstruction of the Ken Starr investigation into the president. Shockingly, some of the same obstructive tactics Mitch McConnell lamented 20 years ago, he now fully supports under current Republican President Trump–disgusting hypocrisy.

Mitch McConnell said this on the floor of the U.S. Senate 20 years ago regarding obstruction of justice; “Mr President I rise today to call attention to a serious and deeply troubling crisis in our country. This is a crisis of confidence, of credibility, and of integrity. Our nation is indeed at a crossroads. Will we pursue the search for truth, or will we dodge, weave and evade the truth? I am of course referring to the investigation into serious allegations of illegal conduct by the President of the United States. That the President has engaged in a persistent pattern and practice of obstruction of justice. The allegations are grave, the investigation is legitimate, and ascertaining the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the unqualified, unevasive truth is absolutely critical. The search for truth is being led by a highly capable former Solicitor General of the United States and a former judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit Kenneth Starr. Mr President, I am deeply troubled today because judge Starr’s pursuit of the truth is being undermined every step of the way, every single day in the press by those whose sole mission is to attack and impune the court-appointed independent prosecutor and the congressionally-created process. And these attackers are not the journalists or the broadcasters. Mr President what troubles me the most here is that these reckless attacks, these ruthless onslaughts, are being carried out by the closest advisers to the President of the United States. The smear campaign is being orchestrated by the White House.”

Think about that folks, 20 years after his speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Mitch McConnell now fully supports all the smear campaigns and obstruction of congress orchestrated by the Trump White House.

Bottom line folks, America has had it’s fair share of despicable politicians. Reasonable people will agree however that Senator Mitch McConnell is the most despicable U.S. politician ever and the video above is Exhibit A.

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Kamala Harris Says Barr’s Conduct Undermines Justice System

Appearing on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow show Dem Presidential hopeful Kamala Harris pointed out a serious consequence of Attorney General Barr’s conduct that receives very little media attention. AG Barr is often criticized for his overt political bias, but as Senator Kamala Harris aptly pointed out, his troubling conduct is having a real devastating effect on the integrity of the overall justice system. The full Maddow segment is available here but the relevant clip is below.

Sen Harris told Maddow, “Everyday in America there are people walking into courthouses around our country, state courthouses, federal courthouses. And they’re going to walk into those courthouses skeptical of whether justice actually occurs in those places. And that is real, that is a real consequence when we see the kinds of behavior we’ve been seeing under this administration which is that it is undermining people’s confidence in our democracy. And that is not an overstatement.”

Senator Harris later added, “One of our greatest strengths as a nation is that we have a system of democracy that we will fight for, that we will die for, and one of the most significant pillars in that system is our justice system. Now we know it is imperfect and we know it is deeply flawed in many ways. But when the highest official in the land[Barr] presents himself to the world the way we just witnessed, I think it calls into question the integrity of the system overall.”

This was such a profound statement by Senator Kamala Harris especially as it relates to communities of color who as we know are disproportionately targeted by the U.S. criminal justice system. Senator Harris’ forceful argument is that if the head of DOJ(AG Barr) displays such callous disregard for the rule of law (willfully lying to Congress, ignoring Congressional requests for testimony), then his DOJ in the eyes of the public, has lost all moral authority to hunt down other lawbreakers–the thieves, bank robbers, rapists etc.

In essence, Sen Harris’ argument is that AG Barr’s gravest “sin” is not necessarily that he is a partisan political hack, but that his unfortunate actions are seriously detrimental to a key pillar of our democracy–the justice system. Both Democrats and Republicans benefit from a sound justice system meaning Barr is sacrificing a key pillar of our democracy for the benefit of only one person–President Trump.

Bottom line, even though AGs are political appointees, it has always been expected of them to project an image of independence from the executive branch so as to instill confidence among the public that they are not being unduly influenced by external forces when making prosecutorial decisions. With the current state of affairs, no reasonable person can make the argument that AG Barr is not acting under the direction of/in concert with the Trump administration. Trump and Barr echo each other, sometimes even using the same phrases in their public utterances. For this and many other reasons, the only recourse is for AG Barr to resign so that efforts can begin to restore the integrity of the justice system which he has severely shattered.

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Texas Surcharge Program, A Modern Day Slavery

You have heard many stories about how the Republican party both nationally and at the state level has over the years embarked on policies that consistently hurt the poor while benefiting the rich, or as they call it on Twitter the #WarOnPoverty. The GOP’s attack on the poor has taken several forms for example reducing funding for food stamps, opposing hikes to minimum wage, etc.

All these affronts on the poor by the GOP have received a lot of national media attention and deservedly so. However there are other egregious GOP attacks on the poor that never get the national media attention they deserve, but have serious negative consequences on the daily lives of the working poor. One such attack is the notorious Texas Surcharge Program, an out and out modern day slavery.

The Republican-controlled Texas Legislature introduced the program in 2003 with an aim to raise money to fund the very expensive Texas trauma centers.

The idea was that imposing additional fines to traffic tickets would deter people from breaking traffic rules and as a result improve overall public safety while at the same time providing the much needed funding for the trauma centers. The result however has been the total opposite–a total nightmare for Texas drivers.

Millions of Texas Drivers are driving around with driver licences that they don’t even know have been long suspended thanks to the surcharges. You have Texas parents dropping their kids to school and then going to work only to have to call their family from county jail saying they were arrested for driving with a suspended license that they had no idea about. This of course means these families then have to redirect their already meager financial resources to paying a bail bonding company, towing charges etc or in many instances just letting their loved one sit in jail, losing their jobs and digging them deeper into poverty–the aforementioned modern day slavery.

You also have to consider the tremendous burden that lack of a valid driver’s license imposes on working families. This for some people means giving up a good job offer simply because it will require them to drive daily with their suspended license putting them at risk of arrest, or not being able to take out a rental car during the holidays, and so on, all because of the Texas Surcharge program.

As you can see from this Texas Tribune piece, it has been very difficult to put an end to this program even though there is irrefutable evidence of the disastrous effects it is having on Texas working families. As the article correctly points out, the Texas Surcharge Program is a cash cow that Texas politicians(including some Democrats) have found impossible to resist. Much of the Texas media is also resigned to this sad reality—that we are forever stuck with the Texas surcharge cash cow, its harmful consequences on working families be damned!!

Excerpt from an 08/18/2014 Texas Tribune piece by Gilad Edelman

Yours Truly totally rejects this notion that we are somehow stuck with the modern day slavery that is the Texas surcharge program, and intends to marshal support for a grassroots campaign to finally put an end to the misery this program continues to impose on working families. Simply put Yours Truly intends to finally free Texas working families from the shackles of the Texas surcharge program.

The original plan was to muster enough grassroots pressure to force the Texas legislature to finally scrap this program but it appears there’s already an alternative and equally effective route available. Turns out Equal Justice Under Law, a Washington DC based non-profit has already filed a federal lawsuit against Texas DPS arguing that the Texas Surcharge program is unconstitutional.

In a December 5 2018 KUT News piece, the Executive Director of the DC non-profit, Phil Telfeyan said regarding the Texas surcharge program, “What Texas is doing is punishing people for being poor.” The lawsuit by this DC non-profit makes our efforts at scrapping the Texas surcharge program much easier because a ruling by a federal court that the program is unconstitutional frees us all from its shackles.

Bottom line folks, we cannot just sit idly by and expect to be miraculously emancipated from this modern day slavery. We must fully support the great efforts of Phil Telfeyan and his non-profit group to finally put an end to the Texas surcharge program. It all begins by giving our full support, material and otherwise to the good folks at Equal Justice Under Law as they pursue their lawsuit against Texas DPS. Yours Truly highly recommends that you follow them on Twitter so as to keep up with their federal lawsuit.

It also cannot be left unsaid that if Democrats want to make inroads in Texas they must capitalize on highly unpopular GOP-inspired initiatives like the Texas surcharge program that elicit bipartisan loathing. The winning message for Texas Democrats can be very simple, “If you are sick driving scared because of GOP’s surcharge program, vote for Democrats.”

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Can A Sitting U.S. Supreme Court Justice Be Indicted?

As Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections heats up and more and more evidence continues to pop up indicating that then presidential candidate Trump was either fully aware of or an active participant in the interference, legal eagles are grappling with the question as to whether a sitting U.S. President can be indicted.

As it currently stands, according to many of the legal eagle pundits on cable TV, the answer to that question is no. There is apparently a Department of Justice(DOJ) policy that advises against indicting a sitting president. The pundits are quick to point out however that this is only a directive that can be changed at any time(not set in stone). Respected legal scholars like Harvard University’s Lawrence Tribe have argued against this DOJ directive saying nothing in the U.S. constitution prohibits a sitting president from being indicted if he is found to have committed crimes.

Strangely missing from the “to indict or not to indict” debate however is the equally important question as to whether a sitting U.S. Supreme Court Justice can be indicted. We are of course talking about recently confirmed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh who as you will remember was the subject of numerous serious judicial complaints. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts referred the judicial complaints to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals for resolution.

A judicial council at the 10th Circuit Court recently dismissed all the complaints against Kavanaugh concluding that even though the allegations were serious, the court had no jurisdiction to entertain the complaints because Kavanaugh was no longer a federal appeals judge and thus not subject to the Judicial Conduct and Disability Act that deals with disciplining federal district court judges, magistrates and circuit appellate justices. Essentially, because Kavanaugh had been elevated to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Judicial Conduct and Disability Act no longer applied to him.

It is very important to point out that among the serious accusations against Kavanaugh was that he lied multiple times to congress while under oath. Lying to congress as you know is a serious felony, especially in Kavanaugh’s case given the fact that (1) he did that as a federal judge who should know better and (2) he lied to congress on multiple occasions.

An excerpt from 12/18/2018 USA Today article

The logical question then becomes if Kavanaugh can be proven to have lied to congress under oath, a felony, can he be indicted? Is it possible to indict a sitting U.S. Supreme Court Justice or are they for all intents and purposes, above the law? Is there any case law that precludes such an eventuality? All these are serious questions that one would think the mainstream media would have posed to the myriad TV legal eagle pundits by now. Instead as it has now become customary, it is left to Yours Truly to ask the serious questions the mainstream media won’t ask, for which the public is desperately seeking answers to.

Bottom line with all the attention focused on whether Trump can be indicted, it is about time the mainstream media also started asking the equally important question as to whether a sitting U.S. Supreme Court Justice, in this case Kavanaugh, can be indicted.

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Will Dems Subpoena Justice Kennedy’s Son Over Deutsche Bank?

President Trump with Justice Anthony Kennedy(Retired)

In the days following the June 2018 announcement by Justice Anthony Kennedy that he was retiring from the Supreme Court, there was rampant speculation that his resignation was not entirely voluntary but rather that the Trump administration engineered/even forced him out for fear that the GOP may lose their U.S. Senate majority to the Democrats in the November 2018 elections. In essence, the Trump administration did not want Justice Kennedy to retire at a time when Democrats controlled the Senate because that would make it difficult for any Trump SCOTUS nominee to be confirmed.


Speculation that the Trump Admin forced out Justice Kennedy took a whole new turn after the New York Times did a bombshell piece revealing that Justice Kennedy’s son Justin Kennedy had been a longtime financier for Trump. Specifically, that Justin Kennedy was Trump’s financier at the troubled Deutsche Bank which has come under international scrutiny over allegations that it is the bank of choice for Russian money launderers

Justin Kennedy, the son of Retired Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Justin Kennedy was apparently the global head of real estate capital markets at Deutsche Bank which leaves absolutely no doubt that he would be the point man at Deutsche Bank for Trump’s vast real estate empire. Part of the bombshell NYT piece read;“During Mr. Kennedy’s tenure, Deutsche Bank became Mr. Trump’s most important lender, dispensing well over $1 billion in loans to him for the renovation and construction of skyscrapers in New York and Chicago at a time other mainstream banks were wary of doing business with him because of his troubled business history.” 

With Special Counsel Mueller increasingly zeroing in on Trump’s business ties to Russia and news that German authorities recently raided the troubled Deutsche Bank, the question now being raised is whether with their new found majority in the House, Democrats will subpoena Trump-related Deutsche Bank records and specifically whether they will call Justin Kennedy to testify about his financial dealings with Trump. Justin Kennedy’s testimony in Congress could also lay to rest the lingering speculation as to whether his dad was forced by the Trump administration to resign from the U.S. Supreme Court before the November 2018 elections.

Bottom line given the serious questions being raised about Deutsche Bank’s ties to President Trump and its troubling history as a conduit for Russian money laundering, it would be Congressional malpractice if House Democrats did not call Justin Kennedy to testify about his role at the troubled bank and specifically, find out what criteria Deutsche Bank used to justify loaning Trump so much money when other “mainstream” banks declined to do so. Was Russia the source of these loans to Trump?. Grassroots Democrats would also like to know whether Kavanaugh played any part in Justice Kennedy’s retirement–essentially engineering his own ascendancy to the U.S. Supreme Court

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Chief Justice Roberts Says SCOTUS Is Independent. Is It?

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell with C.J. John Roberts

In a rare public address Chief Justice Roberts of the U.S. Supreme Court talked about the recent contentious Kavanaugh confirmation process and reiterated how important it is that the public views the High Court as independent. C.J. Roberts said regarding judicial independence, “Our role[Supreme Court] is very clear. We are to interpret the constitution and the laws of the United States and ensure that the political branches act within them. That job obviously requires independence from the political branches.”

The problem with that is the person at the center of the public’s disaffection with the Roberts Supreme Court, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has also recently spoken about the Roberts Court. Sen McConnell and by extension his GOP’s view of the Roberts Supreme Court is in stark contrast to what Chief Justice Roberts says. Specifically, there is no question that according to Sen McConnell and his GOP, they have fought hard to pack the Roberts Supreme Court with conservative judges for the express purpose of getting favorable decisions from the court..

Sen McConnell recently said at a press conference following Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court. “If you want to have a long term impact, and obviously all of us would like to do that, the single most significant way to do it is judicial appointments and my party has not been in this position all that long. You can go back 100 years and only 20 of the last 100 years have Republicans had the Presidency, the House and Senate the same time, and so these opportunities have not come along that often for us and I do think it is the most consequential thing that I’ve been involved in in my time as leader.”

So what is a regular American looking at Chief Justice Roberts’ remarks about judicial independence and Senator McConnell’s partisan political remarks about judicial appointments supposed to think? Why would Sen McConnell and his GOP block President Obama’s rightful nominee Garland and then ram through Kavanaugh if the end result was to have an independent Supreme Court? Reasonable people would agree that if the Supreme Court was truly independent as Chief Justice Roberts argues, there would be more consensus in the senate confirmation process. In other words the fact that the senate confirmation fights have become so bitter is in itself proof of a partisan Roberts Supreme Court.


Bottom line as Yours Truly said in an earlier post, the Roberts Supreme Court has a serious credibility problem. It is sad to say it but most Americans are more inclined to believe Sen McConnell’s narrative over that of C.J. Roberts–that Republicans have made the Roberts Supreme Court a conservative court with the express intention of using the High Court to advance their Republican agenda–a partisan political court. Simply put, there is no way any reasonable person looking at the way Sen McConnell blocked Obama’s nominee Garland, rammed Kavanaugh through, and then gave a press conference bragging about his legacy of steering the court to the right, can ever conclude that the Roberts Supreme Court is somehow an independent court.

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Trump Obstructing Justice By Yanking Security Clearances


In case you missed it, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow made quite an interesting (and troubling) observation regarding Trump’s revocation of former CIA Chief John Brennan’s security clearance and his threat to do the same to other former U.S. Intel officials. Maddow correctly pointed out that all the former U.S. Intel officials Trump wants to strip of security clearances are involved in the ongoing TrumpRussia investigation and at some point in the near future may be called in by the Mueller team to testify. Revoking their security clearances in a way hinders their ability to testify against Trump–essentially an obstruction of justice. The full Maddow segment is available here but the relevant clip is below

Maddow’s astute observation is very important because the rest of her mainstream media colleagues continue to characterize Trump’s troubling actions regarding security clearances as just “crazy Trump being crazy Trump”–an erroneous and dangerous assumption. The mainstream media should instead take Trump’s actions on security clearances very seriously because as Maddow correctly points out, it is all part of Trump’s larger effort to thwart the TrumpRussia investigation which is inching closer and closer to him and his inner circle, including his family.


Even more troubling is the fact that the GOP-led congress knows full well of Trump’s intent in regards to security clearance revocations but does absolutely nothing. Even Senator Susan Collins, once considered a reasonable moderate, appears to condone Trump’s patently un-American actions regarding security clearances

Bottom line, congressional Democrats and the mainstream media must call out Senator Collins and her congressional GOP colleaoues for condoning Trump’s actions regarding security clearances while knowing full well that Trump’s true intention is to obstruct the ongoing TrumpRussia investigation. Simply put Senator Collins et al are aiding and abetting Trump’s blatant obstruction of justice–conduct unbecoming of members of congress.

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