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  • The problems with Trump's scandal-ridden Cabinet start right at the top>
    (Politics - March 13 2018 - 6:19 AM:)

    Ben Carson Donald Trump

    • White House officials are apparently worried that President Donald Trump's Cabinet members are embarrassing him.
    • They should probably look at their own boss.

    There is something humorous about White House officials being worried that Cabinet members are embarrassing the administration through petty corruption scandals.

    They're not wrong that Trump's Cabinet has been embarrassing at times. But they should think about who's ultimately to blame for that.

    The issue isn't just that Trump picked all these substandard people to serve him. There's also the problem of any organization whose leader doesn't live up to its stated ideals.

    Why would Trump's Cabinet take care to avoid appearances of impropriety when Trump won't take such care himself?

    Several Cabinet members were taken to the woodshed

    CNN is reporting that four Cabinet officials had meetings with the White House counsel's office last month, in which they were scolded for creating appearances of impropriety with their spending or travel practices. The unfortunate cabinet members were:

    • Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, who ordered a $31,000 furniture set for his office dining room.
    • Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, whose chief of staff resigned after the department inspector general found she falsified an email to justify sending Shulkin's wife on a trip to Denmark and Britain at department expense, a trip on which Shulkin was also faulted for accepting free Wimbledon tickets.
    • Environmental Protection Agency Director Scott Pruitt, who has been routinely flying first class "for security reasons."
    • Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who has faced questions over the propriety of his official travel and a $139,000 work order for doors in his office (the Interior Department has explained that the order is for three sets of double doors).

    CNN obtained a guidance document from the meetings, which includes such advice as "you are the best guardian of your reputation" and "even if it is legal, does not mean you should do it."

    Why wouldn't these people try to get away with whatever they can?

    The "even if it is legal, does not mean you should do it" document comes from a White House where:

    • Official business is conducted at venues owned or operated by the president's companies.
    • Staffers whose past conduct kept them from getting permanent security clearances were allowed to access the government's most sensitive intelligence on an "interim" basis for over a year.
    • The press secretary has bragged from the press briefing room podium that the president has won in arbitration against the porn actress whom his lawyer paid $130,000 not to discuss her sexual history with the president.
    • Foreign policy is conducted by the president's son-in-law without consultation with the State Department. Etcetera, etcetera.

    The document might say "even if it is legal, does not mean you can do it" but the implicit guidance from the president's behavior is "if you think you can get away with it, go ahead and do it."

    And it wasn't crazy for Cabinet members to suspect the cacophony of corruption coming from the White House itself would reduce the amount of attention drawn to petty matters like a $31,000 dining set.

    It's not that nothing can get you fired from this administration. Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price learned the hard way you can get fired for taking private jets everywhere. But if that's what it takes, is it any surprise Pruitt thought he could get away with flying first class? At least he's been flying commercial.

    Leaders set the tone

    If you have a chief executive who thinks ethics are for suckers, he'll tend to hire people who share that view, and people within the organization will get the message that they can behave unethically.

    Think of Travis Kalanick running Uber, but instead with the most powerful government in the world.

    And as we saw at Uber, you can't clean up the organization while the rotten figure remains at the top. Trump might want his Cabinet to stop embarrassing him. But the embarrassment won't end while he's in place, sending the message that you might as well take what you can.

    SEE ALSO: Trump is giving Republicans two horrible options on trade

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    NOW WATCH: Why North Korea sent hundreds of cheerleaders to the Olympics

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  • China's security crackdown hit a university district where restaurants were ordered to only serve 10 foreigners at a time>
    (Politics - March 13 2018 - 5:34 AM:)

    Beijing chef in window

    • Cafes and bars in Beijing's university district have reportedly been ordered to cater to no more than 10 foreigners at a time.
    • Staff members say the orders were given last week, shortly after China's annual legislative meeting began in Beijing.
    • It's unknown what prompted the orders, but the rise of anti-Xi Jinping sentiment among students internationally could be part of the reason.

    Restaurants in one Beijing neighborhood have been ordered to limit the number of foreigners they serve.

    Cafes and pizza bars in Wudaokou, Beijing, were reportedly ordered this week to serve no more than 10 foreigners at a time. 

    Three bars and restaurants confirmed they had received the orders to South China Morning Post.

    Business Insider first saw notices posted online over the weekend announcing that the restrictions would last until two days after the end of the National People's Congress (NPC) — China's annual legislative meeting.

    A notice from a company called Pyro Pizza, reads: "Until March 22nd, every Friday night and Saturday, as requested by local authorities, we can only allow a maximum of 10 foreigners in our store at a time. We appreciate your understanding during these challenging times."

    Wudaokou, Beijing, 2018 until whenever Xi dies. pic.twitter.com/O5VNNipdRn

    — Nathan Attrill (@nathanattrill) March 11, 2018

    Seen at other locations as well pic.twitter.com/PlPGli77gJ

    — Brian Hart | 贺伟力 (@BrianTHart) March 11, 2018

    Workers at two restaurants told The Post that police had made requests to limit the number of customers, particularly those of foreigners. An employee at another pizza bar said they couldn't let foreigners into their premises after 8 p.m.

    According to the staff, the orders were given last week, shortly after the NPC got underway. 

    It's not unusual for Beijing to ramp up security measures during the NPC. In 2016, China's propaganda department released a set of rules for covering the NPC, which included: "do not report on security."

    This year, Beijing police also began testing facial-recognition glasses ahead of the NPC. 

    And in a decision that likely targets foreigners, Beijing listings on Airbnb have been removed until the end of the month due to "external circumstances."

    It's unknown why establishments in Wudaokou may have been targeted. But its role as Beijing's university district, due to it housing both Tsinghua and Peking University, may have something to do with it.  

    Around the world, students have been protesting the NPC's decision to scrap presidential term limits by hanging posters declaring President Xi Jinping is "Not My President" in universities across the US, UK, New Zealand, and Australia.

    Combined with over-the-top local censorship and widespread international coverage of Xi's ability to rule China indefinitely, Beijing could be concerned about too much interaction between foreigners and local students.

    SEE ALSO: Beijing police are using facial-recognition glasses to identify car passengers and number plates

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  • Liberals have 'hatred for our country' and 'hatred for God': Republican candidate slams Democrats on the eve of Pennsylvania's special election>
    (Politics - March 13 2018 - 1:43 AM:)

    Rick Saccone

    • Pennsylvania state Rep. Rick Saccone, the Republican candidate in the special election for Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District, railed against liberals during a rally on Monday.
    • He reportedly accused them of being "energized for hate for our president" and that they "have a hatred for God"
    • The election will be held on Tuesday.

    Pennsylvania state Rep. Rick Saccone, the Republican candidate in the special election for Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District, reportedly accused the Democratic party of being galvanized by "hatred for our country" and "hatred for God," during a rally in Elizabeth, Pennsylvania on Monday.

    Saccone, who was endorsed by and campaigned with President Donald Trump on Saturday, continued the campaign trail with Donald Trump Jr. on the eve of the election.

    "They say the other side is energized," Saccone reportedly said. "Let me tell you, they're energized for hate for our president. They have a hatred for our president."

    Saccone then suggested that liberals founded their ideals on the basis of hating religion and the US.

    "I've talked to so many of these on the left," Saccone said. "And they have a hatred for our president. I tell you, many of them have a hatred for our country."

    "I'll tell you some more — my wife and I saw it again today, they have a hatred for God," Saccone continued.

    Saccone's heated rhetoric was overshadowed by a newly released poll indicating his opponent, Democrat Conor Lamb, was leading by a wide margin. The Monmouth University poll found that Lamb, a former US Marine and federal prosecutor, was 6-points ahead of Saccone.

    The poll also predicted Lamb holds a 49 to 47% edge over Saccone in historical midterm turnout levels, and a 51% to 44% lead in turnouts similar to a presidential election.

    Monmouth's poll last month projected Saccone in the lead.

    But Trump Jr. appeared to disregard the poll's results: "Don’t believe this nonsense polling stuff," he reportedly said.

    The election will be held on Tuesday.

    SEE ALSO: The Democrat in the nation's biggest election just got his best poll yet — and he's surging at the exact right time

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    NOW WATCH: Neo-Nazi groups let a journalist in their meetings and rallies — here's what he saw

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  • Apple exec: 'We think free speech is important but we don't think it's everything' (AAPL)>
    (Politics - March 13 2018 - 1:09 AM:)


    • Apple SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue spoke at the South by Southwest festival on Monday.
    • Cue discussed everything from Apple's acquisitions philosophy to the Warriors basketball team.
    • He also touched on the issue of free speech and why Apple has banned apps that sell guns.

    At the South by Southwest conference in Austin, CNN's Dylan Byers conducted a far ranging interview with Eddy Cue, Apple senior vice president of Internet Software and Services.

    Topics ranged from why Apple should (or shouldn't buy Netflix) to the playoff hopes of the Bay Area's basketball team, the Golden State Warriors (Cue is known to be a huge basketball fan).

    Naturally Byer's also quizzed Cue on the topic de jour: the tech industry's responsibility in everything from the epidemic of fake news influencing the election, to its role in brain-hacking, app addiction.

    When asked if Facebook, Google and Reddit have a responsibility to do better on those areas, Cue wouldn't call out any particularly tech adversary by name. But he did say, "I think everybody has a responsibility."

    And he added that "free speech" is not an excuse. "We think free speech is important but we don't think it's everything."

    No guns and no bomb-making apps 

    "It's important for Americans to have debates on certain issues," he said,"but we don't think hate speech from white supremacists is important free speech."

    He gave as an example, how Apple has always banned "bomb-making apps. We don't think that kind of content belongs on our platform." 

    Ditto for apps that sell guns, which are also not allowed.

    At the same time, Cue explained Apple's decision not to ban or yank the National Rifle Association's TV app, which streams videos for gun enthusiasts. Cue said that it doesn't violate Apple's rules.

    In the wake of the Florida shootings, gun safety activists on Twitter were calling on Amazon, not Apple, to ban the app from its platforms in a campaign called #StopNRAmazon.

    SEE ALSO: Ashton Kutcher's venture fund held one of the most exclusive and bonkers parties at SXSW, the world's wildest tech conference — take a look inside

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  • Here's how the UK could hit back against Russia after accusing Moscow of attempted assassination>
    (Politics - March 13 2018 - 12:07 AM:)

    sergei skripal salisbury military masks

    • British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Monday that Russia was likely responsible for the nerve agent attack against double agent Sergei Skripal.
    • May said that if Russia didn't respond that it would consider the attack an "unlawful use of force" on Russia's part.
    • Two analysts separately told Business Insider that NATO getting involved is unlikely, but that the UK will probably impose sanctions on Russia and expel some of its diplomats to deter Moscow from such actions in the future.
    • One analyst even said that the UK might not even participate in the World Cup this summer. 

    British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Monday that Russia was likely responsible for the nerve agent attack, known as Novichok, against double agent Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, England.

    "Based on the positive identification of this chemical agent by world-leading experts at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down ... the Government has concluded that it is highly likely that Russia was responsible for the act against Sergei and [his daughter] Yulia Skripal," May said.

    "Either this was a direct action by the Russian state against our country, or the Russian government lost control of its potentially catastrophically damaging nerve agent and allowed it to get into the hands of others," May said, adding that if Moscow doesn't respond by Tuesday night that the UK will consider the attack an "unlawful use of force" on Russia's part.

    While it's unclear exactly how London might respond if Russia remains silent, one British Parliamentary Member, John Woodcock, tweeted that he has "urged [May] to consider calling for a collective response from our NATO allies."

    Vladimir Putin

    NATO released a statement on Monday, saying "the use of any nerve agent is horrendous and completely unacceptable. The UK is a highly valued ally, and this incident is of great concern to NATO." 

    But a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, Mark Simakovsky, as well as a senior security analyst for Stratfor's Threat Lens, Ben West, both told Business Insider that NATO getting involved is highly unlikely. 

    Simakovsky and West each said that the UK will most likely expel a number of Russian diplomats, possibly the ambassador in London, and impose sanctions on Russian officials.

    This will likely deter the Kremlin from such future actions, and show them "that there will be real costs associated with" these moves, Simakovsky said.

    Sanctions "will make it hurt for the Russian government," Simakovsky said, and expelling diplomats will "limit the ability of the Russian government to be effective on the ground."

    Simakovsky also said that the UK could work with the EU to tighten sanctions, publicize information about the attack, limit the access of Russian officials and Russians living in or visiting the UK.

    "And to be honest," he said, "I could see real consideration for the UK not participating in the World Cup this year."

    sergei skripal 2004

    West also said that Russia is skilled in using "asymmetric warfare — whether meddling in US elections, whether its operations in Ukraine, or before that in the Causcasus' — but not pushing the envelope so far that they get invaded or attacked."

    West said that such actions on the part of Russia is an ultimate sign of weakness.

    "The whole point of intelligence work is to avoid drama," West said. "You want to be able to operate quietly and under the radar ... whenever you see an intelligence operation ... get so much publicity and it's so obviously connected to one actor, that really shows its weakness."

    "If they can't pursue their policies covertly, to me, that shows that things are not good."

    SEE ALSO: Russia is reportedly behind a disturbing number of assassinations outside its borders

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    NOW WATCH: Harvard professor Steven Pinker explains the disturbing truth behind Trump's 2 favorite phrases

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  • State Department says UK ex-spy poisoning 'clearly came from Russia', vows incident 'will trigger a response'>
    (Politics - March 13 2018 - 12:01 AM:)

    Rex Tillerson

    • Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confirmed that the attempted assassination of a former spy in the UK had originated from Russia.
    • But Tillerson stopped short of formally accusing the Russian government, saying that he did not yet know if the attack was sanctioned by Moscow.
    • Tillerson said the incident would "certainly trigger a response."

    Following Britain's accusation that the attempted assassination of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK had originated from Russia, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson followed suit and vowed that such action would "certainly trigger a response."

    After discussing the incident with UK Foreign Affairs Secretary Boris Johnson on Monday, Tillerson released a statement saying he had "full confidence in the UK's investigation and its assessment that Russia was likely responsible."

    "There is never a justification for this type of attack," Tillerson said in the statement. "And we are outraged that Russia appears to have again engaged in such behavior."

    But Tillerson stopped short of formally accusing the Russian government, saying that he did not yet know if the attack was sanctioned by Moscow.

    Tillerson's comments were firm compared to an earlier statement from White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who described the attack as "reckless, indiscriminate, and irresponsible."

    After being pressed on whether Russia was responsible for the attack, Sanders said only that the US was "standing with our UK ally."

    "I think they're still working through even some of the details of that, and we're going to continue to work with the UK," Sanders said.

    Tillerson, who said the attacks "clearly came from Russia," offered some evidence to reporters on Monday, according to The Associated Press: "I cannot understand why anyone would take such an action. But this is a substance that is known to us and does not exist widely."

    "It is only in the hands of a very, very limited number of parties," Tillerson continued.

    Earlier on Monday, UK Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed that the deadly nerve agent was "Novichok," a chemical compound developed by Russia during the Cold War.

    On March 4, Skripal and his daughter collapsed in a shopping centre in Salisbury, England and remain in critical condition.

    Skripal, a double agent in the 1990s and early 2000s, passed Russian state secrets to British intelligence officials. He was pardoned after Russia agreed to trade four agents to the US and UK for 10 Russian agents in 2010.

    SEE ALSO: Theresa May has accused Russia of being behind the attempted assassination of a double agent in the UK

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    NOW WATCH: Why North Korea sent hundreds of cheerleaders to the Olympics

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  • CASE CLOSED? House Republicans say they've found no evidence of collusion in one of the big 3 Russia investigations>
    (Politics - March 12 2018 - 10:55 PM:)

    adam schiff

    • The House Intelligence Committee has finished its interviews and research in the Russia investigation and will begin working on its final report soon.
    • A GOP draft report states there was no evidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to help President Donald Trump win the 2016 election.
    • The committee has been mired in political gridlock amid a controversy that saw the two sides of the committee release competing memos on alleged abuse at the FBI and Justice Department.
    • CNN reported that the partisanship likely runs so deep that the committee will release two competing reports.

    Sign up for the latest Russia investigation updates here.

    The House Intelligence Committee has finished all its interviews in its congressional Russia investigation and Republican members have drafted a report finding there is no evidence of collusion.

    The 150-page report, which has not been seen by committee Democrats, supports evidence of Russian cyberattacks on US political institutions in 2015 and 2016 and that "problematic contacts" occurred between intelligence officials and the media.

    But the GOP claims it "found no evidence of collusion, coordination, or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians."

    In response, Trump tweeted that the investigation "found no evidence of collusion or coordination between the Trump Campaign and Russia," though the full committee has not yet announced its findings.


    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 13, 2018

    The GOP also deviated from the intelligence community's assessment last year that Russian President Vladimir Putin preferred Donald Trump over other candidates.

    But a spokesman for the Director of National Intelligence told CNN, "The Intelligence Community stands by its January 2017 assessment."

    Committee member Rep. Mike Conway said the House investigation had found "bad judgment" and "inappropriate meetings" between Russia and members of the Trump campaign, according to The Wall Street Journal, including the infamous Trump Tower meeting with a Kremlin-linked lawyer.

    "That meeting should never have taken place," Conaway said. "But we can’t find anything that leads us to a collusion string."

    But even the GOP committee members seem to be divided on the draft report.

    Rep Tom Rooney told CNN the investigation had "gone completely off the rails" and "lost all credibility." But he also said he believes Russia favoured Trump over Clinton.

    "I certainly think they didn’t like Hillary," Rooney said.

    The most senior Democrat comittee member, Rep. Adam Schiff, released a statement Monday evening saying the Republican majority members were "not willing to pursue facts," "afraid to compel witnesses," and "under great pressure to end the investigation."

    "It is nonetheless another tragic milestone for this Congress, and represents yet another capitulation to the executive branch. By ending its oversight role in the only authorized investigation in the House, the Majority has placed the interests of protecting the President over protecting the country, and history will judge its actions harshly," said Schiff.

    Schiff also said the committee's work was far from complete.

    "On a whole host of investigative threads, our work is fundamentally incomplete, some issues partially investigated, others, like that involving credible allegations of Russian money laundering, remain barely touched. If the Russians do have leverage over the President of the United States, the Majority has simply decided it would rather not know." 

    Partisan infighting is not new to the committee

    Rep. Adam Schiff

    Chairman Devin Nunes announced on Monday the committee would now begin writing its final report.

    "After more than a year, the Committee has finished its Russia investigation and will now work on completing our report," Nunes said in a statement. "Once the Committee’s final report is issued, we hope our findings and recommendations will be useful for improving security and integrity for the 2018 midterm elections."

    According to The Journal, the committee has interviewed over 50 people and reviewed thousands of pages of documents as part of its probe. Signs of its conclusion come amid continuing partisan divisions on the committee.

    Although the committee interviewed prominent people in Trump's circle, like former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, it was unable to secure an interview with the president himself. Several witnesses including Bannon and White House Communications Director Hope Hicks curtailed their testimony and refused to answer questions about their time in Trump's White House.

    Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes (R-CA) speaks during a presser in Capitol Hill, Washington, U.S., October 24, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

    But the investigation has frequently been overshadowed in recent months by the committee's partisan infighting.

    Nunes, a Republican, released a controversial memo that alleged misconduct at the FBI and Justice Department with regard to obtaining a FISA surveillance warrant to surveil the communications of a former Trump associate. Schiff, the committee's ranking member, then released a competing memo that sought to clarify the warrant application process and to show that the agencies did not act improperly or illegally.

    As a result of the controversy around the memos, the committee's two wings have become so intractable that CNN reported the committee is likely to produce two separate reports — one from the Republicans that denies that any collusion took place, and another from Democrats that argues that some form of collusion may have occurred. CNN reported that the Democratic report might also point out the investigation's shortcomings.

    But the Russia-related investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller will likely continue for at least several more months, as Mueller finishes the obstruction of justice portion of his inquiry and moves to finish other parts of his probe. That includes looking into whether Trump associates colluded with Russia and any possible role his business dealings played in the campaign.

    SEE ALSO: Qatar says it has unearthed damaging information on Jared Kushner — but reportedly decided not to give it to Mueller because they're scared of Trump

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  • Trump blocks $117 billion Broadcom takeover of Qualcomm on national-security grounds (QCOM, AVGO)>
    (Politics - March 12 2018 - 10:52 PM:)

    President Donald Trump

    • President Trump issued an executive order Monday blocking Broadcom's takeover of Qualcomm.
    • Trump said there was "credible evidence" that Broadcom "might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States."
    • Broadcom is incorporated in Singapore and Qualcomm is based in San Diego.

    President Donald Trump on Monday blocked a Singapore-based company’s plans to acquire US chipmaker Qualcomm for $117 billion, citing national-security concerns. The order effectively squelches what would have been one of the largest technology acquisitions of all time. 

    It's not historically common for a US president to take such a measure, and the executive order highlights growing economic tensions between the US and the rest of the world as Trump pursues his "America first" policies. And it underscores the country's growing fears of cyberwar and espionage from foreign powers.

    Broadcom, a chipmaker incorporated in Singapore, was looking to take over Qualcomm, its San Diego-based rival. The deal was under scrutiny by a national-security panel called the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, which advises Trump.

    "While Broadcom could look to challenge this move in theory, the Trump edict essentially kills any chances of this deal happening," wrote GBH Insights analyst Dan Ives in a note to clients on Monday. 

    CFIUS was concerned with what has been described as a hostile takeover of Qualcomm, its competitor and rival. Broadcom never made a deal with Qualcomm, though it has tried and failed several times.

    Instead, Broadcom claimed power with an attempt to take over Qualcomm's 11-member board with six of its own nominees. That drama was set to come to a head at a Qualcomm shareholder meeting in March — a meeting that was delayed by 30 days, to April 5, at the request of CFIUS.

    Broadcom attempted to assuage CFIUS's concerns by agreeing to move its headquarters from Singapore to the US. On Monday, before Trump's order, Broadcom announced that it would redomicile to the US by April 3. The plan to redomicile was first made public in November, according to Broadcom's statement.

    Broadcom lowered offer when Qualcomm tried to stop a takeover

    Though Broadcom gave up some ground to CFIUS, it played hardball with Qualcomm itself. The company lowered its recent $121 billion offer to $117 billion at the end of February as a way of penalizing Qualcomm board members who attempted to prevent an acquisition with what's known as a "poison pill" approach, according to Business Insider's Julie Bort.

    hock tan trump

    Qualcomm is in the middle of acquiring a rival chipmaker called NXP. The deal is awaiting regulatory approval in China and would fall apart only in the unlikely event that not enough shareholders wanted to sell. To secure shareholder support, Qualcomm increased its offer to NXP, making the deal more likely to pass.

    Broadcom believes Qualcomm is overpaying for NXP and lowered its price to penalize the board and convince shareholders that it was willing to walk away from its offer to acquire Qualcomm. Qualcomm's board, however, wants Broadcom to walk away so that it can stay an independent company.

    But all that is incidental, thanks to the intercession of Trump. For all intents and purposes, the deal is now dead.

    "The clear ramifications from tonight’s move are negative for Qualcomm as with M&A prospects off the table for the now the stock could tread water in the $60 range until the company can show on a standalone basis this fundamental recovery story can play out in 2018 and beyond," GBH's Ives wrote in the note.

    Qualcomm shares were down 4.3% in after hours trading on Monday. Broadcom shares were up roughly 0.5% after hours.

    The Trump administration has previously blocked China-related deals, including the sale of Lattice Semiconductor to an investment group, and the acquisition of MoneyGram by an Alibaba-affiliated company.

    Here's the the full text of President Trump's executive order


    Office of the Press Secretary


    March 12, 2018

    Upon review of a recommendation from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States and consideration, as appropriate, of the factors set forth in the Defense Production Act of 1950, as amended, the President has made relevant findings and issued the following Order:


    - - - - - - -


         By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including section 721 of the Defense Production Act of 1950, as amended (section 721), 50 U.S.C. 4565, it is hereby ordered as follows:

         Section 1 Findings.  (a)  There is credible evidence that leads me to believe that Broadcom Limited, a limited company organized under the laws of Singapore (Broadcom), along with its partners, subsidiaries, or affiliates, including Broadcom Corporation, a California corporation, and Broadcom Cayman L.P., a Cayman Islands limited partnership, and their partners, subsidiaries, or affiliates (together, the Purchaser), through exercising control of Qualcomm Incorporated (Qualcomm), a Delaware corporation, might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States; and

         (b)  Provisions of law, other than section 721 and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.), do not, in my judgment, provide adequate and appropriate authority for me to protect the national security in this matter.

         Sec. 2 Actions Ordered and Authorized.  On the basis of the findings set forth in section 1 of this order, considering the factors described in subsection 721(f) of the Defense Production Act of 1950, as appropriate, and pursuant to my authority under applicable law, including section 721, I hereby order that:

         (a)  The proposed takeover of Qualcomm by the Purchaser is prohibited, and any substantially equivalent merger, acquisition, or takeover, whether effected directly or indirectly, is also prohibited.

         (b)  All 15 individuals listed as potential candidates on the Form of Blue Proxy Card filed by Broadcom and Broadcom Corporation with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 20, 2018 (together, the Candidates), are hereby disqualified from standing for election as directors of Qualcomm.  Qualcomm is prohibited from accepting the nomination of or votes for any of the Candidates.

         (c)  The Purchaser shall uphold its proxy commitments to those Qualcomm stockholders who have returned their final proxies to the Purchaser, to the extent consistent with this order.

         (d)  Qualcomm shall hold its annual stockholder meeting no later than 10 days following the written notice of the meeting provided to stockholders under Delaware General Corporation Law, Title 8, Chapter 1, Subchapter VII, section 222(b), and that notice shall be provided as soon as possible.

         (e)  The Purchaser and Qualcomm shall immediately and permanently abandon the proposed takeover.  Immediately upon completion of all steps necessary to terminate the proposed takeover of Qualcomm, the Purchaser and Qualcomm shall certify in writing to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) that such termination has been effected in accordance with this order and that all steps necessary to fully and permanently abandon the proposed takeover of Qualcomm have been completed.

         (f)  From the date of this order until the Purchaser and Qualcomm provide a certification of termination of the proposed takeover to CFIUS pursuant to subsection (e) of this section, the Purchaser and Qualcomm shall certify to CFIUS on a weekly basis that they are in compliance with this order and include a description of efforts to fully and permanently abandon the proposed takeover of Qualcomm and a timeline for projected completion of remaining actions.

         (g)  Any transaction or other device entered into or employed for the purpose of, or with the effect of, avoiding or circumventing this order is prohibited.

         (h)  If any provision of this order, or the application of any provision to any person or circumstances, is held to be invalid, the remainder of this order and the application of its other provisions to any other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.  If any provision of this order, or the application of any provision to any person or circumstances, is held to be invalid because of the lack of certain procedural requirements, the relevant executive branch officials shall implement those procedural requirements.

         (i)  This order supersedes the Interim Order issued by CFIUS on March 4, 2018.

         (j)  The Attorney General is authorized to take any steps necessary to enforce this order.

         Sec. 3 Reservation.  I hereby reserve my authority to issue further orders with respect to the Purchaser and Qualcomm as shall in my judgment be necessary to protect the national security of the United States.

         Sec. 4 Publication and Transmittal.  (a)  This order shall be published in theFederal Register.

         (b)  I hereby direct the Secretary of the Treasury to transmit a copy of this order to Qualcomm and Broadcom.


                                    DONALD J. TRUMP



        March 12, 2018.

    SEE ALSO: A secretive U.S. group that can stop mergers is looking at Broadcom's attempted hostile takeover of Qualcomm

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  • Donald Trump Jr. just had an amazing day of campaigning in Pennsylvania>
    (Politics - March 12 2018 - 10:22 PM:)

    Donald Trump Jr

    • Donald Trump Jr. campaigned for Republican Rick Saccone in Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District on Monday.
    • It produced a lot of great content.

    Donald Trump Jr. had a fun day of campaigning for Republican Rick Saccone on Monday just a day before the special election for Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District.

    President Donald Trump's eldest son was cracking jokes at a pretzel factory, photographed appearing to give an interview to chocolate Easter bunnies, and ate a heaping serving of ice cream along Pittsburgh's exurbs.

    Trump Jr. sought to offer Saccone, a state legislator vying for an open seat against Democrat Conor Lamb, a former Marine and federal prosecutor, a bump before Election Day on Tuesday. A Monday poll from Monmouth University found Lamb leading Saccone in every turnout model it projected. Trump, who campaigned for Saccone on Saturday, carried the 18th district by 20 points in 2016.

    The president's eldest son said Republicans "just can’t take winning for granted."

    "They have to get out there, they have to continue this fight — now, for the rest of '18, in '20," he said. "In eight years, we can make a real difference. We just can't be lazy.”

    Trump Jr. and Saccone toured Sarris Candies — a prominent candy producer in the region — for about two hours, eating ice cream, interacting with employees, answering — and dodging — questions.

    Enjoying a bowl of ice cream, Trump Jr. attacked Lamb, saying, "We don't need people who are pretending to be conservative but will follow the mainstream and vote with [House Minority Leader] Nancy Pelosi and [Senate Minority Leader] Chuck Schumer."

    The two men wanted to highlight how the candy factory grew from 320 to 400 employees since the Republican tax overhaul passed, The Washington Post reported, adding that Trump Jr. said if he had "two scoops" of ice cream, "the media will call it a scandal."

    The president garnered attention last year when it was reported that he had two scoops of ice cream for desert while dinner guests were limited to one scoop.

    Trump Jr. asked employees making products that involved pretzel sticks "how many" they "eat on a given day."

    "Like Tony Montana, don't get high on your own supply,” he said, referencing the main character from the movie "Scarface."

    Trump Jr. dodged questions on the scandal surrounding porn star Stormy Daniels claiming an affair with the president and the ongoing investigation into Trump's supposed ties to Russia.

    Here are some of the photos and videos from Trump Jr.'s trip to Pennsylvania:

    This is the danger of campaigning at a candy factory. #PA18 pic.twitter.com/omssQlvAF1

    — Andrew Rush (@andrewrush) March 12, 2018

    Here at the candy shop, @DonaldJTrumpJr has a message for the employees: “Like Tony Montana, don’t get high on your own supply.” pic.twitter.com/MV29AKLuvt

    — Ben Kamisar (@bkamisar) March 12, 2018

    Don Jr: “How many pretzel sticks do you eat on a given day?” pic.twitter.com/sl4vaUm3C5

    — Vaughn Hillyard (@VaughnHillyard) March 12, 2018

    SEE ALSO: People are furious with Pittsburgh's 'liberal' newspaper after it endorsed the Trump-backed Republican in the nation's biggest election

    Join the conversation about this story »

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  • Hillary Clinton: I won the places that are 'dynamic, moving forward,' while Trump's campaign 'was looking backwards'>
    (Politics - March 12 2018 - 10:06 PM:)

    Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

    • Hillary Clinton talked about the 2016 US presidential election during a speech in Mumbai.
    • "So I won the places that are optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward," Clinton said. "And his whole campaign, 'Make America Great Again,' was looking backwards."
    • Clinton's defeat in 2016 came down to about 80,000 votes between three states — Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

    Hillary Clinton recalled her loss in the 2016 US presidential election during a speech at the India Today Conclave 2018 in Mumbai on Saturday.

    "If you look at the map of the United States, there's all that red in the middle where Trump won," Clinton said. "I win the coast, I win, you know, Illinois and Minnesota, places like that."

    Clinton suggested that the portion of the US she won represents portions of the country that are thriving economically.

    "I won the places that represent two-thirds of America's gross domestic product," Clinton continued. "So I won the places that are optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward. And his whole campaign, 'Make America Great Again,' was looking backwards."

    Clinton described what she believed to be the underlying message of Trump's 2016 campaign: "You didn't like black people getting rights, you don't like women, you know, getting jobs," Clinton said. "You don't want, you know, see that Indian American succeeding more than you are. Whatever your problem is, I'm going to solve it," she said.

    Though Clinton won the popular vote by nearly 3 million ballots, she lost in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin — three crucial states that cost her the election by about 80,000 votes combined.

    Clinton has frequently talked about the election results and Trump's presidency in speeches after the election. During the 2017 Professional Business Women of California Conference in San Francisco in March, she mentioned some of the multiple controversies that had been roiling the White House at the time, and said that she would remain politically engaged, for better or worse.

    "I'm fighting for a fairer, big-hearted, inclusive America," Clinton said at the time. She finished by saying: "I'll be right there with you every step of the way."

    Watch a clip of Clinton's speech below:

    SEE ALSO: Hillary Clinton delivers fiery words for Trump without mentioning his name at a San Francisco conference

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  • It looks like Trump is zeroing in on one candidate to replace Gary Cohn as his top economic adviser>
    (Politics - March 12 2018 - 9:47 PM:)

    gary cohn donald trump

    • Rumors are already flying about who will replace Gary Cohn as President Donald Trump's top economic adviser.
    • CNBC's Jim Cramer reported on Monday that Larry Kudlow, with whom Cramer hosted a show from 2002 to 2005, was the frontrunner.
    • The New York Times reported on Saturday that Christopher Liddell, a former executive at Microsoft and General Motors now working in the White House, was the frontrunner.
    • Trump's pick will be a major indicator of his economic agenda going forward.

    The race to replace Gary Cohn as the director of the National Economic Council appears to have been narrowed down to one leading candidate.

    According to CNBC's Jim Cramer, Larry Kudlow is the frontrunner for the job. Kudlow, who hosted a CNBC show with Cramer from 2002 to 2005, was previously floated for other economic jobs in the Trump administration.

    Separately, a source who has advised Trump on economic issues told Business Insider last week that Kudlow was a leading candidate for the job.

    Multiple reports  later Monday suggested that Trump is homing in on Kudlow, who long supported Trump during the 2016 campaign.

    A White House spokesperson told Business Insider there were no personnel announcements at this time.

    Kudlow served as a staff economist during the Reagan administration, was the chief economist for Bear Stearns from 1987 to 1994, and has regularly appeared on CNBC since 2001.

    The New York Times' Maggie Haberman and Jim Tankersley reported Saturday that Christopher Liddell was considered the leading candidate for the job. But, Haberman tweeted Monday that Trump cooled on Liddell after a Wall Street Journal editorial blasting the candidate and pushback from other advisors.

    Liddell, the White House's director of strategic initiatives, was previously the CFO of Microsoft and General Motors.

    Investors and economists are closely watching the pick, as it could indicate the direction of Trump's economic agenda, particularly now with trade. Cohn was seen as a free-trade advocate who pushed back on Trump's desires for large tariffs and trade restrictions, and a replacement favoring trade barriers could set off concern that Trump will lean into his protectionist tendencies.

    Kudlow, who has been critical of Trump's approach to trade, recently blasted the president's decision to impose broad tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum. If he is selected, Kudlow is likely to fill a void of pro-free-trade advocates that has developed in the White House over the past few months.

    Liddell's economic views are less clear, but according to The Times, he told a New Zealand journalist after Trump's election that "the days of unbridled free trade and unbridled free markets are over."

    SEE ALSO: Trump has created an international 'free-for-all' that could cause huge waves in the global economy

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    NOW WATCH: Henry Blodget: Will arming teachers with guns help stop school shootings?

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  • The Navy keeps encountering mysterious UFOs — and no one can figure out what they are>
    (Politics - March 12 2018 - 9:23 PM:)

    US Navy UFO

    • UFOs have been reported by the Navy and other branches of the military for decades.
    • Despite numerous reports, the military has not put any significant or serious effort into finding out specific explanations for UFO incidents.
    • One of the reasons why there has not been a serious effort is because there is a negative stigma associated with those who believe that the UFOs may be visitors from beyond Earth.

    "I can tell you, I think it was not from this world," retired US Navy pilot Commander David Fravor told ABC News in an interview in December 2017.

    "I'm not crazy, haven't been drinking. It was — after 18 years of flying, I've seen pretty much about everything that I can see in that realm, and this was nothing close."

    Fravor was describing his encounter with an unidentified flying object during a training mission off the coast of California on November 14, 2004. The UFO was performing seemingly impossible moves — "left, right, forward, back, just random," in Fravor 's words, and then accelerated and disappeared.

    "I have never seen anything in my life, in my history of flying that has the performance, the acceleration — keep in mind this thing had no wings," he said.

    Video of the incident, along with another similar encounter, was published in December by the New York Times. The second video shows US Navy pilots tracking one of apparently numerous UFOs moving at high speeds with seemingly no source of propulsion.

    Why most scientists don't care about these incredible UFO videos

    "This is a f------ drone bro," one pilot says. "There's a whole fleet of them. Look on the S.A." the other responds.

    As the UFO continues on its flight path, one of the pilot makes a note of their speed and direction — "They are all going against the wind. The wind is 120 knots to the west. Look at that thing dude."

    Soon, to the shock of the pilots, the UFO changes position. "Look at that thing!" one calls out as the UFO, somehow manages to turn on its side while still maintaining its speed and direction. "Its rotating!" the other pilot says.

    Another video posted online last Friday by the To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science, a private scientific research group, shows a similar incident — a US Navy F/A-18 getting a lock on a UFO, and the crew yelling their excitement and confusion at each other.

    "Whoa! Got it!" one of the pilots, yells after getting a lock. "What the f--- is that thing?!" the other asks.

    These videos are a select few of a number of recorded encounters between the US Navy and UFO's that the Department of Defense has unclassified and released.

    TTSA has posted videos to give an in-depth analysis on each event that the DoD has released.

    The DoD has not identified any of the mystery aircraft, leading some to believe that they could be extraterrestrial technology manned by alien visitors.

    The DoD did have a program dedicated to investigating UFO incidents that was started in 2007, but the department terminated the funding for the project in 2012. Though the Times reports that some defense and intelligence officials are still investigating the incidents, they appear to have made virtually no progress in coming to a conclusion or any findings.

    Negative stigma attached to UFO research

    There is reportedly a negative stigma associated with anyone who pursues the idea that the UFOs are extraterrestrial life visiting earth and believers tend to attribute the slow progress on identifying the aircraft on lack of interest from superiors.

    "Nobody wants to be 'the alien guy' in the national security bureaucracy," Christopher Mellon, an advisor to TTSA and a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for intelligence in the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, writes in the Washington Post.

    "Nobody wants to be ridiculed or sidelined for drawing attention to the issue," Mellon writes. "This is true up and down the chain of command, and it is a serious and recurring impediment to progress."

    As a result, he claims, the military does virtually nothing with the numerous reports of UFOs that servicemen make.

    "There is no Pentagon process for synthesizing all the observations the military is making. The current approach is equivalent to having the Army conduct a submarine search without the Navy," Mellon writes.

    "What we lack above all is recognition that this issue warrants a serious collection and analysis effort."

    Mellon argues that the issue needs to be taken seriously, and that a concerted effort that cuts through the "quarrelsome national security bureaucracies" could find realistic explanations for the incidents, and not rule out alien life as purely fictional.

    Robert Bigelow, an American billionaire who works with NASA, is likewise convinced that aliens exist and that UFOs have visited Earth.

    "Internationally, we are the most backward country in the world on this issue," Bigelow told the New York Times. "Our scientists are scared of being ostracized, and our media is scared of the stigma."

    Countries like China, Russia, and other European nations are willing to pursue this idea more than their American counterparts, according to Bigelow.

    "They are proactive and willing to discuss this topic, rather than being held back by a juvenile taboo," he said.

    SEE ALSO: 'What the f--- is that thing?': Mysterious video shows Navy pilots encountering UFO

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Elon Musk explains the one thing that went wrong with SpaceX's Falcon Heavy flight

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  • The mayor of London read racist tweets about himself during SXSW as a plea for Facebook and Twitter to stop hate speech>
    (Politics - March 12 2018 - 8:46 PM:)

    Sadiq Khan

    • London Mayor Sadiq Khan asked Facebook and Twitter to do more in combatting hate speech during a talk at SXSW.
    • During the talk, he read social media hate speech about himself.
    • He suggested that tech companies should face fines if they don't remove hate speech quickly.


    London Mayor Sadiq Khan made a moving plea for tech companies to take on hate speech at the annual SXSW conference in Austin, Texas, on Monday.

    During his talk, the mayor read racist tweets about himself.

    "I say kill the mayor of London and you'll be rid of one Muslim terrorist," Khan read aloud. "I'd pay for someone to execute Sadiq Kahn."

    Khan, the first Muslim mayor of a Western capital city, said he read the half a dozen tweets or so not to "be portrayed as a victim" or "ask for sympathy, but to illustrate that big tech has further to go in making the internet free of hate speech.

    "But ask yourself this, what happens when young boys and girls from minority backgrounds see this kind of thing on their timelines or experience this themselves?" Kahn said.

    Kahn warned that tweets like the ones addressed to him send a message to minority children that if they don't look a certain way or subscribe to the same establishment beliefs, they will grow up thinking there's no path for them in high-profile careers.

    "We simply must do more to protect people online," Kahn said.

    Kahn urged companies like Facebook and Twitter to show "a stronger duty of care," so that "social media platforms can live up to their promises to connect, unify, and democratize the sharing of information and be places where everyone feels welcomed and valued."

    The London mayor offered a few recommendations. He suggested that Facebook and Twitter remove offensive content and misinformation faster. If they don't, he said, they should face fines.

    Germany began enforcing a new rule in January that gives social media platforms just 24 hours to decide if something is hate speech. German police are investigating far-right politician Beatrix von Storch after she described Muslims as "barbarians" on Facebook and Twitter.

    Kahn said he expects Londoners to pressure their representatives to create a similar rule.

    "This isn't about depriving people of free speech — this is about inciting hatred," Kahn said. "This is about things that divide our community."

    SEE ALSO: London mayor Sadiq Khan ripped into big tech over fake news, online abuse, and regulatory arbitrage

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: I quit social media for a month — and it was the best choice I've ever made

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  • A top Democrat is trying to find out exactly how much money from foreign governments the Trump Organization donated>
    (Politics - March 12 2018 - 8:39 PM:)

    Donald Trump

    • Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings is requesting documentation of the Trump Organization's recent donations to the Treasury.
    • Last month, the Trump Organization said it donated to the Treasury all profits from foreign governments at its hotels since President Donald Trump took office, as Trump previously pledged.
    • But the company did not say how much was donated.
    • Last week, Eric Trump said that amount was more than $151,000.

    A top Democrat is requesting documentation of how much money from foreign governments the Trump Organization donated to the Treasury Department last month.

    Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent letters Monday to George Sorial, Trump Organization executive vice president and chief compliance counsel, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin requesting the information.

    The Trump Organization announced last month that, as President Donald Trump previously pledged, it donated profits from foreign government officials patronizing its hotels to the Treasury Department. But the president's namesake business did not say how much money was donated. Trump's son, Eric Trump, a top executive at the Trump Organization, said last week that the company donated $151,470 of profits from foreign governments.

    Prior to taking office, Trump announced through his attorney that he would "voluntarily donate all profits from foreign government payments made to his hotel to the United States Treasury."

    It was not clear, however, whether "his hotel" meant all of his properties or just a specific one, such as his Washington, DC, location.

    Receiving such profits from foreign government officials has alarmed ethics experts. They have warned that such payments could violate the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which prohibits a president from accepting gifts or cash from foreign governments.

    "There is no legitimate reason for the Trump Organization to withhold information about these payments from Congress," Cummings wrote in his letter to Sorial. "We have an obligation to determine whether foreign governments are spending money at President Trump's businesses, how much they are spending, and whether these payments violate the Emoluments Clause."

    SEE ALSO: Trump Organization makes a big omission in announcing its donation of profits from foreign governments

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Henry Blodget: Will arming teachers with guns help stop school shootings?

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  • White House declines to endorse UK view that Russia was behind nerve agent attack in England>
    (Politics - March 12 2018 - 8:16 PM:)

    sarah huckabee sanders

    • The UK government has accused Russia of being behind a nerve agent attack on a former double agent in Salisbury, England.
    • But the White House refused to endorse this view in a press conference on Monday.
    • White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the US government condemns the attack, but did not mention Russia by name.

    The White House has declined to endorse the UK government's assessment that Russia was behind the recent attempted assassination of a former double agent in Salisbury, England.

    On Monday, British Prime Minister Theresa May said it was "highly likely" that the Russian government was behind the attack that has left Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia critically ill, calling it "an unlawful use of force by the Russian State against the United Kingdom."

    But when White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked repeatedly about the incident at a press conference in Washington DC later on Monday, she would not say whether the American government agreed with this attribution, and did not mention Russia by name.

    "The use of a highly lethal nerve agent against UK citizens on UK soil is an outrage," Sanders said in response to a question about the attack and Russia's role. "The attack was reckless, indiscriminate, and irresponsible. We offer the fullest condemnation."

    The journalist them pressed her, asking if this meant the US was not pointing the finger at Russia.

    "Right now, we are standing with our UK ally," Sanders said. "I think they're still working through even some of the details of that, and we're going to continue to work with the UK."

    May's remarks accusing Russia came hours prior to the White House press conference.

    Sanders was then asked a third time about the UK government's assessment, and said only: "We stand with our ally and we certainly fully support them, and are ready if we can be of any assistance to them."

    The UK government has said it has identified the nerve agent used on the Skripals on March 4 as being from the Novichok family. Novichok nerve agents were developed by Russia during the Cold War, and are highly toxic — as much as 10 times more deadly than the lethal XV nerve agent.

    There are two possibilities, May said — Either the attack was orchestrated by the Russian government, or "the Russian government lost control of this potentially catastrophically damaging nerve agent and allowed it to get into the hands of others."

    US secretary of state Rex Tillerson has been less reticent about apportioning blame, however. He said on Monday that the poisoning "clearly came from Russia," AP reported, and that it "will trigger a response."

    Here's a video of Sanders being asked about the attack on the Skripals:

    Sanders refuses to condemn Russia for attempted murder and poisoning of a former British spy with a nerve agent in the U.K. pic.twitter.com/f5j0MhuZxo

    — Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 12, 2018

    SEE ALSO: What you need to know about Novichok, the Russian nerve agent used to poison ex-spy Sergei Skripal

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  • The Democrat in the nation's biggest election just got his best poll yet — and he's surging at the exact right time>
    (Politics - March 12 2018 - 7:55 PM:)

    Conor Lamb

    • Democrat Conor Lamb was found to be leading Republican Rick Saccone by his biggest margin yet in a new poll.
    • Monmouth University found Lamb leading in all of its turnout models.
    • This is a total reversal of Monmouth's poll last month.
    • The election is Tuesday.

    Monmouth University poll released Monday found Democrat Conor Lamb leading Republican Rick Saccone in the special election for Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District — a district President Donald Trump won by 20 points in 2016 — by his most impressive margin yet.

    The poll found Lamb winning based on all three of the turnout models it projected. If turnout in the district mirrors other Democratic surges that took place in 2017 special elections, Lamb, a former Marine and federal prosecutor, holds a 6-point lead over Saccone, a state legislator.

    Modeled for historical midterm turnout levels, Lamb holds a 49% to 47% edge over Saccone, while the model that projects turnout similar to a presidential election gives Lamb a 51% to 44% advantage.

    It's a huge change from last month's Monmouth poll, which found Saccone leading in each of the three models. Lamb and Saccone are fighting to win the seat vacated by former longtime Republican Rep. Tim Murphy, who resigned late last year amid an abortion-related scandal.

    "This district has voted overwhelmingly Republican in recent elections, but a large number of these voters have blue-collar Democratic roots," Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, said in a statement. "Lamb seems to have connected with them."

    Recent polling has shown a tight race in the district, with a Gravis poll giving Saccone a 3-point edge while an Emerson poll had Lamb with a similar 3-point advantage. Earlier polling showed Saccone with a more significant edge in the race.

    The election takes place Tuesday.

    SEE ALSO: People are furious with Pittsburgh's 'liberal' newspaper after it endorsed the Trump-backed Republican in the nation's biggest election

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    NOW WATCH: Harvard professor Steven Pinker explains the disturbing truth behind Trump's 2 favorite phrases

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  • Trump's education secretary has stumbled through a series of high-profile interviews, struggling to explain her own department's policies>
    (Politics - March 12 2018 - 7:37 PM:)

    Education Secretary Betsy DeVos

    • Education Secretary Betsy DeVos stumbled through a series of high-profile television interviews recently, in which she appeared unable to explain or defend several of her department's key policies. 
    • DeVos conceded that she has never "intentionally visited" underperforming schools in her home state of Michigan, where she spent decades promoting school privatization. 
    • And she struggled to clarify the administration's position on how to improve school safety in the wake of the mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida high school last month. 
    • Critics in the education policy world and in the media called her interviews "an embarrassment."

    Education Secretary Betsy DeVos stumbled through a series of high-profile television interviews, in which she appeared unable to explain or defend several of her department's key policies and admitted that she has never "intentionally visited" the underperforming public schools of which she has been so critical.

    One of the most controversial members of President Donald Trump's cabinet, DeVos has long been an aggressive advocate for school choice, particularly in her home state of Michigan, where she's poured significant funds into the effort to redirect government funding from public schools to private and charter schools, the majority of which are Christian.

    In perhaps the most ridiculed segment of her Sunday evening "60 Minutes" interview, DeVos admitted that she does not "intentionally" visit underperforming schools, and said she didn't know if the school choice movement in Michigan has improved school performance, despite clear evidence that the schools have declined in recent years.

    "Have you seen the really bad schools? Maybe try to figure out what they're doing?" CBS News correspondent Lesley Stahl asked. 

    "I have not — I have not — I have not intentionally visited schools that are underperforming," DeVos replied. 

    "Maybe you should," Stahl said. 

    "Maybe I should. Yes," DeVos conceded. 

    Critics of school choice say it hurts students left in the underfunded public schools and effectively privatizes what should be a public service. 

    Sec. of Education Betsy DeVos struggles to answer fairly basic questions on school performance on 60 Minutes pic.twitter.com/lFVq3USwUW

    — Axios (@axios) March 12, 2018

    DeVos is vague on guns in schools

    DeVos struggled to clarify the administration's position on how to improve school safety in the wake of the mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida high school last month. The secretary, who has been tapped to lead a new commission on school safety, attempted to avoid questions about gun regulation and argued that states should make their own decisions about whether to arm teachers. 

    When "Today" show host Savannah Guthrie asked her several questions about what arming teachers would look like, DeVos had few answers. 

    "This is an issue that is best decided by local communities and by states," she said. "It is not going to be appropriate in every location, but it is going to be appropriate in some places."

    She repeated vague statements assuring her commitment to "advanc[ing] ways in which schools can be made safer for students," as she told Fox News hosts during another interview on Monday morning, and said "everything is on the table" in terms of policy proposals.

    In her "60 Minutes" interview, DeVos touted her efforts to roll back federal government "overreach," specifically regulations that allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice, that aim to protect students from racially discriminatory discipline, and that provide more protections to victims of sexual assault on college campuses. 

    Under DeVos, the department is championing a change to Title IX that would provide more protections for students accused of sexual assault. DeVos said she does not know if there are as many incidents of sexual assault as there are incidents of false accusations on college campuses, a bizarre and controversial opinion given the numerous studies that have found that about 20% of female college students are victims of sexual assault. 

    "Are you…suggesting that the number of false accusations are as high as the number of actual rapes or assaults?" Lesley Stahl asks Secretary DeVos about her controversial changes to Title IX guidelines on campus sexual assault. pic.twitter.com/enegEWhKBy

    — 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) March 11, 2018

    'Amazing and frightening' 

    DeVos's interviews were met with scathing criticism from reporters and education experts, some of whom argued that she is unqualified for her powerful position. 

    "Inept/offensive answers on struggling district schools, disproportionate discipline, guns, and school choice," Robin Lake, director of the non-partisan Center on Reinventing Public Education, tweeted. "DeVos is an embarrassment to responsible education choice and reform movements."

    "One wld think by now that you know wht the questions are going to be," New York Times education writer Nikole Hannah-Jones tweeted. "Tht you don't even feel pressure to study up to prepare for a national prime time interview to make it *seem* like you know what you're talking about is both amazing & frightening." 

    BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith argued that the billionaire GOP benefactor was appointed for her connections to the party and her financial support of Trump rather than for her education chops.  

    "This offers a kind of sad glimpse at the way some huge philanthropic and political donors go through life: being told they are geniuses by very accomplished people who want their $; and then totally unready for actual challenge," Smith tweeted.

    SEE ALSO: Trump's education secretary chided him for calling NBC's Chuck Todd 'a sleeping son of a b----'

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    NOW WATCH: The racist origins of marijuana prohibition

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  • Mueller is reportedly wrapping up his obstruction of justice case on Trump — but might wait to file charges>
    (Politics - March 12 2018 - 7:00 PM:)

    Sign up for the latest Russia investigation updates here.

    FILE PHOTO: Robert Mueller testifies before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on Federal Bureau of Investigation oversight on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, U.S., June 13, 2013. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo

    • Special counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly almost done with the obstruction of justice portion of his investigation into President Donald Trump's ties to Russia.
    • He might hold off on taking action on the obstruction case until he finishes other portions of his investigation so witnesses will cooperate and so he won't be under pressure to conclude the probe.
    • Mueller has been gathering information on Trump's possible obstruction since last year, but still needs to interview Trump himself on the matter.

    Special counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly almost finished putting together his obstruction of justice case on President Donald Trump, but might wait to file charges until he finishes the other parts of his probe, Bloomberg reported on Monday.

    Mueller has been building his obstruction case for almost a year, but he has a host of reasons to want to avoid taking action on his findings until much later. If he files charges now, he is likely to face pressure from Trump and his allies to conclude the investigation, and witnesses may be less cooperative with other elements of his probe.

    According to current and former US officials who spoke to Bloomberg, regardless of what he uncovers in the obstruction case, Mueller might make it a priority to keep his findings secret as he continues with other portions of his investigation.

    Mueller will likely finish this portion of his inquiry shortly after he interviews Trump himself and his son, Donald Trump, Jr.

    Although Trump and his legal team have come up with a multitude of strategies to avoid an interview with Mueller over the past few months, legal experts like Robert Ray, who was one of the independent counsels in the President Bill Clinton investigation in the 1990s, said Trump will have to sit down with the investigators sooner or later.

    "The sooner they make the president available to submit to an interview, the faster that Bob Mueller can get to the finish line and be over and done," Ray told the Wall Street Journal last month.

    Even Sam Nunberg, a former Trump campaign aide who had a public meltdown on a number of news networks last week — when he pledged not to cooperate with a subpoena Mueller sent him, then acquiesced — said Trump should sit down for an in-person interview.

    "The president has to do an interview, I would say. I would highly suggest that he does," Nunberg said on MSNBC Sunday.

    What evidence is there for an obstruction case?

    Comey and Mueller

    Mueller has been gathering evidence about the obstruction portion of his investigation since Trump's fired James Comey as FBI director in May 2017.

    At first, the White House said it was because of the way Comey handled the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's private email server, but Trump later said "this Russia thing" was on his mind when he made the decision.

    Trump also reportedly decided well before Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wrote a memo recommending he fire Comey on the basis of the Clinton investigation, which the White House released as explanation.

    Mueller's team reportedly interviewed Comey late last year, and investigators dove deep into the contemporaneous memos he had written that documented his various encounters with Trump before the president fired him.

    In one of these notes, Comey wrote that Trump had asked him to ease off investigating his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who at the time was suspected of lying about his contacts with Russians during the campaign.

    Comey reportedly took Trump's words as an order to stop the Flynn investigation, and while he did not ultimately comply with it, he didn't directly rebuff Trump's request either.

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as head of the Department of Justice and Rosenstein's boss, was directly involved in Comey's dismissal, and had apparently advocated for it.

    In the days leading up to the firing, one of Sessions' aides reportedly asked a congressional staffer if they had any damaging information on Comey, according to The New York Times.

    Sessions has disputed this account. He eventually recused himself from the Russia investigation, much to Trump's chagrin.

    News has also emerged that Trump attempted to fire Mueller last year, and only stopped when White House counsel Donald McGahn threatened to quit if he did so.

    Trump has apparently been asking witnesses who testified before Mueller's panel what they told him, potentially adding to the list of actions Trump has taken that might constitute obstruction of justice, according to The Times.

    Mueller is reportedly aware of the conversations Trump has had with these witnesses, and is looking into them.

    SEE ALSO: The author of the Trump-Russia dossier claims the Kremlin told Trump not to nominate Mitt Romney for secretary of state

    DON'T MISS: Sam Nunberg's wild week, a mysterious Seychelles meeting, and a critical new witness — here's the latest in the Russia investigation

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  • Police are investigating whether deadly package bombings in Austin were racially motivated>
    (Politics - March 12 2018 - 6:54 PM:)

    austin bomb

    • Police in Austin, Texas are investigating whether successive bomb attacks in the city this month were hate crimes.
    • So far, 3 explosions have taken place.
    • 2 explosions took place at homes owned by African-Americans. The third explosion took place at the home of a Hispanic woman.
    • So far, two people have been killed and two remain injured due to the bomb attacks.

    Police are reportedly looking into whether the bombs that went off at homes owned by African-Americans this month were racially motivated.

    Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said the attacks were connected, and the motive may have been tied to race.

    "So we cannot rule out that hate crime is at the core of this; but we're not saying that that's the cause as well," Manley said at a press conference Monday.

    An explosion on Monday happened inside of a home near the Windsor Park neighborhood and killed a 17-year-old boy and badly wounded a woman who is expected to survive.

    The previous explosion happened on March 2, and killed another male, 39-year-old Anthony Stephan House, Time reported.

    Another explosion on Monday took place shortly after the police chief gave a press conference.

    None of the package were delivered by any mail service, according to CNN, and were left on the homes' doorstep overnight, according to Time.

    The homes were reportedly 12 miles apart, according to Time.

    austin package bomb map

    Shortly after the news conference ended, police were called to investigate another explosion in a different part of east Austin. Authorities haven't said whether that explosion was also caused by a bomb.

    Austin-Travis County EMS tweeted that the later blast left a woman in her 70s with potentially life-threatening injuries, and that a second woman in her 80s was being treated for an unrelated medical issue. The woman who was left injured in the blast was of Hispanic background, according to the Austin police chief.

    The recent explosions occurred during the South by Southwest festival, which attracts hundreds of thousands of people every year and is taking place in the city.

    SEE ALSO: Police say 2 deadly package bombs in Austin, Texas, appear to be linked

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  • Police are warning Austin, Texas, residents not to open unexpected packages amid spate of deadly bombings>
    (Politics - March 12 2018 - 6:52 PM:)

    Austin Texas bombing

    • Police are investigating a series of package bombings in Austin, Texas.
    • The first bombing happened on March 2, with two other bombings following on Monday. Two people have died so far.
    • Police are now warning Austin residents not to open unexpected packages.

    Police in Austin, Texas, are warning residents not to open unexpected packages amid a spate of deadly bombings in the city over the past two weeks.

    The first explosion killed a 39-year-old man on March 2 when a package exploded on his front porch. Then on Monday, another package exploded at a home in another part of the city, injuring one person and killing another, followed by another explosion at a different location, injuring one more person.

    In light of the bombings, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley told residents to be wary.

    "If you receive a package that you are not expecting or looks suspicious, DO NOT open it, call 911 immediately," Manley tweeted, asking others to spread the message.

    Police believe the bombings might be racially motivated, as two of the packages were sent to homes owned by African Americans.

    The packages don't appear to have been delivered by any mail service, and were likely left on the homeowners' doorsteps. Manley also warned at a Monday press conference that people should be wary of any package that has been left on residents' doorsteps, yards, or driveways.

    SEE ALSO: Police say 2 deadly package bombs in Austin, Texas, appear to be linked

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