FLYNN TAKES THE FIFTH: FORMER NSA ADVISOR WILL FIGHT SENATE SUBPOENA, SAY REPORTS

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Former national security adviser Michael Flynn is planning to refuse a Senate subpoena to testify and will invoke the Fifth Amendment, say published reports.

Flynn, who was fired as president Donald Trump’s NSA advisor after it was uncovered he had failed to disclose communications he had Russia officials, received a subpoena from Senate Intelligence Committee for documents related to his interactions with Russian officials from June 2015 to January 2017.

The subpoena was issued after Flynn’s attorney, Robert Kelner, failed to provide the documents in response to the panel’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election.

“He will not be producing the documents they sought. He is entitled to decline, pursuant to the Fifth Amendment,” a source close to Flynn told ABC News (http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/michael-flynn-amendment-decline-senate-subpoena/story?id=47560095).

In April, Flynn said through a statement from his lawyer that he wouldn’t agree to questioning by the committee “without assurances against unfair prosecution.”

Members of the House and Senate Intelligence panels leading the Congressional probe have thus far refused to agree to Flynn’s terms.

Although sources close to the retired Army lieutenant general say the decision is not evidence of guilt or wrongdoing, White House insiders say the president is less than pleased by Flynn’s refusal to cooperate.

“Gen. Flynn¹s lawyers said he would not honor the subpoena, and that¹s not a surprise to the committee,” Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), told reporters in response to the report, “but we¹ll figure out on Gen. Flynn what the next step, if any is.”

“It is Mike Flynn’s right to plead the 5th,” said Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), also a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “We will get to the truth one way or another.”

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‘WE SUPPORT FREE SPEECH’: SCHOOL PUBLISHES STUDENT’S THREAT TO ‘BEHEAD TRUMP’ IN HIGH SCHOOL YEARBOOK

BRAINERD, MINNESOTA — A Minnesota school district is under fire since a statement permitted to be published in a high school year year book has gone viral.

In a page dedicated to president Donald Trump, Brainerd High School students were asked to share their thoughts on their new president to be published in the school’s 2017 yearbook. Each student’s answer was to appear in a quote next to their photo.

One student, who’s name is being withheld due to her being under age, wrote, “I would like to behead him. I do not like him.”

Some local parents, outraged after viewing their child’s yearbook, uploaded the page to social media and the story quickly went viral.

After being bombarded with complaints and calls for explanation, the director of Brainerd Public Schools on Friday issued a statement (http://isd181.org/#article1) in which it said while the comment should have been removed, the school board does recognize their students’ rights to free speech.

“While the District supports Free Speech, the disrespectful statements in the yearbook are contrary to the basic educational mission of the District and should not have been included in a school sponsored publication,” the statement said.

Conservative actor Scott Baio, best known for his television roles in “Happy Days” and “Charles in Charge” shared the photo on his Twitter page (https://twitter.com/ScottBaio?lang=en) , tagging the president, the FBI, Sean Hannity and Kellyanne Conway, to alert them of the situation.

So far, there is no word on whether or not the student will face criminal charges in regard to the threat against the president.

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THE ART OF THE DEAL: TRUMP ANNOUNCES PLANS TO RENEGOTIATE NAFTA

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Despite the controversies surrounding the White House this week, president Trump says he plans on sticking to business as usual when it comes to making America great again and that includes, he says, renegotiating NAFTA.

Following up on his campaign promise to do so, the president notified Congress on Thursday that he intends to enter into renegotiation with Mexico and Canada on the terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Speaking on the president’s behalf, newly confirmed United States trade representative Robert Lighthizer notified congressional leaders courtesy a two page memo that the president intends to overhaul the 23-year-old contract, which Trump referred to as “the worst trade deal ever.”

“We are going to give renegotiation a good strong shot,” Lighthizer said in the letter. But the representative refused to comment on whether or not the president would pull out of NAFTA all together should his desired terms and conditions not be met.

“Since the signing of NAFTA, we have seen our manufacturing industry decimated, factories shuttered, and countless workers left jobless,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement. “President Trump is going to change that.”

In response to the announcement, both Mexico and Canada indicated that they would welcome the opportunity to renegotiate the agreement if it meant that the pact, which was entered into by then president Bill Clinton in 1994, could benefit all nations involved.

“We look forward to working with the administration to strengthen the agreement in a seamless way and ensure that we retain the current benefits for American workers, farmers and businesses,” Texas Republican Rep. Kevin Brady, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said in a statement.

Since the agreement was entered into, American farmers have primarily benefited from the reduction in trade barriers. But critics say the pact encouraged American manufacturers to relocate some operations to Mexico to take advantage of cheaper labor, resulting in the loss of much needed U.S. manufacturing jobs.

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PRESIDENT PENCE? VP LAUNCHES SUPER PAC AS RUMORS OF IMPEACHMENT SWIRL

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As his boss faces increasing backlash over reports of his alleged ties to Russia, Vice president Mike Pence filed papers on Thursday to launch a political action committee of his own.

The announcement comes just one day after the justice department announced it had appointed a special prosecutor to look into whether or not president Trump’s firing of former FBI director James Comey had anything to do with his investigation into what, if any, role the Russians played in the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

In an interview with Bloomberg (https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-05-17/pence-takes-steps-to-build-war-chest-as-white-house-stumbles), Nick Ayers, Pence’s senior advisor to the “Great America Committee”, downplayed rumors that the VP was capitalizing on the president’s woes by pouncing on the opportunity to slide in to the Oval Office given the remote chance that impeachment should occur, claiming that the creation of the committee was simply another attempt by Pence to boost the president’s legislative efforts.

“The Vice President is playing a leading role in passing legislation on the Hill,” Ayers said. “He wants to support House and Senate members who are helping pass the president’s agenda.”

Despite his denials, Pence is well aware of the rumors circulating on the Hill. On Wednesday, conservative radio show host Michael Savage opened his show by asking his listeners if Trump should resign in order to save the party’s agenda.

Also on Wednesday, Politico ran an opinion piece (http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/17/mike-pence-president-trump-238525) which insinuated that the ultra conservative Pence may be the only hope left in saving the Republican party from collapse.

Once source close to Pence says the rumors of his sharpening the knife to stab the president in the back are “ridiculous”.

“Mike is loyal to the president,” said the source, who wished to speak off the record. “Don’t read anything more into this than his running for re-election as vice president in 2020 and supporting other candidates. This president (president Trump) isn’t going anywhere.”

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BREAKING: PRESIDENT RESPONDS TO APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL PROSECUTOR TO PROBE TIES TO RUSSIA

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump on Wednesday released a brief statement in response to the Department of Justice’s announcement that it had appointed a special prosecutor to investigate what, if any, ties the president has to Russia and what role Russia may have played in the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

“As I have stated many times, a thorough investigation will confirm what we already know – there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity,” said the president. “I look forward to this matter concluding quickly. In the meantime, I will never stop fighting for the people and the issues that matter most to the future of our country.”

The announcement comes on the heels of revelations by recently fired former FBI director James Comey that the president had asked him to pull back on his investigation of former national security advisor Michael Flynn, who was removed from his position after it was discovered that he had not been forthcoming with the Trump administration on his communications with a Russian diplomat.

…STORY DEVELOPING

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SEATTLE FIRST U.S. CITY TO OFFER ‘SHOOT UP’ SUITES FOR HEROIN USERS; IS YOUR TOWN NEXT?

SEATTLE, WA — As the nation battles an epidemic the opiate addiction, one major U.S. city has decided that if you can’t beat them, join them.

Seattle heroin addicts will soon be able to legally shoot up heroin at supervised “safe space” facilities, complete with luxury surroundings, a full staff of medical experts on hand should the user choose to get a little too high and it’s all being paid for by, you guessed it, your tax dollars.

According to Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the goal behind the project is to stop the spread of highly communicable diseases that tend to accompany heroin use, such as the HIV, which can be transmitted through the use of dirty needles.

A 40-member task force developed last year by the order of Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine is in charge of the project, which supporters of say will help to save lives, but not all Washingtonians are in favor of the so called “shoot up suites” (http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/seattle-could-be-first-city-to-give-heroin-users-safe-spaces/article/2622944).

“Toleration is not compassionate, it is a signal of defeat. We cannot give up on drug users. In the end, these sites will only distract us from getting resources into real, medically proven treatment options,” says Republican state Sen. Mark Miloscia, who proposed a bill to ban secure injection zones in Washington State.

John P. Walters, director of drug control policy in George W. Bush’s administration, echoed Miloscia’s comments in support of the bill and said the only way to stop a drug addict’s addiction to opiates is to curtail the addict’s access to the drug.

“Supporting addicts’ heroin use maintains their disease, administering the poison that causes their illness and diminishes their lives. A government-approved place for unlimited heroin injection creates the conditions for never-ending addiction and gives government a drug dealer’s power over the addicted,” Walters wrote in an op-ed. “We do not protect addicts by reviving them from overdose death only to return them to death’s front door, perpetuating the self-destructive cycle of addiction.”

The city of Vancouver, British Columbia has sponsored “safe spaces” for heroin users since 2013. Despite city officials’ claims that the shoot up suites have helped to save lives, a report from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General proves otherwise. According to data obtained from the report, drug overdose deaths have actually increased greatly since safe drug use zones were implemented (http://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/public-safety-and-emergency-services/death-investigation/statistical/illicit-drug.pdf).

The city of San Francisco recently announced that they too are looking into development of a similar project.

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‘FAKE NEWS’: PRESIDENT DENIES WRONGDOING IN COMMUNICATION WITH RUSSIA; CALLS INFORMATION EXCHANGED WITH RUSSIAN OFFICIALS ‘WHOLLY APPROPRIATE’

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump came out swinging this morning in response to a Washington Post report on Monday that he provided classified information to Russia during a meeting last week at the White House (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-revealed-highly-classified-information-to-russian-foreign-minister-and-ambassador/2017/05/15/530c172a-3960-11e7-9e48-c4f199710b69_story.html?utm_term=.57d4272b0b7b).

“As President I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety,” the president wrote on Twitter. “Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism. I have been asking Director Comey & others, from the beginning of my administration, to find the LEAKERS in the intelligence community,” the president continued.

Calling the Washington Post report just another example of “fake news” the Trump administration defended the president’s conversations with Russian officials as “wholly appropriate,” denying claims that the president revealed highly classified information on an Islamic State terror threat at any point to Russian officials.

During an often combative White House briefing on Tuesday, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said the president was not “even aware” of the information he is being accused of sharing with the Russians.

“The president wasn’t even aware where this information came from. He wasn’t briefed on the source or method of the information either,” said McMaster. “What was shared was wholly appropriate given the purpose of that conversation and the purpose of what the president was trying to achieve through that meeting.”

When pressed for a yes or no answer on whether Trump had disclosed any classified information during the course of the meeting, McMaster replied, “We don’t say what’s classified, what’s not classified. What I will tell you again is that what the president shared was wholly appropriate.”

McMaster, who said he was in the room throughout the entire meeting between the president and Russian officials, said as much as members of the mainstream media may like to assert a scandal, there is none on this topic to be found. “The president was emphasizing we have some common interests here. We have to work together in critical areas,” McMaster said. “So this was the context of the conversation in which it was wholly appropriate to share what the threat was as a basis for common action and coordination.”

A spokesperson for the Russian government also came forth on Tuesday to call allegations that Trump inappropriately shared classified information with representatives of their government “completely false”.

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DID HE KNOW TOO MUCH? INVESTIGATOR SAYS SLAIN DNC STAFFER SETH RICH SOURCE OF DNC LEAK

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rod Wheeler, a retired Washington homicide detective hired to investigate the still unsolved murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich, has come forward with allegations that Rich may have been the source who leaked a wealth of DNC documents to Wikileaks just months before last November’s election.

Rich, who was employed as the Voter Expansion Data Director for the Democrat National Committee, was found murdered in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Washington, D.C. on July 10, 2016. Although police officials called the murder the probable result of a robbery gone bad, Rich’s personal items including wallet, credit cards, watch and cell phone were never stolen.

Since Rich’s murder, speculation has run rampant that his death may have been tied to the leaked documents, which many blame for the downfall of the campaign of then Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Now, just two months shy of the one-year anniversary of Rich’s death, revelations by Wheeler, who says he believes that there has been a massive cover up into the DNC staffer’s murder, may just prove that speculation correct.

“The police department nor the FBI have been forthcoming,” Wheeler told Fox News D.C. affiliate Fox 5 (http://www.fox5dc.com/news/local-news/254852337-story). “They haven’t been cooperating at all. I believe that the answer to solving his death lies on that computer, which I believe is either at the police department or either at the FBI. I have been told both.”

When asked if Wheeler’s sources have told him there is information that links Rich to Wikileaks, Wheeler replied, “Absolutely. Yeah. That’s confirmed.”

“I have a source inside the police department that has looked at me straight in the eye and said, ‘Rod, we were told to stand down on this case and I can’t share any information with you,’” Wheeler continued. “Now, that is highly unusual for a murder investigation, especially from a police department. Again, I don’t think it comes from the chief’s office, but I do believe there is a correlation between the mayor’s office and the DNC and that is the information that will come out [Tuesday].”

According to a federal source close to the investigation, An FBI forensic report of Rich’s computer — generated within 96 hours after the polling expert’s murder — showed the staffer made contact with WikiLeaks through Gavin MacFadyen, a now-deceased American investigative reporter, documentary filmmaker, and agent of WikiLeaks who was living in London at the time.

“I have seen and read the emails between Seth Rich and WikiLeaks,” the source confirmed.

On July 22, just 12 days after Rich’s murder, WikiLeaks published internal DNC emails that appeared to show that lead party officials had conspired to stop Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont from becoming the party’s presidential nominee. The fall out from the controversy resulted in Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigning as DNC chairperson.

Later in the campaign, a series of more sinister emails released by Wikileaks revealed a series of bizarre, cult like activities partaken in by some of the DNC’s highest ranking members including the attendance of so called “spirit cooking” dinners where guests were urged to bring human urine, blood and breast milk to the event. The emails were a devastating and humiliating blow to the Hillary Clinton campaign and Clinton, herself, blamed the emails in part for her presidential loss.

The federal source says the emails are now in possession of the FBI, but that the investigation into Rich’s death is being “stalled” by the Washington Police Department.

In response to Wheeler’s comments, a spokesperson for Rich’s family has come forward with denials that the slain DNC staffer was the source behind the leak. Brad Bauman, who says that Wheeler is not authorized to speak for the Rich family, called Wheeler’s allegations “unsubstantiated.”

Calls for statement to a DNC spokesperson resulted in “no comment”.

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‘NOTHING TO SEE HERE’: WHITE HOUSE REJECTS CALLS FOR SPECIAL PROSECUTOR ON COMEY FIRING

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The White House is rejecting calls from Democrats to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the firing of former FBI director James Comey.

During Monday’s daily press briefing, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said there was “no need” to appoint a special prosecutor to determine whether Comey was fired as a result of the investigation into alleged Russian involvement in the 2016 election.

“There is no need for a special prosecutor. There are two congressional committees and the FBI is conducting their own review,” said Spicer.

A growing number of Democrats have been rallying for the appointment of a special prosecutor since last week’s announcement that president Trump had notified Comey that his services were no longer needed, although Comey had been the target of Democrats themselves ever since his announcement just before the election that the FBI director had reopened the agency’s probe into then Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s email scandal. Many Democrats, including Clinton herself, claimed Comey’s announcement on the reopening of the investigation played a direct role in the former Secretary of State’s November loss to president Trump.

“This is a process that’s working exactly as it should,” Spicer said. “There’s frankly no need for a special prosecutor.”

When pushed for comment on whether or not the White House’s decision to avoid use of a special prosecutor may lead to push back from Democrats when the president chooses Comey’s replacement, Spicer essentially said that Democrats would just need to get over it.

“If you look at what Acting Director [Andrew] McCabe said last week, he said they have the resources they need and their work continues,” Spicer said.

“It’s at what point, you have a House and Senate, a House committee, a Senate committee, the FBI (investigating),” Spicer said. “I don’t understand why you need additional resources when you have three entities.”

Spicer also added that despite speculation to the contrary, the operation to find a replacement for Comey is running “completely as it should,” and being overseen by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — whose letter to the president on Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email case was cited by the White House as cause for his removal.

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CONSERVATIVES FIGHT BACK: ABC SUBJECT OF BOYCOTT AFTER ‘LAST MAN STANDING’ CANCELLED BY NETWORK

LOS ANGELES, CA — The ABC network has found itself in hot water with viewers after cancelling the highly rated sitcom, “Last Man Standing”.

The network was seemingly blind sighted last week when fans of the conservative show took to social media to voice their outrage over the broadcast giant’s plans to cut the show from it’s programming lineup.

Although the left leaning ABC claimed in it’s announcement on Friday that the show was being cancelled due to “scheduling conflicts” many on social media said they found it suspicious the show was cancelled after it’s star, Tim Allen, came out in support of republican president Donald Trump.

As a result of the show’s cancellation, a petition to boycott the network and it’s other shows until programming executives agree to bring “Last Man Standing” back to the air has quickly taken off (https://www.change.org/p/abc-network-save-tim-allen-s-show-last-man-standing).

“Despite consistently high rankings, especially considering the time slot in which it is aired, Tim Allen’s show “Last Man Standing” has been cancelled by the network on which it is aired, ABC,” the petition reads.

“Last Man Standing stands out in the sea of network television sitcoms. It is a show that appeals to a broad swath of Americans who find very few shows that extol the virtues with which they can identify; namely conservative values.
Last Man Standing was not just selling conservative ideals though, as some of the characters in the show are clearly of the liberal persuasion, yet the characters on the show all manage to get along and take care of one another, despite their politically opposed views. The show is about more than politics though, it is about family. In fact, politics is only a secondary part of the show, but one in which many Americans can readily identify, ” the petition continues.

“Last Man Standing is one of the only shows on broadcast television, and the only sitcom, that is not constantly shoving liberal ideals down the throats of the viewers. And sadly, that is likely the real reason the show has been cancelled.
The intent of this petition/boycott is to attempt to get ABC to renew the show. With that in mind, I will no longer be watching any ABC shows. I have cancelled the DVR settings for the other ABC shows that I regularly watch. If you want to help try to save Last Man Standing, I encourage you to do the same. Even if you are not willing to boycott the network, but still want to save the show, please sign this petition and share it. If you do plan to boycott ABC, please say so when you sign. Let them hear our voices,” the petition concludes.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker came out on social media on Monday in support of the petition, claiming that the program’s cancellation was clearly based on politics.

“Looks like @ABC is playing politics with your show despite decent ratings. Sad,” Walker tweeted.

According to statistics published by Deadline, “Last Man Standing” was the network’s second-highest comedy over the course of the past season and averaged 8.1 million viewers per episode, just behind “Modern Family,” which averaged 8.7 million viewers, and was recently renewed for two more seasons. The program was also ABC’s third highest watched scripted series behind “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Modern Family.”

At the time of this report, the petition had garnered more than 26,000 signatures.

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