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Sessions hearing to dived friends

Democratic colleagues pressured to toughen fight for confirmation


The government watchdog group Common Cause came out against the nomination, citing his state opposition to the Voting Rights Act, which he argued was outdated. In 2006, however, Mr. Sessions voted to extend the law another 25 years.

The liberal group Democracy for America sent an email to supporters branding Mr. Sessions a “white supremacist” and calling him “anti-woman” because he once voted against the Violence Against Women Act.

Mr. Sessions isn’t fazed by the assault on him or by the objections from his fellow senators. He expected it as part of the partisan process and as an effort by Democrats to distract from Mr. Trump’s agenda, said a source close to the nominee.

Trump transition team officials also said that they have diligently prepared for the hearings and are confident Mr. Sessions is ready for whatever questions he receives.

Still, Mr. Sessions is getting pushback from Democrats with whom he has worked the closest.

Sen. Richard J. Durbin, the chamber’s No. 2 Democratic leader and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, emerged from a meeting last week with Mr. Sessions to tell reporters he was “troubled” and “disappointed” by the answers he received about criminal justice reform, illegal immigration and voter ID laws.

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Russian media reports in U.S. titled to Trump

Intel report suggests RT connection to WiliLeaks

While intelligence officials did not specifically estimate the size of RT’s U.S. audience, they cited the outfit’s own claim to be reaching about 85 million Americans, and Friday’s report included a sobering chart that said RT content on YouTube receives about eight times as many total views worldwide as that produced by CNN.

The report also outlines how RT employees have “actively collaborated with WikiLeaks,” the web-based recipient of material that Russian intelligence agents are accused of hacking from the Democratic National Committee’s network from July 2015 through at least June 2016.

The report stops short of claiming RT had a hand in delivering such material to WikiLeaks, but cites Russian media reports that RT is “the only Russian media company” to partner with WikiLeaks and to receive access to “new leaks of secret information” from the organization’s founder, Julian Assange.

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Alluring Aroma of Pork

Bring home the bacon

Republicans poised to restart earmark factory in congress


Critics call it pork, but fans say earmarking is the way the country’s founders intended it: Congress has the power of the purse and is charged with directing federal money.

Lawmakers say earmarks are more in tune with the needs of their constituents than bureaucrats at federal agencies, so it makes sense that they would have a say in what projects should be prioritized.

“Why should we as members of Congress give authority to the White House? That is what has happened, and it brought Congress to a standstill. Bring back earmarks,” former Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democrats’ longtime floor leader, pleaded with colleagues in his farewell address last month.

At their height, earmarks amounted to about 1 percent of total government spending, but they accounted for a lot of the grief that lawmakers faced over spending decisions.

Turning point

Perhaps no piece of legislation was more poisonous for earmarks than the massive 2005 highway bill, coming in at nearly $300 billion, and piled full of pork.

Mr. Coburn said Republican leaders offered lawmakers the chance to pick out their own projects in the bill, in exchange for agreeing to vote for the final package. The bill cleared easily, on a 91-4 vote in the Senate and a 412-8 vote in the House.

But the bad press quickly mounted. One lawmaker from California was accused of earmarking a street extension and highway interchanges that benefited a business partner. Another lawmaker had to fend off erroneous press reports that he was under FBI investigation after he requested money for an interchange that the Los Angeles Times said helped boost the value of a property he owned.


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Islamic State using app to broadcast terror instructions

Too many streams to block

Steve Stalinsky, who directs the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), told The Washington Times that Mr. Durov is not telling the truth.

“I am currently following over a thousand jihadi Telegram accounts and ‘chats,’ the majority of them are affiliated with ISIS, al Qaeda and also smaller jihadi groups including Hezbollah and the Taliban,” said Mr. Stalinsky, whose group monitors all types of jihadi communications. “Every time one of these accounts gets updated, a ‘ding’ is [sounded] to notify users. I never leave the volume on my computer anymore, because there literally is nonstop dinging happening. Just about every second of the day, a jihadi is posting something new on Telegram.”


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Trump effect’ chases Germans from nationalist far right Austin Davis

Germany’s opposition Green Party received 114 online applications on Nov. 9 and an additional 145 in the week after Election Day, far more than is the norm, officials said.

“We’re always hearing from our newest members that they’re becoming politically involved with the Greens because the charge of right-wing nationalists is shifting our democracy,” said Green Party spokesman Simon Zunk.

Ms. Merkel’s Christian Democrats welcomed 945 more members in November despite a dip last month that some attribute to the unpopularity of her open-door refugee policy that allowed in 1 million refugees in 2015.

Still, analysts say, the Berlin establishment needs all the support it can get. In line with European trends, Germany’s far-right party Alternative for Germany experienced unprecedented momentum last year. In September, it even defeated the Christian Democrats in regional elections in Ms. Merkel’s home state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

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Washington Times 09-01-2017 front page headline stories
Washington Times 09-01-2017 front page headline stories

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