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Senate Intel Committee Wants to talk to Donald Trump, Jr. about meeting with Russian Lawyer

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Political Editor, LeNora Millen

Vice chairman Intelligence committee member Sen. Mark Warner, (D-VA.), said on Monday that he “absolutely” wants to meet with Donald Trump, Jr. about a June 2016 meeting he had during the campaign last year with a Russian attorney with ties to the Russian government.

“It shows a constant pattern of convenient forgetfulness on the part of Trump campaign associates and meetings with Russia, he added.”

The Senate panel, a Department of Justice appointed special counsel, and other congressional committees are investigating Russian attempts to influence the 2016 election to determine whether the Trump campaign and the Kremlin coordinated.

In a Monday tweet, Donald Trump Jr. wrote, “Happy to work with the committee to pass on what I know.”  Events leading up to his tweet come on the heels of a New York Times exclusive about a meeting last year with a Russian lawyer who allegedly offered dirt on presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

On Monday, intelligence committee member Sen. Susan Collins, (R-ME), called on the panel to interview Trump and “others who attended” the June 2016 meeting, according to Politico reports.

Further review of the allegations surrounding the June 2016 meeting would include then-campaign manager, Paul Manafort and President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner, both of whom the younger Trump, Jr. invited to the meeting.

Amid investigations surrounding possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, the persisting probes have often triggered President Trump—prompting him to send off a flurry of tweets attacking the media as “fake news!”  Trump continues to deny collusion with Russia.

The top House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), also expressed interest in interviewing Trump Jr. about the meeting.

The New York Times, which first reported the meeting, described the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, as “Kremlin-connected.”  However, Trump, Jr., said he did not know her name when he agreed to the meeting.

“If he knew her links to the Kremlin, that would give a clearer signal that the Trump campaign was willing to accept help from the Russians,” according to Jeffrey Cramer, a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois and managing director at Berkeley Research Group.

President Trump’s legal team was adamant about saying that he did not attend the meeting and neither did he have knowledge of it. Trump Jr. also said that Kushner and Manafort knew “nothing of the substance” about the meeting.

The White House defended Trump Jr.’s actions on Monday.  In an off-camera White House briefing, Sarah Huckabee Sanders contended that he did nothing.  Taking a few questions about Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer, she said it was a “very short meeting” with “no follow-up.”

“The only thing I see inappropriate about the meeting,” she added, “was the people that leaked the information on the meeting after it was voluntarily disclosed.”

Debunking Huckabee defense of Donald Trump, Jr. the New York Times reported on late Monday—the  Russian government sought to aid Trump’s candidacy, which was received by Trump, Jr., in an email.

According to the New York Times report, before arranging a meeting with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer, Donald Trump, Jr. believed he would receive compromising information about Hillary Clinton.  More damaging to the Trump camp is that Trump Jr. was informed in the email that the material was part of a Russian government effort to aid his father’s candidacy, according to three people with knowledge of the email.

Rob Goldstone, publicist and former tabloid reporter who helped broker the June 2016 meeting sent the email to Donald Trump, Jr.

In a statement on Sunday, Donald Trump, Jr. acknowledged that he was interested in receiving damaging information about Hillary Clinton, but gave no indication that he thought the lawyer might have been a Kremlin proxy.

Mr. Goldstone’s message, as relayed to The New York Times by the three unnamed sources, indicates that the Russian government was the source of the potentially damaging information.  A broader effort by Moscow to help the Trump campaign was not elaborated. There is no evidence, at the time of the New York Times exclusive to suggest that the damaging information was related to Russian government computer hacking that led to the release of thousands of Democratic National Committee emails.

While Donald Trump, Jr. continues to change his story about the June 16 meeting with the Russia Lawyer, and President Trump sends out a flurry of Tweets to address media reports that he’s labeled ‘fake news’ Intelligence Committee staffers will begin conducting their first interviews with Trump campaign officials this week.

The interviews are part of the committee’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign. The committee, chaired by Richard Burr, (R-NC)., and vice-chaired by Mark Warner, (D-Va.), previously heard testimony from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former FBI Director James Comey as a part of its inquiry.

 

Business

Former Congressman Harold Ford Jr. Fired by Morgan Stanley for Alleged Misconduct

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Harold Ford Jr., a former congressman, was fired by the financial services firm Morgan Stanley following allegations of misconduct, NBC confirmed on Thursday.

Morgan Stanley declined to say specifically what prompted the firing. The allegations were presented after a woman who was not employed at the firm accused Mr. Ford of acting inappropriately in a professional setting.

Mr. Ford’s termination reported by HuffPost as an exclusive has been challenged by the former Congressman as “false claims.”

Harold Ford Jr., a former congressman, was fired from his position as a managing director at the financial services firm Morgan Stanley for what the company described as behavior “inconsistent with our values.”CreditMike Groll/Associated Press

In a statement provided by his lawyer, Mr. Ford denied the sexual harassment allegations, stating in a tweet on Thursday that he will be bringing legal action against the reporter, for making false claims against him, as well as Morgan Stanley for wrongful termination.

“This simply did not happen,” Mr. Ford wrote. “I have never forcibly grabbed any woman or man in my life.” He added that socializing with members of the press was part of his job, and said that “false claims like this undermine the real silence breakers.”

Mr. Ford served five terms in Congress as a Democrat representing a Tennessee district after first being elected in 1996—serving as Congressman from 1997 to 207.

He joined Morgan Stanley as a managing director and senior client-relationship manager in 2011 as a vice chairman and senior policy adviser at Bank of America.

Amid the heightened scrutiny of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior toppling key figures in the entertainment and political arena, Mr. Ford is the latest high profiled man to lose his job in recent days for similar allegations.

Time magazine on Wednesday named the “Silence Breakers” its Person of the Year. They shared personal stories about harassment and assault and sparked the #MeToo movement.

According to Time, the #MeToo became a hashtag, a movement, a reckoning. But it began, as great social change nearly always does, with individual acts of courage.

In a tweet acknowledging his thoughts on the “Silence Breaker” quite pointed in his statement, Mr. Ford said the following in regards to news of his firing on Thursday, “This simply did not happen.  I have never forcibly grabbed any woman or man in my life.”

In another tweet, Mr. Ford spoke about his professional demeanor and his tremendous respect for the brave women speaking out “in this important national dialogue.”  Mr. Ford was pointed in stating that false claims alleged against him “undermine the real “Silence Breakers.”

Mr. Ford appeaed as a frequent guest on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” MSNBC – which is owned by NBC 4 New York’s parent company.

“We are looking into the report about Harold Ford Jr.,” a spokeswoman for MSNBC said. “During that time he won’t be a guest on MSNBC.”

LeNora Millen            12-7-17

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Business

TV One Cancels Roland Martin’s Morning Show ‘News One Now’

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TV One is canceling Roland Martin’s morning show “News One Now,” Roland made the announcement in a tweet Wednesday.

“Fam, the sad news is true. The staff of @tvonetv #NewsnewOneNow was informed this afternoon that after four years of doing groundbreaking and award-winning work, the show will cease production at the end of the year,” Martin tweeted.

Martin, who thanked audiences for their support, said the last episode will air on Dec. 21.

Roland Martin’s morning show “NewsOne Now” was cancelled due to budget cuts according to various reports from reliable sources.

“They called a meeting on Wednesday and told the staff they were canceling the show. They’re having significant financial problems and they have to scale back,” a source said. “After four years of award-winning programming and distinguished service to our viewers as the only black daily newscast on television, the network has made the difficult decision to suspend the production of NewsOne Now as a daily morning news show. The last live show is scheduled [Dec. 21],” TV One’s interim GM, Michelle Rice wrote in a memo.

Host of “News One Now” Roland Martin speaks on stage during ColorofChange.org 10 Year Anniversary Gala. (Rob Kim/Getty Images for ColorOfChange)

The news of “NewsOne Now” cancellation shocked Martin and staffers according to sources. The network had recently expanded the morning show to two hours in September.

The memo added: “While we will continue our long-standing partnership with Roland Martin to ensure his important voice can be heard across all Urban One platforms examining issues of importance to the black community, we regret this decision adversely affects several of our valued colleagues whose positions will be eliminated with the suspension of the show.”

The network issued a statement on Twitter that read, “We are committed to providing quality news to our viewers and to our long-standing relationship with @rolandsmartin #NewsOneNow who will continue to have a voice on #TVOne.”

LeNora Millen         12-07-17

 

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Editor Picks

President Donald Trump will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel

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Why declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is so controversial?

The final status of Jerusalem has always been one of the most difficult and sensitive questions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If the United States declares Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, it would be seen as prejudging that question, deciding an issue that was supposed to be left to negotiations and breaking with the international consensus on the holy city.
Recognizing Jerusalem as the capital also moves the United States one major step closer to relocating the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which would be seen as cementing Israeli sovereignty over the city.

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