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Trump: Paul Manafort Received a Tough Sentence; ‘What About Comey and Crooked Hillary?’

President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he believed his former campaign manager Paul Manafort received a tough sentence and wondered why the same hasn't happened for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former FBI director James Comey. "Wow, what a tough sentence for Paul Manafort, who has represented Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and many other top political people and campaigns. Didn’t know Manafort was the head of the Mob. What about Comey and Crooked Hillary and all of the others? Very unfair!" Trump tweeted. Wow, what a tough sentence for Paul Manafort, who has represented Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and many other top political people and campaigns. Didn’t know Manafort was the head of the Mob. What about Comey and Crooked Hillary and all of the others? Very unfair! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 15, 2018 A federal judge revoked bail conditions for Manafort after special counsel Robert Mueller accused Manafort of witness tampering. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman ordered Manafort to spend his time in a jail cell awaiting his criminal trial. Manafort was first indicted last October and has since been confined to his home and required to wear an electronic-monitoring device. His trial for the Washington case is set for September, but he has another trial scheduled in Virginia for related charges in July. When Manafort was first indicted, the White House said the charges had nothing to do with the president and the 2016 campaign. "Today’s announcement has nothing to do with the President, has nothing to do with the President’s campaign or campaign activity," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. Trump has made frequent complaints about how he believes Clinton was given a pass for corrupt and criminal activity while his friends and associates have been treated unfairly. In addition to Clinton, Trump believes Comey is a criminal. During a Friday interview, Trump said Comey's conduct in regards to the Clinton email investigation was "criminal" and "horrible." The post Trump: Paul Manafort Received a Tough Sentence; ‘What About Comey and Crooked Hillary?’ appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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Pentagon Wants to Scrap Waiting Period for Hiring Retired Servicemen

Military commanders say that economic growth and regulations aimed at preventing corruption in defense contracting are hindering their ability to recruit STEM professionals. Air Force Lt. Gen. Lee Levy says a growing economy and tight labor market may have helped drive up wages for Americans, but it has also made recruitment for civilian contractors more competitive. The Pentagon has a natural pool of talent in outgoing service members, particularly naval and aerospace engineers, but their access to recruiting these men and women has been complicated by a 180-day waiting period for military retirees looking to enter the civilian workforce. He said many former service members would opt for more accessible jobs rather than wait four months to work in naval depots. The waiting period is designed to prevent the appearance of impropriety in handing out lucrative contracts, but military leaders say it comes at too high of a cost. The Pentagon has attempted to alleviate the pressure by granting expedited hiring authority for select positions in September 2017, meaning only a limited set of the military workforce can be hired immediately upon retirement. "I can direct hire the quarterback on my team today, but I can't direct hire the other members of the team," Levy told the House Armed Services committee on Thursday. "I need all the team in order to be successful." Rep. Rob Bishop (R., Utah) acknowledged that a nationwide shortage of STEM workers and a high employment rate has made aerospace industry workers more difficult to find. He asked Levy to identify alternative options for hiring more talented workers. "We need to change the conversation about STEM education in the United States," Levy said. "Otherwise, we're just managing the shortages. Until the nation produces enough STEM graduates, we're going to continue to have this problem. This isn't just a defense issue, this is an economics issue." Civilian workers make up 80 percent of the workforce at naval depots, but these workers are beginning to approach retirement age, posing new demographic challenges for military leaders. In May 2017, the Pentagon's annual Industrial Capabilities Report found that only 39 percent of the military workforce was under 45 years of age. Rep. Mike Gallagher (R., Wisc.) said, "the greatest challenge that could harm domestic capabilities is the demographics of the workforce." Levy said a national-level conversation about the value of work would be necessary to determine the future of the military workforce. He said the military would have to develop a strategy to incentivize young college graduates to work for defense companies. "These values that we have in our portfolios are exquisite and very rare," Levy said. "They're essential to the national defense." Other Readiness Subcommittee members wanted to know how the Navy planned to adapt to modern advances in technology. Rep. Ro Khanna (D., Calif.), whose district is home to tech companies such as Apple and Google, asked Levy what he can do with "the young tech folks to attract them into public service." Levy said the retention rate among software engineers was higher than the average industry worker because their skills could make an immediate impact at naval depots. The advanced nature of the projects has become a key recruitment strategy. He said a local depot had just hired a Georgia Tech graduate who began working on night-vision targeting systems for AC-130 gunships within two weeks on the job. "You can tell your friends and family, ‘I went to work today and I made a difference,'" Levy said. "‘I didn't make the salary that my friend over at this other commercial firm made, but I made a difference.'" The post Pentagon Wants to Scrap Waiting Period for Hiring Retired Servicemen appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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Graham: ‘I Don’t Give a S***’ About Critics of My Relationship With Trump

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) on Friday colorfully explained he doesn't care what critics say about his relationship with President Donald Trump, arguing that working with the president doesn’t make him "two-faced." "If you don't like me working with President Trump to make the world a better place, I don't give a shit," Graham told CNN's Kate Bolduan. Bolduan was questioning Graham about Trump’s criticism of his predecessor Barack Obama when she expressed doubt that one can trust anything the president says. Trump blamed Obama for Russia annexing Crimea, and while Graham defended the president, Bolduan found Trump's blame to be inconsistent with his administration's sanctions on Russia for its actions in Ukraine. Graham said he is focused on Trump’s results rather than his style, prompting Bolduan to target the senator’s own relationship with Trump. "You went from — I'm going to sum it up — hating him, making fun of him, finding peace with trying to work with him, where you can work with him, then he comes out and hits you again on whatever he decided to on a given day," Bolduan said. "Do you trust him now?" "I trust him in terms of trying to do things that are big and matter," Graham said. "Here's what I've got: I've got a relationship with the president at a time when I think he needs allies." "But if people say, ‘This is two-faced – where is the Lindsey Graham of standing up to Donald Trump?’ What do you say?" Bolduan asked. "I'll tell him when I think he's wrong," Graham answered, before explaining his problem with such criticism. Let me tell you about the critics. When I worked with President Obama, and I did on occasion, I was a hero. Now, when I work with President Trump, I'm two-faced. I know how the game is played, and I don't give a damn. I'm going to do what's best for the country. I like the president. I want to help him. I hope he's successful. He's been a friend to me, and he says some things I don't agree with. If you don't like me working with President Trump to make the world a better place, I don't give a shit. Bolduan appeared uncomfortable and transitioned to the next story. "And there you have it. Senator Lindsey Graham, in only the way Senator Lindsey Graham can always have the last word in an interview with me," she said. The post Graham: ‘I Don’t Give a S***’ About Critics of My Relationship With Trump appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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Warren ‘Filled With Terror’ About Midterm Elections

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D.) told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow she is "filled with terror" that Democrats will not win at least one chamber of Congress come November's midterm elections. "If Donald Trump remains in control of the House and the Senate, and the Republicans won’t stop him, I don’t know what happens in the next two years," Warren continued. The Democrats need to flip about two-dozen seats in order to take control of the House of Representatives. The latest Real Clear Politics General Congressional Vote average shows Democrats lead Republicans by over 7 percent. Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball lists 23 House seats currently controlled by Republicans as toss-ups in the upcoming election. The Republicans hold a narrower advantage in the Senate. There are 51 GOP senators compared to 47 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the Democrats. Sabato lists Republican-held seats in Arizona and Nevada as toss-ups, enough to give Democrats a majority should they win. Democratic incumbents, however, face tough battles in states like Florida, Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota, and West Virginia. Recent polls in Florida and Indiana show Republican candidates ahead of the Democratic incumbent. The post Warren ‘Filled With Terror’ About Midterm Elections appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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Trump on House GOP Immigration Compromise: ‘I Certainly Wouldn’t Sign’ It

President Donald Trump on Friday said that he would not sign an immigration bill that House Republicans drafted as a compromise between the conservative and more centrist wings of their caucus. Trump indicated his opposition to the bill during an impromptu appearance on "Fox & Friends," which was being aired on the White House lawn. The president began by blaming Democrats for spearheading a law that separates migrant families. "The Democrats, by the way, are very weak on immigration," Trump told Fox News host Steve Doocy. "If you notice when I came over, they were all saying about ‘separating the families,' and that's a Democrat bill. That's Democrats wanting to do that, and they could solve it very easily by getting together, but they think it's a good election point. I think it's a horrible election point." The Trump administration's practice of separating immigrant children from their families when they are apprehended for crossing the border illegally has been a hot-button political issue in recent weeks. Democrats and moderate Republicans have castigated the practice, which is based on the administration's interpretation that existing laws and court decisions require adults to be incarcerated and children to be separated from their parents. Trump went on to accuse Democrats of not wanting to change the current law, adding that Republicans would be willing to negotiate with them. He then said that Democrats are "afraid of security for our country" and of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Doocy then noted that the House is set to consider two immigration bills next week—a conservative measure from Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte (R., Va.) and a more moderate, compromise proposal that GOP leaders struck with centrist Republicans. "Would you sign either one of these?" Doocy asked. "I'm looking at both of them," Trump responded. "I certainly wouldn't sign the more moderate one." Doocy then asked what needs to be in both bills for him to sign them. "I need a bill that gives this country tremendous border security. I have to have that," Trump said. "We have to have the wall. If we don't have the wall, there's no bill. We have to have catch and release. We catch a criminal, a real criminal, a rough, tough criminal. We take his name and then we release him and we say, ‘Please show up to court in a couple of months.' You know what the chances of getting him to court are? Like zero. It's crazy." Trump then reiterated his long-stated desire to end the diversity visa lottery program, which randomly grants visas to foreigners and their families from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States. The compromise bill would end the practice of separating families at the border and provide legal protections to so-called Dreamers, immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children, including a pathway to citizenship for at least some of them. The bill would also authorize funding for a border wall and rollback some protections for asylum seekers and unaccompanied child migrants. The more conservative measure would include reductions to legal immigration, among other measures. The post Trump on House GOP Immigration Compromise: ‘I Certainly Wouldn’t Sign’ It appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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Watchdog: U.S. $8.6 Billion Antinarcotics Campaign in Afghanistan a Pricey Failure

The drug trade in Afghanistan has strengthened in recent years despite billions of dollars in U.S.-funded counternarcotics operations aimed at choking the Taliban's top revenue source, a government watchdog said Thursday. The United States alone has spent $8.6 billion on counternarcotics efforts in Afghanistan since 2002, but the country remains the world's largest producer of opium, with poppy cultivation reaching a record high last year. According to a new report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), opium cultivation in 2017 reached 1,265 square miles—more than 20 times the size of Washington, D.C.—marking a 63 percent increase from the year before. The unprecedented harvest could produce 900 tons of export-quality heroin and helps to fuel insurgent violence, SIGAR said. "To put it bluntly, these numbers spell failure and the outlook is not encouraging," John Sopko, the special inspector general, said in prepared remarks at the New America think tank in Washington. The United States in November retooled its air campaign to target Taliban drug labs as part of a sustained effort to undercut the group's $200 million-a-year opium trade. Gen. John Nicholson, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, told reporters at the time that American and Afghan warplanes had taken out several of the labs, which he said numbered some 400 to 500 across the country. SIGAR acknowledged the bombing campaign as a "good start," but said it was too early to determine the effectiveness given that setting up new labs takes three to four days at a cost of just a few hundred dollars. The watchdog also noted the risk that expanded airstrikes by the United States and its coalition partners "could result in civilian deaths, alienate rural populations, and strengthen the insurgency." Up to 590,000 people are employed in poppy cultivation, making narcotics one of the most successful sectors of the Afghan economy. SIGAR said any U.S. counternarcotics strategy must also include an economic development plan that promotes legal work opportunities for rural communities, which are heavily dependent on opium cultivation. A spokesperson for the NATO Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan did not respond to a request for comment. The study found that no program run by the United States or the Afghans over the past 15 years has resulted in a lasting reduction in poppy or opium production, warning, "until the security situation improves, there is little possibility of significantly curtailing opium poppy cultivation and drug production in Afghanistan." The post Watchdog: U.S. $8.6 Billion Antinarcotics Campaign in Afghanistan a Pricey Failure appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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Judge Sends Manafort to Jail Pending Trial

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A federal judge on Friday revoked bail conditions for Paul Manafort, a move that will force U.S. President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman to spend his time in a jail cell awaiting his criminal trial. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman made the decision after prosecutors working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russia's role in the 2016 presidential election, alleged that Manafort and one of his associates had tried to tamper with witnesses in the case. Since Manafort was first indicted last October, he has remained on home confinement, required to wear an electronic-monitoring device. His trial is scheduled for September. His trial on related charges in Virginia is set for July. (Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Will Dunham and Lisa Lambert) The post Judge Sends Manafort to Jail Pending Trial appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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MSNBC Analysts Call Centers Holding Migrant Children ‘Concentration Camps’

MSNBC guests Stephanie Cutter and Michael Steele called the U.S. centers housing illegal immigrant children "concentration camps" on Friday. The Trump administration recently announced a "zero tolerance" policy of prosecuting immigrants who come across the border illegally, meaning illegal immigrant parents are temporarily separated from their children at the border. In cases when parents decide to return home, the separation can be less than a day; however, when parents apply for amnesty, they are sometimes kept in custody for weeks. Cutter, who served as Deputy Campaign Manager for Barack Obama's 2012 presidential campaign, disputed the Trump administration's claim it was the "law" to separate children, calling it an "interpretation." "We can't find a solution to this problem without harming children? Without putting them in concentration camps?" Cutter asked. "I call this a concentration camp for kids," Steele said. "When you give kids 22 hours of lock-up time, and two hours of air time, what else can it be? And if this is where this country's going, the American people need to wake up and pay attention, because your kids could be next." President Donald Trump blamed Democrats on Friday for the measures, saying he "hates" separating children and parents. He claimed Democrats could change the law if they joined Republicans on immigration reform. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) said Thursday he also didn't want to separate children and parents, and he circulated potential legislation that would end the practice. "If Paul Ryan had an ounce of courage, or remembers who he used to be a couple of years ago, he would stand up against these concentration camps with kids," Cutter said, noting the House speaker had stated he was against it. "How about using your powers as the third branch of government to stop it? It is not up to Democrats coming to the table." NBC reporter Jacob Soboroff visited a Brownsville, Texas, facility where more than 1,400 migrant children are being held, and he likened it to a prison, saying the boys there are effectively "incarcerated." The boys there are given two hours of outdoor time on weekdays, three on weekends, and do not sleep in "cages," as previously reported. Soboroff compared the building setup—a former Walmart—to a "dormitory structure" in an interview, and he reported the average stay there for the children is 52 days. CNN reported the shelter had a "warehouse vibe" and said the rooms for children contained five cot-like beds where there should be four. CNN also reported on "scores of staffers" leading boys to various activities: In recreation rooms, some boys watched a soccer match on TV; some took part in a tai chi class; others played pool or foosball (in one case with a cue ball). Still others sat in classrooms. Because of the crowding, the boys attend school in six-hour morning or afternoon shifts, five days a week. The bedrooms reporters were shown seemed antiseptically clean. The post MSNBC Analysts Call Centers Holding Migrant Children ‘Concentration Camps’ appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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Warren “Filled With Terror” About Midterm Elections

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D.) told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow she is "filled with terror" that Democrats will not win at least one chamber of Congress come November's midterm elections. "If Donald Trump remains in control of the House and the Senate, and the Republicans won’t stop him, I don’t know what happens in the next two years," Warren continued. The Democrats need to flip about two-dozen seats in order to take control of the House of Representatives. The latest Real Clear Politics General Congressional Vote average shows Democrats lead Republicans by over 7 percent. Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball lists 23 House seats currently controlled by Republicans as toss-ups in the upcoming election. The Republicans hold a narrower advantage in the Senate. There are 51 GOP senators compared to 47 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the Democrats. Sabato lists Republican-held seats in Arizona and Nevada as toss-ups, enough to give Democrats a majority should they win. Democratic incumbents, however, face tough battles in states like Florida, Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota, and West Virginia. Recent polls in Florida and Indiana show Republican candidates ahead of the Democratic incumbent. The post Warren “Filled With Terror” About Midterm Elections appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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Trump: ‘I May Get Involved’ in Justice Department ‘If It Gets Worse’

President Donald Trump said Friday that he is trying to stay uninvolved in the Justice Department but he may have to be involved if its bias against him worsens. Trump, targeting "vicious" text messages about the FBI attempting to stop him from being elected and insulting his supporters, said the inspector general's new report on the Hillary Clinton email investigation proves the presence of bias at the FBI. Specifically, some in the FBI called Trump’s supporters "retarded," leading Trump to say his supporters are some of the "greatest" and "hardest-working" people — and that former FBI director James Comey is "scum." "I have the bikers, I have the construction workers, I have them all," Trump said of his support. "And by the way, I have the FBI — you go into the FBI and take a poll of the real FBI, not the scum on top, not Comey and that group of people that are total thieves." The IG report revealed a host of inappropriate behavior at the FBI, calling former director James Comey "insubordinate" and showing text messages where top investigators said they would "stop" Trump from being elected. Trump then said he has taken pains not to get involved with the Justice Department the way he is with other departments like the State Department, but he said he may have to do something in the future. "I said on the Department of Justice, I would stay uninvolved. Now I may get involved at some point if it gets worse," he said, adding that the investigation into Russian collusion will not implicate him in any conspiracy. Fox News’ Steve Doocy then asked about documents Congress has requested from the Department of Justice, and Trump said, again, he does not want to be involved but he may not be able to stay "uninvolved." He did say, however, that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wants to provide those documents as Congress requested. "I think that Rod Rosenstein thinks that you have to get the documents," he said. "I really believe that. I saw him yesterday, he gave me a briefing, I think he believes you have to get the documents." He added that the FBI’s actions during the election were "a disgrace." The post Trump: ‘I May Get Involved’ in Justice Department ‘If It Gets Worse’ appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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