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Monday, Jan 22nd

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Congress should protect evidence gathered by Mueller in Russia probe, experts warn

Bob Graham, D-FlWith the continuing possibility that President Trump could fire special counsel Robert Mueller to thwart the Russia investigation, there is danger once again that key documents could be destroyed, veterans of special investigations warn. They are urging Congress to act quickly to help save crucial evidence before Mueller's team of prosecutors finds itself in the same predicament Akerman faced in 1973.

"Before that worst-case scenario occurs, this is the best time for the congressional committees to make sure that all of Mueller's documents, transcripts and other material goes to them if he is fired," said former senator Bob Graham, D-Fla., past chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and co-chairman of a joint Senate-House investigation into intelligence community activities before and after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

TVNL Comment:  Don't you think that mounds of evidence has already been destroyed?  We'll see....

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House passes Harvey aid, debt limit extension, government funding

House passes Harvey aid billThe House on Friday passed a nearly $15.3 billion disaster aid package that also raises the debt ceiling and extends government funding for three months into December.

Lawmakers approved the legislation 316-90, and it now heads to President Trump's desk.

The massive package will replenish rapidly dwindling emergency accounts as Florida braces for the impact of Hurricane Irma this weekend and Texas picks up the pieces after the devastation of the Harvey storm.

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Look who's back: Nunes accuses Obama aides of hundreds of unmasking requests

Nines comes up with new accusaions against Obama aidesThe chairman of the House Intelligence Committee is accusing top political aides of President Obama of making hundreds of requests during the 2016 presidential race to unmask the names of Americans in intelligence reports, including Trump transition officials.

Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), in a letter to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, said the requests were made without specific justifications on why the information was needed.

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GOP Senators Moran and Lee announce their opposition to Trump's health care bill

GOP health care billOnly hours after the Senate was gaveled back into session, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was handed devastating news Monday evening: Two more defections on his health care bill that could doom the entire effort for the foreseeable future.

The dramatic simultaneous announcement from Sens. Jerry Moran of Kansas and Mike Lee of Utah means McConnell officially does not have the votes to even begin debate on his legislation to overhaul Obamacare.

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Gowdy poised to replace Chaffetz as Oversight chief

Gowdy poised tp re[;ace ChaffetzRep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) is expected to become the next chairman of the House Oversight Committee, replacing Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) in the high-profile post when he leaves Congress late next month, according to multiple senior House Republicans.

Gowdy, who led the Republican investigation into the Benghazi terror attacks, has started buttonholing members of the House Steering Committee in recent days to build support. Five members of that panel, which decides committee assignments, told POLITICO that Gowdy would easily win a race for the high-profile position.

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The coming GOP assault on regulations

BannonWhile President Donald Trump has launched a noisy crusade to slash regulations that constrain American businesses, Republicans in Congress have embarked on a less prominent but potentially more lasting effort to make it much harder for federal agencies to create new regulations in the future.

There is a flurry of anti-regulatory legislation floating around Capitol Hill, but it is becoming clear that the key Republican vehicle to rein in rulemaking will be Ohio Senator Rob Portman’s Regulatory Accountability Act. A 16-page draft of the legislation obtained by POLITICO was significantly less radical than several aggressive bills recently passed by the House of Representatives, but industry groups have pinned their hopes on this one attracting support from enough moderate Democrats to overcome a Senate filibuster and make it to Trump’s desk. And even if the Portman bill won’t automatically ensure “the deconstruction of the administrative state” promised by White House adviser Steve Bannon, it could still dramatically curtail the power of government regulators in the long run.

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Mark Sanford has nothing left to lose. And he’s here to haunt Donald Trump.

SanfordNone of this feels normal. The congressman greets me inside his Washington office wearing a wrinkly collared shirt with its top two buttons undone, faded denim jeans and grungy, navy blue Crocs that expose his leather-textured feet.

Nearing the end of our 30-minute interview, he cancels other appointments and extends our conversation by an hour. He repeatedly brings up his extramarital affair, unsolicited, pointing to the lessons learned and relationships lost. He acknowledges and embraces his own vulnerability—political, emotional and otherwise. He veers on and off the record, asking himself rhetorical questions, occasionally growing teary-eyed, and twice referring to our session as “my Catholic confessional.”

And then he does the strangest thing of all: He lays waste to the president of his own party.

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