Top News Stories for Today – March 4, 2017
Pruitt potentially used private email for state business
Records received by FOX 25 through an Open Records Request to Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s office reveal he may have used a private email account to conduct state business. The records were released this week to FOX 25 following a request submitted for records on May 1, 2015. The attorney general’s office provided more than 1,300 pages of records to comply with our request. The initial request was centered around Attorney General Pruitt and, then, Solicitor General Patrick Wyrick and their actions regarding the Supreme Court case Glossip v. Gross.
The emails provide little insight into how or why officials within the Attorney General’s office made the decisions it did during the case. However, on multiple documents both to and from Pruitt the email addresses for Pruitt are blacked out. FOX 25
Most US extremists radicalized after entry
A report from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) shows that most US-based extremists of foreign origin did not become radicalized until they got to the US and had been in the country for “several years.” DHS examined the immigration history of 88 foreign-born extremists linked to terrorism-related activity between March 2011 and December 2016, and found that the majority of them had lived in the US for more than 10 years before they were indicted or killed, according to the document, originally obtained by MSNBC, and later verified by the DHS.
Nearly half of the 88 foreign-born extremists were under the age of 16 when they arrived in the US, the document said. Both native and foreign-born extremists had similar “experiences and grievances” leading to their radicalization, which included “perceived injustices against Muslims in the homeland and abroad because of US policies, feelings of anger and isolation, and witnessing violence as a child,” the report said. VOA
Trump to host Merkel at White House
President Trump will meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House later this month. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders says the meeting will take place on March 14. It will be the first in-person meeting between Trump and the German chancellor since the US election.
Trump frequently criticized Merkel during his presidential campaign, accusing her of “ruining Germany” by taking in large numbers of refugees. Merkel, who wields significant sway in Europe, was critical of Trump’s refugee and immigration travel ban, which was blocked by the courts. Sanders did not offer details on what the two may discuss. VOA
China’s defense budget to rise 7 percent
China says its defense budget will increase by about 7 percent this year, marking the second year in a row China has kept its military spending to a single digit percentage increase. The exact number for defense spending in 2017 will be released Sunday when parliament begins its annual session. China’s neighbors, however, have become increasingly suspicious of the country’s military tactics following China’s rapid expansion in the South China Sea, where it has created artificial islands capable of supporting military facilities.
News of China’s military budget comes just days after US President Donald Trump said the US, the world’s strongest military power, would increase its military spending by 10 percent, even as the country begins to end wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. VOA
Trump accuses Obama of spying on Trump Tower
President Trump on Saturday made a four-tweet accusation that former President Obama spied on him in the run-up to the 2016 election. “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” Trump began, suggesting that Obama — a “Bad (or sick) guy!” — could be prosecuted for illegal surveillance if there was a “good lawyer” to make a “great case.”
Trump’s tweetstorm appears to be inspired by the Thursday evening show of right-wing talk radio host Mark Levin, who argued Obama orchestrated a “silent coup” on Trump using “police state” tactics. A Breitbart article on Friday published a timeline to support Levin’s allegation, emphasizing an October FISA court request from the Obama administration “focused on a computer server in Trump Tower suspected of links to Russian banks. No evidence [was] found — but the wiretaps continue[d], ostensibly for national security reasons.” The Breitbart piece concludes the Obama team monitored Trump and then relaxed information sharing rules to foster embarrassing leaks. The Hill, RealClearPolitics, The week
More Trump advisers disclose meetings with Russia’s ambassador
Six of President Trump’s aides have now admitted to speaking with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak last year, stoking further suspicion about the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. Additional meetings came to light following Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement Thursday that he would recuse himself from any investigations into Trump’s campaign, a decision that itself resulted from reports Wednesday night that Sessions met twice with Kislyak during the election, seemingly contradictory to statements he made under oath during his Senate confirmation hearing.
Later Thursday, the White House revealed ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn and senior adviser Jared Kushner had also met briefly with Kislyak in an “introductory meeting” in December, and it was also reported that three of Trump’s former national security advisers spoke with Kislyak at the Republican National Convention in July. Trump and his team have repeatedly denied any inappropriate contact with Russia. CNN
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