THINK FREELY – READ LBN:
Sessions Asks U.S. Attorneys Appointed by Obama to Resign:
Attorney General Jeff Sessions
on Friday asked the remaining 46 U.S. attorneys appointed by President Obama
to resign “in order to ensure a uniform transition,” Reuters reported. “Until the new U.S. attorneys are confirmed, the dedicated career prosecutors in our U.S. attorney’s offices will continue the great work of the department in investigating, prosecuting, and deterring the most violent offenders,” the Department of Justice said in a statement.
Intruder breaches White House grounds, arrested near residence entrance:
A man carrying a backpack was arrested Friday night after breaching security at the White House complex and was discovered by a Secret Service officer by the south entrance to the executive residence, officials said. The incident happened just before midnight while President Donald Trump
was at the White House. A Secret Service source said the intruder might have entered the White House grounds on the east side before making his way near the residence’s south portico entrance. The White House was placed under security condition “orange,” one of the highest levels of security for the Secret Service.
*Assad Not Impressed With Trump’s Efforts to Fight the Islamic State:
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
said he hasn’t seen President Donald Trump
’s administration take any real steps to defeat the Islamic State, despite Trump’s strong rhetoric on the matter during his campaign. Assad made the comments in an interview with a Chinese TV station aired Saturday. Although Trump had offered “a promising approach” in making the fight against IS a top priority during his campaign, Assad said, Trump has yet to live up to all his hype. “We haven’t seen anything concrete yet regarding this rhetoric,” he said. He went on to dismiss current U.S. operations in Syria against the terrorist group as “only a few raids,” but expressed hope that Trump’s White House would “implement what we have heard.” As for the U.S. deployment of troops to Manbij – where they are meant to be keeping Syrian forces from carrying out attacks on the rebel territory already liberated from IS – Assad said the measure is unlikely to help. “Any foreign troops coming to Syria without our invitation … are invaders,” he said. U.S.-led coalition forces have been battling IS in Syria for more than two years now, but Trump had boasted that he would be able to do what his predecessor could not and eradicate the terrorist group by boosting U.S. forces there. Last week, a U.S. official who spoke anonymously to the Associated Press said a couple hundred more troops had been sent into Syria to prepare for a battle to retake Raqqa, a priority for both Syrian and U.S. forces.
Spicer: ‘No Question’ the Anti-Trump ‘Deep State’ Exists:
The White House on Friday echoed the theory among right-wing media that “deep state” actors—holdovers from the Obama administration—are actively working to undermine President Trump
. “I think that there’s no question when you have eight years of one party in office that there are people who stay in government—affiliated with, joined—and continue to espouse the agenda of the previous administration, so I don’t think it should come to any surprise that there are people that burrowed into government during the eight years of the last administration and may have believed in that agenda and want to continue to seek it.” Asked whether the CIA plans to “purge” such “deep state” actors from within the administration, Spicer said it’s not a part of the agency’s purview.
Volkswagen Pleads Guilty to Emissions Cheating:
Volkswagen on Friday pleaded guilty to knowingly cheating on their diesel vehicles’ emission levels, misleading U.S. regulators who investigated the matter. According to Bloomberg, “VW entered the formal plea in Detroit federal court Friday as it agreed to do two months ago as part of a $4.3 billion deal to settle claims over the emissions scandal. Under the agreement with the U.S. government, VW would pay a $2.8 billion fine and $1.5 billion in civil penalties.” The German carmaker’s sentencing in U.S. court will not take place until April 21.
LBN-NOTICED: ***When Bill Murray stopped in for steak at a NYC Midtown meat mecca, he ended up getting kisses fordessert. The eccentric “Groundhog Day” star was at Benjamin Steak House in New York City this week and “there was a group of five smitten women who summoned Murray to their table in the back,” said a source, adding that “all of the women wanted to give him kisses, so he complied with a kiss for each — on the lips. On his way back from their table, another female diner requested a kiss from him as well.” ***Brooke Shieldsseeing Broadway show “Significant Other” in NYC and going backstage after to visit her former “Suddenly Susan” co-star Barbara Barrie and Sas Goldberg. ***Sonja Morgan at the Sea Fire Grill in NYC. ***Prabal Gurung at Kola House for a dinner to support Planned Parenthood. ***Divorce lawyerNancy Chemtob powwowing at Harry Cipriani in NYC. ***Attorney Sal Strazzullo hosting a lunch for Mayor de Blasioat Bar Primi in NYC. ***Sammy Musovic unveiling a memorial to Biggie Smalls at his restaurant, Sojourn in NYC. ***Talk about a power lunch. Bono joined Barack and Michelle Obama at Stephen Starr’s restaurant Upland in NYC on Friday, and the trio caused quite the stir. “Everyone in the restaurant knew they were there,” a source said of patrons who were tipped off by “tons” of Secret Service in the Gramercy eatery. “There was a major buzz in the air.”
LBN-R.I.P.: ***Robert James Waller, whose gauzy, romantic novel “The Bridges of Madison County” became a runaway best seller on its publication in 1992 and the basis of a popular film, died on Friday at his home in Fredericksburg, Tex. He was 77. The cause was multiple myeloma, his daughter, Rachael Waller, said. ***Carol Field, an authority on Italian cuisine whose classic cookbook “The Italian Baker,” published in 1985, introduced Americans to regional breads like ciabatta and focaccia, as well as to desserts, died on Friday in San Francisco. She was 76. The cause was complications of a stroke, her family said.
LBN-SPOTLIGHT: “Most people overestimate others’ talents and underestimate their own.” ——www.TheExcelCommunity.com
VIDEO LINK: The revealing TV interview show – “Without Notes” https://youtu.be/dTDBovmH-P8
LBN-VIDEO LINK: Shields and Gerson on GOP health care bill conflict, Trump’s wiretap tweet —– https://youtu.be/HEkPNx5FoDs
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LBN-COMMENTARY by Senator BERNIE SANDERS: Donald J. Trump told the American people during his presidential campaign, “This country is being drained of its jobs and its money because we have stupid people making bad deals.” He promised to make better deals, ones in which we would win so much we “may even get tired of winning.”Now his administration, through the Army, is on the brink of making a bad deal, giving a French pharmaceutical company, Sanofi, the exclusive license to patents and thus a monopoly to sell a vaccine against the Zika virus. If Mr. Trump allows this deal, Sanofi will be able to charge whatever astronomical price it wants for its vaccine. Millions of people in the United States and around the world will not be able to afford it even though American taxpayers have already spent more than $1 billion on Zika research and prevention efforts, including millions to develop this vaccine. The Department of Health and Human Services gave Sanofi $43 million to develop the Zika vaccine with the United States Army. And the company is expected to receive at least $130 million more in federal funding. Sanofi is not a nonprofit or a tiny start-up struggling to bring medicine to market. Its chief executive, Olivier Brandicourt, earns about $4.5 million a year. Even the government of France criticized this salary, calling it “incomprehensible,” yet the American government is perfectly happy to enrich Mr. Brandicourt even more.
LBN-COMMENTARY by Jennifer Weiner: I’ve spent a lot of time since Nov. 8 wondering how Donald J. Trump happened, and whether any part of his vindictive, chaotic and xenophobic presidency might, in some small way, be my fault. I didn’t vote for him. I didn’t contribute to his campaign. I didn’t attend his rallies or secretly wear a “Make America Great Again” hat. However, I did do one thing, consistently, even obsessively, for the past decade and a half that I think might have played a part in where we find ourselves today. I watched — and live-tweeted — “The Bachelor.”
LBN-COMMENTARY by Charles Krauthammer: When he was Ronald Reagan’s secretary of state, George Shultz was once asked about the CIA’s disavowal of involvement in a mysterious recent bombing in Lebanon. Replied Shultz: “If the CIA denies something, it’s denied.” Has there ever been a more dry, more wry, more ironic verdict on the world of espionage? Within it, there is admission and denial, smoke and mirrors, impenetrable fog and deliberate obfuscation. Truth? Ask the next guy. Which is why my default view of espionage is to never believe anyone because everyone is trained in deception. This is not a value judgment; it’s a job description. We learn, for example, from Tuesday’s spectacular WikiLeaks dump that among the CIA’s various and nefarious cybertools is the capacity to simulate intrusion by a foreign power, the equivalent of planting phony fingerprints on a smoking gun.
LBN-A DIFFERENT VIEW:….
, who is expecting her first child with husband Russell Wilson
, was involved in a car accident in Los Angeles Friday. The “I Bet” singer was driving a white Mercedes SUV when she tried to make a left turn and a gray Volvo T-boned her vehicle on the passenger side. Photographsat the scene show Ciara talking on the phone immediately following the accident. Neither Ciara nor the other driver sustained any injuries. LAPD tells us that a traffic unit arrived on the scene to assist both parties in the exchanging of contact information. There will be no investigation. ***It was love at first leak! “Baywatch” star Pamela Anderson
has gone from slow motion runs on the beach to mysterious late night visits to the embassy where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange
is holed up. Anderson was most recently spotted entering the Ecuadorian safe space in London Thursday night wearing a camel overcoat, snug black top — and either a really short skirt, or no pants at all. Anderson, 49, is a regular at the facility, coyly smiling for photographers as she struts inside to see Assange, 45, whose rogue outfit has dumped some of the US government’s most closely guarded secrets. Troubled quarterback Johnny Manziel
reportedly got engaged to marry his model girlfriend. The former NFL player, who is attempting to make a career comeback, asked the stunning Bre Tiesi
to be his wife. The two started dating last year and have been posting a number of adorable selfies on Instagram. ***Robert Blake
reportedly will marry for the third time, some 12 years after he was acquitted of murdering his second wife. TMZ identified the bride to be as 55-year-old Pamela Hudak
, an old flame of her 83-year-old fiancé. The two have known each other for decades and in the past had dated, the Web site said.
LBN E-Lert Edited By Addison Beaulieu
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