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House Intelligence Committee gets Russia document they demanded

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A Justice Department spokesman said late Wednesday that it would give all members of the Intelligence Committee access to the document, but that it still contained some redactions “narrowly tailored to protect the name of a foreign country and the name of a foreign agent.”

“These words must remain redacted after determining that revealing the words could harm the national security of the American people by undermining the trust we have with this foreign nation. These words appear only a limited number of times, and do no obstruct the underlying meaning of the document,” the official said in a statement.

The DOJ says it now believes it has satisfied all the requests of subpoenas issued by Nunes last August, including the production of 1,000 pages of classified materials.

In a statement, Nunes said he and Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., met with Rosenstein Wednesday to review the document and thanked him for his cooperation. Still, he said subpoenas for that and other documents issued last August remained in effect.

Competing memos from Republicans and Democrats on the Intelligence Committee agreed on at least one key point, that the FBI launched its counterintelligence investigation in July 2016 based on information provided about discussions between a Trump foreign policy advisor, George Papadopoulos, and a Russian-linked individual.

Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, said before the Justice Department’s announcement that Nunes’ threats of contempt proceedings and impeachment were designed “to intimidate DOJ and FBI,” provide President Trump with a pretext to fire Wray and Rosenstein, and end the Muelelr investigation.

“The Chairman’s rhetoric is a shocking and irresponsible escalation of the GOP’s attacks on the FBI and DOJ,” he said.

Despite Wednesday’s move, other House Republicans said they planned to raise with House Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday other ways in which they believe the Justice Department is stonewalling Republican oversight efforts.

“The Justice Department response has been pathetic. There’s no other way to say it,” Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, a senior Republican member of the Judiciary Committee, told NBC Wednesday. “If they don’t clean up their act quickly — I mean really quickly, not months, not weeks, I mean days — then I think everything is on the table from contempt to impeachment to asking for resignations.”

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Missouri Gov. Mike Parson and wife test positive for coronavirus

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Missouri Gov. Mike Parson and his wife, Teresa Parson, both tested positive for coronavirus and have cancelled events as they isolate, his office said Wednesday.

The couple were tested earlier in the day after Teresa Parson began to exhibit mild symptoms, though the governor “feels healthy and is displaying no symptoms,” according to a statement. Mike Parson, who is seeking re-election this fall, has cancelled his forthcoming campaign events.

“All official and campaign events have been canceled until further notice,” the governor’s statement said. “As a precautionary measure, the Governor’s staff has been tested and is awaiting results.”

Both Parsons posted videos to their official Twitter accounts Wednesday to offer details on their conditions. Teresa Parson said she was fine and assured residents that she was isolating.

“I did get up with a few cold-like symptoms and decided maybe because we are among the public so much, I should be tested,” she said.

Mike Parsons told Missouri residents in his Twitter update that it had been “quite a day,” but that the couple was doing well. The governor said his preliminary results came back positive and they were beginning the process of quarantining as he awaits confirmation.

He added that he and his wife may have to isolate separately but that he plans on continuing with his duties.

“My concern is the first lady, her health, to make sure that she is OK,” the governor said.

Missouri has faced scrutiny in recent days as the state’s Lake of the Ozarks region hosted a large motorcycle rally last weekend, despite social distancing concerns. A similar rally that drew hundreds of thousands of bikers in South Dakota has been linked to more than 200 coronavirus cases and at least one death.

The 14th annual Bikefest Lake of the Ozarks started Wednesday, Sept. 16 and ran through Sunday, Sept. 20. Previous rallies drew over 100,000 to the area, NBC affiliate KSDK reported.

The event featured vending areas, more than 50 live shows, over 300 “biker-friendly” bars, restaurants and hotels, and a Harley Davidson giveaway, according to its website. Videos posted online of the event showed few masks were worn by attendees.

Another Missouri event that seemed to flout coronavirus guidelines was a crowded Memorial Day party, also at Lake of the Ozarks, where a viral video showed little social distancing. Health officials urged attendees to self-isolate following the event to prevent community spread of the coronavirus during the pandemic.

Missouri has 116,946 confirmed coronavirus and 1,947 deaths as of Wednesday afternoon, based on the state’s health dashboard. The governor has not imposed a statewide mandate that would require residents to wear masks in public, despite recommendations from the White House’s coronavirus task force.



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Brexit LIVE: Barnier angrily rejects transition extension – even if free trade deal agreed

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MICHEL BARNIER has rejected any possibility of the UK extending the transition period past the end of the year.

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Florida AG calls for investigation into Bloomberg-backed felon voting rights effort

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Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody on Wednesday called for an investigation into an effort backed by Mike Bloomberg to help restore the voting rights of thousands of felons ahead of the November election.

The former New York City mayor partnered with the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition to help raise at least $16 million for felons to pay off outstanding legal fines and fees in order to regain the right to vote. The effort is targeting around 32,000 former prisoners who owed less than $1,500 in restitution fees and had already registered to vote.

“Today, I sent a letter to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation into potential violations of election laws,” Moody said in a statement on Wednesday. “And I have instructed the Statewide Prosecutor to work with law enforcement and any Statewide Grand Jury that the Governor may call.”

While she does not explicitly call for an investigation into Bloomberg himself, her letter to the two agencies cites a Washington Post article on his involvement. She said that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis asked her to review the matter.

Florida voters passed a measure in 2018 to restore voting rights to felons who have not been convicted of murder or sexual offenses and who had completed their sentences. Republicans in the state legislature responded by passing a law in 2019 requiring those felons to pay any outstanding fines and fees to consider their sentence complete. Voting rights groups sued over the law, comparing it to a poll tax, but an appeals court earlier this month ruled the law was constitutional.

“The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy and no American should be denied that right. Working together with the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, we are determined to end disenfranchisement and the discrimination that has always driven it,” Bloomberg said in a statement on Tuesday after the initiative was announced.

Bloomberg spokesman Jason Schechter responded to the pushback by saying, “This transparent political ploy is just the latest example of Republicans attempting to keep Floridians disenfranchised.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., first raised the possibility of an investigation into the effort in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Tuesday night, saying he believed the attorney general may have been looking into it already.

“It is a felony [under Florida statute] for someone to either directly or indirectly offer something of value to impact whether or not someone votes,” Gaetz told Fox News. “You have the question of whether or not paying someone restitution and court costs constitutes something of value.”

“The next step is to determine whether or not this is intended whether or not someone votes,” Gaetz added.

The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

Participating donors for Bloomberg’s partnership with the coalition include artist John Legend, Twitter CEO John Dorsey and Susan Buffett. Legend reached out to his own network for donors, working closely with Bloomberg’s efforts. The former presidential candidate has not personally contributed to the coalition.

Bloomberg separately pledged $100 million in to help former Vice President Joe Biden in Florida, earlier this month.

Florida will be a closely watched battleground in the upcoming November election after President Donald Trump narrowly won the state by less than 113,000 votes in 2016. The latest statewide polls show Biden and Trump, who are both aggressively campaigning there, locked in a dead heat.

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