NEWS - SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2019 - NEWS
Employees at a drug company accused of bribing doctors rapped and danced around a person dressed as a bottle of the highly addictive fentanyl spray in a video meant to motivate sales reps to push the drug. The video was shown to jurors this week in the closely watched trial in Boston. Baltimore Sun
VOA VIEW: Total madness.
Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said on Friday that he has "not interfered in any way" in the special counsel's Russia investigation as he faced a contentious and partisan congressional hearing in his waning days on the job. Baltimore Sun
VOA VIEW: Dems acted like the fools they are.
Contract workers at NASA's Johnson Space Center were denied back pay for the 35-day federal government shutdown in a budget deal reached in Congress this week. "The rejection of federal contract worker back pay by the GOP leadership in this funding deal is outrageous and unfair," Robert Martinez Jr., president of the Machinists Union International, said in a statement. Houston Chronicle

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The vote on the budget deal Congress passed Thursday night to avert a second government shutdown reflected the sharp divisions among Texas lawmakers in both parties over President Donald Trump's insistence of money for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Houston Chronicle
VOA VIEW: It was a bad deal.
The liberal watchdog group Public Citizen filed a federal lawsuit Friday in the District of Columbia on behalf of three Texas landowners.          IndyStar
President Donald Trump's onetime campaign chairman was found guilty of tax and bank fraud charges. Prosecutors are seeking a lengthy prison sentence.          IndyStar
The cost of prescription medicines is a hot topic and one that has consumed much time in the Nevada Legislature. And while drug manufacturers are easy targets, there is another player in the health care industry that is making billions — yes, billions — through several little-known tactics that are costing patients in a big way.  Las Vegas Sun
The U.S. government has suddenly stopped force-feeding a group of men on a hunger strike inside an El Paso immigration detention center. Las Vegas Sun
President Trump again indicated this week he might be open to revisiting the controversial new limit on state and local tax deductions that hits many middle-income residents hard in California and other high-tax, Democratic states. Even so, don’t count on any changes to the Republican tax bill... LA Times
VOA VIEW: Why give Dems a tax break?

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President Trump claims his economic sanctions on Iran are the “toughest ever” and that his policy of maximum pressure is already a success. But his own intelligence chiefs don’t agree. In their view, Iran’s behavior may be getting worse, not better. There’s a paradox at the heart of Trump’s policy. LA Times
VOA VIEW: Only a fool or Dem doesn't believe the sanctions are not working.
A shipment of humanitarian aid sent by the United States is headed out of Miami for Cúcuta, Colombia Saturday morning as part of the efforts in respond to the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. Miami Herald
German Chancellor Angela Merkel robustly defended European powers' decision to stand by the Iran nuclear deal in the face of U.S. criticism as she delivered a spirited backing Saturday. Miami Herald
VOA VIEW: Merkel is an idiot.
Vice President Mike Pence rebuked European powers over Iran and Venezuela on Saturday in a renewed attack on Washington’s traditional allies, rejecting a call by Germany’s chancellor to include Russia in global cooperation efforts. Describing the results of Donald Trump’s presidency as “remarkable” and “extraordinary”, Pence told senior European and Asian officials. New York Post

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The Vatican says Pope Francis has defrocked former U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick after Vatican officials found him guilty of soliciting for sex while hearing Confession. The punishment announced on Saturday for the once-powerful prelate and Archbishop of Washington comes a few days before Pope Francis is to lead an extraordinary gathering of bishops. New York Post
Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington in 2005. For decades, church officials ignored warnings that the cardinal was sexually abusing seminarians. New York Times
A destroyed hospital in Deir al-Zour Province, near the last stretch of Syria controlled by the Islamic State. American volunteers have served with pro-American Kurdish forces fighting the militant group. New York Times

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California and New York suggested on Friday they would take legal action against President Donald Trump's national emergency declaration aimed at freeing up billions of dollars in funds to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. Rueters
VOA VIEW: Expected!
Evidence collected over months and being unveiled Monday could reveal whether the nation’s last undecided congressional election was either tainted by so much ballot-tampering that a winner cannot be declared – or that the actual winner was unfairly denied the seat. North Carolina’s state elections board holds at least two days. Seattle Times
Amazon's profits nearly doubled in 2018, but it paid no federal income tax, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy says.         USA Today
VOA VIEW: Crazy!
Payless ShoeSource to shutter all of its U.S. stores, joining a list of iconic names like Toys R Us that have liquidated in the last year. Payless ShoeSource is shuttering all of its 2,100 remaining stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, joining a list of iconic names like Toys R Us and Bon-Ton that have closed down in the last year. The Topeka, Kansas-based chain said Friday it will hold liquidation sales starting Sunday and wind down its e-commerce operations. ABC
VOA VIEW: Sad!
A federal judge on Friday issued a limited gag order in the case of Roger Stone, the veteran and voluble political operative and former adviser to Donald Trump, in an effort, the judge said, to protect potential jurors from being “tainted by pretrial publicity.” Judge Amy Berman Jackson described the scope of the order as “narrowly-tailored,” and will allow Stone, known for his frequent and colorful television interviews, to continue speaking publicly about the probe – as long as he refrains from doing so near the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C. ABC
VOA VIEW: No big deal.

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Colin Kaepernick and former team-mate Eric Reid reach settlements with the NFL over 'collusion' cases against team owners. The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback believed owners were conspiring not to hire him because of his protests against racial injustice in the USA. Kaepernick started protests by kneeling during the US national anthem. The 30-year-old has been without a team since opting out of his 49ers contract in March 2017. BBC
At the White House on Friday, President Trump declared a national emergency to help fulfill one of his campaign promises: Constructing a wall on the border with Mexico. The administration said it intends to spend roughly $8 billion to build 234 miles of steel wall. Congress has approved just under $1.4 billion for border barriers. Major Garrett reports. CBS
VOA VIEW: Good start - Dems hate to be out maneuvered.
Days after President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, more details are emerging regarding a high-level discussion about possibly invoking the 25th Amendment to remove the president. The bureau's former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe told Scott Pelley on "60 Minutes" that he spoke about it with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Paula Reid reports. CBS

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom blasted President Donald Trump's declaration of a national emergency Friday and accused him of forgetting about the "real emergency" needs of survivors of last year's disastrous Camp Fire. CNBC
VOA VIEW: Newsom wants to spend money on illegals.
The clip, which was first posted by another Twitter user and runs more than two minutes in length, plays audio from R.E.M.'s early-'90s hit single "Everybody Hurts" over excerpts from Trump's Feb. 5 State of the Union address. CNBC
Special counsel Robert Mueller's team has interviewed White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, she told CNN on Friday. As Mueller wraps up his Russia probe, one focus of investigators has been conflicting public statements by President Donald Trump and his team that could be seen as an effort to obstruct justice, according to people familiar with the investigation. CNN reported last month that prosecutors appear to be examining Trump's public statements to determine whether anyone sought to influence other witnesses and cause other administration and former campaign officials to make false public statements. CNN
VOA VIEW: Mueller needs to wrap up his so-called investigation.
The compensation fund for victims of 9/11 is running out of money and will cut future payments by 50 to 70 percent. The compensation fund for victims of 9/11 is running out of money and will cut future payments by 50 to 70 percent, officials announced Friday. September 11th Victim Compensation Fund special master Rupa Bhattacharyya said she was "painfully aware of the inequity of the situation" but stressed that awarding some funds for every valid claim would be preferable to sending some legitimate claimants away empty-handed. FOX News
Washington state lawmakers advanced a measure Friday that would remove parents' ability to claim a personal or philosophical exemption to vaccinating their school-age children for measles as the Pacific Northwest struggles with an outbreak of the contagious virus. FOX News
UK defence secretary says use of mercenaries allows Kremlin to ‘deny blood on its hands’Foreign operations by private Russian security groups allow the Kremlin to get away with murder while denying it has blood on its hands, the UK defence secretary has said. Guardian
US president claims his name was put forward after opening dialogue with Kim Jong-un. Donald Trump has claimed that Japan’s prime minister nominated him for the Nobel peace prize for his work to open up a dialogue with North Korea. At a White House event to discuss his proposed border wall, Trump touched on his upcoming summit with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un in Vietnam.The president said early exchanges with Kim were filled with “fire and fury”, but since their first meeting last year the two had established a good relationship. Guardian
“No one should confuse the desire to have dialogue with a celebration marking 40 years of brutality"- US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell. Jerusalem Post
He said that being in Auschwitz had made him reflect to "strengthen the resolve of the free world to oppose that kind of vile hatred and to confront authoritarian threats of our time." Jerusalem Post
VOA VIEW: Pence is telling the truth.
A senior Amazon.com Inc executive on Friday disputed claims raised by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that Amazon workers face "dehumanizing conditions" as being untrue and invited her to take a tour of company facilities. Reuters
Democrats and campaign groups have vowed to fight Donald Trump’s “unlawful” national emergency declaration as he revealed plans to raid existing government funds to build his Mexico border wall. The US president hopes to gather $8 billion through various means to construct barriers along America’s southern border, declaring at a White House press conference that “walls work 100 per cent”. Most controversial is the $3.6 billion Mr Trump wants to redirect from existing military construction projects by using a power only available to him after declaring a national emergency. Telegraph
VOA VIEW: Fools!
More than 107,000 Honda Ridgeline pickup trucks are being recalled due to a flaw that can spark fire after exposure to corrosive soap found in car washes. UPI

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COMMENTARY OF THE DAY
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February 16, 2019

    McCabe is a lying loser. Andrew McCabe, the former deputy director of the FBI, said he tried to ensure his agency's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election was on "absolutely solid ground" just in case he was ousted from his position, an assertion he outlined in a new interview.


     In the wide-ranging discussion, which airs in full Sunday on “60 Minutes,” McCabe described details of the FBI’s counterintelligence inquiry into President Trump’s ties to Russia and the genesis of the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller in May of 2017.

     Within hours of McCabe’s interview airing on CBS This Morning, the president called him “a puppet for Leakin’ James Comey.” McCabe was named acting director after Comey’s departure. He was eventually fired in March of 2018 by then-attorney general Jeff Sessions.

     On Friday, a spokeswoman for McCabe said that – in his interview with CBS News – McCabe "confirmed" that he "was present and participated in a discussion that included a comment by Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein regarding" the use of the 25th Amendment to oust Trump from office in the wake of James Comey's dismissal from the FBI.

    

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