Chemical Weapons Team Is On Its Way To Syria
A fact-finding team from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is on its way to Syria and will begin working there by Saturday, spokesperson Johan de Wittlaan said Thursday. The team will investigate the recent killing of dozens of civilians in Douma in a horrifying attack over the weekend, in which Syrians were found to have died from suffocation in the city just outside Damascus. NPR
VOA VIEW: This may be a delay tactic.

RNC Launches 'Lyin' Comey' Website Ahead Of Trump Bashing Memoir Tour
The RNC’s new website is, where the GOP plans to fact check Comey’s book and use “rapid response” to highlight any “misstatements” or “contradictions” in it, according to an RNC official. “James Comey’s publicity tour is a self-serving attempt to make money and rehabilitate his own image,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said. “Comey is a liar and a leaker, and his misconduct led both Republicans and Democrats to call for his firing.  Fox
VOA VIEW: A good start - Comey is showing his true colors.

Another National Security Council Resignation, As Bolton Cleans House
Deputy national security adviser Ricky Waddell resigned from his post Thursday, the White House said. “Rick will be leaving and his departure date has yet to be confirmed,” a White House official said in a statement. Waddell, an Army reserve major general, joined the NSC in May 2017, following President Trump’s first deputy national security advisor K.T. McFarland’s exit. Fox
VOA VIEW: The top three Obama people in all agencies must be eliminated.

Trump Weighs Rejoining TPP, Tones Down China Trade Threat
A week after escalating tensions with his threat to impose tariffs on an additional $100 billion in Chinese products, Trump said Thursday the two countries ultimately may end up levying no new tariffs on each other. “Now we’re really negotiating and I think they’re going to treat us really fairly,” Trump said during a White House meeting with Republican governors and lawmakers from farm states. “I think they want to.” Bloomberg
VOA VIEW: Trump rejoining the TPP would be a mistake.


France & UK Prepare Syria Response As Assad Warns West To Stay Out
Assad said that the threats by Western countries against Syria were "on the basis of lies they have fabricated," denying any responsibility for the suspected chemical attack. "Any possible action will only cause more instability in the region and threaten international security and peace," Syrian state TV quoted Assad as saying at a meeting Thursday with a high-level Iranian delegation in Damascus. CNN
VOA VIEW: The world cannot run from this problem.

Russia: We Will Protect Our Troops In Syria From US Missiles
Ms Zakharova told Sky News presenter Dermot Murnaghan, in Moscow: "Russia should protect its people on the ground, of course. "We came to Syria at the invitation of the people. You can see their appreciation on the ground." She refused to admit there had been a chemical attack on Douma over the weekend, claiming Russia was "100% sure that that was a clear provocation". Sky
VOA VIEW: Insinuation without provocation.

Trump Says 'Further Decisions' On Syria Response Coming 'Fairly Soon'
“We're having a meeting today on Syria, we're having a number of meetings today," the president said during a morning meeting with governors and lawmakers. We'll see what happens." “It's too bad that the world puts us in a position like that," he said. "We've done a great job with ISIS. We have just absolutely decimated ISIS but now we have to make some further decisions so they'll be made fairly soon." ABC

Russian Jet Flies Low Over French Warship
The incident, first reported by Le Point magazine, comes as tensions mount between Russia and Western nations following a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria on April 7. At least 60 people were killed in the attack, according to a Syrian relief agency. France, the United States and their allies are considering a coordinated military response after accusing the Russia-backed Syrian government of being behind the attack.  Reuters


French President Emmanuel Macron: 'We Have The Proof'-Chemical Attack
“We have the proof that last week ... chemical weapons — at least chlorine gas — were used by [President Bashar] Assad's regime," Macron told a French today. As for a response, "We have to make a decision at the right moment, when we will consider it useful and the most effective,” Macron said, adding that he is "working closely" with the United States. After they had identified the building featured in most of the photos and videos, Higgins' team members were then able to match the video released by the Russian foreign ministry allegedly showing Russian forces visiting the site of the attack to the same building. ABC
VOA VIEW: If the facts are true, action against Syria must be swift.

Pompeo Asks Clinton For Advice As He Preps For Confirmation Battle
As a sharply partisan Republican member of Congress, CIA Director Mike Pompeo tormented former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over her response to the deadly 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, which Pompeo called “morally reprehensible.” He also once liked a tweet that branded her successor, John Kerry, a “traitor.” But now that Pompeo faces a tough confirmation process to become secretary of state himself, he has reached out to Clinton and Kerry, as well as every other living occupant of the office, to ask for guidance. Clinton, for one, has been willing to help. Politico

There's A Very Disturbin Pattern Of Silencing Donald Trump's Accusers Emerging
On Thursday we learned that the National Enquirer's parent company American Media Inc. reportedly paid a doorman at Donald Trump's old building to ensure he not speak about the rumor that the then-real estate mogul had fathered a child out of wedlock. The CEO of that parent company is a close personal friend of President Trump. "This establishes a pattern now," said Ronan Farrow, the reporter who broke the news of the latest payoff -- it's not clear when in 2015 it occurred or whether Trump was officially a candidate -- in the pages of the New Yorker. CNN
VOA VIEW: Expected rhetoric from liberal CNN.

Ex-Spy Poisoned By Very Pure Nerve Agent: Chemical Watchdog
The international chemical weapons watchdog on Thursday confirmed Britain's finding that a former Russian spy and his daughter were poisoned with a nerve agent, as Russia continued to deny suggestions that it was behind the attack. Investigators from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said the nerve agent was "of high purity." Britain says that means only a state with a sophisticated laboratory could have manufactured it. ABC

Comey Feared Making Clinton An 'Illegitimate President'
“It is entirely possible that, because I was making decisions in an environment where Hillary Clinton was sure to be the next president, my concern about making her an illegitimate president by concealing the restarted investigation bore greater weight than it would have if the election appeared closer or if Donald Trump were ahead in all polls,” Comey writes in his new memoir. "But I don't know." NY Post
VOA VIEW: Excuses for stupidity and power.

Syrian Government Gains Full Control Of Eastern Ghouta
Eastern Ghouta had been the biggest rebel stronghold near Damascus, but insurgent groups there surrendered after a series of ferocious government assaults aided by Russia under a massive bombardment. The Jaish al-Islam group in Douma agreed on Sunday to withdraw, hours after a suspected chemical weapons attack on the town that has raised the prospect of U.S. strikes. The Syrian government and Russia have called reports of the attack bogus. France 24

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National Enquirer Paid Doorman $30,000 To Keep Quiet About Trump Affair Rumor
Eight months before the company that owns the National Enquirer paid $150,000 to a former Playboy model who claimed she’d had an affair with Donald Trump, the tabloid’s parent made a $30,000 payment to a less famous individual: a former doorman at one of Trump’s New York buildings. As it did with the model, the Enquirer signed the ex-doorman to a contract that effectively prevented him from going public with a tale that might hurt Trump’s campaign for president. Guardian

Bannon Gets Approval To Sell Holdings In Data And Film Companies
Bannon listed his stake in Cambridge Analytica, a data mining and analysis firm, at between $1 million and $5 million, and his holdings in Glittering Steel at $100,000 to $250,000, according to his financial disclosure form, which reports the value of assets in broad ranges. Both firms also employed Bannon, his financial disclosure showed. He served as vice president and secretary of Cambridge Analytica from June 2014 through August 2016, and disclosed $125,333 in consulting fees from the firm. Bloomberg

Trump Attacks Comey For Handing Him The Presidency
Donald Trump and his party (the two are now essentially indistinguishable) have launched a slick public relations campaign to discredit former FBI Director James Comey. The effort even has a Trump-style bullying nickname, “Lyin’ Comey,” which – by regurgitating the label Trump used during the campaign for Ted Cruz – serves to demonstrate a lack of originality in one of the president’s very few fields of genuine talent. NY Mag
VOA VIEW: The liberal fake news media like to report anything negative about Trump.

Illinois GOP Governor Calls For Missouri GOP Governor To Resign
Greitens was indicted on Feb. 22 for felony invasion of privacy and documents made public this week allege he used violence as part of the ongoing affair. He faces trial May 14. Rauner’s resignation call is particularly stinging considering that for months Greitens was among a trio of neighboring Republican governors who appeared in a TV ad plugging Rauner’s reelection bid. Politico

Assad 'Hiding In Bunker' As Trump, May And Macron Finalise Plans For Response
Cabinet ministers are locked in a crunch meeting for emergency talks over whether to launch British military strikes in Syria. RAF Tornado jets were being prepared today at an air base in Norfolk ahead of the special meeting to determine Britain's role in a possible US-led attack on the Syrian regime. Theresa May reportedly ordered British submarines to move within missile range of Syria, sparking fears strikes could be unleashed in response to an alleged chemical attack on the Syrian people by its own government. Mirror UK
VOA VIEW; Assad should resign - for his own sake.

Trump And Allies Weigh Risk Of Syria Strike
Any military move against Syrian government forces carries numerous risks. For example, after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman indicated in Paris that Saudi Arabia could join a punitive raid on Syria over the use of chemical weapons, the Saudis blamed Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen for firing missiles at Riyadh. Bloomberg

US Senator Questions Government Contracts With Cambridge Analytica Parent Company
Menendez’s separate letter to SCL Group CEO Nigel Oakes raises several troubling ethical and legal allegations about SCL’s work abroad, and requests information to better understand the scope and nature of the embroiled company’s methodologies, business practices, and behavior over its long history of working on political campaigns in over 20 countries, including the United States. The letter requests a comprehensive list of every government contract awarded to any SCL entity, as well as descriptions of SCL’s work on political campaigns, elections, microtargeting, or efforts to influence public opinion in foreign countries.


Janet Choate: Hillary Clinton Can Take No Credit For Me Too
In a recent talk at The Wing, a woman's group, Hillary Clinton maintained that she accelerated the Me Too movement with her loss to Donald Trump. Seriously, Ms. Clinton? Such a claim is made ludicrous by her much touted friendship with Harvey Weinstein, a sexual predator. It is made even more ridiculous by her 1975 defense of a rapist. The then Hillary Rodham defended a 41-year-old man accused of raping a 12-year-old girl. The man received a one year sentence for "fondling a child under the age of 14" with Ms. Rodham's defense that the girl was fantasizing the incident.  Reporter Herald
VOA VIEW: Hillary takes credit for everything except her loss of the presidency.

Pompeo: We've Already Killed Hundreds Of Russians In Syria
Outgoing CIA Director Mike Pompeo revealed the US had already killed hundreds of Russians in Syria, likely Russian mercenaries working with the Assad government, back in February. “In Syria, a handful of weeks ago, the Russians met their match and a couple hundred Russians were killed,” Pompeo said during a Senate hearing on his nomination to become US secretary of state. InfoWars

Seven Ways Comey Could Hurt Trump-Or Himself
Ten months ago Mr Comey held much of the US in rapt attention as he testified before Congress after being fired by Donald Trump weeks before. The former director was questioned about the ongoing investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia and the circumstances of the director's dismissal, and accused the president of lying and defamation. BBC
VOA VIEW: Comey has lost all credibility.

Trump Reportedly Plans To Pardon Scooter Libby
President Trump is reportedly prepared to pardon Scooter Libby, the former chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney. Trump has already signed off on the pardon for Libby, who was convicted of lying to the FBI and obstruction of justice in 2007, according to ABC News. Libby was ensnared in the investigation into who leaked the name of Valerie Plame, a former CIA operative. NY Post

At Least 26 Companies Have Now Pulled Their Ads From Laura Ingraham's Fox News Show After She Mocked A Parkland Survivor
Ingraham claimed Hogg "whined" about his college rejections, and she tweeted out a Daily Wire story about his comments. In response, Hogg's 14-year-old sister, Lauren, who also lost friends in the shooting, tweeted at the anchor to "grow up." Other student organizers also came to Hogg's defense. So did far-right figure Mike Cernovich, who said Ingraham's approach was "not a good look." Buzz Feed
VOA VIEW: To hell with publicity seeking Hogg.

How YouTube’s Channel Recommendations Push Users To The Fringe
YouTube’s channel recommendations have helped "unite the far-right" on the platform and actively promote channels that peddle conspiracy theories, according to new research. Jonas Kaiser and Adrian Rauchfleisch’s research paper, "Unite the Right? How YouTube’s Recommendation Algorithm Connects the U.S. Far-Right," is the first large-scale analysis of the channels that YouTube automatically recommends users subscribe to and visit.  Buzz Feed

Even Chris Matthews, ‘Hardball’ Panelists Blast Comey’s ‘Cheap’ Shots at Trump in Book
Despite largely salivating over the leaked copies of James Comey’s book to news outlets, there was plenty of consternation during the Thursday edition of MSNBC’s Hardball, thanks to host Chris Matthews and other guests taking issue with Comey’s “cheap stuff” going after the President’s hand size, height, and skin color. In fact, Matthews predicted without any pushback that such lines in the Comey book could be used by the President, his allies, and Comey detractors in criticizing the former FBI Director as he begins his book tour next week. News Busters
VOA VIEW: Comey is an idiot.

Trump Is Likely To Tweet, Fire And Forget
Journalists at the cabinet photo-op weren’t interested in Trump free-associating about the US military’s ‘incredible talent’. ‘Did you have an affair with Stormy Daniels?’ This wasn’t as crass as it might have seemed. According to the Washington Post, Trump has been obsessively flicking between coverage of Syria and another breaking story: FBI raids on the offices of his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen. Cohen had paid off a porn actress, Stormy Daniels, who claims she had an affair with Trump. ‘Why don’t you just fire Mueller?’ another reporter asked. Trump replied: ‘Well, I think it’s a disgrace, what’s going on. We’ll see what happens. But I think it’s really a sad situation … And many people have said you should fire him.’ The Spectator

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Hannity: Comey Wouldn't Know A Real Mob Boss If He Investigated One For An Illegal Server
The Clinton crime family included numerous associates – Cheryl Mills, the Hillary consigliere to whom Comey granted immunity in exchange for nothing. Huma Abedin, her underboss, who also mishandled national secrets, even handing them over to her pervert husband, former Democratic congressman Anthony Weiner. Loretta Lynch qualifies as a made member of the Clinton Crime Family, too. The former attorney general had a secret meeting on an airport tarmac with Bill Clinton in Phoenix just days before Comey cleared Clinton. One wonders what kind of order Bill issued as Lynch kissed his ring. Comey, who was at best oblivious to the Clinton Crime Family as it ran wild in Washington, has operated a bit like a gangland don himself, if we’re allowed to use the same license he does. During his tenure at the FBI, he agreed to Lynch’s order to soft-pedal the Clinton email investigation by calling it a “matter.”  Fox
VOA VIEW: Very scary if half true - the DOJ and FBI maybe controlled by individuals more powerful than those appointed.

Break-Up California Moves A Step Closer As Billionaire Gets Enough Sigs To Trigger Vote
The chance of California splitting into three has moved a step closer after a billionaire secured enough signatures to trigger a referendum on the issue. Tim Draper, who made his money through Hotmail and Skype, has gathered 600,000 signatures supporting the change – way above the 364,000 needed. Those who want to break up California believe it would boost educational standards and reduce the political power of Sacramento, the state’s capital. Providing the state authorities agree the signatures are genuine a referendum on the issue will be held this November alongside other mid-term elections. Telegraph

Joe Kennedy To Headline N.H. Event Favored By Potential Presidents
Even as he repeatedly denies any interest in running for president in 2020, US Representative Joe Kennedy III will head to New Hampshire, a state that kicks off the presidential primary season, to deliver a keynote speech at a major Democratic Party dinner this fall. Kennedy, a Democrat from Newton, will be a featured speaker at the Grover Cleveland dinner this October, an event that raises money for the Carroll County Democrats. He will headline the event with onetime US Senate candidate Jason Kander of Missouri, who is making moves to run for president. Boston Globe

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Hateful Hip-Hop: Top U.S. R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Objectify Women 55 Times
In eight of the 20 songs, singers used the word “bitch” a total of 55 times, with 15 blatant instances of women being treated as sex objects. Cardi B, a woman and a wanna-be #MeToo activist, had a new Top-20 song about dominating “bitches” and giving them drugs. Newly minted rap star Post Malone and Ty Dolla $ign rapped that they “can take yo’ bitch,” and receive oral sex from “hoes.” And Kendrick Lamar’s “King’s Dead” (which used “bitch” seven times) grossly detailed oral sex. News Busters

Cosby Publicist Confronts Lawyer Gloria Allred Outside Courthouse
There was a heated altercation outside of the courthouse between Bill Cosby’s spokesman and a prominent attorney for the accusers during the fourth day of the actor’s sexual assault retrial. Cosby publicist Andrew Wyatt confronted Gloria Allred, an attorney for some of the accusers, while she was holding a press conference on Thursday afternoon. While things got testy outside the courtroom, former supermodel Janice Dickinson told a jury that Cosby raped her in 1982 after giving her a pill he claimed would help with her menstrual cramps. CBS Local

Secret Service Gets New Presidential Limo
Several of them, actually. The latest presidential limousine fleet debuted on Barack Obama’s first Inauguration Day in 2009. That had many observers expecting Trump to be presented on his with a new version of the so-called “Beast,” which his predecessor described as “a Caddy, basically on a tank frame.” One was in the works as Trump made his first trip to the White House as president, it just wasn't ready yet.  Fox

Katy Tur Attempts To Justify Cory Booker’s Ridiculous Gay Sex Question To Pompeo
Following hours of CIA Director Mike Pompeo testifying during his Senate confirmation hearing to become the next Secretary of State, MSNBC anchor Katy Tur decided to single out a particularly absurd exchange where Democratic Senator Cory Booker grilled the nominee on his views about gay marriage. Predictably, Tur tried to argue that the bizarre and irrelevant line of questioning was actually essential in determining Pompeo’s foreign policy credentials. News Busters
VOA VIEW: MSNBC and Tur lose more credibility.

The Race For House Speaker Is Kevin McCarthy’s To Lose
While it reflected a position that Steve Scalise has been expressing privately for a while, a formal statement on Fox News from U.S. Representative Steve Scalise made it official today: “I’ve never run against Kevin, and wouldn’t run against Kevin.” “Kevin,” of course, is House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, of California, who is one step above Majority Whip Scalise on the House GOP leadership ladder.  NY Mag

Taking Military Action In Syria Would Be A Huge Gamble For Theresa May
The bulk of the country is, at best, uneasy about joining in the US’ response to the suspected chemical weapons attack. The PM will avoid a Commons vote – though by my reckoning she would win it as there are enough Labour MPs who would defy the whip to negate any Conservative rebels – and instead meet with the cabinet this afternoon to decide what to do next. New Statesman

Trump Is Desperately Looking For Ways To Save Farmers From His Trade War
If Trump ends up actually reentering the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the colossal trade accord he abandoned on January 3, 2017, he would be reneging on one of his signature campaign promises and pulling off one of the most head-spinning policy reversals of his presidency. Trump2 won the White House on an anti-free trade platform and had spent months arguing that the deal would kill American jobs. Vox

Bannon's Plan For Dealing With Mueller's Probe Starts With Firing Rosenstein
Bannon has called on White House aides and Trump’s allies in Congress to carry out a plan that would see Trump fire Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein as its first step. Four sources familiar with the discussions told The Washington Post about the plan on Wednesday. Since leaving the White House last summer, Bannon remained in touch with Trump until early January when he accused Donald Trump Jr. of treason in author Michael Wolff’s West Wing exposé Fire and Fury. Bannon’s involvement in the book saw him removed as the head of the hard-right news website Breitbart by its Trump donor owner Rebekah Mercer. Newsweek

James Comey: John Kelly Called Trump ‘Dishonorable’ for Firing Me
Kelly, Comey recalls, said he was “sick” about the situation and “intended to quit” in protest. Kelly “said he didn’t want to work for dishonorable people,” referring specifically to President Donald Trump, who appeared to be upset at the FBI’s persistent investigation into his campaign’s possible collusion with Russian officials. According to sources, Comey writes in his book that he encouraged Kelly to remain in his post, saying “this president,” more than his predecessors, needed people of principle and integrity around him. Daily Beast

Diamond & Silk Claim Facebook Never Contacted Them. Facebook Emails Prove Otherwise.
Pro-Trump vloggers Diamond & Silk found themselves the center of two high-profile congressional hearings this week lawmakers obsessed over claims the duo were “censored” by Facebook. At least five members of Congress asked Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg about the claim that the YouTube duo were told by his company that their content was deemed “unsafe for the community.” Daily Beast

Doorman Claims Trump Had Love Child With Former Housekeeper
The ex-doorman for a Trump property in Manhattan was paid $30,000 by the National Enquirer to spill allegations that Donald Trump had an out-of-wedlock child, but the story was never published. On Thursday, he identified the woman who had the child as a former housekeeper for the future president. “Today I awoke to learn that a confidential agreement I had with AMI (The National Enquirer) with regard to a story about President Trump was leaked to the press,” Dino Sajudin said in a statement. NY Post

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