a warning
February 20, 2020

Former CIA Director John Brennan is very disturbed by a new report from The New York Times, which says last week, members of the House Intelligence Committee were warned by an aide to Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire that Russia is actively meddling in the 2020 campaign in order to get President Trump re-elected.

"We are now in a full-blown national security crisis," Brennan said. "By trying to prevent the flow of intelligence to Congress, Trump is abetting a Russian covert operation to keep him in office for Moscow's interests, not America's." Brennan served as CIA director from 2013 to 2017.

The briefing was delivered by Shelby Pierson, one of Maguire's aides known for her blunt delivery, the Times reports. When Trump found out about the briefing, he was livid, and complained that the committee's chair, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), will "weaponize" the intelligence against him, a person with knowledge of the matter told the Times. On Wednesday, Trump announced Maguire is being replaced by U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, a Trump loyalist. Catherine Garcia

February 12, 2020

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch sounded the alarm on Wednesday night, telling an audience at Georgetown University that the State Department is "in trouble," with leaders who lack "policy vision" and "moral clarity."

Yovanovitch was ousted from her post last May, following a smear campaign orchestrated by President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. During the impeachment inquiry, Yovanovitch testified that she felt undermined and threatened by people who wanted her out of their way. She was removed from Kyiv at the same time Giuliani was digging for dirt in Ukraine on Trump's political rivals.

Yovanovitch, who retired from the State Department last month, told the crowd that when it comes to foreign policy, the U.S. needs to be "principled, consistent, and trustworthy. To be blunt, an amoral, keep-them-guessing foreign policy that substitutes threats, fear, and confusion for trust cannot work over the long haul. At some point, the once-unthinkable will become the inevitable — that our allies who have as much right to act in their own self-interest as we do, will seek out more reliable partners whose interests might not align well with ours."

These were Yovanovitch's first public remarks since leaving the State Department. She was at Georgetown to accept an award from the School of Foreign Service, and received a standing ovation from the audience. Catherine Garcia

May 7, 2019

In a letter sent to House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday, the Department of Justice warned the panel against going through with a planned vote to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt.

The committee requested Barr send over an unredacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report by Monday, but that deadline came and went without a delivery. Barr was also supposed to testify before the committee last week, but skipped out on the hearing. Nadler on Monday said Congress has "no choice but to initiate contempt proceedings," with the vote set for Wednesday.

The Justice Department said in its letter that should Democrats hold Barr in contempt, the attorney general will request that President Trump "invoke executive privilege with respect to the materials subject to subpoena." Catherine Garcia

September 6, 2017

As Hurricane Irma heads toward Florida, the official Polk County Sheriff Twitter account on Wednesday sent out a stark warning to people who might be seeking shelter from the Category 5 storm:

Aside from putting people with a warrant out for their arrest in the position of choosing between safety and jail, the Florida county sheriff's office also advised that law enforcement officers would be checking IDs before admitting people to shelters. "Sex offenders/predators will not be allowed," the Polk County Sheriff's Office tweeted.

Irma made landfall in the Caribbean on Wednesday morning, packing winds of up to 185 miles per hour and marking the most powerful Atlantic hurricane ever recorded. President Trump has declared a state of emergency in Florida, where Irma is expected to hit Sunday. Becca Stanek

January 27, 2017

In a sobering op-ed for Time, Mikhail Gorbachev, the final leader of the Soviet Union, writes that it "looks as if the world is preparing for war."

Gorbachev says no problem is "more urgent today than the militarization of politics and the new arms race," and reversing this "ruinous race must be our top priority." While globally budgets are tight for essentials, military spending is growing, and "money is easily found for sophisticated weapons." Gorbachev says politicians and military leaders sound "increasingly belligerent" and defense doctrines "more dangerous. Commentators and TV personalities are joining the bellicose chorus. It all looks as if the world is preparing for war."

The time to act is now, Gorbachev writes. The U.S. and Russia should once again declare that "nuclear war cannot be won" and "our nations will not seek military superiority." The U.N. Security Council must also adopt a resolution stating that nuclear war is "unacceptable and must never be fought," and because the U.S. and Russia hold more than 90 percent of the world's nuclear arsenals, they need to lead the way. People are afraid and on edge, Gorbachev says, due to militarism, armed conflicts, and the arms race, and "ridding the world of this fear means making people freer. This should become a common goal. Many other problems would then be easier to resolve." Read the entire piece at Time. Catherine Garcia

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