Mitt Romney Announces Run For Utah Senate Seat

By Lydia O’Connor
Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney announced on Friday that he is running for the U.S. Senate seat being left vacant by retiring Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch (R).
“Given all that America faces, we feel that this is the right time for me to serve our state and our country,” he said in a video posted on Twitter.
A win for the former Massachusetts governor could be a major blow to President Donald Trump, as Romney spoke out against Trump both during the 2016 election and after the president hesitated to condemn white supremacists last summer. He bashed Trump as a “phony” and “a fraud” in March 2016 and said he couldn’t vote for him.
Reports that Romney would run for the seat began circulating in September, when rumors arose that Hatch ― the longest-serving Senate Republican and one of Trump’s fiercest advocates ― was planning to retire at the end of his term. Hatch officially announced his retirement in early January. That same day, the location associated with Romney’s Twitter account was changed from Massachusetts to Holladay, Utah, where he owns a home.

Romney, who in 2012 became the first-ever Mormon to secure a major-party presidential nomination, is slated to be the front-runner in the November Senate race. Unlike Hatch, who has fallen out of favor with Utah voters, Romney is immensely popular with the state’s Mormon base. A Salt Lake Tribune poll in October found that 44 percent of respondents wanted Romney to run for Hatch’s seat.
In the hours after Hatch’s retirement announcement, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders would not say whether Trump would back Romney.
In addition to speaking out against Trump, Romney was also one of the few Republican lawmakers to make an unequivocal statement against Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who had been accused of sexually assaulting and harassing teen girls when he was in his 30s. Moore, who had Trump’s enthusiastic support, ultimately lost to Democratic candidate Doug Jones.
Despite their clashes, Trump reportedly floated Romney as a potential pick for secretary of state last year.

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Trump Jr. Just ‘Liked’ A Tweet Blaming Florida Mass Shooting On The FBI’s Russia Investigation

By John Prager on February 15, 2018 1:29 pm ·
People in general are stupid, but few have managed to reach the level of stupidity enjoyed by Donald Trump Jr.

Apparently, the son of President Stable Genius thinks that the FBI has better things to focus on than the criminal investigation into he, his father, and their friends’ collusion with Russia to destroy American democracy — like patrolling schools watching for any sign of danger.
Related: Florida Student Just Absolutely Trashed White Rage Princess Tomi Lahren’s Sh*tty Shooting Response

On Thursday, the second-dumbest Trump son next to Eric agreed with far right-wing agitator Kurt Schlichter that “The FBI was too busy trying to undermine the president to bother with doing it’s freaking job.”

Schlichter’s remark was in response to Twitter Nazi Jack Posobiec’s demand to know why the “FBI dropped their active shooter investigation” into Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz “months ago.”
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In reality (yes, even on Fox News’ website), the FBI was given information about a comment Cruz made on YouTube that he was going to become a “professional school shooter” — one of many similar remarks made on YouTube seemingly every six seconds.
“No other information was included in the comment which would indicate a particular time, location or the true identity of the person who posted the comment,” the FBI said in a statement regarding — let’s call them “erroneous reports” since the media doesn’t liked to call liars liars these days — that the FBI knew of Cruz’s plans. Cruz did post the comment under his own name, but there was no way to know if that was his real name at the time.

“The FBI would have been all over Nikolas Cruz if there was even a remote chance he was a Republican who had once shook hands with Donald Trump,” one reply to Schlichter’s dumbass post says — which is kind of awkward considering that Cruz posted a photo of himself wearing a

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13 Russian nationals indicted in Mueller investigation on charges related to meddling in US elections

By ABC News
Feb 16, 2018, 3:28 PM ET

Coming upRussians accused of elaborate election scheme, Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein says

The special counsel probing Russian interference in the last presidential election charged 13 Russian nationals and three Russian groups with violating criminal laws with the intent of meddling “with U.S. elections and political processes” on Friday.
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The 37-page indictment, signed by special counsel Robert Mueller, depicts an elaborate scheme in which some of the Russians accused allegedly came to the U.S. with the deliberate intention of undermining the American political and electoral process, including the 2016 presidential election The new indictment comes amid a wide-ranging probe by the special counsel into Russian meddling in the U.S. election.
In one case, for example, an American was paid to dress up as Hillary Clinton clad in a prison uniform and another person was hired to construct a cage on a flatbed truck — all part of a coordinated effort to organize rallies in Florida in the lead up to the presidential election.
In another case, the defendants and their co-conspirators operated a twitter account using the handle @TEN_GOP in an attempt to pretend to be the Tennessee Republican Party. The handle amassed more than 150,000 followers.
The actual Tennessee Republican Party said they reported this fake account to Twitter on multiple occasions. Twitter said in a House Intelligence Committee hearing in November that it took the account down and the incident helped them re-evaluate their policies.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said on Friday the Russians charged called their work “information warfare against the United States” with the goal of spreading distrust of candidates and the political system in general.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, speaks to the media with an announcement that the office of special counsel Robert Mueller says a grand jury has charged 13 Russian nationals and several Russian entities, Feb. 16, 2018, in Washington.

In 2014 and through the 2016 elections, one of the main organizations in the indictment, Internet Research Agency began a coordinated effort to influence the American political system. Individuals listed in the indictment worked to support that goal.
Some defendants “communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump campaign” without revealing their association with Russia. The indictment also says the defendants posted negative information about a number of candidates during the last general election.
The individuals operated social media pages and groups designed to attract American audiences with a strategic goal to “sow discord in the U.S. political system”. They staged rallies and had a basic infrastructure which included computers and other support systems.
Ultimately, the “defendants’ operations included supporting the presidential campaign on then-candidate Donald J. Trump and disparaging Hillary Clinton” his Democratic rival, according to the indictment.
“The indictment charges all of the defendants with conspiracy to defraud the United States, three defendants with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and five defendants with aggravated identity theft.”
Later on Friday, President Donald Trump responded on Twitter noting that the activity in the indictment began before his campaign.

The White House also released a statement underscoring that they are ” glad to see the Special Counsel’s investigation further indicates—that there was NO COLLUSION between the Trump campaign and Russia and that the outcome of the election was not changed or affected.”
“it is more important than ever before to come together as Americans. We cannot allow those seeking to sow confusion, discord, and rancor to be successful. It’s time we stop the outlandish partisan attacks, wild and false allegations, and far-fetched theories, which only serve to further the agendas of bad actors, like Russia, and do nothing to protect the principles of our institutions,” Trump said in the statement. “We must unite as Americans to protect the integrity of our democracy and our elections.”
Four former members of the Trump campaign have faced charges as a result of the special counsel’s broader investigation, including George Papadopoulos, Rick Gates, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and former national security adviser Mike Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in December.
Rosenstein told reporters the newest indictment contains no allegations of knowing collusion by members of the Trump team or a determination that the election was influenced as a result of the Russians’ activities.
“This indictment serves as a reminder that people are not always who they appear to be on the internet. The indictment alleges that the Russian conspirators want to promote discord in the United States and undermine public confidence and democracy. We must not allow them to succeed,” Rosenstein said.
Trump has called Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the election and possible collusion by Trump associates a “witch hunt,” and an “excuse” cooked up by Democrats for their 2016 losses.
In testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee earlier this week, top U.S. intelligence chiefs said it was likely Russia would seek to meddle again in U.S. politics in the 2018 midterms. The officials also said they had not been specifically directed by Trump to stop Russian efforts to influence the election, though CIA Director Mike Pompeo said he has been directed by Trump to generally address threats to the U.S.
The Kremlin told ABC News it has no comment at this point.

 

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Giffords, Kelly talk gun control in Youngstown

By William K. Alcorn | February 16, 2018 at 12:01a.m.

By WILLIAM K. ALCORN
alcorn@vindy.com
YOUNGSTOWN
The beliefs that setting goals and working hard and perseverance would get them where they wanted to go in life were put to the ultimate test for retired astronaut Mark Kelly and his wife, Gabrielle “Gabby Giffords, when the former member of the Arizona Legislature and U.S. House of Representatives survived an assassination attempt.
Kelly and Giffords, in a quirk of timing, were speakers Thursday at the Youngstown State University Skeggs Lecture Series at Stambaugh Auditorium, just one day after a gunman killed 17 people and wounded many more with a semi-automatic rifle at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
In the 2011 shooting outside a supermarket where Giffords was meeting constituents, she was shot in the head and suffered severe brain damage, and six others died, including a 9-year-old girl.
Despite their experience, Kelly said they are not anti-guns. “I’m a gun owner and so is Gabby.”
“We know what will work to check gun violence. We need better background checks. Ninety-two percent of Americans favor that. In the last decade we’ve had 10 of the 20 worst mass shootings in our country’s history,” he said.
The roadblock is corporate lobbyists who make it untenable for politicians to take action, Kelly said while speaking to students in the Ward Beecher Planetarium before the Skeggs Lecture at Stambaugh.
“We can’t be stupid about it. We make it too easy for people with mental issues, terrorists and criminals to get weapons,” Kelly said.
Before she was shot, Giffords was an Arizona state legislator and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives until her resignation on Jan. 25, 2012.
She is a graduate of Cornell University and a Rhodes scholar, and worked as an associate for regional economic development for Price Waterhouse in New York City and as CEO of El Campo Tire Warehouses, a local automotive chain owned by her grandfather, and rode motorcycles.
The life of Kelly, a four-time astronaut who once dreamed he would be the first person to walk on Mars, radically changed when his wife was shot.
“When Gabby went to Congress, I though I had the most dangerous job. But it turned out hers was the most dangerous. Facing that was the biggest challenge of our lives,” he said.
First, when the family was flying from Texas to Arizona, the media reported that Gabby was dead; and later reported it had made a mistake, he said.
“My wife was not going to be taken out by Cable news,” he said, drawing a laugh from the audience.
He said he quickly learned what it meant to be a primary caregiver.
“I began to realize this was going to be a slow process. I am not a patient person,” he said ruefully.
Regarding his astronaut days, he said the biggest thrill was taking off and then realizing you are still alive, Kelly said.
The most amazing site was to see the earth, a big round, mostly blue ball.
Gabby has a sense of humor also.
She joked that she keeps her “real skull” in blue Tupperware in the freezer.
Speaking briefly at the end of their presentation, Giffords said it has been a long haul “but I am optimistic. I’m still trying to make the world more compassionate.”
“I couldn’t be more proud of my wife,” Kelly said.

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