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Brian Benczkowski, Peter Strzok, North Korea: 3 Stories You Should Read Today – 7/12/2017

Brian Benczkowski, Peter Strzok, North Korea: 3 Stories You Should Read Today – 7/12/2017
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Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.

In the category of: Things are about to get even bumpier.

Controversial Justice Department Nominee With Russia Ties Wins Senate Confirmation

Brian Benczkowski could help oversee the Russia investigation despite his work for a Vladimir Putin-linked bank.

“I don’t think in the history of the department there’s ever been anybody so ill-prepared” for this job, says Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), who has been one of the chief agitators against Benczkowski’s nomination. He says Benczkowski has “barely set foot in a courtroom.” (Benczkowski has never prosecuted a case.) He continues, “So if the obvious reason for why you’d want him there is not evident, then you have to look for less obvious reasons.”

Whitehouse posits several ways in which Benczkowski could undermine the Mueller investigation from his perch atop the Criminal Division, which would give him insight into the investigation. He could share information about the probe with Sessions, who recused himself from the investigation, or with President Donald Trump’s legal team. He could also slow down the investigation by delaying or denying any requests that come to his desk.

And Whitehouse notes that the Trump administration is surely aware that the president could replace Rod Rosenstein with Benczkowski, since anyone confirmed by the Senate to any post can be temporarily appointed to other posts that typically require Senate confirmation. That would transfer oversight of the Russia investigation to him. “There are lots of nefarious explanations for why this guy at this time gets installed in a position with a window into the Mueller investigation,” he says.

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In the category of:  Kicking a hornet’s nest.

Partisan shouting match erupts at FBI agent Peter Strzok hearing

Gowdy’s questioning of Strzok, which was frequently interrupted by Democrats, kicked off one of the most contentious hearings related to the Russia investigation, as Strzok had the first chance to publicly give his side of the story under the bright camera lights two weeks after he testified behind closed doors for 11 hours.
“Let me be clear, unequivocally and under oath: not once in my 26 years of defending our nation did my personal opinions impact any official action I took,” Strzok said in his opening statement, adding later, that the “fact is, after months of investigations, there is simply no evidence of bias in my professional actions.”
Thursday’s hearing is one of the most contentious in Congress so far tied to the Russia investigation, as Republicans will get the chance to grill one of the key FBI officials they have accused of misconduct.
Thursday’s hearing is one of the most contentious in Congress so far tied to the Russia investigation, as Republicans will get the chance to grill one of the key FBI officials they have accused of misconduct.

 

In the category of:  Donald Trump likes to tell that snake story. Maybe this is what he was talking about.

North Korea snubs U.S. skips meeting on returning soldier remains

North Korean officials did not show up to a planned meeting with US officials at the demilitarized zone Thursday, where they were expected to continue discussions on repatriating the remains of Americans killed during the Korean War, a senior US official tells CNN.

There was no call or explanation from North Korean officials on why they skipped the meeting.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ignored a question about the apparent snub when asked by reporters traveling with him in Brussels on Thursday.
The development is likely to fuel growing skepticism over North Korea’s commitment to a complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula as promised during last month’s meeting between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un in Singapore.

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