Beltway Insider: Trump/Pence Build Legal Teams; Congressman Shot; Grenfell Towers; Navy Destroyer Collision

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President Donald Trump has hired an additional legal counsel, and signally concern Vice President Michael Pence has also hired an attorney, to assist and guide them through the burgeoning Russia scandal and its subsequent legal challenges and proceedings.

According to Gallup, President Trump's job approval, over the past week, increased one percentage point to 39% of those polled who approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President decreased two percentage points to 55%. 

Trump/Pence Build Legal Teams

President Donald Trump has hired an additional attorney, John Dowd, as the investigation into Obstruction of Justice, a actionable and impeachable offense, solidifies. His current lawyer, Michael Cohen, has hired lawyer Stephen Ryan as Cohen has been called to testify before the House Intelligence Committee.

The Trump/Pence White House has proven quite lucrative for the legal profession with more than a dozen lawyers to date representing outside investigations of the President and all his men.

Vice President Mike Pence surprised political insiders this week as he hired a defense counsel, separate of Trump's team, to represent him as the investigation into collusion with the Russians scandal widens. Pence interviewed several attorneys before hiring Richard Cullen.  


Beltway Insider: Trump/Comey; Romania/G20; May’s Election Implosion; Servicemen Killed; Qatar Crisis


On deep background, this publication has learned the technology to circumvent the United States Presidential elections had been in place for some time. It was impossible to use as there was never a sympathetic player in place.

With Research and Development of any technology taking up to a decade this information would be accurate and before the rise of the billionaire businessman turned politician with questionable ethics, which has already been proven, and the Russian investigation is happening the possibility of a Russian/American deal for a man who wrote the Art of the Deal doesn't seem to be a stretch to believe and is it impossible to prove?

Donald Trump took to social media again, which apparently isn't ill advised by his team of attorneys, to announce he is under investigation for firing former F.B. I. Director James Comey. His attorney appeared on the Sunday Morning talk show circuit reiterating the president is not under investigation.

On Friday June 16, 2017 at 6:07am the President Tweeted, "I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt."

Three additional members of the President's team are under investigation by Robert Muller, the former FBI Director appointed as Special Prosecutor.

Congressman Shot in Mass Shooting at Charity Baseball Practice Session

The condition of Republican Majority Whip Steve Scalise has been upgraded from critical to serious after a disgruntled and disturbed citizen opened fire on the Congressman and others who were at a Baseball practice session in nearby Alexandria, Virginia.

The politically motivated shooting occurred at about 7:10am Wednesday, June 14, 2017, as the GOP members of the House and Senate had gathered at Eugene Simpson Stadium Park to prepare for the annual Charity Game on Thursday.

A host of Senators, Congressman, staffers, lobbyists, and Capital Police were on site when the ambush began. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) was ready to go in when he described as a single shot which was initially thought to be a someone discharging a weapon.  

The suddenly a barrage of pop, pop, pop, as the shooter, still out of site began his ambush. Paul, who was preparing to step up, described the next few minutes indicating he could see "Steve Scalise wounded, bleeding crawling into the outfield; two staffers down in mid-field, with shots striking the ground around them."

Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, was in the outfield, assisted Scalise and called his wife.

In addition to Scalise, Zack Barth, a Congressional Aide, Matt Mika, a Tyson Foods Lobbyist, and Crystal Griner a Capitol Police assigned to protect Scalise were injured in the shooting.

The shooter, James Thomas Hodgkison, 66, of Belleville Illinois was wounded by police and died from his injuries. After a search of his personal belongings a hit list of six Congressmen was found. All the men were at the baseball practice.

The hope is that Congressman Scalise (R-LA) will walk again. His condition has improved, it is the hope of this publication that he persuade his colleagues that enough is enough.

Scalise's Official Position on the Second Amendment

 "A strong supporter of the Second Amendment, Scalise has sponsored and cosponsored legislation protecting citizens' right to keep and bear arms. In the 112th Congress, Scalise introduced H.R. 58, the Firearms Interstate Commerce Reform Act, which improves law-abiding citizens' ability to purchase firearms. The bills Scalise has recently cosponsored include H.R.645, a bill to restore Second Amendment rights in the District of Columbia and the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011, H.R.822, which would ensure national reciprocity for concealed carry permit holders. Congressman Scalise's pro-gun stance has earned him an A+ rating from the National Rifle Association. A member of the Congressional Second Amendment Task Force, Congressman Steve Scalise will continue fighting to protect every citizen's Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms." Congressman Scalise's Position on the Second Amendment.

The shooting, unfortunately brings home the debate in real time on Gun Control. After Sandy Hook, Pulse, Aurora, San Bernardino, Columbine, Virginia Tech, Charleston, Roseburg Oregon, Santa Barbara, Fort Hood, Washington, D.C, Santa Monica, Minneapolis, Brookfield, Wisconsin and the seven other mass shootings that occurred in the United States last week alone, maybe, just maybe the time has come to reintroduce gun control laws.

Congressman Scalise is the second shooting on a sitting member of Congress with Arizona Democrat Congresswoman Gabby Gifford's surviving a point-blank range head injury in January 2011.

Death Toll Rises in Grenfell Towers Fire; Frustration Grows

The death toll in the devastating Grenfell Towers fire has risen sharply and could possibly spike again as cadaver dogs have been brought in to assist in the search for remains of victims who perished as the inferno engulfed the apartment complex in North Kensington.

Officials indicate 58 bodies have been discovered and the process of identification is slow with only one person positively identified. Next of kin, as in the recent Manchester bombing, have named missing and presumed dead family members.


Death Toll Expected To Rise as Massive Inferno Engulfs Famed London Apartment Building


Frustrated citizens, in shock, facing unfathomable loss, have taken to the streets in protests voicing rage, anger and hurt over the lack of communication coming from government. Fault is not based on an instant assessment and justice will only be served after due process. Will there be prosecution? Most likely, yes.

Fault and Investigation

Miscommunication and misinterpretation over the intensity of the blaze and the ability to fight, contain and control played heavily in the decision of residents to evacuate or wait to be rescued.

Blaming government or the Prime Minster for real time decisions made by those in authority on scene, who were assessing the situation based on education and not guess work is understandable and senseless. Until the inferno began to spread quickly, with almost an accelerant intensity, building code violations, wouldn't have been factored into rescue communication.

The answers the public and surviving residents are seeking will only be achieved through due process. The investigation into the fire is just beginning. Officials will make the determination if the fire was arson or accident, if the building materials were flammable or retardant and if building codes were met or not.

Do building codes mandate residential buildings have a main fire alarm system? Or were sprinklers, smoke detectors, and flashing lights sufficient in the common areas with smoke detector alarms required for units only?

Apartment dwellers were told to remain in their units and that they would be rescued. Who told the residents to stay in their units? Did it come over a Public-address system or from the working firemen on scene?

The interpretation of rescue remains safe exit from the building. Safe exit would have been achieved by walking down the steps which, with or without guided assistance from a fire fighter, would have been a terrifying experience. Residents who accepted the message of the onsite authority, fire chief or common man, literally put their life in his hands.

During the World Trade Center Terrorist Attacks, September 11, 2001 building residents in Tower Two were told to remain in the building by building safety teams, many did not, many firms had practiced weekly fire drills and planned for emergency exits, they exited the building. Those who remained and listened to the authority on site, assessing in real time an unfolding situation through no fault of his own as he was not clairvoyant, cost them their lives. 343 Firefighters died in the collapse of the Twin Towers.

Building Materials

The decision to evacuate would have to have been made in the first 15 minutes, and for all those survivors, save one, all evacuated within the initial time-frame. One man, the senior partially blind pensioner who has made headlines as he stayed by his window throughout the entire fire with the building burning around him, until he was rescued after the fire was contained four hours later.

The blaze engulfed the building around him, and as pictures have shown and cut diagonally across the high rise which also lends itself to question the materials used in this path.

"Greg Hands told Sky News that '"my understanding is that the cladding that was reported was not in accordance with U.K. building regulations. We need to find out precisely what cladding was used and how it was attached."' Experts say the cladding and the insulation it contained seems to have spread the flames quickly along the exterior of the building, overwhelming safety devices like fire doors," as reported in The Washington Post.

Queen Elizabeth, Prince William Visit Grenfell Towers Site

Queen Elizabeth and Prince William arrived at the Shelter and Donation Intake building. The media reported the two were visibly moved with the Queen, at 91, teary.  Still no nonsense she spoke with many Police and fire workers, Intake teams and survivors. After she issued the following statement:

"Today is traditionally a day of celebration, this year, however, it is difficult to escape a very sombre national mood. As a nation, we continue to reflect and pray for all those who have been directly affected by these events. Put to the test, the United Kingdom has been resolute in the face of adversity. During recent visits in Manchester and London, I have been profoundly struck by the immediate inclination of people throughout the country to offer comfort and support to those in desperate need. United in our sadness, we are equally determined, without fear or favour, to support all those rebuilding lives so horribly affected by injury and loss." 

Prime Minster May Tours Devastation

Citizens from survivors to community leaders, members of government, political leaders are questioning the Prime Minister's carefully staged appearance at Grenfell Building and Shelter for survivors. Touring the devastation with limited personal contact, which is common for political leaders, brought the hounds to the door and in light of her recent barely re-elected election, those who assisted in staging the event should have considered appearance.

Navy Destroyer Collides with Philippines Merchant Ship Killing Seven

The USS Fitzgerald, a Navy Destroyer, on assignment in the South Pacific, collided with a Philippine Merchant ship in the morning hours of Saturday, June 17, 2017 killing seven and trapping the Commanding officer, Bryce Benson, in his quarters.

Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin, conducted a press conference explaining "The USS Fitzgerald, experienced extensive damage and flooding at 02:20am ten miles off the coast of Japan. The damage was significant this was not a small collision. There is a big puncture underneath the waterline. The ship suffered flooding in the machinery room, berthing areas for 116 crew and the commanding officer's cabin as well. This was a severe emergency. The ship's crew was swift and responsive. Through their heroic efforts they prevented this ship from sinking and were able to bring it back here to Yokosuka on its own power."

The collision in open water, with clear calm seas, nearly caused the technologically advanced guided missile destroyer to sink off the coast of Yokosuka Japan, where the ship had left port on maneuvers.

The damage to the ship starboard side appears to be limited to crumpled and twisted metal however according to the 7th Fleet Commander, Vice Admiral Aucoin, the collision produced a deep, below the water line, gash, which flooded the berthing compartments and the commander's quarters.

"The ship and the crew performed very professionally. The ship is called the Fighting Fitz, for lieutenant during the Vietnam War who was awarded Navy cross for his valor. We owe it to our families and the Navy to understand what happened under my authority, I have launch a Jag man investigation into this collision, I will appoint a flag officer to lead that investigation and there will also be a safety investigation. The US Coast guard is to take the lead on the Marine Casualty investigation," the Vice Admiral said.

Seven crewmen were initially reported missing and have since been found in those flooded berthing compartments. The identities have not been released pending notification of next of kin.

For more information on President Donald Trump: www.whitehouse.gov

Sources: Whitehouse.gov, Wikipedia.com, Defense Department/Navy News

 

Haute Tease

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    It is not particularly easy to write about a hurricane when I just left a zone devastated by earthquakes, that being Christchurch New Zealand.  However, that is not to distract from the sheer force of Hurricane Sandy and its effect on many lives and of course the infrastructure in 15 states, in particular New York.  To date, over 100 lives have been lost, 56 of those in the United States. It’s a sad time for many.

     
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    A freshman girl in West Texas committed suicide with a single self-inflicted gunshot this week after wounding a fellow female student at Alpine High School after the directed incident escalated resulting in an officer involved shooting of a fellow first responder.

     
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    Now, after 25 years, National Geographic Documentary Films and Academy Award-Winning Directors Dan Lindsay and TJ Martin presents LA 92, a riveting look back at the controversial Rodney King trial and subsequent protests, violence and looting of the city.

     
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    Today marks the 14th Anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The reading of the names of the lives lost in the attacks happened this morning at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

     
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    THIEL Audio, the world's premier luxury loudspeaker manufacturer recently relocated to Nashville, Tennessee from its previous headquarters in Lexington, Kentucky and has announced plans to bring the ultimate audio experience to the most discerning of consumers.

Crime

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    A Transportation Security Agency agent was shot and killed when a single suspect opened fire at the Los Angeles International Airport, firing as many as 20 rounds with a high powered assault weapon.

     
  • Judge in Stanford Rape Case Stops Hearing Criminal Cases

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    Judge Aaron Persky, who sentenced the Stanford convicted rapist to six months including time served, has stopped hearing felony cases due to the public outrage over his leniency in what has been deemed a travesty of justice.

     
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    Brittanee Drexel, of Rochester, New York, was last seen in 2009 leaving a beachfront hotel in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, according to hotel surveillance cameras, the FBI said in a recently released statement and simply vanished.

     
  • The Grim Sleeper, The South Central Serial Killer, Is Convicted

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    Lonnie Franklin, Jr., The Grim Sleeper Serial Killer, was convicted of ten counts of murder and one count of attempted murder after three decades since his killing spree began, and may face the death penalty when the sentencing phase concludes.

     
  • Baruch Fraternity Members Face Charges in PA Murder Case

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    Pocono County prosecutors have announced the intent to bring charges against all thirty of the Pi Delta Psi Fraternity members present the night pledge Chun Hsien Deng was killed in a hazing ritual in rural Tunkhannock Township, Pennsylvania.

Auto, Yachts, Jets, Real Estate

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    Laurel Canyon was ground zero for the birth of 1960’s and 70’s rock and roll with everyone, who was anyone, living there making hippie music in the canyon with residents such as Jim Morrison, Joni Mitchell, Frank Zappa and Keith Richards.

     
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    It’s getting Haute in Hot-Lanta! Atlanta’s sizzling Real Estate Market skyrocketed this week when the National Football League announced the Mercedes Benz stadium home to the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons had won the bid for Super Bowl 2019.

     
  • Playboy Mansion Sells to Neighbor; Allows Bunny Patriarch Lifetime Living

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    Hugh Hefner sold his Holmby Hills Mansion for a cool $100Million, half of the original listing price, to his neighbor, Daren Metropoulos, the owner of Hostess Snack Foods. The Playboy Enterprises founder will live out his days dolling out $1M annually for expenses.

     
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    Chris Hemsworth, who is best known for his roles in Thor, The Avengers, and Rush, has recently put his luxurious home nestled in the Malibu Hills, surrounded by natural privacy landscaping, on the real estate market.