FBI asks for Senate docs in fetal tissue probe: Report

FBI asks for Senate docs in fetal tissue probe: Report

The FBI has reportedly asked the Senate for unredacted documents obtained from abortion providers, which may signal an investigation into Planned Parenthood and other parties involved in the market for fetal tissue from abortions.

The document request occurred recently and was directed to the Senate Judiciary Committee, The Hill reported. The chairman of that committee, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, referred Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers for criminal investigation in December, following the release of the committee’s lengthy probe into the market for fetal tissue.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, said she welcomes the potential investigation into Planned Parenthood’s business practices.

“Not content with their status as the nation’s largest abortion business, evidence shows Planned Parenthood sought to squeeze every last opportunity for cash from the sale of hearts, brains, lungs and livers of the unborn children whose lives they end,” Ms. Dannenfelser said in a statement. “Planned Parenthood and its associates are terrified of having their sordid business model exposed. We commend the Trump administration for holding them accountable and urge Congress to follow through on the promise to redirect the half-billion dollars in taxpayer funding the abortion giant receives each year.”

It is against the law to sell fetal tissue for profit. Abortion providers are allowed to price fetal tissue for research in order to recover the costs of obtaining it.

Dana Singiser, vice president of government affairs for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, called accusations of wrongdoing “baseless.”

“Planned Parenthood strongly disagrees with the recommendations of the Senate Republican staff to refer this matter to the Justice Department, especially in light of the fact that investigations by three other Congressional committees, and investigations in 13 states including a Grand Jury in Texas, have all shown that Planned Parenthood did nothing wrong,” Ms. Singiser told The Hill.

The Senate probe was conducted in the wake of the Center for Medical Progress undercover video investigation that purported to show top-ranking officials discussing the sale of fetal body parts from abortions.

The investigation found that some fetal tissue procurement firms sold fetal body parts at a price that exceeded the cost of storage.

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Russia posts video game screenshot as ‘irrefutable evidence’ of U.S. helping ISIS

Russia posts video game screenshot as ‘irrefutable evidence’ of U.S. helping ISIS

An image circulated by the Russian military Tuesday purportedly showing “irrefutable evidence” of U.S. forces assisting Islamic State terrorists was actually taken from a 2015 video game.

Russia’s Ministry of Defense shared the image through its Twitter and Facebook accounts as supposed proof of the Pentagon aiding members of the Islamic State terror group, also known as ISIS, but deleted the posts within hours after social media users showed it was a screenshot from a mobile phone game called “AC-130 Gunship Simulator: Special Ops Squadron.”

“This is the irrefutable evidence that there is no struggle against terrorism as the whole global community believes,” Russia’s Ministry of Defense wrote in the since-deleted social media posts. “The U.S. are actually covering the ISIS combat units to recover their combat capabilities, redeploy and use them to promote the American interests in the Middle East.”

The posts included several aerial images supposedly backing Russia’s claim, including one labeled: “ISIS automobile convoy leaves Abu Kamal for Syrian-Iraqi border (November 9th, 2017).”

British researcher Eliot Higgins of investigative site Bellingcat was among the first to find a YouTube clip of “Special Ops Squadron” showing that Russia’s defense ministry shared a cropped screenshot as an “irrefutable” proof,” evidenced most clearly by identical text appearing in both the video game footage and Moscow’s photo of the Islamic State convoy.

“This is the best evidence [Russia’s defense ministry] are shameless liars, they take a video game screenshot then claim its from a specific location and date,” Mr. Higgins tweeted Tuesday. “Anything they say it 100% untrustworthy.”

Researchers at Conflict Intelligence Team, a nonprofit group that investigates Russian military activities, subsequently reported that three other images shared by Russia as “irrefutable evidence” of U.S. forces assisting the Islamic State were actually taken from video released by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense in 2016.

The Russian military is investigating claims that a civilian employee attached the bogus images, state-run media reported later Tuesday.

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State AGs ask Congress to repeal law that ‘hamstrung’ DEA’s opioids fight

State AGs ask Congress to repeal law that ‘hamstrung’ DEA’s opioids fight

Nearly every state attorney general in the country wants Congress to repeal a 2016 law that reportedly made it “virtually impossible” for the Drug Enforcement Administration to suspend orders of narcotics that could fall into the hands of corrupt doctors or illicit pharmacies.

In a letter to congressional leaders, 44 AGs said the law is a “step backward” in the fight against the prescription painkiller and opioids epidemic that is killing tens of thousands of Americans each year.

“The standards set by the law hinder law enforcement’s authority to control excessive amounts of opioids flooding the market. The state and federal government need to equip our law enforcement partners with the necessary tools to go after those responsible for fueling the epidemic,” said Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter, who spearheaded the bipartisan effort.

Their pleas mirror entreaties from lawmakers in parts of the country that are reeling from the opioids epidemic, including Democratic Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who face re-election in red states next year.

Though it breezed through Congress, many lawmakers now say they didn’t realize the law raised the threshold for freezing opioid shipments, while allowing companies to take corrective action before facing punishment for doling out suspicious orders.

Earlier this year, a high-profile report by the Washington Post and CBS’s “60 Minutes” said the industry-friendly lawmakers pushed the law over the concerns of whistleblowers within the DEA.

Mr. Hunter highlighted criticism from DEA Chief Administrative Law Judge John J. Mulrooney, II, who said the process is “is akin to a state legislature mandating law enforcement authorities allow shoplifting suspects caught in the act to outline how they intend to replace purloined items on store shelves, or allow bank robbers to round up and return ink-stained money and agree not to rob any more banks.”

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Jeff Sessions to House Judiciary Committee: I forgot about Papadopoulos meeting, but now remember

Jeff Sessions to House Judiciary Committee: I forgot about Papadopoulos meeting, but now remember

Attorney General Jeff Sessions told a House committee Tuesday that he had forgotten but now remembers attending a meeting at which Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos said he could help arrange a meeting between the campaign and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

He also rejected accusations that he lied when he did not mention the interactions when asked about any contacts between Russian officials and the Trump campaign.

Mr. Sessions told the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday that he “had no recollection” of the meeting until details about it were reported following the unsealing of a plea agreement for Mr. Papadopoulos.

“I do now recall the March 2016 meeting at Trump Hotel that Mr. Papadopoulos attended, but I have no clear recollection of the details of what he said during that meeting,” Mr. Sessions told lawmakers Tuesday, according to prepared remarks. “After reading his account, and to the best of my recollection, I believe that I wanted to make clear to him that he was not authorized to represent the campaign with the Russian government, or any other foreign government, for that matter.”

The attorney general has come under fire for not disclosing the discussion when he was asked during his confirmation hearing about any contacts between Russian officials and members of the Trump campaign, for which he served as an advisor.

Mr. Sessions went on to say that had he remembered the event before his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last month, he would have mentioned it.

Mr. Papadopoulos‘ plea agreement on charges of lying to FBI agents was unsealed Oct. 30.

Mr Sessions blamed his forgetfulness on the chaotic nature of the presidential campaign.

“It was a brilliant campaign in many ways. But it was a form of chaos every day from day one,” Mr. Sessions said. “We traveled all the time, sometimes to several places in one day. Sleep was in short supply.”

The attorney general said he’s done his best to answer questions truthfully when he’s appeared before congressional committees.

“I have been asked to remember details from a year ago such as who i saw on what day and what meeting and who said what to when,” Mr. Sessions said. “In all of my testimony, I can only do my best to answer all of your questions as I understand them and to the best of my memory. But I will not accept and reject accusations that I have ever lied. That is a lie.”

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CNN slammed for listing 26 Texas shooting victims as ‘25 and unborn child’

CNN slammed for listing 26 Texas shooting victims as ‘25 and unborn child’

Texas authorities have confirmed that 26 people were killed in last week’s Sutherland Springs church massacre, but according to CNN, it’s 25 plus an unborn child.

The network has come under criticism for adjusting its victim total after learning that Texas had included in its count the unborn child of Crystal Marie Holcombe, 36, who was pregnant when she was killed Nov. 5 by a gunman who opened fire at the First Baptist Church.

CNN tweeted a story Sunday citing the death toll as “25 people and an unborn child,” prompting a rash of respondents to tweet “26.”

“You mean 26 …,” said Jon Schweppe, spokesman for the American Principles Project.

The Texas Department of Public Safety has named “26 victims, including an unborn child,” in its official count. Texas and 22 other states have fetal homicide laws that apply to the earliest stages of gestation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

CNN spokesman Matt Dornic explained the reasons for the network’s decision.

“It was an effort to reconcile our news-gathering efforts, which identified the names of 25 victims, with the 26 number released by authorities,” said Mr. Dornic in an email. “And also to be specific as possible for our global audience.”

CNN initially described the number of victims as 26 but switched to “25 and an unborn child” after the state issued its list of 26 victims, who included “Carlin Brite ‘Billy Bob’ Holcombe (unborn).”

How to describe feticide victims has long been a source of contention, with pro-life groups holding that they should be included in homicide counts and pro-choice advocates arguing that doing so puts states on a slippery slope toward outlawing abortion.

CNN’s description puts the network at odds with most other major news outlets. ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC have continued to cite 26 victims in their reports, as has the Associated Press.

Both The New York Times and Washington Post placed the number of those killed at 26 in weekend articles.

Ms. Holcombe, the mother of five, has been described in various news dispatches as eight months pregnant, although KSAT-TV in San Antonio reported she was almost four months pregnant.

Her husband, John Holcombe, released a statement last week on Facebook saying that the couple did not yet know the sex of the baby because “it was too soon to tell.”

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One Easy Place to Find Proof of Your Social Security Benefits

One Easy Place to Find Proof of Your Social Security Benefits

When you’re applying for a mortgage, loan or housing, you may need proof of your Social Security benefits. Other times, you may need to prove you’ve never received or applied for retirement, disability, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicare benefits.  When this happens, your personal my Social Security account is the fastest and most efficient way to get your benefit verification letter — the proof you need. You can get a benefit verification letter, sometimes called a “budget letter,” a “benefits letter,” a “proof of income letter,” or a “proof of award letter,” online instantly by logging into your account.

Create your account

If you don’t have a my Social Security account, you can create one today.

It’s easy.  To set up your account, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount and select, “Sign In or Create an Account.” You will need to provide some personal information, like your email address or Social Security number, to verify your identity and choose a username and password. To protect your information, you’ll be asked to set up a second identification method to further verify your identity. You’ll need either your cell phone number or email address as your second identification every time you sign into your account.

It’s convenient

You can set up your account from the comfort of your home. Once you create your account, scroll down to the Benefits and  Payments section and choose “get benefit verification letter.” Then you can instantly view, print, or save your official letter. It takes only a few minutes.

It’s secure

Social Security has a robust cyber security system that we continuously evaluate and improve to keep your information safe.

Sign up for or log in to your personal my Social Security account and rest easy knowing that you’re in control.

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What You Need to Know For Hurricane Irma Recovery

What You Need to Know For Hurricane Irma Recovery
What You Need to Know For Hurricane Irma Recovery | USAGov

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September 5, 2017

As the Hurricane Irma recovery process continues, federal officials offer the following advice for people returning to their homes:  

  1. Apply for disaster assistance. The quickest way to apply for federal disaster assistance is online through DisasterAssistance.gov. If you don’t have access to the Internet, you can apply by phone. Call 1-800-621-3362. 
  2. Don’t return home until local officials tell you it’s safe. Before you enter your house, check for safety hazards like loose power lines, gas leaks, and structural damage. Learn what else to check before and after you enter.
  3. Be on the look out for scam artists and fraud. Remember you never have to pay a fee to apply for federal disaster assistance. If someone tells you that you do, it’s a scam. Other common fraud includes phony house inspectors and fake donation requests. Follow these tips to avoid scams and fraud after a disaster.
  4. Find help if you’re feeling distressed. You can talk to a professional who can help you cope with emotional distress from the storm by calling the Disaster Distress Line at 1-800-985-5990 or texting TalkWithUs to 66746.
  5. Know where to find trusted information. After major storms, rumors circulate and scammers may try to take advantage of you. Make sure you know what’s real and what’s fake. Check FEMA’s rumor control information for trusted storm and recovery updates. 

For the latest information (in multiple languages) on Irma, visit FEMA.gov or follow USAGov and FEMA on Twitter.

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Features | USAGov

Features | USAGov
Features | USAGov

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You’re invited to read and use our bilingual articles covering trusted, timely, and valuable government information.


  • Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to friends and loved ones.


  • There has been confusion and rumors on social media about a U.S. Department of Defense drill that starts on November 4, 2017.


  • Your personal my Social Security account is one of the most powerful tools available to help you prepare for retirement.


  • Here are three things you should know to get the most out of your passport and your international travel experience.


  • When you’re applying for a mortgage, loan or housing, you may need proof of your Social Security benefits.

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Features | USAGov

Features | USAGov
Features | USAGov

JavaScript must be enabled in your browser in order to use some functions.

Skip to main content

You’re invited to read and use our bilingual articles covering trusted, timely, and valuable government information.


  • Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to friends and loved ones.


  • There has been confusion and rumors on social media about a U.S. Department of Defense drill that starts on November 4, 2017.


  • Your personal my Social Security account is one of the most powerful tools available to help you prepare for retirement.


  • Here are three things you should know to get the most out of your passport and your international travel experience.


  • When you’re applying for a mortgage, loan or housing, you may need proof of your Social Security benefits.

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USAGov’s Back to School Guide for Teachers and Parents

USAGov’s Back to School Guide for Teachers and Parents

Can you believe the kids are going back to school already?

Yep, it’s that time of the year! And to make it a little easier, USAGov has 3 resources to help get the school year started: 

Make sure your kids get those shots! 

Go to Vaccines.gov to find out which vaccinations your kids need for the start of the school year.

If you can’t afford to get your kids vaccinated, you may be eligible for the CDC’s free Vaccines for Children Program. Find out more at USA.gov/vaccinations.

2. Enrolling your kids in an afterschool program?  
Go to nces.ed.gov/globallocator  to find your school district online. Your state education department might also have programs your kids can join to pick up some cool skills and experiences after class is done. 
3. Teach your kids how to deal with bullying. 
Empower them with tips from Stopbullying.gov to help them stand up for themselves and stay safe on the playground and online. 

Get more tips for a great school year. Check out USAGov’s Back To School Guide for Teachers and Parents.

Connect with USAGov. Your guide to government information and services at USA.gov/explore. 

Contact us online, through email & chat, social media and by phone at 1-844-USAGOV1.

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