Senior Trump Aide Seb Gorka Has Ties to Anti-Semitic Groups

Wikimedia Commons

President Trump’s deputy assistant, Sebastian Gorka, developed close ties to far-right and anti-Semitic groups in Hungary, according to an investigation by The Forward. When Gorka, 46, was caught wearing a medal associated with a Nazi collaborationist regime, he told Breitbart News that he wears it to “remind myself of where I came from, what my parents suffered under both the Nazis and the Communists, and to help me in my work today.” The Forward’s investigation, however, appears to undermine that claim. According to the Jewish-American publication, Gorka from 2002 to 2007 worked with openly racist and anti-Semitic groups, as well as public figures who hold such views. He reportedly co-founded a political party with prominent members of Jobbik, a Hungarian far-right nationalist party with a long history of anti-Semitism. He also allegedly published articles in a racist newspaper and was seen at events with some of the country's most extreme-right leaders.


Trump Lashes Out at FBI Over CNN Report

Carlos Barria/Reuters

President Trump on Friday morning lashed out at the FBI in a Twitter rant calling on the agency to find and punish leakers in the wake of a CNN report casting his administration in a negative light. According to the cable-news outlet’s Thursday evening report, the FBI rejected a request from the White House to knock down reports alleging communications between Trump allies and Russian officials during the 2016 presidential campaign. According to CNN, White House officials specifically sought out FBI and other agency officials to claim the reports were untrue. “The FBI is totally unable to stop the national security ‘leakers’ that have permeated our government for a long time,” Trump wrote in response. “They can’t even find the leakers within the FBI itself. Classified information is being given to media that could have a devastating effect on U.S. FIND NOW.” A Friday morning White House pool report on a background briefing by senior administration officials revealed that on February 15, assistant FBI director Andrew McCabe allegedly told chief-of-staff Reince Priebus that The New York Times story on the FBI investigating contacts between Trump’s team was “B.S.” and that when asked if FBI officials could help squash the story, McCabe said, “We’d love to help but we can’t get into the position of making statements on every story.”


GOP Congressman: ‘Absolutely, Trump Should Release His Tax Returns’

Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, who has been a supporter of President Trump, surprised protesters during a Thursday night town hall when he called for the president to release his tax returns. One of his constituents, Donna Waters, 56, became visibly emotional while confronting the first-term congressman: “I’m the descendant of an immigrant, he came to America in 1607 to a town called Jamestown, and my family's been here ever since.” She continued, ‘Whenever there’s a threat to this country, my family has stepped forward... There are allegations that a hostile foreign country is committing acts of undeclared war by infiltrating the highest levels of our government.” She then asked: “Will you call for the release of President Trump’s income tax returns?” As Gaetz hesitated, the crowd began screaming, “Yes or no! Yes or no!” The lawmaker shocked many in the room when he replied, “Absolutely, Donald Trump should release his tax returns.” He did not, however, call upon Congress to subpoena the documents. Trump broke longstanding protocol during the election, becoming the first major-party nominee since 1972 not to release his tax returns.

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CDC: Heroin Causes 25 Percent of U.S. Overdoses

John Sommers II/Reuters

One in four drug overdoses in the U.S. in 2015 were related to heroin, according to new numbers released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Not only was 2015 the first year that the number of overdose deaths in the U.S. exceeded 50,000, but deaths from opiods increased from 57 percent to 73 percent in only five years. “Starting in 2011, overdoses involving heroin has really skyrocketed,” Andrew Kolodny, of Brandeis University's Opioid Policy Research Center, said, “There's a really good chance the increase involving heroin has to be involved with fentanyl.” The CDC study also found a significant increase in the number of deaths related to synthetic opiods, such as fetanyl, the drug linked to Prince's death this past year. Researchers contend that prescription drug use is being replaced by heroin use because of the cost and crackdown on illegal use of prescription opiods.


Caitlyn Jenner: Trump Trans Policy a ‘Disaster’

Gus Ruelas/Reuters

Caitlyn Jenner issued a video statement on Twitter on Thursday night in response to a recent decision by the Trump administration to withdraw federal protections for transgender students. "I have a message for the trans kids of America," Jenner said. "You're winning." She went on to criticize Trump, calling the decision a "disaster." "I have a message for President Trump from one Republican to another," Jenner said. "This is a disaster and you can still fix it. You made a promise to protect the LGBTQ community. Call me," she concludes. 


Police Remove Last Standing Rock Protesters

Terray Sylvester/Reuters

National guard officials and law enforcement authorities marched onto the Oceti Sakowin camp on Thursday, where the last Dakota Access Pipeline protesters remained, and cleared the site in a military-style takeover, according to The Guardian. Most of the last protesters left voluntarily on Wednesday, setting fire to their structures as they left. At least 33 holdouts were arrested, according to the Morton County sheriff's department. The area was cleared just over 24 hours after the deadline for the emergency evacuation of the site. Since August, the camp—located on federal land—has been home to thousands of environmental and indigenous activists who object to the pipeline's construction just north of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. “I honestly thought the camp would always be there,” said Linda Black Elk, a member of the Catawba Nation. “I thought that people would be able to make their lives there. We would make a treaty claim and it would be back in the hands of the Lakota people.” 


Iraq Carries Out First Airstrikes on ISIS Targets in Syria

© Khalil Ashawi / Reuters

According to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Iraq's air force on Friday carried out its first airstrikes on Islamic State targets inside Syria. The move comes just one day after Iraqi troops seized the Mosul airport from ISIS. Meanwhile in Syria, an alleged Islamic State car bomb was detonated in the village of Sousian, which had already been recaptured from militants. The explosion killed dozens of people—including many civilians—when it was detonated at a security checkpoint controlled by Turkey-backed rebels. A leading Syrian opposition fighter in the area, Mohammed al-Tawil, said a suicide attacker blew a small pickup truck outside of a security office. At least 35 civilians are dead, Reuters reports. The attack, in the village of Sousian, may have killed up to 42 people, according to the Britian-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.


Pence: ‘Obamacare Nightmare’ Almost Over

Joshua Roberts/Reuters

Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday defended the Trump administration’s plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, telling conservatives in Washington that “America’s Obamacare nightmare is about to end.” “Despite the best efforts of liberal activists around the country, the American people know better. Obamacare has failed, and Obamacare must go,” he told an audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Despite protests against the repeal at town halls across the country—and concerns about the lack of a replacement even within the GOP—Pence promised “an orderly transition to a better health-care system that finally puts the American people first.” He did not provide any specifics on what the replacement plan would entail. An estimated 20 million people are currently insured under former President Obama’s health-care law, and many fear a repeal would leave most of them without coverage.


Sweden Counters Trump’s Immigration Criticism

Reuters/Jessica Gow/TT News Agency

Sweden has countered President Donald Trump’s claims that lenient immigration policies are bringing turmoil to the country, urging him to be “better informed” about the situation. Swedish Justice and Migration Minister Morgan Johansson took issue with Trump’s claims that the country’s lax immigration policies were causing instability. “The next time I hope the president, if he's going to speak about Sweden, is better informed about what the conditions really are here,” Johansson told Reuters in an interview published Thursday. Trump last week referenced a nonexistent terror attack in Sweden to bolster his calls for tighter immigration policies. He later walked back his claim and said he was simply referring to a rise in crime caused by the country’s troublesome immigration policies. Johansson said there is no evidence to support Trump’s claims. “We have very, very few cases of any of them (asylum seekers) committing crimes,” he said. “If you think that we have given protection to 143,000 Syrian refugees since 2011 you hardly ever see any of them in the crime statistics,” he said. Johansson went on to note that “playing different religious or ethnic groups against each other” will “never end well.”


Trump Wants U.S. Nuclear Arsenal at ‘Top of the Pack’

Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

President Trump on Thursday told Reuters reporters that he wants to make sure the U.S. nuclear arsenal is at the "top of the pack" but that he's concerned the nation has "fallen behind on nuclear weapon capacity." He added, “I am the first one that would like to see ... nobody have nukes, but we’re never going to fall behind any country even if it’s a friendly country, we’re never going to fall behind on nuclear power.” According to anti-nuclear group the Ploughshares Fund, the U.S. has 6,800 warheads, and Russia has 7,000 warheads. Trump added, “It would be wonderful, a dream would be that no country would have nukes, but if countries are going to have nukes, we’re going to be at the top of the pack.”