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Tuesday's HOT MIC

Here's your Hot Mic liveblog for Tuesday, April 4, 2017.  Join PJ Media's editors and contributors for news updates and conversation throughout the day.

Read Tuesday Morning Update here.

HOT MIC Morning Update — April 4, 2017

The big story yesterday was about Susan Rice, the woman who went on a network news-wide Benghazi lying tour after four Americans were killed in a terrorist attack in Libya. Sources have said she was at the center of the unmasking of private American citizens' identities to Obama's buddies in the government. Now the Obama cheerleading squad swarms to fire back. Get ready for a paradigm shift.

CNN's Don Lemon says he won't "aid and abet" the Susan Rice diversion. 

“Let us be very clear about this. There is no evidence whatsoever that the Trump team… was spied on illegally. There is no evidence that backs up the president’s original claim. And on this program tonight, we will not insult your intelligence by pretending otherwise, nor will we aid and abet the people who are trying to misinform you, the American people, by creating a diversion.”

CNN's Anderson Cooper is also on board, with Obama mouthpiece Jim Sciutto reading a statement from Rice denying anything "unusual" with her requests. Watch that here. 

Scuitto says he spoke with senior intelligence officials; my money is on Clapper, who said unmasking Americans in intelligence communications is "not unusual" and that it had to be done with the approval of the IC. The same IC that has been leaking info about Trump?

Of course: “The idea that Ambassador Rice improperly sought the identities of Americans is false. There is nothing unusual about making these requests when serving as a senior national security official, whether Democrat or Republican.”

“This appears to be a story largely ginned up, partly as a distraction from this larger investigation.”

Here's some legitimate information about Rice and unmasked intel.

_______

It's back. "After Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, played golf last weekend with President Donald Trump and Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney -- with the group spending hours discussing health care, according to Paul -- several House Republicans met with top administration officials at the White House Monday to discuss potential changes to the health care bill."

And:

"On Monday evening, Pence met with members of the conservative Freedom Caucus in an effort to gauge support for any potential changes. Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., the Freedom Caucus's chairman said no deal has been reached but that he is encouraged by the outlines of the proposal presented to them."

Let me make it easy for everyone: the solution is a free-market based health care system. The end.

_______

Now that the Congress has rolled back restrictions on internet service providers selling your data for corporate market research, and President Trump has signed the bill,  it's time to take some privacy measures if you have privacy concerns.

Fox News and Kim Kommando offer 3 ways to search the internet without Google watching you.

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Mylan, maker of the lifesaving EpiPen, has been hit with a class-action lawsuit.

Kollmeyer, along with Amber Rainey and Lisa Vogel, filed a class-action lawsuit on Monday in Tacoma, Washington that claims EpiPen-maker Mylan engaged in a scheme with pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs — companies that act as intermediaries between pharmacies, insurers and drug companies — to dominate the market and overcharge consumers.

"As a result of Defendant’s scheme, Ms. Kollmeyer overpaid for EpiPens," the complaint said. The women involved in the suit paid anywhere from $53.94 to $453.49 for two-packs of the EpiPen and EpiPen Jr.

_______

Attorney General Jeff Session wants to review all the "agreements" made between America's police departments and the Justice Department under Obama's presidency.

The two-page memo instructs the department to immediately review all "collaborative investigations and prosecutions, grant making, technical assistance and training, compliance reviews, existing or contemplated consent decrees, and task force participation," in order to ensure that they fully promote the Trump administration's goals of working with law enforcement "to ensure public safety."

"I think there is concern that good police officers and good departments can be sued by the Department of Justice when you just have individuals within a department that have done wrong," Sessions said in January.

"These lawsuits undermine the respect for police officers and create an impression that the entire department is not doing their work consistent with fidelity to law and fairness, and we need to be careful before we do that."

Probably a good thing.

_______

Ever feel like you are giving your political adversaries the bullets to shoot you with? You are.

According to a report compiled by the non-profit group Open the Books, America's Ivy League colleges’ payments and entitlements cost taxpayers more than $41 billion over a six-year period from fiscal year 2010 to fiscal year 2015. This is equivalent to $120,000 per student in government aid or $6.93 billion per year.

If you love mixing politics with sports, you're going to love ESPN's new guidelines for employees.

“Given the intense interest in the most recent presidential election and the fact subsequent political and social discussions often intersected with the sports world, we found it to be an appropriate time to review our guidelines,” said Patrick Stiegman, ESPN’s vice president of global digital content and the chairman of the company’s internal Editorial Board, which drafted the new guidelines.

I'm not sure how the trashing of Donald Trump by a know nothing, slack jawed ex-jock would be "appropriate" under any circumstances.

The absolute worst thing that ESPN can do is to empower these ignoramuses by encouraging them to talk about subjects they know little or nothing about. It isn't just that sports should be a safe space for those of us who want to get away from politics every once and a while. It's that the commentary has proven to be so ignorant and uninformed.

Now I will be even less likely to watch Sportscenter or any sports talk show. And if the spirit moves play-by-play announcers to babble about politics in the middle of a game, I will end up turning the sound off.

So... Salon is now pimping ISIS press statements, which is cool "since Trump is an idiot and doesn’t even know geography, they’re not too worried."

Any anti-Trump port in a storm, I suppose.

Probably racist.

Here's the NYT headline:

Susan Rice, Ex-National Security Adviser, Now in Spotlight in Surveillance Debate.

See, there's this debate. About surveillance. Whether it's good or bad or just something we do, probably just to foreigners. And Susan Rice, somebody's ex-National Security Advisor (maybe she was fired?) has been brought into that debate.

That's this week's Pravda.

Last week's Pravda was OH MY GOODNESS THE RUSSIANS ELECTED TRUMP BY HACKING OUR ELECTION AND ALL HIS PEOPLE ARE IN PUTIN'S POCKET AND ISN'T TRUMP AN IDIOT FOR WORRYING ABOUT DOMESTIC SURVEILLANCE?

Got it?

California is all set to become a "Sanctuary State." The Senate passed a bill that would bar "state and local law enforcement agencies from using their resources, including money, facility, property, equipment or personnel, to help with immigration enforcement."

The "reasoning" behind this bill is bizarre.

CNN:

"Our precious local law enforcement resources will be squandered if police are pulled from their duties to arrest otherwise law-abiding maids, busboys, labors, mothers and fathers," said de León in a statement.

Um...begging your pardon, sir, but no one is asking local law enforcement to arrest anyone. They are asking local police who have already arrested an illegal alien (so much for "law-abiding") to hang onto them until ICE can show up and take custody.

And is anyone else troubled by the straitjacket this bill would put local police forces in? Suppose local politicians and police disagree with California Democrats and want to cooperate with the Feds? What the hell business is it of Sacramento to dictate to these localities what their policies should be?

Not even being able to ask someone already in police custody if they're in the country illegally is a nice touch. Because nothing quite says "freedom" like an old-fashioned gag order.

There has been a deadly attack in Syria, and there are signs of the use of "toxic gas."

Here is some very disturbing footage:

Today is Equal Pay Day. Even Ivanka Trump is backing it.

But a libertarian YouTube star has the perfect response.

For more, check out PJ Media's article:

 

The Washington Post is reporting that the UAE facilitated a meeting between the founder of Blackwater, Erick Prince, and a close adviser to President Putin for the purpose of establishing a backchannel between President Trump and the Russian leader. The meeting was held in the Seychelles islands around January 11.

The Post tried to tie this story in with the investigation of the Trump campaign's ties to Russia:

U.S. officials said the FBI has been scrutinizing the Seychelles meeting as part of a broader probe of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election and alleged contacts between associates of Putin and Trump. The FBI declined to comment.

The Seychelles encounter, which one official said spanned two days, adds to an expanding web of connections between Russia and Americans with ties to Trump — contacts that the White House has been reluctant to acknowledge or explain until they have been exposed by news organizations.

Sounds sinister, huh? Except that President Obama also established a backchannel around his inauguration in 2009, but with a mortal enemy of the U.S. -- Iran. At that time, the administration was using an Omani named Salem ben Nasser al-Ismaily as a go-between with Iran who helped negotiate the release of some American hikers taken hostage by Iran as well as helping get Iran to the table for talks on their nuclear program.

Obama had another backchannel to Iran with Turkish autocrat Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The point is that backchannels can be useful in a variety of circumstances and are used by all presidents all the time. It saves time and effort when an administration can bypass the bureaucrats at the State Department who think they're the ones in charge of U.S. foreign policy.

This is what the Post said about Obama's Omani backchannel to Iran:

Landler’s account shows how early and extensively Clinton and her State Department staff were involved in the Iran talks, despite her initial wariness. And in a campaign in which Donald Trump often advocates a blunderbuss approach to foreign affairs, this story is a reminder that breakthroughs often come via strange and invisible pathways — ones that, in this case, the administration sometimes sought to obscure.

I'll let the readers draw their own conclusions about a "blunderbuss" approach to foreign policy.

 

 

Media Research Center's Brent Bozell calls out the media for ignoring/downplaying the Susan Rice unmasking scandal: