News & Politics

The Morning Briefing: Senators Visit Afghanistan, Federal Agents Pay a Visit to Kathy Griffin

U.S. Senator John McCain, speaks during a press conference at the Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, July 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

Good Wednesday Morning!

Here’s what is on the President’s agenda today:

  • In the morning, President Trump will depart the White House for Joint Base Andrews, en route to Warsaw, Poland.

Trump to collude with the Poles

The president will spend 16 hours in Trump-friendly Poland before heading to Germany for the G20 summit.

Arriving on Wednesday night, just before the Hamburg G20 leaders’ meeting, Trump’s 16 hours in Warsaw carry great resonance. Polish President Andrzej Duda will be proud to officially host his American counterpart even before this pleasure will be granted — if at all — to the likes of Queen Elizabeth, Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Emmanuel Macron.

In addition to meeting with Duda,

Trump will also meet leaders of the 11 other EU member countries attending the Three Seas Conference. Convened by Poland and Croatia, the initiative includes EU countries situated between Baltic, Adriatic and Black Seas and is intended by Warsaw to serve as a Central European counterweight to Franco-German dominance in European politics.

According to the White House, Trump will make a major speech during his visit to Warsaw. All ears will be waiting for mention of Article 5 of the NATO treaty, something Trump did not mention during his visit to Brussels in May. Poland is one of the few nations that keeps its funding commitment to NATO.

And the country’s political leaders will be sure to extend a very warm welcome. Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz called Trump’s visit ‘historic,” lauding him as “a man who is changing the shape of the world’s political scene.” The government, he added, is on the same page as Trump, when it comes to being attacked by “liberals, postcommunists, lefties and genderists.”

General H.R. McMaster told reporters last week that the president will “lay out a vision, not only for America’s future relationship with Europe, but the future of our transatlantic alliance.”

Senators visit Afghanistan for 4th of July

War-friendly Senators McCain and Graham along with Senator Elizabeth Warren in tow headed to Afghanistan for the 4th of July to visit American troops stationed there. McCain led the delegation, which also met with military and civic leaders in Kabul.

“As we celebrate Independence Day, may we show our gratitude and keep in our prayers the brave and selfless patriots serving around the world and their families, who shoulder our burdens every day to protect our freedom and keep us safe from harm,” McCain said in a statement.

McCain is pushing for more troops (of course he is) on the ground in order to win the “war against the Taliban.” During a press conference, McCain said, “the strongest nation on earth should be able to win this conflict.” According to McCain, the Taliban “are not going to negotiate unless they think they are losing.” According to reports, Senator Graham is also interested in sending more troops and will tell the president that victory necessitates 8,500 more troops stationed in Afghanistan.

Other lawmakers on the trip include Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Senator David Perdue (R-GA).

Canada to pay Al Qaeda terrorist $8M

A captured terrorist held at Guantanamo Bay will get an $8M windfall and an apology from the Canadian government. So who is this guy?

Omar Khadr, who admitted to killing American special forces medic Sgt. Christopher Speer while fighting in Afghanistan in 2002, spent 10 years at the secretive U.S. prison, based in Cuba.

Khadr, captured at a suspected Al Qaeda compound, pleaded guilty to a military tribunal in 2010.

He was sent there by Canada in 2012 to finish his sentence and was released while he appealed his conviction. RELEASED?! Khadir claimed he was coerced to confess.

Canada’s Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that the country’s intelligence officers got evidence from Khadr, who was 15 when he was captured, under “oppressive circumstances” such as sleep deprivation and solitary confinement.

The prison has long been condemned by human rights organizations, though the Obama administration’s efforts to close it were in vain and President Trump has suggested sending more detainees there.

The payout has come under fire from some Canadians. “Meet Canada’s newest multimillionaire — Omar Khadr,” read a release from the opposition Conservative Party.

All I have to say about this is WHAT?

Much longer than I would want to spend with Kathy Griffin

Federal agents spent an hour “talking” to “comedian” and “artist” Kathy Griffin about the photo she posted holding the decapitated head of President Trump.

Comedian and actress Kathy Griffin has reportedly been interviewed by the U.S. Secret Service for more than an hour. The investigation is connected to a recent photograph which showed her holding the bloody head of Donald Trump.

Her attorney denied she was making a threat to the president and said she was merely expressing her “art.”

“She basically exercised her First Amendment rights to tell a joke,” Dmitry Gorin, a criminal defense attorney representing Griffin said. “When you look at everything in the media, all the times entertainers make videos or express themselves in other ways, you’ve never seen an entertainer, let alone a comedian, be subject to a criminal investigation.”

The investigation is still ongoing, so stay tuned.

July 4th Murderville scoreboard

For those of you monitoring the success of a city with strict gun control policies to combat gun violence, I have an update: 60 people shot, 8 of them fatally, over the July 4th holiday weekend.

Dozens of people were struck by gunfire in Chicago, some of them fatally, during the traditionally violent Fourth of July weekend, mostly in parts of the South and West sides that have long been plagued by gang crime and gun violence.

From Friday afternoon through Tuesday afternoon, about 60 people were shot with eight of them killed, according to data kept by the Tribune.

The city is surpassing its astonishing violent streak achieved in 2016.

The city just finished its first half of 2017 with 323 homicides — one more than the same period in 2016 — putting Chicago on pace to reach the 700-homicide mark for the second consecutive year, official Police Department statistics show.

Other morsels:

Box office: Hollywood’s franchise crisis worsens over July fourth

Vatican hospital offers to take in baby Charlie Gard

EPA-funded lab faked research results on respiratory illnesses, whistleblower lawsuit claims

Sanctuary cities promise to make 1 million new US citizens in year

Thousands of chickens block Austrian highway

Wimbledon scheduling derided As ‘sexist’ because men play in bigger stadiums

You can now snort chocolate to get high

Transgender parent fights for genderless birth certificate for child

The 6 worst airports in the US

Migrants feared drowned off Morocco

Five celebrities running for office

Man tries to remove bees with fireworks, burns down garage

That’s all I’ve got now go beat back the angry mob!