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Harry Reid Changes His Story On How He Sustained New Year’s Day Injuries

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Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is changing the story about how he sustained those gruesome New Year’s Day injuries that have left him blind in one eye

Michael Patrick Leahy reports:

…Previously, Reid claimed that an exercise band he was using “broke.”

“Sources familiar with the incident said Reid was exercising in his bathroom, with the exercise band attached to the shower door.”

— Politico reported on January 22.

“I was doing exercises that I’ve been doing for many years with those large rubber bands and one of them broke and spun me around and I crashed into these cabinets and injured my eye,” (emphasis added) Reid said at a press conference on January 22.

(You can see the video of that press conference here.)

But now, in an interview conducted by Fusion (a joint venture between ABC and Univision), excerpts of which have been released today, Reid tells Univision anchor Jorge Ramos that the exercise band “slipped,” rather than “broke.”

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“Now, however, Reid tells Ramos a different story. The exercise band was not attached to the shower door in his bathroom, Reid says, but was instead attached to ‘a big metal hook that came out from the wall’ in an unspecified room in his new Nevada home.”

“[T]he [elastic band] strap had no handle on it, slipped, spun me around, uh, about, oh I guess four feet (Reid points with his right hand to the wall of the interview room) and so I smashed my face into a cabinet,” Reid tells Ramos.

Reid’s latest version of the incident, as told to Ramos, differs from previous versions advanced by his team in another very significant way.

“Sources familiar with the incident said Reid was exercising in his bathroom, with the exercise band attached to the shower door,” Politico reported on January 22. (emphasis added)

As Breitbart News reported previously, that version of the story, almost certainly told to Politico by Reid’s staffers with his approval, is not credible.

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Now, however, Reid tells Ramos a different story. The exercise band was not attached to the shower door in his bathroom, Reid says, but was instead attached to “a big metal hook that came out from the wall” in an unspecified room in his new Nevada home.

Watch the full video of the excerpts of the Fusion interview here:

Here’s a partial transcript of the excerpt of the interview released by Fusion:

Ramos: You said recently that the accident had nothing to do with your decision to retire.

However, we are seeing the consequences of what happened.

What really happened?

Was it really with an elastic band? Read the rest of this entry »

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What Was Indicted Doctor Hoping to Buy With $100k Donation to Harry Reid’s Super PAC?

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Michael Patrick Leahy reports: In its indictment of Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Dr. Salomon Melgen, a Florida opthalmologist, the Department of Justice cites Melgen’s $600,000 donation to Senator Harry Reid’s (D-NV) Senate Majority PAC in 2012. That money, the feds charge, was earmarked for the successful re-election of Menendez, and was part of “hundreds of thousands of dollars and contributions to entities that benefitted MENENDEZ’s 2012 Senate campaign, in exchange for specific requested exercises of MENENDEZ’s official authority.”

“Having worked for the Justice Department for many years, I was taken aback, upon carefully reviewing the indictment, at the lengths to which prosecutors went to downplay or omit salient details of Sen. Reid’s participation in a corruption scheme for which they’ve charged Sen. Menendez.” 

— Former chief assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Andy McCarthy

The indictment makes no mention of the additional $100,000 Melgen contributed to the Senate Majority PAC a mere two weeks before Reid arranged an August 2, 2012 meeting among himself, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, and Menendez.

[Read the full text here, at Breitbart]

At that meeting, Menendez advocated directly to Secretary Sebelius on behalf of Melgen’s appeal of an HHS finding that he owed $8.9 million for overbilling Medicare in 2007 and 2008. That advocacy, the indictment charges, was the influence Melgen received from Menendez in return for his $600,000 contribution to Reid’s Senate Majority PAC.

That charge leads to an obvious question.

If Melgen’s $600,000 contribution to Senate Majority PAC was an illegal quid-pro-quo between Melgen and Menendez, does it not stand to reason that Melgen’s $100,000 contribution to the same Senate Majority PAC was an illegal quid-pro-quo between Melgen and Reid in which the influence Melgen received was Reid’s arrangement of and participation in the August 2, 2012 meeting attended by Reid, Sebelius, and Menendez?

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“I don’t understand, for example, how you go to the trouble of itemizing trivial gifts like Melgen’s buying Menendez a $360 steakhouse dinner but leave out Melgen’s giving $100,000 to a Reid-controlled super PAC just a few days before Reid — not Menendez — arranged a meeting with the HHS secretary to intervene in Melgen’s $8.9 million Medicare billing dispute.”

— Former chief assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Andy McCarthy

Menendez benefited from the $600,000 that was earmarked to his campaign because it helped him sail to a 19-point re-election victory in deep-blue New Jersey. Reid benefited from the $100,000 that was not earmarked because he was able to allocate it as he wished to assist more vulnerable Democrat candidates in 2012. Those efforts were successful, and Reid emerged from the general elections with his position of Senate Majority Leader still intact.

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“The facts and circumstances outlined in the Menendez indictment clearly implicate the current Democratic Senate Minority Leader in the scheme to sell influence for huge campaign contributions.”

Two former federal prosecutors tell Breitbart News that the Department of Justice, which indicted Menendez on Wednesday for his role “in the scheme to sell influence for huge campaign contributions,” has chosen “to downplay or omit salient details of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) participation in [that] corruption scheme.”

“It is obvious that the Justice Department chose to calibrate its charges so as to skip Reid. The timing and size of the contributions to Reid’s PAC coupled with his personal attendance at a meeting with Secretary Sebelius along with Menendez on behalf of the Doctor demonstrate facts sufficient to warrant further investigation.”

— Former U.S. Attorney Joseph diGenova

“The facts and circumstances outlined in the Menendez indictment clearly implicate the current Democratic Senate Minority Leader in the scheme to sell influence for huge campaign contributions,” former U.S. Attorney Joseph diGenova tells Breitbart News.

“It is obvious that the Justice Department chose to calibrate its charges so as to skip Reid. The timing and size of the contributions to Reid’s PAC coupled with his personal attendance at a meeting with Secretary Sebelius along with Menendez on behalf of the Doctor demonstrate facts sufficient to warrant further investigation,” di Genova adds.

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“The fundraiser referenced in the indictment as ‘Fundraiser 2′ and Dr. Melgen are personal friends, and we were not aware of the full extent of their communication until the indictment came out [Wednesday] night. While we are confident that this was an isolated incident, the fundraiser in question is no longer with Senate Majority PAC.”

— Stephanie Potter, executive director of Senate Majority PAC

“Having worked for the Justice Department for many years, I was taken aback, upon carefully reviewing the indictment, at the lengths to which prosecutors went to downplay or omit salient details of Sen. Reid’s participation in a corruption scheme for which they’ve charged Sen. Menendez,” former chief assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Andy McCarthy tells Breitbart News.

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“I don’t understand, for example, how you go to the trouble of itemizing trivial gifts like Melgen’s buying Menendez a $360 steakhouse dinner but leave out Melgen’s giving $100,000 to a Reid-controlled super PAC just a few days before Reid — not Menendez — arranged a meeting with the HHS secretary to intervene in Melgen’s $8.9 million Medicare billing dispute,” McCarthy says.

A spokesperson for Senate Majority PAC attempted to distance the organization from the illegal activity described in the indictment. Read the rest of this entry »


Sources: U.S. Pulling Last of its Special Operations Forces Out of Yemen Due to Deteriorating Security

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U.S. evacuating Special Operations forces from Yemen

Sanaa, Yemen (CNN)The U.S. military is in the process of evacuating about 100 Special Operations forces members from the Al Anad airbase in Yemen due to that country’s deteriorating security situation, sources in the region familiar with the situation told CNN.

Those being evacuated are the last American troops stationed in the Arab nation, which is home to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the terrorist group also known as AQAP. The United States closed its embassy in Sanaa last month, after Houthi rebels took over the Yemeni capital.

For years, the U.S. military has worked closely with Yemen’s government to go after AQAP, together carrying out numerous attacks like the 2011 drone strike that killed prominent al Qaeda figure Anwar al-Awlaki. And U.S. President Barack Obama has hailed this cooperation as a pillar in his anti-terrorism campaign.

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“Yemen has never been a perfect democracy or a island of stability,” Obama said in January, promoting the policy of “partnering and intelligence-sharing with that local government” as the best approach in a bad situation.

“The alternative would be for us to play whack-a-mole every time there is a terrorist actor inside of any given country,” the President said.

But while there have been drone strikes as recently as last month, these cooperative efforts have been hampered by Yemen’s growing difficulty in maintaining unity and peace. These include the rise of the Houthis, their battles with forces loyal to ousted President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi and the presence of not only al Qaeda fighters but other militants. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Senator Cruz vs. Bob Menendez

I would suggest that’s exactly the reason we need this committee…”

Matthew Boyle provides a good summary here.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-NJ) is making the best argument of all for a joint select committee to investigate the Benghazi scandal, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) says: He admits he has no clue what President Barack Obama was doing during the terrorist attack.

“…If the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, two years later, cannot answer that question, it makes abundantly clear that the response of the administration, and sadly the response of Senate Democrats, has been partisan stonewalling, rather than trying to get to the truth.”

— Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)

Cruz duked it out with Menendez on the Senate floor on Monday over Cruz’s latest push for a joint select committee to investigate the scandal, prompting Menendez’s admission. Cruz has been arguing for a joint select committee—which would be bipartisan and encompass members of both the House and the Senate—for months…(read more) Breitbart.com

UPDATE: Panetta, Morell Back Benghazi Select Committee

Leon Panetta, who served as defense secretary at the time of the attacks, and former CIA director Mike Morell announced their support at an event for Panetta’s institute. Per Politico:

“A lot of people have looked at this, but the polls show that the American people still have questions. I want to make sure that all of those questions are cleared up. There are still some questions about the role of the agency. And there are still questions about my own personal role and I want to clear that up,” Morell said during a panel discussion at the Panetta Institute in Monterey, Calif. “It might be surprising for you to hear me say this, but I am a supporter of the creation of this committee because I want all the facts to come together in one place and be presented as one — by one entity as one thing, so the American people can see all of this.”

“I am hopeful that at least getting the facts on the table will be helpful…” (read more)

Andrew Johnson, NRO

 


Iran’s Delays and Deceptions

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At least 26 members of the Senate want to warn the regime against negotiating in bad faith.

Clifford D. May  writes:  Just before Congress recessed for the holidays, 26 senators — 13 Democrats and 13 Republicans, led by Senators Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) and Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) — introduced the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013. Its purpose: to ready new sanctions that would be triggered only if Iran’s rulers either fail to meet the obligations they have undertaken under a “Joint Plan of Action” or foot-drag on talks meant to lead to a “comprehensive agreement.” That agreement is to offer thetheocrats a simple deal: relief from increasing economic isolation and pressure in exchange for the verifiable dismantling of their nuclear-weapons program — an illegal program condemned by six U.N. Security Council resolutions.

The bill has displeased Iran’s rulers and infuriated many on the American left. “Saboteur Sen. Launching War Push,” ran the histrionic headline aboveMenendez’s photo in the Huffington Post last week.

President Obama also opposes the legislation. At his final press conference of the year, he said “there’s no reason to do it now” and he accused the bill’s congressional sponsors of “trying to look tough on Iran” for political reasons. He has threatened a veto should the measure reach his desk. His veto could be overridden by a two-thirds majority in each house — a high but not insurmountable hurdle.

Members of Congress sitting on the fence might want to ponder a few questions over the holidays: Are you confident that Iran’s rulers are negotiating in good faith? Do you think American diplomats will be helped or harmed if you give them additional leverage? Does it trouble you that Iran’s rulers have yet even to acknowledge that they have a nuclear-weapons program — insisting that, despite the vast petroleum reserves they control, they are building nuclear facilities under mountains strictly for “peaceful purposes”? Are you convinced that Iranian president Hassan Rouhani and foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif are moderates? Or do you suspect that they might be trying to play American diplomats like a Guadagnini?

Read the rest of this entry »


Reviews coming in: Putin’s NYT Op-Ed Debut

bobMSen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., said he almost vomited after reading Russian president Vladimir Putin’s op-ed in the New York Times, which was published late Wednesday evening.

“I got an e-mail with what president Putin had to say — and I have to be honest with you — at dinner and I almost wanted to vomit,” Menendez said, during an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper. “The reality is, I worry when someone who came up to the KGB tells us what is in our national interests an what is not.”

VladzMenendez cautioned, however, that it was not time to end diplomatic discussions with the Russians, particularly since Secretary of State John Kerry was traveling to Geneva to meet with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov.

 

 WashingtonExaminer.com