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118th US Congress Rules & Investigations   The Serious You: How Current Events Affect You

Started 2/11/23 by WALTER784; 112302 views.
In reply toRe: msg 1
WALTER784
Staff

From: WALTER784

2/22/23

House Republicans begin probe into Biden's withdrawal from Afghanistan

BY REBECCA KAPLAN, KATHRYN WATSON
FEBRUARY 17, 2023 / 12:00 PM / CBS NEWS

Republicans on the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Committee are kicking off their investigation into the Biden administration's withdrawal from Afghanistan Friday, sending letters requesting information to the White House, Pentagon, State Department, Department of Homeland Security, USAID and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 
 
This investigation is one Republicans tried to start in August 2021 while they were in the minority, but they say they didn't receive substantive responses. Now in the majority, House Republicans on the committee, led by Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, are giving the various agencies until March 3 to respond. Holding the House majority also gives the GOP subpoena power, although Republicans haven't issued subpoenas at this point. 
 
Comer and his fellow Republicans on the committee are requesting all documents, communications and information related to what they call the administration's "disastrous" military and diplomatic withdrawal from Afghanistan. Thirteen U.S. troops were killed in an suicide attack in Kabul during the August 2021 withdrawal, and that, combined with the rapid collapse of the Afghan government and forces, led to a refugee crisis, as Afghans tried to escape the country while the Taliban were taking over. The U.S. conceded that it had underestimated how quickly Afghan forces would collapse. 
 
"The Biden administration was tragically unprepared for the Afghanistan withdrawal and their decisions in the region directly resulted in a national security and humanitarian catastrophe," Comer said in a statement. "U.S. servicemen and women lost their lives, Americans were abandoned, taxpayer dollars are unaccounted for, the Taliban gained access to military equipment, progress for Afghan women was derailed, and the entire area is now under hostile Taliban control. The American people deserve answers and the Biden Administration's ongoing obstruction of this investigation is unacceptable."
 
President Biden rarely brings up the withdrawal from Afghanistan, although he forcefully defended it at the time. 
 
"I was not going to extend this 'forever war,' and I was not extending a 'forever exit,'" he said at the time. 

House Republicans begin probe into Biden's withdrawal from Afghanistan - CBS News

FWIW

Showtalk
Host

From: Showtalk

2/23/23

Afghanistan was a disaster.

WALTER784
Staff

From: WALTER784

2/23/23

Yep, but last Congress wouldn't allow an investigation to be brought to the House floor. Now, they are finally digging into what happened.

FWIW

Showtalk
Host

From: Showtalk

2/23/23

All they need to do is expose the truth,

WALTER784
Staff

From: WALTER784

2/23/23

And that's what they intend to do. But the organizations involved will not want to hand over the requested information which means subpoenas will have to be issued, which again, they will attempt to delay and delay and delay as long as possible, and even then, they won't want to give all information, but only little trickles of a few messages which means a further delay in getting everything requested. 

<Sarcasm>So perhaps by 2050, we'll finally learn the whole truth! </sarcasm off>

It probably won't take that long, but I would be surprised if anything could be concluded before Aug 2023!

FWIW

Showtalk
Host

From: Showtalk

2/24/23

They waited out the clock on investigating elections in 2020. They may wait out the clock here too if they are able to.

WALTER784
Staff

From: WALTER784

2/26/23

‘They Weren’t Duped’: Sen. Ron Johnson Shreds Federal Agencies, Media For Being ‘Vital Partners’ Of The Left

Sen. Ron Johnson
February 09, 2023 3:13 PM ET

Republican Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson shredded federal agencies and the corporate media for working with Democratic operatives to promote “left-wing ideology” in the past several years.
 
Johnson criticized agencies for allegedly covering for left-wing politicians while simultaneously targeting former President Donald Trump and other conservatives in the years following the 2016 presidential election. He accused the media of complying with the FBI in investigating the now-discredited allegations that Russia colluded with the 2016 Trump campaign and covering up the Hunter Biden laptop story.
 
“It is important to recognize corrupt individuals within federal agencies that I am talking about are not acting alone. They operate as vital partners of the left-wing political movement and includes most members of the mainstream media, Big Tech, social media giants, global institutions and foundations, Democrat Party operatives and elected officials. As the Twitter Files reveal, these actors worked in concert to defeat their political opponents and promote left-wing ideology and government control over our lives.”
 
The senator accused the FBI of displaying a double standard between its treatment of former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Trump. He criticized former FBI director James Comey for “exonerating” Clinton, whose emails were under investigation for discussing foreign affairs on her private servers when she served as an Obama-era secretary of state.
 
The FBI launched an investigation into accusations that Russia colluded with the 2016 Trump campaign to interfere in the results. Johnson said he and Republican Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley disclosed “highly partisan” text messages between FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page regarding the matter, which found that the FBI used a post-election briefing to gather intelligence information on the Trump team. (RELATED: Witnesses Admit To Sen. Johnson That Twitter Has Power To Influence Elections Following Hunter Biden Coverup)
 
He then accused the corporate media of complying with federal agencies by reporting “false information” about Russiagate, and pointed to alleged left-wing allies within the FBI.
 
“Who might those leakers be? Why aren’t reporters who received the leaks outraged at being fed false information? And why haven’t they blown the whistle on the leakers? Why didn’t the mainstream media robustly investigate how they were all duped? The answer is, they weren’t duped. They were complicit in creating and fostering the political turmoil our country has been experiencing over the last six years. Those leaks were a key ingredient in the most destructive political dirty trick in U.S. history. The creation and promotion of the false Russia-Trump collusion narrative.”
 
The Wisconsin senator pointed to the communication between the House Intelligence Committee and a whistleblower during the Democrat-led impeachment of Trump in 2018. Democratic California Rep. Adam Schiff denied during the first impeachment hearing that he knew the identity of the whistleblower or that he had personally met him. However, the whistleblower met with an unidentified Schiff aide before filing a complaint against Trump with the Intelligence Community Inspector General.
 
Johnson said federal agencies and Congress ha
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WALTER784
Staff

From: WALTER784

2/27/23

Exclusive: Oversight Committee Demands Account of All Economic, Military Aid to Ukraine

By Philip Wegmann - RCP Staff
February 22, 2023

As President Biden boarded a European train destined for Kyiv, back in Washington, Rep. James Comer and his team drafted a long-expected letter.
 
Standing next to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Biden pledged Monday that the lifeline of economic and military aid to that nation, support already well in excess of $100 billion, would not slack, and that the United States would stand with Ukraine “as long as it takes.”
 
Comer, the new chair of the House Oversight Committee, delivered a different message to the Biden administration Wednesday: Save your receipts. All of them.
 
The committee is calling on the administration to turn over all documents and internal communications “regarding any economic assistance programs for the Ukrainian government” and to turn over similar material “regarding any anti-corruption efforts” as they relate to both financial and military aid.
 
The notice comes on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion. The letter announces the beginning of what promises to be the most comprehensive audit of the war effort to date. It was obtained first and exclusively by RealClearPolitics.
 
“Providing security and humanitarian assistance for warfighting and reconstruction purposes comes with an inherent risk of fraud, waste, and abuse,” Comer wrote, before insisting that the U.S. must develop “oversight mechanisms” to mitigate risks made worse by mandates to spend money “quickly.”
 
House Republicans are casting a wide net. The committee wants a comprehensive account of “strategies for end-use monitoring of weapons, equipment, direct budgeting assistance, and any other form of economic or security assistance for the Ukrainian people.” They are also calling for all materials related to how much federal money has been spent thus far “and how much remains in the spending pipeline.”
 
Comer furthermore wants to know about, and calls on the administration to disclose, material related to “any benchmarks for success” of aid programs as well as “any conditions imposed on funds provided as assistance to Ukraine.”
 
The letter was addressed to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, and Administrator Samantha Powers of the U.S. Agency for International Development. The White House knew it was coming. Speaker Kevin McCarthy said ahead of the midterms that a Republican House wouldn’t write “a blank check” to Ukraine, and it was only a matter of time before the GOP made good on that oversight promise.
 
There are reasons for concern. While Zelensky rose to power on an anti-corruption platform, the former Eastern Bloc country has a history of struggling with government fraud and graft. They regularly rank toward the bottom of international corruption indexes, a track record that has even ardent supporters of the defensive war worried.
 
When Sen. Angus King traveled to Ukraine last month, the independent from Maine told RCP he warned Zelensky that misappropriation of funds or misplaced guns could undermine support in the West: “I said a scandal would really screw this up.”
 
That message was well received. According to King, “He got it immediately.” But verbal assurances are not enough to assuage Republican concerns, and according to the Joint Strategic Oversight Plan for Ukraine Response report, the administration has struggled to account exactly for all the billions spent. The Pentagon Inspector General, for instance, warned that the department was “unable to provide end-use monitoring in accordance with DoD policy.”
 
One of the specific areas Comer is demanding answers on: The policy requires tracking the serial numbers of weapons and ammunition, as USA Today and others previously noted, to ensure they are used as intended.
 
Congress has appropriated $113 billion in economic and security aid to Ukraine since Russian tanks rolled across the border. Over the course of two decades, by comparison, the U.S. spent $146 billion to send military and humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.
 
The administration insists that they take corruption seriously and have taken steps to guard against it from the beginning of the conflict. They just haven’t seen any maleficence thus far, according to John Kirby who said last month that neither military nor financial assistance “have fallen prey to any kind of corruption in Ukraine.”
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In reply toRe: msg 44
WALTER784
Staff

From: WALTER784

3/2/23

It might seem strange that Microsoft would take such a stance, but I think this came due to the 118th Congress letter to big tech companies back in Dec 14, 2022... For Microsoft, this letter was issued: 2022-12-14-jdj-to-microsoft-re-censorship-investigation.pdf (house.gov)

Microsoft Suspends Foreign Disinformation ‘Experts’ That Blacklist Conservative Media

SEAN MORAN
13 Feb 2023

Microsoft has stopped partnering with a foreign think tank, pending review, that was designed to blacklist conservative media. The tech company also reportedly removed negative flags for conservative media outlets.
 
After Breitbart News, the Washington Examiner, and the Daily Caller News Foundation highlighted how a Microsoft-owned ad network, Xandr, employed foreign think tank Global Disinformation Index’s (GDI) media blacklist, otherwise known as the “Dynamic Exclusion List,” Microsoft said it has stopped using its blacklist, pending review.
 
“We try to take a principled approach to accuracy and fighting foreign propaganda. We’re working quickly to fix the issue and Xandr has stopped using GDI’s services while we are doing a larger review,” a Microsoft spokesperson told Breitbart News. 
 
Now, according to the Washington Examiner‘s Gabe Kaminsky, Xandr has removed “rejection flags,” for conservative outlets.
 
“I just checked in Xandr’s platform again and can confirm that all rejection flags have been removed from domains,” a senior ad executive told Kaminsky.
 
The outlet reported that 39 prominent conservative media outlets including Breitbart News, the Blaze, the Washington Times, Judicial Watch, MRC.TV, RealClearPolitics, the Daily Wire, and the Examiner were flagged as “false/misleading.”
 
Breitbart News’s Hannah Bleau noted:
 
GDI’s CEO, Clare Melford, cited Breitbart News in a 2022 podcast appearance, noting that a “whole ecosystem of organizations” targeting the outlet has led to it being deplatformed. She went a step further, pointing to Breitbart News’s coverage of crimes committed by illegal aliens. While she admitted those stories are “probably perfectly true,” she said it creates an “adversarial narrative.”
 
Many of these outlets that Xandr flagged as “false/misleading” were included on the GDI’s top ten list of outlets that were most at risk of spreading disinformation.
 
The Examiner elaborated:
 
However, according to an updated internal Xandr dataset provided to the Washington Examiner, all of these websites do not currently have a designation. It is unclear whether this means they now are receiving ads from certain brands, given that domains allowed to obtain ads are provided an “approved” classification, data show.
 
The Daily Caller News Foundation reported that GDI also receives taxpayer money from the U.S. State Department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC).

Microsoft Suspends Foreign Disinformation 'Experts' That Blacklist Conservative Media (breitbart.com)

FWIW

  • Edited March 2, 2023 2:33 am  by  WALTER784
In reply toRe: msg 45
WALTER784
Staff

From: WALTER784

3/2/23

Game’s Up! MAGA 20 Want the Receipts for $113 Billion in Taxpayer Dollars Laundered Through Kiev

By Richard Abelson
Feb. 23, 2023 9:15 am

The chairman of the House Oversight Committee James Comer (R-Ky) has written to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and USAID Administrator Samantha Power to demand a full accounting of the $113 billion in taxpayer funds the Biden regime has provided to the corrupt regime in Kiev.
 
While National Security spokesman John Kirby claimed not to have seen “any signs” of corruption in Ukraine, Comer pointed out these claims “came one day after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky fired several top Ukrainian officials amid a corruption scandal.” Providing US taxpayer funds in a war zone “comes with an inherent risk of fraud, waste, and abuse,” Comer wrote, noting that “unrealistic timelines and expectations that prioritize spending quickly lead to increased corruption.”
 
DoD, State and USAID must now produce all documents related to US aid to Ukraine by March 8, 2023. The letter was signed by republican Representatives including Jim Jordan, Nancy Mace,  Andy Biggs, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert and  Anna Paulina Luna.
 
Dear Secretary Austin, Secretary Blinken, and Administrator Power:
 
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The Committee on Oversight and Accountability is conducting oversight of the federal government’s administration of U.S. taxpayer-funded assistance to Ukraine. Since Russia invaded Ukraine nearly a year ago, Congress has provided more than $113 billion for security, humanitarian, economic, and governance assistance. It is critical that government agencies administering these funds ensure they are used for their intended purposes to prevent and reduce the risk of waste, fraud, and abuse. The Committee seeks documents and information to understand how the Department of Defense (DOD), Department of State (State), and the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) are conducting oversight of these funds.
 
On January 25, 2023, U.S. National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, John Kirby claimed, “We have not seen any signs that our budgetary assistance has fallen prey to any kind of corruption in Ukraine,” and that all direct budgetary assistance, “goes through the World Bank.” Mr. Kirby continued, “I would go so far as to say the same on the security assistance side as well.” These claims came one day after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky fired several top Ukrainian officials amid a corruption scandal. Ukrainian government officials allegedly engaged in bribery, used government vehicles for personal use, and purchased inflated food supplies for Ukrainian forces. In response, President Zelensky named a new Minister of Defense. Based on Mr. Kirby’s remarks, however, the U.S. National Security Council appears unaware of this corruption scandal, heightening concerns that U.S. agencies are not conducting oversight of taxpayer assistance to Ukraine.
 
Providing security and humanitarian assistance for warfighting and reconstruction purposes comes with an inherent risk of fraud, waste, and abuse. The United States must identify these risks and develop oversight mechanisms to mitigate them. We learned from efforts in Afghanistan that the World Bank does not always have effective monitoring and accounting of funds, and often lacks transparency. We also learned that unrealistic timelines and expectations that prioritize spending quickly lead to increased corruption and reduced effectiveness of programs. As the United States continues to filter assistance through multilateral organizations with pressure to spend funds quickly, we must ensure proper protections are in place to prevent the misuse of funds.
 
To assist the Committee’s investigation into what is being done to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer funded assistance to Ukraine, please provide the following documents and information, covering the period February 24, 2022, to the present, as soon as possible, but no later than, March 8, 2023:
 
1. All documents and communications regarding strategies for end-use monitoring of weapons, equipment, direct budgeting assistance, and any other form of economic or security assistance for the Ukrainian people;
 
All documents and communications regarding any anti-corruption efforts in Ukraine, including but not limited to any documents and communications detailing plans to condition assistance on Ukraine’s anti-corruption efforts and how the U.S. is assisting Ukraine in developing an anti-corruption strategy;
All documents and communications regarding how much money has been disbursed for Ukrainian assistance and how much remains
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