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EpiPens recalled abroad due potential failure to activate

The company behind the EpiPen, a life-saving drug delivery device for severe allergic reactions, recalled some sets of the auto-injector abroad on Monday, although none were recalled in the U.S.

>> Read more trending news

Pharmaceutical company Mylan said in a recall notice that one batch of EpiPens might not work properly. The batch went to Australia, New Zealand, Europe and Japan. The company voluntarily recalled those.

Mylan said that it got two reports worldwide of EpiPens to activate out of a batch of 80,000 devices. The issue came from a defective part, the company said.

Mylan came under fire recently for raising the price of the EpiPen to $600. The cost amounts to a 400 percent increase in price between 2007, when Mylan acquired the devices, and 2016.

The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

Trump’s personal communications captured by intelligence surveillance, House chair says

House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes will be briefing President Donald Trump on Wednesday about some of his personal communications that might have been recorded by investigators through “incidental collection” methods, according to The Associated Press.

"This is a normal, incidental collection, based on what I could collect," Nunes, a Republican from California, said. "This appears to be all legally collected foreign intelligence under" the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

According to a story on CNN, Nunes said he was alerted by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, to the fact that communications had been collected.

Nunes said the intelligence surveillance produced "dozens" of reports that eventually unmasked several individuals’ identities and were "widely disseminated.”

While it is not illegal to unmask a person who has been caught in “incidental collection,” it is a crime to leak classified information. If the communications were gathered by authorization of a FISA warrant, the material would have been classified. 

Nunes said that he does not know if the information was collected at Trump Tower.

Nunes said he called a news conference Wednesday to update the public on information from the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Nunes emphasized at the news conference that the surveillance through which the communications were collected had nothing to do with Russia or any investigation into Russia and the 2016 U.S. elections. 

Nunes' committee heard Monday from FBI director James Comey and National Security Agency director Mike Rogers during a more than five-hour hearing. Comey confirmed that there was an investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian meddling in the presidential election.

Nunes said the collection included Trump transition officials. He also said the collection happened after the election. He said he could not say whether it meant that Trump was "spied on."

"I'm not going to get into legal definitions, but clearly I have a concern," he said.

Photos: Parliament attack in London

Officials believe that a man mowed down several pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before stabbing a police officer at the Parliament building Wednesday, BBC News reported.

London terror attack: What we know

Four people died and at least 20 others were injured Wednesday when a man rammed into several pedestrians on London’s Westminster Bridge before attacking a police officer stationed outside the British Parliament, police said.

>> Read more trending news

Mark Rowley, national head of counter-terrorism and policing for London metropolitan police and acting deputy commissioner, said the attacker and a police officer who he stabbed were among those killed.

Police were called at 2:40 p.m. GMT to respond to reports of a “firearms incident” at the bridge, just down the street from Parliament’s home at the Palace of Westminster, London metropolitan police said.

Here’s what we know so far:

Officials believe that a man mowed down several pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before stabbing a police officer who was guarding the Parliament building.

The attacker crashed near Parliament before getting out of the car armed with a knife and attacking the officer, Rowley said.

Police opened fire on the man, killing him. The stabbed police officer died as a result of the attack, Rowley said.

The officer’s family has been notified, although police did not immediately release the officer’s identity.

Police Cmdr. B.J. Harrington said authorities got multiple calls about the incident, including one about a woman in the River Thames. Authorities believe that she might have been on the bridge during the attack. 

She was pulled from the water alive and was being treated by paramedics, according to ITV News.

“Five people in total have died” and at least 40 people were injured in the attack, Rowley said. 

In a news conference Wednesday at 10:26 p.m. GMT, Rowley offered more infomation on the deaths and injuries.

“One of those who died was a police officer from our Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command who had 15 years of service,” Rowley said.

“Three members of the public also lost their lives in this attack. Specially trained officers will support them.”

“The suspected attacker was shot dead by an armed officer, meaning five people in total have died,” he said.

Those injured in the bridge attack included three police officers who were on the way back from a commendation ceremony.

“At this stage -- but it may change -- we believe approx 40 people were injured including three police officers,” Rowley said at the news conference.

French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve confirmed on social media that French students were also among the injured. The students, between 15 and 16 years old, were visiting from Concarneau High School in Brittany, French newspaper Le Telegramme reported.

The London Ambulance Service said it treated at least 10 people for injuries on the bridge.

An unidentified doctor who responded to the incident on the bridge told Britain’s Channel 4 News that those who were injured when the attacker’s car rammed several pedestrians suffered a variety of injuries.

Authorities are treating the incident as terrorist-related “until we know otherwise,” police said.

An unidentified European security official told The Associated Press that chatter increased Tuesday on jihadi networks in response to the United Kingdom’s decision to ban electronics aboard flights from some Muslim-majority countries. The United States has adopted a similar measure.

The official told the wire service that there were no early indications that Wednesday’s attack was terror-related.

“Our investigation is continuing and is moving at a fast pace this evening - we will work through the night,” Rowley said. 

The attack took place on the one-year anniversary of the deadly Brussels Airport bombing.

>> Related: Brussels terror attacks: What we know now

President Donald Trump has been briefed on the situation, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said. American officials are monitoring the situation.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has condemned the “sick and depraved” attack, The Associated Press reported.

In her statement about the attack, she said tomorrow will go on as normal. 

Tomorrow morning, Parliament will meet as normal. We will come together as normal. And Londoners – and others from around the world who have come here to visit this great City – will get up and go about their day as normal. They will board their trains, they will leave their hotels, they will walk these streets, they will live their lives. And we will all move forward together. Never giving in to terror. And never allowing the voices of hate and evil to drive us apart.

7 things to know now: Manafort working for Russians; Chuck Barris; ‘Fox & Friends’

Here's a roundup of news trending across the nation and world today.

What to know now:

1. Manafort working  for Russia: The Associated Press is reporting that President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, secretly worked for a Russian billionaire in an effort to bolster the image of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The AP is reporting that Manafort told the Russians he would work to “influence politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and the former Soviet republics to benefit the Putin government.”

2. Chuck Barris dies: The man who brought “The Dating Game,” “The Newlywed Game” and the quirky “Gong Show” to television in the 1960s and ’70s has died. Chuck Barris, who at one time hinted at a past working as a spy, died of natural causes Tuesday afternoon at his home in Palisades, New York, according to publicist. He was 87.

3. “Fox & Friends” is most watched: Fox News Channel’s morning show, “Fox & Friends,” has seen a 49 percent increase in viewers since Donald Trump became president, according to Nielsen ratings. The morning show averaged 1.72 million viewers in February, more than MSNBC's "Morning Joe" with Joe Scarborough, and CNN's "New Day" with Chris Cuomo, combined.

4. Health care vote: With a vote to dismantle the Affordable Care Act just 24 hours away, President Trump continues to lobby House members who are on the fence when it comes to repealing and replacing Obamacare. Trump told fellow Republicans in the House on Tuesday that they would have to deal with "political problems" if they decide not to vote for the bill. "The president was really clear. He laid it on the line for everybody," House Speaker Paul Ryan, (R-Wisc.), said. 

5. CBC meeting: President Trump is scheduled to meet with the Congressional Black Caucus on Wednesday. According to the CBC, the group will discuss issues such as criminal justice reform and education with the president.  

And one more

Ninety percent of foreign exchange students who studied at American high schools say classes were tougher in their home countries, according to a survey. The students, who answered questions in a Brooking’s Institute survey, said American students spend 64.5 percent less time on schoolwork, and don’t have nearly the homework requirements they do in their home schools. 

In case you missed it

American spring breakers chant 'Build that wall' while vacationing in Mexico

A Mexican newspaper blasted a group of young Americans visiting Cancun on spring break after witnesses said they broke into chants of “Build that wall” earlier this month and refused to stop, despite complaints.

>> Read more trending stories

In an editorial published Friday, The Yucatan Times said the incident was not isolated but was part of a growing number of complaints about “offensive, rude and haughty” spring break tourists who flock to Mexico for vacation.

Newlyweds Suly and Anaximandro Amable took to social media on March 6 after they said they attended a show on the “Pirate Ship” out of Puerto Juarez as part of their honeymoon, according to The Yucatan Times and social media posts.

Suly Amable wrote on Facebook that she and her husband were getting off the boat after the show when they heard the chants.

"In the face of such stupidity, one doesn't know how to immediately react," she wrote. "We were stunned. The whole thing seemed implausible."

Anaximandro Amable said the group who broke into the chant might have been intoxicated when they “began to sing the infamous ‘Build that wall’ chant louder and louder.”

“I have always been tolerant of the countries of the world and I have wanted to believe that human stupidity and ignorance … is characteristic of a small group of people,” Anaximandro Amable wrote. “But there are things with which one cannot be tolerant, such as discourse that incites hatred.”

The Yucatan Times reported that several Mexican tourists on the ship became annoyed and uncomfortable as the chants went on, but the Americans refused to stop chanting.

President Donald Trump has vowed to build a wall on the border between the United States and Mexico.

“I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me,” Trump said in June 2015 while announcing his presidential run. "I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall.”

7 things to know now: Comey investigating; missing teen left message; Ivanka’s new office

Here's a roundup of news trending across the nation and world today.

What to know now:

  1.  No wiretapping: In a hearing on Capitol Hill Monday, FBI Director James Comey confirmed that his agency is investigating whether President Donald Trump’s associates colluded with Russian officials to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. Comey, along with National Security Agency head Admiral Mike Rogers, answered questions for more than five hours about the Russians, wiretaps, spies and Hillary Clinton. Comey said that there was no wiretapping of Trump Tower, that Russia "hates" Clinton and wanted her to lose, and that officials believe both political parties were hacked in 2016 but only Democratic emails have been released so far.
  2.  Gorsuch hearing: Senate Judiciary Committee members will take turns questioning U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch Tuesday on the second day of his confirmation hearing. On Monday, in addition to explaining why they did not want Gorsuch to be the next Supreme Court justice, Democrats attacked President Trump for comments about judges who issued rulings he did not like. Gorsuch, if confirmed, will take the seat made vacant with the death of Justice Antonin Scalia last year.
  3.  Device ban: Passengers on flights from eight countries will no longer be allowed to bring most electronic devices – laptops, iPads and cameras included – in carry-on luggage starting Tuesday. According to officials, the ban applies to nonstop flights from Cairo in Egypt; Amman in Jordan; Kuwait City in Kuwait; Casablanca in Morocco; Doha in Qatar; Riyadh and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia; Istanbul in Turkey; and Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
  4.  Missing teen: The brother of a Tennessee teenager who went missing with her 50-year-old school teacher said just prior to her disappearance, his sister shared a bizarre post on Instagram about a character from the movie “Beauty and the Beast.” James Thomas said his sister Beth’s post read: “Every beauty needs her beast to protect her from everything but him.” Days before the two disappeared, a student caught Thomas and her teacher, Tad Cummings, kissing in a school classroom, authorities said. 
  5.  Ivanka’s new office: Ivanka Trump has been given an office in the West Wing of the White House, though she is not technically a government employee, nor will she receive a salary. She has been seen at various White House functions during the past two months, has participated in some meetings and accompanied her father to receive the body of a special operations serviceman who was killed during a mission. 

And one more

The jersey that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady wore during the Super Bowl has been found in Mexico by the FBI. The jersey was found in the "possession of a credentialed member of the international media," according to a statement by the agency. Authorities also recovered a second Brady jersey and a helmet from another player.

In case you missed it

It’s from a couple of years ago, but it’s trending again.

 

WATCH: Woman with Down syndrome who dreams of being TV meteorologist makes debut

A 21-year-old woman with Down syndrome who dreams of becoming a television meteorologist has made her first on-air appearance.

Mélanie Ségard of France was invited to France 2 last week after launching a social media campaign to make her dream a reality.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

Ségard launched a social media campaign titled “Mélanie Can Do It.” With some help from Unapei, Ségard was able to report the weather on-air for France 2 last Tuesday.

“I’m different, but I want to show everyone I can do a lot of things,” she wrote on her Facebook page.

>> Read more trending news

To prepare for the big moment, Ségard shadowed France 2 meteorologist Anaïs Baydemir.

Last Tuesday, she successfully delivered the weather with confidence.

“It’s a good reminder that people with intellectual disabilities are just as capable of any other person!” Unapei wrote online.

>> Watch Mélanie’s weather forecast below

Americans unhappier than ever before, UN global report finds

Happiness in America is on the decline, according to a new report released Monday.

The U.N.’s “World Happiness Report” launched just in time for International Day of Happiness on March 20, a U.N. holiday established in 2012 and celebrated around the world Monday.

>> Read more trending stories

But according to the new report, happiness in America has decreased over the years. Since the U.N.’s first report in 2012, the nation has fallen three spots.

To come up with the happiness rankings, analysts examined answers to a specific question from the 2014-16 Gallup World Poll, a popular, massive survey with respondents from 155 different countries.

Approximately 2,000-3,000 people from each country participated.

>> RELATED: U.S. no longer a top-5 country in the world 

The question (included below) asks respondents to rate their lives on a scale of zero to 10 across six factors: life expectancy, generosity, social support, freedom, corruption and GDP.

Please imagine a ladder with steps numbered from zero at the bottom to 10 at the top. Suppose we say that the top of the ladder represents the best possible life for you, and the bottom of the ladder represents the worst possible life for you. On which step of the ladder would you say you personally feel you stand at this time, assuming that the higher the step the better you feel about your life, and the lower the step the worse you feel about it? Which step comes closest to the way you feel?

According to the report, these happiness measures are often used by governments, organizations and civil society to inform their policy-making decisions.

With an average rank of 7.537, the happiest country in the world is Norway, according to the poll.

The least happy on the list is the Central African Republic, which scored an average happiness rank of 2.693.

As for America, the country fell to No. 14 from No. 11 in 2012 with a current average happiness rank of 6.993. 

According to the World Happiness Report, the reasons for America’s reduced happiness in a nutshell are declining social support and increased corruption.

>> RELATED: Do you live in one of the happiest cities in America? 

Though individual incomes have increased roughly three times since 1960, “measured happiness” has not risen.

America’s problems with rising income inequality, distrust with the government, how the country reacted to the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the nation’s “deteriorating” educational system are some possible factors cited in the report.

“America’s crisis is, in short, a social crisis, not an economic crisis,” the report’s authors wrote.

Learn more about the World Happiness Report and its methodology.

Adam Schiff’s opening statement: There is ‘direct evidence of deception' between Trump’s campaign and Russia

Rep. Adam Schiff, (D-Calif.), laid out a case against Donald Trump and his associates Monday during the House Intelligence Committee’s hearing on Russian interference in the presidential election.

Here is Schiff’s opening statement:

 “Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I want to thank Director Comey and Admiral Rogers for appearing before us today as the committee holds this first open hearing into the interference campaign waged against our 2016 Presidential election.

Last summer, at the height of a bitterly contested and hugely consequential Presidential campaign, a foreign, adversarial power intervened in an effort to weaken our democracy, and to influence the outcome for one candidate and against the other. That foreign adversary was, of course, Russia, and it acted through its intelligence agencies and upon the direct instructions of its autocratic ruler, Vladimir Putin, in order to help Donald J. Trump become the 45th President of the United States.

The Russian “active measures” campaign may have begun as early as 2015, when Russian intelligence services launched a series of spearphishing attacks designed to penetrate the computers of a broad array of Washington-based Democratic and Republican party organizations, think tanks and other entities. This continued at least through winter of 2016.

While at first, the hacking may have been intended solely for the collection of foreign intelligence, in mid-2016, the Russians “weaponized” the stolen data and used platforms established by their intel services, such as DC Leaks and existing third party channels like Wikileaks, to dump the documents.

The stolen documents were almost uniformly damaging to the candidate Putin despised, Hillary Clinton and, by forcing her campaign to constantly respond to the daily drip of disclosures, the releases greatly benefited Donald Trump’s campaign.

None of these facts is seriously in question and they are reflected in the consensus conclusions of all our intelligence agencies.

We will never know whether the Russian intervention was determinative in such a close election. Indeed, it is unknowable in a campaign in which so many small changes could have dictated a different result. More importantly, and for the purposes of our investigation, it simply does not matter. What does matter is this: the Russians successfully meddled in our democracy, and our intelligence agencies have concluded that they will do so again.

Ours is not the first democracy to be attacked by the Russians in this way. Russian intelligence has been similarly interfering in the internal and political affairs of our European and other allies for decades. What is striking here is the degree to which the Russians were willing to undertake such an audacious and risky action against the most powerful nation on earth. That ought to be a warning to us, that if we thought that the Russians would not dare to so blatantly interfere in our affairs, we were wrong. And if we do not do our very best to understand how the Russians accomplished this unprecedented attack on our democracy and what we need to do to protect ourselves in the future, we will have only ourselves to blame.

We know a lot about the Russian operation, about the way they amplified the damage their hacking and dumping of stolen documents was causing through the use of slick propaganda like RT, the Kremlin’s media arm. But there is also a lot we do not know.

Most important, we do not yet know whether the Russians had the help of U.S. citizens, including people associated with the Trump campaign. Many of Trump’s campaign personnel, including the President himself, have ties to Russia and Russian interests. This is, of course, no crime. On the other hand, if the Trump campaign, or anybody associated with it, aided or abetted the Russians, it would not only be a serious crime, it would also represent one of the most shocking betrayals of our democracy in history.

In Europe, where the Russians have a much longer history of political interference, they have used a variety of techniques to undermine democracy. They have employed the hacking and dumping of documents and slick propaganda as they clearly did here, but they have also used bribery, blackmail, compromising material, and financial entanglement to secure needed cooperation from individual citizens of targeted countries.

The issue of U.S. person involvement is only one of the important matters that the Chairman and I have agreed to investigate and which is memorialized in the detailed and bipartisan scope of investigation we have signed. We will also examine whether the intelligence community’s public assessment of the Russian operation is supported by the raw intelligence, whether the U.S. Government responded properly or missed the opportunity to stop this Russian attack much earlier, and whether the leak of information about Michael Flynn or others is indicative of a systemic problem. We have also reviewed whether there was any evidence to support President Trump’s claim that he was wiretapped by President Obama in Trump Tower – and found no evidence whatsoever to support that slanderous accusation – and we hope that Director Comey can now put that matter permanently to rest.

Today, most of my Democratic colleagues will be exploring with you the potential involvement of U.S. persons in the Russian attack on our democracy. It is not that we feel the other issues are not important – they are very important – but rather because this issue is least understood by the public. We realize, of course, that you may not be able to answer many of our questions in open session. You may or may not be willing to disclose even whether there is any investigation. But we hope to present to you and the public why we believe this matter is of such gravity that it demands a thorough investigation, not only by us, as we intend to do, but by the FBI as well.

Let me give you a little preview of what I expect you will be asked by our members.

Whether the Russian active measures campaign began as nothing more than an attempt to gather intelligence, or was always intended to be more than that, we do not know, and is one of the questions we hope to answer. But we do know this: the months of July and August 2016 appear to have been pivotal. It was at this time that the Russians began using the information they had stolen to help Donald Trump and harm Hillary Clinton. And so the question is why? What was happening in July/August of last year? And were U.S. persons involved?

Here are some of the matters, drawn from public sources alone, since that is all we can discuss in this setting, that concern us and should concern all Americans.

In early July, Carter Page, someone candidate Trump identified as one of his national security advisors, travels to Moscow on a trip approved by the Trump campaign. While in Moscow, he gives a speech critical of the United States and other western countries for what he believes is a hypocritical focus on democratization and efforts to fight corruption.

According to Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer who is reportedly held in high regard by U.S. Intelligence, Russian sources tell him that Page has also had a secret meeting with Igor Sechin (SEH-CHIN), CEO of Russian gas giant Rosneft. Sechin is reported to be a former KGB agent and close friend of Putin’s. According to Steele’s Russian sources, Page is offered brokerage fees by Sechin on a deal involving a 19 percent share of the company. According to Reuters, the sale of a 19.5 percent share in Rosneft later takes place, with unknown purchasers and unknown brokerage fees.

Also, according to Steele’s Russian sources, the Trump campaign is offered documents damaging to Hillary Clinton, which the Russians would publish through an outlet that gives them deniability, like Wikileaks. The hacked documents would be in exchange for a Trump Administration policy that de-emphasizes Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and instead focuses on criticizing NATO countries for not paying their fare share – policies which, even as recently as the President’s meeting last week with Angela Merkel, have now presciently come to pass.

In the middle of July, Paul Manafort, the Trump campaign manager and someone who was long on the payroll of Pro-Russian Ukrainian interests, attends the Republican Party convention. Carter Page, back from Moscow, also attends the convention. According to Steele, it was Manafort who chose Page to serve as a go-between for the Trump campaign and Russian interests. Ambassador Kislyak, who presides over a Russian embassy in which diplomatic personnel would later be expelled as likely spies, also attends the Republican Party convention and meets with Carter Page and additional Trump Advisors JD Gordon and Walid Phares. It was JD Gordon who approved Page’s trip to Moscow. Ambassador Kislyak also meets with Trump campaign national security chair and now Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions would later deny meeting with Russian officials during his Senate confirmation hearing.

Just prior to the convention, the Republican Party platform is changed, removing a section that supports the provision of “lethal defensive weapons” to Ukraine, an action that would be contrary to Russian interests. Manafort categorically denies involvement by the Trump campaign in altering the platform. But the Republican Party delegate who offered the language in support of providing defensive weapons to Ukraine states that it was removed at the insistence of the Trump campaign. Later, JD Gordon admits opposing the inclusion of the provision at the time it was being debated and prior to its being removed.

Later in July, and after the convention, the first stolen emails detrimental to Hillary Clinton appear on Wikileaks. A hacker who goes by the moniker Guccifer 2.0 claims responsibility for hacking the DNC and giving the documents to Wikileaks. But leading private cyber security firms including CrowdStrike, Mandiant, and ThreatConnect review the evidence of the hack and conclude with high certainty that it was the work of APT28 and APT29, who were known to be Russian intelligence services. The U.S. Intelligence community also later confirms that the documents were in fact stolen by Russian intelligence and Guccifer 2.0 acted as a front. Also in late July, candidate Trump praises Wikileaks, says he loves them, and openly appeals to the Russians to hack his opponents’ emails, telling them that they will be richly rewarded by the press.

On August 8th, Roger Stone, a longtime Trump political advisor and self-proclaimed political dirty trickster, boasts in a speech that he “has communicated with Assange,” and that more documents would be coming, including an “October surprise.” In the middle of August, he also communicates with the Russian cutout Guccifer 2.0, and authors a Breitbart piece denying Guccifer’s links to Russian intelligence. Then, later in August, Stone does something truly remarkable, when he predicts that John Podesta’s personal emails will soon be published. “Trust me, it will soon be Podesta’s time in the barrel. #Crooked Hillary.”

In the weeks that follow, Stone shows a remarkable prescience: “I have total confidence that @wikileaks and my hero Julian Assange will educate the American people soon. #Lockherup. “Payload coming,” he predicts, and two days later, it does. Wikileaks releases its first batch of Podesta emails. The release of John Podesta’s emails would then continue on a daily basis up to election day.

On Election Day in November, Donald Trump wins. Donald Trump appoints one of his high profile surrogates, Michael Flynn, to be his national security advisor. Michael Flynn has been paid by the Kremlin’s propaganda outfit, RT, and other Russian entities in the past. In December, Michael Flynn has a secret conversation with Ambassador Kislyak about sanctions imposed by President Obama on Russia over its hacking designed to help the Trump campaign. Michael Flynn lies about this secret conversation. The Vice President, unknowingly, then assures the country that no such conversation ever happened. The President is informed Flynn has lied, and Pence has misled the country. The President does nothing. Two weeks later, the press reveals that Flynn has lied and the President is forced to fire Mr. Flynn. The President then praises the man who lied, Flynn, and castigates the press for exposing the lie.

Now, is it possible that the removal of the Ukraine provision from the GOP platform was a coincidence? Is it a coincidence that Jeff Sessions failed to tell the Senate about his meetings with the Russian Ambassador, not only at the convention, but a more private meeting in his office and at a time when the U.S. election was under attack by the Russians? Is it a coincidence that Michael Flynn would lie about a conversation he had with the same Russian Ambassador Kislyak about the most pressing issue facing both countries at the time they spoke – the U.S. imposition of sanctions over Russian hacking of our election designed to help Donald Trump? Is it a coincidence that the Russian gas company Rosneft sold a 19 percent share after former British Intelligence Officer Steele was told by Russian sources that Carter Page was offered fees on a deal of just that size? Is it a coincidence that Steele’s Russian sources also affirmed that Russia had stolen documents hurtful to Secretary Clinton that it would utilize in exchange for pro-Russian policies that would later come to pass? Is it a coincidence that Roger Stone predicted that John Podesta would be the victim of a Russian hack and have his private emails published, and did so even before Mr. Podesta himself was fully aware that his private emails would be exposed?

Is it possible that all of these events and reports are completely unrelated, and nothing more than an entirely unhappy coincidence? Yes, it is possible. But it is also possible, maybe more than possible, that they are not coincidental, not disconnected and not unrelated, and that the Russians used the same techniques to corrupt U.S. persons that they have employed in Europe and elsewhere. We simply don’t know, not yet, and we owe it to the country to find out.

Director Comey, what you see on the dais in front of you, in the form of this small number of members and staff is all we have to commit to this investigation. This is it. We are not supported by hundreds or thousands of agents and investigators, with offices around the world. It is just us and our Senate counterparts. And in addition to this investigation, we still have our day job, which involves overseeing some of the largest and most important agencies in the country, agencies, which, by the way, are trained to keep secrets.

I point this out for two reasons: First, because we cannot do this work alone. Nor should we. We believe these issues are so important that the FBI must devote its resources to investigating each of them thoroughly; to do any less would be negligent in the protection of our country. We also need your full cooperation with our own investigation, so that we have the benefit of what you may know, and so that we may coordinate our efforts in the discharge of both our responsibilities. And second, I raise this because I believe that we would benefit from the work of an independent commission that can devote the staff and resources to this investigation that we do not have, and that can be completely removed from any political considerations. This should not be a substitute for the work that we, in the intelligence committees should and must do, but as an important complement to our efforts, just as was the case after 9/11.

The stakes are nothing less than the future of liberal democracy.

We are engaged in a new war of ideas, not communism versus capitalism, but authoritarianism versus democracy and representative government. And in this struggle, our adversary sees our political process as a legitimate field of battle.

Only by understanding what the Russians did can we inoculate ourselves from the further Russian interference we know is coming. Only then can we help protect our European allies who are, as we speak, enduring similar Russian interference in their own elections.

Finally, I want to say a word about our own committee investigation. You will undoubtedly observe in the questions and comments that our members make during today's hearing, that the members of both parties share a common concern over the Russian attack on our democracy, but bring a different perspective on the significance of certain issues, or the quantum of evidence we have seen in the earliest stages of this investigation. That is to be expected. The question most people have is whether we can really conduct this investigation in the kind of thorough and nonpartisan manner that the seriousness of the issues merit, or whether the enormous political consequences of our work will make that impossible. The truth is, I don’t know the answer. But I do know this: If this committee can do its work properly, if we can pursue the facts wherever they lead, unafraid to compel witnesses to testify, to hear what they have to say, to learn what we will and, after exhaustive work, reach a common conclusion, it would be a tremendous public service and one that is very much in the national interest.

So let us try. Thank you Mr. Chairman, I yield back.”

 

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