The McKinley Capitol Report

The Gilmer Free Press

Manufacturing is Coming Back to West Virginia

Manufacturing is coming back to West Virginia! Here are just a few of the companies coming to our state or expanding their operations:

Proctor and Gamble
Hino Motors
TeMa North America

West Virginia has turned the corner, and things are looking up!

McKinley Joins Americans for Prosperity West Virginia for Tele-Town Hall on Tax Reform

A big thank you to Americans for Prosperity - West Virginia for inviting me to participate in a tele-town hall on Thursday to discuss the positive impact the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is having on the Mountain State. We had almost 10,000 First District residents join us on the call! Thank you to everyone for your questions and positive feedback.

McKinley Honored for His Successful Work to Protect Historic Preservation Tax Credit During Tax Reform Debate

On Tuesday, I was honored as a Champion of the Historic Preservation Tax Credit during this year’s National Historic Preservation Advocacy Week. The Historic Preservation Tax Credit is a critical tool to repurpose historic buildings in our communities, create new jobs and generate new sources of tax revenue. States across the country have been actively increasing their historic preservation credits, so it made no sense when the House proposed doing away with the federal credit.

We relentlessly advocated with House leadership to include the Historic Preservation Tax Credit in the tax reform bill, and worked to educate other Members on the benefit it brings to their districts. This was a big victory for rural communities, and will directly aid the revitalization of Main Streets nationwide.

McKinley Gives One-Minute Speech for National Public Schools Week

This week was National Public Schools Week, and we should all take a minute to thank our dedicated teachers. On Thursday, I was able to honor Cristina Stout, a 4th Grade teacher at Leading Creek Elementary in Gilmer County. Ms. Stout is known for her compassion for her students. From buying winter coats for students whose families can’t afford them, to the entire year that she gave up her lunch break so one of her students with sensory issues could eat in her classroom and avoid the over-stimulating cafeteria; Ms. Stout is a role model we should all look up to.

To Ms. Stout, and teachers everywhere, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all you do everyday.

House Passes the STOP School Violence Act

On Wednesday, the House passed the STOP School Violence Act. This bill would give more money for security in our nation’s schools, provide more training to school officials and law enforcement to respond to mental health issues, and develop anonymous reporting systems for threats. I was proud to support this effort.

Have a great week,

David McKinley
The Gilmer Free Press

Former CIA Director to Trump: ‘America Will Triumph Over You’

The Free Press WV

The onetime FBI deputy director long scorned by President Trump and just fired by the attorney general kept personal memos describing interactions with the president that are similar to the notes compiled by dismissed FBI chief James Comey. The AP learned of the notes by Andrew McCabe from a person with direct knowledge of the situation who wasn’t authorized to discuss the notes publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Earlier Saturday, Trump called McCabe’s firing by Jeff Sessions “a great day for Democracy” and asserted without elaboration that McCabe knew “all about the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels off the FBI!“

In response, former CIA Director John Brennan lambasted Trump on Twitter, accusing the president of “venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption.“ Brennan tweeted to Trump: “When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America…America will triumph over you.“ Brennan was CIA director during President Barack Obama’s second term. Trump called McCabe’s firing a “great day” for FBI rank and file and democracy.

Trump Rips ‘Fake Memos’

The Free Press WV

Trump is raising doubts about whether former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe kept personal memos outlining McCabe’s interactions with the president. McCabe was fired Friday by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Trump tweeted Sunday: “Spent very little time with Andrew McCabe, but he never took notes when he was with me. I don’t believe he made memos except to help his own agenda, probably at a later date. Same with lying James Comey. Can we call them Fake Memos?“

The AP is reporting that McCabe’s memos have been provided to special counsel Robert Mueller, who’s investigating possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia. McCabe has been the object of Trump’s ire over McCabe’s role in the Hillary Clinton email investigation. Comey—the FBI director who was fired last year by Trump—also kept memos of his dealings with Trump.

Vanessa Trump Files for Divorce from Don Jr.

The Free Press WV

Vanessa Trump has filed for divorce from Donald Trump Jr. after 13 years of marriage, the New York Daily News reports. She filed for an uncontested divorce Thursday in Manhattan Supreme Court. According to Page Six, the uncontested filing is a sign the couple isn’t expecting a legal battle over assets or custody of their five children. The divorce documents weren’t made public, and a reason for the split isn’t clear, the AP reports. However, the couple was reportedly having problems due to Donald Trump Jr.‘s frequent tweeting and traveling. Vanessa Trump was hospitalized last month after opening a letter addressed to her husband that contained a white powder. The material was later determined to be nonhazardous.

Trump wildlife protection board has many trophy hunters

The Free Press WV

A new U.S. advisory board created to help rewrite federal rules for importing the heads and hides of African elephants, lions and rhinos is stacked with trophy hunters, including some members with direct ties to President Donald Trump and his family.

A review by The Associated Press of the backgrounds and social media posts of the 16 board members appointed by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke indicates they will agree with his position that the best way to protect critically threatened or endangered species is by encouraging wealthy Americans to shoot some of them.

One appointee co-owns a private New York hunting preserve with Trump’s adult sons. The oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., drew the ire of animal rights activists after a 2011 photo emerged of him holding a bloody knife and the severed tail of an elephant he killed in Zimbabwe.

The first meeting of the International Wildlife Conservation Council was Friday. Access to the meeting inside the headquarters building for the Interior Department in Washington was tightly controlled, and an AP reporter was herded into a roped-off area at the back of the room. The room was lined with murals of Native American hunting scenes, including men mounted on horseback shooting bison with bows and arrows. As the meeting started, officials announced that Zinke was unable to attend the inaugural session of the council.

Trump has decried big-game hunting as a “horror show” in tweets. But under Zinke, a former Montana congressman who is an avid hunter, the Fish and Wildlife Service has quietly moved to reverse Obama-era restrictions on bringing trophies from African lions and elephants into the United States.

A licensed two-week African hunting safari can cost more than $50,000 per person, not including airfare, according to advertised rates. Advocates say money helps support habitat conservation and anti-poaching efforts in some of the world’s poorest nations, and provides employment for local guides and porters.

In a statement last year, Zinke said, “This council will provide important insight into the ways that American sportsmen and women benefit international conservation from boosting economies and creating hundreds of jobs to enhancing wildlife conservation.”

But environmentalists and animal welfare advocates say tourists taking photos generate more economic benefit, and hunters typically target the biggest and strongest animals, weakening already vulnerable populations.

There’s little indication dissenting perspectives will be represented on the Trump administration’s conservation council. Appointees include celebrity hunting guides, representatives from rifle and bow manufacturers, and wealthy sportspeople who boast of bagging the coveted “Big Five” — elephant, rhino, lion, leopard and Cape buffalo.

Most are high-profile members of Safari Club International and the National Rifle Association, groups that have sued the Fish and Wildlife Service to expand the list of countries from which trophy kills can be legally imported.

They include the Safari Club’s president, Paul Babaz, a Morgan Stanley investment adviser from Atlanta, and Erica Rhoad, a lobbyist and former GOP congressional staffer who is the NRA’s director of hunting policy. Bill Brewster is a retired Oklahoma congressman and lobbyist who served on the boards of the Safari Club and the NRA.

In a letter this week, a coalition of more than 20 environmental and animal welfare groups objected that the one-sided makeup of the council could violate the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which requires government boards to be balanced in terms of points of view and not improperly influenced by special interests.

Interior Department spokeswoman Heather Swift said the council has members “that represent all areas of conservation and varying opinions.”

Among Zinke’s appointees is Steven Chancellor, a longtime Republican fundraiser and chairman of American Patriot Group, an Indiana-based conglomerate that supplies Meals Ready to Eat to the U.S. military.

According to Safari Club member hunting records obtained in 2015 by the Humane Society, Chancellor has logged nearly 500 kills — including at least 18 lions, 13 leopards, six elephants and two rhinos.

In early 2016, records show Chancellor filed for a federal permit to bring home the skin, skull teeth and claws from another male lion he intended to kill that year in Zimbabwe, which at the time was subject to an import ban imposed by the Obama administration.

Later that same year, Chancellor hosted a private fundraiser for then-candidate Trump and Mike Pence at his Evansville, Indiana, mansion, where the large security gates feature a pair of gilded lions.

Appointees also include professional hunters.

Peter Horn is an ex-vice president of the Safari Club International Conservation Fund and a vice president for high-end gun-maker Beretta. Horn wrote in his 2014 memoir that he co-owns a hunting property in upstate New York with Trump Jr. that has a 500-yard range “put together” by Eric Trump.

The AP reported last month that the Trump sons were behind a limited-liability company that purchased a 171-acre private hunting range in the bucolic Hudson Valley in 2013, complete with a wooden tower from which owners and their guests shoot at exploding targets.

Horn did not respond to a message seeking comment.

Trump Jr. also is friendly with another member of the advisory council — hunting guide and TV show personality Keith Mark. He helped organize Sportsmen for Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign and recently posted photos on his Twitter page of himself with Trump Jr. and Zinke, standing before an array of mounted big-horn sheep and a bear.

“I see the world from a hunting lifestyle,” Mark told the AP, adding that he has no preconceived agenda for his service on the conservation council. “It’s the most pure form of hands-on conservation that there is. I will approach all decision-making with my background.”

ACLU sues government over detention of asylum seekers

The Free Press WV

The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the Trump administration, claiming it is violating immigration laws and its own policies by detaining immigrants who have a solid case for seeking asylum in the United States.

The ACLU said it filed a lawsuit Thursday in U.S. District Court in Washington claiming that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency is detaining many asylum seekers for months while they await hearings before an immigration judge.

Immigrants seeking asylum must initially pass a “credible fear” screening to determine if they face a threat of persecution in their home countries. Those that fail that standard are deported immediately. Previously, those that passed were usually given “humanitarian parole” while awaiting an immigration hearing, provided that they were not considered flight risks or dangers to the public.

The lawsuit claims that under Trump, the number of asylum-seekers granted such parole has dropped to nearly zero in five key ICE field offices: Detroit, El Paso, Los Angeles, Newark and Philadelphia. The ACLU said in a statement that in 2013, nine of 10 asylum seekers from these field offices were released while awaiting immigration hearings.

ICE officials did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment about the lawsuit.

The lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, names several plaintiffs, including a Haitian ethics teacher who has spent 16 months in custody in Chardon, Ohio. The teacher, Ansly Damus, has been granted asylum twice by an immigration judge. But the government continues to appeal the decisions and he remains behind bars. He has not been allowed outside in more than a year, the ACLU said.

In an interview, ACLU attorney Michael Tan charged that the Trump administration is punishing people seeking asylum.

“The United States is trying to send a message to asylum seekers that they need not apply,” he said.

Mueller witness is convicted pedophile with shadowy past

The Free Press WV

It was a few days before the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump’s inauguration and a Lebanese-American businessman was on his way to Mar-a-Lago.

George Nader, an international fixer whose long history included intrepid back-channel mediation between Israel and Arab countries — and a 15-year-old pedophilia conviction in Europe that has not been previously reported — was transiting through Dulles International Airport outside Washington.

It was hardly his first far-flung journey to see top aides of the world’s most powerful leader, as Nader had met the U.S. president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and chief strategist Steve Bannon in the days before they stormed the White House.

But he encountered an altogether different scene awaiting him at the airport.

There, special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators stopped Nader, people familiar with the case said. His electronics were seized and he was then allowed to go to his lawyer. Nader later agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation, said the people with knowledge of the case as it pertains to Nader. They weren’t authorized to speak publicly on the case and demanded anonymity.

Mueller, whose team has spent the last 10 months investigating possible Trump-related wrongdoing connected to Russia, is interested in high-level get-togethers Nader participated in after the presidential election, according to three people familiar with the case.

The first took place in Trump Tower in New York in December 2016 and brought together Nader, Kushner, Bannon — whom Trump fired last August — and Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and de facto leader of the United Arab Emirates. The second occurred a month later in the Indian Ocean archipelago of Seychelles and involved Nader, bin Zayed, former Blackwater boss Erik Prince and Kirill Dmitriev, a Russian banker close to President Vladimir Putin.

For Nader, it was the latest brush with the law in an eventful, globe-trotting career.

Many of Nader’s former contacts and onetime friends have noted in recent weeks how they lost touch with him in the early 2000s.

On Wednesday, an official in the Czech Republic told The Associated Press that Nader is a convicted pedophile and served time in a Prague prison around that time.

Nader was convicted by Prague’s Municipal Court of 10 cases of sexually abusing minors and sentenced to a one-year prison term in May 2003, said Marketa Puci, the court spokeswoman. She said the crimes occurred between 1999 and 2002.

Nader’s legal problems in Prague appear unrelated to his role in Mueller’s probe in the United States. But they contribute to the portrait of a man who has led a shadowy existence as a go-between across numerous Middle East capitals and who gave testimony to Mueller’s Washington grand jury earlier this month.

Nader had worked in recent times as an adviser to bin Zayed, one of the most powerful men in the Middle East, according to people who know Nader. The questioning of Nader in the Mueller probe suggests possible interest in UAE relations with Trump’s transition team or his administration.

Puci, the court spokeswoman, said Nader was convicted of “moral corruption of minors, sexual abuse and impairing morals,” after abusing underage boys.

In one case, Nader requested oral sex from a 14-year-old in a room at the Hilton Hotel in Prague, Puci said. After the boy refused, Nader masturbated in front of the boy and paid him 2,000 koruna — worth about $100 today, she said.

The verdict cites other examples of Nader providing money, jewelry, cellphones, clothes and accommodation for sexual services. The AP was able to see a copy of the verdict, which gives Nader’s birthdate as May 15, 1959. Nader was separately accused in Washington, D.C., of child pornography infractions in 1985, but those charges were later dropped. A criminal docket sheet obtained by the AP shows the same birthdate for Nader.

Two people with knowledge of the case say it involved the same Nader now cooperating with Mueller.

Puci said it wasn’t clear how much of the one-year sentence Nader served in the Czech Republic. He was ordered expelled following his time served.

Kathy Ruemmler, who previously served as White House counsel to President Barack Obama, is among the lawyers representing Nader. She declined to answer questions about her client.

But Sandeep Savla, another lawyer for Nader, said: “This is nothing more than an orchestrated, disgusting scheme by those who are trying to intimidate Mr. Nader into silence. It won’t work. Mr. Nader will continue to answer truthfully questions put to him by the special counsel.”

Nader’s connections with Trump confidants include Elliott Broidy, a top Republican fundraiser who co-hosted a Tuesday night event attended by the president in Beverly Hills, California.

Earlier this month, several media organizations, including the AP, obtained emails belonging to Broidy, a California-based venture capitalist and the Republican National Committee’s deputy finance chairman. They show Broidy emailing Nader with a summary of Broidy’s talks with Kushner and Trump in the White House in October 2017, touching on matters including the UAE’s bitter dispute with fellow Persian Gulf country Qatar.

Broidy accused Qatar of hacking his emails. The Qataris denied the charge.

“Your government’s actions against U.S. citizens will jeopardize your nation’s relationship with the United States,” Broidy wrote in a public letter to Qatar’s U.S. ambassador.

In response, the Qatari government called Broidy’s “baseless accusations” a “diversionary tactic.”

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