House panel asks Trump’s acting spy chief to explain spate of firings

first_imgThe Republican-majority Senate in January acquitted Trump of the charges stemming from his attempt to pressure Ukraine to probe former Vice President Joe Biden, the leading Democratic challenger to Trump’s re-election in November, and his son, Hunter.Grenell said on Twitter that Schiff’s letter went to the media before he received it, adding “These press leaks politicizing the intelligence community must stop.”Trump in January named Grenell, who has no intelligence experience, acting director of national intelligence, the overseer of all 17 US intelligence agencies.Grenell ordered a hiring freeze and a review that officials said is aimed at improving resource and personnel uses. But some lawmakers and former intelligence officials expressed concerns that Grenell was targeting officers whose analyses differed with the views of Trump, who has clashed with U.S. intelligence agencies. The House Intelligence Committee chairman on Tuesday called on US President Donald Trump’s acting spy chief to explain the removals and resignations of top intelligence officials and whether he ever tried to block probes by the intelligence community’s recently fired internal watchdog.Democrat Adam Schiff also wrote in a letter that the panel will examine whether any of acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell’s staff interfered “with the production and dissemination” of intelligence for a March 10 congressional briefing on election interference.The letter to Grenell, a fierce Trump loyalist who also serves as US ambassador to Germany, set the stage for a fresh confrontation with a president still fuming over his December impeachment by the Democratic-led House of Representatives on charges of abuse of office and obstruction of Congress. Schiff was the lead manager in that effort. The intelligence committee, Schiff wrote, is concerned that Grenell is pursuing changes without seeking congressional authorization.”This effort appears to be proceeding despite the Coronavirus pandemic and amid indications… of political interference in the production and dissemination of intelligence,” he wrote.The committee also is concerned, he said, by the removals or departures of all Senate-confirmed ODNI officials.Schiff asked Grenell to explain those actions in writing by April 16.He set the same deadline for Grenell to disclose whether he blocked any investigations by Michael Atkinson, whose firing by Trump last week as the inspector general for the intelligence community the committee is reviewing.Trump said Atkinson did “a terrible job” by sending to Congress the whistleblower complaint that led to his impeachment, calling it “fake.”Topics :last_img read more

Four Employees, 14 Patients Test Positive for Coronavirus at West Palm Beach VA Medical Center

first_imgFour employees and 14 employees at the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center have tested positive for the coronavirus, officials confirmed late last week.The VA Medical Center has set up a tent system in order to triage patients who are showing symptoms of the deadly coronavirus.The hospital has also increased the number of medical, surgical, and ICU beds by more than 50 percent, according to a spokesperson.Nearly 3,700 veteran patients at VA medical facilities around the country have tested positive for COVID-19, the Veterans Affairs Department said.To that end, the chief of virtual care for VA medical centers across our state is reminding veterans about the My HealtheVet online portal and the VA Video Connect app.Both of those tools provide veterans with the ability to manage their care with online prescription refills, appointments, lab and test results, radiology reports, and X-rays.The VA Department introduced its virtual care program last summer, but the coronavirus pandemic has caused demand to grow exponentially.“We’ve seen a 300 percent increase in the call volume that we’ve had,” says Dr. Veronica Sikka, Chief of Virtual Care for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. “We used to see 20 patients, now we’re seeing 70 to 80 patients a day. Our calendars fill up, but if we have more slots available we can see more patients and we’re working to see that capacity.”For more information about My HealtheVet, click here.last_img read more

Switzerland bring Portugal down to earth with a 2-0 bump

first_imgEURO 2016 champions Portugal slipped to a 2-0 defeat at Switzerland as their World Cup qualification campaign started dismally.Two goals in seven first-half minutes through Breel Embolo and Admir Mehmedi saw the hosts gain an unlikely lead, with the Swiss seeing out the result after the restart to claim maximum points.Portugal enjoyed more of the ball throughout the game, but failed to look threatening in the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo and Renato Sanches.Switzerland meanwhile look composed throughout – Mehmedi put in a real shift for the hosts, while Embolo alongside him was tracking back and performed his defensive duties perfectly.Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka did see red late on, however, for a second bookable offence, with both challenges rather clumsy, but it was too late for Portugal to capitalise on the man advantage.(Eurosport)last_img read more

Porter Gustin to miss remainder of season with fractured ankle

first_imgSenior linebacker Porter Gustin will miss the remainder of the 2018 season with a fractured right ankle sustained in the fourth quarter of USC’s win over Colorado on Saturday night, ending his collegiate career. After the game, Gustin stood at midfield with his right shoe off and his foot appearing red and swollen. He was carted off of the field and hopped on one foot into the locker room.Gustin has been dealing with injuries since summer practices, when he suffered from a torn meniscus. Despite his knee injury, Gustin did not miss playing time. Following the Arizona game, he showed signs of an apparent ankle injury. During the bye week, Gustin sat out of practice to recover, but he did participate in limited capacity during the week leading up to the Colorado game.Gustin is one of four captains of the Trojans this season. His departure will further hinder the defense from a leadership and talent standpoint after fellow captain senior linebacker Cam Smith was kept out of the Colorado matchup due to a hamstring injury.Gustin tallied 28 tackles this season, but has been most notable for his rush. In 2018, he touted seven sacks, tied for sixth in the nation. The rest of the USC defense has combined for a total of six sacks so far.The loss of Gustin will undoubtedly hinder USC in its upcoming matchup against Utah on Saturday. Utes’ junior running back Zack Moss boasts 617 rushing yards, the sixth most in the Pac-12. The matchup has serious Pac-12 championship implications as the winner will take over the lead in the South Division.last_img read more