Saturday midday open thread: Senators probe NRA Russia links; carbon emissions to rise again in 2019

Money roll
Look who’s been contributing to Donald Trump’s defense fund.

What’s coming up on Sunday Kos:

• Adelsons pumped a half-million bucks into Trump aides’ legal defense fund:

Billionaire Republican donors Sheldon and Miriam Adelson gave $500,000 to a legal defense fund set up to help aides to President Donald Trump that are involved in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

The Adelsons each contributed $250,000 on Oct. 1 to the Patriot Legal Expense Fund Trust, which was set up last year to help campaign aides pay for legal bills related to the investigation. The donation came during the height of the midterm elections, when the Adelsons were also the largest contributors to the Republican Party’s political campaigns and committees, shelling out more than $100 million in support of GOP candidates.

Tens of thousands of protesters pour into the streets of Venezuela calling for President Nicolás Maduro to step down:

“I believe [the end] is coming very soon – this week,” said Barbara Angarita, 49, as she and thousands of other demonstrators poured down the Avenida Principal de las Mercedes in Caracas. “We must have a free country, free for all Venezuelans and for our descendants.”


Congressional investigators not buying NRA’s claims regarding Russian influence claim:

After remaining all but mum for the past two years about news reports detailing its ties to Russia, the National Rifle Association finally spoke up this week. The gun group tried to distance itself from a 2015 trip to Moscow by top NRA officials that was arranged by Maria Butina, who pleaded guilty last year to acting as a Russian agent and participating in a conspiracy against the United States. But congressional investigators are challenging the NRA on what they think is a bogus cover story and stepping up investigations of the group. […[

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, who is investigating the NRA as the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, has information contradicting the gun group’s claims that it had no “official” connection to the 2015 Moscow trip, sources told Mother Jones. Wyden is preparing a detailed report on the trip. And congressional investigators are homing in on David Keene, a former NRA president who was the trip’s primary organizer on the NRA side, according to people familiar with the matter. “This was driven in large by Keene,” said a person who reviewed NRA emails about the travel plans. Keene, a longtime conservative Republican figurehead and former opinion editor for the Washington Times, also sought an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the trip, according to reports this week, though one did not take place.

Greenhouse gas emissions will increase—again—in 2019. 

For those who didn’t think so before, it ought to be clear by now that the greatest current threat to national security is the guy sitting in the big chair in the Oval Office: Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), who is the new chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said: “It is a credit to our intelligence agencies that they continue to provide rigorous and realistic analyses of the threats we face. It’s deeply dangerous that the White House isn’t listening.” Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, tweeted: “The President has a dangerous habit of undermining the intelligence community to fit his alternate reality. People risk their lives for the intelligence he just tosses aside on Twitter.” 

Cherokee Nation citizen and ethnic studies professor Adrienne Keene offers some advice to non-Native teachers of Native studies: “I believe it’s important to feel uncomfortable as a non-Native teaching a Native Studies course. If you aren’t, I’d be worried. But the discomfort shouldn’t be paralyzing, it should be catalyzing. There are positive pathways forward.”

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