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Brussels Playbook Plus: EU fights fake news machine

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EU FIGHTS FAKE NEWS MACHINE FROM SHADOWS: NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told Playbook he doesn’t confidence “fighting propaganda with propaganda.” The EU also stays away from the propaganda game (mostly) but has produced a team called “East StratCom” inside External Action Intend to catalogue and expose disinformation it says arises from the Russian state. To this point it claims to are finding nearly 2,500 degrees of Russian disinformation.

You can imagine Playbook’s surprise when journalists were invited to some briefing Monday on said disinformation, and then be known they couldn’t quote the
diplomats giving the briefing. Reporters were, put simply, inspired to expose disinformation from shadowy sources via non-quotes from another faceless source.

To be fair, they carries a slick “EU vs Disinformation” Facebook page and a Twitter account (@EUvsDisinfo), therefore it is not completely in the shadows. But Playbook will not help wondering if Brussels should assemble the “face” back into Facebook.

Here’s some context you can ensure that you get: The “EU source” belongs to an organization of around 12 people, without any discretionary budget. They have got uncovered false stories for instance one concerning the Ukrainian army crucifying a three-year-old boy inside of a former rebel stronghold. Angela Merkel may be a new target of Russian disinformation, says the “EU source,” which is regularly implicated like a cause of terrorist attacks.

CULTURE WARS In the COLLEGE OF EUROPE: The Bruges home of future Eurocrats, a beacon in the European peace project, is definitely the site of your brewing culture war. None other than Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker delivered the opening speech of the present academic year on the College of Europe, telling students “Now is not the here we are at division.” This reveals some of them forgot to have notes as things started to get nasty when multiple students from different The european countries took turns to make national displays during the college canteen.

The Benelux delegation is said to experience promised “Belgian chocolate, Dutch drinking games, Luxembourgish potatoes and also a speech from Paul Magnette,” depending on Beata Thor, a Swedish student. However, their display included King Leopold II, the “Butcher of Congo,” without explanation. The college’s?student newspaper called them out on this, bringing about an?apology of sorts.

“Millions of an individual were killed, injured or saw their living conditions severely worsened. The real reason for pretty much everything human misery was a never-ending imperialistic quest for power and cash,” admitted the Benelux contingent. Still, Leopold is usually a significant historical figure, hence they included him anyway. Bulimia: nasty messages over the college’s Facebook group. Stayed tuned to get more detailed.

OVER The most notable: Playbook was alarmed to see a trade union report today suggesting Europe it not just burning, but burning even though the Committee with the Regions fiddles. The CoR has never
before been accorded such importance, and now we thought we would investigate.

According to Unite Syndicale we’re also “in turmoil” (a really Trumpian phrase) as “southern Europe borders on war zones” as well as the European idea is challenged like never before (excluding the earth Wars, presumably). And thru it all “the Committee in the Regions fiddles around with jobs for your boys!”

“As Europe struggles to outlive, the CoR struggles to rush by way of a bogus internal ‘competition’ exclusively restricted to its Mexican army of political appointees,” the union raged. No, that is not another Trump insult, but a French expression to go into detail a group through an abundance of administrators. Around the wider point, Playbook agrees that job vacancies must be advertised. But surely the wider question is: How does the EU spend tens of millions on the Committee in the Regions, without really hearing it?

SEPARATED AT BIRTH:?Commission spokesperson Mina Andreeva, and pop superstar Britney Spears.

BY THE NUMBERS:

357,000,000,000: Niche European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi says he’ll present Italy whether it leaves the euro.

25: The amount of MEPs who agreed within the International Trade Committee to approve the EU-Canada trade deal.

15: The number of trade committee MEPs with the Canada deal.

46:?Days before the Dutch general election.

WHO’S UP:

Martin Schulz: He is predicted being announced when the Socialist challenger to Angela Merkel in Germany’s national election in September.

Benoit Hamon: The French Socialist won the very first round of the center-left presidential primary and is also planning to clinch the nomination this Sunday.

WHO’S DOWN:

Francois Fillon: What is this great that his wife Penelope was about the payroll of his office between 1992 and 2002 might not help his poll numbers to the French presidential bid.

Sean Spicer: Managed to anger and confuse nearly everyone in reference to his first briefing as being the U.S. presidential spokesperson.

BREXITOMETER:?Now that Britain’s PM Theresa May has indicated her desire to leave the market, there’s no looking back. But we have seen bumps in the route to a challenging Brexit, as May’s government lost the content 50 lawsuit and then she bowed to demands from MPs to create out her Brexit strategy in the white paper.

QUOTE Every week: “He was using alternative facts.” – President Trump’s adviser Kellyanne Conway explaining how presidential spokesman Sean Spicer found think crowds for Trump’s inauguration were the greatest ever.

GAFFES AND LAUGHS

No gender equality for bees: The Parliament’s women’s rights committee soon voted on the resolution with EU funds to generally be spent promoting gender equality, which triggered a backlash from those that think EU funds may be better spent elsewhere. Beatrix von Storch, a senior an affiliate the far-right Alternative for Germany, who, on being appointed on the committee in 2014, swiftly considered necessary it is scrapped, proposed an amendment that didn’t produce the final cut: “Not all EU policy areas could be gender mainstreamed, as, by way of example, the EU policy on honey bees, as there is just one single female bee queen per colony and never two.”

Maltese bird hunting isn’t any laughing matter: Here is what Vicky Ford MEP said when Malta’s Economy Minister Christian Cardona started sniggering when she flagged the plight of the birds that Maltese hunters shoot: “Minister, please stop shooting the birds in the year … Don’t laugh. Stop it. Stop it. Do not do it. Do not do it if you are holding the presidency of your European Council. Please. Thank you so much.”

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Black caucus chairman pushes to censure Trump over ‘shithole’ remark

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Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond on Thursday introduced a solution to censure President Donald Trump over what he contends would be the president\’s racist rhetoric referring to El Salvador, Haiti and African nations as \”shithole countries.\”

The resolution – who has much more than 130 co-sponsors, including House Democratic leaders – calls over the House to publicly state its support for any nations Trump disparaged, censure and condemn the president for his statements, and demand he retract his comments and apologize.

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At a news conference announcing the resolution alongside House Judiciary Committee ranking member Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) as well as other Democrats, Richmond (D-La.) said Trump\’s controversial comments \”should have not been made\” and \”were factually inaccurate.\”

Richmond conceded, however, the resolution isn\’t \”privileged,\” meaning House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) might need to say yes to carry it in order with the chamber to keep a vote. It\’s almost certain Ryan will not likely do this.

\”If he doesn\’t, we then will be at other ways to just make a vote on there,\” Richmond told reporters. \”But the facts from the matter is definitely the speaker should bring it up. In the event that he doesn\’t, establishing is enabling and recurring to allow obama to perpetuate this hateful rhetoric, as well as at certain point – whether you agree or disagree – I believe this is the speaker\’s obligation to safeguard the dignity of the property.\”

If Ryan will not allow a vote, Richmond said he among others would hunt for "creative" strategies to force one.

Like most Republican leaders, Ryan hasn\’t said much for the president\’s reported comments, though he did acknowledge the other day that they are \”very unfortunate\” and \”unhelpful.\” For Richmond, however, that wasn\’t enough.

\”It\’s unfortunate when I miss my bus. Or it\’s unfortunate in the event the airlines lose my luggage,\” he was quoted saying. \”But when the president of america decides to Africa, Haiti and El Salvador which he used, which isn\’t unfortunate. That is wrong. That\’s disgusting. That is definitely hurtful. There are a variety of words because of it, but unfortunate\’s undertake and don\’t.\”

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Ryan's 2017 fundraising haul: $44 million

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House Speaker Paul Ryan raised more than $44 million in 2017, an off-year record to get a House leader – a financial haul Republicans hope will shore up vulnerable GOP members in what\’s shaping up to often be a tough midterm cycle for Republicans.

In a final quarter, Ryan raised $4.8 million, his political operation will announce Thursday – down from $6.7 million during the third quarter.

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The infusion of greenbacks is a follower of Republicans passed a tax reform law last December, which GOP members said would drive support among voters and donors. But also in 2018, Republicans must defend its 24-seat majority spanning a broad battlefield, while President Donald Trump\’s approval ratings stay in the bottom 40s and Democrats hold a broad bring success the generic ballot. Nearly 24 retirements, including California Reps. Ed Royce and Darrell Issa latest research by, will force Republicans to invest more heavily to protect these open seats.

In 2017, Ryan transferred $32 million to the National Republican Campaign Committee, which announced a unique record-breaking off-year total with $85 million raised in the last year. Ryan also transferred $1.7 million on to GOP members, as well as hosting 49 fundraisers for members.

"This eye-popping number is usually a testament to Speaker Ryan, House Republicans, as well as the agenda them to led your strugle on in 2017," said Kevin Seifert, executive director of Team Ryan, the speaker\’s fundraising committee.

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Bannon won't testify again on Russia Thursday

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Former White House adviser Steve Bannon declined House Russia investigators\’ request to go back for a second interview Thursday, telling lawmakers through his lawyer their own obtain him to go back just 2 days after his first appearance was "unreasonable."

"The Committee\’s subpoena provides require Mr. Bannon\’s appearance for that second deposition [Thursday] at 2pm. That may be plainly insufficient time for me to undertake precisely what the Committee has asked," Bannon\’s attorney William Burck wrote within a Wednesday letter to store intelligence committee leaders obtained by POLITICO.

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Instead, Burck told committee leaders that the former senior aide to President Donald Trump would return after reaching an accommodation when using the White House to make sure his testimony doesn\’t violate executive privilege.

On Tuesday, Bannon-citing instructions from your Trump administration-refused to reply Republican and Democrats\’ questions on his amount of the White House, the post-election transition team and in some cases about his conversations with the president after he was fired from his post in August. His stonewalling infuriated persons in both parties, who subpoenaed him immediately. But despite the subpoena, Bannon declined to reply to their questions.

Burck\’s letter told the committee\’s top Russia investigators, Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), that Bannon remains ready to answer the committee\’s questions-but after striking an understanding together with the White House while on an acceptable scope of questioning.

"There isn\’t any conceivable solution to talk to the White House Mr. Bannon\’s time using the transition and also the White House, obtain their thoughts about the knowledge he previously provide, communicate those views back to the Committee, relay the Committee\’s views time for the White House, and then negotiate or facilitate a binding agreement amongst the Committee along with the White House from the time allotted by the Committee\’s subpoena," Burck wrote.

Committee members at the moment are weighing calling hold Bannon in contempt of Congress for avoiding their questions. They\’ve noted that White House lawyers haven\’t formally invoked executive privilege-they just have suggested that Bannon\’s testimony might implicate it.

White House officials have argued that it is customary for Congress to coordinate the scope of the questions with current and former officials to stop violating privileged information.

But GOP and Democratic lawmakers have questioned this argument, suggesting they see no reasonable interpretation of executive privilege that might preclude Bannon from discussing his time over the transition team, that is before Trump was president.

Burck indicated that the committee didn\’t have use of White House and transition documents that has to be relevant precursors to the questions for Bannon and suggested lawmakers and Bannon would require time for them to produce them and review them before Bannon\’s next interview.

"There are lots of lawyers over the Committee plus the Staff, and i also could well be surprised as long as they believed it becomes anything in addition to unprofessional even unethical should be expected to depose a witness that has did not have possibility for review relevant documents," he said.

Burck also indicated a potential disconnect between committee staff and lawmakers. He revealed that he had informed the employees of the committee, chaired by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the White House "may not permit Mr. Bannon to discuss his in time the transition and the White House unless an accommodation was agreed between your Committee plus the White House."

"Staff raised no objection to the telltale restrictions in any of such conversations," he said. "The main objection came yesterday within the Members who appear not to have been informed by Staff about our prior conversations."

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