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While Washington, D.C. was riveted Jan. 6 on events at the U.S. Capitol, the FBI quietly released a trove of files from an “urgent” — yet seemingly controlled — investigation 60 years ago into Nancy Pelosi’s father.

The files reveal the results of an intense two-month investigation into Thomas D’Alesandro, Jr., a Maryland politician who served in a long career as a member of Congress and mayor of Baltimore.

John F. Kennedy’s White House ordered the investigation after JFK planned to appoint D’Alesandro to a government post. A routine FBI name check revealed “allegations” against D’Alessandro, according to a Feb. 6, 1961 teletype from “FBI Director.” The director at the time was J. Edgar Hoover.

The “urgent” teletype seemed to signal the goal of ensuring that D’Alesandro would be appointed to a government watchdog board that reviewed defense contracts. 

“The White House has requested that we proceed with a special inquiry investigation but that if substantial derogatory information were developed, we should report this and discontinue any further inquiries because substantiation of any of the allegations would eliminate Mr. D’Alesandro,” the FBI director wrote in the teletype that is located on page 19 of the trove.

“Assign immediately,” Hoover wrote, instructing the Baltimore and Washington field offices to “afford continuous attention” to the investigation.

In sometimes illegible and heavily redacted reproductions, the 248-page collection shows that FBI agents were tasked with running down rumors and facts surrounding their man.

“There have been allegations that D’Alesandro has associated with the Baltimore criminal element and [redacted] and the son, Franklin Roosevelt D’Alesandro, had been arrested for rape,” an agent wrote on page 14 of the trove. The allegations may have been rumor, the agent noted.

Elsewhere in the trove, agents wrote about the son, who was arrested and acquitted on charges that saw others convicted of raping two young girls, aged 11 and 13. The young D’Alesandro, who died in 2007, also was tried and acquitted of perjury in relation to that case. 

In the 1961 inquiry into the senior D’Alesandro, the G-men delved decades into their subject’s past.

“In 1945 it was alleged that one Charles F. Cammarata had been able to get away with all sorts of criminal activities in Baltimore, Maryland, and had operated almost unmolested due to his friendship with and the protection of Congressman D’Alesandro,” one unnamed agent wrote in a Jan. 30, 1961 memo to the White House.

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In the same memo, which begins on page 38 of the collection, the agent summarizes allegations that a powerful D’Alesandro took payoffs from applicants to the police force, and that he helped to hinder the investigation and prosecution of crimes.

Elsewhere, the memo cites a “confidential source, who has furnished reliable information in the past,” reporting that D’Alesandro appeared onstage at a 1943 rally for the National Council of American-Soviet Friendship, which was formed in 1943 by the Coummunist Party USA as a Soviet front group, according to the FBI.

The following year, the memo notes, D’Alesandro was reported as the main speaker at an event for the International Workers Order, an insurance organization placed on a list of subversive organizations by the U.S. attorney general in 1947 and later disbanded by order of the New York State Insurance Department for being too closely aligned with the Communist Party, in violation of regulations prohibiting political activity in the industry.  

In a series of endorsements commencing on page 129 of the trove, a phalanx of associates — judges, politicians, friends, and acquaintances — described D’Alesandro in glowing terms. He was “upright,” they said, or “loyal,” “honest,” and a devoted family man. 

Two acquaintances hedged their praise. In an undated memo, one agent wrote: “Another individual stated he would be hesitant in recommending D’Alesandro for any office where he would be in a position to award contracts without first having the approval of another supervisor.”

Following the investigation, the Senate confirmed D’Alesandro for the contract oversight position. He was sworn into office on March 28, 1961, while his wife, along with JFK and a young Nancy, looked on. D’Alesandro served on the Renegotiation Board, which later was disbanded.

In 1966, Mildred Stegall, who at the time was an assistant to President Lyndon Baines Johnson, contacted the FBI and asked them to search their files for material on D’Alesandro. The resulting FBI memo, dated Sept. 21, 1966 and reproduced on page 16 of the trove, did not explain why Stegall wanted the information.

Thomas D’Alesandro died in 1987, at age 84.

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Joe Biden administration defends its decision not to sanction Saudi Crown Prince

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The Biden administration defended its decision not to sanction Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman personally for his role in the death of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, as the White House confirmed no more actions against the kingdom are imminent.

“The United States has not historically sanctioned the leaders of countries where we have diplomatic relations or even some where we don’t have diplomatic relations,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on “Fox News Sunday.” “Behind the scenes there are a range of diplomatic conversations.”

Despite President Joe Biden’s comment Friday in an interview with Univision that “we’re going to be announcing significant changes today and on Monday” — and a similar statement from at the White House on Saturday — the administration said it isn’t planning steps beyond the limited sanctions already announced against some Saudi officials.

“The recalibration of relations with Saudi Arabia began on January 20th and it’s ongoing,” the White House said in a statement. “The Administration took a wide range of new actions on Friday. The President is referring to the fact that on Monday, the State Department will provide more details and elaborate on those announcements, not new announcements.”

Psaki, in a separate interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” said the administration has been “crystal clear at every level” about recalibrating the relationship with Saudi Arabia and about it’s plan to “turn the page from the last four years.”

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On Friday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced what he called a new “Khashoggi Ban” policy, barring U.S. visas for 76 Saudi individuals who the U.S. said had threatened dissidents abroad.

That action came after the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a declassified version of an intelligence report that the Trump administration had withheld from the public. “We assess that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey, to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi,” the intelligence agencies found.

Democratic lawmakers ramped up their calls for Biden to do more to hold the Saudi crown prince personally responsible. Senator Mark Warner, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said on Fox that sanctions on Prince Mohammed should be considered “if we don’t see a change in behavior.”

The crown prince has said he accepts symbolic responsibility for the killing as the country’s de facto ruler. Saudi officials have said the murder was carried out by rogue agents who have since been prosecuted.

On Friday, the Saudi Foreign Ministry said the government “completely rejects the negative, false and unacceptable assessment in the report pertaining to the Kingdom’s leadership, and notes that the report contained inaccurate information and conclusions.
(Livemint)

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Donald Trump

GOP Senator: Trump’s Not Going to be 2024 Republican Nominee

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Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) urged his fellow Republicans to move past former President Donald Trump on Sunday, predicting that due to the damage Trump has done to the GOP, he likely won’t be the party’s presidential nominee in 2024.

Hours before Trump was set to deliver his first post-White House speech at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, Cassidy appeared on CNN’s State of the Union to discuss the current state of the Republican Party and Trump’s place in it.

The Louisiana lawmaker, who was one of seven GOP senators to vote to convict Trump during the ex-president’s second impeachment trial earlier this month, called on the GOP to make issues and policy front and center in the coming elections.

“We’ve got to win in two years, we’ve got to win in four years,” Cassidy told host Dana Bash. “If we do that, we’ll do that by speaking to those issues important to the American people, and there’s a lot of issues important to them right now, not by putting one person on a pedestal and making that one person our focal point.”

Bash, meanwhile, noted that Trump’s influence on the party is not diminishing, despite his impeachment for allegedly inciting an insurrectionist riot at the U.S. Capitol. Pointing out that Trump’s face was literally “embronzed” at CPAC and top Republicans are flying down to meet the former president, the CNN host asked how the GOP can move forward with Trump still in the spotlight.

“CPAC is not the entirety of the Republican Party,” he replied. “That’s number one. Number two, political organizations and campaigns are about winning. Over the last four years, we lost the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the presidency. That has not happened in a single four years under a president since Herbert Hoover. If we plan to win in 2022 and 2024, we have to listen to the voters.”

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Asked whether he was personally faulting Trump for the GOP losing control of Congress, Cassidy demurred somewhat, insisting again that Republicans need to speak to policy solutions. At the same time, he did say that if they “idolize one person, we will lose.”

Noting that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell—who was highly critical of Trump’s role in the insurrection—has come out and said he will back Trump if he runs in 2024, Bash then pressed Cassidy on whether he feels Trump is fit to be president again.

“I don’t think—one, he’ll be 78 years old—but I don’t think he’ll be our nominee for the reasons I’ve said,” Cassidy responded. “Over the last four years, we’ve lost the House, the Senate, and the presidency. Political campaigns are about winning.”

“That’s a theoretical that I don’t think will come to pass,” he concluded. “I don’t mean to duck, but the truth is you could ask me [about] a lot of people, if they are fit. Point is, I don’t think he’ll be our nominee.”
(Fox News

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Donald Trump

New Republican group promises to have ‘Trump shaking in his boots’ over his future

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Appearing on MSNBC early Sunday morning, a former member of Donald Trump’s administration teased the announcement of a newly formed group of Republicans and ex-Republicans whose goal is to make sure that the ex-president will never be a viable candidate for office again.

Speaking with hosts Kendis Gibson and Lindsey Reiser, former Homeland Security official Miles Taylor noted the current CPAC conference in Florida where the president is expected to get hero’s welcome from the far-right attendees and said it is important that traditional Republicans push back on Trump’s re-entry into the public square after losing re-election in November.

“I want to give you a number: 50 percent,” Taylor began. “Donald Trump can’t get to 50 percent. We just saw this in the most recent election, he cannot win elections. We’ve got to be able to, in the Republican Party, have someone who is a standard-bearer that can get us over 50 percent to win elections. He can’t, he lost in spectacular fashion in this election and that’s why I think it’s entirely inappropriate for us to continue to put him forward as the leader of this party. it’s a mistake that’s going the cause the GOP to lose elections in the future and it’s time to move on from Donald Trump.”

Pressed on his future plans to oppose Trump, Taylor first said, “There are a lot of people in the party ready to move beyond Donald Trump. In fact, most of us realize he is much better at golfing than governing which is really saying a lot if you know anything about Donald Trump’s golf game,” before adding, “Donald Trump lost, not because more Democrats came out. Donald Trump lost because his own voters defected from him.”

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“I’m happy to share with you today a little bit of a tease,” he added. ” I can’t give you all the information, but we’re about to make an announcement in the very near future that’s going to make Donald Trump have the worst heartburn he’s had in the post-presidency. We’re going to be channeling this movement to challenge him to create an insurgency within and without the GOP to drive forward towards a better center-right political movement than Donald Trump can put together. It’s something he’s going to have to contend with.”

Pressed for more details he added, “You’re aware of the fact that we’ve been having conversations with very prominent people in the GOP and ex-Republicans about where we go beyond Trump, how do we move beyond Trump. You’re going to hear from us in the month of March about what’s coming next.”

“What’s coming next is going to make Donald Trump fear for his ability to continue to be a standard-bearer of this party,” he continued. “We are going to channel this movement, rally people together in the center, bring the Republican Party back from crazy to rational as best we can, and Trump should be shaking in his boots.”
(Raw Story)

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