Russia Russia Russia Russia Russia Russia

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Protesters are gathering outside Gate 1 at Louisville’s Freedom Hall ahead of President Donald Trump’s planned evening rally organized to push a contentious Republican replacement for Obamacare. [C-J/AKN]

The director of the FBI, with the director of the National Security Agency agreeing at his side, in effect called the president of the United States a liar ― and, oh, by the way, the president’s 2016 campaign indeed is under investigation for allegedly having secretly teamed up with Russia to win the election. [HuffPo]

Who wants to bet Blake Brickman is probably trolling for dick on Grindr right now? And who the hell writes a column about Matt Bevin’s attack princess complaining about the use of “bromance” without mentioning that it’s homophobic as fuck?! [C-J/AKN]

“There is certainly enough for us to conduct an investigation,” he added. “The American people have a right to know and in order to defend ourselves, we need to know whether the circumstantial evidence of collusion and direct evidence of deception is indicative of more.” [NBC News]

New Republicanism in action. The Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) is revamping the state program that provides assistance to low-income telephone customers and refocusing it on meeting the needs of the mostly elderly and rural customers who rely on landline phones. [Richmond Register]

Federal investigators are examining whether far-right news sites played any role last year in a Russian cyber operation that dramatically widened the reach of news stories — some fictional — that favored Donald Trump’s presidential bid, two people familiar with the inquiry say. [McClatchy]

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer is asking Gov. Matt Bevin to veto a bill that would remake the city’s solid waste management district. [WFPL]

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a vocal critic of President Trump, has hired a prosecutor who served under fired U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara to focus on public corruption cases, including those involving the Trump administration, according to a Wall Street Journal report. [The Hill]

The attorney hired by the Glasgow City Council to pursue the ouster of three members of the Glasgow Electric Plant Board’s board of directors has been busy gathering information and hopes to be ready to meet with his client as a group soon. [Glasgow Daily Times]

After his name surfaced last August in a secret ledger listing millions of dollars in payments from a pro-Russian party in Ukraine, Paul Manafort not only lost his job running Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign but also assumed center stage in a bizarre internecine struggle among Ukrainian political forces. On Monday, the intrigue took another turn, when a member of Parliament in Ukraine released documents that he said showed that Mr. Manafort took steps to hide the payments, which were tied to Mr. Manafort’s work for former President Viktor F. Yanukovych. The documents included an invoice that appeared to show $750,000 funneled through an offshore account and disguised as payment for computers. [NY Times]

Republican Gov. Matt Bevin and the new Republican majority got pretty much what they wanted from the 2017 General Assembly. Only time – and the citizens and voters of the commonwealth – will determine if what they got makes Kentucky a better and more – or less – prosperous place. [Ronnie Ellis]

FBI Director James B. Comey acknowledged Monday that his agency is conducting an investigation into possible coordination between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign in a counterintelligence probe that could reach all the way to the White House and may last for months. [WaPo]

Rand Paul predicted Monday that the Republican health care proposal will fail in the U.S. House this week, clearing the way for “real negotiations” to begin. [H-L]

Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who was removed from his post by the Trump administration last week, was overseeing an investigation into stock trades made by the president’s health secretary, according to a person familiar with the office. [HuffPo]

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Rand Paul Is Running From Donald Trump

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If folks cared about animal advocacy, they’d put an end to this stuff happening in their own back yard. n a tiled, windowless room at the University of Kentucky, Meagan Stetler and Toma Matott are playing with six beagles. The dogs trot around the room, wag their tails and poke Matott with wet noses as they look for the can of Cheese Whiz she holds. Though they look like pets, they are actually laboratory animals bred for research. In this case, it’s an Alzheimer’s study sponsored by a pharmaceutical company, which means UK officials say they can’t divulge any details about what’s happening to the dogs. When it’s over, the dogs will be euthanized, or sent to another facility for more testing. [Linda Blackford]

“I can tell you, speaking for myself, I own nothing in Russia,” President Trump said at a news conference last month. “I have no loans in Russia. I don’t have any deals in Russia.” But in the United States, members of the Russian elite have invested in Trump buildings. A Reuters review has found that at least 63 individuals with Russian passports or addresses have bought at least $98.4 million worth of property in seven Trump-branded luxury towers in southern Florida, according to public documents, interviews and corporate records. [HuffPo]

Rand Paul will be in Louisville on Monday but will head back to Washington D.C. prior to President Donald Trump’s political rally at Freedom Hall. [C-J/AKN]

New Republicanism is dangerous. Potty-Trained Republicans would have advocated for the protection of consumers. These new Neo-Nazi jackasses? They’re out to rob you blind. Grift, grift, grift. [WSJ]

This is utter insanity and the Richmond Register ought to apologize to its readership for publish pseudoscience. [Richmond Register]

A Tennessee woman who backs President Donald Trump credits God and the Republican health care bill — which hasn’t been voted into law — for her family’s dramatically lower insurance costs. [Rawstory]

A bill to hold Kentucky’s no-jail jailers accountable for their work passed through the legislature this week and is awaiting Gov. Matt Bevin’s approval. [WFPL]

Republicans who control legislatures in key states around the country are moving to seize power from Democratic executive officers and independent judges, enraging Democrats, who say the moves undermine the will of voters. Kentucky Republicans are advancing a bill to block the state’s attorney general, a Democrat, from filing civil lawsuits. [The Hill]

Some Metcalfe County Fiscal Court members are floating the idea of pulling out of the joint ambulance service for Metcalfe and Barren counties, depending on what other options they may have. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who was removed from his post by the Trump administration last week, was overseeing an investigation into stock trades made by the president’s health secretary, according to a person familiar with the office. [ProPublica]

One of two bills that would cut election costs for Kentucky counties is poised to pass through the General Assembly. [Ashland Independent]

Trump’s unproven allegation that his predecessor wiretapped Trump Tower in New York ahead of the election blazed a new path of political disruption Friday as he dragged two foreign allies into his increasingly thin argument that he is right. [WaPo]

Republican bigots like Katie Stine are always suckling at the teat of government. Former state Sen. Katie Stine, R-Southgate, was hired this month by the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet as executive director of the Office of the State Medical Examiner, according to state personnel records. [John Cheves]

When politicians take money from megadonors, there are strings attached. But with the reclusive duo who propelled Trump into the White House, there’s a fuse. [HuffPo]

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Republicans Have No Idea What They’re Supposed To Do Now And It Is Highly Entertaining

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More proof the Republicans couldn’t give a shit about education in the Commonwealth. The Kentucky House gave final passage to a bill Wednesday that gives Gov. Matt Bevin broad authority to remove public university board members. [H-L]

Sen. John McCain of Arizona attacked fellow Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky on Wednesday, accusing him of doing the bidding of Russian President Vladimir Putin. It’s strange how John McCain still hasn’t picked up on the reality that Rand Paul is Stephen Bannon in a tinier body. [HuffPo]

Jeff Hoover needs to look within his own house (and House) if he wants to start talking about discrimination. House Speaker Jeff Hoover has permanently banned Dan Seum Jr., the son of state Sen. Dan Seum, from the third floor of the Capitol Annex after a legislative staff investigation found the younger Seum had made “racially charged” remarks at the offices last month. [C-J/AKN]

Get your popcorn ready! Trump on Thursday will make public his first federal budget blueprint, revealing a plan to dramatically reduce the size of government. [The Hill]

Republicans are dead set on further starving public schools. The state Senate approved legislation authorizing charter schools in Kentucky after a three-hour debate on Wednesday. Note that the racist white guys in the group trotted out their token black guy, bigoted-ass Jerry Stephenson, to sell this as if it’s not some kick in the gut to people of color. [WFPL]

A defiant Donald Trump has pledged to appeal against a federal judge’s order placing an immediate halt on his revised travel ban, describing the ruling as judicial overreach that made the United States look weak. [Reuters]

Kentucky no longer needs constables. A jury found Constable Bobby Joe Smith guilty of reckless homicide Wednesday. [WYMT]

The Trump administration has been the focus of remarkable reporting recently — much of it relying on unnamed sources. [ProPublica]

Kentucky’s Republican-led legislature handed Gov. Matt Bevin a bill Wednesday giving him and his successors more power to remove entire public university boards or individual members. [Richmond Register]

Polish officials are seeking the arrest of a Minnesota man they say was a Nazi commander during World War Two. [BBC]

A request by Kentucky State Police Post 14 on Tuesday to use the Boyd County road department garage for car maintenance and repair did not receive a motion from the fiscal court. [Ashland Independent]

A congressional plan to make Planned Parenthood ineligible for federal funding would leave many women without services to help them avoid pregnancy, resulting in thousands of additional births, according to a new federal budget analysis. [WaPo]

What in the actual fuck is this story? Seriously. Did Jack Brammer die? [H-L]

A federal judge in Hawaii has placed a nationwide hold on key aspects of President Donald Trump’s second attempt at a ban on travel ― a scaled-back version that targeted all non-visa holders from six Muslim-majority countries, as well as a halt on the U.S. refugee resettlement program ― just hours before the new restrictions were to take effect. [HuffPo]

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If Beshear Had Behaved Like Bevin? He’d Have Been Pelted With Stones When In Public

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Matt Bevin this week named two men to vacant judgeships in Central Kentucky, one on the state’s Court of Appeals and the other in Fayette Circuit Court. [John Cheves]

Last June, John Mattes started noticing something coursing like a virus through the Facebook page he helped administer for Bernie Sanders fans in San Diego. People with no apparent ties to California were friending the page and sharing links from unfamiliar sites full of anti-Hillary Clinton propaganda. [HuffPo]

Matt Bevin is a garbage person. A truly wretched individual who, like Donald Trump, believes he’s some gift from g-d. Garbage. His poor children will have to deal with his taint for the rest of their lives. [C-J/AKN]

Donald Trump is a compassionate, intelligent human being, eh? On what fucking planet? This is the person people like Scott Jennings, Andy Barr and Matt Bevin trust to make health care decisions. [New Yorker]

Jeff Hoover is still lying about Amazon’s decision to locate a facility in Kentucky. Trying to use right-to-work legislation as an excuse. If he’s not freaking about transgender kids trying to use the restroom in peace, he’s pushing what he knows to be bullshit. Rather than clean up Greg Stumbo’s messes? He’s creating messes of his own. He’ll end up with a legacy just as tainted. [Richmond Register]

Federal investigators and computer scientists continue to examine whether there was a computer server connection between the Trump Organization and a Russian bank, sources close to the investigation tell CNN. [CNN]

A fired Ashland police officer has appealed the city’s decision in Boyd County Circuit Court. [Ashland Independent]

Texas lawmakers drew up three U.S. congressional districts to undermine the influence of Hispanic voters, a divided panel of three federal judges ruled, in the latest development in a years-long battle over gerrymandering. [Reuters]

This kind of crap is going to continue to happen and we’re going to continue clogging our jails until marijuana is legalized and taxed. The discovery of about 10 pounds of marijuana worth an estimated $64,000 led to the arrest of a Glasgow man Thursday. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The president’s semi-public Florida retreat doesn’t follow the same strict background check protocol as the White House, creating an espionage risk. [Politico]

Long-term interim dean of the University of Louisville’s Brandeis School of Law will not get the permanent job, according to school officials. [Business First]

Trump said he made $21 million in income from his New York contracts. He actually made a lot less. [ProPublica]

The single “preferred” candidate for the University of Kentucky’s diversity chief has accepted the job, UK President Eli Capilouto announced Thursday. [Linda Blackford]

Remember when Scott Jennings had to appear before congress and pleaded the fifth re: the U.S. Attorneys/private email server funtimes in the Bush Misadministration? Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, and one of the most high profile federal prosecutors in the country, says he’s been fired after refusing to resign his post. [HuffPo]

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RPK Continues To Slide Back Decades

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Attorney General Andy Beshear will intervene in the lawsuits of Western Kentucky University and Kentucky State University against two student newspapers in open records cases involving sexual assault. [Linda Blackford]

The Republican bill to reform the Affordable Care Act cuts taxes on the wealthiest Americans while slashing benefits to the middle and working class. It also guts funding to states that cover low-income Americans via Medicaid ― a key sticking point for several GOP senators who represent states that expanded the program under Obamacare. [HuffPo]

Donald Trump is coming to Louisville on Saturday, a spokeswoman with the Louisville International Airport confirmed. [C-J/AKN]

A government watchdog group, Public Citizen, said on Wednesday it will ask lawmakers to investigate whether billionaire investor Carl Icahn should have been subject to lobbying disclosure laws when he advised President Donald Trump to overhaul the U.S. biofuels program. [Reuters]

Bob Stivers is as dumb and corrupt as you think. He’s also a bloated coward. Otherwise, his ass wouldn’t run quickly away when a person of color or a member of the LGBT community tries to have a conversation with him. The President of the state Senate has filed a change to a bill that would strip power from the attorney general and give the governor exclusive authority to represent the state in many legal matters. [WFPL]

Unlike appointees exposed to the scrutiny of the Senate, members of these so-called “beachhead teams” have operated largely in the shadows, with the White House declining to publicly reveal their identities. While some names have previously dribbled out in the press, we are publishing a list of more than 400 hires, providing the most complete accounting so far of who Trump has brought into the federal government. [ProPublica]

To retired coal miners of America, the thought of losing their safety net — union promised health insurance and pensions — has them on desperation’s edge with Congress. [Richmond Register]

Chuck Schumer has a blunt assessment of Donald Trump’s accusation that Barack Obama tapped his phones last fall: “The president is in trouble.” The Senate minority leader said Sunday morning that Trump’s Saturday-morning allegations about former President Obama will be damaging to Trump’s presidency whether they are true or not and that “the president makes it worse with these tweets.” [Politico]

The rumors surrounding the Morehead State Public Radio budget crisis are only half true. The radio station has been affected by the budget like other programs at Morehead State University, and it was rumored that MSPR had been defunded and had no financial support. The station still receives a grant from Corporation of Public Broadcasting but receives no support from the university for operating expenses. Those expenses include electricity, postage and work study programs. [Ashland Independent]

The broader Republican quagmire — the party’s failure so far to make significant progress toward any of its policy promises — isn’t just about Mr. Trump’s inadequacies. The whole party, it turns out, has been faking it for years. Its leaders’ rhetoric was empty; they have no idea how to turn their slogans into actual legislation, because they’ve never bothered to understand how anything important works. [NY Times]

Kentucky Republicans were strangely silent regarding the bomb threat made toward the Jewish Community Center in Louisville. [WAVE3]

Former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper on Sunday denied President Trump’s allegations that former President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower before the election. [The Hill]

Attorney General Andy Beshear accused Republicans of a power grab Wednesday in presenting legislation to give the governor more power in determining what lawsuits Beshear can file. [H-L]

Donald Trump’s nominee to be secretary of the Air Force has become mired in a conflict-of-interest controversy, raising the possibility that he will fail to secure any of his first three picks to run the three military departments. [HuffPo]

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RPK’s Race To The Bottom Continues

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Republicans in Kentucky love to create solutions to problems that don’t exist. This particularly legislation comes about because people like Stan Lee and Al Robinson have victim complexes. And folks like Jeff Hoover are just straight up homophobic and has a public history of pushing homophobia. [H-L]

HOLY SHIT Ben Carson is dumb! How does a person get this far while being so painfully dumb? [HuffPo]

Liquor store owner and State Rep. C. Wesley Morgan is making progress in his effort to rewrite Kentucky liquor laws in ways more favorable to liquor stores. [C-J/AKN]

In a blow to advocates of transgender rights, the U.S. Supreme Court Monday said it would not hear the case of a transgender high school student fighting to use the bathroom of his choice. [NBC News]

Leave it to the Republican Party of Kentucky to stiff workers like injured police officers and others. A bill that would limit workers’ compensation benefits has been paused after passing the state House of Representatives last week. [WFPL]

Mukasey, who served as the attorney general under former President George W. Bush, said he believes there was surveillance on Trump Tower after reading certain news reports. Mukasey said if there were a wiretap on Trump Tower, it would mean that there was suspicion someone had been acting as Russian agent. [The Hill]

Kentucky will not join 29 other states calling for a constitutional convention to propose a federal balance budget amendment — at least not this year. [Ronnie Ellis]

Demand for travel to the United States over the coming months has flattened out following a positive start to the year, with uncertainty over a possible new travel order likely deterring visitors, travel analysis company ForwardKeys said on Monday. [Reuters]

Resilient. That is the word Morehead State University presidential finalist Dr. Joseph “Jay” Morgan uses to describe the university. [The Morehead News]

The American people must immediately demand a cessation of all consequential actions by this “president” until we can be assured that Russian efforts to hack our election, in a way that was clearly meant to help him and damage his opponent, did not also include collusion with or coverup by anyone involved in the Trump campaign and now administration. [NY Times]

The House budget committee will take up a bill Tuesday designed to reward the state’s universities for performance in key areas like graduation, degrees and retention. [More Ronnie Ellis]

The Republican Party of Kentucky is now a national embarrassment for pushing the resegregation of Jefferson County Public Schools. It’s not about “school choice” or putting kids on a bus for two hours a day. It’s about racism. [WaPo]

Because there’s no way the Republican Party of Kentucky could have done this on its own. The current crop of folks in power can barely spell their own names. [H-L]

House Republican leaders on Monday formally unveiled legislation to repeal most of the Affordable Care Act and “replace” it with a very different health policy scheme ― one in which government would do a lot less to help people get comprehensive health insurance and, most likely, many more people would struggle to find affordable medical care. [HuffPo]

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Cheeto Mussolini Really Stepped In It

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A national science panel is about to dig into an issue fraught with controversy in Eastern Kentucky: Does living near surface coal mines increase the risk of health problems? [H-L]

Stephen Bannon, President Donald Trump’s chief strategist and the driving force behind the administration’s controversial ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries, has a favorite metaphor he uses to describe the largest refugee crisis in human history. [HuffPo]

If you hadn’t noticed, Frankfort Republicans are trying to resegregate Louisville. Because of course they fucking are. [C-J/AKN]

The F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, asked the Justice Department this weekend to publicly reject President Trump’s assertion that President Barack Obama ordered the tapping of Mr. Trump’s phones, senior American officials said on Sunday. Mr. Comey has argued that the highly charged claim is false and must be corrected, they said, but the department has not released any such statement. Mr. Comey’s request is a remarkable rebuke of a sitting president, putting the nation’s top law enforcement official in the position of questioning Mr. Trump’s truthfulness. [NY Times]

When a Kentucky legislative committee approved a bill to let liquor store owners transport alcohol across county lines, Wesley Morgan was pleased by the time and money he would save as the owner of four Liquor World outlets in the state. The RPK has eschewed ethics for as long as the KDP. AKA forever. [Richmond Register]

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who during his confirmation hearings repeatedly vowed to promote human rights as a core American value, alarmed human rights advocates when he did not appear in person to present the State Department’s annual human rights report, released Friday. [WaPo]

The state House of Representatives passed measures Thursday to provide school districts extra money for transportation costs and to teach work skills and drug prevention as part of the public schools’ curriculum. [Ronnie Ellis]

Fewer than 24 hours after President Donald Trump condemned a recent wave of anti-Semitic attacks and spoke of allying with Muslim nations, a top White House aide returned to the administration’s unfounded claims that some of the anti-Semitic incidents may have been faked and declined to explicitly say whether the president believes Islam is a religion. [Vox]

While winter turning to spring is typically a great sight for farmers, many across Kentucky and the United States are worried about this year’s crops and who will be working the fields. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Before heading off to his so-called “winter White House” in Palm Beach, Florida, on Friday, WATB Donald Trump summoned some of his senior staff to the Oval Office and went “ballistic,” senior White House sources told ABC News. [ABC News]

Two House bills sponsored by state Rep. Danny Bentley, R-Russell, that aim to combat a statewide drug epidemic are headed for the Senate. [Ashland Independent]

The White House has been accused of withholding information from Congress about whether Donald Trump or any of his campaign affiliates have ever received loans from a bank in Cyprus that is partly owned by a close ally of Russian president Vladimir Putin. [The Guardian]

The 2017 General Assembly enters its final phase Monday as Republican leaders prepare for Gov. Matt Bevin a stack of legislation on university funding, religious expression, medical malpractice, workers’ compensation and many other subjects. [John Cheves]

President Harry Truman famously had a sign on his desk that read: “The buck stops here.” If Donald Trump’s brief history as commander in chief is any guide, he might want one that says: “Actually, it stops with the generals.” [HuffPo]

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