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White House denies report Trump revealed classified info about ISIS to Russians

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H/T Fox News Politics.

It is a shame someone could not be held responsible for spread a fake news story like this.

The sad part is that many damned Trump hating fools will help spread this story.

http://video.foxnews.com/v/5435266228001

White House officials Monday denounced a Washington Post report that President Trump revealed classified information about ISIS to Russia’s foreign minister and Moscow’s ambassador to the United States during a White House meeting last week.

In a brief statement in front of the White House, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster described the Post’s story as “false.”

The newspaper cited current and former U.S. officials who said Trump jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on ISIS in his conversations with the Russian officials, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

“The president and the foreign minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries, including threats to civil aviation,” McMaster said. “At no time, at no time, were intelligence sources or methods discussed, and the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known.”

McMaster’s statement echoed earlier denials issued by two other administration officials who attended the meeting.

“This story is false. The president only discussed the common threats that both countries faced,” said Dina Powell, deputy national security adviser for strategy.

In addition, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Trump and Lavrov “did not discuss sources, methods or military operations.”

McMaster said the statements by Powell and Tillerson “should outweigh [the accounts] of anonymous sources [in the Post report].

“I was in the room,” McMaster concluded. “It didn’t happen.”

The officials told the Post that Trump offered details about an ISIS terror threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft. The newspaper says the information was very sensitive and had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement. They said it was considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government.

The Post claimed the intelligence partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russian officials. By doing so, the paper said, Trump jeopardized cooperation from an ally familiar with the inner workings of ISIS.

Afterward, White House officials took steps to contain the damage, placing calls to the CIA and the National Security Agency, the newspaper reported.

If the Post report is true, it’s unlikely that Trump has broken any law. As president, Trump has broad authority to declassify government secrets.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters Monday evening that the Trump White House “has got to do something soon to bring itself under control and order.”

He said he would have more to say when he knows more about the news report.

“The shame of it is there’s a really good national security team in place and there are good, productive things that are under way through them and through others,” Corker said. “But the chaos that is being created by the lack of discipline — it’s creating an environment that I think makes — it creates a worrisome environment.”

Democrats quickly jumped on the report, with the Democratic National Committee issuing a statement saying, “Russia no longer has to spy on us to get information – they just ask President Trump and he spills the beans with highly classified information that jeopardizes our national security and hurts our relationships with allies.

“If Trump weren’t president, his dangerous disclosure to Russia could end with him in handcuffs,” the DNC statement continued.

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., the ranking member of the Senate intelligence committee, tweeted that if the Post’s report was true, Trump’s disclosure represented a “slap in the face to the intel community.”

 

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Senate blocks move to overturn Obama-era rule on drilling

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H/T Fox News Politics.

Three gutless undocumented DemocRats Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham, John McCain joined the CommiecRats to uphold this senseless regulation.  

     

Oct. 22, 2015: Workers tend to oil pump jacks behind a natural gas flare near Watford City, N.D. (AP)

         

The Senate on Wednesday failed to reverse an Obama-era regulation restricting harmful methane emissions that escape from oil and gas wells on federal land, a surprising win for environmentalists and Democrats and a blow to the fossil-fuel industry.

The vote was 51-49 in the Republican-led Senate with three GOP lawmakers — Maine’s Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John McCain of Arizona — joining forces with the Democrats to block the efforts to overturn the rule.

President Barack Obama finalized a rule in November that would force energy companies to capture methane that’s burned off or “flared” at drilling sites because it earns less money than oil.

Energy companies frequently “flare” or burn off vast supplies of methane — the primary component of natural gas — at drilling sites because it earns less money than oil. An estimated $330 million a year in natural gas is wasted through leaks or intentional releases — enough to power about 5 million homes a year.

Gas flaring is so prevalent in oil-rich North Dakota that night-time flaring activity on drilling sites is visible in NASA photos from space.

For months, Republicans have rammed through reversals of rules issued by Obama on gun rights, coal production, hunting and money for family planning clinics. They have used the obscure Congressional Review Act, which requires just a simple majority.

The latest target was the Interior Department rule on methane.

A coalition of groups with ties to the fossil-fuel industry and the conservative Koch Brothers had waged a public campaign to overturn the rule.

Republicans and industry groups call the rule an example of federal overreach under Obama and say it duplicates state rules in place throughout the West.

Democrats and environmental groups say the rule protects the public health and generates millions in revenue for state, local and tribal governments.

      

Former Obama official discloses rush to get intelligence on Trump team

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H/T Fox News Politics.

President Trump was right about Obama spying on him.

A former top Obama administration official has acknowledged efforts by her colleagues to gather intelligence on Trump team ties to Russia before Donald Trump took office and to conceal the sources of that intelligence from the incoming administration.

Evelyn Farkas, deputy assistant secretary of defense under Obama, made the disclosure March 2 while on the air with MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski.

“I was urging my former colleagues and, frankly speaking, the people on the Hill, it was more actually aimed at telling the Hill people, get as much information as you can, get as much intelligence as you can, before President Obama leaves the administration,” Farkas, who is now a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, said.

“Because I had a fear that somehow that information would disappear with the senior [Obama] people who left, so it would be hidden away in the bureaucracy … that the Trump folks – if they found out how we knew what we knew about their … the Trump staff dealing with Russians – that they would try to compromise those sources and methods, meaning we no longer have access to that intelligence.”

The comments come as lawmakers on Capitol Hill clash over House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes’ claim last week that surveillance operations incidentally collected Trump team communications during the transition. Critics have accused Nunes of carrying water for Trump and called on him to recuse himself from Russia matters, but Nunes and his congressional allies have pushed back.

Aside from questions over whether communications were improperly gathered during the transition and before, there is speculation over how widely such information was disseminated. Farkas described a rush to spread the material before Trump took office.

“So I became very worried because not enough was coming out into the open and I knew that there was more. We have very good intelligence on Russia,” she said. “So then I had talked to some of my former colleagues and I knew that they were trying to also help get information to the Hill.”

Republicans push bill to split up ‘nutty 9th Circuit’

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H/T Fox News Politics.

The Ninth Circus(Circuit) needed to be broken up years ago.

As judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals weigh the legality of President Trump’s immigration executive order, a Republican push to split up the controversial court — and shrink its clout — is gaining steam on Capitol Hill.

Republican Sens. Jeff Flake and John McCain of Arizona introduced legislation last month to carve six states out of the San Francisco-based court circuit and create a brand new 12th Circuit.

They argue that the 9th is too big, too liberal and too slow resolving cases. If they succeed, only California, Oregon, Hawaii and two island districts would remain in the 9th’s judicial fiefdom.

Right now, Flake said, the circuit is far too sprawling.

“It represents 20 percent of the population — and 40 percent of the land mass is in that jurisdiction. It’s just too big,” Flake told Fox News on Wednesday. “We have a bedrock principle of swift justice and if you live in Arizona or anywhere in the 9th Circuit, you just don’t have it.”

Flake says it typically takes the court 15 months to hand down a decision.

“It’s far too long,” he added.

Conservatives have mocked the 9th Circuit for years, often calling it the “Nutty 9th” or the “9th Circus,” in part because so many of its rulings have been overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The court has a reputation as one of the most liberal in the country, in large part because of its makeup. Eighteen of the court’s 25 active judges have been appointed by Democrats. Former President George W. Bush appointed six justices, while former President Barack Obama appointed seven.

Under Flake’s bill, the new circuit would cover Nevada, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Arizona and Alaska, leaving the 9th with three Pacific states as well as the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam.

A separate House version introduced by Rep. Andy Biggs and four other Arizona Republicans would leave Washington state in the 9th Circuit.

Congressional efforts to split the circuit go back to 1941.

“The problem is the judges in the 9th Circuit, particularly the liberal judges, don’t want to give up any of their jurisdiction,” Flake said.

Congress created the court in 1891. At the time, the area was sparsely inhabited – only four percent of the U.S. population lived in the area compared to today’s 20 percent.

In 1998, Congress appointed a commission to reexamine the federal appeals courts’ structure. The commission ultimately recommended against splitting the 9th Circuit.

But carving up the large circuit isn’t out of the realm of possibility. In 1929, Congress split the 8th Circuit to accommodate a population boom and increased caseloads.

Democratic strategist Joe Lestingi pushed back on accusations the court leans left.

“We don’t complain about courts being too conservative,” he told Fox News. “The truth is… the liberal side of that court provides the conflict we need to settle our most basic disagreements.”

He added that the 9th Circuit’s track record of rulings being overturned — sometimes unanimously by the U.S. Supreme Court — is all part of the judicial process.

“If the Supreme Court wasn’t going to overturn lower courts’ decisions, then we don’t need a Supreme Court anymore,” Lestingi argued.

Democrats lost over 1,000 seats under Obama

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H/T Fox News Politics.

What an arrogant pompous ass he would have been rejected by a larger margin than Hillary was. 

President Obama claims he could have won a third term if he had been allowed to run – but even if he’s right, his coattails haven’t done much for the rest of his party.

While Obama’s tireless campaigning, broad demographic appeal and message of “hope” and “change” helped propel him to two terms in the White House, his skills on the stump haven’t translated down the ballot.

The Democratic Party suffered huge losses at every level during Obama’s West Wing tenure.

The grand total: a net loss of 1,042 state and federal Democratic posts, including congressional and state legislative seats, governorships and the presidency.

The latter was perhaps the most profound example of Obama’s popularity failing to translate to support for his allies. Hillary Clinton, who served as secretary of state under Obama, brought the first family out for numerous campaign appearances. In September, Obama declared that his “legacy’s on the ballot.”

Less than two months later, Americans voted for Donald Trump.

OBAMA: I COULD HAVE WON THIRD TERM

But 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue wasn’t the only locale to see a big partisan change since Obama took office in January 2009, according to figures from Ballotpedia.

Democratic U.S. Senate seats fell from 55 to 46. Their share of the House plummeted from 256 seats to 194. Republicans still control both chambers going into the next session.

Democratic governerships also became a rarity during this eight-year period, slipping from 28 to 16.

The Obama years, which saw the rise of the Tea Party as well as a new movement form around Trump that is still being defined, coincided with a loss of 958 state legislative seats for Democrats.

Still, Obama said in an interview which aired Monday that, if he were allowed to run for a third term, he would have been victorious.

“I am confident in this vision because I’m confident that if I had run again and articulated it, I think I could’ve mobilized a majority of the American people to rally behind it,” Obama told ex-adviser David Axelrod for “The Axe Files” podcast.

Trump responded, “no way!”

While Obama and others note that Clinton still won the popular vote last month, and Democrats shaved down the Republican majority on Capitol Hill, others in the party have voiced concerns about where Democrats go from here.

“We’re not even a national party at this point,” Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, said last month as he made a failed run at the House minority leader position. “We have some support on the coasts, but we’ve lost the support of middle America, and we’ve got to make some changes. So I’m pulling the fire alarm here, because the house is on fire.”

Federal judge halts recount, sealing Trump’s Michigan win

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H/T Fox News Politics. 

I am glad to hear this judge woke finally realised this was all a lie on Jill Steins part.

A federal judge who ordered Michigan to begin its recount effectively ended it on Wednesday, tying his decision to a state court ruling that found Green Party candidate Jill Stein had no legal standing to request another look at ballots.

The ruling seals Republican Donald Trump’s narrow victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton for Michigan’s16 electoral votes.

U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith agreed with Republicans who argued that the three-day recountmust end a day after the state appeals court dealt a blow to the effort. The court said Stein, who finished fourth in Michigan on Nov. 8, didn’t have a chance of winning even after a recount and therefore isn’t an “aggrieved” candidate.

“Because there is no basis for this court to ignore the Michigan court’s ruling and make an independent judgment regarding what the Michigan Legislature intended by the term ‘aggrieved,’ plaintiffs have not shown an entitlement to a recount,” Goldsmith said.

It was the judge’s midnight ruling Monday that started the recount in Michigan. But Goldsmith’s order dealt with timing — not whether a recount was appropriate. More than 20 of 83 counties already were counting ballots again. They reported minor changes in vote totals, although many precincts couldn’t be examined for a second time for a variety of reasons.

Earlier Wednesday, the Michigan elections board voted, 3-1, to end the recount if Goldsmith extinguished his earlier order.

State Republican Party Chairman Ronna Romney McDaniel and Attorney General Bill Schuette said it’s a victory for voters and taxpayers. Stein now is left with asking the Michigan Supreme Court to intervene, which is a long shot.

“Jill Stein, who received only 1.07% of the vote in Michigan, is not legally entitled to hijack the will of voters and drag them into an arduous and expensive publicity stunt,” McDaniel said.

Stein got about 1 percent of the vote in three states where she’s pushed for recounts — Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Trump narrowly won all three.

She insists she’s more concerned about the accuracy of the election, but Goldsmith said Stein’s legal team presented only “speculative claims” about vulnerable machines, “not actual injury.”

The judge said a recount to test the integrity of the voting system “has never been endorsed by any court.”

A court hearing will be held Friday on a possible recount in Pennsylvania. Wisconsin’s recount, which started last week, has increased Trump’s margin of victory over Clinton thus far.

Clinton needed all three states to flip in order to take enough electoral votes to win the election. Trump has 306 electoral votes to Clinton’s 232; 270 are needed to win. Michigan has 16 electoral votes, Pennsylvania has 20 and Wisconsin has 10. Electors convene Dec. 19 across the country to vote for president.

State Department contractors detail how Clinton and her team ignored security rules

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H/T Fox News Politics. 

The sad part is Hillary’s supporters are too ignorant to care.

Even worse is the powers that be do not give a damn either.

 

EXCLUSIVE: Two State Department contractors, with decades of experience protecting the United States’ most sensitive secrets, are speaking out for the first time about Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state and how the rules for government security clearance holders did not seem to apply to Clinton and her team.

“The State Department was her oyster and it was great for the [Clinton] foundation and great for the Clintons to be able to have such a great position,” Dave Whitnah told Fox News.

Whitnah said he worked within the State Department’s Office of Security Technology which is responsible for cameras and alarms and sweeping for bugs. Whitnah said everyone understood the secretary of state is the primary target of foreign intelligence services.

“The number one person would be the secretary of state and their communications,” Whitnah explained. “You can think of the Iran negotiations, nuclear negotiation, negotiations with Russia, talks with Russia. You know, anything to do with foreign policy.”

Whitnah emphasized that tens of millions of dollars were spent on technical security for Clinton that apparently was disregarded as her team traveled around the world on official U.S. government business.

“It was unfathomable that [her BlackBerry] would be used for anything other than just unclassified communication,” Whitnah said. Clinton’s devices were not certified as secure by the State Department. As for her use of a non-secure BlackBerry, Whitnah stressed that email can be intercepted and, “Even if turned off, it’s still a listening device so that’s why you take out the batteries.”

As Clinton was sworn in as secretary in January 2009, government contractor Amel Smith said he was also working at the department and: “State Department rules are clear. I helped write those rules.”

Smith says his 30 years of experience includes serving in the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne, before becoming a counter-intelligence and counter-espionage investigator at State tracking down breaches of classified materials. He reviewed some of the FBI witness interviews from the Clinton email investigation with Fox News, and questioned those who claimed not to have the proper training in handling sensitive information.

“I hear things like, well, I forgot, um, I don’t know that I was trained, I don’t know this. You know — every single person that had access to that information when it was sent is in violation,” Smith emphasized.

The FBI witness interviews also show secure facilities for classified information — known as SCIFs — were specially built for Clinton in her in Washington, D.C., and Chappaqua, N.Y., homes. Doors that were supposed to be locked were left open.

“If you’ve got an uncleared person in there, it’s automatically a compromise,” Smith said.

Another FBI interview summary said there were personally owned desktop computers in the secure facilities at Clinton’s homes, yet she told the FBI that she did not have a computer of any kind in these facilities.

“If somebody said they’re there, then they probably were there, and you know, the reason you would deny it was because you probably didn’t have approval,” Smith said.

Having unapproved computers in a SCIF would automatically call for a security investigation.

Asked for his reaction to Clinton’s claim that nothing she sent or received was marked classified, Whitnah called that assertion a “misrepresentation.” Fox News was first to report in June that at least one of the emails contained a classified information portion marking for “c” which is confidential. FBI Director James Comey later said in July when he recommended against criminal charges that a handful of Clinton emails contained classified markings.

But more than 2,100 emails with classified information, and at least 22 at the “top secret” level, passed through Clinton’s unsecured private server. Asked how it happened, Smith said, “Personally, there had to have been somebody moving classified information from C-LAN, C-LAN again is Secret, Confidential only, and JWICS. JWICS is where all top secret information is.”

After new emails were found in the Anthony Weiner sexting case belonging to his estranged wife Clinton aide Huma Abedin, the FBI reopened the Clinton email investigation. On Sunday, Comey said the emails did not change his recommendation against criminal charges because his investigators did not find intent to move classified materials outside secure government channels

“Whether it’s the private email server, whether it’s this private laptop. If there’s classified — one document on there — that’s classified, it’s a violation. Somebody violated [the] law,” Smith said. “Throw all the politics out the window, what we’re talking about is the defense of this nation.”

Asked about Smith and Whitnah, who filed a complaint against the State Department, a department spokesman said they were not direct hires — adding that the head of diplomatic security told the FBI that Clinton was “very responsive to security issues.”

 

 

Supreme Court puts Obama’s power plant regs on hold

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This is from Fox News Politics.

Will Obama use his pen to push this agenda?

Will the GOP have the gonads to stand up to him?

 

A divided Supreme Court on Tuesday abruptly halted President Obama’s controversial new power plant regulations, dealing a blow to the administration’s sweeping plan to address global warming.

n a 5-4 decision, the court halted enforcement of the plan until after legal challenges are resolved.

The surprising move is a victory for the coalition of 27 mostly Republican-led states and industry opponents that call the regulations “an unprecedented power grab.”

By temporarily freezing the rule the high court’s order signals that opponents have made a strong argument against the plan. A federal appeals court last month refused to put it on hold.

The court’s four liberal justices said they would have denied the request.

The plan aims to stave off the worst predicted impacts of climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions at existing power plants by about one-third by 2030.

“We disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision to stay the Clean Power Plan while litigation proceeds,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement.Earnest said the administration’s plan is based on a strong legal and technical foundation, and gives the states time to develop cost-effective plans to reduce emissions. He also said the administration will continue to “take aggressive steps to make forward progress to reduce carbon emissions.”

Appellate arguments are set to begin June 2.

The compliance period starts in 2022, but states must submit their plans to the Environmental Protection Administration by September or seek an extension.

Many states opposing the plan depend on economic activity tied to such fossil fuels as coal, oil and gas. They argued that power plants will have to spend billions of dollars to begin complying with a rule that may end up being overturned.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey of West Virginia, whose coal-dependent state is helping lead the legal fight, hailed the court’s decision.

“We are thrilled that the Supreme Court realized the rule’s immediate impact and froze its implementation, protecting workers and saving countless dollars as our fight against its legality continues,” Morrisey said.

Implementation of the rules is considered essential to the United States meeting emissions-reduction targets in a global climate agreement signed in Paris last month. The Obama administration and environmental groups also say the plan will spur new clean-energy jobs.

Environmentalists were stunned by the court’s action, which they stressed did not reflect a decision on the relative strength of the Obama administration’s case.

“The Clean Power Plan has a firm anchor in our nation’s clean air laws and a strong scientific record, and we look forward to presenting our case on the merits in the courts,” said Vickie Patton, a lawyer for Environmental Defense Fund, which is a party to the case.

California Gov. Jerry Brown called the decision an “arbitrary roadblock” that “undermines America’s climate leadership.”

To convince the high court to temporarily halt the plan, opponents had to convince the justices that there was a “fair prospect” the court might strike down the rule. The court also had to consider whether denying a stay would cause irreparable harm to the states and utility companies affected.

The unsigned, one-page order blocks the rules from taking effect while the legal fight plays out in the appeals court and during any further appeal to the Supreme Court, a process that easily could extend into 2017.

Obama looks to ban Social Security recipients from owning guns

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This is from Fox News Politics.

Obama does not understand what “Shall Not Be Infringed” means, he may have to learn the hard way.

I doubt if the GOP will stand up to him.

 

The Obama administration wants to keep people collecting Social Security benefits from owning guns if it is determined they are unable to manage their own affairs, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The push, which could potentially affect millions whose monthly disability payments are handled by others, is intended to bring the Social Security Administration in line with laws that prevent gun sales to felons, drug addicts, immigrants in the United States illegally, and others, according to the paper.

The language of federal gun laws restricts ownership to people who are unable to manage their own affairs due to “marked subnormal intelligence, or mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease” – which could potentially affect a large group within Social Security, the LA Times reported.

If Social Security, which has never taken part in the background check system, uses the same standard as the Department of Veterans Affairs – which is the idea floated – then millions of beneficiaries could be affected, with about 4.2 million adults receiving monthly benefits that are managed by “representative payees.”

The latest move is part of the efforts by President Obama to strengthen gun control following the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in 2012.

Critics are blasting the plan, saying that expanding the list of people who cannot own guns based on financial competence is wrongheaded.

The ban, they argue, would keep guns out of the hands of some dangerous people, but would also include people who simply have a bad memory or have a hard time balancing a checkbook.

The background check for gun ownership started in 1993 by the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, named after White House Press Secretary James Brady, who was partially paralyzed after being shot in the 1981 assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan.

Gun stores are required to run the names of potential buyers through a computerized system before every sale.

Click for the full story from the Los Angeles Times.

 

 

US Army plans to cut 40,000 troops over next two years

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This is from Fox News Politics.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in 2014 wanted to cut the Army to pre 9/11 and pre World War II levels.

What next cut the military to pre Revolutionary War levels?

 

The U.S. Army is planning to cut more than 40,000 troops over the next two years, a senior U.S. defense official confirmed to Fox News Tuesday.

General Martin Dempsey announced at a Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing Tuesday that dwindling resources was a major factor in the decision to cut the number of active troops from 490,000 to 450,000.

In addition to the troop cuts, 17,000 Army civilian employees will be laid off in a plan that is to be formally announced on Thursday.

The announcement comes just one day after President Obama said there were “no current plans” to send more troops to Iraq to fight Islamic State, although he did not rule out the possibility in the future.

In 2014, former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel first announced a plan to cut the Army to pre-9/11 levels and pre WWII levels in a 2015 budget proposal.

 

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