Washington Free Beacon
The U.S. Army announced on Thursday that it would adopt a new sidearm manufactured by Sig Sauer.
The Army awarded Sig Sauer the contract for a brand new Modular Handgun System worth up to $580 million over 10 years. That sum will equip the military branch with the P320 beginning this year once operational testing is complete. It will replace the standard issue Beretta M9 that the Army currently employs.
The guns are designed to accommodate a number of different configurations. The gun, which has already been successful in the civilian market, will come in both a full-size and compact variant. It will be able to accept both standard and extended magazines and silencers. The civilian version of the gun is sold in 9mm, 357 Sig, 40 S&W, and 45 ACP, but the Army has not announced what caliber it will use.
The head of the Army’s acquisition unit praised the modular P320 as a unique advancement in firearms technology.
“I am tremendously proud of the Modular Handgun System team,” Army Acquisition Executive Steffanie Easter said in a statement. “By maximizing full and open competition across our industry partners, we have optimized private sector advancements in handguns, ammunition, and magazines, and the end result will ensure a decidedly superior weapon system for our Warfighters.”
“As MHS moves forward into operational testing, the due diligence taken by all of the stakeholders will ensure a program that remains on-budget and on-schedule,” Easter added.
Sig Sauer CEO Ron Cohen said the company is proud to have won the contract and credited his employees with the success.
“We are both humbled and proud that the P320 was selected by the U.S. Army as its weapon of choice,” he said. “Securing this contract is a testimony to Sig Sauer employees and their commitment to innovation, quality, and manufacturing the most reliable firearms in the world.”
The Army’s announcement comes on the heels of the Marine Corps adopting Magpul’s PMag as its standard magazine going forward while the military reequips to face the threats presented around the world.
Retired Marine Gen. John Kelly was confirmed as Donald Trump’s secretary of homeland security on Friday evening, soon after the inauguration of the new president.
The Senate voted 88-11 to confirm Kelly to lead the Department of Homeland Security, an agency formed after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks.
Kelly faced little resistance during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs last week, during which he faced questions about Trump’s plan to build a wall on the southern border, immigration, cyber security, the drug trade, and homegrown terrorism. Kelly was commended by Republicans and Democrats as a formidable choice for the job given his experience commanding the U.S. Southern Command.
Kelly, who served 45 years in the Marine Corps, emphasized his belief in the principles of respect and tolerance, respect for the rule of law, and his willingness to “speak truth to power.”
Kelly served as commander of the U.S. Southern Command between 2012 and 2016, retiring last January. He previously served as a senior military assistant to former defense secretaries Robert Gates and Leon Panetta.
“General Kelly is the right choice to lead the Department of Homeland Security. He led our men and women in uniform during three tours in Iraq, oversaw the operations at the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, and served as commander of U.S. Southern Command,” Sen. Ron Johnson (R., Wis.), who chairs the committee, said following the hearing last Tuesday.
“General Kelly’s extensive and relevant experience has provided him with a deep knowledge and understanding of the grave security threats facing our nation and the sacrifices that are required to keep us safe.”
The Department of Homeland Security handles a number of issues, including immigration, border security, domestic terror threats, the protection of critical infrastructure, and cyber security. It operates on a budget exceeding $40 billion and employs about 240,000 workers.
As the fifth secretary of homeland security, Kelly takes over for Jeh Johnson.
Retired Marine Gen. James Mattis was also confirmed on Friday to serve as defense secretary in the Trump administration. Some of Trump’s other Cabinet picks are likely to face more difficult roads to confirmation.
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MSNBC host Rachel Maddow mocked and criticized President Trump on Friday for his transition team’s request to have a military flyover during the inaugural parade hours after he was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States.
“We were talking earlier about these reports that the Trump transition had requested more of a Red Square style show of military force including tanks and missile launchers in a military parade, which is not something that we do in this country,” Maddow said.
She added that the transition team also requested a military flyover from all five branches of the U.S. military, including helicopters from the Coast Guard. Maddow then cited one of Trump’s recent interviews and noted how he wanted to “show off the military” in the parade, which made the MSNBC host question his motives.
“I don’t understand why he wants that,” Maddow said.
“You know why, the show of strength. It’s the head of state’s show of military strength,” MSNBC’s Chris Matthews replied.
Maddow called Trump’s military request “embarrassing,” saying the only president without public service or military experience wants to show off the military the most.
“Is this a small hands thing you think? Is this a small hands phenomenon?” Matthews asked.
“You got multiple deferments from the war that happened when you were in your prime and then you want to show off the military once you’re in office?” Maddow asked.
Maddow’s “Red Square” comparison was a reference to the city square in Moscow, where the Soviet Union held many military style parades in the 20th century. Since Trump won the election last November, Democrats have accused Russia’s President Vladimir Putin of interfering in the U.S. presidential election and hacking the Democratic National Committee to help Trump get elected.
The U.S. intelligence community has said Russia was behind a cyber and disinformation campaign to influence the election and hurt Hillary Clinton’s candidacy.
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CNN on Friday compared the Trumps to the Kennedys and the Camelot image of the White House in the 1960s.
While showing images of First Lady Melania Trump and former First Lady Jackie Kennedy, the commentators said that Trump’s image during the inauguration evoked memories of “Camelot.” This was the term used to describe the fashionable and elegant style that Jackie Kennedy tried to bring to the White House during her husband’s short presidency.
“Jake, you asked if that looked like Jackie Kennedy, that looks like Jackie Kennedy,” Jamie Gangel said in reference to Trump while talking to host Jake Tapper.
“Everything emoded Camelot, that whole era of the Kennedy presidency, and I think she looked amazing,” another commentator said.
“Well, I think if you look at the family in total, especially what Ivanka has been posting, the images are very Camelotesque,” Vanity Fair‘s Emily Jane Fox said.
“So I think you’re starting to see how they’re going to build a brand as a first family, and it’s a very strong, very American, very Camelotesque brand,” Fox continued.
Retired Marine Gen. James Mattis was confirmed by lawmakers on Friday to serve as defense secretary, just hours after Donald Trump was sworn in as president of the United States.
Mattis was expected to be easily confirmed after Congress passed legislation one week ago allowing him to serve in the top defense post despite having been out of uniform for less than seven years.
The Senate voted 98-1 in favor of Mattis’ confirmation Friday afternoon, two days after the Senate Armed Services Committee decisively approved the retired general for defense secretary in a 26-1 vote. The sole Democrat on the committee voting against his confirmation was Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.), who was vocal about opposing the waiver for Mattis due to the importance of civilian control of the military.
Mattis has been praised by both Republican and Democratic lawmakers, as well as former secretaries of defense, as a satisfactory choice to lead the Pentagon at a time when America faces challenges from China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and terrorist organizations.
Mattis will take over the job from Ash Carter. Robert Work, Carter’s deputy, is likely to stay on for a short period as the new administration takes hold.
In testimony to U.S. senators at his confirmation hearing last Thursday, Mattis said that his priorities as secretary of defense would be “to strengthen military readiness, strengthen our alliances, and bring business reforms to the Department of Defense.” He underscored the importance of NATO given Russia’s destabilizing activity in Europe.
“Right now, the most important thing is that we recognize the reality of what we deal with [in] [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, and we recognize that he is trying to break the North Atlantic alliance, and that we take the integrated steps—diplomatic, economic, military, and the alliance steps, working with our allies to defend ourselves where we must,” Mattis said.
Mattis echoed the new president by saying he would work to end sequestration and bolster the strength of the military, which he said is unable to deter potential adversaries in its current form.
Mattis served 41 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, most recently commanding the U.S. Central Command during the Obama administration before retiring in 2013. Mattis is one of two generals selected to serve in Trump’s cabinet that were expected to be swiftly confirmed on Friday. The other is retired Marine Gen. John Kelly, the president’s choice for secretary of homeland security.
Donald Trump’s inauguration was not a happy day for all those in attendance on Friday, as thousands of protesters showed up to voice their opposition to the 45th president.
One anti-Trump protester, sitting on the ground near the Capitol building, took the swearing-in ceremony so hard that she began screaming “No” at the top of her lungs while Sen. Roy Blunt (R., Mo.) was introducing Trump before he took the oath of office.
The video footage was captured by ITV News.
While this individual protest was peaceful, there were many other demonstrations around Washington, D.C. that were not peaceful and broke out into riots, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
Protesters vandalized parts of downtown Washington, D.C. on Friday as the ceremonies for the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump were beginning.
Newspaper boxes were torn away and scattered on the streets while one was reportedly burned. Storefronts were destroyed by protesters who smashed in windows to banks and restaurants just blocks from the Capitol and the White House.
An elderly man was seen being taken by paramedics with apparent injuries inflicted by protesters.
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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe, an Obama appointee, ordered a new ammunition ban for certain federal lands on Thursday–his last full day in office.
The ban, which took effect immediately, eliminates the use of lead-based ammunition on federal lands like national parks and wildlife refuges, as well as any other land administered by the Fish and Wildlife Service. The ban is expected to have a major impact on much of the hunting that takes place on federal lands across the United States as lead-based ammunition is widely legal and used throughout the country.
Ashe said the order was necessary to protect wildlife from exposure to lead.
“Exposure to lead ammunition and fishing tackle has resulted in harmful effects to fish and wildlife species,” Ashe said in his order. “According to the U.S. Geological Survey, lead poisoning is a toxicosis caused by the absorption of hazardous levels of lead in body tissues.”
“Ingested lead pellets from shotgun shells have been a common source of lead poisoning in birds,” the order continued. “The Service recognized the problem of avian exposure to lead shot used for waterfowl hunting and enacted restrictions in 1991 and hunting and waterfowl populations have thrived since.”
“The use of lead ammunition continues for other forms of hunting, presenting an ongoing risk to upland or terrestrial migratory birds and other species that ingest spent shot directly from the ground or as a result of predating or scavenging carcasses that have been killed with lead ammunition and left in the field” Ashe’s order said. “Many states have enacted nontoxic shot and ammunition requirements to address this concern.”
Gun rights activists expressed outrage at the last-minute move, labeling it political. The National Shooting Sports Foundation called for the agency’s next director to immediately rescind the order.
“This directive is irresponsible and driven not out of sound science but unchecked politics,” said Lawrence Keane, the group’s senior vice president. “The timing alone is suspect. This directive was published without dialogue with industry, sportsmen, and conservationists. The next director should immediately rescind this and, instead, create policy based upon scientific evidence of population impacts with regard to the use of traditional ammunition.”
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AVENTURA, Fla.—David Brock, the longtime pro-Hillary Clinton Democratic operative who heads the American Bridge Super PAC and Media Matters for America, created “safe spaces” at his own donor retreat where big money liberal donors are currently huddled to map out a course to “kick Donald Trump’s ass.”
Brock has gathered together over 100 liberal donors at the posh Turnberry Isle resort in Aventura, Fla., for a three-day private event where the deep-pocketed Democratic funders are reminiscing on what went wrong during the 2016 elections and planning how they will fight back against a Trump administration.
During remarks at the conference, an unidentified speaker promised those in attendance that they would be protected from the press and that Brock had made reporters sign waivers promising that they would not talk to donors.
“Throughout the weekend, we are going to have some press with us. They are credentialed for three events,” the speaker said during remarks at a private event that were overheard by the Washington Free Beacon. “You will know what events they are. They have all signed waivers that they may not talk to any donors or any speakers. There’s a separate room where people on panels can go talk to them if they want to talk to them, so if they come up to you its against the rules, so they shouldn’t talk to you and you shouldn’t talk to them.”
The Washington Free Beacon signed no such waiver.
The speaker went on to describe the “safe spaces” each attendee is afforded throughout the duration of the retreat, where panels officially began Friday.
“So the second thing is, a lot of people here want to have a safe space,” she continued. “There are people that want anonymity, there are people that value their privacy, and people want to be able to ask questions and have these conversations without wondering if somebody is going to know what they said.”
Keith Olbermann, the former MSNBC and ESPN host who is now a political commentator at GQ, later stressed how powerful liberals must delegitimize President Trump and peg congressional Republicans as willing collaborators with Russia.
Brock is gathering the donors in the hopes of achieving a liberal dark money network that rivals that of the Koch brothers.
“This will be THE gathering for Democratic donors from across the country to hear from a broad and diverse group of leaders about the next steps for progressives under a Trump Administration,” Brock wrote in an email obtained by Politico leading up to the retreat.
“What better way to spend inaugural weekend than talking about how to kick Donald Trump’s ass?” he said at the time.
Numerous veteran Democratic strategists, donors, and politicians are discussing how to resist the potential actions Trump could take in his first 100 days in office, holding Trump accountable through the court system, and combating “fake news,” among other topics.
The Free Beacon obtained the remarks delivered by David Brock on Friday.
Free Beacon reporter Lachlan Markay contributed to this report.
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Missouri is one of three states to take up right to work in as many weeks after its House of Representatives passed legislation on Thursday.
The Republican-controlled House voted 100-59 to end coercive unionism. The bill would outlaw the practice of paying union dues or fees as a condition of employment. Rep. Holly Rehder, chairman of the Economic Development Committee, said that the bill would help attract jobs to rural areas, which have lagged behind the state’s cities in employment.
“Down in the Bootheel where I live, we miss jobs every year and we miss businesses every year because of not being right to work,” she said.
The state witnessed a steep drop in union membership over the past decade. There were 230,000 dues-paying members in 2015, down from 290,000 in 2005. The membership rate fell from 11.5 percent to 8.8 percent over that time, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Missouri Republican Party controls the House and Senate. The legislature passed the same bill in 2015, but Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed it. Newly-elected Republican Gov. Eric Greitens campaigned on right to work and called for lawmakers to send a version of the bill to his desk during his opening State of the State address on Tuesday.
“The people have sent us a message: We must do everything in our power to put people back to work in good, high-paying jobs,” he said. “That’s why we must join 27 other states and sign right to work.”
The state Democratic Party decried the vote as an attack on workers.
“Missouri Democrats proudly stand with labor and are appalled by Republicans voting a ‘right-to-work-for-less’scheme out of the Mo House,” the party said in a tweet [sic].
Missouri passed right to work the same day that the New Hampshire Senate approved the measure and just two weeks after Kentucky adopted it. If the measure survives, they will become the 28th and 29th states that bar coercive unionism.
The National Right to Work Foundation has focused on Missouri in recent years, as it is one of the few states in the region to lack such protection. Foundation president Mark Mix said that the House vote is a promising start to “free thousands of Missouri workers.”
“The House’s support and passage of the Missouri Right to Work Bill is an important step in the hard-fought battle to end compulsory unionism in the Show-Me State and make Missouri America’s next right to work state,” he said in a statement. “A Missouri right to work law would free thousands of Missouri workers who have been forced to pay tribute to a union boss just for the privilege of getting and keeping a job so they can provide for their families. The law would also provide a much needed economic boost for Missouri.”
The state Senate is expected to take up the bill next week.
Protesters and police clashed in Washington, D.C. on Friday prior to the start of the inauguration parade for President Donald Trump.
With 217 arrests being reported and six D.C. police officers injured, the police moved in and clashed with the rioters who were vandalizing property just blocks away from the inaugural parade route.
Flashbang grenades and pepper spray were widely used in an effort to get the protesters moved out of the area.
Protesters dragged out whatever they could grab, including newspaper boxes, into the middle of the street in an effort to impede the advancing officers. Trash cans were also overturned, thrown in the street, and set on fire.
Update [6:25] PM: This post was updated to include the most recent figures on the number of arrests and police officers injured.
BREAKING: Washington DC police say 217 people were arrested in inauguration protests; 6 police officers injured.
— CNBC Now (@CNBCnow) January 20, 2017
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