Senator Collins to Husson grads: ‘hyper-partisanship, insult, and accusation are poisoning our discourse’

Senator Collins issued two challenges to Husson University grads: stay in Maine, and restore civility and union to the country.
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BANGOR, Maine — Senator Susan Collins delivered the commencement address at Husson University Saturday morning and called on students to rise above political hostility and restore civility.

Sen. Collins issued two challenges to the graduates: “please stay in Maine,” a plea to bolster Maine’s dwindling workforce; and to “restore community, civility, and union in our great country.”

Sen. Collins said, “we live in a time of ever-worsening divisiveness, a time in which the bonds that have characterized and strengthened our country are not just in danger of being lost, but far too often, deliberately discarded. From government to social media, or perhaps anti-social would be the more accurate term, to the 24/7 news cycle, hyper partisanship, insult and accusation are poisoning our discourse, turning us against one another and preventing us from coming together to solve real problems.”

RELATED: Woman charged with sending Sen. Collins threatening mail pleads not guilty

RELATED: Maine’s congressional delegation speaks out after release of Mueller report

Collins said these attitudes are weakening “our sense of community” and “undermining our willingness to listen and learn from one another. This modern day tribalism divides society into ‘us versus them’ and increasingly we isolate ourselves from those who are not just like ourselves, wanting to talk only to those who mirror our political viewpoints and listen to the same media sources that we do.”

WATCH THE FULL SPEECH HERE

The class entering Husson University this past fall was the largest in the University’s history.

“This polarization is contrary to the foundation of our society that values experience and expertise with centrality of fact, humility in the face of complexity, the need for study, and a respect for differing perspectives,” said Collins. “Those who seek compromise are vilified and even threatened.”

RELATED: Sen. Collins and staff getting abusive calls and correspondence

Sen. Collins received threats surrounding her decision to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

“I am counting on you graduates to lead the way,” she said.

Petition to the House Judiciary Committee: investigate Kavanaugh

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While we remain focused on the growing calls for an impeachment investigation in the wake of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, we’re here to remind you about a story that’s lately received far too little attention. A little over six months after squeaking through an overtly partisan confirmation process, Justice Kavanaugh still has a lot to answer for:

    • During the confirmation process, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley excluded nearly 75% of Kavanaugh’s White House records from his documents request.
    • The small number of records that were made available show that Kavanaugh was dishonest in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2004, 2006, and 2018.
    • When a supplemental FBI investigation looked into accusations of sexual assault, the White House tightly controlled the investigation — including who could be interviewed and which lines of questioning could be pursued.
    • When Kavanaugh came back to the Senate for the hearing at which Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified, he potentially committed perjury in answering the Committee’s questions.
  • Kavanaugh reported a sizable personal financial debt in 2016, but that debt disappeared without a trace by the time he filed his 2017 financial disclosure statement.

The American people deserve answers. Who paid off Kavanaugh’s debt, and why? Did the White House cover up evidence that Kavanuagh sexually assulted Dr. Ford? Did Kavanaugh perjure himself in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee?

The House Judiciary Committee has the power to find out — so we’re pushing them to get to the bottom of these questions and more with an official investigation. Will you add your name to call on the House Judiciary Committee to investigate perjury and other crimes potentially committed by Brett Kavanaugh?

Thank you,
Team FSFP

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Maine woman charged in mail threat sent to Sen. Collins

If convicted, Suzanne Muscara of Burlington, Maine, faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

BANGOR, Maine — A woman from Burlington, Maine, was arrested Friday in connection to a mail threat addressed to Sen. Susan Collins’ Bangor home, stemming from a previous investigation into a letter received by her husband claiming to contain ricin.

Two days after Sen. Collins’ husband Thomas Daffron opened the ricin threat letter at home by himself in October 2018, prompting a multi-level police response, a U.S. Postal Service mail sorting facility in Hampden intercepted another suspicious envelope that would later test consistent with starch.

A fingerprint on that envelope led them to a suspect.

Suzanne Muscara, 37, is charged with mailing a threatening communication to a U.S. government official protected under federal law.

RELATED: Letter delivered to Collins’ Bangor home claimed to contain ricin

According to the complaint affidavit, Daffron opened and handled a letter purportedly contaminated by ricin on Oct. 15, 2018.

Daffron told investigators he was opening mail while at the house alone and came across an envelope addressed to him bearing a Bangor return address and a name – postmarked in both Tacoma and Olympia, Washington, on Oct. 12, 2018 – with a typed, unsigned letter inside.

The letter claimed it had been “coated in Ricin residue,” and said, “Good Luck to you and Susan in the next life” and “your wife has betrayed the people of Maine along with the American people and this will be her downfall.”

Hazmat teams responded and determined no ricin was present.

A USPS inspector was subsequently assigned to the case to hand-screen all mail addressed to the Bangor residence.

Two days later, on Oct. 17, a hand-printed envelope addressed to “Susan Collins or current resident” was intercepted at the Hampden USPS sorting facility.

According to the affidavit, the envelope bore Collins’ street address and a return street address to a separate residence in Bangor. The letter was leaking a fine white powder, which was tested and found not to contain toxic substances.

Testing at the Maine Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory also revealed its contents: inside, according to the affidavit, was a double-sided, Aetna Medicare Solutions colored flyer, reading “AnthRAX!!! HA HA HA!!!” in blue handwriting on one side, along with a drawn stick-figure with the letter “X” for eyes, tongue sticking out and the word “You” with an arrow pointing at the figure.

The FBI later found the substance to be consistent with starch.

A fingerprint on the outside of the envelope was traced by investigators through the FBI’s friction ridge print database and, according to the affidavit, was a match for Muscara’s right thumb, recorded during a 2013 arrest in Pennsylvania.

Muscara was visited by FBI agents on April 5 in Burlington, Maine. The affidavit states she admitted to sending an envelope by mail to Collins containing a white powder and said it was not poison. She also reportedly confessed to enclosing a note within the envelope, and recalled using the word “anthrax.”

According to the affidavit, she told the agents she thought the letter would be intercepted by law enforcement before it reached Collins and did not believe the note would be taken seriously.

RELATED: Sen. Collins’ husband says he’s concerned for wife after suspicious letter claims to contain ricin

If convicted, Muscara faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

She was expected to make an initial court appearance at 2:30 p.m. Friday in Bangor.

Muscara’s next court date is Tuesday, April 16 at 3 p.m. Her preliminary and detention hearings will both be held then.

Muscara will continue to be held temporarily until the detention hearing.

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Maine: Kraft allegations focus Mainers’ attention on sex trafficking

Cumberland County District Attorney Jonathan Sahrbeck says sex trafficking exists in Maine and it “is not a victimless crime.”

PORTLAND, Maine — Cumberland County District Attorney Jonathan Sahrbeck says sex trafficking “is not a victimless crime.”

He calls it a consistent problem in Maine that is suddenly getting a lot of attention after Patriots owner Robert Kraft was charged with soliciting prostitution from a Flordia day spa that was shut down by investigators there.

In Maine, human trafficking is not particularly worse than any other part of the United States.

A 2015 study by a state non-profit showed Maine police dealt with between 200 and 300 sex trafficking cases, most victims being white women ranging in age from 14 to 30.

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Many had a history of being sexually abused or were victims of domestic violence.

“We’ve seen victims who’ve been from Maine, grown up in Maine,  we’ve seen victims who came from New York, Boston, and Washington, D.C.,” said Sahrbeck who added that the state’s opioid crisis is not helping combat sex trafficking.

“When you have somebody who deals drugs to get money, those people also deal with human beings to get money,” he said.

For others in the state, the Kraft allegations highlighted a different debate: whether or not prostitution should be legalized to combat human trafficking.

“The Robert Kraft story is just one example of the need,” said Cynthia Dill, a former state legislator, and civil rights lawyer.

“If what the market demands is sex work then let’s have a free market, let’s empower workers and let’s give them the law enforcement and the protection of the law that they need.”

While there are not any imminent plans for legal prostitution to be considered by current Maine lawmakers, the problem itself remains.

“There’s sex trafficking going on Cumberland County, there’s sex trafficking going on in the state of Maine and wherever it’s happening, it’s unacceptable,” said Johnathan Sahrbeck.

(Think the Bush family is innocent?  Really?! Maybe every sex criminal deserves a coin, Senator King.)

Senator Susan Collins desperately tries to win back her credibility as a progressive. (She isn’t. She voted FOR the emergency declaration in the US Senate.)

Senator Susan Collins, who voted in Favor of Trumps emergency declaration.
Rape apologist and Maine Senator Susan Collins

AUGUSTA, Maine — President Donald Trump’s administration passed a policy Friday that would prevent taxpayer-funded family planning clinics from referring women for abortions. It would also prohibit these clinics from being housed in the same location as abortion providers.

Abortion advocates, who have expressed opposition to the policy, say it targets Title X, a family planning program passed by President Richard Nixon in 1970.

Title X serves about 4 million women a year through independent clinics. Many of these clinics are run by Planned Parenthood affiliates, which serve about 1.6 million women. The grant program costs taxpayers around $260 million a year.

Those opposed to abortion – in large part, religious conservatives, who make up a notable portion of Trump’s policy base – have expressed support for the policy, since they say it will help redirect some taxpayer dollars away from funds for abortions.

RELATED: Trump to bar abortion referrals by family planning clinics

Maine legislators sent out statements in response to the policy Friday.

“Every woman should be able to access reproductive health care when and where she needs it,” said Gov. Janet Mills, quoted in a statement release. “The Trump Administration’s gag rule is backward policy that will silence health care providers, withhold vital medical information from patients, and prevent women from getting the basic health care they need.”

Gov. Mills joined states across the country last year in a lawsuit attempting to stop the Trump administration from making these changes to Title X.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins also expressed opposition to the new regulation. Maine’s senior senator has been a long-time proponent for funding of the Title X Family Planning Program.

“I oppose this misguided rule change that could significantly diminish access for women to crucial contraceptive services, which have been critical in reducing the number of abortions in our country over the past three decades,” Sen. Collins said in an emailed statement. “In fact, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and I wrote to the Trump Administration last summer to express our opposition to this proposal.”

Her spokeswoman, Annie Clark, noted that Collins and Murkowski wrote this letter to Health & Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to express concern and ask the Trump administration to reconsider. In the letter, the two women said that the proposed rule may undermine success the country has seen in reducing the abortion numbers by providing timely and convenient access to contraception services.

Clark said Collins will be evaluating potential legislative remedies in the coming weeks.

Abortion is a legal medical procedure, but federal laws prohibit the use of taxpayer funds to pay for abortions, except in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the woman.

download (2)Collins backs resolution disapproving emergency declaration to build wall
Collins said the president should go through normal appropriations channels if he thinks he needs more money for border security.

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — Senator Susan Collins says she is prepared to vote for a Congressional resolution expressing disapproval of President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency in order to get more money for a border wall.

She is the first Republican senator to make that commitment.

Collins said the president should go through normal appropriations channels if he thinks he needs more money for border security.

Collins said Wednesday morning that a Resolution of Disapproval is expected to pass in the House and then move to the Senate.

And I don’t know what the vote situation will be in the Senate, nor do I know exactly what that resolution will say but it is a privileged matter, which means that it will come before the Senate for a vote. And if it’s a clean disapproval resolution, I will support it.

Collins says it’s not yet clear whether money earmarked for improving the drydock at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard would– in her words– be “robbed” in order to meet President Trump’s priorities.

Collins spoke Wednesday at a Coast Guard ceremony in South Portland.

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But she voted IN FAVOR of the emergency declaration in the Senate!!!

How did Maine Senator Susan Collins Vote?

Date Bill No. Bill Title Outcome Vote
Feb. 14, 2019 H J Res 31 Making further continuing appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security for fiscal year 2019, and for other purposes Conference Report Adopted – Senate
(84 – 15)
Yea
Feb. 14, 2019 PN 17 Nomination of William Pelham Barr to be Attorney General of the Department of Justice Senate
(54 – 1)
Yea
Feb. 12, 2019 PN 17 Nomination of William Pelham Barr to be Attorney General of the Department of Justice Cloture Invoked – Senate
(55 – 44)
Yea
Feb. 12, 2019 S 47 Natural Resources Management Act Bill Passed – Senate
(92 – 8)
Yea
Feb. 5, 2019 S 1 Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019 Bill Passed – Senate
(77 – 23)
Yea
Jan. 8, 2019 S 47 Natural Resources Management Act Senate Co-sponsor
Jan. 3, 2019 S 1 Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019 Senate Co-sponsor

You weren’t surprised, were you?

 

Let’s make a coin for Roslyn Corrigan, groped by President Bush when she was 16, (sixth victim) what do you say, Senator King?

By ARIC JENKINS 

November 13, 2017

Roslyn Corrigan was sixteen years old when she got a chance to meet George H.W. Bush, excited to be introduced to a former president having grown up dreaming of going into politics.

But Corrigan was crushed by her encounter: Bush, then 79 years old, groped her buttocks at a November 2003 event in The Woodlands, Texas, office of the Central Intelligence Agency where Corrigan’s father gathered with fellow intelligence officers and family members to meet Bush, Corrigan said. Corrigan is the sixth woman since Oct. 24 to accuse Bush publicly of grabbing her buttocks without consent.

“My initial reaction was absolute horror. I was really, really confused,” Corrigan told TIME, speaking publicly for the first time about the encounter. “The first thing I did was look at my mom and, while he was still standing there, I didn’t say anything. What does a teenager say to the ex-president of the United States? Like, ‘Hey dude, you shouldn’t have touched me like that?’”

Roslyn Corrigan (L), former president George H.W. Bush (C) and Sari Young (R) at the November 2003 event where Corrigan says Bush groped her.
Roslyn Corrigan (L), former president George H.W. Bush (C) and Sari Young (R) at the November 2003 event where Corrigan says Bush groped her.
Courtesy Corrigan Family

Corrigan said the incident happened while she was being photographed standing next to Bush. Five other women have made similar claims against Bush in recent weeks. Seven people, including family members and friends, confirmed to TIME that they had been told about alleged groping by Bush of Corrigan prior to the other recent allegations.

“George Bush simply does not have it in his heart to knowingly cause anyone harm or distress, and he again apologizes to anyone he may have offended during a photo op,” Bush spokesperson Jim McGrath said in a statement to TIME. Previously, McGrath said Bush “has patted women’s rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner,” additionally attributing the act to his diminished height after being confined to a wheelchair since 2012. Bush was standing upright in 2003 when he met Corrigan.

Corrigan said that to this day, some of the responses she gets to her story are dismissive but she said she feels emboldened to speak out after seeing other women come forward, and hopes more will do so after hearing her account.

“I don’t know, maybe it never really hit people that I was a child at the time and that goes beyond a guy being inappropriate in the workplace to a peer or somebody in his age range,” she said. “I was a child.”

Corrigan, who had heard Bush give a speech at a conference held at the George Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University earlier in November 2003, asked her father, Steve A. Young, if she could leave early from her classes at The Woodlands High School and join him at the planned visit by Bush. After Bush addressed the CIA gathering, which included agency personnel and their family members, Corrigan had the opportunity to take a photograph with Bush, alongside her mother, Sari Young.

Ryan Trapani, a spokesperson for the CIA, declined multiple requests for comment regarding Young’s employment and Corrigan’s allegation against Bush.

“As soon as the picture was being snapped on the one-two-three he dropped his hands from my waist down to my buttocks and gave it a nice, ripe squeeze, which would account for the fact that in the photograph my mouth is hanging wide open,” Corrigan said. “I was like, ‘Oh my goodness, what just happened?’”

Courtesy of the Corrigan Family

Her mother, Sari, said Corrigan told her about the encounter as soon as Bush stepped away.

“When he left, my daughter Rozi said, ‘He grabbed me on the rear end.’ And I said, ‘What, what?’” Sari said. “And she said, ‘Yes, he grabbed me when they were taking the picture. He grabbed me on my butt.’ And I was like, ‘Oh my god, are you kidding me?’

“I was really, really upset — she was very upset, she was really, really mad,” she added. Sari said she would have tried to take action “had it been just some Joe Blow or something. I’d probably chase him down and yell at him.”

“But, you know, it’s the president. What are you supposed to do?” she said in a Oct. 28 interview. “And you’ve got your husband’s job that could be in jeopardy. I mean, you just didn’t then. You should—you should have always spoken up, always—but we didn’t.”

Within the next few days, Corrigan told her childhood friend Chelsea Wellman about the alleged groping as well, Wellman told TIME on Oct. 27.

Christopher Yarbrough, who was married to Corrigan from 2010 until their divorce the following year, said on Oct. 27 he learned about the incident about a month after they started dating in 2005. One day, the two were going through scrapbooks at Sari’s house, he said, when they flipped to a page revealing the photo with Bush. He said that Corrigan then told him about the encounter with the former president.

Tristan Voskuhl, who went to Sam Houston State University with Corrigan, said Corrigan first told her about the incident in 2006 when they were 19 years old. Bob Unseld, a family friend, said Sari first told him of the incident in 2013. “She didn’t say it just once. She told me this several times that he had done this to Rozi. It made her very mad.” Paul Weins, Unseld’s husband, also said he heard Sari’s account of the incident in 2013.

Bush, who from January 1976 to January 1977 served as the CIA’s director of Central Intelligence—the former title of the agency’s highest-ranking position—is one of a number of prominent figures to be accused of sexual assault since news of alleged past assaults committed by Harvey Weinstein broke early last month.

Actress Heather Lind was the first to openly accuse Bush of groping her while they posed for a photo during a promotional tour for her AMC series Turn: Washington’s Spies in 2013.

“He didn’t shake my hand. He touched me from behind from his wheelchair with his wife Barbara Bush by his side,” Lind wrote in a now-deleted Instagram post on Oct. 24.

On Oct. 25, New York-based actress Jordana Grolnick told Deadspin Bush groped her in August 2016 at a Maine theater where she was performing. She said that Bush came backstage with Barbara during the intermission of the play, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and gathered with the cast for a photo.

On Oct. 26, best-selling author Christina Baker Kline wrote in Slate that Bush groped her during an April 2014 photo op at a Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy fundraiser in Houston.

Amanda Staples, a former Maine Senate candidate said in a private Instagram post on Oct. 26 that Bush groped her in 2006, the Portland Press Heraldreported.

Liz Allen, a retired Erie Times-News journalist, said in an Oct. 26 Facebook post that Bush touched her from behind at a local business association event while taking a photograph with the former president in Erie, Pa. in 2004.

Bush’s spokesperson, McGrath, declined a separate request from TIME to comment on Staples and Allen’s allegations, which they said occurred when the former president was standing up.

Corrigan said that Bush’s response to Lind and Grolnick’s allegations, which cited his use of a wheelchair, bothers her because the “excuse for his senile, old man antics… is not true.”

She said that recently, she was listening to an episode of a podcast hosted by Ben Shapiro called “Is Everything Sexual Assault Now?” Allegations against Bush were discussed on the show.

“When I heard that was the reason, like, ‘Oh, he’s just an old man and he doesn’t know any better and he’s just being harmless and playful and it’s just where his arm falls… I just burst into uncontrollable sobbing,” Corrigan said. “I just couldn’t sit with that. I can’t. I cannot sit with that. I can’t sleep anymore, because that’s not true, and it’s not an excuse.”

On Nov. 1, former first lady Laura Bush, wife of George W. Bush, told CNN that the alleged incidents against her father-in-law were “very innocent.”

“I’m just sad that we’ve come to this,” Laura Bush told the network. “That was something that was very, very innocent that he’s been accused of. But I know he would feel terrible.”

Corrigan said she doesn’t see it that way.

“It completely floored me. I was actually there to be taken seriously, and I wasn’t,” she said. “I thought, he’s a career politician, almost 80 years old or something like that, if anybody’s going to take me a little bit seriously or at least try to pretend he’s interested in what I have to say, it would be this guy. And he didn’t. All he did was grab my butt.”

Maine: Number of women who reported being drugged at Saco’s ‘Run of the Mill Public House and Brewery’ rising

Saco Police say the incidents happened at The Run of the Mill Public House and Brewery on Saturday, Feb. 2.
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SACO, Maine — The number of people who have reported being drugged at a bar in Saco on the same night has risen to six.

Saco Police say the incidents happened at The Run of the Mill Public House and Brewery on Saturday, Feb. 2.

Six people have reported to police of similar circumstances.

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Several of the women reported seeing a strange woman lurking around the restaurant who looked out of place to them.

Saco Police say they continue to investigate.

If any member of the public has information that may help they urged to call the Saco Police Department at 207-284-4535.

RELATED: Five women report being drugged at Saco bar on the same night

The Saco Police Department is reminding people to follow safety tips when out.

  • Never leave your drink unattended.
  • Do not accept a drink from a stranger.
  • If you lose sight of your drink at any time, discard the drink and get a new one.
  • Use a buddy system.  Make sure that friends look out for each other while enjoying nightlife.
  • If you see anything suspicious, notify the establishment staff immediately.
  • If you believe you have been drugged, seek medical attention immediately.