Joseph Wulfsohn

Those who spent the last two years pushing the narrative that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential election need to be held accountable, the Federalist senior editor Mollie Hemingway argued Friday.

Earlier in the day, the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller handed in its report on the Russia investigation to the Department of Justice and it was announced that no new indictments would be forthcoming.

During Friday’s All-Star panel segment on Fox News’ "Special Report with Bret Baier," Hemingway — along with Washington Free Beacon editor-in-chief Matthew Continetti and Reuters White House correspondent Jeff Mason — weighed in on the breaking news that reverberated throughout Washington.

MUELLER SUBMITS LONG-AWAITED RUSSIA PROBE REPORT TO JUSTICE DEPARTMENT

Hemingway began by noting that the “Russia narrative” predates the Mueller probe, having begun circulating during the 2016 election after the creation of the infamous Clinton campaign-funded Steele dossier, which pushed the theory that then-Republican candidate Donald Trump was a “Russian agent.”

“We have, for the last three years … frequently [witnessed] hysteria about treasonous collusion with Russia to steal the 2016 election,” Hemingway told the panel. “The fact [is] that there are no more indictments coming and the fact [is] that all of the indictments that we’ve seen thus far have been for process crimes or things unrelated to what we were told by so many people in the media was ‘treasonous collusion’ to steal the 2016 election.”

“If there is nothing there that matches what we’ve heard from the media for many years, there needs to be a reckoning and the people who spread this theory both inside and outside the government who were not critical and who did not behave appropriately need to be held accountable,” she added.

"The people who spread this theory both inside and outside the government … and who did not behave appropriately need to be held accountable."

— Mollie Hemingway, senior editor, the Federalist

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Mason told the panel that there’s likely “some relief” in the White House, particularly from Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and top adviser. And while he insisted it was “too early” to draw major conclusions, he later added that those who attacked Mueller’s credibility throughout his investigation will have to walk back their hostility if he concludes that there was no collusion, including President Trump.

Meanwhile, Continetti suggested that the Mueller report could be the “greatest anticlimax in American history,” and that the entire investigation could be “for nothing” because it was “an investigation without a crime.” He did, however, insist that the “battle will continue” as the White House will fight Congress on transparency of the Mueller findings.

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MSNBC host Chris Matthews expressed outrage on Friday upon hearing reports that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had completed his Russia investigation and submitted it to the attorney general – with further indictments not expected.

SCHIFF REJECTS REPORTS THAT INDICTMENTS ARE OVER

Matthews began his show by summarizing the breaking news, but stressed that Mueller handed his report to the Department of Justice “without ever directly interviewing the president of the United States.”

“That means no charges against the president, his children or his associates after all those meetings with the Russians,” a visibly upset Matthews told his viewers.

The liberal cable news host opened the discussion to the panel, telling them his “biggest question” was “How can the president be pointed to as leading collusion with Russia, aiding a Russian conspiracy to interfere with our elections if none of his henchmen, none of his children, none of his associates have been indicted?”

NBC News national security reporter Ken Dilanian responded by telling Matthews that Trump couldn’t be indicted “in a criminal sense” since Mueller’s office “didn’t have it,” adding that the president “couldn’t conspire with himself.”

“Maybe he missed the boat here,” Matthews responded. “Because we know about the Trump Tower meeting in June 2016, we know about the meeting at the cigar bar with Kilimnik. My God, we know about all of those meetings with Kislyak at the Republican convention in Cleveland. All these dots we’re now to believe don’t connect.”

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“Well, that’s the conclusion in front of us,” Dilanian told Matthews. “All of that stuff was suggestive, it didn’t prove anything.”

“Why was there never an interrogation of this president?” Matthews shot back. “We were told for weeks by experts, ‘You cannot deal with an obstruction-of-justice charge or investigation without getting the motive… How could they let Trump off the hook?… He will not be charged with obstruction of justice or collusion without having to sit down with the Special Counsel Mueller and answer his damn questions. How could that happen?”

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MSNBC host Chris Matthews expressed outrage on Friday upon hearing reports that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had completed his Russia investigation and submitted it to the attorney general – with further indictments not expected.

SCHIFF REJECTS REPORTS THAT INDICTMENTS ARE OVER

Matthews began his show by summarizing the breaking news, but stressed that Mueller handed his report to the Department of Justice “without ever directly interviewing the president of the United States.”

“That means no charges against the president, his children or his associates after all those meetings with the Russians,” a visibly upset Matthews told his viewers.

The liberal cable news host opened the discussion to the panel, telling them his “biggest question” was “How can the president be pointed to as leading collusion with Russia, aiding a Russian conspiracy to interfere with our elections if none of his henchmen, none of his children, none of his associates have been indicted?”

NBC News national security reporter Ken Dilanian responded by telling Matthews that Trump couldn’t be indicted “in a criminal sense” since Mueller’s office “didn’t have it,” adding that the president “couldn’t conspire with himself.”

“Maybe he missed the boat here,” Matthews responded. “Because we know about the Trump Tower meeting in June 2016, we know about the meeting at the cigar bar with Kilimnik. My God, we know about all of those meetings with Kislyak at the Republican convention in Cleveland. All these dots we’re now to believe don’t connect.”

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“Well, that’s the conclusion in front of us,” Dilanian told Matthews. “All of that stuff was suggestive, it didn’t prove anything.”

“Why was there never an interrogation of this president?” Matthews shot back. “We were told for weeks by experts, ‘You cannot deal with an obstruction-of-justice charge or investigation without getting the motive… How could they let Trump off the hook?… He will not be charged with obstruction of justice or collusion without having to sit down with the Special Counsel Mueller and answer his damn questions. How could that happen?”

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2020 candidate and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren had a tough time Thursday describing what direction the Democratic Party should be heading in for the next presidential election.

Appearing on MSNBC, Warren dismissed the notion by critics that she was “anti-capitalist” for going after Wall Street, saying she “believes” in markets but stressed that “rules” are needed to oversee them and a “level playing field” for consumers.

BETO O’ROURKE DOES NOT SUPPORT WARREN’S BIG TECH BREAKUP PLAN

MSNBC host Ali Velshi noted how socialism was being embraced by some in her party, pointing to self-described democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and confronted the 2020 candidate about the direction of Democrats.

“So what do you say privately — pretend that we’re not on TV, about people who worry about the direction in which the Democratic Party may be going?” Velshi asked. “Some of the party wants it to be more liberal and others want the candidates to be more moderate.”

Warren didn’t respond directly to the question, putting emphasis on the “grassroots” of the party.

ELIZABETH WARREN PITCHES POLICIES TOTALING $100 TRILLION AT TOWN HALL: ESTIMATES

“Let me give you a different way of looking at it; I want our party to be more grassroots. I want our party to be more connected all across this country. And I’ll tell you how I look at it: I look at that in terms of money,” Warren told Velshi. “I don’t take PAC money of any kind. I don’t take Washington lobbyist money of any kind. And I’ve made the decision that I’m going to spend my time with grassroots all around this country trying to build a movement. Now, that’s a different way to try to power a campaign, to power a presidential campaign.”

“I think as a Democratic Party, we have this extraordinary opportunity during a primary to actually make our case to people at the grassroots, to engage them, and to revitalize our democracy,” Warren continued. “This shouldn’t just be about going to places where we can scoop lots of money and then run lots of TV ads, this should be about building the on-the-ground movement that’s gonna help us win in 2020, that’s gonna help us win not just the White House but Congress, the state houses, the governor’s mansions, and that’s gonna help us have the power to be able to start making real changes come January 2021.”

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President Trump has made yet another move to strengthen the relationship between the U.S. and Israel, one that may also serve as a political calculation going into 2020, Real Clear Politics co-founder Tom Bevan argued Thursday.

Earlier in the day, Trump declared that the Golan Heights territory belongs to Israel, tweeting that the disputed area has “critical strategic and security importance” to the Jewish state.

During Thursday’s All-Star panel on Fox News’ "Special Report with Bret Baier," Bevan — along with national security analyst Morgan Ortagus and Washington Post opinion writer Charles Lane — weighed in on the political ramifications of the president’s latest declaration.

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Bevan began by pointing to the growing list of 2020 candidates who are boycotting the upcoming (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) conference in Washington. The list includes U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, and former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke.

He also noted the anti-Semitism controversy surrounding U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn, on which President Trump has commented.

Trump "has been a big supporter of Israel," Bevan told the panel. "Obviously, this is another issue on which he decided to move forward in part, I think, to draw the contrast between himself, his administration, and whoever his eventual opponent is going to be in 2020. So definitely some domestic politics at play here as well."

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Ortagus called Trump’s decision a “landmark shift" in U.S. policy toward Israel, as top White House adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are actively working on a “larger peace initiative” in the Middle East. She also argued that it’s far more beneficial for Israel to claim the Golan Heights than for someone like Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad or any other enemy of Israel to do so.

Lane pointed out the “politics” of Trump’s decision, telling the panel that it will help Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s reelection next month. But there’s a "downside” to Trump’s decision, he added: It sets a precedent that the U.S. can “ignore” a U.N. Security Council resolution, which is something Russian President Vladimir Putin may consider regarding his actions in Crimea.

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President Trump’s approval ratings would be much higher if he didn’t go after respected Americans like the late Sen. John McCain, Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen argued Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, at an event in Ohio, Trump continued his attacks against McCain, the longtime senator and former prisoner of war who died of brain cancer last August at age 81. Trump lamented that no one said “thank you” to him for approving Washington-area funeral arrangements for McCain.

During Wednesday’s "Special Report" All-Star” panel, Thiessen — along with former Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Donna Brazile and Washington Examiner chief congressional correspondent Susan Ferrechio — weighed in on Trump’s handling of his constant attacks against the late senator.

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Thiessen began by expressing he understands why Trump disliked McCain and there are “legitimate grievances,” but the president isn’t “hurting” the senator since he’s dead and that he’s only “hurting himself” because he’s “stepping on his own story” regarding the strong economy.

“There are millions of people in this country who are benefiting from the Trump economy who have jobs and opportunity and better lives because of this and they like Trump’s policies but they don’t like him because of things like this,” Thiessen said. “The reason why he’s in the low 40s approval instead of above 50 is persuadable voters look at this and say, ‘I don’t want to support a guy that goes after a dead war hero.’”

Ferrechio noted the “big back story” has shown that Trump and McCain have “not liked each other for a long time,” highlighting traded jabs during the 2016 election and McCain’s involvement in the Steele dossier that helped catapult the Russia investigation. She agreed with Thiessen, adding that because of the “complicated” back story, the general public just sees Trump going after a war hero.

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Meanwhile, Brazile slammed Trump’s “tirade” against McCain, telling the panel that she learned as a child to “not speak ill of the dead.”

“John McCain leaves a legacy, a legacy of service, he leaves a legacy of sacrifice,” Brazile said. “John McCain should be honored for his service, but the criticism … That’s beneath the office of the presidency.”

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Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat who’s seeking his party’s 2020 presidential nomination, had an awkward moment during a televised town hall Wednesday night when he was asked about the time he took his mother to see the notorious 1972 pornographic film "Deep Throat."

The unusual story is highlighted in an excerpt from Hickenlooper’s 2016 memoir, "The Opposite of Woe: My Life in Beer and Politics." CNN anchor Dana Bash asked the candidate to share the tale.

DEM PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFUL HICKENLOOPER CLAIMS CREDIT HE DOESN’T DESERVE

“You have the floor, sir,” Bash jokingly said to the embarrassed candidate.

“Thank you so much for that question,” Hickenlooper sarcastically responded.

Hickenlooper began describing how lonely his mother became after he went off to college because his father had passed away during his childhood. One night he came home from college to a feast of a dinner — the same night he had promised a friend he’d go see a movie with him.

The Democrat then recalled asking his mother if she wanted to join them, which he admitted was a “mistake.”

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“I didn’t know what an X-movie was," Hickenlooper said. "We thought it was a little naughty, but we didn’t think it was that bad. You have to understand, I was eighteen years old.

"I didn’t know what an X-movie was. We thought it was a little naughty, but we didn’t think it was that bad."

— Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper

“So I took my mother to see ‘Deep Throat,’” Hickenlooper revealed to a big roar from the audience. “But I will tell you: I’m sure my mother was mortified, and I said repeatedly, ‘I think we should leave, I think we should go,” and my mother was the type of person that rarely went to a movie. … Once she paid, she was going to stay. And at the end, she knew that I was humiliated. And so we drove home… ‘I asked her, ‘Well that was some experience.’ And she goes, she says, ‘Well, I thought the lighting was very good in the movie.’”

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Making illegal immigrants eligible for Social Security benefits — as 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., has suggested — is a "ridiculous proposal," former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said Wednesday on Fox News’ "Hannity."

“Let’s not only give them Grandma’s Social Security, let’s toss in a car and maybe rent for a nice home!," Huckabee told host Sean Hannity, referring to the Democrat’s plan.

"Let’s not only give them Grandma’s Social Security, let’s toss in a car and maybe rent for a nice home!"

— Mike Huckabee, former Republican presidential candidate and Fox News contributor

FLORIDA BILL WOULD ALLOW ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS TO GET DRIVER’S LICENSES

"I’m just amazed that people are applauding this kind of stuff,” Huckabee added. “I hope Kirsten Gillibrand has to go out and talk to people in their 70s who can barely afford food and tell them they’re going to not get their Social Security raised because we’re going to be giving it to people who broke into this country illegally. I can’t wait to see whether she gets applause in a room filled with retirees living off of Social Security when she makes that ridiculous proposal.”

During a campaign event this week, Gillibrand gave a fiery defense of migrants who are currently living in the U.S. illegally and called for “comprehensive immigration reform.”

“If you are in this country now, you must have the right to pay into Social Security, to pay your taxes, to pay into your local school system, and to have a pathway to citizenship. That must happen,” Gillibrand said.

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In addition to Huckabee, Salem Radio nationally syndicated host Larry Elder also criticized Gillibrand’s plan.

Elder told Hannity that Democrats make such proposals “in pursuit of the Hispanic vote.” But he noted that an average of recent poll data shows that President Trump has support from roughly 30 percent of Hispanic voters, which he added was roughly the same backing that previous GOP presidential nominees Mitt Romney and John McCain received.

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U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., a 2020 presidential candidate, is facing blowback on social media for sharing a video of herself working out during a return campaign visit to Iowa.

The clip shows Gillibrand lifting weights at a gym in the Hawkeye State, wearing a shirt that reads, “Just trying to get some ranch.”

GILLIBRAND, CHAMPION OF #METOO MOVEMENT, SAW AIDE RESIGN IN PROTEST OVER SEXUAL HARASSMENT CASE

“Good to be back in Iowa. Do you like my new workout shirt?” Gillibrand asked.

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The shirt’s message refers to a moment on the campaign trail that went viral last month, in which a restaurant patron in Iowa walked past Gillibrand in search of salad dressing while the senator was speaking to a group of voters.

On Wednesday, Gillibrand’s tweet was the subject of mockery on social media, with some Twitter users accusing her of trying too hard to “relate to the average American.”

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The strong bond between President Trump and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro can be traced to the values they share, Washington Free Beacon editor-in-chief Matthew Continetti said Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, Trump offered a warm welcome to Bolsonaro in a White House meeting that not only heavily focused on the self-destruction of Venezuela but also on Trump floating the idea of Brazil joining NATO.

During Tuesday’s "Special Report" All-Star panel, Continetti — along with Washington Examiner chief political correspondent Byron York and Cook Political Report national editor Amy Walter — weighed on Trump’s alliance with Bolsonaro and their joint news conference.

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York began by pointing out that Trump many have “adlibbed” about Brazil’s inclusion into NATO since his national security advisor John Bolton dismissed the idea ours after the press conference, but expressed hope that their alliance can still make an impact in Venezuela.

Walter told the panel that Bolsonaro is one of the very few world leaders where Trump sees “eye-to-eye” regarding how government works and “fake news” and it shows that Trump “has allies around the world who are willing to stand side-by-side with him.”

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Meanwhile, Continetti insisted that both Trump and Bolsonaro have “one of the most important relationships” in the world.

“They both represent a new model of leadership for democracies and that is they’re both nationalists, they’re both anti-elitists, they’re both socially conservative and you can tell by Bolsonaro’s rhetoric that his voters are very similar to many of Trump’s voters and what they care about and what they believe, and they’re also capitalists,” Continetti told the panel. “So socialism became an issue in this press conference as well. Trump once again framing the 2020 debate in terms of socialism versus capitalism. This is an argument that Bolsonaro can understand as well as Trump.”

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Fox News’ Sean Hannity faced off Tuesday night against former Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairwoman and new Fox News contributor Donna Brazile in a wide-ranging policy debate that tackled several issues on which 2020 candidates have weighed in.

Hannity kicked off the lighting round with “Medicare for all,” something Brazile insisted isn’t “controversial.” She cited a poll that showed 56 percent of Americans support “some form of ‘Medicare for all’” but also support the option of keeping private insurance.

On the subject of late-term abortions, Brazile told Hannity that the Democrats’ position is that “this is a choice that women should have a say in” and that they should have a “full range of reproductive health services.”

“I’m not a doctor and I’m not going to tell anyone what to do with his or her body,” Brazile said.

COMPLETE COVERAGE OF THE GREEN NEW DEAL

She also expressed that the Green New Deal “should be debated” and that something should be done about climate change.

Brazile rejected Hannity’s assertion that “everything is gonna be free” under the Green New Deal, insisting that they’re “goals” that Democrats have been setting.

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She also said she believed in using “multiple methods” to secure the southern border, not just a border wall, and called on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to be reformed.

The former DNC chairwoman later defended House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., whom she called a “decent, honorable person.”

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The Federalist senior editor Mollie Hemingway and Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen butted heads during the Special Report “All-Star” panel over President Donald Trump’s response to the anti-Muslim shootings that took place in New Zealand last week.

On Friday, President Trump expressed his condolences on Twitter for the 49 people who were shot in mosques by a white nationalist, but later dismissed the idea to reporters that white nationalism was “on the rise.”

Thiessen began by calling the efforts made by Democrats and the media to link Trump to the terror attack “absurd,” but insisted that he’s “vulnerable” to such criticism because he hasn’t “definitively rejected the alt-right” in the U.S.

Hemingway interjected, telling Thiessen what he said was “not true” and pointed to Trump’s remarks after Charlottesville where he said, “I am not talking about neo-Nazis and white nationalist because they should be condemned totally,” something she noted was from the same event as his “both sides” comments.

“When he condemns people by name, it doesn’t get mentioned and that is something that the media has done a very bad job at telling the truth on,” Hemingway said to Thiessen.

The Washington Post columnist doubled down, saying that the alt-right is “claiming” the president compared his failure to condemn them to House Democrats’ recent failure to only condemn anti-Semitism amid the controversy surrounding Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.

“We are all responsible for policing our own movements and Donald Trump has not effectively done that when it comes to the alt-right,” Thiessen told the panel.

Hemingway called it “frustrating” when Trump’s condemnation of neo-Nazis and white supremacists go unacknowledged and stressed how the shooter said in his manifesto that he wanted to get the media to have these conversations to “blame certain people for what he did.”

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“The fact that this is the nature of the conversation we’re having right now when there is this attack, we should be talking about the people who were murdered and the victims and what they have gone through,” Hemmingway added.

Meanwhile, NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson pointed to how conservatives “rightly” pushed Democrats and President Barack Obama to call out Islamic terrorism and that “for the same reason,” President Trump should be calling out and rejecting white supremacy “by its name.”

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New York Democratic Senator and 2020 presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand defended her stance on leading the ousting of Sen. Al Franken in early 2018.

During a televised town hall on Monday night, Gillibrand was asked by MSNBC host Chris Hayes about her role in Franken’s resignation as well as the sexual harassment controversy that took place on her own staff.

Gillibrand first responded by saying that society must  “value women” and mentioned a bill she co-sponsored with Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex, on how Congress handles sexual harassment.

Earlier this month, it was reported that a former female staffer of Gillibrand’s resigned over her office’s mishandling of misconduct allegations against a male colleague. Gillibrand insisted at the town hall that the female staffer was "believed" and the allegations were "fully investigated." She concluded the actions of the male staffer "didn’t rise to sexual harassment" but that he was "punished" for making derogatory comments.

WHO IS KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND? 5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE NEW YORK SENATOR AND 2020 CANDIDATE

She then addressed Franken, which she referred to as a “hard issue for so many Democrats.”

“The truth is we miss him and people loved him, but he had eight credible allegations against him of sexual harassment for groping, two of them since he was a senator and the eighth one was a congressional staffer. And I had a choice to make whether to stay silent or not, whether to say, ‘That’s not OK with me,’ and I decided to say that,” the New York senator said. “Now, Senator Franken was entitled to whatever type of review or process he wanted. He could have stuck it out, stayed in the Senate, gone through his ethics committee investigation for as long as he wants for ever how many months, he could have sued all of the eight women, those were his choices. But I had to make my choice.”

The 2020 candidate also went into detail about the “upsetting” conversations she would have with her son about Franken.

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“As a mother, I have to be very clear. It is not OK for anyone to grope a woman anywhere on her body without her consent. It is not OK to forcibly kiss a woman, ever, without her consent. It was not OK for Sen. Franken and it is not OK for you, Theo. Ever,” Gillibrand told her oldest son. “So I needed to have clarity. And if there are few, Democratic powerful donors who are angry because I stood up for women who came forward with allegations of sexual harassment, that’s on them.”

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2020 presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren insisted Monday that her disputed claims of Native American heritage, for which she later apologized, had no role in the advancement of her career.

During a CNN town hall in Jackson, Miss., the Massachusetts Democrat was asked by U.S. Army Reserve Officer Brennan Breeland how she responded to critics who said her handling of questions about her heritage was “tone-deaf, offensive, and indicative of a lack of presidential tact.”

“Well… you know… I grew up in Oklahoma. I learned about my family from my family. And based on that, that’s just kind of who I am and I do the best I can with it,” the senator responded. “You know, there was an investigation, nothing I ever did or my family played any role in any job I ever got.”

WARREN APOLOGIZES TO CHEROKEE NATION FOR TAKING DNA TEST

Warren went on to tell Breeland that she had done “38 town halls” in her state last year and another 32 of them since January and observed that people “care a lot about what’s happening in their lives” like housing, education, and health care.

“That’s the kind of reason that I’m in this fight and I’m gonna stay in this fight,” Warren continued. “And, I’ll tell you this; I’m gonna fight it from the heart every inch of the way. I’ll do my best.”

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CNN anchor Jake Tapper, who moderated the town hall, continued without any follow-up questions.

Warren has been on the defense about her previous claims of Native American heritage when seeking law-school work before she was elected senator. Earlier this year she issued an apology for claiming “Indian American” as her race on the Texas State Bar registration card — and apologized to the Cherokee Nation for releasing results of a DNA test indicating she had Native American ancestry dating back several generations.

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2020 White House candidate Cory Booker denied he’s a socialist and vowed he would not consider pardoning President Trump if he were elected to the White House, in an interview Monday night.

"I am for capitalism and I’m tired of companies engaging in socialism where they outsource their costs… I am a capitalist. Monopolies are not capitalism… I’m not a socialist. I am a Democrat. I believe in fundamental Democratic principles. I believe that we need more democracy, not less," the New Jersey Democrat told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews.

The cable news host also brought up then-President Gerald Ford pardoning Richard Nixon in 1974 — and posed a hypothetical to Booker.

“Would you consider pardoning Trump if you took the presidency?” Matthews asked.

“No,” Booker firmly responded.

“Why?” Matthews followed. “You said you want to unite the country. Wouldn’t that unite the country?”

CORY BOOKER ON RUNNING MATE: ‘THERE WILL BE A WOMAN ON THE TICKET’

Booker asked for clarification as to what crime Trump may have committed, which Matthews responded with “obstruction of justice,” something the MSNBC host insisted is “certainly in play.”

“This is why our justice system has lost so much legitimacy,” Booker continued. “We have a criminal justice system that treats you better if you’re rich and guilty than if you’re poor and innocent. There’s a whole bunch of people that, if I’m president, that I’m looking to pardon or who are being punished unjustly in this country.”

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The former Newark mayor cited statistics that showed more arrests in 2017 were related to marijuana than to all violent crimes combined. He said the “privileged” on Yale University’s campus and presidents and senators who have “bragged” about smoking marijuana benefited from a double standard as opposed to young people who have criminal records for doing the same.

“Now we’re talking about a billionaire getting another pardon,” Booker said.

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President Trump condemned Friday’s massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand, but National Journal politics editor Josh Kraushaar suggested that the president go beyond the remarks he gave at the White House.

The shootings at two mosques left at least 49 dead and dozens more injured. At the White House, Trump called the attack “evil,” but said he didn’t believe that white supremacy violence was on the rise, and said such acts were perpetrated by only a small group of people.

Still, many Democrats and members of the mainstream media have been linking Trump to the terrorist attack and pointing to his past rhetoric, which the critics contend was motivation for the shooting suspect, who referred to the president in his manifesto.

During Friday’s "Special Report" All-Star panel, Kraushaar — along with Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen and the Federalist senior editor Mollie Hemingway — weighed in on the fallout of the New Zealand attack and the president’s response.

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Thiessen began by knocking the left’s “reflex” action of blaming Trump and guns after every mass shooting. He noted the hypocrisy of the left, which refused to connect Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to the Alexandria, Va., shooting of U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., at the hands of a former Sanders campaign worker.

“If you want to find someone to blame," Thiessen said, "social media is a good place to start. Social media is the accelerant that allows these things to happen."

He then recounted how the New Zealand suspect allegedly live-streamed the attack on Facebook, shared it on YouTube, and engaged with other white nationalists on platforms like Reddit and Twitter.

Kraushaar agreed with Thiessen on the significance of social media in such attacks, but insisted that President Trump could have more forcefully denounced such violence.

“It would be a welcome gesture for President Trump not just to respond in the Oval Office but to give a speech condemning anti-Muslim bigotry and really giving a message from the White House to the rest of the world that this type of rhetoric that inspired this white supremacist killer is absolutely unacceptable,” Kraushaar said.

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Meanwhile, Hemingway urged everyone in the media not to “highlight” the killers of these attacks but to focus on the victims instead. She also cautioned against spreading news about the manifesto, saying it could potentially sow divisions among Americans.

“Responsible media outlets should make sure that they’re careful about how they talk about it so that these acts of hatred don’t further spread,” Hemingway said. “Sometimes downplaying the significance of what the hater believed can be helpful and just focusing people on loving one another and not letting these acts of evil overcome.”

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Chelsea Clinton received an earful in New York City on Friday night from a college student who said the former first daughter "stoked" the hatred behind the massacre earlier in the day in Christchurch, New Zealand.

It happened at a vigil on the New York University campus for the 49 people killed and dozens of others wounded in the attack.

“I’m so sorry that you feel that way,” Clinton responded. “Certainly, it was never my intention. I do believe words matter. I believe we have to show solidarity.”

CHELSEA CLINTON ANNOUNCES SHE IS PREGNANT WITH THIRD CHILD

Some of the NYU students told Clinton she wasn’t welcome at the vigil. One of the students referred to Clinton’s recent condemnation of Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn, over the congresswoman’s anti-Semitic remarks.

"We should expect all elected officials, regardless of party, and all public figures to not traffic in anti-Semitism," Clinton tweeted on Feb. 10.

“This, right here, is a result of a massacre stoked by people like you and the words that you put out into the world,” one student told Clinton. “And I want you to know that and I want you to feel that deep down inside. Forty-nine people died because of the rhetoric you put out there.”

On Friday, Clinton tweeted her condolences regarding the Christchurch tragedy.

"Heartbroken & horrified by the white nationalist terrorist attack during Jummah on the mosques and Muslim community in Christchurch," Clinton wrote. "Keeping all affected by this tragedy in my heart and prayers. We need a global response to the global threat of violent white nationalism."

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“I’m so sorry that you feel that way,” Clinton repeated.

“What does ‘I’m sorry you feel that way’ mean?” another student asked.

The NYU student who originally posted the video on Twitter deleted her tweets, but the exchange was re-posted by Targeted Victory’s Caleb Hull.

After the video of the confrontation went viral, Clinton received support on social media. Some examples:

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U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, slammed a U.S. Justice Department decision to seek a FISA warrant — and blasted what he described as the deceitful methods used to persuade the FISA court to grant it — during an appearance on Fox News’ "Hannity” on Thursday night.

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“They didn’t tell the court the dossier was unverified," Jordan told Fox News host Sean Hannity, referring to the court created under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. "They didn’t tell the court who paid for it, namely the Clinton campaign. They didn’t tell the court that Christopher Steele, the guy who wrote it, was desperate that Trump not win. They didn’t tell the court that Christopher Steele had been fired by the FBI because he’s out leaking information. That’s a lot not to share with a secret court, especially, Sean, when you’re getting a warrant to go spy on the other party’s campaign.

"They didn’t tell the court who paid for it, namely the Clinton campaign."

— U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio

Jordan, 55, the ranking member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, and member of the House Judiciary Committee, called for a “single standard” for everyone when it comes to breaking the law, saying there shouldn’t be a separate set a rules for people named “Comey,” “Clinton,” “Lynch,” among others.

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“All the way up until May 17, 2017, when they named Bob Mueller special counsel, they had zero, zero evidence of any type of collusion,” Jordan continued. “All of that time and still no evidence, and yet they moved ahead with this whole thing.”

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The 12 Senate Republicans who joined Democrats on Thursday in blocking President Trump’s national emergency declaration might not be able to override what’s expected to be Trump’s first veto since taking office, but their show of opposition to the president remains significant, Washington Examiner chief political correspondent Byron York argued.

The president’s call for action at the U.S.-Mexico border went down in defeat, 59-41, as Republicans senators including Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Susan Collins and Mitt Romney said no to a plan that included spending about $8 billion on a border wall.

During Thursday’s "Special Report" All-Star panel, York — along with USA Today Washington bureau chief Susan Page and Washington Free Beacon editor-in-chief Matthew Continetti — weighed in on the fallout from the vote and what’s next for Trump’s proposal.

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York began by telling the panel that the White House feels “very confident” that Trump’s declaration will be upheld by the Supreme Court. He then pointed to the 12 Republican defectors who thought the declaration was an executive overreach.

“That is the biggest rejection, the biggest Republican rejection we’ve seen of the president so far in this presidency. That is a big deal even if the veto can’t be overturned,” York told the panel.

“That is the biggest rejection … we’ve seen of the president so far in this presidency. That is a big deal even if the veto can’t be overturned.”

— Byron York, Washington Examiner chief political correspondent

York added that the border-wall construction can “go ahead” based on funding that has already been appropriated by Congress.

Page pointed out that of the 10 Republicans who are up for reelection in 2020, only one — Collins of Maine — voted against Trump, and that Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., who wrote an op-ed opposing the declaration, ultimately “flipped” and voted with the president.

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Meanwhile, Continetti said “two issues” were taking place, one being the crisis at the southern border due to an influx of migrants and the other being whether President Trump has the constitutional authority to reallocate funds approved by the Congress.

“What I don’t understand are the Democrats, who deny the existence on the border, but at the same time hope that the courts uphold Trump’s effort to declare an emergency because they want to use the powers themselves for climate change and/or gun control," Continetti said. "That is being intellectually dishonest."

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U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., slammed those expressing thoughts and prayers for the victims of Friday’s mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Reacting to remarks made by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter and invoked other mass shootings that took place in houses of worship.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ’S SOCIALIST VISION FOR AMERICA

“At 1st I thought of saying, ‘Imagine being told your house of faith isn’t safe anymore.’ But I couldn’t say ‘imagine.’ Because of Charleston. Pittsburgh. Sutherland Springs,’” Ocasio-Cortez wrote.

The congresswoman was referencing the 2015 Charleston shooting at the Emmanuel A.M.E. Church that left nine dead, the 2017 Sutherland Springs shooting at the First Baptist Church that left 27 dead, and the 2018 Pittsburgh shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue that left 11 dead.

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“What good are your thoughts & prayers when they don’t even keep the pews safe?” she asked.

That sparked plenty of backlash on social media.

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If former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is being held accountable for the laws he has broken, he’s got plenty of company in Washington, D.C., Real Clear Politics founder Tom Bevan argued Wednesday evening.

Manafort is now facing more than seven years in prison for crimes he committed before joining Donald Trump’s presidential campaign as well as for crimes he committed during the Russia investigation. His legal troubles are far from over as he has now been indicted on an additional 16 counts in New York state.

During Thursday’s "Special Report" All-Star panel, Bevan — along with national security analyst Morgan Ortagus and Georgetown Institute of Politic executive director Mo Elleithee — weighed in on the Manafort sentencing as well as the latest developments from former FBI lawyer Lisa Page’s congressional testimony.

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Bevan began by making it clear that “nobody is going to shed a tear” for a “corrupt guy” like Manafort. That being said, he insisted that if Manafort was being punished for his crimes, then plenty of others should be as well.

“If the standard is now, ‘We’re going to prosecute for FERA violations and we’re going to drain the swamp,’ let’s do it because there are another fifty or a hundred Paul Manaforts doing the exact same thing. So if that’s the standard, let’s go ahead and drain the swamp,” Bevan told the panel.

Elleithee warned about the consequences of President Trump possibly pardoning Manafort, saying that at minimum the “optics look bad” and noting that Trump cannot shield Manafort from the state-level charges against him.

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Meanwhile, Ortagus noted Lisa Page’s significant role in revealing what happened in the Department of Justice during its handling of the Clinton email investigation as well as the early stages of the Russia probe. Testimony shared by the House Judiciary Committee shows that Page confirmed to lawmakers that the Justice Department instructed the FBI not to pursue charges of “gross negligence” against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“When the story, the history is written about all of this, Lisa Page is going to be such a fascinating and integral character in this,” Ortagus said. “I mean, look at all the number of people — Comey, McCabe, Strzok — all of these people she’s given congressional testimony to counter them, to contradict them and they are all in trouble, multiple times over. … So pay attention to Lisa Page. She’s taking down some of the biggest names in the FBI.”

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The husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway blasted President Trump on Wednesday, claiming Trump has a problem with "pathological” lying.

George Conway, an attorney who has become an outspoken critic of the president via Twitter messages, posted a thread that began when he called out Trump for claiming that Judge Amy Berman Jackson’s sentencing of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort earlier in the day had exonerated the president from the Russian collusion narrative.

“Have we ever seen this degree of brazen, pathological mendacity in American public life?" Conway asked in a tweet. "One day he makes a harmless slip of the tongue, something any mentally balanced person would laugh off. But instead he lies about it. He denies what the world can see on videotape. Even his donors and supporters wonder, what is wrong with him? Why would he feel compelled to tell such an absurd lie?"

GEORGE CONWAY RAMPS UP TRUMP ATTACKS AS KELLYANNE DEFENDS BOSS

Conway then invoked Trump’s recent meeting with Apple CEO Tim Cook, whom the president referred to as “Tim Apple.” Trump reportedly later told RNC donors that he had really said “Tim Cook Apple,” uttering Cook’s last name softly, but then reversed course on Twitter when he claimed he called the CEO “Tim Apple” to “save time and words.”

Conway also mocked the president’s two-hour-long CPAC speech, which he called “incoherent.”

“The judge says, in open court, that Manafort’s lawyers’ ‘no collusion’ ‘mantra’ was patently ridiculous because it was irrelevant to the charges at hand- not that there was no proof of collusion, just that whether there was or wasn’t was irrelevant to the proceedings at hand,” Conway wrote. “And yet he lies again – a blatant lie – about what the judge said in open court.”

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Conway later suggested that the president has a “disorder” and that an inquiry needs to be made regarding his “condition of mind.”

“It’s not rational, because it’s a lie that no reasonable person would believe. It undermines his credibility. It’s self-defeating. But these are just two of… how many examples? Hundreds? Thousands? Is it possible to count?” he asked. “At any level of government in this country, in any party, have we ever seen anything like this? It’s beyond politics. It’s nuts. It’s a disorder. Whether or not impeachment is in order, a serious inquiry needs to be made about this man’s condition of mind.”

Instances of the president or members of the Trump family publicly criticizing George Conway have been relatively rare. But one sharply worded Twitter message came in December from Eric Trump.

"Of all the ugliness in politics, the utter disrespect George Conway shows toward his wife, her career, place of work, and everything she has fought SO hard to achieve, might top them all," Eric Trump wrote. "@KellyannePolls is great person and frankly his actions are horrible."

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The White House strategic communications senior adviser, Mercedes Schlapp, delivered what could be considered a backhanded compliment to Democrats on Wednesday, saying the party is showing unity – on unsafe open borders.

Schlapp appeared on “The Story” to discuss the Trump administration’s attempts to fight the escalating opioid crisis in part through reinforcement of the southern border with Mexico.

When asked why there isn’t more support over Trump’s national emergency declaration and effort to bolster border security, she said Democrats “stand very united” on “open borders and crime,” while Republicans seemed to splinter off” during voting.

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“It is clear that the president has made his case to declare a national emergency. It’s been done 60 times before by former presidents on less important issues,” Schlapp told Fox News’ Ed Henry.

“Because what we’re seeing right now is this emergency happening where, in essence, our Border patrol agents are spending more time processing illegal aliens than they are focused on border security, on monitoring what is happening on the border.”            

Fox News’ Ed Henry contributed to this report.

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The scandal that’s rocking the higher education system is really about questioning the legitimacy of “elites” in this country, Washington Free Beacon editor-in-chief Matthew Continetti argued Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, law enforcement officials announced that 50 individuals had been indicted as part of a nationwide scheme involving wealthy parents committing fraud in order to get their children into prestigious universities. Among those indicted were TV actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin.

During Tuesday’s "Special Report" All-Star panel, Continetti — along with Federalist senior editor Mollie Hemingway and Reuters White House correspondent Jeff Mason — weighed in on the massive controversy.

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Continetti began by insisting that “elites” of all stripes “bend the rules in their favor” by using their money and connections.

“This scandal just shows another sphere of American life where elites have betrayed our country’s institutions and indeed, our country’s people,” Continetti said.

“This scandal just shows another sphere of American life where elites have betrayed our country’s institutions and indeed, our country’s people.”

— Matthew Continetti, Washington Free Beacon editor-in-chief

He explained that the suspects may have gone to great lengths such as bribery to get their kids enrolled in top universities because a degree from such institutions can earn graduates “exponentially” higher salaries.

“We need to think about how our economy is structured so that this wage premium isn’t so slanted toward college degree holders,” Continetti added.

Hemingway called the allegations “stunning,” but predicted that the scandal “will lead to major changes” in how college admissions are operated similarly to how other industries have been reformed in recent years.

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Meanwhile, Mason called the controversy “very sad” because of the “lesson” the parents were allegedly teaching to their children.

“They’re teaching their children that it’s OK to lie and that it’s OK to cheat. And it’s incredibly sad,” Mason told the panel.

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A top staffer to Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign apologized Tuesday for invoking “a dual allegiance” of Jewish Americans while defending Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.

Belén Sisa, Sanders’ national deputy press secretary, was discussing the term seen as anti-Semitic in a Facebook thread over the weekend — and argued that questioning it was legitimate, Politico reported.

“This is a serious question: do you not think that the American government and American Jewish community has a dual allegiance to the state of Israel? I’m asking not to rule out the history of this issue, but in the context in which this was said by Ilhan,” Sisa wrote.

When asked by another Facebook user if her boss, who is Jewish, has “dual loyalty,” she replied, “I think I would probably have to ask him? But his comments make me believe other wise as he has been very blunt on where he stands.”

She deleted the Facebook posts after Politico confronted her about her remarks.

OMAR DENIES EQUATING OBAMA AND TRUMP, SAYS ONLY ONE IS ‘HUMAN’

Sisa later issued an apology.

"In a conversation on Facebook, I used some language that I see now was insensitive. Issues of allegiance and loyalty to one’s country come with painful history,” Sisa told Politico. "At a time when so many communities in our country feel under attack by the president and his allies, I absolutely recognize that we need to address these issues with greater care and sensitivity to their historical resonance, and I’m committed to doing that in the future.”

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Last week, the House of Representatives passed an anti-hate resolution sparked in large part by Omar’s recent suggestions that Israel supporters want U.S. lawmakers to pledge “allegiance” to the Jewish state – which was widely condemned as echoing the age-old “dual loyalties” smear against Jewish politicians. The resolution did not mention the freshman congresswoman by name.

Sanders’ campaign did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

Fox News’ Liam Quinn contributed to this report.

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Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., is facing criticism for a new bill he and fellow Democrats have introduced in hopes of protecting journalists from violence.

Co-authored with Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., the Journalist Protection Act would make it a federal crime to “intentionally cause bodily injury to a journalist affecting interstate or foreign commerce in the course of reporting or in a manner designed to intimidate him or her from newsgathering for a media organization.”

“It represents a clear statement that assaults against people engaged in reporting is unacceptable, and helps ensure law enforcement is able to punish those who interfere with newsgathering,” the press release read.

THIS IS CNN? PRIMETIME SHOWS FILLED WITH LIBERAL OPINION, NOT STRAIGHT NEWS AS NETWORK CLAIMS

The three Democrats called out President Trump by name, insisting he has “blatantly stoked a climate of extreme hostility toward the press,” and that his antagonistic rhetoric encourages others to think, regardless of their views, that violence against journalists is more acceptable."

One reporter, however, is calling out the New Jersey Democrat over a hostile exchange they had last month.

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Henry Rodgers, Capitol Hill reporter for The Daily Caller, approached Menendez last month at a subway station to ask him to weigh in on the then-newly introduced Green New Deal. After Menendez was told that Rodgers works for The Daily Caller, the senator threatened to call Capitol Police.

Rodgers released an audio recording of their exchange.

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The debate among Democrats as to whether they should impeach President Donald Trump took another turn after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, revealed during an interview that she opposed based on the known evidence.

Pelosi told the Washington Post that impeachment is “so divisive to the country” and insisted that there has to be “something so compelling” that would pave the way for a bipartisan vote. She said Trump is “just not worth it.”

During the Special Report “All-Star” panel, NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson, Fox News politics editor Chris Stirewalt, and Washington Examiner chief political correspondent Byron York weighed in on the fight within the Democratic Party and if impeachment is a viable option.

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Liasson noted that Pelosi was “inching up to this declaration for a while,” and that she and House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-NY, are on the same page regarding the necessity of waiting for evidence and for bipartisanship before proceeding.

“This is why they pay her the big bucks, this is why she’s the leader and for people who want to impeach him, they can now blame it all on her,” Liasson told the panel. “She’s gonna take the hits, but what she said was this could backfire on Democrats politically and it’s not worth doing that.”

The NPR correspondent elaborated the political consequences Republicans faced after the House impeached President Bill Clinton in the 90s, which boosted his popularity in the final years of his presidency and warned that history can repeat itself with President Trump.

TLAIB SAYS SHE’LL INTRODUCE ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT AGAINST TRUMP THIS MONTH

“What people forget is impeachment is not removal. He is not going to be removed from office because Republicans in the Senate are not going to vote for that. The voters will have a chance in 2020 to render a verdict on Donald Trump,” Liasson continued.

Stirewalt told the panel that Pelosi is “setting the bar high” and that she’s “of course right” in the broad interest of the Democratic Party as opposed to freshman congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich, who keeps pushing for impeachment in what he insisted would be a “unsuccessful effort.”

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Meanwhile, York expressed that the “impeachment machine was up and running” on Capitol Hill, pointing to Nadler’s declaration that Trump was “guilty” of obstruction of justice.

“It was absolutely clear with the demands to 81 people, the very wide-ranging demands, for information from them plus the idea of sort of setting up new investigations just in case Mueller didn’t come through for them, they were ready to go,” York said.

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Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich, defended her colleague Rep. Ilhan Omar from backlash within their own party regarding the Minnesota representative’s controversial remarks deemed by some to be anti-Semitic.

Omar suggested on Twitter that pro-Israel politicians are bought by groups like AIPAC and that those who support Israel have an "allegiance to a foreign country." Her remarks sparked much condemnation, including several of her Democratic colleagues.

In a preview clip of an interview on Showtime’s "The Circus," Tlaib suggested that "Islamophobia" within their party could be behind the swift condemnation for the comments.

"You know, I’m trying to figure it out. It’s just this past week, I feel, and I know this would be somewhat shocking for some, but I think Islamophobia is very much among the Democratic Party as well as the Republican Party," Tlaib answered. "And I know that’s hard for people to hear, but there’s only been four members of Congress that are of Muslim faith. Three of them currently serve in this institution. More of us need to get elected, but more of us need to understand as we come into this institution that I have a lot of work to do with my colleagues."

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Tlaib’s full interview airs Sunday on Showtime.

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2020 presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker, D-NJ, appeared on “The Late Show” and completely hijacked a portion of the interview that was meant to discuss policy.

Returning from a commercial break, “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert wanted to delve into specific proposals being pushed by congressional Democrats, but Booker managed to avoid any tough questions that may have been asked.

“Let’s talk about some specific policies that have been thrown out by the new Democrats in Congress,” Colbert said, “and by some of the people".

DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFULS DESCEND ON SELMA TO MARK 45TH ANNIVERSARY OF ‘BLOODY SUNDAY’

“Can I just say one thing?” Booker interrupted. “Because this news came out about Paul Manafort and I’m really ticked off about this.”

Manafort, who was President Donald Trump’s campaign chairman during the 2016 election, was sentenced this week to 47 months in prison, which fell short of the 19-24 year prison sentence the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller recommended.

“One of my friends says that we have a criminal justice system that treats you better if you’re rich and guilty than if you’re poor and innocent,” Booker told Colbert. “And there are people from neighborhoods like mine in America who get convictions for doing things that two of the last three presidents have admitted to doing.”

CORY BOOKER CALLS WARNINGS ABOUT GREEN NEW DEAL PRICE TAG A ‘LIE’

“In our country, we prey upon the most vulnerable citizens in our nation; poor folks, mentally ill folks, addicted folks, and overwhelmingly black and brown folks,” Booker continued.

“Were you shocked that he only got 47 months?” Colbert asked.

“No, this criminal justice system can’t surprise me anymore,” Booker responded.

The New Jersey Democrat went on to declare that Manafort “betrayed our nation” and repeated his efforts in pushing for criminal justice in Congress.

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It is uncertain if Colbert would have asked Booker about policies like the Green New Deal, Medicare For All, reparations, or the newly-passed anti-hate resolution that was originally meant to condemn anti-Semitism in reaction to controversial remarks by Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. Colbert ran out of time before he could ask.

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The question of whether former Trump attorney Michael Cohen ever sought a pardon from the president is difficult to answer due to a lack of reliable sources, Washington Post opinion writer Charles Lane argued Friday.

During his testimony to Congress, Cohen claimed he never asked President Trump for a pardon, something the president asserts was a lie. Trump even took to Twitter and insisted that Cohen asked him directly about a pardon, and that Trump responded “no.”

On Friday’s "Special Report" All-Star panel, Lane — along with Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Riley and The Federalist co-founder Ben Domenech — weighed in on the pardon matter as it factors into the ongoing Russia probe.

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Lane began by suggesting that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was still “holding out hope” that the president would pardon him after he was sentenced this week to 47 months in prison on tax and bank fraud charges. But regarding Cohen’s pardon testimony, Lane said he could “see it either way” on whether Trump or Cohen was being truthful, adding that Cohen could have gone to “intermediaries” instead of the president.

“I personally would like to know what the real story is about this pardon. I want to know, was it dangled? I want to know, was it sought?” Lane told the panel. “The problem is, of course, is that we have these two guys who aren’t exactly on good terms with the truth who are our best witnesses to it.”

“The problem is … we have these two guys who aren’t exactly on good terms with the truth who are our best witnesses to it.”

— Charles Lane, Washington Post opinion writer

Lane added that Trump is taking a risk for depicting Cohen as a “liar,” particularly because Cohen testified that he saw no proof of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

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Domenech said Trump “loves dunking” on his political enemies and that their “attitude” toward the president “dictates his attitude” toward them. He added that if House Republicans want to pursue a perjury charge against Cohen, the White House may be forced to prove that Cohen lied about not seeking a pardon.

Meanwhile, Riley noted that Manafort “isn’t out of the woods” just yet as he faces another sentencing next week for criminal behavior.

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The anti-hate resolution approved by Congress sparked a clash of opinions between Federalist senior editor Mollie Hemingway and Georgetown Institute of Politics executive director Mo Elliethee on Thursday night’s "Special Report" All-Star panel.

What was supposed to be a condemnation of anti-Semitism in reaction to controversial remarks by U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn, developed into a broad resolution that condemned all forms of hate. It passed with support from an overwhelming majority, although 23 Republicans opposed it because it didn’t solely address anti-Semitism — nor did it explicitly condemn Omar.

Elliethee began by condemning Omar’s recent remarks and expressing that Omar should have been mentioned in the resolution. But he also defended the congresswoman, who has “received a lot of hate” in recent weeks, pointing to a West Virginia poster linking Omar to the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

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“To be able to take a strong stand against all forms of hate I think is a good thing and I think the Republicans who’ve been trying to make hay out of this have trapped themselves because every single ‘no’ vote, two dozen members of the House voted ‘no,’ they were all Republicans who are now all on record against a resolution condemning all hate,” Elliethee told the panel.

Hemingway pushed back, calling Elliethee’s assessment “very unfair,” and adding that many on Capitol Hill were hoping for an “actual resolution” condemning Omar’s rhetoric, but that type of resolution “didn’t happen.”

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“The rise of anti-Semitism is not something anybody should be thinking about what’s good politically out of it because it is a really bad thing,” Hemingway said. “You’re seeing a rise of anti-Semitism in the Democratic Party right now, but it’s a problem that’s happening globally.”

Meanwhile, Washington Examiner commentary writer Tom Rogan invoked British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and his “personal” problem with anti-Semitism and raised the red flag that “lines get blurred” between discussing Israel policy and invoking anti-Semitic conspiracies pushed by progressive Democrats.

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Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., co-wrote a statement Thursday evening praising the resolution passed in the House of Representatives that condemned many forms of hate — a resolution that emerged after critics labeled some of her own comments anti-Semitic.

Omar shared the statement through her congressional Twitter account, saying, “Our nation is having a difficult conversation, but we believe this is great progress.”

Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Andre Carson, D-Ind., were also listed as authors of the statement.

The statement highlighted the inclusion of Islamophobia, which the three Democrats called “historic.”

EMOTIONAL MEGHAN MCCAIN SLAMS ANTI-SEMITISM

“Today is historic on many fronts. It’s the first time we have voted on a resolution condemning anti-Muslim bigotry in our nation’s history. Anti-Muslim crimes have increased 99 percent from 2014-2016 and are still on the rise,” the statement read.

The resolution, which was drafted in reaction to controversial remarks by Omar that critics on both sides of the aisle considered anti-Semitic, was fiercely debated among House Democrats. There was specific discussion about whether other forms of hate should be included.

Ultimately, the resolution did include hate of other races, ethnicities, religions and sexual orientations, and it passed in the House, 407-23. The resolution did not, however, specifically address Omar’s remarks.

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Anti-Semitism was briefly mentioned in the Democrats’ joint statement.

“We are tremendously proud to be part of a body that has put forth a condemnation of all forms of bigotry including anti-Semitism, racism and white supremacy,“ the statement continued. “At a time when extremism is on the rise, we must explicitly denounce religious intolerance of all kinds and acknowledge the pain felt by all communities. Our nation is having a difficult conversation and we believe this is great progress.”

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Former Trump campaign staffer Alva Johnson broke down in tears Tuesday night while explaining her accusations that President Trump “forcibly kissed” her during the 2016 election.

Johnson, who has filed a lawsuit against the president, told MSNBC she’d joined the Trump campaign because she believed the White House needed a “businessman” despite thinking he “didn’t have a chance of winning.” She described her role as an “outreach” director in Alabama, where she organized “one of the largest rallies” at the time with then-Sen. Jeff Sessions in attendance.

Johnson said in August 2016, she briefly interacted with then-candidate Trump on an RV during a campaign stop in Florida. Before he stepped off the bus to speak with campaign interns, she told him to “go kick ass” and said she hadn’t seen her family in a very long time. And, after he told her he wouldn’t “let you down,” Johnson said Trump held her hand and began getting closer.

“I just had a lot of internal dialogue. I’m like, ‘okay, is he gonna hug me?’ And then he keeps coming closer. And I’m like, ‘is he gonna hug me?’ I’m like, ‘oh my God, I think he’s going to kiss me’ because he was coming directly towards my face,’” Johnson told MSNBC host Chris Hayes.

The former campaign staffer then said once she realized Trump was going to kiss her, she turned her head, which left his lips touching the corner of her mouth.

Alva Johnson spoke out in a tearful interview.

Alva Johnson spoke out in a tearful interview. (Erica Aitken Photography (www.myatlantaphotographer.com))

“I was just kinda frozen. I didn’t know how to process it. I knew it was inappropriate because I worked in human resources. So I knew that it was completely inappropriate,” Johnson continued. “It was gross and creepy. Like I could sometimes still see those lips.”

LIBERAL 9TH CIRCUIT GETS TRUMP-BACKED JUDGE AFTER WHITE HOUSE BYPASSES CONSULTATION WITH DEMS

“This accusation is absurd on its face. This never happened and is directly contradicted by multiple highly credible eye witness accounts,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Monday.

Johnson rejected Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s denial that she witnessed the alleged interaction after naming her as one of two witnesses, insisting Bondi’s statement was “not true.”

Following the alleged interaction, Johnson said she “pushed it” in the back of her mind and continued doing her job, but it wasn’t until the October 2016 release of the “Access Hollywood” tape that prompted her to leave the campaign. “When I heard the audio, I was, like, screaming in my car. I’m like, ‘oh my God, that’s exactly what he did to me.’ Like, he literally described exactly what he did to me, minus the grab the ‘P,’” Johnson said.

She told Hayes she was “afraid” to tell the campaign why she was leaving and that she sought a lawyer as other women came forward with allegations against Trump, but “for business reasons” didn’t carry on with her case.

When asked why she waited so long to bring the lawsuit and for offering praise for the president in 2017 as well as applying for a position at the White House, Johnson pointed to a nondisclosure agreement she signed, which she claimed made it feel like her “vocal cords had been clipped for years.”

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Johnson started getting tearful while describing the “guilt” she felt after the 2017 protest violence in Charlottesville, Va., and the separations of migrant families last year.

“Then you have him mocking women with the #MeToo movement, making fun of them and for me, I’m sitting there and I’m like, this is exactly what you did to me, and I don’t want to keep my mouth shut,” an emotional Johnson told Hayes.

Fox News’ Jennifer Bowman contributed to this report.

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The expectations for President Trump are a lot higher as he meets with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un for their second summit, argued Democratic strategist Leslie Marshall.

The president and Kim are scheduled to have a two-day summit in Hanoi, Vietnam in hopes to have North Korea denuclearize and pursue peace in the Korean peninsula.

HANOI POSTCARD: KIM-TRUMP SUMMIT INSPIRES ENTREPRENEURS

During the Fox News "Special Report All-Star Panel," Marshall, Fox News politics editor Chris Stirewalt, and “The Next Revolution” host Steve Hilton weighed in on the political stakes for Trump amid the summit.

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Marshall told the panel that the “dealmaker” had a “good photo op and a bump in the polls” after the 2018 summit with Kim Jong Un in Singapore, but that “we can’t have that this time around” and predicted that this summit will only be a repeat.

“Dan Coats said, and I agree with him 100 percent, that Kim Jong Un needs to have the WMDs. That is his security blanket,” Marshall said. “Unless we are hard and push on full denuclearization, we are not taking baby steps toward our goal because in a sense, in this regard, Kim Jong Un is holding the cards and we’re not getting anywhere. What kind of a deal do we have? Really nothing and I fear that we will have that again.”

Steve Hilton expressed a bit more optimism, saying that the “process is the purpose” and that the fact that both nations are talking is a “positive result.”

“If any other president, whether Republican or Democrat, had got to this point by first getting China to participate in the pressure campaign and then to really reboot this relationship so that we’re talking rather than being on the brink of a nuclear catastrophe, they’d be hailed as a foreign policy genius,” Hilton argued.

Meanwhile, Stirewalt insisted that “time” was always on the side of the North Koreans and that part of this week’s summit is to entice Kim Jong Un with Vietnam’s thriving economy.

“The president’s promise to Kim is always, ‘C’mon, play ball with me and you’re gonna end up rich, your country’s gonna end up rich, and you’re gonna see quick growth.’ Whether or not that’s a real thing, I don’t know,” Stirewalt told the panel.

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Freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn, has deleted her controversial tweets that triggered bipartisan backlash on Capitol Hill.

Washington Examiner’s Jerry Dunleavy first noted that representative erased three posts that were considered by some as anti-Semitic. Fox News has confirmed that those tweets have been deleted.

Omar’s Twitter troubles date back to 2012 when she claimed that Israel has “hypnotized the world” regarding the Jewish state’s ongoing conflict with Palestinians.

The Minnesota Democrat then reignited accusations of anti-Semitism when she suggested that the GOP’s support of Israel is bought, saying that its stance is “all about the Benjamins.” She later named AIPAC as a group that pays pro-Israel politicians despite the fact they don’t make financial contributions to campaigns.

Amid uproar, Omar issued an apology.

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"Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole," Omar stated. "We have to always be willing to step back and think through criticism, just as I expect people to hear me when others attack me for my identity. This is why I unequivocally apologize."

Many in the GOP called Democratic leadership to remove Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee. President Donald Trump slammed her “lame” apology and called on her to resign from Congress.

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2020 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said Monday night that under his progressive “Medicare-for-all” proposal, Americans would not be able to keep existing health insurance coverage from private plans even if they wanted to do so.

The Vermont senator told a CNN town hall that health care should be a “human right” and that the U.S. “shamefully” was the only major country on Earth “not to guarantee health care to all people.” He argued that the only “cost-effective” way to give all Americans health insurance would be with a “Medicare-for-all single-payer program.”

CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer then pointed to statistics showing half of Americans get their health insurance through their employers and that a recent Gallup poll showed that 70 percent of those who get their insurance from their employers like it.

“Will these people be able to keep their health insurance plans, their private plans through their employers, if there’s a ‘Medicare-for-all’ program that you endorse?” Blitzer asked.

“No,” Sanders responded mid-question as he shook his head. “What will change in their plans is the color of their card. So, instead of having a Blue Cross/Blue Shield card, instead of having a United Health Insurance card, they’re gonna have a Medicare card.”

The self-described Democratic socialist elaborated that under his plan, Americans could go to “any” doctor or hospital they wanted and wouldn’t have to pay “any private insurance premiums.” He also said seniors would get “expanded benefits” including dental care, hearing aids and eyeglasses.

2020 DEMS BEING URGED TO BACK PUSH TO PACK SUPREME COURT

“So, if they like their health insurance plan, they won’t be able to keep their health insurance plan?” Blitzer followed.

“Wolf, nobody- listen, the business of ‘liking’ your insurance plan, which by the way, employers change every single year,” Sanders continued, “people like their doctors, they like the hospitals, they like the care they’re getting.”

“But if they wanted additional private health insurance beyond ‘Medicare-for-all,’ would they be able to purchase that kind of health insurance?” the CNN anchor pressed the senator.

“If they want- our bill covers all health care needs. All,” Sanders stressed. “If people want cosmetic surgery, for example, yes, of course they can get private health insurance. But, our bill covers all comprehensive health care needs.”

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Last month, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., made plenty of headlines during another CNN town hall after the 2020 candidate called to “eliminate” private health insurance while pushing “Medicare-for-all.”

“Well, listen, the idea is that everyone gets access to medical care. And, you don’t have to go through the process of going through an insurance company, having them give you approval, going through the paperwork, all of the delay that may require,” Harris told Jake Tapper. “Who among us has not had that situation, where you got to wait for approval, and the doctor says, ‘Well I don’t know if your insurance company is going to cover this.’ Let’s eliminate all of that. Let’s move on.”

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2020 presidential candidate Julián Castro doubled down Monday on his support for reparations to descendants of slavery.

In the wide-open field of Democrats, Castro so far is one of three candidates who’ve backed the policy, which the last Democrat in the White House, former President Barack Obama, had opposed. The other two who’ve indicated they support reparations are Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

The former secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama was asked about his stance by MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki, who cited a 2016 Marist poll that showed an overwhelming majority of Americans opposed reparations.

“I wonder if you could just talk a little bit more about what it is you would do as president when it came to that, and if you are worried that it sends a message to that 68 percent of Americans who say that they’re against it, that maybe you are out of the mainstream a little,” Kornacki said to the candidate.

2020 DEMS IN SENATE BLOCK ‘BORN ALIVE’ BILL; TRUMP SAYS IT’LL GO DOWN IN HISTORY

“This is not something that I see through a political lens. I have long believed that this country should resolve its original sin of slavery and that one of the ways we should consider doing that is through reparations for people who are the descendants of slaves,” Castro responded. “It is interesting to me that under our Constitution and otherwise that we compensate people if we take their property. Shouldn’t we compensate people if they were property sanctioned by the state? So, I believe that that is a conversation worth having, and I see that as right and wrong and I don’t see that political or non-political.”

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The former San Antonio mayor elaborated that he would, as president, establish a “task force” that would determine how reparations would be paid out, but stressed that a “dark cloud” still hung over the country and that he was not “naïve” about disagreements over the policy.

“I believe that we ought to move forward in the 21st century as one nation with one destiny and that until that issue is resolved, until that original sin is addressed, we may think that we are moving forward as one nation, but I don’t think we ever really will,” Castro added.

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The Jussie Smollett controversy is a symptom of the growing societal trend of victimhood, Federalist publisher Ben Domenech argued Wednesday night.

Earlier Wednesday, "Empire" actor Smollett was charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly falsifying a police report about being attacked.

During the "Special Report" All-Star panel, Domenech — along with Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen and Cook Political Report national editor Amy Cook — weighed in on the ramifications of the Smollett case.

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Domenech called the Smollett claims a “disturbing sign” of the bubbling up of “victimhood chic,” which he described as when people tell stories to make themselves appear to be “tragic victims.”

“What this really should tell us is that we should take a step back, not just jump to the idea that every recent story that comes out in the news is representative of this whole narrative that we have about the country and where it’s going. That’s the problem that I think we have in this situation,” Domenech told the panel.

Thiessen pointed out a “pattern” of such behavior, invoking the news coverage of the Covington Catholic High School students, who are now suing various new organizations and public figures for libel, and how there was also a “rush to judgment” with Smollett.

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“It exposes the fact that the political left has contempt not just for Donald Trump but for Donald Trump’s supporters,” Thiessen said. “They assume that Donald Trump’s supporters are racist even though 7 to 8 million Trump voters voted twice for Barack Obama.”

"The political left has contempt not just for Donald Trump but for Donald Trump’s supporters. They assume that Donald Trump’s supporters are racist even though 7 to 8 million Trump voters voted twice for Barack Obama."

— Marc Thiessen, Washington Post columnist

Meanwhile, Cook admitted to the panel that she “blocked it out” from her social media intake after witnessing the left and the right face off in yet another divisive debate.

“Whenever we see something that’s going to basically reinforce our own political views, we decide to attach to it. When it doesn’t reinforce our own political views, we decide to call it out,” Cook said.

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President Trump’s policy toward Russia since taking office appears to make it ‘harder to justify’ the comments that former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe made, questioning whether or not Trump is a “Russian asset,” Eli Lake, a columnist for Bloomberg said.

McCabe has detailed the origins of the counter-intelligence probe that the Department of Justice launched against Trump after the dramatic firing of FBI Director James Comey in May 2017. He said that he is not convinced that the president isn’t under the influence of Russia since the inquiry began.

MUELLER NEAR ‘END GAME’ IN PROBE

Lake, who appeared on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” said McCabe’s theory may not hold water because the Trump administration has had a consistent policy of opposing Russia.

“President Trump has appointed Russia hawks at the highest levels of the government,” Lake said. “He has, in a lot of cases, not every single one, countered Russian interests directly, most recently being Venezuela, selling lethal arms to Ukraine. So there’s been no quo to the quid and the quid has yet to be established after two years of an investigation from the FBI.”

He continued, “What we haven’t seen is any kind of follow through in terms of the policy, nor have we seen the evidence that there was in all of these meetings that have come out and all of these contexts, we have yet to see coming close to that initial claim.”

McCabe has said in the past that the FBI had a good reason to launch a counterintelligence investigation into whether Trump was working with Russia and was a possible national security threat.

The former official was asked on CNN’s "Anderson Cooper 360" if he believes Trump may still be a Russian asset. He said he’s "anxious" to see the conclusion of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation.

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Kellyanne Conway, the White House counselor, told the network that McCabe’s comment is "hardly [worth] dignifying with a response."

"He’s a liar and a leaker," she said.

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Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who on Tuesday announced his candidacy for president, will leave a lasting impact win or lose, Matthew Continetti, the editor of the Washington Free Beacon, said.

Sanders is the twelfth candidate to launch a campaign or an exploratory committee and has raised over $4 million dollars within 24 hours, which exceeded all of his competitors in the same timeframe.

Continetti was joined by Byron York, the Washington Examiner chief political correspondent and NPR’s Mara Liasson on the "Special Report" "All-Star" panel.

Continetti pointed out that Biden’s reluctance to enter the race has “created a vacuum” for business-friendly Democrats and that “poor Amy Klobuchar” is all alone in rejecting the progressive call for free college tuition for all.

“She needs reinforcements. Otherwise, this will not be Barack Obama’s party, won’t be Hillary Clinton’s party. It will be Bernie Sanders’ party and that helps Donald Trump,” Continetti said.

York referred to Sanders as the “big sensation” in 2016 because “no big-name Democrats” challenged Hillary Clinton and also drew attention to the Democrat Socialist’s age.

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“Bernie will be 79 years old on Election Day. That is older than Ronald Reagan was when he left office after eight years. That is really, really pushing the limit,” York said.

Meanwhile, Liasson told the panel that Sanders is the “victim of his own success” since the majority of the other Democratic candidates have embraced his far-left ideology, asking why anyone needs a “cranky old guy from Brooklyn” versus the “young, exciting people who agree with him on almost everything.”

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Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was asked during a television interview Tuesday if he “hates” President Trump, specifically regarding the president’s repeated verbal attacks on McCabe’s wife.

McCabe alleges that during a phone conversation, the president mocked Jill McCabe’s failed run for a Virginia state Senate seat, asking the then-top FBI official what’s it’s like for her to be a “loser.”

Trump denied that he said “anything bad” about Mrs. McCabe aside from her taking money from Clinton allies during her campaign.

McCabe called Trump’s tweet “absolutely false on so many counts.”

“We don’t have to go far to look at the horrendous, slanderous, and defamatory things that this president has said about my wife going back to October of 2016. There’s a long and illustrious history there,” McCabe told MSNBC’s "The Last Word" host Lawrence O’Donnell. “He brought her up in his comments to the press conference he gave at the United Nations. I mean, think about it. Imagine you’re my wife driving home from work and that’s what you hear reported on the news. It’s just been utterly horrible.”

“Do you hate this guy?” O’Donnell asked.

“Wow, that’s a really tough question,” McCabe responded. “I’m going to have to say no. I didn’t think about it that way. I really hated the things he said about my wife, I’m not gonna lie to you. That is incredibly hard to hear, that’s incredibly hard not to react to in the way that any man wants to defend his wife. But honestly, in that moment, I couldn’t give myself the luxury in wallowing in that kind of hate. I had a job and 37,000 employees I was responsible for, whose job is to protect America and to uphold the Constitution. I couldn’t afford to get into an insult-trading match with the president of the United States.”

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Former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe was pressed Tuesday about the infamous “insurance policy” text that was made between former agent Peter Strzok and his lover, onetime bureau lawyer Lisa Page.

Numerous disclosures of the private text messages between Strzok and Page exposed what critics called an overt bias against then-candidate Donald Trump. A particular exchange from August 2016 fueled speculation that the Justice Department was trying to prevent the billionaire businessman from being elected when referring to an “insurance policy.”

“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office – that there’s no way he gets elected – but I’m afraid we can’t take the risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40,” Strzok texted Page.

McCabe called Strzok and Page’s texts “inappropriate” and “incredibly unfortunate” during an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

“Did they surprise you?” Cooper asked.

“They did,” McCabe responded. “I didn’t know anything about Pete and Lisa’s private communications.”

Cooper then pressed the former deputy FBI director on the “insurance policy” text and pointed out how McCabe can “recall” several meetings but not the one that allegedly took place in his office.

TRUMP ACCUSES MCCABE, ROSENSTEIN PURSUING ‘ILLEGAL AND TREASONOUS’ PLOT

“You certainly recall an awful lot of meetings in this book, very specific instances over the course of your two decades,” Cooper told McCabe. “I mean, there are some people who are going to say, ‘It’s kind of convenient that you don’t recall that meeting that was referred to in this text.’”

“I met with the president of the United States three times over the course of a 21-year career,” McCabe replied. “I met with the investigative team handling these cases multiple times a day over the course of a year or certainly many months. So I don’t recall this specific conversation in which Peter made that reference. Peter has explained what he meant by that reference and I, of course, I’ll take him at his word.

“I think that the important thing to remember is that Pete Strzok and Lisa Page were two people who served this country well. They made some unfortunate and I think poor decisions in their personal lives, particularly with respect to these communications between the two of them, decisions that cast incredible doubt and speculation on the bureau, something that I’m sure neither of them ever intended to do,” McCabe continued. “The fact is that good people make poor decisions every day.  It doesn’t completely erase the good service they gave to this country. Not one time in my working with them did I ever see anything that I perceived to be political bias or political influence in the decisions they were making and the work we were doing.”

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Cooper then followed by asking McCabe if discussions about stopping Trump from being elected were ever had with Strzok or Page.

“Nope, not ever,” McCabe declared.

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Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe on Tuesday claimed he unequivocally rejected deputy AG Rod Rosenstein’s suggestion about wearing a wire in the White House, saying it was “absolutely not” a good idea.

Sitting down with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, McCabe that he had nothing to do with the leaks that first publicized Rosenstein’s offer to record his conversation with President Trump in the wake of the dramatic May 2017 firing of FBI Director James Comey.

“At that moment, did you think that was a good idea?” Cooper asked.

“Absolutely not,” McCabe responded. “I felt that it was an incredibly invasive and a potentially precedent-setting thing to do. I didn’t think it was necessary at that point. I mean, if you think about it, the reason you would send someone in with a concealed recording device to tape the utterances and the statements of a subject is to capture evidence of intent. We didn’t need to do that in this case. We knew what the president intended. He made, through his own public statements to Lester Holt in the infamous interview — it was a risky and very controversial position that I did not want to put the agency in.”

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McCabe told the CNN anchor that he documented his interactions with Rosenstein and that he handed his memos to investigators.

And when asked if he thought Rosenstein should have recused himself from the probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election after invoking the 25th Amendment, McCabe said that was a decision for Rosenstein alone.

He later added that the country owes Rosenstein a “debt of gratitude” for appointing Special Counsel Robert Mueller to look into the Russia matter.

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Trump’s declaration of national emergency was unnecessarily ‘dramatic’: Victor Davis Hanson

The pending legal battle over the national emergency declared by President Trump may all center around “semantics,” Hoover Institution fellow Victor Davis Hanson argued Friday.

Earlier in the day, President Trump officially declared a national emergency in order to allocate funding for the border wall that wasn’t included in the compromise border security bill that Congress passed and that the president signed into law.

On Friday’s "Special Report" All-Star panel, Hanson — along with Townhall.com political editor Guy Benson and former Obama White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina — weighed in on the political fallout from the president’s decision.

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Hanson began by suggesting that President Trump should have echoed his predecessor President Barack Obama’s “I have a pen and I have a phone” remark and incrementally pulled funding from various departments instead of making his move so “dramatic.”

“I think that the news cycle is going to go on and it’s not going to be the big cycle drone that everybody thinks,” Hanson predicted.

The Hoover Institute fellow later added that it was “psycho-dramatic” to say that the Constitution is “in danger,” pointing to Obama’s actions on the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal and DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program for delaying deportation for adults who came to the U.S. illegally when they were children).

Messina pointed out that during his news conference, President Trump admitted that he “didn’t need” to declare a national emergency but that he did so to expedite funding for the wall, which Messina concluded made the event the “definition of not an emergency.”

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“This is a troubling move by a president. The framers put together a Constitution to make sure that there was separation of powers and not to have kings. And I think the president is right, he’s going to spend a lot of time in court,” Messina said.

Benson seemed to agree with the sentiment, calling Trump’s decision “politically questionable” and “legally dubious.”

“Frankly, as a conservative, I hope he loses in court on this because I do not want a precedent where presidents can get rejected or stymied by Congress and go ahead and do what they want anyhow."

Source: Fox News Politics


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