Sen. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, appearing Thursday on “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” said the Trump campaign’s refusal to accept “forbidden fruit” while interacting with Russian operatives intent on influencing the 2016 election was a good thing for America.
“”What I take away from this multiple times — and the attorney general was clear about this — multiple times they dangled forbidden fruit in front of people, in front of the Trump campaign, and they didn’t bite,” Jordan told Cavuto.
“That is reassuring. That … reflects well on the president of the United States. Multiple times they had opportunities to collude, and they didn’t take them up on it, which is critically important information.”
Jordan and Meadows were reacting to the Mueller report’s release on Thursday. The report did point to an array of controversial actions and requests made by the president that were examined as part of the investigation’s obstruction inquiry, though it ultimately made no finding of collusion with Moscow.
Cavuto asked the senator and congressman what they could do stop Russian interference in future elections, or if they would be concerned with any 2020 campaign staff taking meetings with Russian officials.
Meadows said the Obama administration was aware that the Russians were looking to interfere in the 2016 election, even as Donald Trump was in the dark.
“Interesting enough that the only people who knew the Russians were involved during the 2016 election were the Obama administration. It wasn’t the president of the United States today. It was the president back then,” Meadows said.
Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
Jerome Corsi, an associate of former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone who was caught up in the Russia investigation, told Newsmax TV the Mueller report released Thursday shows no legal action will be taken against him.
“I’m feeling pretty good, John,” Corsi told “Newsmax Now” host John Bachman. “First of all, it’s very clear I’m not gonna be indicted, even though they gave me a plea deal, that they wanted me to plead to one charge on.
“In my most recent book, ‘Silent No More,’ I explain it was psychologically very abusive. These Mueller people, I think, used prosecutorial misconduct techniques in the way I was questioned. They were desperate to have me make a link between Roger Stone and Julian Assange, which then I think was fundamental, very key to their whole collusion argument.”
President Donald Trump was cleared of conspiring with the Russians, and the Department of Justice said there was not enough evidence to show he obstructed justice by trying to squash the investigation.
Corsi echoed his past claims Mueller’s team tried to have him admit he was the conduit between WikiLeaks, which published documents damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016, and Stone.
“The prosecutors went insane that I figured this out on my own that [WikiLeaks founder Julian] Assange had [Clinton campaign chairman John] Podesta’s emails, and I did not have a contact with Julian Assange or Wikileaks whatsoever,” Corsi said.
Source: NewsMax America
Axios’ editor in chief, Nicholas Johnston, said on Thursday that controversy surrounding the Russia investigation was far from over, given the criminal referrals and the copious redactions in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report.
“This is the beginning of the beginning,” Johnston said of the report, which included 14 criminal referrals and concerns about obstruction of justice.
“There are 14 referrals from the Mueller investigation — we know what two of them are. There are 12 more that were completely unknown which can also lead to other criminal prosecutions,” Johnston told Fox News host Shepard Smith.
“There are at least … nine ongoing investigations in Congress and on state and local levels,” he added on “Shepard Smith Reporting.”
Johnston’s comments came just hours after President Trump declared “Game Over” in the Russia investigation.
White House adviser Kellyanne Conway also appeared to take a victory lap on Thursday when she told reporters she would accept their apologies and that the report ended the “lie” they’d “let fly” for the first two years of Trump’s presidency.
While the Mueller report didn’t find evidence of collusion with Russia, it did highlight 10 concerns related to potential obstruction of justice.
Both Attorney General William Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein concluded that the report didn’t show sufficient evidence to warrant obstruction charges, although Mueller said he didn’t “exonerate” the president.
Democrats are expected to continue pursuing the obstruction concerns as part of ongoing congressional investigations and in connection with their strategy for defeating Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
Johnston said Mueller provided a “roadmap” for Congress to continue investigating the president, but predicted the report itself wouldn’t create much change in polling on the issue.
Source: Fox News Politics
The Mueller report should never have been written in its current form because it is unfair to President Donald Trump, who was found not to have committed a crime, attorney Alan Dershowitz told Newsmax TV.
During an appearance on “Newsmax Now,” Dershowitz reacted to the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian collusion and said it will give Democrats a “roadmap” to pursue more investigations and, potentially, an impeachment.
“He’s been vindicated legally, but factually, morally, politically, there’s a lot in there that will be used by Democrats to try to show that although he may not have committed criminal conduct, he certainly committed conduct that’s not desirable by a president,” Dershowitz said.
“That’s exactly why there should never have been a Mueller report. The tradition of the Justice Department — a very good one, we remember when [former FBI Director James] Comey violated it with Hillary Clinton — is that when you decide not to charge somebody with a crime, you then don’t write a series of essays, or in this case a book, about all the bad things that they did that didn’t amount to criminal conduct. That seems to be very, very unfair, and that’s the negatives that have come out of this for President Trump.”
Dershowitz added he has thought for months Mueller would exonerate Trump but lay out the evidence that could have been used to charge the president with a crime.
“I predicted months ago that he would provide a roadmap to Congress for further investigations, impeachments – also a roadmap for other prosecutors in various districts of the United States. And he’s done exactly that,” Dershowitz said.
“That’s appropriate if you do it discreetly. . . . But when you issue a public report that includes innocent conduct, non-criminal conduct, however conduct that is condemnable, not criminal, that really violates the long tradition of the Justice Department in the same way that Comey violated the traditions of the Justice Department when he accused Hillary Clinton of being sloppy with her emails after concluding that she committed no crime.”
Source: NewsMax Politics
New York’s skyline is getting a green makeover under a bill adopted on Thursday that imposes massive cuts to the planet-warming greenhouse gases the city’s high rises and other large buildings emit.
If signed into law by the mayor of the United States’ largest city, the measure will mandate that buildings over 25,000 square feet (2,300 square meters) cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030, relative to 2005 levels.
Buildings are New York’s top emitter of greenhouse gases, according to a 2016 mayoral report, accounting for more than 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, which cause global warming. Transportation came second.
Most emissions from buildings in the United States come from the burning of fossil fuels like oil and gas for heating, cooling and the powering of other equipment, according to the U.S. Green Building Council.
The bill is the first of its kind worldwide to require buildings cut and maintain their emissions below certain levels, said Adam Roberts, director of policy with the American Institute of Architects New York, an architecture group.
The bill was celebrated by supporters for its unprecedented scale.
“I’m ecstatic,” said Pete Sikora, a campaign director for the nonprofit New York Communities for Change, a climate justice group that fought for the bill with rallies and research reports.
The move represented “the most ambitious climate legislation enacted by any city in the world,” said the Urban Green Council, a nonprofit encouraging sustainability in New York buildings, in a statement.
Some 50,000 buildings out of 1 million would be affected, or about two thirds of the city’s building area, said the Urban Green Council.
Violators would be fined $268 for each ton of emissions exceeding permitted limits, the bill’s text said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has said he would sign the legislation, local media reported.
Redoing a building’s facade, installing insulated windows, insulating pipes or installing thermostats are among ways to keep a building’s energy consumption and associated emissions low, said Roberts, whose group supported the bill.
Certain buildings will be exempt, including places of worship and rent-regulated housing, the bill said.
The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), the city’s largest real estate association, expressed its disappointment with the measure.
Business would suffer as a result of “fixed limits (that) will restrict a building’s ability to accommodate growth,” said the group in a statement.
“The approach taken today will have a negative impact on our ability to attract and retain a broad range of industries,” added John Banks, REBNY’s president, in a statement.
The upfront cost to implementing the measure would likely be in the billions citywide, though it was expected to be offset by long-term savings, said a spokesman for City Councilman Costa Constantinides, who spearheaded the bill.
New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said he hoped other municipalities would follow in the city’s footsteps by passing similar laws.
“We can’t put a price on the planet,” said Johnson by email.
A landmark United Nations report on climate change said last year that keeping the Earth’s temperature rise to a 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) target would require “unprecedented” changes to how society consumes energy, travels and builds.
Source: NewsMax America
“Well, Doctor, what have we got – a republic or a monarchy?”
That question, posed to Benjamin Franklin as he departed Independence Hall in 1787 after the Founders finished drafting the Constitution, drew a sharp response from the canny inventor.
“A republic,” he replied, “if you can keep it.”
How best to protect, preserve, and promote the unique American experiment has been Douglas E. Schoen’s singular focus throughout his storied career as a pollster, pundit, and writer.
His new book “Collapse: A World in Crisis and the Urgency of American Leadership” elevates his calling to a new level, offering a convincing case the political, cultural, and social pillars of American life are crumbling faster than anyone could have imagined.
Schoen begins with the premise that governing elites, both in the United States and abroad, have advanced their own interests at the expense of the Great Unwashed.
“Failed leadership seems to be the common denominator everywhere,” he writes. “It’s no wonder then, that we’re seeing such anti-systemic, anti-elite motivation in country after country.”
The most obvious manifestation of this disconnect between the governing classes and the hoi-polloi now resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, in the person of President Trump.
Schoen maintains “the problems and trends that led to Trump’s shock emergence have been festering for years, in the United States and around the world.”
At times Schoen, a centrist Democrat who served as one of President Bill Clinton’s pollsters in the mid-90s, pins some of the blame for the downward spiral on former President Obama.
He was especially critical of Obama’s “ruinous nuclear deal with Iran,” which he says “has all but guaranteed Tehran will become a nuclear power.”
But, at other times, Schoen turns his critical eye on Trump, particularly his penchant for Twitter storms that tend to undermine allies and staffers trying to promote his agenda. The author suggests the jury’s still out on whether Trump can provide the leadership that America and the West so sorely need.
“For now at least,” Schoen writes, “it comes down to Donald Trump. Is he up to it? Does he want to be? The answers to those questions will tell us much.”
His roster of the crises plaguing the West includes unfettered migration by those who refuse to assimilate into their new societies; growing income inequality; failing schools; stagnant economies outside of the United States; the continual low-probability, high-impact threat of terrorism; and the rise of illiberal, authoritarian governments – Russia, China, and Iran – that increasingly challenge the U.S.-dominated global order.
He also addresses the West’s well-documented “crisis of faith,” including the sharp spike in Americans who claim no religious affiliation.
“That the decline of religious faith would transpire roughly in tandem with a loss of faith in Western ideals, history, and culture, I believe, is no accident.”
The most obvious fallout from the failure of Western politicos to advance the interests of their citizens, he says, is the collapse in the perceived legitimacy of institutions once assumed to be reliable fixtures in public life. He cites the example of the Edelman Trust Barometer, an annual survey that measures public faith in institutions like government, law, business, media, non-profits, etc. In 2017, it registered the sharpest decline in trust in major institutions in the survey’s history.
“The public has grown increasingly disgusted with elite institutions,” Schoen writes, “especially government, but also business and the media.”
The loss of trust in established institutions has consequences. Indeed, Schoen insists, “Trump’s rise would not have been possible without the loss of trust in government and institutions.”
And he goes on to show the rise of populism is growing abroad as well, noting “Europe’s little Trumps” in Germany, France, the U.K., and The Netherlands have been gaining influence for some time.
But it remains to be seen whether Trump-ism can cure what ails America.
“What worried me about candidates Trump,” he writes, “was that he seemed to see America First to the exclusion of an American role in the world.”
Any book aiming to be more than just another Jeremiad regarding the many dilemmas besetting Western Civilization faces a major hurdle, namely, prescribing realistic alternatives that illuminate a brighter alternative future.
Fortunately, Schoen has the keen intellect and vast experience the job requires. He bases his approach on what he terms “assertive democratic idealism.” He reasons, because there is no substitute for global American leadership, Obama’s “leading from behind” mantra “meant in practice not leading at all,” he says – it is critical to assert U.S. power and influence in the most effective way possible.
“America must lead,” the author declares, “and its leadership depends not only on the revival of its institutions and the faith and confidence of its people but also on an approach and a vision that, put into practice, will deliver constructive results for the country, its allies and the world at large. I call it assertive democratic idealism.”
Schoen seems equally willing to criticize Democrats or Republicans. But his larger goal in “Collapse: A World in Crisis and the Urgency of American Leadership” is one that transcends mere politics.
History, he warns, is pretty clear about one thing: The United States still stands as the world’s indispensable nation. And unless its commander in chief and its people are prepared to lead on the global stage, the middle will not hold, and collapse is sure to follow.
“It is my fervent hope,” he concludes, “that the United States will get the leaders it needs to steer a course of American leadership that, in my view, remains the last, best hope for the world.”
Source: NewsMax America
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russia’s intervention in the 2016 election was “more damning” to President Donald Trump than the Watergate report was to former President Richard Nixon, according to former White House counsel John Dean.
In an interview on CNN’s “The Lead,” Dean said Attorney General William Barr’s handling of the Mueller report was “very disappointing.”
“One of the post-Watergate norms was that attorney generals did not serve as the president’s personal counsel,” he said, adding: “And Mr. Barr today violated all the norms that have been established post-Watergate and took us back into Nixonian-type operations.”
Dean said called the Mueller report “devastating.”
“I looked on my shelf for the Senate Watergate Committee report. I looked at the Iran/Contra Report,” he said. “I also looked at the Ken Starr report . . . I’ve read all of those. And in 400 words, this report from the special counsel is more damning than all those reports about a president. This is really a devastating report.”
And while the Justice Department concluded evidence in the report was insufficient to establish obstruction of justice, Dean said he thought the violation was clear.
“This is clear obstruction,” Dean declared. “The obstruction statute is an endeavor statute, as well as actual overt action. If you endeavor to obstruct – and there is much evidence here of endeavor – you violated the obstruction statue.”
Source: NewsMax Politics
President Donald Trump was a “political target” and the people who kickstarted the Russia investigation should be discovered, former NYPD commissioner Bernie Kerik told Newsmax TV.
“The president was a political target of a selective investigation by the Justice Department as part of an overall coup to remove him from office, and I think there must be an investigation to determine who was responsible and why,” Kerik said.
“I don’t give a damn where it falls, I don’t care if it goes all the way to President Obama. At the end of the day, there has to be a real investigation. And I would say that investigation would be a quick one, given that they already have the majority of the evidence they need, between the congressional hearings, the Senate, the House, between the criminal investigation by the [FBI] and Justice. I’m sure they have all the evidence they need.”
Kerik added Attorney General William Barr has a duty to follow the facts and try to get to the bottom of the entire Russia investigation, which determined the Trump campaign did not conspire with the Russians to win the 2016 presidential election.
“I think it’s inherent on the attorney general to conduct a real investigation and hold those accountable that started this thing, from the FISA complaint, to targeting, to outing people that were mentioned in the FISA stuff . . . You’re never gonna have trust within the Justice Department or the FBI if they don’t get to the bottom of this.”
Barr addressed reporters Thursday morning about special counsel Robert Mueller’s report. After the press conference, Barr sent copies of the redacted report to members of Congress. The report was then posted on the Department of Justice website.
Source: NewsMax Politics
President Donald Trump has been “vindicated in so many ways” by special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russia’s election interference, but Democrats still have “fodder” to “continue to hammer” him, GOP political consultant Karl Rove said Thursday.
In an interview on Fox News’ “The Daily Briefing with Dana Perino,” Rove said “the administration has to recognize” Democrat attacks will focus on the 10 items of obstruction in the report.
“I think the dominant feeling [at the White House] is relief,” he said, adding, however, “there’ll be some apprehension in how they deal with the aftermath. The recognition is this is a great moment. The president has been vindicated in so many ways, but the 10 items of obstruction that are listed in [the Mueller report] will be providing food and fodder for the Democrats on the Hill to continue to hammer the president.”
Rove said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., who heads the House Judiciary Committee, will be leading the charge, though he said he doubted Nadler would move to impeach the president.
Others will, he warned.
“You’ll have the hotdogs and lunatics and wannabes like [Democratic Rep.] Eric Swalwell of California say ‘impeach,'” he said.
“I think the wise ones will sit back and say, like [Sen.] Bernie Sanders [I-Vt.] on Monday on the Fox Town Hall, [that] ‘if we spend too much time trashing Trump, we Democrats will lose,’ and not only sounds good but is accurate.”
Source: NewsMax Politics
The U.S. intelligence community holds an institutional bias toward the Democratic Party, and this has grown under President Donald Trump, according to former CIA analyst John Gentry.
Gentry, who is now a Professor at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, wrote in an article for the International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence that former senior intelligence leaders, including CIA Director John Brenan, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, had broken traditionally held prohibitions by publicly discussing liberal political views and criticizing Trump.
“The attacks on Trump were unprecedented for intelligence officers in their substance, tone, and volume,” he wrote. “Critics went far beyond trying to correct Trump’s misstatements about U.S. intelligence; they attacked him as a human being.”
“In the past, intelligence officials usually bit their tongues when presidents criticized their work, recognizing that they sometimes make mistakes, that they work for presidents in an unequal relationship, that their job is to help all administrations succeed and even on occasion to be scapegoats for political leaders’ failed policies,” Gentry said. “That said, some intelligence officers have long leaked information to the press.”
Although he does not say intelligence officials have produced biased reports, Gentry does suspect “bias may have crept into CIA analyses.”
He concludes, “a considerable body of evidence, much of it fragmentary, indicates that many CIA people have left-leaning political preferences, but less evidence shows that political bias influences CIA analyses.”
The CIA did not respond to The Washington Free Beacon’s request for comment on the article.
Source: NewsMax Politics