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A man who died last month at the West Hollywood home of prominent Democratic Party fundraiser Ed Buck warned his friends to steer clear of the well-connected donor and referred to him as a "f—ing devil" and "a horrible, horrible man," according to a report Monday night.

Timothy Dean, 55, was found dead in Buck’s apartment early on Jan. 7, 17 months after 26-year-old male escort Gemmel Moore was found dead of a methamphetamine overdose. The Daily Beast reported that Dean and Buck had a relationship years before Moore’s death, but Dean’s friends claimed the relationship turned into a one-sided after — with Buck sending multiple text messages to Dean and Dean declining to respond.

One friend of Dean, DeMarco Majors, told the website that Moore told him during a November 2018 conversation: "Ed Buck hits me up all the time, and I don’t answer none of his text messages. Don’t you take your a– over there." Majors said he told Dean that he didn’t know who Buck was, but that did not deter Dean.

Timothy Dean died at the residence of Democratic donor Ed Buck earlier this year

Timothy Dean died at the residence of Democratic donor Ed Buck earlier this year

GEMMEL MOORE INVESTIGATION: PROSECUTORS DECLINE TO FILE CHARGES AGAINST DEM DONOR IN FATAL OVERDOSE

"Don’t you go over there,” Dean reportedly told Majors again. "I’m not going over there either. S—, I’m not trying to end up dead."

Buck’s attorney, Seymour Amster, described Dean at the time of his death as a "longtime friend" of Buck who had "reached out for his help" and had begun "acting in a bizarre way" after he arrived at Buck’s apartment the night he died. When contacted by Fox News about the Daily Beast report, Amster wrote in an email: "We are in possession of text messages from Mr. Dean to Mr. Buck that refute the picture the Daily Beast is trying to paint of the relationship between Mr. Dean and Mr. Buck. The text messages do not put Mr. Dean in a good light. We are sure that law enforcement are in possession of these texts as well.

"It seems that Mr. Dean had a secret life he was keeping from a lot of his friends," Amster added. "That is as far as we will go with what we and law enforcement possess … If this matter ends up in a courtroom, and that is a big ‘IF’ we will then decide if it is necessary to disclose Mr. Dean’s secret life."

Walter Harris, another friend of Dean’s, texted him an article about Moore’s July 2017 death. In response, Dean said: "This might be it for Ed Buck" and called him, "f—ing devil." In July 2018, prosecutors declined to file charges against Buck in Moore’s death.

Still another friend, Jermaine Johnson, said Dean told him after Moore died that Buck was “a horrible, horrible man.”

FAMILY WANTS ANSWERS IN ESCORT’S DEATH AT DEM DONOR’S HOME

The cause of Dean’s death has not been made public. Amster told Fox News that Buck was interviewed by police on the night of Dean’s death and "disclosed all of the information law enforcement needed.

"There is no reason to have him re-interviewed," Amster added, "there is nothing new they can obtain."

Click for more from the Daily Beast.

Source: Fox News Politics

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is expected to leave his role at the Justice Department by mid-March, a senior DOJ official told Fox News on Monday.

An announcement of who has been selected to replace Rosenstein could come as early as this week. A Trump administration official added that Attorney General William Barr has picked Jeffrey Rosen to serve as his deputy attorney general.

Fox News reported in January that Rosenstein was expected to step down in the coming weeks to ensure a smooth transition for Barr, who was sworn in on Thursday.

This is a developing story; please check back for updates.

Source: Fox News Politics

The attorneys general of California, New York, and 14 other states on Monday filed a lawsuit in the Ninth Circuit against the White House’s recent national emergency declaration over border security, claiming President Trump has "veered the country toward a constitutional crisis of his own making."

President Trump sarcastically had predicted the lawsuit last week. He’s slammed the Ninth Circuit multiple times as "disgraceful" and politically biased.

The litigation, brought before a federal trial court in the Northern District of California, seeks an injunction to prevent Trump from shifting billions of dollars from military construction to the border without explicit congressional approval. The suit also asks a court to declare Trump’s actions illegal, arguing that Trump showed a "flagrant disregard of fundamental separation of powers principles engrained in the United States Constitution" by violating the Constitution’s Presentment and Appropriations Clauses, which govern federal spending.

The litigation additionally includes allegations that Trump is violating the National Environmental Policy Act, by planning to build a wall that could impact the environment without first completing the necessary environmental impact reports.

The states argue they have standing to sue the administration largely because, they allege, the federal funds could have been spent on their defense. "Maine is aggrieved by the actions of Defendants and has standing to bring this action because of the injury to the State and its residents caused by Defendants’ reduction of federal defense spending in Maine due to diversion of funding to the border wall," one section of the suit reads.

"California is aggrieved by the actions of Defendants and has standing to bring this action because of the injury due to the loss of federal drug interdiction, counter-narcotic, and lawenforcement funding to the State caused by Defendants’ diversion of funding," reads another paragraph.

A person dressed to look like President Donald Trump in a prison uniform, and others gather Monday, Feb. 18, 2019, in front of the White House in Washington, to protest that President Donald Trump declared a national emergence along the southern boarder. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

A person dressed to look like President Donald Trump in a prison uniform, and others gather Monday, Feb. 18, 2019, in front of the White House in Washington, to protest that President Donald Trump declared a national emergence along the southern boarder. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

“Declaring a National Emergency when one does not exist is immoral and illegal,” New York Attorney General Letitia James, who previously vowed to use "every area of the law" to investigate Trump and his family, said in a statement. “Diverting necessary funds from real emergencies, crime-fighting activities, and military construction projects usurps Congressional power and will hurt Americans across the country. We will not stand for this abuse of power and will fight using every tool at our disposal.”

In a separate statement, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, remarked, "President Trump is manufacturing a crisis and declaring a made-up ‘national emergency’ in order to seize power and undermine the Constitution."

The litigation came amid scattered anti-Trump Presidents Day protests across the country, including a group of more than a hundred demonstrators who waved signs at the White House while the president was speaking in Florida.

At a news conference outside the White House on Friday, Trump mockingly predicted legal challenges against his emergency declaration would follow a tried-and-true path.

WHITE HOUSE SAYS SUBSTANTIAL BORDER WALL CONSTRUCTION SHOULD BE COMPLETED BY SEPT. 2020

"So the order is signed and I’ll sign the final papers as soon as I get into the Oval Office," Trump told reporters. "And we will have a national emergency and we will then be sued, and they will sue us in the Ninth Circuit even though it shouldn’t be there, and we will possibly get a bad ruling, and then we’ll get another bad ruling, and then we’ll end up in the Supreme Court and hopefully we’ll get a fair shake and we’ll win in the Supreme Court just like the ban. They sued us in the Ninth Circuit and we lost, and then we lost in the Appellate Division, and then we went to the Supreme Court and we won."

President Donald Trump speaks during an event in the Rose Garden at the White House to declare a national emergency in order to build a wall along the southern border, Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump speaks during an event in the Rose Garden at the White House to declare a national emergency in order to build a wall along the southern border, Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has jurisdiction over all appeals coming out of the Northern District of California, where Monday’s lawsuit was filed. The San Francisco-based Ninth Circuit has long been a legal stumbling block for conservative policies, and the White House has sought to appoint conservative justices to thin out the liberal ranks on the court. Last year, Trump bypassed traditional protocols and ignored the concerns of the state’s Democratic politicians to nominate prominent conservatives to the Ninth Circuit.

Late last year, Trump engaged in a public spat with Chief Justice John Roberts on the issue, after Roberts took the unusual step of disputing Trump’s comments that the nation has biased judges on some courts. Roberts has sought to portray himself as a nonpartisan justice.

But, Democrats have said it’s the president who defies basic legal norms.

"President Trump treats the rule of law with utter contempt," California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said Monday. "He knows there is no border crisis, he knows his emergency declaration is unwarranted, and he admits that he will likely lose this case in court."

Protesters of President Donald Trump's national emergency declaration block traffic near Trump International Hotel & Tower on Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Protesters of President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration block traffic near Trump International Hotel & Tower on Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

James, the New York attorney general, argued that the emergency declaration was not only legally unconstitutional, but also unnecessary as a practical matter, asserting that "unlawful southern border entries are at their lowest point in twenty-years, immigrants are less likely than native-born citizens to commit crimes, and illegal drugs are more likely to come through official ports of entry."

Senior White House adviser Stephen Miller, speaking exclusively to "Fox News Sunday" anchor Chris Wallace, disputed those arguments over the weekend.

"The problem with the statement that you’re ‘apprehending 80 or 90 percent of drugs at ports of entry’ — that’s like saying you apprehend most contraband at (Transportation Security Administration) checkpoints at airports," Miller said. "You apprehend the contraband there because that’s where you have the people, the screeners. I assure you if we had screeners of that same density across every single inch and mile of the southern border, you’d have more drugs interdicted in those areas."

TRUMP CONDEMNS ‘DISGRACEFUL’ NINTH CIRCUIT, DEEMING IT RUBBER STAMP FOR HIS FOES

In response to claims that the president was unconstitutionally taking power from Congress, Miller noted that the National Emergencies Act includes an express grant of power from the legislature to the executive branch — and also includes dispute mechanisms in case Congress disagrees with the president’s use of his authority.

"The statute, Chris, is clear on its own terms," Miller said. "Congress has appropriated money for construction of border barriers consistently.  This is part of the national security."

Still, even a single federal judge could issue an order blocking the national emergency declaration, which has occurred nearly three dozen times so far under Trump’s watch.

Central American immigrants lining up for breakfast at a shelter in Piedras Negras, Mexico, earlier this month. (Jerry Lara/The San Antonio Express-News via AP)

Central American immigrants lining up for breakfast at a shelter in Piedras Negras, Mexico, earlier this month. (Jerry Lara/The San Antonio Express-News via AP)

The Trump administration repeatedly has condemned the increasingly common practice of one judge issuing such a sweeping order, and Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, who concurred in the high court’s decision last year to reinstate Trump’s travel ban, wrote that such injunctions “take a toll on the federal court system—preventing legal questions from percolating through the federal courts, encouraging forum shopping, and making every case a national emergency for the courts and for the executive branch.”

TRUMP ANNOUNCES NEW CONSERVATIVE PICKS FOR NINTH CIRCUIT

The stakes are high for the White House, which has struggled to see new wall funding win approval in Congress. On Friday, Trump signed a compromise spending bill that included just $1.4 billion for border security — far short of the $5.7 billion he’d requested for the wall.

The compromise legislation, which overwhelmingly passed in the House and Senate last week, contained enough funding for building just 55 miles of barricades, not the 200-plus miles the White House has sought.

NEW YORK AG PROMISES TO PROBE TRUMP USING ‘EVERY’ RESOURCE POSSIBLE

Still, neither party seemed enthused about the legislation, save for its provisions averting another partial federal government shutdown. Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh, speaking to "Fox News Sunday," called the bill "outrageous," pointing to is provisions for what he called "welcoming centers for newly arriving illegal aliens, and all kinds of medical care" — a reference to the allocation of $192,700,000 in the bill’s conference agreement to enhance medical care and transportation for illegal immigrants in U.S. custody, including to shelters run by nonprofits.

The bill provided additional funding for 5,000 more beds that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) could use to house illegal immigrants. But, in an attempt to pressure the agency to detain fewer illegal immigrants, Democrats ensured that the bill did not include funding for the 2,000 additional ICE agents requested by the Trump administration, or the 750 Border Patrol agents who also were sought.

Cathy Clark holding a sign during a protest in downtown Fort Worth, Texas, on Monday. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Cathy Clark holding a sign during a protest in downtown Fort Worth, Texas, on Monday. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Several Republicans, including Texas Reps. Dan Crenshaw and Chip Roy, voted against the bill, saying it didn’t properly address the flow of illegal immigrants and drugs across the border. Roy called the bill a "sham" and said it "undermines the whole point of an emergency declaration."

Prominent Democrats, including New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, rejected the spending bill as well, saying it did not do enough to curb ICE.

A senior administration official told Fox News the White House planned to move $8 billion in currently appropriated or available funds toward construction of the wall. Of that, $3 billion could be diverted with help from the emergency declaration.

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That money would include about $600 million from the Treasury Department’s forfeiture fund. That money has been described as “easy money” that the White House can use however it wants. The White House also is expected to use drug interdiction money from the Defense Department.

But, by declaring an emergency, Trump is potentially able to unlock money from the Pentagon’s military construction budget, to the tune of $3.5 billion.

Fox News’ Brooke Singman, Kelly Phares, Kathleen Foster and Chris Wallace contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

An elderly woman was rescued from her frigid home in California after sheriff’s deputies found her alone, without power and surrounded by snow.

Joan Almstrom was at her home in Pioneer, roughly 61 miles east of Sacramento, on Saturday when a neighbor couldn’t get in contact with her and called authorities to check on her.

RETIRED POLICE OFFICER IS PERFECT KIDNEY DONOR MATCH FOR FORMER BEAT PARTNER

Deputy Casey Wilson, of the Amador County Sheriff’s Office, responded, and found Almstrom "inside, freezing cold and without power, heat or phone service," according to a Facebook post from the department.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

The sheriff’s deputy shoveled snow from Almstrom’s home to the road. He then transported her to his patrol vehicle and brought her to the Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort in Jackson.

The hotel, according to the sheriff’s office, provided them with a discounted rate for a hotel room — for which Wilson paid.

Source: Fox News National

Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian has revealed new details of his horrifying ordeal in an Iranian prison, telling The Guardian newspaper that while he was never physically abused, "I was certainly tortured, and they have to pay for that."

Rezaian, who was held in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison for 18 months on accusations of espionage and related charges before his release in January 2016, has sued Iran in U.S. federal court, alleging he received such "physical mistreatment and severe psychological abuse … that he will never be the same." He also has written a memoir about his experience, "Prisoner," which was published last month.

A native of California, Rezaian held both U.S. and Iranian citizenship at the time of his arrest in July 2014. He was working as the Post’s Tehran correspondent and was living in the capital with his wife, Bloomberg News reporter Yeganeh Salehi, when both were arrested by members of the theocracy’s secret police.

HELL ON EARTH: INSIDE IRAN’S BRUTAL EVIN PRISON

"For the first six or seven months, [the threat of execution] was pretty regular," said Rezaian, who recalled seeing condemned prisoners when he was taken to and from court for his secret trial. "It was the constant anxiety of: ‘Are they going to kill me, are they going to keep me forever or am I going to be released tomorrow?’ You don’t know what to believe. That’s the method. That’s the torture."

Rezaian told The Guardian he had nightmares of being kept in prison after he was supposed to be released. He also said he’s become more nervous about taking on overseas assignments.

"Like many foreign correspondents, I used to be pretty intrepid in where I was willing to go," he said. "Now I’m not. I have to have very concrete plans. I get anxious and paranoid if I don’t know how I’m going to get back to my hotel. All these things are so counter to the way that I lived for so many years."

WIFE OF U.S. SCHOLAR IMPRISONED IN IRAN SPEAKS OUT: ‘HIS ONLY CRIME IS HE’S AMERICAN’

Rezaian also said the murder of Saudi activist Jamal Khashoggi, who contributed columns to the Post’s global opinions section, had a psychological effect on his wife and him. Khashoggi was murdered this past October in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

"We were kindred spirits, in the sense that we both felt forced out of place," Rezaian told the Guardian of Khashoggi and himself. "[We felt] that these governments didn’t want to see us in their midst any longer."

In one of Rezaian’s final conversations with his interrogators before returning to the U.S., he said, they predicted that Donald Trump would win the U.S. presidential election.

"It’s very simple," one of them reportedly told Rezaian. "Trump is the candidate that hates Muslims most."

Click for more from The Guardian.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News World

A Honduran lawmaker has been stripped of her seat in Congress after being convicted last month of defaming and slandering a local banker.

The court on Monday also sentenced Maria Luisa Borjas of the opposition Libre party to serve two years and eight months, but she can avoid jail by paying a fine of $1 for each day.

Her congressional seat will pass to an alternate from her party.

Borjas was running for election in 2017 when she read a list of suspected "intellectual authors" from security ministry report about the 2016 killing of environmental activist Berta Caceres.

The list included Camilo Atala, president of Ficohsa bank.

Atala sued her for defamation, saying the comments caused "irreparable damage" to his reputation. He has denied any connection to the slaying.

Source: Fox News World

A runner in California slipped on a patch of ice on a mountain trail Sunday morning — and fell roughly 180 feet to his death from a mountain peak, officials said.

Ernesto Alonzo Rodriguez, 38, died at Mount Wilson, a peak in the San Gabriel Mountains, located northeast of Los Angeles, KTLA reported.

Rodriguez went on the workout with three other runners, and two of joggers tried to climb down the ravine to help him, the Pasadena Star-News added.

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Fox 11 reported that officials were in the process of notifying his relatives.

Click for more from Fox 11.

Frank Miles is a reporter and editor covering geopolitics, military, crime, technology and sports for FoxNews.com. His email is [email protected]

Source: Fox News National

The Swedish student who live-streamed her efforts to stop an Afghan asylum-seeker from being deported has reportedly been fined.

Elin Ersson, 21, was indicted in October by Swedish prosecutors for breaking aviation laws but was fined 3,000 Swedish krona, which translates to roughly $324 in U.S. currency, for her efforts, the BBC reported on Monday.

FLASHBACK: WOMAN REFUSES TO SIT DOWN ON FLIGHT IN EFFORT TO STOP MAN’S DEPORTATION TO AFGHANISTAN, DRAMATIC VIDEO SHOWS

In July, Ersson, a college student and volunteer with refugee groups, bought a ticket for a flight from Gothenburg to Turkey after finding out an Afghan man on the flight was being deported to Afghanistan.

While aboard the plane, she live-streamed herself refusing to take her seat until the Afghan man was removed from the flight, saying the man would most likely be killed in Afghanistan.

“I am doing what I can to save a person’s life. As long as a person is standing up the pilot cannot take off," she said. "All I want to do is stop the deportation and then I will comply with the rules here. This is all perfectly legal and I have not committed a crime."

An annoyed passenger tried to grab the phone from Ersson, saying she was upsetting others — to which the student replied: “It’s not my fault that he’s getting deported. I’m trying to stop this.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“I’m trying to change my country’s rules. I don’t like them. It’s not right to send people to hell,” she added.

The Afghan man who was being deported, however, had received a prison sentence in Sweden for assault, and his asylum application was rejected. The man was eventually deported to Afghanistan.

Fox News’ Lukas Mikelionis and Kathleen Joyce contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News World

Authorities say three children and a woman were found dead of apparent gunshot wounds at a home in western Michigan.

Kent County Sheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young says authorities responded Monday to a property near Cedar Springs, a community about 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Grand Rapids. She says someone discovered the bodies and called 911.

LaJoye-Young said the three children were elementary school-aged and younger but declined to provide further information about the victims’ relationships to one another. She said authorities were still confirming the victims’ identities.

LaJoye-Young called the scene "a horrific thing to be called to" and said "my heart goes out to the families involved here and the community."

Authorities don’t believe there is a shooter at large. An investigation is ongoing.

___

Information from: WOOD-TV, http://www.woodtv.com

Source: Fox News National

The State Department responded to reports that five Americans in Haiti were arrested and held on conspiracy charges after more than a week of anti-government protests.

“We understand that the Haitian National Police detained a group of individuals, including some U.S. citizens. When U.S. citizens are arrested overseas we seek Consular Access as soon as possible and provide appropriate Consular assistance as provided by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations,” a State Department spokesperson told Fox News. It did not comment further.

Reuters reported that a group of foreign nationals including armed Americans were arrested. Haitian newspaper Le Nouvelliste reported that police found rifles, pistols, drones and satellite phones in the group’s vehicle, according to Reuters.

The arrests come after more than a week of violent demonstrations by tens of thousands of protesters demanding the resignation of President Jovenel Moise over skyrocketing prices that have more than doubled for basic goods amid allegations of government corruption.

TRUMP DECLARES ‘SOCIALISM IS DYING’ AMID VENEZUELA ‘CATASTROPHE,’ PROMISES ‘THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN TO US’

Last week, the State Department issued its highest-possible travel advisory for Haiti, the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation.

“Do not travel to Haiti due to crime and civil unrest,” the department advised Americans in its Level 4 warning. “There are currently widespread, violent, and unpredictable demonstrations in Port-au-Prince and elsewhere in Haiti. … Protests, tire burning, and road blockages are frequent and unpredictable. Violent crime, such as armed robbery, is common. Local police may lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents, and emergency response, including ambulance service, is limited or non-existent.”

Goods in Haiti have doubled in price in recent weeks: A sack of rice now costs $18 in U.S. dollars and a can of dry beans around $7. In addition, a gallon of cooking oil has gone up to nearly $11 from $7. Inflation has been in the double digits since 2014, and the price hikes are angering many people in Haiti, where about 60 percent of its nearly 10.5 million people struggle to get by on about $2 a day. A recent report by the U.S. Agency for International Development said about half the country is undernourished.

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The U.S. government urged Moise’s administration to implement economic reforms and redouble efforts to fight corruption and hold accountable those implicated in the scandal over the Venezuelan subsidized oil program, known as Petrocaribe.

Moise has refused to step down, though his prime minister, Jean-Henry Ceant, said over the weekend that he has agreed to reduce certain government budgets by 30 percent, limit travel of government officials and remove all non-essential privileges they enjoy, including phone cards. Ceant also vowed to investigate alleged misspending tied to Petrocaribe, and said he has requested that a court audit all state-owned enterprises. He also said he would increase the minimum wage and lower the prices of basic goods, although he did not provide specifics.

Fox News’ Nicholas Kalman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News World

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On the roster: When every day is Presidents’ Day – Would Biden be the real frontrunner? – List of litigants against Trump emergency growing – Audible: Like freedom fries? – Tudder for an udder

WHEN EVERY DAY IS PRESIDENTS’ DAY
We are in the midst of a needful and long-overdue discussion about executive authority.

But don’t expect it to last.

In the past seven decades, Americans have substantially learned to live without the small-r republicanism that was so much a part of our founding and first century and a half of our history.

Consider the long, slouchy slide into the abomination that we call “Presidents’ Day.” The holiday is still “George Washington’s Birthday” by law, having survived an effort in 1968 to standardize the observance as a generic honor for all presidents.

Abraham Lincoln, born on Feb. 12, never had a federal observance of his own, but most states had holidays for the Great Emancipator. Washington was born on Feb. 22, so this created something of a holiday logjam in February, which was unhelpful for schools and employers.

Over time, confusion between state and federal observances and the pressure from advertisers who wanted a standard way to hawk mattresses and minivans, dumbed down the holiday.

While it’s true that it doesn’t really matter what we call the day for the sake of celebrations. Americans ought not need to be told how and when exactly to venerate our two greatest leaders. Plus, ski weekends…

What does matter, though, is that the generic holiday is an unfortunate reflection of the royalist strain that has so much taken hold of American political thinking.

There’s no doubt that in our republic, the president is afforded many of the powers of a term-limited king. The power of the commander in chief to defend against an attack or of whether to pardon a criminal are magisterial indeed.

The fear among the Federalists in support of the Constitution was, in fact, that the legislative branch would be too powerful and that the executive would be too puny to get the job done. Sapped of the capacity for decisive action, the executive branch would become a kind of ceremonial head of state – a hood ornament for the country. Meanwhile, Congress would be unable to provide decisive responses to *ahem* national emergencies.

It’s turned out to be exactly the opposite. Congress can seldom act, it’s true. But the response from what is supposed to be the preeminent branch has been to cede its own authority. For decades now and under the control of both parties, Congress has taken itself from the lion of our government into a pipsqueak.

The idea behind venerating Washington and Lincoln is that they were special men who, at crucial moments, led the country out of dangerous straits and into greater glories. And in both cases, that given the opportunity to be demagogues or to hoard power for themselves, they instead placed those authorities back in the hands of the representatives of the people.

But the reason their self-sacrifice is so remarkable is that it is so rare. And it is so rare because, as the verdict of 10,000 years of history clearly shows, the people generally don’t want the power. Autocracy and highly centralized power haven’t been the norm in human history just because of the efforts autocrats, but also the will of the people.

Being a citizen in a republic is harder duty than being the subject of a king or queen. You have to make decisions. You have to know the facts. You have to participate.

The imperial American presidency has been growing and growing to the point now where we are even having a discussion about whether the current occupant of the Oval Office can even disregard the domestic spending direction of the Congress. That we are even in debate on the subject tells us how far we have fallen.

And in this case, like every executive usurpation that has come before, the executive points to the abuses that came before and were allowed to stand by a craven Congress. We won’t here delve into the cause of congressional cravenness, except to say that the individual ambitions of careerist lawmakers has made lawmaking seem rather too icky.

Where we’ve landed, and this has been very much for the current presidency and the one before it, is where everything seems focused on the man in the White House. Day after day after day of focus on one single human. As if a president could be so powerful… 

Whatever sign they hung in the window at the mattress store today doesn’t matter, but we would submit that when we divorced the observance from the individual men, it was another step toward a monarchical America.    

The truth that most of us would probably not like to confront is that America likes it better that way.

THE RULEBOOK: FANCY THAT
“The representatives of the people, in a popular assembly, seem sometimes to fancy that they are the people themselves, and betray strong symptoms of impatience and disgust at the least sign of opposition from any other quarter…” Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 71

TIME OUT: UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Fashion critic Vanessa Friedman shares some thoughts on the passing of the original “influencer.” NYT: “What does it mean to have your greatest legacy be one of ‘taste?’ I have been thinking about this since the news of Lee Radziwill’s death arrived, along with the flood of photographs from all corners of social media featuring Ms. Radziwill throughout her life — in white corduroys and a blue boat-neck T-shirt, in bouffant chignon and tunics; in a pink shift with her sister, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, atop an elephant during a tour of India; in a white-and-silver beaded gown dancing with Truman Capote at his Black and White Ball; in a black patent python jacket — all of them used to pay homage to her extraordinary ‘taste.’ Been thinking about it since some of the obituaries and reminiscences almost seem to use the word as a backhanded compliment; a reference to a life that had more impact in style than substance… But are the two really so unrelated?”

Flag on the play? – Email us at [email protected] with your tips, comments or questions.

SCOREBOARD
Trump job performance 
Average approval: 41.8 percent
Average disapproval: 54.4 percent
Net Score: -12.6 points
Change from one week ago: up 3.6 points 
[Average includes: Fox News: 46% approve – 52% disapprove; Gallup: 44% approve – 52% unapproved; CNN: 42% approve – 54% disapproval; IBD: 39% approve – 57% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 38% approve – 57% disapprove.]

WOULD BIDEN BE THE REAL FRONTRUNNER?

Politico:Joe Biden’s big lead in early Democratic 2020 polling might be a bunch of malarkey. While most polls show the former vice president hovering around 30 percent of the Democratic primary vote, well ahead of second-place Sen. Bernie Sanders, two recent surveys paint a starkly different picture — raising the question of whether Biden is a real front-runner or just has big name-recognition. Those polls show far more Democratic voters undecided about which candidate to support, and they pegged Biden’s backing at a much less intimidating 9 to 12 percent. The results are so varied partly thanks to different methodological choices by the pollsters. But parsing the results is more than an academic exercise: While Biden weighs a third campaign for the presidency, he and his allies must consider whether polls a year before primary season really reflect Biden’s true strength — and his potential rivals have to calculate whether the former vice president could overwhelm lesser-known challengers in 2020.”

The mom lane – The Boston Globe: “As the 2020 Democratic primary shapes up, its leading women candidates – accomplished stateswomen, all – are drawing attention to another role they play: Mom. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Amy Klobuchar both talked about being mothers in the opening statements of their presidential bids. Senator Kamala Harris speaks often of her husband’s two children and the nickname they have given her: Momala. There are already indications that the women of 2020 plan to draw on their own experiences to embrace policies that affect mothers and working parents more broadly, bringing such issues as child care and family leave firmly into the political mainstream. This week, for example, Warren plans to introduce a universal child care and early learning plan, which she has said would be paid for by taxing the wealth of the richest Americans.”

Busy weekend on the trail – AP: “Five Democratic senators vying for their party’s nomination to challenge President Donald Trump in 2020 fanned out across the country Saturday to campaign and meet voters. Kamala Harris of California spent her second straight day in the pivotal early-voting state of South Carolina, holding a town hall meeting in Columbia, the capital. Also visiting the state was Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who met with an estimated 800 voters in Greenville before heading to Georgia… Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York both focused on New Hampshire. Booker made his first visit to there since joining the race earlier this month, holding a question-and-answer session with more than 400 voters in Portsmouth. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, meanwhile, made her own uncommon choice for early campaigning by visiting Wisconsin before heading to Iowa, home to the nation’s first caucus. And a Democratic heavyweight who’s yet to address his 2020 plans, former Vice President Joe Biden, made his own high-profile appearance at the Munich Security Conference.”

Bernie’s team talked of grim standing with non-white voters –  NYT: “Shortly after Senator Bernie Sanders suffered a crushing loss in South Carolina’s Democratic primary in 2016, his campaign’s African-American outreach team sent a memo to top campaign leaders with an urgent warning. ‘The margin by which we lost the African-American vote has got to be — at the very least — cut in half or there simply is no path to victory,’ the team wrote in the memo, which was reviewed by The New York Times. Mr. Sanders had won 14 percent of the black vote there compared with 86 percent for Hillary Clinton, according to exit polls. Over seven pages, the team outlined a strategy for winning black voters that included using social media influencers and having Mr. Sanders give a major speech on discrimination in a city like St. Louis or Cincinnati. Mr. Sanders’s inner circle did not respond.”

LIST OF LITIGANTS AGAINST TRUMP EMERGENCY GROWING
NBC News: “California and a dozen other states are filing a lawsuit challenging Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said Monday. ‘The president admitted that there’s not a basis for the declaration. He admitted there’s no crisis at the border. He’s now trying to rob funds that were allocated by Congress legally to the various states and people of our states,’ Becerra told Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC Monday afternoon. ‘The separation of powers is being violated, we’re going to go out there and make sure that Donald Trump cannot steal money from the states and people who need them, since we paid the taxpayer dollars to Washington, D.C., to get those services,’ he said. … New Jersey, Colorado, and Connecticut all confirmed to NBC News they are a part of the lawsuit. ‘The only national emergency is the president’s trafficking in lies and deceit,’ Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said in a statement.”

Stephen Miller on the hot seat – USA Today: “During an interview on ‘Fox News Sunday,’ host Chris Wallace pressed [senior Trump adviser Stephen Miller] on the need for a national emergency, citing U.S. Customs and Border Patrol data showing between 80 to 90 percent of drugs seized in attempted smugglings happened at ports of entry. … Wallace pressed Miller to cite another example from the 59 times presidents used the National Emergency Act where it was invoked to obtain money that Congress had refused to appropriate. Miller did not cite such a precedent and took issue with the premise of the question. ‘They didn’t refuse to appropriate it,’ Miller said. ‘They passed a law specifically saying the president could have this authority. It’s in the plain statute. That’s the decision that Congress made, and if people don’t like that, they can address it.’”

PLAY-BY-PLAY
Senate Judiciary Committee will investigate McCabe’s claimsWaPo

North Carolina election officials make their case against GOP ‘ballot harvesting’ in unresolved House raceRaleigh News & Observer

AUDIBLE: LIKE FREEDOM FRIES?
“I think that whatever you eat is a very personal decision and everybody should eat what they want to eat. That’s America- that’s what we believe in freedom.” – Presidential Candidate Cory Booker (D-NJ) explained his vegan diet to his voters via twitter over the weekend.

FROM THE BLEACHERS
“Chris, be serious, neither [Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld] nor [Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan] can be classified as ‘notable’. I’d put [Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich] in that category, but I don’t think he’ll get into a race that he knows for sure that he can’t win.” Lou Banas, Brea,Calif

[Ed. Note: I can’t be sure of your definition of notability, Mr. Banas. But the second-term governor of a state of 6 million or so souls strikes me as within any reasonable definition. The ting about primary challenges is that they don’t have to be successful to do their damage. In 1980, Ted Kennedy didn’t beat Jimmy Carter, nor did Pat Buchanan unhorse George H.W. Bush in 1992, but both campaigns were certainly consequential. That’s why the Trump campaign is rightly worried about just such a run.]

“One of the greatest walls between us, the people, and an overzealous government is the separation of powers. The Founding Fathers, in perhaps one of their greatest acts of genius, divided the power of government into three separate branches so as to insure there was no party with absolute power. Declaring an ‘emergency’, after the president has already given the congress the opportunity to act and has acted, creates a huge breach in this wall of protection. Gaining short-term funds for building a border wall in exchange for the Constitutional wall of protection created by the separation of powers is neither conservative nor is it wise. Liberals often believe the end justifies the means, I hope conservatives do not stray down this dangerous road.” Steve Bartlett, Greenville, S.C.

[Ed. Note: The Constitution is always getting strange new respect from the party out of power. We could call it hypocrisy, but that would be too narrow of a view. In fact, our charter has very much in mind keeping majorities from turning into steamrollers. So then maybe it makes a certain sense that the party out of power holds the Constitution in greater reverence.]

Share your color commentary: Email us at [email protected] and please make sure to include your name and hometown.

TUDDER FOR AN UDDER

Reuters: “A Tinder-inspired app is helping farmers match up potential partners for their cattle. Called ‘Tudder’ ― a mix of dating app Tinder and udder – it lets farmers swipe right on cattle they like the look of. They are then directed to a page on the SellMyLivestock website where they can browse more pictures and data about the animals before deciding whether to buy. Valuable information is available on matters like milk yield and protein content, or calving potential, explained Doug Bairner, CEO of Hectare Agritech which runs SellMyLivestock (SML) and Graindex, a UK-based online agritech trading platform. ‘Matching livestock online is even easier than it is to match humans because there’s a huge amount of data that sits behind these wonderful animals that predicts what their offspring will be,’ he said.”

AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Nixon might indeed have committed crimes. But the spectacle of an ex-president on trial and perhaps even in jail was something Ford would not allow the country to go through.”  – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on July 27, 2017.

Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Liz Friden contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.

Source: Fox News Politics

CONCORD, N.H. – The Granite State may have been Bernie Sanders country in the 2016 Democratic primary, but Sen. Kamala Harris says she won’t follow in the independent senator from Vermont’s footsteps.

Asked by Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy if she would have to run as a democratic socialist – which is how Sanders often describes himself, the Democrat from California quickly and bluntly answered that “I am not a democratic socialist.”

Harris spoke on Monday as she took questions from reporters during her in the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire for the first time since launching her presidential campaign four weeks ago.

SANDERS POISED TO ANNOUNCE 2020 DECISION BY END OF FEBRUARY, SOURCES SAY

Sanders, a progressive populist who put up a serious fight against eventual nominee Hillary Clinton in the 2016 primary, is likely to launch before the end of the month a second straight bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

In recent weeks some Democrats have questioned whether Harris was a “progressive prosecutor” during her years as San Francisco district attorney and later as California attorney general.

Harris also vowed to spend “a lot of time” in New Hampshire.

“I’m here because I believe that this is a very important state and intend to spend a lot of time here, and I intend to compete for the votes here and I’m going to put a lot of effort into doing that,” Harris highlighted after being asked by Fox News if the state was a lower priority than the other early-voting states in the primary and caucus calendar.

“It’s an important state. It is a state of people who have a lot of needs and need to be seen and heard,” she spotlighted.

HARRIS GIVES AWKWARD RESPONSE WHEN ASKED ABOUT JUSSIE SMOLLETT CLAIMS

Harris is the daughter of parents from Jamaica and India and would be the first woman and second African-American to win the White House if she ultimately succeeds.

Even before her formal launch, the candidate headed to South Carolina, the first southern state to hold a primary. And she headed to Iowa – which votes first – a few days later.

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Iowa and South Carolina — a state where black voters make up a majority of the Democratic primary electorate — are likely to figure heavily into Harris’ prospects. Harris campaigned in support of fellow Democrats in South Carolina in last year’s midterm elections.

Harris vowed at the beginning of an event at Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord to spend lots of time campaigning in the Granite State. She repeated that pledge at a large event later Monday in Portsmouth.

Fox News’ Peter Doocy contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Monday said she’s "just fine" after she underwent lung surgery in December.

The 85-year-old associate justice confirmed to TMZ that she’s doing well as she walked through Reagan National Airport in Virginia, surrounded by security.

RUTH BADER GINSBURG MAKES PUBLIC APPEARANCE, FIRST SINCE SURGERY

Ginsburg made her return to the nation’s highest court on Friday, working from her chambers and participating in a private conference with other justices. She had been working from her Washington, D.C. home and participating in the Court’s caseload while recovering from surgery.

The court revealed in December that Ginsburg underwent a pulmonary lobectomy at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York after two nodules were discovered in the lower lobe of her left lung.

The discovery was made as she underwent testing after she fell and fractured several ribs in November. Ginsburg initially missed a non-argument session when justices took the bench for routine business.

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She’s missed several oral arguments due to her health setback. Prior to her last few absences, Ginsburg had never missed an oral argument since being confirmed to the high court in 1993.

The Supreme Court returns from a four-week recess on Tuesday. It’s unclear whether Ginsburg will be on the bench.

Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Mexico’s new U.N. ambassador says a fresh effort should be made to persuade Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaido to discuss their differences without preconditions and try to find a solution to their country’s crisis.

Ambassador Juan Ramon de la Fuente Ramirez stressed Mexico’s neutrality, saying his government wants to see a peaceful solution that is "going to lead to dialogue."

Alluding to the Trump administration, he said sanctions and "blockades" are "not the best set of things that you can put in play" to achieve peace.

De la Fuente told reporters after presenting his credentials to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday that the U.N. chief was "very sympathetic" to Mexico’s calls for dialogue.

Source: Fox News World

A Mississippi man has been shot dead by police after a standoff, with police saying he emerged from a house pointing a gun at officers.

Rankin County Coroner David Ruth says 31-year-old Pierre Woods died after the Monday shooting in Pelahatchie, east of Jackson.

Family members told local news outlets that Woods was mentally disturbed. Rankin County Sheriff Bryan Bailey says he and others tried to get Woods to come out.

Television cameras at the scene captured a hail of gunfire as Woods was shot.

Pelahatchie Police Chief Joseph Daughtry says the standoff began after they received a call about Woods firing a gun, saying he fired more shots once officers arrived.

Daughtry says police recovered a handgun.

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is leading the inquiry into the shooting.

Source: Fox News National

Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault trial in New York City is being delayed until June 3.

Court spokesman Lucian Chalfen confirmed the delay on Monday. The fallen film mogul is still expected to appear at a pretrial hearing March 8.

Weinstein’s trial had been slated for May 6, but that date was agreed on before he shook up his defense team with four new lawyers.

Weinstein lawyers Jose Baez and Ronald Sullivan are starting a trial in Brooklyn on Tuesday that’s expected to take up to 10 weeks.

In December, Weinstein lost a hard-fought bid to get the case thrown out.

The 66-year-old producer is charged with raping an unidentified acquaintance in 2013 and performing a forcible sex act on a different woman in 2006.

He denies all allegations of nonconsensual sex.

Source: Fox News National

A woman who has accused Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of raping her while they were undergraduates at Duke University nearly two decades ago called Monday for the state’s general assembly to hold a public hearing into her allegations and those of another woman against the Democrat.

Meredith Watson wrote in a Washington Post opinion piece that she was "frustrated by calls for an investigation rather than a public hearing" into the allegations brought against Fairfax by her and Vanessa Tyson.

"Such ‘investigations’ are secret proceedings, out of the public eye, leaving victims vulnerable to selective leaks and smears. And we all know how such investigations end: with ‘inconclusive results,’" Watson wrote. "My privacy has already been violated, yet I am still willing to testify publicly under oath. Tyson has made the same offer. Our plea to the Virginia General Assembly to require the same of Fairfax has been met with inaction."

Watson has said that Fairfax raped her in 2000, but that she did not report it because of how Duke officials responded to her earlier claim that she was raped by basketball star Corey Maggette. An attorney for Watson has claimed that Fairfax was one of the people she told about the alleged assault by Maggette and that the future lieutenant governor "used this prior assault against Ms. Watson" when he allegedly raped her. The attorney, Nancy Erika Smith, claimed that Fairfax told Watson at a campus party after the alleged assault that "I knew that because of what happened to you last year, you’d be too afraid to say anything."

FACEBOOK MESSAGES SHOW SECOND FAIRFAX ACCUSER DETAILED RAPE ALLEGATIONS DURING 2017 RACE

Last week, Fox News obtained Facebook messages from Watson in which she commented on Fairfax’s 2017 candidacy for Virginia lieutenant governor and told contacts about the alleged rape.

"I see you’ve been promoting Justin Fairfax on FB despite knowing he raped me, which is mind-blowing to me. Are you seriously voting for him today? #METOO,” she wrote to one contact on Election Day, 2017.

Tyson, an associate professor of politics at Scripps College in California, previously accused Fairfax of forcing her to perform oral sex on him during the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. Fairfax, who was attending Columbia Law School, was working as a so-called "body man" for vice presidential nominee John Edwards.

Fairfax has said that the encounters with Watson and Tyson were consensual and suggested that both women’s accusations are part of a political smear campaign to prevent him from succeeding Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam if he’s forced to resign amid a racist photo scandal.

Watson wrote that she had refused to make her allegations "a partisan issue" or "a financial issue by suing for compensation. I have refused to make it a law-enforcement issue. Despite nearly 100 offers to be interviewed, I have refused to make my rape a media opportunity … My motivation was never for personal gain. And what have I gained? I have endured relentless scrutiny of my personal life and an unending, bitter flood of hurtful misinformation trumpeted by the media."

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"Despite every attempt to shame me, I am not ashamed," Watson concluded. "It is Justin Fairfax who should be ashamed. It is the Virginia legislature that should be ashamed. And it is the media that should be ashamed.

"If we as a society continue to allow women who report rape to be abused, disparaged and tormented a second time, then shame on us all."

Fox News’ Brooke Singman, Matt Richardson, Garrett Tenney and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

A Nicaraguan judge has given lengthy prison terms to three farmers’ leaders who participated in protests against President Daniel Ortega’s government.

Defense lawyer Julio Montenegro says the penalties are 216 years for Medardo Mairena, 210 years for Pedro Mena and 159 years for Luis Orlando Pineda.

Mairena was convicted in the death of four police officers and a civilian during last year’s unrest, when large demonstrations demanded Ortega quit. Mairena was also accused of "terrorism."

Montenegro rejected the charges and the sentences, calling Mairena’s sentence "the most exaggerated." Prosecutors had sought far lesser sentences for all three — in Mairena’s case, 73 years.

Nicaraguan law caps prison time actually served at 30 years.

Source: Fox News World

California’s attorney general says at least a dozen states will join a lawsuit against President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration to fund a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Becerra told MSNBC’s "Andrea Mitchell Reports" he planned to file California’s lawsuit on Monday. He didn’t specify which other states would join, but officials in Colorado and New Mexico have announced that they would challenge Trump.

Becerra says there is no emergency at the border and Trump doesn’t have the authority to make the declaration.

Trump declared a national emergency to fulfill his promise of completing the wall.

The move allows the president to bypass Congress to use money from the Pentagon and other budgets.

California has repeatedly challenged Trump in court. Becerra has filed at least 45 lawsuits against the administration.

Source: Fox News National

Four people were killed in an apparent shooting in Kent County, Michigan on Monday, and authorities are actively investigating.

The shooting unfolded around 3 p.m. in Solon Township, roughly 7 miles west of Cedar Springs. Sheriff Michelle LaJoye Young told reporters that the area is now a "stable scene," and there is no threat to public safety.

Young said that those who were killed all appeared to have gunshot wounds. She said the possibility that the situation was a murder-suicide is "certainly one of the avenues we’re investigating," but stated that it’s too early to determine what exactly happened. Young wouldn’t clarify whether the bodies were found inside or outside of the home.

No one has been arrested at this time in connection with the shooting, she said.

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"Certainly a horrific thing to be called to and my heart goes out to the families involved here and the community," Young said. "We’re certainly going to do everything we can to bring this to a quick resolution."

Young would not identify who was killed in the shooting but reportedly told news outlets earlier in the day that children were among the dead.

Source: Fox News National

Four people — three of whom were children — were killed in an apparent shooting in Kent County, Michigan on Monday, and authorities are actively investigating.

The shooting unfolded around 3 p.m. in Solon Township, roughly 7 miles west of Cedar Springs. Sheriff Michelle LaJoye Young told reporters that the area is now a "stable scene," and there is no threat to public safety.

Young said that the victims, who all appeared to have gunshot wounds, include three children and one female adult.

The sheriff said the likelihood the situation was a murder-suicide is "certainly one of the avenues we’re investigating," but stated that it’s too early to determine what exactly happened. Young wouldn’t clarify whether the bodies were found inside or outside of the home.

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No one has been arrested at this time in connection with the shooting, she said.

"Certainly a horrific thing to be called to and my heart goes out to the families involved here and the community," Young said. "We’re certainly going to do everything we can to bring this to a quick resolution."

Source: Fox News National

Presidents Day, which became an official holiday in 1971 after an executive order by then President Richard Nixon, is February 18.

The quiz below, from the Ashbrook Center at Ashland University, Ashland, Ohio, provides an opportunity for you to test your knowledge of the American presidency and its place in the constitutional order.

1. President Thomas Jefferson delivered the president’s annual message to Congress — what we now call the State of the Union Address — in writing, starting a precedent that was followed until this president delivered the message in person to Congress, a practice that continues today.

A: Abraham Lincoln

B: Theodore Roosevelt

C: Woodrow Wilson

D: Franklin D. Roosevelt

2. Which of the three branches of government did early Americans consider to be the most powerful and therefore the “most dangerous”?

A: The legislative branch

B: The executive branch

C: The judicial branch

D: All of the above

3. Which president demonstrated the power of the president to determine foreign policy by declaring that the United States was neutral in the war between France and England?

A: George Washington

B. John Adams

C. Thomas Jefferson

D. James Madison

4. The U.S. Constitution states that the president is “Commander in Chief,” yet gives Congress the power to “declare war.” Which president has argued that the president has the constitutional authority to send American troops to use military force abroad without first getting approval from Congress?

A: Harry Truman

B: George H.W. Bush

C: Barack Obama

D: All of the above

5. Which document is most responsible for laying out the process by which we nominate presidential candidates today?

A: Article II of the U.S. Constitution

B: The Brownlow Committee Report of 1937

C: The 22nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution

D: The McGovern-Fraser Commission Report of 1971

6. Who was the first vice president to become president by virtue of the death of the elected president?

A: Martin Van Buren

B: John Tyler

C: Andrew Johnson

D: Theodore Roosevelt

7. Who is the only president to have been formally censured by a chamber of Congress?

A: James Madison

B: Andrew Jackson

C: Richard Nixon

D: Bill Clinton

8. Which president was impeached for removing the Secretary of War?

A: John Adams

B: Andrew Jackson

C: Andrew Johnson

D: Grover Cleveland

9. Which Supreme Court case has settled the question of whether the president may initiate a war with another nation?

A: United States vs. Curtiss Wright (1936)

B: Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. vs. Sawyer (1952)

C: Boumediene v. Bush (2008)

D: None of the above because this has not been settled by the Supreme Court

10: Which president suspended habeas corpus?

A: Abraham Lincoln

B: Franklin D. Roosevelt

C: George W. Bush

D: All of the above

* * *

Answers: 1-C, 2-A, 3-A, 4-D, 5-D, 6-B, 7-B, 8-C, 9-D, 10-A


President Trump has tweeted he believes there was a “planned illegal act” against him.

Source: InfoWars

Matt M. Miller | Contributor

Former President Barrack Obama has been privately meeting with and counseling several Democratic 2020 hopefuls and declared candidates, according to The New York Times. One of the messages Obama relayed to candidates during these meetings, the Times noted, is that they must be willing to combat President Donald Trump’s “bleak and divisive rhetoric about economic change” with an alternative that resonates with rural voters in largely Republican areas.

The article reveals that, although the former president has been reluctant to openly endorse a specific 2020 candidate, he has been privately counseling a number of declared as well as likely candidates from his Washington, DC office:

“He has counseled more than a dozen declared or likely candidates on what he believes it will take to beat President Trump, holding private talks with leading contenders like Ms. Harris, Mr. Booker and Senator Elizabeth Warren; underdogs like Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind.; and prominent figures who remain undecided on the race, like Eric H. Holder, his former attorney general, and Michael R. Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York.”

Senior Obama adviser Eric Schultz said that Obama had been “happy to speak privately with candidates seeking his guidance on the best way to lead the country.” (RELATED: Obama’s Former Border Patrol Chief Blames Fight Over Border Wall On ‘Identity Politics’)

Obama reportedly offered a mix of supportive advice to the potential candidates, as well as warnings against a harmful primary battle that could damage the Democratic Party moving into the general election. One piece of advice Obama offered was for candidates to appeal to rural voters in generally Republican areas, bringing a centrist counter to Trump’s “right-wing populism,” as the article characterizes it.

“He has urged candidates to push back on Mr. Trump’s bleak and divisive rhetoric about economic change, and to deliver a competing message that can resonate even in Republican-leaning areas, courting rural voters and other communities that tend to distrust Democrats.”

It is widely known that a large number of two-time Obama voters voted for Trump in 2016. Of the 650 counties that voted for Obama twice, nearly a third of them voted for Trump in 2016, largely occurring in key states such as Iowa, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. (RELATED: Former Shell Oil President Says Obama Had Nothing To Do With Increased Fuel Production)

Source: The Daily Caller

SPRINGFIELD, Fla.— Rutherford High School Senior D’Vante Sims is getting used to a new normal.

After a month off school due to damage from Hurricane Michael, he returned November 13 to a restructured high school—portables consumed the fields behind the school, not only accommodating ninth through 12th grade, but also holding classes for sixth through eighth after a local middle school was wiped away during the storm.

School days were split to be able to accommodate all the students throughout the day. Most elementary school times have been adjusted to begin at 8 a.m. to avoid transportation conflicts, while the older kids’ classes begin later in the day.

Most schools had between 10 and 14 minutes added to their schedule each day to make up for lost instructional time in the aftermath of the storm, particularly important for 11th and 12th graders in the process of applying to college.

Many of their friends moved away with their families after the storm, leaving hallways filled with mostly unfamiliar faces.

"Some have been trying to come back but they just don’t know when or how because their house was destroyed," Sims said. "A hurricane happened and although it happened months ago, we’re still traumatized to this day…Hurricane Michael came in took half of our senior year away."

HURRICANE MICHAEL DEVASTATION IN PANAMA CITY, FLORIDA SEEN IN DRONE VIDEO, PHOTOS

When Hurricane Michael hit the Florida Panhandle four months ago, it left damage across an 80-mile swath, leveling homes and schools. The school board now has tough decisions to make for the hundreds of students who stayed.

For Rutherford High School Principal Coy Pilson, school might be back in session after the third-most powerful hurricane to strike the U.S., but life is far from normal.

“We’ve lost about 200 students. We’ve lost close to 20 percent of our population,” Pilson said. “Our challenge is trying to have school when you’re doing construction.”

English teacher Pamela Darrow can attest to that.

“The roof of the library was gone, the roof of our building was gone…I finally got to see my classroom…there were tubs and hoses drawing things out,” she said.

The Category 4 storm with 155 mph sustained winds, just 1 mph below the threshold for a Category 5 designation, left an estimated $25 billion in damage and 75 dead.

The school district was also hit hard.

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Bay District school enrollment dropped nearly 15 percent, with elementary schools hit the hardest, down 25 percent. Over 180 employees left the area and the federal government now classifies 4,500 students as homeless because their houses were uninhabitable after the storm.

“It’s catastrophic on a scale none of us ever saw coming,” said Bay District Schools Superintendent Bill Husfelt.

An estimated $350 million worth of damage led the superintendent to recommend several school closures, mergers, rezoning and mothballing—a term used when a school is closed but still maintained so it can be reopened whenever practical.

“Having a school at 60 percent capacity is not really wise…we need to utilize the facilities we have at maximum capacity," he said, "it’s very selfish, we’re as selfish as we’ve ever been right now, we want to rebuild.”

With school closures come the concern of employee layoffs.

Husfelt said he is putting his trust in the state legislature to avoid job loss, but if it doesn’t approve funding, the district will have no choice but to consider layoffs. The legislative session begins on March 5.

“My goal is not to fire anybody or lay anybody off, but if we don’t tighten our own belts it’ll be done for us. So we probably won’t hire any teachers or administrators coming up,” he said.

“We probably have 30 schools that are going to have  to  have the  roofs  totally replaced, we've  got  many  buildings that were just  totally  destroyed...we had  two  gymnasiums  that  basically just blew  the  roof  off  of  them  and  collapsed," detailed Superintendent Bill Husfelt of the damage to Bay District Schools from Hurricane Michael.

“We probably have 30 schools that are going to have  to  have the  roofs  totally replaced, we’ve  got  many  buildings that were just  totally  destroyed…we had  two  gymnasiums  that  basically just blew  the  roof  off  of  them  and  collapsed," detailed Superintendent Bill Husfelt of the damage to Bay District Schools from Hurricane Michael.

Another concern is the mental health of students and staff that are living in the traumatic aftermath of the storm. Bay District Schools officials sent a letter to Commissioner Richard Corcoran with the Florida Department of Education requesting that the graduation requirement of some be waived and that the state set aside $2 million for a long-term mental health plan.

It also asks the department to take the storm’s impact into consideration when it comes to students’ standardized testing this year.

“The kids are still reeling from what they’ve been through, so it’s been kind of hard to get them back into the swing of things,” Darrow said.

Cleanup and recovery from Hurricane Michael has been slow, costly and ongoing. As donations to the area stall and media coverage fades, some residents of the “Forgotten Coast” fear the area is living up to its name.

“We’re not making the news anymore,” said Darrow. “There are people now who almost have panic attacks every time the wind starts blowing…people are scared to death because it happened. You never think it will.”

The school board will advertise the recommended closings before taking a final vote in a March 12 meeting. If approved, the closures will take effect next school year and remain until the community is rebuilt and students return to the area.

In the meantime, the district plans on continuing its work with FEMA to repair and remodel schools that currently are out of commission.

Source: Fox News National

Egypt’s Interior Ministry says a suicide bomber killed two police officers and wounded three more while he was being pursued near Cairo’s famed Khan el-Khalili tourist marketplace.

The Monday night explosion in the Gamaliya district was a rarity for a central area of the capital, after progress from a security crackdown under President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

A body was seen on the street behind areas cordoned off by dozens of police and soldiers after the explosion, which shattered windows and blew curtains off nearby balconies. Egypt’s renowned Al-Azhar mosque is nearby.

Egypt is facing an Islamic State-led insurgency that is largely limited to the northern Sinai but which occasionally spills out to the mainland.

Source: Fox News World

President Donald Trump, speaking in a major foreign policy address in Miami to members of the Venezuelan community, declared Monday that "a new day is coming in Latin America" and issued a stark assessment that "socialism is dying" across the world.

In a wide-ranging rebuke of socialism that seemed targeted as much at Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua as it was at congressional Democrats, Trump remarked: "We know that socialism is not about justice, it’s not about equality, it’s not about lifting up the poor — it’s about one thing only: power for the ruling class. And, the more power they get, the more they crave. They want to run health care, run transportation and finance, run energy, education, run everything. They want the power to decide who wins and who loses, who’s up and who’s down, what’s true and what’s false, and even who lives and who dies."

Before a supportive and raucous crowd at Florida International University in Miami Trump announced, flanked by large American and Venezuelan flags, "This will never happen to us. … America will never be a socialist country."

The president’s vow came as Democrats have proposed an evolving agenda of "Medicare-for-all," free college tuition, minimum wage increases and even guaranteed basic income.

"When Venezuela is free, and Cuba is free, and Nicaragua is free, this will become the first free hemisphere in all of human history," Trump said.

The address was the second time Trump publicly and forcefully has condemned what he has called "the horrors of socialism and communism" and "massive wealth confiscation" in recent weeks, following his similar vow during the State of the Union address that "America will never be a socialist country."

That remark, which left Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., stone-faced, came as part of a larger condemnation of disputed President Nicolas Maduro for "turning that nation from being the wealthiest in South America into a state of abject poverty and despair" through a mixture of "brutality" and "socialist policies."

Venezuelan boys holding cups of a grape-flavored drink, part of the free lunch that is given out daily at the "Divina Providencia" migrant shelter in La Parada, near Cucuta, Colombia, on the border with Venezuela, on Monday. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

Venezuelan boys holding cups of a grape-flavored drink, part of the free lunch that is given out daily at the "Divina Providencia" migrant shelter in La Parada, near Cucuta, Colombia, on the border with Venezuela, on Monday. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

On Monday, Trump hammered that theme repeatedly and called on Venezuela’s military to rise up and take on Maduro, who has blocked U.S. humanitarian aid shipments.

"We know the truth about socialism in Venzuela, in Cuba, in Nicaragua, and all around the world. Socialism promises prosperity, but it delivers poverty," Trump said. "Socialism promises unity, but it delivers hatred and it delivers division. Socialism promises a better future, but it always returns to the darkest chapters of the past. That never fails. It always happens. Socialism is a sad and discredited ideology rooted in a total ignorance of history and human nature, which is why socialism, eventually, must always give rise to tyranny — which it does. Socialists profess a love of diversity, but they always insist on absolute conformity."

DEMS SIT EXPRESSIONLESS AS TRUMP DECLARES SOCIALISM WILL NEVER COME TO THE U.S.

As the crowd chanted "USA," Trump, who was joined by first lady Melania Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and National Security Adviser John Bolton, asserted, "The people of Venezuela stand at the threshold of history — ready to reclaim their country and to reclaim their future. Not long ago, Venezuela was the wealthiest nation by far in South America. But, years of socialist rule have brought this once-thriving nation to the brink of ruin.

"The results have been catastrophic," Trump continued. "Almost 90 percent of Venezuelans now live in poverty. In 2018, hyperinflation in Venezuela exceeded one million percent. Crippling shortages of food and medicine plague the country. Socialism has so completely ravaged this great country that even the world’s largest reserves of oil are no longer enough to keep the lights on."

FOX NEWS POLL: CAPITALISM TRUMPS SOCIALISM

As the monthslong political crisis in Venezuela continued, Trump took multiple generalized shots at socialism that pointedly were not limited to the country’s borders.

"America will never be a socialist country."

— President Trump

"The days of socialism and communism are numbered not only in Venezuela, but in Nicaragua and Cuba as well," Trump said, as the crowd roared. "Do we love Cuba? Do we love Nicaragua? Great countries. Great potential."

SOCIALIST OCASIO-CORTEZ SAYS TRUMP IS ‘SCARED’ OF SOCALISM, AS AMAZON BAILS ON NYC

Trump again declared that Guaido was the country’s rightful president amid what he called an unprecedented "humanitarian disaster." He also made a public case to Venezuela’s military, which could play a decisive role in the stalemate, to support Guaido’s government. The Venezuelan military largely has remained loyal to Maduro.

Free lunches prepped with lentils, a slice of bologna, rice and a piece of plantain ready to be served at a migrant shelter in La Parada, near Cucuta, Colombia, on the border with Venezuela, Monday. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

Free lunches prepped with lentils, a slice of bologna, rice and a piece of plantain ready to be served at a migrant shelter in La Parada, near Cucuta, Colombia, on the border with Venezuela, Monday. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

Trump told the Venezuelan military that they "have a clear choice — work toward democracy for their future and the future of their families, or they will lose everything they have."

The Maduro-controlled military has blocked the U.S. from moving tons of humanitarian aid airlifted in recent days to the Colombian border with Venezuela. The aid shipments have been meant in part to emphasize the hyperinflation and shortages of food and medicine that are gripping Venezuela.

"Unfortunately, Dictator Maduro has blocked this life-saving aid from entering the country. He would rather see his people starve than give them aid, than help them," Trump said. "Millions of Venezuelans are starving and suffering while a small handful at the top of the Maduro regime plunder the regime into poverty and death. We know who they are and we know where they keep the billions of dollars they have stolen."

The aid is supposed to be moved into Venezuela on Feb. 23 by supporters of Guaido. But, Maduro has called the aid unnecessary and said it constituted an attempt to destabilize his government.

Trump delivered the remarks to a supportive audience at Florida International University in Miami. South Florida is home to more than 100,000 Venezuelans and Venezuelan-Americans, the largest concentration in the country. Trump has largely been spending the holiday weekend at his private club in West Palm Beach.

Juan Guaido speaking during an economic forum in Caracas last week. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

Juan Guaido speaking during an economic forum in Caracas last week. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

Critics said Maduro’s re-election last year was fraudulent, making his second term illegal.

On Sunday, Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio — whom Trump invoked in his Monday address — visited a border staging point for U.S. aid to Venezuela and warned soldiers loyal to Maduro that it would be a "crime against humanity" if they blocked entry of the goods being channeled through Maduro’s rivals.

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An enthusiastic throng of Venezuelan migrants, some chanting "Rubio! Liberty," met the senator as he visited Cucuta and held a news conference in sight of a border bridge that has been flooded in recent months by people escaping the hardships of Venezuela’s hyperinflation and severe shortages of food and medicine.

While Russia, China, Turkey and a large number of Asian and African countries still back Maduro, Rubio dismissed them, saying in English: "The countries that support Maduro do not surprise us. All of them are corrupt and none of them is a democracy and many of them are owed billions of dollars that they want to get paid by the corrupt regime."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has officially dismissed his key aide in charge of dealings with congress, days after a newspaper linked him to a corruption scandal involving phony candidates and the misuse of campaign funds.

Government spokesman Otavio Rego Barros didn’t say Monday what motivated the president’s decision to fire aide Gustavo Bebianno, who has been a close ally of Bolsonaro. Bebianno has denied any wrongdoing.

The scandal has cast a shadow over the government’s first weeks in power and is proving a distraction on the eve of the administration presenting sensitive legislation to congress. Lawmakers are set to receive this week an anti-crime bill and a proposal to overhaul Brazil’s pension system, the government’s flagship reform.

Bolsonaro ran his campaign on the promise that he will tackle corruption.

Source: Fox News World

Notorious Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan defended Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., for implying on Twitter last week that the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC compensated lawmakers in exchange for supporting the Jewish state.

In remarks at the NOI’s annual Saviours’ Day celebration Sunday at Chicago’s United Center, Farrakhan condemned lawmakers who pressed Omar to apologize in the wake of her remarks.

"Sweetheart, don’t do that," Farrakhan said, addressing Omar. "Pardon me for calling you sweetheart, but you do have a sweet heart. You sure are using it to shake the government up, but you have nothing to apologize for."

REP. RASHIDA TLAIB WROTE COLUMN FOR LOUIS FARRAKHAN PUBLICATION IN 2006

Omar tweeted on Feb. 10 that congressional support of Israel was "all about the Benjamins, baby," a reference to a 1997 rap song by Puff Daddy. When Batya Ungar-Sargon, the opinion editor of The Forward newspaper, asked Omar who she thought "is paying American politicians to be pro-Israel," the congresswoman answered: "AIPAC!"

BILL MAHER DEFENDS ILHAN OMAR’S ISRAEL COMMENTS: ‘I DON’T KNOW WHY THIS HAS TO BE SEEN AS ANTI-SEMITIC’

The tweets were met with backlash from members of both parties. President Trump called on Omar to "resign from Congress or … certainly resign from the [House] foreign affairs committee." The chairman of that committee, Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., said it was "shocking to hear a Member of Congress invoke the anti-Semitic trope of ‘Jewish money,’" while House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., called the comments "deeply disappointing and disturbing."

On Sunday, Farrakhan insisted that "Israel and AIPAC pays off senators and congressmen to do their bidding, so [Omar is] not lying. So if you’re not lying, stop laying down. You were sent there by the people to shake up that corrupt House. Shake it up!"

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Farrakhan has a long history of anti-Semitic comments. Last year, he lost his verified status on Twitter after posting a video in which he asked: "I wonder, will you see the Satanic Jew and the Synagogue of Satan, which has many races in it because Satan has deceived the whole world?" Farrakhan has also said that he is not an anti-Semite, but rather "anti-termite," and led a "Death to Israel" chant during a visit to Iran in November.

Last month, Farrakhan posted a clip from a 2015 interview to Instagram in which he called for a separate nation-state for black Americans, saying: "Most of our people don’t want it here … God has something else for us."

Fox News’ Lukas Mikelionis and Liam Quinn contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Mexican officials say that one month after a fiery explosion at an illegally tapped gasoline pipeline, the death toll stands at 130.

The government of central Hidalgo state says 62 of the 81 people injured in the Jan. 18 fire have died at hospitals. Sixty-eight others died at the scene, most too badly charred to be identified.

The government said Monday that 15 people remain hospitalized, two of them in very serious condition and six in serious condition.

The explosion occurred as a crowd in the town of Tlahuelilpan filled containers with gasoline leaking from the illegal tap.

Residents gathered this week to fill in the irrigation ditch where the gasoline pooled and plan to build a chapel in the alfafa field where the explosion occurred.

Source: Fox News World

A Democratic candidate who has apologized after once saying that giving money to Israel was worse than donating to the Ku Klux Klan is looking to win a seat in the Virginia state legislature on Tuesday.

Ibraheem Samirah, a dentist and Chicago native who bills himself as a “second-generation Palestinian refugee,” recently made headlines when he denounced what he called a “slander campaign” that exposed a series of old social media posts that were viewed as anti-Semitic and anti-Israel.

“This slander campaign is using five-year-old Facebook posts from my impassioned college days, posts that upon my reflection and with the blessing of time, I sincerely regret and apologize for,” Samirah said in a statement on Friday.

“I am so sorry that my ill-chosen words added to the pain of the Jewish community, and I seek your understanding and compassion as I prove to you our common humanity. Please do not let those who seek to divide us use these words out of context of time and place to accomplish their hateful goals.”

PELOSI, DEM LEADERS CONDEMN REP. OMAR FOR ‘ANTI-SEMITIC’ LANGUAGE   

In addition to the remark about the Klan, Samirah has also said the late Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon would burn in hell. In another post, he charged Israeli teenagers were using Tinder to “cover up the murders in their names."

Samirah is running in a special election for a vacated seat in Virginia’s 86th district, a suburban area in Fairfax County. The conservative website Big League Politics first reported the story, which has been picked up by Israeli media.

Samirah’s apology hasn’t been accepted by critics who say he remains virulently anti-Israel. They note in particular that he has advocated on social media for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

BDS supports Palestinian rights and opposes Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. Israeli officials say the BDS movement is anti-Semitic.

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Samirah’s opponent in the race is Gregg Nelson, an Air Force Veteran whose campaign took up the issue after the story of the past posts broke.

“There is never a place for any hateful speech whether it’s in politics or daily life. Dr. Samirah owes it to the voters of District 86 to address his statement that sending money to Israel is “worse” than sending money to the KKK. The people of the 86th District look forward to hearing his response,” said a statement from Nelson’s campaign manager, Chad Brown, before the apology.

Source: Fox News Politics

Authorities say four people, including children, have been fatally shot at a property in western Michigan.

WOOD-TV reports Kent County Sheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young says authorities discovered the victims Monday at a property near Cedar Springs, a community about 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Grand Rapids.

LaJoye-Young didn’t say how many of the victims are children. She called the scene "a horrific thing to be called to" and said "my heart goes out to the families involved here and the community."

LaJoye-Young said authorities don’t believe there is a shooter at large.

___

Information from: WOOD-TV, http://www.woodtv.com

Source: Fox News National

Authorities say four people, including children, have been fatally shot at a property in western Michigan.

WOOD-TV reports Kent County Sheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young says authorities discovered the victims Monday at a property near Cedar Springs, a community about 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Grand Rapids.

LaJoye-Young didn’t say how many of the victims are children. She called the scene "a horrific thing to be called to" and said "my heart goes out to the families involved here and the community."

LaJoye-Young said authorities don’t believe there is a shooter at large.

___

Information from: WOOD-TV, http://www.woodtv.com

Source: Fox News National

Rap has become the music of modern young men and women, and now the Army is using the popular art form to recruit new enlistees.

The Army reported that Sgts. 1st Class Arlondo Sutton and Jason Brenner Locke, who are assigned to the Atlanta and Houston recruiting battalions, respectively, made the track, called “Giving All I Got.”

Its hook: “Giving all I got. I’m never going to stop. Army changed my life. Gave me a new clock.”

The video, filmed in and around Atlanta, shows young potentials the many Army career fields that exist, such as military working dogs, infantry, snipers, and the Maneuver Center of Excellence Band.

WWII PURPLE HEART WINNER TURNS 100 IN GEORGIA

Military recruiters have struggled to compete in a growing U.S. economy, with low unemployment rates, and private companies paying more to graduating seniors. Only about 30 percent of 17- to 24-year-olds meet the physical, mental and moral requirements for the military, and only one in eight is interested in serving, according to the Associated Press.

Army recruitment last year fell short of goals by about 6,500 soldiers.

Army leaders said in September they signed up about 70,000 new active-duty recruits in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2018 — well below the 76,500 needed.

The Army is planning to grow to 500,000 by 2024, meaning increased recruiting goals.

SOLDIER RECEIVES SURPRISE HOMETOWN GREETING UPON RETURN FROM AFGHANISTAN

The Army also is dealing with young people who aren’t combat-ready.

Commanders have complained in recent years that the soldiers they get out of basic training aren’t fit enough. Nearly half of the commanders surveyed last year said new troops coming into their units could not meet the physical demands of combat. Officials also say about 12 percent of soldiers at any one time cannot deploy because of injuries, according to the Associated Press.

After missing its recruiting goal last year for the first time since 2005, the Army decided to cross the American divide of red military country and blue civilian country — going to 22 left-leaning cities for new enlistees.

Recruitment usually ventures into the red states from Virginia through the South to Texas, where young Americans enlist at numbers two to three times greater than in other regions.

Within big blue metropolitan areas of the Northeast, Midwest and West Coast, young Americans are less likely to have military family, friends and mentors and therefore don’t enlist.

The rap video is another tactic to get young Americans interested in serving their country.

Sutton, of Norfolk, Virginia, said he made rap songs to relax while deployed in Iraq.

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He and Locke, of Houston, both said they joined the Army to make their lives productive and meaningful after rough childhoods.

Locke, who also served in Iraq, said: “It doesn’t matter where I was at. What matters is what the Army did for me and where I’m going now.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Source: Fox News National

Just hours apart on Monday, Democrats and Republicans highlighted the plight of Venezuelans, whose homeland continues to reel from political and economic chaos.

The focus on the deteriorating South American country and, significantly, Venezuelans who are in the U.S., is a nod to a community that increasingly is becoming an important voting bloc.

With President Donald Trump and other Republicans like Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida out front with tough rhetoric and policies aimed at weakening the socialist government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, Democrats have been criticized for dragging their feet as anti-government protesters are jailed or even killed.

In a telephone press conference Monday, Florida congressional Democrats called on Trump to allow Venezuelans in the U.S. to be eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), a renewable humanitarian program that spares foreign nationals from deportation and allows them to work here if they are from a country deemed unsafe to return. Congress created TPS in 1990.

Trump was delivering a speech in Miami on Monday afternoon at Florida International University about Venezuela’s spiraling condition under Maduro. The U.S. has recognized Juan Guaido, the head of Venezuela’s National Assembly, as president of Venezuela. Dozens of other countries have done so, as well, alleging that Maduro’s re-election last year was fraudulent and that other government-stacked institutions such as the supreme court have no legal authority.

PHOTOS EMERGE SHOWING VENEZUELA’S ‘DEATH SQUAD’ WITH LIFELESS BODIES

Over the weekend, Rubio visited a border staging point for U.S. aid to Venezuela and warned soldiers loyal to Maduro that it will be a “crime against humanity” if they block entry of the goods that are being channeled through Maduro’s rivals.

Maduro’s policies have helped further drive Venezuela – once one of Latin America’s most stable democracies – into social, political and economic chaos. More than two million Venezuelans have left the country, and many more are expected to continue the exodus.

Florida has the largest Venezuelan community in the U.S. The community’s political activism for a change in Venezuela’s leadership, combined with the state’s importance in national elections, has put the exiles and their issues in the spotlight.

“The state of Florida is the home to thousands of Venezuelans, many are facing deportation to a country that has literally falling apart,” said Rep. Donna Shalala. “It’s very important that TPS be extended to that community. I have challenged the president not to come to South Florida without announcing the extension of TPS.

“We supported much of this administration for its political and economic sanctions,” Shalala said. “It is very important that we keep the Venezuelans that are here living in our community.”

She said Democrats would continue to push for TPS.

Rep. Ted Deutsch said Venezuela cannot absorb the return of the millions who had left.

“That we would send these hard-working people back to a country in crisis is outrageous,” Deutsch said. “Ten percent of the Venezuelan population has fled but this administration has denied entry for asylum to the United States and that’s not right, that’s not who we are as Americans, and I’m proud of my colleagues for assuring TPS for Venezuelans.”

Many Venezuelans in the U.S. have criticized some Democrats for expressing opposition to U.S. sanctions against Venezuela and opposition to efforts to get Maduro out of power.

At a congressional hearing on Venezuela last week, Rep. Eliot Engel, the Democratic chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, expressed opposition to suggestions by Trump about going into Venezuela militarily, as well as to sanctions on the state-run oil company, PDVSA, according to published reports.

“I appreciate the need to squeeze Maduro,” Engel said. “But the White House must think through the potential repercussions that these sanctions could have on the Venezuelan people if Maduro does not leave office in the coming weeks.”

Venezuelans in the U.S. have been applying for political asylum in growing numbers in recent years. But obtaining TPS status – which requires demonstrating a fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group – has become more difficult as the Trump administration vowed to tighten the program.

Trump has taken aim at TPS, moving to end it for immigrants from such countries as Nicaragua and El Salvador, among other places. Last year, a federal judge in California blocked the administration from ending TPS. The administration appealed the ruling.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

By most accounts, Venezuela is a country in freefall. It has the highest murder rate in the world – 81 per 100,000 residents. Inflation has topped one million percent. Everything ranging from toilet paper to medicine is scarce.

And it’s becoming increasingly perilous for those in the country to criticize the government. In a pattern that took hold with the late president, Hugo Chavez, many prominent critics of the Maduro administration have been arrested and are languishing in jail.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Just hours apart on Monday, Democrats and Republicans highlighted the plight of Venezuelans, whose homeland continues to reel from political and economic chaos.

The focus on the deteriorating South American country and, significantly, Venezuelans who are in the U.S., is a nod to a community that increasingly is becoming an important voting bloc.

With President Donald Trump and other Republicans like Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida out front with tough rhetoric and policies aimed at weakening the socialist government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, Democrats have been criticized for dragging their feet as anti-government protesters are jailed or even killed.

In a telephone press conference Monday, Florida congressional Democrats called on Trump to allow Venezuelans in the U.S. to be eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), a renewable humanitarian program that spares foreign nationals from deportation and allows them to work here if they are from a country deemed unsafe to return. Congress created TPS in 1990.

Trump was delivering a speech in Miami on Monday afternoon at Florida International University about Venezuela’s spiraling condition under Maduro. The U.S. has recognized Juan Guaido, the head of Venezuela’s National Assembly, as president of Venezuela. Dozens of other countries have done so, as well, alleging that Maduro’s re-election last year was fraudulent and that other government-stacked institutions such as the supreme court have no legal authority.

PHOTOS EMERGE SHOWING VENEZUELA’S ‘DEATH SQUAD’ WITH LIFELESS BODIES

Over the weekend, Rubio visited a border staging point for U.S. aid to Venezuela and warned soldiers loyal to Maduro that it will be a “crime against humanity” if they block entry of the goods that are being channeled through Maduro’s rivals.

Maduro’s policies have helped further drive Venezuela – once one of Latin America’s most stable democracies – into social, political and economic chaos. More than two million Venezuelans have left the country, and many more are expected to continue the exodus.

Florida has the largest Venezuelan community in the U.S. The community’s political activism for a change in Venezuela’s leadership, combined with the state’s importance in national elections, has put the exiles and their issues in the spotlight.

“The state of Florida is the home to thousands of Venezuelans, many are facing deportation to a country that has literally falling apart,” said Rep. Donna Shalala. “It’s very important that TPS be extended to that community. I have challenged the president not to come to South Florida without announcing the extension of TPS.

“We supported much of this administration for its political and economic sanctions,” Shalala said. “It is very important that we keep the Venezuelans that are here living in our community.”

She said Democrats would continue to push for TPS.

Rep. Ted Deutsch said Venezuela cannot absorb the return of the millions who had left.

“That we would send these hard-working people back to a country in crisis is outrageous,” Deutsch said. “Ten percent of the Venezuelan population has fled but this administration has denied entry for asylum to the United States and that’s not right, that’s not who we are as Americans, and I’m proud of my colleagues for assuring TPS for Venezuelans.”

Many Venezuelans in the U.S. have criticized some Democrats for expressing opposition to U.S. sanctions against Venezuela and opposition to efforts to get Maduro out of power.

At a congressional hearing on Venezuela last week, Rep. Eliot Engel, the Democratic chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, expressed opposition to suggestions by Trump about going into Venezuela militarily, as well as to sanctions on the state-run oil company, PDVSA, according to published reports.

“I appreciate the need to squeeze Maduro,” Engel said. “But the White House must think through the potential repercussions that these sanctions could have on the Venezuelan people if Maduro does not leave office in the coming weeks.”

Venezuelans in the U.S. have been applying for political asylum in growing numbers in recent years. But obtaining TPS status – which requires demonstrating a fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group – has become more difficult as the Trump administration vowed to tighten the program.

Trump has taken aim at TPS, moving to end it for immigrants from such countries as Nicaragua and El Salvador, among other places. Last year, a federal judge in California blocked the administration from ending TPS. The administration appealed the ruling.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

By most accounts, Venezuela is a country in freefall. It has the highest murder rate in the world – 81 per 100,000 residents. Inflation has topped one million percent. Everything ranging from toilet paper to medicine is scarce.

And it’s becoming increasingly perilous for those in the country to criticize the government. In a pattern that took hold with the late president, Hugo Chavez, many prominent critics of the Maduro administration have been arrested and are languishing in jail.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Just hours apart on Monday, Democrats and Republicans highlighted the plight of Venezuelans, whose homeland continues to reel from political and economic chaos.

The focus on the deteriorating South American country and, significantly, Venezuelans who are in the U.S., is a nod to a community that increasingly is becoming an important voting bloc.

With President Donald Trump and other Republicans like Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida out front with tough rhetoric and policies aimed at weakening the socialist government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, Democrats have been criticized for dragging their feet as anti-government protesters are jailed or even killed.

In a telephone press conference Monday, Florida congressional Democrats called on Trump to allow Venezuelans in the U.S. to be eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), a renewable humanitarian program that spares foreign nationals from deportation and allows them to work here if they are from a country deemed unsafe to return. Congress created TPS in 1990.

Trump was delivering a speech in Miami on Monday afternoon at Florida International University about Venezuela’s spiraling condition under Maduro. The U.S. has recognized Juan Guaido, the head of Venezuela’s National Assembly, as president of Venezuela. Dozens of other countries have done so, as well, alleging that Maduro’s re-election last year was fraudulent and that other government-stacked institutions such as the supreme court have no legal authority.

PHOTOS EMERGE SHOWING VENEZUELA’S ‘DEATH SQUAD’ WITH LIFELESS BODIES

Over the weekend, Rubio visited a border staging point for U.S. aid to Venezuela and warned soldiers loyal to Maduro that it will be a “crime against humanity” if they block entry of the goods that are being channeled through Maduro’s rivals.

Maduro’s policies have helped further drive Venezuela – once one of Latin America’s most stable democracies – into social, political and economic chaos. More than two million Venezuelans have left the country, and many more are expected to continue the exodus.

Florida has the largest Venezuelan community in the U.S. The community’s political activism for a change in Venezuela’s leadership, combined with the state’s importance in national elections, has put the exiles and their issues in the spotlight.

“The state of Florida is the home to thousands of Venezuelans, many are facing deportation to a country that has literally falling apart,” said Rep. Donna Shalala. “It’s very important that TPS be extended to that community. I have challenged the president not to come to South Florida without announcing the extension of TPS.

“We supported much of this administration for its political and economic sanctions,” Shalala said. “It is very important that we keep the Venezuelans that are here living in our community.”

She said Democrats would continue to push for TPS.

Rep. Ted Deutsch said Venezuela cannot absorb the return of the millions who had left.

“That we would send these hard-working people back to a country in crisis is outrageous,” Deutsch said. “Ten percent of the Venezuelan population has fled but this administration has denied entry for asylum to the United States and that’s not right, that’s not who we are as Americans, and I’m proud of my colleagues for assuring TPS for Venezuelans.”

Many Venezuelans in the U.S. have criticized some Democrats for expressing opposition to U.S. sanctions against Venezuela and opposition to efforts to get Maduro out of power.

At a congressional hearing on Venezuela last week, Rep. Eliot Engel, the Democratic chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, expressed opposition to suggestions by Trump about going into Venezuela militarily, as well as to sanctions on the state-run oil company, PDVSA, according to published reports.

“I appreciate the need to squeeze Maduro,” Engel said. “But the White House must think through the potential repercussions that these sanctions could have on the Venezuelan people if Maduro does not leave office in the coming weeks.”

Venezuelans in the U.S. have been applying for political asylum in growing numbers in recent years. But obtaining TPS status – which requires demonstrating a fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group – has become more difficult as the Trump administration vowed to tighten the program.

Trump has taken aim at TPS, moving to end it for immigrants from such countries as Nicaragua and El Salvador, among other places. Last year, a federal judge in California blocked the administration from ending TPS. The administration appealed the ruling.

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By most accounts, Venezuela is a country in freefall. It has the highest murder rate in the world – 81 per 100,000 residents. Inflation has topped one million percent. Everything ranging from toilet paper to medicine is scarce.

And it’s becoming increasingly perilous for those in the country to criticize the government. In a pattern that took hold with the late president, Hugo Chavez, many prominent critics of the Maduro administration have been arrested and are languishing in jail.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

A Vans shoe store employee was fired after he allegedly cursed at a 14-year-old customer because the teen was wearing a red "Make America Great Again" hat.

The unidentified employee, working at a store in Overland Park, Kansas, seemingly said "f–k you" to the teen as he appeared to be shopping with his family, an encounter that was filmed and uploaded to social media.

"He did nothing to you — what did you say to my son? To my 14-year-old son?" an unidentified woman asked the employee in the video. The worker didn’t deny he was the source of the comment.

WARNING: VIDEO MAY CONTAIN PROFANITY

"I’m sure he’s heard it before," the employee then told the woman, who headed to another area of the store in search of a manager.

HOWARD KURTZ: MAGA CAPS UNDER FIRE AT TRUMP-HATERS BLAME HIS SUPPORTERS

"My son walked into this store. That gentleman [appearing to point at the employee] cursed and told him, ‘Take off your hat,’" the woman told another Vans employee. "He said nothing to him, 14-year-old child, then he said, ‘F you’ to my son. My son said nothing to him, did nothing."

Vans, in a statement to Fox News, confirmed that the employee involved in the interaction "is no longer with the company," and added the company’s "primary focus is to provide the best customer service experience."

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"The actions and comments from one employee in our Oak Park location are in contrast with our company’s values and belief in personal expression," the statement continued.

Source: Fox News National

Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris appeared to be caught off guard Monday when she was asked about the latest developments in the alleged attack on "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett.

During an appearance at a bookstore in Concord, N.H., a female reporter asked the senator from California if she wanted to amend a tweet from Jan. 29, in which she said Smollett was the victim of "an attempted modern day lynching" and called the actor "one of the kindest, most gentle human beings I know."

"Which tweet? What tweet?" Harris asked. As the reporter specified the tweet in question, Harris appeared to look around for a campaign staffer before responding.

"OK, so, I will say this about that case," she said. "I think that the facts are still unfolding, and, um, I’m very, um, concerned about obviously, the initial, um, allegation that he made about what might have happened.

CORY BOOKER ‘WITHHOLDING’ JUDGMENT ON SMOLLETT CASE AFTER CALLING IT ‘ATTEMPTED MODERN DAY LYNCHING’

"And it’s something we should all take seriously whenever anyone, um, alleges that kind of behavior, but there should be an investigation," Harris added. "And I think that once the investigation has concluded then we can all comment, but I’m not going to comment until I know the outcome of the investigation."

On Sunday, Harris’ fellow senator and Democratic presidential candidate, Cory Booker, told reporters he would "withhold" judgment on the matter "until all the information actually comes out from on-the-record sources." Booker also referred to the alleged Jan. 29 attack on Smollett as "an attempted modern-day lynching" and pushed Congress to pass legislation making lynching a federal hate crime.

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Smollett, who is black and openly gay, claimed he was assaulted by two men who yelled racist and anti-gay slurs– as well as the phrase "This is MAGA country!" — as Smollett was walking to his Chicago apartment. Chicago police arrested and questioned two Nigerian brothers in the alleged attack, but released them on Friday without charges. Investigators said they’ve requested a follow-up interview with Smollett, but the actor’s representatives said there have been no plans to meet with police for the time being.

The Chicago Police Department repeatedly has declined to confirm local media reports that the attack was staged.

Fox News’ Mariah Haas contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

An Uber driver in California claims that a customer of the ride-sharing app had him deliver fentanyl instead of a passanger, authorities said.

The driver was attempting to pick up a female passenger in San Francisco last week, to be driven to Tiburon, a town roughly 17 miles north of the city, when a man greeted him instead, the Marin County Sheriff’s Office wrote in a Facebook post on Saturday.

UBER DRIVER IN ARIZONA HAD THROAT SLIT BY PASSENGER; MAN ARRESTED, POLICE SAY

The man told the driver he didn’t need a ride but wanted him to "deliver a box to the woman that requested the ride."

Officials said the driver was "hesitant" to fulfill that request, but "since the man knew the name of the person who requested the ride, he agreed to do it."

The Uber driver put the sneaker box on the floor near the passenger’s seat and headed to the location. Suddenly, as he was crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, the woman canceled the ride, leaving the driver with the mysterious shoebox.

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Officials said that minutes later, the driver spotted Marin County sheriff’s deputies and asked for their help to examine the box. The deputies found a pair of Nike sneakers inside, with "suspected fentanyl in the right shoe."

Authorities took the sneakers into evidence — "since the driver wanted nothing to do with the shoes or drugs" — and joked they will be "waiting for the owner to claim them."

Source: Fox News National

The Latest on the verdicts of four inmates charged in the prison riot at Vaughn Correctional Center in February 2017 (all times local):

4 p.m.

The commissioner of Delaware’s Department of Correction says he’s disappointed that a jury delivered no guilty verdicts against four inmates charged in the fatal prison uprising in February 2017.

Commissioner Perry Phelps said in news release Monday that the department is disappointed but respects the jury’s decisions.

He says he’s grateful for the work of Delaware State Police and the Department of Justice which "tirelessly pursued justice on behalf of our fallen officer." He was referring to Officer Steven Floyd, who died during the 18-hour standoff.

The News Journal of Wilmington reported that jurors returned no guilty verdicts Monday for four inmates charged with murder and riot during the uprising at Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna.

Twenty-six-year-old Abednego Baynes and 28-year-old Kevin Berry were acquitted of all charges after about five days of deliberation.

The jury could not reach unanimous verdicts on a riot and assault charge against 29-year-old John Bramble. Jurors also didn’t reach a unanimous decision on murder charges and a riot charge against 26-year-old Obadiah Miller. The two were acquitted of all other charges.

___

3 p.m.

Prosecutors will have to decide whether they want to renew the effort to convict two inmates in the riot at the Delaware’s largest prison that killed one correctional officer.

The News Journal of Wilmington reports jurors returned no guilty verdicts Monday for four inmates charged with murder and riot during the uprising at Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna in February 2017.

Twenty-six-year-old Abednego Baynes and 28-year-old Kevin Berry were acquitted of all charges after about five days of deliberation.

The jury could not reach unanimous verdicts on a riot and assault charge against 29-year-old John Bramble. Jurors also didn’t reach a unanimous decision on murder charges and a riot charge against 26-year-old Obadiah Miller. The two were acquitted of all other charges.

Prosecutors must decide whether to retry Bramble and Miller. Deputy Attorney General John Downs declined comment as he exited the courthouse after the verdict.

___

2:25 p.m.

The trial for four inmates charged with murder in a 2017 Delaware fatal prison riot has ended with no convictions.

The News Journal of Wilmington reports jurors returned no verdicts Monday against John Bramble and Obadiah Miller for the riot at Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna. They also could not come to a unanimous decision for Miller’s murder charge and assault charges for Bramble. They were acquitted of all other charges.

Abednego Baynes and Kevin Berry were acquitted of all charges.

Jurors reported earlier Monday that they were at an impasse on some charges.

Officer Steven Floyd died during the 18-hour standoff. The two other guards were released and a prison counselor was rescued by police.

Each defendant proclaimed his innocence from the stand during the four-week trial.

___

1:05 p.m.

Jurors in the trial of four inmates charged in a deadly Delaware prison riot have told the judge that they’re at an impasse on some charges.

Delaware State News reports jurors passed a note Monday to Judge Jan Jurden. They are hearing charges against John Bramble, Abednego Baynes, Kevin Berry and Obadiah Miller.

The four are charged with riot, assault, kidnapping, conspiracy and murder in connection with the 2017 uprising at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna. Corrections officer Lt. Steven Floyd died in the riot.

Jurden told jurors to continue deliberations but they can deliver the partial verdict later if necessary.

Defense attorney Tony Figliola said the jurors have deliberated for five days, and their note indicates they’ve decided 35 of the 40 counts.

__

This story corrects 3 p.m. item and introductory line to show uprising was in February 2017, not June 2017

___

Information from: The News Journal of Wilmington, Del., http://www.delawareonline.com

Source: Fox News National

Hillary Clinton took to Twitter on Monday to slam President Trump for declaring a national emergency along the United States southern border.

In her tweet, the former secretary of state said the “real national emergencies” were “Relentless gun violence. Children separated from their families at the border. Climate change” and “Americans dying for lack of health care.”

Clinton, who lost to Trump in the 2016 presidential race, has been one of his harshest critics since his election. On Instagram on Monday, she appeared to troll Trump by posting a photo of the three living former Democratic presidents – Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama and, her husband, Bill Clinton – as well former First Lady Michelle Obama alongside the message “Happy Presidents Day.”

TRUMP WILL SIGN BORDER SECURITY BILL, DECLARE NATIONAL EMERGENCY, WHITE HOUSE SAYS

Clinton’s national emergency tweet follows Trump declaring a national emergency Friday to shift billions of federal dollars earmarked for military construction to the border after lawmakers in both parties blocked his request for billions of dollars to fulfill his signature campaign pledge for a border wall.

Democrats are planning to introduce a resolution disapproving of the declaration once Congress returns to session and it is likely to pass both chambers. Several Republican senators are already indicating they would vote against Trump — though there do not yet appear to be enough votes to override a veto by the president.

White House senior adviser Stephen Miller told "Fox News Sunday" that "the president is going to protect his national emergency declaration." Asked if that meant Trump was ready to veto a resolution of disapproval, Miller added, "He’s going to protect his national emergency declaration, guaranteed."

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Miller insisted that Congress granted the president wide berth under the National Emergencies Act to take action. But Trump’s declaration goes beyond previous emergencies in shifting money after Congress blocked his funding request for the wall, which will likely factor in legal challenges.

Trump aides acknowledge that Trump cannot meet his pledge to build the wall by the time voters decide whether to grant him another term next year, but insist his base will remain by his side as long as he is not perceived to have given up the fight on the barrier.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

A video showing police repeatedly punching a 16-year-old during an arrest has prompted the Delaware Attorney General’s Office to review the case.

The News Journal of Wilmington reports the video shows New Castle County police punching the male teen during an arrest Friday. The video shows a teen pinned on a driveway by one officer and punched in the face several times by a second officer.

Attorney General Kathy Jennings said the AG’s Office of Civil Rights and Public Trust is investigating the arrest.

Police said they received drug-dealing complaints in the area, and the 16-year-old matched the complaint description. They said they found "numerous" bags of marijuana, a digital scale, prescription pills and over $1,000 in cash on the teen.

The teen faces several charges, including resisting arrest.

___

Information from: The News Journal of Wilmington, Del., http://www.delawareonline.com

Source: Fox News National

The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents have scheduled a special meeting to discuss an undisclosed "personnel investigation."

An OU news release says regents will go into executive session Wednesday in Oklahoma City. The meeting is closed to the public.

The subject of the meeting was not disclosed, but the university announced Feb. 13 that it had hired a law firm to investigate "allegations of serious misconduct."

The Oklahoman newspaper, citing unnamed sources, has reported that the investigation involved former OU President David Boren. The Associated Press was not able to confirm that.

An attorney for Boren says Boren denies any inappropriate behavior during his more than 20 years as OU president and described the probe as a "character assassination."

Boren, 77, is a former Oklahoma governor and U.S. senator.

Source: Fox News National

Police in Massachusetts say a man accused of kidnapping his 1-year-old son has been located in Mexico.

Lowell Police said Monday that 37-year-old Fillemom De Lima, of Lawrence, Massachusetts, is being held by Mexican authorities at an immigration detention center.

De Lima and his son were last seen on Jan. 9. Lowell Police and the FBI traced him to Mexico City.

The boy was reunited with his mother, Mahalia Alexander-Paggi, Sunday night at Logan International Airport in Boston.

It’s unclear whether De Lima is represented by an attorney who could comment on his behalf.

Police say if he made it to Brazil, as police believe he intended to, they may not have been able to reunite the boy with his mother.

Several federal agencies helped with the investigation.

Source: Fox News National

The years-long hot market for businesses may start to cool, perhaps as soon as this year. That’s the finding of a survey of brokers and advisers who help owners and buyers complete sales of small and mid-size businesses.

The survey conducted by researchers at Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and two industry groups, the International Business Brokers Association and the M&A Source, questioned 319 business brokers and mergers and acquisitions advisers. Eighty-three percent of the survey participants said the strong M&A market will be over within two years. Nearly a third of the participants were more pessimistic, saying it wouldn’t last through 2019.

The problem is the economy. Participants said they were concerned that overall business conditions will decline, putting pressure on companies’ profits and making them less desirable to buyers.

The survey’s findings are partly in line with one released last month by BizBuySell.com, an online market place for businesses. That survey also forecast that the market for small businesses would remain strong this year. However, it did not question business brokers about their outlook beyond 2019.

The Pepperdine survey found, as the BizBuySell.com survey did, that retirement is still the primary reason why businesses are going on the block. The Pepperdine survey, which broke sales down according to company size, found that 80 percent of owners of companies priced in the $1 million to $2 million range were heading for retirement. Forty-two percent of companies priced in the $500,000 to $1 million range were retiring, as were 31 percent of those whose companies sold for up to $500,000. A possible reason for the lower percentage among smaller companies may be the fact that many baby boomers have already sold their businesses — when sales began soaring in 2013 following the Great Recession, boomers were most of the sellers.

But worries that the economy will weaken this year — a concern raised by economists, some small business owners and the stock market — may be prompting some owners to retire sooner rather than later.

"People are thinking about getting out, before the next recession," said Laura Ward, managing partner of M&A advisory firm Kingsbridge Capital Partners, who was quoted in the Pepperdine survey.

The survey was conducted between Jan. 1 and Jan. 15.

_____

For more small business news, insights and inspiration, sign up for our free weekly newsletter here: http://discover.ap.org/ssb

_____

Follow Joyce Rosenberg at www.twitter.com/JoyceMRosenberg . Her work can be found here: https://apnews.com

Source: Fox News National

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s top adviser has resigned while denying allegations he pressured Canada’s former attorney general to avoid prosecuting a major Canadian engineering firm.

Principal Secretary Gerald Butts has been Trudeau’s closet adviser and best friend since university. Butts issued a statement Monday denying that he or anybody else in Trudeau’s office pressured Jody Wilson-Raybould.

He said he’s leaving in order to defend himself without distracting from the prime minister’s work.

The Globe and Mail newspaper reported this month that Trudeau or his staff pressured Wilson-Raybould to try to avoid a criminal prosecution of Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin over allegations of corruption involving government contracts in Libya.

Critics say that would be improper political meddling in a legal case.

Wilson-Raybould resigned from the cabinet last week but gave no reasons.

Source: Fox News World

The Latest on the verdicts of four inmates charged in the prison riot at Vaughn Correctional Center in June 2017 (all times local):

3 p.m.

Prosecutors will have to decide whether they want to renew the effort to convict two inmates in the riot at the Delaware’s largest prison that killed one correctional officer.

The News Journal of Wilmington reports jurors returned no guilty verdicts Monday for four inmates charged with murder and riot during the uprising at Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna in June 2017.

Twenty-six-year-old Abednego Baynes and 28-year-old Kevin Berry were acquitted of all charges after about five days of deliberation.

The jury could not reach unanimous verdicts on a riot and assault charge against 29-year-old John Bramble. Jurors also didn’t reach a unanimous decision on murder charges and a riot charge against 26-year-old Obadiah Miller. The two were acquitted of all other charges.

Prosecutors must decide whether to retry Bramble and Miller. Deputy Attorney General John Downs declined comment as he exited the courthouse after the verdict.

___

2:25 p.m.

The trial for four inmates charged with murder in a 2017 Delaware fatal prison riot has ended with no convictions.

The News Journal of Wilmington reports jurors returned no verdicts Monday against John Bramble and Obadiah Miller for the riot at Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna. They also could not come to a unanimous decision for Miller’s murder charge and assault charges for Bramble. They were acquitted of all other charges.

Abednego Baynes and Kevin Berry were acquitted of all charges.

Jurors reported earlier Monday that they were at an impasse on some charges.

Officer Steven Floyd died during the 18-hour standoff. The two other guards were released and a prison counselor was rescued by police.

Each defendant proclaimed his innocence from the stand during the four-week trial.

___

1:05 p.m.

Jurors in the trial of four inmates charged in a deadly Delaware prison riot have told the judge that they’re at an impasse on some charges.

Delaware State News reports jurors passed a note Monday to Judge Jan Jurden. They are hearing charges against John Bramble, Abednego Baynes, Kevin Berry and Obadiah Miller.

The four are charged with riot, assault, kidnapping, conspiracy and murder in connection with the 2017 uprising at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna. Corrections officer Lt. Steven Floyd died in the riot.

Jurden told jurors to continue deliberations but they can deliver the partial verdict later if necessary.

Defense attorney Tony Figliola said the jurors have deliberated for five days, and their note indicates they’ve decided 35 of the 40 counts.

___

Information from: The News Journal of Wilmington, Del., http://www.delawareonline.com

Source: Fox News National

Nigeria’s president says security forces should be "ruthless" ahead of the country’s postponed election and that anyone who tries to disturb the vote "will do so at the expense of his own life."

President Muhammadu Buhari spoke Monday as both Nigeria’s ruling party and top opposition party condemned the last-minute decision to delay Saturday’s vote until Feb. 23.

The president’s comments brought an outcry from some Nigerians since he signed a pledge last week to contribute to a peaceful election.

But a ruling party chieftain in Rivers state, Eze Chukwuemeka, said the comments didn’t endorse "jungle justice, as some people are putting it. As leader, you don’t sit down and watch while your nation is going down the drain."

The electoral commission has allowed election campaigning to resume.

Source: Fox News World

Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker, campaigning in New Hampshire on Monday, said it’s a “lie” for critics to say the Green New Deal is too expensive to implement.

GREEN NEW DEAL, ‘MEDICARE-FOR-ALL’ DRAW FRESH SCRUTINY FROM OTHER 2020 DEMS

“This is the lie that’s going on right now,” Booker told Fox News in Nashua, N.H., as he campaigned in the first-in-the-nation primary state.

The New Jersey senator was asked about the costs of the Green New Deal, which is supported by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other progressives and aims to implement a range of big-government programs while pursuing a level of "net-zero greenhouse gas emissions" — essentially, a total economic transformation toward clean energy that, among other points, includes building upgrades across the country.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported it cost nearly $2,000 per apartment for the New York City Housing Authority to switch to LED lighting, which lasts longer and consumes less energy than incandescent bulbs. Asked about that report, Booker said it’s possible to “revive your economy, and create a bold green future,” citing his experience as mayor of Newark, N.J.

“We environmentally retrofitted our buildings. Saves taxpayers money, created jobs for our community and lowered our carbon footprint,” Booker said.

He added, “This lie that’s being put out – that somehow being green and responsible with the environment means you have to hurt the economy – a lie.”

WHAT IS THE GREEN NEW DEAL? A LOOK AT THE ECONOMIC AND CLIMATE CONCEPT PUSHED BY PROGRESSIVES

The Green New Deal is a sweeping proposal designed to tackle income inequality and climate change at the same time. It’s modeled after President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal package of public works programs and projects created to help the economy during the Great Depression — but in many ways goes much further.

The rollout itself was muddled by the release of Ocasio-Cortez documents that, among other things, promised economic security even for those "unwilling" to work.

The plan itself aims to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing and agriculture and dramatically expand energy sources to meet 100 percent of power demand through renewable sources. The proposal also calls for a job-guarantee program and universal health care, among other things.

Republican critics have vehemently pushed back against the proposal, pointing in part to the price tag – estimated to be about $7 trillion. Republicans have also decried the job guarantee idea, calling it a “deeply flawed policy” that would be detrimental to small businesses.

Fox News’ Kaitlyn Schallhorn contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

The trial for four inmates charged with murder in a 2017 Delaware fatal prison riot has ended with no convictions.

The News Journal of Wilmington reports jurors returned no verdicts Monday against John Bramble and Obadiah Miller for the riot at Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna. They also could not come to a unanimous decision for Miller’s murder charge and assault charges for Bramble. They were acquitted of all other charges.

Abednego Baynes and Kevin Berry were acquitted of all charges.

Jurors reported earlier Monday that they were at an impasse on some charges.

Officer Steven Floyd died during the 18-hour standoff. The two other guards were released and a prison counselor was rescued by police.

Each defendant proclaimed his innocence from the stand during the four-week trial.

___

Information from: The News Journal of Wilmington, Del., http://www.delawareonline.com

Source: Fox News National


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