Quote of the Day:
“Not a day goes by that I don’t curse my reporter parents for infecting me with journalism and wish there were absolutely any other job in the world I could do with the same passion I have for this dreadful career.”
— Sulome Anderson, foreign correspondent.
Coulter has perfect advice for Trump on Kellyanne Conway’s marriage
“Trump should declare Kellyanne Conway’s marriage a national emergency.” — Ann Coulter, conservative commentator, bestselling author. (RELATED: President Trump Rips George Conway — ‘Total Loser’)
The latest: After days of Conway questioning his mental health, Trump called Conway the “husband from hell.”
Kellyanne Conway offers her love to C-SPAN
“Happy 40th Birthday! @cspan A national treasure.”
Will Kellyanne choose her husband or President Trump?
“Trump makes Republicans choose him or their principles. Makes Lindsay Graham choose him over his dear friend John McCain. Makes Kellyanne Conway choose him or her husband. The loyalty tests never, ever end. And the choice shouldn’t even be hard.” — Amanda Carpenter, CNN.
Bill Kristol’s love letter to Trump
“Dear @realDonaldTrump, You’re wrong. None of us who know George refers to him as Mr. Kellyanne Conway. Nor is he jealous or angry. He is concerned for our country’s well-being, as he should be, given whom we have as our president. As ever, Your slightly dangerous correspondent.” — Bill Kristol, editor-at-large, The Bulwark.
CNN reporter says Trump’s rhetoric is getting even more dangerous for the media
“Imagine if the leader of any other country tweeted this. Hard to believe we would not say it was a threat to the free press. Trump’s rhetoric continues to inch further and further into dangerous waters.” — Oliver Darcy, media reporter, CNN.
What Trump tweeted Tuesday: “The Fake News Media has NEVER been more Dishonest or Corrupt than it is right now. There has never been a time like this in American History. Very exciting but also, very sad! Fake News is the absolute Enemy of the People and our Country itself!”
Ben Smith is distraught over someone accusing one of his BFFs of being “alt-right”
“Don’t accuse people of being alt-right unless you have evidence. Especially if it happens to be one of my best friends.” — Ben Smith, digital media guy, formerly with The Washington Examiner and The Daily Caller. “That’s one way to ruin a happy hour.”
People are dunking on Amy Schumer after she revealed that her hubby is on the spectrum
“Why are people being so nasty about Amy Schumer revealing her husband is on the Autism Spectrum? I know this is Twitter but I’m horrified that her honest discussion about her husband has been met with mean comments.” — Yashar Ali, writer, HuffPost, New York Mag.
Politico Playbook is under new management
Maybe this will spice things up a little?
In a note in Playbook Tuesday, they announced that Blake Hounshell, who ran Politico Mag, will once again assume the role of editorial director and will manage and edit Politico Playbook, helmed by Jake Sherman, Anna Palmer and Daniel Lippman. Lippman also reports for other newsletters. Steve Heuser will run the magazine.
GROSS! Presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke allegedly pranked his wife with baby poop. Here.
Speaking of human poop … Lauren Sanchez‘s bro emotes about his deal with the National Enquirer in which he spilled his sis’s dirty texts with lover Jeff Bezos for $200K. He claims he never sent the d*ick pics. He just sent a bunch of other steamy texts for thousands of dollars and kindly left those out. Who believes that? Here.
Splinter‘s Jack Mirkinson eviscerates Townhall editor Katie Pavlich for saying something puzzling about slavery Tuesday on the predominately female FNC show Outnumbered. Here.
What she said: “They keep blaming America for the sin of slavery but the truth is, throughout human history, slavery existed, and America came along as the first country to end it within 150 years. And we get no credit for that to move forward and try to make good on that.”
Lisa Kennedy Montgomery, who hosts “Kennedy” on Fox News Business, quickly pushed back, saying, “Well, we did have a very bloody Civil War.”
CNN’s Don Lemon hosted an entire panel on the topic Tuesday night that included American Urban Radio‘s White House correspondent April Ryan, presidential historian Douglas Brinkley and political commentator Mike Shields. “Anytime people talk about slavery not being very bad … raises eyebrows. …It’s sad that she isn’t more educated and offers that gobbledygook on our airwaves.” Ryan added, “Ignorance. She needs to read.” Ryan also said Pavlich needs to go see a slavery exhibit. Shields also weighed in, saying, “When you want make a Hitler or Nazi analogy, just stop. …when you feel that welling up, when you don’t know what you’re talking about, slavery is the worst thing we ever did. …There was a war. People died.”
Lemon told viewers that Pavlich “walked back” her remarks, saying that the U.S. was among various countries to end slavery, but was the first. Pavlich: “My point is that we were the country that decided to end it, and we’re still dealing with the issue. But if you want to start a problem and inflame racial tension even more, start blaming people who have nothing to do with slavery for the sin of slavery, that is not fair, it’s not the American way, and we shouldn’t be doing it.”
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) is keeping things weird… the surfing congresswoman is struggling to keep her congressional seat let alone win a bid to be the Democratic presidential candidate in 2020. Jane Kleeb, chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party, told Politico: “Anybody I know, any leader I know, just thinks she’s weird.”
In view of C-SPAN’s 40th anniversary, The Atlantic‘s David Graham dares to suggest a darker side to the network everyone in Washington loves. I asked Howard Mortman what he thought about the piece. I’ll bring his response to you if he has one. Here.
Former McCain aide hits back at Trump
“Ok you aren’t a fan. One more in a long list of things you are not.
A fan of John McCain
Had you been a fan, the Senator would have wondered what he had done so wrong that he earned the approval of a man he despised.”
— Mark Salter, former top aide to the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).
Meghan McCain pipes up on Tuesday night
“As my father always used to say to me – Illegitimi non-carborundum.”
— ABC “The View” co-host Meghan McCain.
Meghan McCain gives Wendy Williams a thumbs up for her brave admission
“Sending strength and love to you @WendyWilliams — speaking your truth and showing your struggle and darkness on national television is not for the weak of heart.” — McCain on talk show host Wendy Williams admitting that she’s living at a sober house.
“Guys & gals, I’m flying Spirit Airlines for the first time this week, and I’ve never been more scared to fly than I am right now.” — Siraj Hashmi, Washington Examiner.
Source: The Daily Caller
Betsy Rothstein | Reporter
Quote of the Day:
“Man, I’m just born to be in it.”
— Beto O’Rourke, Democratic presidential hopeful, in a story for Vanity Fair, upon announcing his 2020 run for the White House.
SPOTTED: Ex-Trump aide Sam Nunberg shows up to Roger Stone’s hearing
“BONUS Sighted at Stone’s hearing, former Trump aide Sam Nunberg. No business at court, Nunberg says, ‘I’m just here for the circus.’” — Spencer Hsu, legal reporter, The Washington Post.
Quick Q: “Is it too late for @DanCrenshawTX to host the White House Correspondents’ Dinner?” — Jon Levine, media editor, TheWrap. Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) spoke at the annual Washington Congressional Dinner Tuesday night. Watch his speech on C-SPAN here.
CBS’s Gayle King is getting a piece of Beto
“Gayle King sitting down with Beto O’Rourke today in Iowa — portion airs tonight on ‘CBS Evening News’ and interview on Friday’s ‘CBS This Morning.’” — Michael Calderone, Politico.
Beto protests a NYT story about his more depressive stage of life
“In VF, Beto objects to NYT story on NY years, which he says depicts him as ‘aimless & depressed.’ Words he used w/ me: ‘rootless,’ ‘sad case,’ ‘in the dumps.’ Anyway. Will be interesting to watch him process coverage as POTUS contender, not TX underdog.” — Matt Flegenheimer, NYT. Read that story here.
AOC wants help furniture shopping (because she’s running out of money)
“Is Instagram still down? Bc after 2 months almost furnitureless in DC I am trying to take you all on the riveting adventure of getting: a chair. (Also, if you had to start a new apt from scratch, what would be the first 5 pieces of furniture/items you would get? Asking for me.)” — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). (RELATED:
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews has other thrill up his leg
“Chris Matthews is feeling that thrill up his leg again!!!! ‘That cover is the best kiss I’ve seen for a candidate in a long time.’” — Cameron Cawthorne, media reporter, Washington Free Beacon.
“Annie Leibowitz photo spreads are never accidents.” — Chuck Todd, MSNBC on Wednesday afternoon.
“Beto O’Rourke has to be careful that he doesn’t come across as too self-absorbed, too full of his own persona.” — John Harwood, MSNBC on Wednesday afternoon.
Rolling Stone writer apologizes for coming across as ‘uber-privileged’
“A lot of people have made some excellent points about how this came off as tone-deaf/uber-privileged and I acknowledge and apologize for that! My alma mater is one of like 3-4 things I do truly love in the world so I wanted to give it a lil shoutout but yes, I see how it came off. Also Lena Dunham was one of the first people I ever interviewed (for the Oberlin review, natch) and while I think she is *problematic* she was EXTREMELY nice and funny and charming and i am overall proud she is an ambassador for our weird little community. This is a v. earnest tweet so I apologize in advance, but the whole college admissions scandal makes me feel lucky to have graduated from a place like @oberline. Everyone I went to school with was smart and passionate and engaged, and most importantly had a great deal of integrity.” — EJ Dickson, Rolling Stone.
Unbelievable photo of Pelosi and Trump
— Doug Mills (@dougmillsnyt) March 14, 2019
WaPo kisses up to Media Matters prez who wrote an anti-Semitic blog. Here.
Female freshman lawmaker… goes to work in two different shoes. Here.
Meawnwhile, WaPo has been eviscerating FNC host Tucker Carlson for old interviews he had with shock jock Bubba The Love Sponge. WaPo‘s “reported” opinion blogger Erik Wemple detests Carlson. At least part of that is based on the fact that Wemple absolutely bombed on Carlson’s show. Wemple’s bug-eyed expression has now been turned into a coffee mug that Carlson’s gives to guests and friends.
Media Matters prez… wrote about “Japs, Jewry and Trannies” in a blog he said was a failed attempt at satire. Here.
Airlines regrets… telling a woman to cover up. Here.
Actress Rosario Dawson really is… dating presidential hopeful Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.). Here.
Source: The Daily Caller
Quote of the Day:
“Stormy Daniels, doing a live Q&A in DC tonight, says she is not a ‘slut,’ she just has ‘a friendly vagina.’”
— Kate Bennett, CNN, regarding Stormy Daniel’s appearance at The Wing Tuesday night in Washington. At this event, she told the female crowd that President Trump‘s former lawyer Michael Cohen is “as dumb as herpes.”
In other Stormy Daniels news… she dumped her lawyer, Michael Avenatti: “I have retained Clark Brewster as my personal lawyer and have asked him and his firm to review all legal matters involving me. Upon completion of Mr. Brewster’s review and further consultation with me, I anticipate Mr. Brewster will serve as my primary counsel on all legal issues.”
The Nation‘s Joan Walsh: Don’t criticize AOC
“Long day. About to turn in. Just praised @katieporteroc and our first-term women. They’re amazing. But some folks jumped in for no apparent reason to criticize @AOC. Please don’t do that.” — Joan Walsh, The Nation, CNN contributor.
WSJ media reporter thinks college scandal is lame
“This whole college scandal is another reminder of how lazy this generation is. In my day we cheated ourselves! We didn’t need mommy and daddy to do it for us!” — Joe Flint, media reporter, WSJ.
CNN’s Brian Stelter shows off his hate mail
“Ever wonder what your @ replies would look like after being attacked by Tucker Carlson? Here’s a peek.” — CNN’s Brian Stelter, host of “Reliable Sources.”
Kenny Butcher: “Sit down u unic.”
Johnny Fats: “You look like a limp penis with eyes and a smirk.”
MVPS_Lobbyist _2017: “HEY FATTY LOSE SOME WEIGHT, JUST SAW YOUR FAT FAVE [sic] ON @TuckerCarlson. WE KNOW YOU’RE SO MISERABLE WHICH MAKE YOU [sic] AN EMOTIONAL EATER. STOP EATING AND GO VEGAN LIKE YOUR DERANGED VIEWERS.”
Watch this video from Mark Dice involving Brian Stelter. You won’t regret it.
— Mark Dice (@MarkDice) March 13, 2019
Mediaite writer has deadly fear of ketchup
“In first grade my classmate told me if I eat ketchup plain I’ll die. I can’t tell u if she was right, too scared to try it.” — Pardes Seleh, ex-scriptwriter, Fox News, writer, Mediaite.
Legal garble annoys London-based language columnist
“Just got an e-mail with 26 words of content and 371 words of automatically generated pseudo-legal garbage at the end. This is a PLAGUE. None of this crap has any legal effect at all; you can not impose an obligation to delete an e-mail, for example.” — Lane Greene, language columnist, editor, The Economist.
Yashar’s father, Baba, gaining steam online
“If you told me five years ago that my dad would be popular on Twitter without being on Twitter, I wouldn’t have believed it.” — Yashar Ali, HuffPost, New York Mag.
Bette Midler has a filthy mouth
“The corpse of C. Boyden Gray appeared on cunt-y #TuckerCarlson’s show tonight. Such admiration on both sides, really takes one’s breath away. Since it takes one to know one, guess Clayland is a cunt too. How do you like it now, asshole?” — Bette Midler, lefty, actress, singer.
Sen. Menendez pushes free press unless it applies to himself
BOB MENENDEZ (D-Fla.): “Despite the Trump Admin’s dangerous rhetoric, a free press will NEVER be the enemy of the people. In the spirit of #SunshineWeek we must work to make gov’t more transparent and to protect the journalists dedicated to holding those in power accountable.”
HENRY RODGERS, TheDC: “Remember that time you threatened to call the police on me for asking you if you would vote for the Green New Deal last month? I’m a credentialed reporter… So this applies to me as well, right?”
Convo Between Two Journos
Josh Greenman, New York Daily News opinion editor: “I went to an elite college and generally thought/think highly of my classmates. But I’ve worked for 20-ish years alongside tons of people from all kinds of schools. Many of my smartest and best colleagues went to decidedly not-elite places. Elite schools’ rep is vastly inflated.”
Peter Savodnik, journalist, author: “Tweeting that you went to an elite school and that it’s not actually that elite is peak elitism.”
Editor: Giants GM may be ‘mentally retarded’
“I can’t anymore … I tried to blog for work, but the Giants being an epic dumpster fire has distracted me to no end. I go to bed angry. we all know what’s at the end of the road, Giants fans: more pain, another disastrous season, and a GM who might mentally retarded.” — Matt Vespa, associate editor, Townhall.
Journo has insomnia brought on by time change
“The Daylight Savings Time switch has made me infinitely happier in the early evenings, but it’s also brought a vicious strand of insomnia that I can’t beat.” — Scott Nover, freelance writer, The Atlantic.
Cernovich loves the thrill, dread of ice baths
“Ice baths / cold plunges…. they always suck. Been doing them for years. Know it won’t kill me. But there’s always that sense of dread beforehand. That’s why the training is effective. It’s a metaphor for life. The fear of the thing is always greater than the thing. Jump in!” — Mike Cernovich, filmmaker, conservative commentator.
Journo has anxiety
“What do people who aren’t mentally cataloging their every anxiety even think about at night?” — Katie MacBride, associate editor, Anxy. Formerly, Rolling Stone, The Daily Beast.
Geraldo defends Tucker Carlson
“Concerted efforts to take down @TuckerCarlson using ancient comments on shock jock radio is another sad attack on First Amendment-If I examined every word uttered by all of you over last 10 years-i am sure my search would turn up some salty or unsavory dicta-Let’s move on Move on.” — Geraldo Rivera, FNC.
Ex-Florida massage parlor owner Li “Cindy Yang’s purpose in life was to party. So says her mom. Here.
“For the record, I think @colton is one of greatest Bachelors of all time! #TheBachelor.” — Mike Fleiss, creator, ABC’s The Bachelor.
Rosie O’Donnell’s explosive news… She says she was sexually abused by her father. Naturally she revealed this in an interview with Variety about her new book about ABC’s “The View.” The book is called, Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View. Her father died in 2015. Here. And here.
Jay Leno says college scandal is “textbook white privilege.” Here.
ABC “The View’s” Meghan McCain manages to make college scandal all about herself. Here.
Turns out that right-wing provocateur Jacob Wohl is a big phony. Here.
Source: The Daily Caller
Two African-American women clinched the top two spots in Chicago’s mayoral election Tuesday, meaning they will face each other in a runoff to become the Windy City’s first black female mayor.
Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle beat 12 other candidates — including William Daley, son of former Mayor Richard Daley — but neither grabbed more than 50 percent of the vote, meaning there will be a runoff in April to succeed outgoing Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
According to The Chicago Tribune, unofficial results showed Lightfoot with 17.5 percent, Preckwinkle with 16 percent and Daley with 14.7 percent. Chicago has had a female mayor before, and an African-American mayor, but never an African-American woman as a mayor.
"What do you think of us now?" Lightfoot told supporters Tuesday night. "This is what change looks like."
She later congratulated Preckwinkle for reaching the runoff: "No matter which one of us wins, Chicago will make history on April 2nd by electing the first Black woman mayor. It’s long overdue," she tweeted.
Lightfoot, a political outsider and the first openly gay woman to run for Chicago mayor, was the subject of an early apparent shot from Preckwinkle, a former City Council member and public school teacher, over her lack of political experience.
"It’s not enough to stand at a podium and talk about what you want to see happen," Preckwinkle said. "You have to come to this job with the capacity and the capability to make your vision a reality."
According to the Tribune, Lightfoot had positioned herself as the progressive voice against an entrenched Chicago political machine, while Preckwinkle pitched herself as someone with a track record of taking on powerful interests.
“We may not yet be at the finish line, but we should acknowledge that history is being made,” Preckwinkle said in Hyde Part, according to the Tribune. “It’s clear we’re at a defining moment in our city’s history, but the challenges that our city faces are not simply ideological. It’s not enough to say Chicago stands at a crossroads. We need to fight to change its course.”
Turnout was low, with The Associated Press reporting that by late afternoon turnout was around 27 percent of registered voters. The prior low was 33.8 percent in 2007.
Lightfoot and Preckwinkle had both been critical of the city’s response to the 2014 police shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald. Emanuel’s popularity dropped after the release of video of McDonald’s shooting, and he eventually decided not to seek re-election.
The runoff will take place on April 2.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former attorney, testifies before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Wednesday, and is expected to accuse the commander-in-chief of knowing his long-time adviser Roger Stone was reaching out to WikiLeaks about the publication of stolen Democratic National Committee emails.
Cohen, who released his prepared opening statement ahead of his House hearing, apparently will not claim Trump directed those communications.
"Questions have been raised about whether I know of direct evidence that Mr. Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia," Cohen will testify. "I do not. I want to be clear. But, I have my suspicions."
Trump, who is in Hanoi, Vietnam, for his second meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, tweeted that Cohen was "lying in order to reduce his prison time."
Cohen was disbarred in New York on Tuesday – the same day he testified behind closed doors before the Senate Intelligence Committee. He is slated to report to prison next month to serve three years time.
Fox News’s Gregg Re contributed to this report.
Follow FoxNews.com’s live blog below. Mobile users click here.
Source: Fox News Politics
Michael Cohen has been disbarred in New York, with a court ruling that President Trump’s former lawyer’s guilty plea in Robert Mueller’s investigation automatically stripped him of his eligibility to practice law.
The court’s decision Tuesday came while he was on Capitol Hill, testifying behind closed doors before the House Intelligence Committee. He plans to testify in an open House Oversight Committee hearing on Wednesday.
Neither a spokesperson for Cohen nor for the New York Courts responded to Fox News’ request for comment on the decision.
Cohen, in November, pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about a Trump real estate project in Russia as part of Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling and potential collusion with Trump campaign associates.
The guilty plea was related directly to his August 2017 testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee about a plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, giving lawmakers a “false” description of the Moscow Project. Cohen also testified, at the time, that all communications with Russia regarding the project ended in January 2016, prior to the Iowa Caucuses—the first contest in the presidential race—but later admitted communications continued through June 2016 when Trump became the Republican nominee.
Cohen is slated to report to prison next month to serve three years time.
Trump slammed Cohen on Tuesday, saying he was “lying” as part of the investigation to reduce his allotted prison time.
“Michael Cohen was one of many lawyers who represented me (unfortunately). He had other clients also. He was just disbarred by the State Supreme Court for lying & fraud. He did bad things unrelated to Trump. He is lying in order to reduce his prison time. Using Crooked’s lawyer!” Trump tweeted, noting that Cohen was represented by longtime Clinton ally Lanny Davis.
Cohen has been under criminal investigation as part of a grand jury probe into his personal business dealings, including his tax business and bank fraud, since April, when the FBI raided his home, office, and hotel room to seize a collection of documents as part of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York’s criminal probe.
In August, Cohen pleaded guilty to five counts of tax evasion, one count of making false statements to a financial institution, one count of willfully causing an unlawful corporate contribution, and one count of making an excessive campaign contribution. The excessive campaign contribution was regarding the $130,000 payment made to Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, in the weeks leading up to the 2016 presidential election in exchange for her silence about an alleged one-time sexual encounter with Trump.
Trump denied in April that he knew anything about Cohen’s payments to Daniels, though the explanations from the president and his attorney Rudy Giuliani have shifted several times.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
Ivanka Trump said Tuesday that she supports a minimum wage, but doesn’t back handouts for those “unwilling to work.”
Trump made the statement in a Twitter post in response to a Yahoo News article that asserted Trump was challenging a minimum-wage platform pitched by U.S. Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.
“No I did not,” Trump wrote in response to the Yahoo headline. “I support a minimum wage. I do not however believe in a minimum guarantee for people ‘unwilling to work’ which was the question asked of me.”
“I support a minimum wage. I do not however believe in a minimum guarantee for people ‘unwilling to work’ which was the question asked of me.”
Trump later wrote about her recent efforts to assist American workers.
“I’ve spent much of the last 2 years focused on inclusive economic growth via workforce development and skills training as well as pro-working family policies such as the doubled Child Tax Credit & CCDBG,” Trump wrote.
On Monday, Trump had told Fox News host Steve Hilton – for an interview that will air on Sunday’s “The Next Revolution” — that she believed many Americans would reject a minimum wage for people who are unwilling to work, seeing it as a form of handout.
“I don’t think most Americans, in their heart, want to be given something,” Trump said. “I’ve spent a lot of time traveling around this country over the last four years. People want to work for what they get.
"I don’t think most Americans, in their heart, want to be given something. I’ve spent a lot of time traveling around this country over the last four years. People want to work for what they get."
“So, I think that this idea of a guaranteed minimum is not something most people want. They want the ability to be able to secure a job. They want the ability to live in a country where’s there’s the potential for upward mobility.”
Earlier Tuesday, Trump’s excerpted Monday remarks had prompted Ocasio-Cortez to respond that Trump had only a “2nd-hand” understanding of work.
“As a person who actually worked for tips & hourly wages in my life, instead of having to learn about it 2nd-hand, I can tell you that most people want to be paid enough to live,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote. “A living wage isn’t a gift, it’s a right. Workers are often paid far less than the value they create.”
The freshman congresswoman then cited data from the Economic Policy Institute claiming that the gap between productivity and a typical worker’s pay had increased dramatically since 1973 – around the time of the Arab oil embargo.
According to the Hill, guaranteed pay for those unwilling to work was a proposal listed on a Green New Deal fact sheet that Ocasio-Cortez’s office said was released in error and did not appear in the actual bill submitted to the House.
Source: Fox News Politics
President Donald Trump attacked Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., on Twitter early Wednesday during his visit to Vietnam, referring to him as “Da Nang Dick”—a nickname mocking the senator’s false claim of having fought in the Vietnam War.
“I have now spent more time in Vietnam than Da Nang Dick Blumenthal, the third rate Senator from Connecticut (how is Connecticut doing?)” Trump wrote. “His war stories of his heroism in Vietnam were a total fraud – he was never even there. We talked about it today with Vietnamese leaders!”
Blumenthal, who was elected to the Senate in 2010, regularly referenced his supposed Vietnam service in the 2000s, when he was Connecticut attorney general.
“I served during the Vietnam era,” Blumenthal reportedly said at a Vietnam War memorial in 2008. “I remember the taunts, the insults, sometimes even the physical abuse.”
Blumenthal reportedly obtained at least five military deferments between 1965 and 1970. He eventually served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, but did not deploy to Vietnam.
In 2010, Blumenthal admitted that he had regrettably "misspoken" about his service, and takes "full responsibility."
Blumenthal is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and supported legislation last year to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s job.
Trump told the New York Times in 2016 that he had his draft deferred after a doctor wrote “a very strong letter” about the bone spurs in his heals.
Meanwhile, Trump and Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong presided over the signings of several commercial trade deals affecting the airline industries of their two countries.
Trump is expected to meet with Kim later Wednesday to discuss the Hermit Kingdom’s denuclearization. The two leaders previously met last June in Singapore.
Fox News’ Samuel Chamberlain and Dom Calicchio contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
LaTisha Nixon, who reportedly names Buck and the Los Angeles County District Attorney as defendants in the lawsuit, said she grew frustrated after authorities failed to file criminal charges for the 2017 overdose death of her 26-year-old son Gemmel Moore.
Moore, a black male escort, was found by police on July 27, 2017, inside the 63-year-old’s apartment. Moore’s death was initially classified as an accidental methamphetamine overdose.
Buck, a well-known figure in LGBT political circles, has given more than $500,000 to a range of Democratic groups and candidates — including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
According to NBC4, the suit was filed in LA Superior Court and alleges wrongful death, sexual battery, hate violence, drug dealer liability, negligence, infliction of emotional distress, and two violations of civil rights. Nixon also accuses Buck of personally administering the drug that took her son’s life.
Buck’s attorney Seymour Amster said they did not yet see the lawsuit but vowed to “fight the allegations vigorously,” adding that there’s “more to the story than is being told.”
The District Attorney’s Office reportedly declined to comment.
Moore’s death was initially considered an accidental drug overdose. After an additional inquiry due to writings in Moore’s journal and pressure from his family, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office concluded that the “admissible evidence is insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt” that Buck gave Moore drugs or is responsible for his death.
Last month, a second black man, Timothy Dean, was found dead of an overdose in Buck’s home. Dean, 55, reportedly had a relationship with Buck years before Moore’s death.
Dean reportedly warned his friends to steer clear of Buck and referred to him as a "f—ing devil" and "a horrible, horrible man.”
Dean is said to have specifically told a friend in the fall that he had no intention of visiting Buck, and that “he didn’t want to end up dead.”
Hollie McKay and Christopher Carbone contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
It was a classic split-screen moment for the media.
Actually, it called for triple screens.
President Trump had landed in Vietnam for his summit with Kim Jong Un. This second meeting will put to the test whether North Korea actually plans to take any concrete steps toward giving up nuclear weapons, or whether its dictator is merely pursuing a strategy of deflection and delay. At stake: the potential elimination of one of the world’s premier nuclear threats, and a possible peace treaty more than six decades after the Korean War armistice.
But that was no match for Michael Cohen.
The president’s onetime lawyer had arrived in the Senate yesterday to testify behind closed doors, a prelude to his televised House hearing today.
MSNBC literally had a split-screen shot of Trump getting off the plane in Hanoi and Cohen walking down a Capitol Hill hallway.
CNN had a countdown clock up, 23 hours before his public testimony.
Cohen was already making news as the gist of his planned testimony was provided in advance to major news organizations. And that gave his story, well, a nuclear boost.
Cohen, The New York Times said, "is planning on portraying his onetime client in starkly negative terms when he testifies Wednesday before a House committee, and on describing what he says was Mr. Trump’s use of racist language, lies about his wealth and possible criminal conduct."
Cohen, The Washington Post said, "is expected to describe to lawmakers what he views as Trump’s ‘lies, racism and cheating,’ both as president and in private business, and will describe ‘personal, behind-the-scenes’ interactions he witnessed, a person familiar with the matter said."
And even while the president was halfway around the world, his White House was playing defense on the other story with a statement from Sarah Sanders:
"Disgraced felon Michael Cohen is going to prison for lying to Congress and making other false statements. Sadly, he will go before Congress this week and we can expect more of the same. It’s laughable that anyone would take a convicted liar like Cohen at his word, and pathetic to see him given yet another opportunity to spread his lies."
What’s fascinating about that statement is that it’s the Republican chairman of the Senate Intel committee, Richard Burr, who summoned Cohen. And Robert Mueller is relying on Cohen’s accounts as well.
Of course, Cohen’s credibility will come under withering assault, since he pleaded guilty to lying to Congress. That’s part of the reason that Cohen will begin a three-year prison term in May, though he may hope his testimony prompts prosecutors to ask for a sentence reduction.
Cohen’s effort at rehabilitating his image is simple: I lied before to protect my client, but I deeply regret it and am so upset by Trump’s conduct as president that I’m going to tell all now.
Among his topics, according to the advance leaks: the infamous Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer, and the president’s involvement in hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal.
His lawyer, Lanny Davis, told the Times that he will "back it up with documents."
But Cohen does not plan to answer questions about other aspects of the Russia investigation to avoid interfering with the Mueller probe.
What the Post described as the hope of Cohen’s allies — that "he could become this generation’s John Dean" — very much remains to be seen. Dean, unlike Cohen, worked in the White House and was an integral part of Richard Nixon’s Watergate coverup.
The third story unfolding on our screens yesterday was Nancy Pelosi’s plan for the House to vote on blocking Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the border. So while he’s performing on the world stage, he could get whacked here at home for supposedly flouting the Constitution.
By the time the House voted to block Trump 245-182, with 13 Republicans joining the Dems, the party-line tally was a foregone conclusion. There is a chance that the Senate will go along with four Republicans defecting (Thom Tillis said in a Post op-ed yesterday that he’d oppose the national emergency because "conservatives rightfully cried foul when President Barack Obama used executive action to completely bypass Congress"). Still, there undoubtedly wouldn’t be enough votes to overturn a veto.
Of course, the summit meeting with Kim hadn’t actually begun when these other stories were grabbing ink and airtime. But I can’t help thinking that most of the media are more interested in Trump’s former fixer and a potential Democratic slapdown than in this president’s diplomacy.
Source: Fox News Politics
Former Trump campaign staffer Alva Johnson broke down in tears Tuesday night while explaining her accusations that President Trump “forcibly kissed” her during the 2016 election.
Johnson, who has filed a lawsuit against the president, told MSNBC she’d joined the Trump campaign because she believed the White House needed a “businessman” despite thinking he “didn’t have a chance of winning.” She described her role as an “outreach” director in Alabama, where she organized “one of the largest rallies” at the time with then-Sen. Jeff Sessions in attendance.
Johnson said in August 2016, she briefly interacted with then-candidate Trump on an RV during a campaign stop in Florida. Before he stepped off the bus to speak with campaign interns, she told him to “go kick ass” and said she hadn’t seen her family in a very long time. And, after he told her he wouldn’t “let you down,” Johnson said Trump held her hand and began getting closer.
“I just had a lot of internal dialogue. I’m like, ‘okay, is he gonna hug me?’ And then he keeps coming closer. And I’m like, ‘is he gonna hug me?’ I’m like, ‘oh my God, I think he’s going to kiss me’ because he was coming directly towards my face,’” Johnson told MSNBC host Chris Hayes.
The former campaign staffer then said once she realized Trump was going to kiss her, she turned her head, which left his lips touching the corner of her mouth.
“I was just kinda frozen. I didn’t know how to process it. I knew it was inappropriate because I worked in human resources. So I knew that it was completely inappropriate,” Johnson continued. “It was gross and creepy. Like I could sometimes still see those lips.”
“This accusation is absurd on its face. This never happened and is directly contradicted by multiple highly credible eye witness accounts,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Monday.
Johnson rejected Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s denial that she witnessed the alleged interaction after naming her as one of two witnesses, insisting Bondi’s statement was “not true.”
Following the alleged interaction, Johnson said she “pushed it” in the back of her mind and continued doing her job, but it wasn’t until the October 2016 release of the “Access Hollywood” tape that prompted her to leave the campaign. “When I heard the audio, I was, like, screaming in my car. I’m like, ‘oh my God, that’s exactly what he did to me.’ Like, he literally described exactly what he did to me, minus the grab the ‘P,’” Johnson said.
She told Hayes she was “afraid” to tell the campaign why she was leaving and that she sought a lawyer as other women came forward with allegations against Trump, but “for business reasons” didn’t carry on with her case.
When asked why she waited so long to bring the lawsuit and for offering praise for the president in 2017 as well as applying for a position at the White House, Johnson pointed to a nondisclosure agreement she signed, which she claimed made it feel like her “vocal cords had been clipped for years.”
Johnson started getting tearful while describing the “guilt” she felt after the 2017 protest violence in Charlottesville, Va., and the separations of migrant families last year.
“Then you have him mocking women with the #MeToo movement, making fun of them and for me, I’m sitting there and I’m like, this is exactly what you did to me, and I don’t want to keep my mouth shut,” an emotional Johnson told Hayes.
Fox News’ Jennifer Bowman contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
Democratic presidential hopeful Kamala Harris defended the Green New Deal despite cost estimates; she’s endorsed the plan wholeheartedly, even as Republicans cite nonpartisan estimates that it’ll cost trillions of dollars to implement.
Calling it an existential crisis facing the world, she said on “AM Joy,” “We as human beings have within our power the ability to change our behavior not in drastic ways, by the way, to reduce the effects of climate change.”
She said that the world must act with a sense of urgency because people are in collective peril.
She called the Trump administration a failure for not thinking about the future where climate’s concerned, focused on science fiction rather than on science fact.
Harris, D-Calif., joined Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Cory Booker, D-N.J. to co-sponsor the Green New Deal resolution earlier this month. The resolution’s awkward rollout included the release of an official document by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s office that promised economic security even for those “unwilling to work,” as well as the elimination of “farting cows” and air travel.
Source: Fox News Politics
House Republicans on Tuesday claimed a small victory over the Democrats’ climate change agenda by holding a rare successful vote as the minority to end an oversight hearing, saying that the subject of global warming was outside the committee’s jurisdiction.
The Republicans in the Natural Resources Committee’s oversight panel won in a 4-2 vote to end the hearing, simply because there weren’t more than two Democrats present.
Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas, the top Republican on the Oversight and Investigations subcommittee, called for the vote after laying out the case that climate change was not within the jurisdiction of the committee, based on its charter and bylaws.
Gohmert called for a vote to adjourn following his opening remarks, and a roll call vote was held. Witnesses at the hearing were not introduced before the Republicans left the hearing room.
With the Republicans in adjournment, the Democrats were forced to change the proceedings from a hearing to a "forum," which Rep. T.J. Cox of California, the chairman of the oversight panel, opened by introducing the speakers.
The full committee’s top Republican, Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah, had raised the jurisdiction issues at the beginning of the month when the Democratic leadership launched its sweeping series of hearings on climate change. Bishop also said the Democrats were not properly giving notice to Republican members on the topics of the hearing.
Source: Fox News Politics
Tweeting directly at Cohen, the Republican congressman wrote: “Do your wife & father-in-law know about your girlfriends? Maybe tonight would be a good time for that chat. I wonder if she’ll remain faithful when you’re in prison. She’s about to learn a lot…”
When asked about his tweet by reporters on Tuesday, Gaetz insisted that his remarks were not witness tampering, according to The Hill.
"We’re witness testing not witness tampering," Gaetz explained. "And when witnesses come before Congress their truthfulness and veracity are in question and we have the opportunity to test them."
The lawmaker’s comment comes as Cohen appeared on Capitol Hill Tuesday for the first in a series of hearings this week.
His testimony Tuesday to the Senate Intelligence Committee took place behind closed doors. On Wednesday, he’ll testify before the House Oversight Committee in an open hearing. The following day, Cohen is set to appear behind closed doors for a House Intelligence Committee interview.
Cohen was sentenced in December to three years in prison after pleading guilty to campaign finance violations, tax evasion and lying to Congress. He agreed to cooperate with prosecutors as part of a deal.
Lanny J. Davis, who represents Cohen, slammed Gaetz’s tweet as a shameful lie and one that would not sit well with the Floridians whom the lawmaker represents.
"We will not respond to Mr. Gaetz’s despicable lies and personal smears, except to say we trust that his colleagues in the House, both Republicans and Democrats, will repudiate his words and his conduct,” Davis said in a statement to Fox News.
“I also trust that his constituents will not appreciate that their congressman has set a new low — which in today’s political culture is hard to imagine as possible,” he continued.
In addition to his tweet, Gaetz also addressed Cohen on the House floor on Tuesday night, painting him as a repeated liar.
“I guess tomorrow we will find out if there is anyone that Michael Cohen hasn’t lied to,” Gaetz said. “We already know he lied to Congress, we already know he lied to law enforcement, lied to the IRS, lied to three banks and he’s going to prison for his lies. And so I guess it will be relevant for us to determine like, does he lie to his own family? Does he lie to his financier’s? Does he lie to his financiers who are members of his family?”
Gaetz, who is not a member of the oversight committee, also called Cohen’s credibility into question.
“And it’ll be one heck of an inquiry for us because this is someone who has tangled such a web of lies that he is not to be believed and I think it is entirely appropriate for any member of this body to challenge the truthfulness and veracity and character for the people who have a history of lying and have a future that undoubtedly contains nothing but lies,” Gaetz continued on the floor. “That is the story of Michael Cohen, we’ll see it play out tomorrow. And I, for one, can’t wait to the get to the bottom of things, and can’t wait to get to the truth.”
Fox News’ Chad Pergram, Mike Emanuel and Alex Pappas contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
“When you’re talking about consenting adults, I think that yes, we should really consider that we can’t criminalize consensual behavior, as long as no one is being harmed," Senator Harris, D-Calif., told The Root. "But at the point that anyone is being harmed or exploited, then we have to understand that’s a different matter."
When asked if she thought sex work should be decriminalized, Harris said: “I think so. I do.”
She added, however, that the issue “is not as simple as that.”
“There is an ecosystem around that, that includes crimes that harm people,” Harris said. “I do not believe that anybody who hurts another human being or profits off of their exploitation should be … free of criminal prosecution."
Interviewer Terrell Jermaine Starr also asked Harris, “Is President Trump a racist?”
“Well look, when you talk about his statement [responding to the violence protests in Charlottesville, Virginia], when you talk about him calling African countries ‘s—hole’ countries, when you talk about him referring to immigrants as racists and murderers, I don’t think you can reach any other conclusions,” Harris responded
Starr asked Harris again if she “definitely” agreed that the president was a racist.
“I do, yes. Yes.” Harris said.
For his part, in discussing his comments about undocumented immigrants being “murderers” and “rapists,” Trump has insisted he was talking specifically about MS-13 gang members and criminals.
But the issue that has garnered Trump the lion’s share of criticism may be his reaction to the Charlottesville protests, during which neo-Nazis and white nationalists in Charlottesville marched and a counterprotester was fatally hit by a car.
“I think there is blame on both sides,” Trump said in August 2017.
“To equate the ‘both sides’ gave me an incredible amount of pain and concern,” Harris told The Root about the president’s reaction.
Harris is not the first presidential candidate to call Trump a racist. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., did so last month.
Starr also asked Harris if it was worthwhile to pursue the votes of Americans who voted for Trump “despite all the racist things he has said.”
“I’m going to compete for every vote; not everybody will vote for me, but I’m going to compete for every vote,” Harris said.
Harris said she has rejected the idea America was a “postracial" society for years.
“Race is still a big issue in America,” Harris said.
Source: Fox News Politics
Democrats on Tuesday pushed unprecedented legislation through the House to block President Trump’s national emergency declaration to steer billions of extra dollars to his southern border wall, raising the prospect that Trump might issue his first-ever veto to defeat the effort.
Monday’s vote marked the first time the House or Senate has tried to terminate a presidential declaration of a national emergency, using the provisions of the National Emergencies Act of 1976. Former Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., attempted a similar effort regarding a national emergency declared by then-President George W. Bush, but the measure never came to a vote on the House floor.
Should enough Republicans in the GOP-controlled Senate defect and support the House bill, a two-thirds supermajority in both the Senate and House would be needed to override Trump’s veto. The White House issued a formal veto threat Tuesday ahead of the House vote, ramping up pressure on Republicans to hold the line.
It took President George W. Bush more than five years before he used his veto, and President Barack Obama only 11 months. For President Bill Clinton, it took two and a half years.
With three Senate Republicans saying they would support the legislation, only one more was needed to vote with all the Democrats to pass the measure and send it to Trump.
"When you see the vote today there will be nowhere near the votes to override a veto," House GOP Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., told reporters.
Even many GOP lawmakers who have viewed themselves as protectors of Congress’ power of the purse said they would defer to Trump in this case, saying he has the authority under a mid-1970s statute.
"They love Trump in my district," said Rep. Billy Long, R-Mo. "I’m for Trump."
Democratic leaders said the vote was not about the merits of Trump’s wall but how Trump was trampling on the Constitution by grabbing money that he couldn’t obtain through the usual means.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Trump’s action "steals billions of dollars" from military construction projects— including, possibly, family housing and child care centers — to build the wall along the Mexico border.
Republicans have countered that problems with drug runners and human trafficking gave merit to Trump’s maneuver.
"I went down there neutral on this question, didn’t know whether or not I’d support a national emergency," said Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., who recently returned from a National Guard deployment along the border in Arizona. "And, I came back more convinced than probably anybody that this is the right thing to do."
"If Republicans vote their beliefs, we’ll get a lot. If they vote their party, we won’t get a lot," said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md.
Trump on Monday urged Senate Republicans to stick with him.
"I hope our great Republican Senators don’t get led down the path of weak and ineffective Border Security," Trump tweeted. "Without strong Borders, we don’t have a Country — and the voters are on board with us. Be strong and smart, don’t fall into the Democrats ‘trap’ of Open Borders and Crime!"
Vice President Mike Pence discussed the issue with GOP senators during their weekly private lunch. In a statement after the sit-down, South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham accused Democrats of hypocritically changing their mind about realities on the southern border.
“We had a great presentation from Vice President Pence and his team regarding the emergency declaration and the need for additional spending to protect our southern border," Graham said. "The Vice President made a compelling case that the border crisis is real and President Trump has both the authority and legal backing to declare a national emergency."
Graham added: "In 2014, President Obama declared a humanitarian crisis at our southern border because 120,000 unaccompanied minors were apprehended. As of today, we have already apprehended 120,000 in Fiscal Year 2019. The problems of 2014 are only getting worse."
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York said Trump was trying to "bend the law" with his declaration of a national emergency on the southern border. He called on lawmakers to "speak up with one bipartisan voice" to put a check on the executive branch as the founding founders envisioned.
"What would stop a future president from claiming an emergency every week?" he asked.
On Monday, GOP Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., said he would vote to block the order, joining Maine’s Susan Collins and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski as Republicans supporting the resolution. Congress must defend its power of the purse and warned that a future Democrat in the White House might abuse the power to advance "radical policies," Tillis said.
Another Republican, Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, called Trump’s order "unnecessary, unwise, and inconsistent with the United States Constitution and I’ll decide how to vote when I’m presented with something to vote on."
Senate voting on Trump’s emergency order could drag under a rarely used procedure, which an aide said is possibly a first for the chamber. The law allows for up to 15 days of committee review— in this case, at the Armed Services panel — with a full Senate vote three days later. Senators, though, said the process could be expedited.
At issue is Trump’s longstanding vow to build a wall along the 1,900-mile southwest border, perhaps his top campaign promise. He has long since dropped any pretense that money for the wall would come from Mexico, which he once claimed would be the source of funding.
Earlier this month Congress approved a huge spending bill providing nearly $1.4 billion to build 55 miles of border barriers in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, ending a dispute that had led to a record 35-day partial shutdown of the government. Trump had demanded $5.7 billion to construct more than 200 miles.
Trump’s declaration of a national emergency gives him access to about $3.6 billion in funding for military construction projects to divert to border fencing. Lawmakers in both parties are recoiling at the politically toxic prospect of losing cherished projects at back-home military bases. The Defense Department has not identified which projects may face the ax.
But, the administration is more likely to tap $600 million from a federal asset forfeiture fund first. In addition, it is considering shifting more than $2 billion from Defense Department accounts into a Pentagon counter-drug fund to be tapped for wall construction.
Trump’s edict is also being challenged in the federal courts, where a host of Democratic-led states such as California are among those that have sued to overturn the order. The House may also join in.
Fox News’ Chad Pergramm, Alex Pappas and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
A Democratic member of Maryland’s House of Delegates was removed as chairwoman of a subcommittee on Tuesday after an account of her using a racial slur during an after-hours gathering at an Annapolis cigar bar last month was published by The Washington Post.
Mary Ann Lisanti, 51, apologized to the Maryland House Democratic Caucus on Tuesday, one day after she apologized to the leaders of the state’s Legislative Black Caucus. In a message to her constituents in Harford County northeast of Baltimore, Lisanti said she was "ashamed" and "sickened" she had used the word, which "does not represent my belief system, my life’s work or what’s in my heart."
It is my hope and prayer that you … can forgive me for the pain that I have caused, and help me to mend what I have broken," she added. "I will continue work every day to repent for my actions and represent my constituents."
The Post reported on Monday that Lisanti told a white colleague that he had been campaigning in a "[N-word] district" in mostly black Prince George’s County to support a candidate in last fall’s elections. Asked about it by the newspaper earlier this month, The Post reported that Lisanti said, "I don’t recall that. … I don’t recall much of that evening."
When asked by The Post whether she had ever used the slur, the newspaper reported that she said: "I’m sure I have. … I’m sure everyone has used it."
Del. Darryl Barnes, the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland chairman, described Lisanti’s apology as "woefully inadequate" and urged House Speaker Michael Busch to discipline the delegate. Busch, also a Democrat, announced Lisanti would no longer chair the Unemployment Insurance Subcommittee of the House Economic Matters Committee, because "I believe that leaders in the House need to be able to bring people together — not tear them apart."
Busch also said that Lisanti had agreed to sensitivity training.
"I hope that through sensitivity training that Delegate Lisanti has agreed to and the help of her colleagues, she will develop a greater understanding of the impact that she has had on her fellow legislators and the entire House of Delegates," Busch said in a statement.
Barnes, who represents part of Prince George’s County, noted in his letter to Busch that African-Americans make up nearly 30 percent of Maryland’s population. He also pointed out that the Maryland General Assembly has 57 black members out of 188 legislators.
"It is clear that Delegate Lisanti is unsuited to continue in a position of leadership in the Maryland General Assembly," Barnes said in the letter. "We have been receiving calls for her resignation, removal of subcommittee chairmanship, and to be censured on the House floor."
In neighboring Virginia, the state government has been embroiled in scandal since Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring, both Democrats, acknowledged they wore blackface in the 1980s. They both resisted calls to resign.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
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On the roster: Senate nears threshold to block Trump – Harris won’t run, GOP needs candidate – 2020 early-state Dem activist temperature check – It’s election day in Chicago – You’re doing it wrong
SENATE NEARS THRESHOLD TO BLOCK TRUMP
Raleigh News & Observer: “North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis plans to break with President Donald Trump over his national emergency declaration, which would allow him to go around Congress to secure funds for a southern border wall. Tillis, a Republican, wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post explaining his decision to vote for a resolution of disapproval, rebuking Trump. The Democratic-led U.S House is expected to pass the resolution Tuesday evening, a move that would require the Senate to consider the resolution within three weeks. … ‘As a conservative, I cannot endorse a precedent that I know future left-wing presidents will exploit to advance radical policies that will erode economic and individual freedoms,’ Tills wrote. Tillis, who is up for re-election in 2020, is the third Republican to publicly pronounce his or her intention to vote for the resolution of disapproval. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska have also indicated they are likely to support the resolution.”
What are other Republicans saying? – WaPo: “Few Republican Senators have released definitive statements on the resolution, but many have made statements on the emergency. … At least six Republican senators, Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), have expressed opposition to the national emergency since it was declared. All six support more border security but saw the move as executive overreach and potentially unconstitutional. … Republicans are also concerned the national emergency could spawn numerous court battles, which it already has, and a lengthy judicial review. … At least eleven GOP senators, including [Lindsey] Graham and Rick Scott (R-Fla.), early proponents of the national emergency, have expressed support for the declaration, which they described as a necessary use of executive power and which some saw as a fulfillment of Trump’s campaign promise to build a wall.”
Wisconsin Gov. Evers withdraws troops from border – AP: “Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers on Monday ordered the state’s National Guard troops to withdraw from the border with Mexico, drawing the ire of a Republican congressman from Illinois who serves as a pilot in the Wisconsin detachment. Former Republican Gov. Scott Walker ordered troops to Arizona in June to assist with administrative duties along the border. Evers, a Democrat, issued an executive order Monday withdrawing them. Evers announced the order late Monday afternoon. … Adam Kinzinger, a Republican congressman from Illinois, tweeted on Monday that he is a member of the Wisconsin National Guard and criticized Evers for his decision. In a series of tweets, he said he was sent to the border as a member of the Wisconsin National Guard and his crew caught a man crossing the border with 70 pounds of methamphetamine. ‘Wonder the damage that would do in Milwaukee…’ he tweeted.”
THE RULEBOOK: POWER IN CHECK
“The power of making treaties is an important one, especially as it relates to war, peace, and commerce; and it should not be delegated but in such a mode, and with such precautions, as will afford the highest security that it will be exercised by men the best qualified for the purpose, and in the manner most conducive to the public good.” – John Jay, Federalist No. 64
TIME OUT: WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND
Smithsonian: “Scholars have long known that Charles Dickens was cruel to his wife, Catherine. In their early letters, the novelist addressed her affectionally … but that tone changed dramatically some two decades into their marriage once he met and began an affair with then-18-year-old actress Ellen Ternan. … Catherine’s side of the breakup tale has remained mostly obscured from history until now. Her rarely heard perspective comes back with vengeance thanks to a trove of 98 previously unseen letters that show Charles … was actually gas lighting his wife as they separated. The missives were unearthed by University of York professor John Bowen, who specializes in 19th-century fiction. He first became aware of their existence when he noticed them listed in an auction catalogue from 2014. … The letters were written by Dickens family friend and neighbor Edward Dutton Cook to a fellow journalist, and they include details about the couple’s separation, which Catherine shared with Cook in 1879, the year she died.”
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Trump job performance
Average approval: 41.8 percent
Average disapproval: 54.4 percent
Net Score: -12.6 points
Change from one week ago: no change
[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.]
HARRIS WON’T RUN, GOP NEEDS CANDIDATE
Politico: “Republican Mark Harris announced on Tuesday that he will not run in the new election for North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District, citing his compromised health. A new election was called last week after Harris’ campaign was the subject of fraud allegations that tainted the midterm election. The state board of elections declined to certify the race between Harris and Democrat Dan McCready in 2018, instead voting last week to order a new election. ‘Given my health situation, the need to regain full strength, and the timing of this surgery the last week of March, I have decided not to file in the new election for Congressional District 9,’ Harris said in a statement. ‘It is my hope that in the upcoming primary, a solid conservative leader will emerge to articulate the critical issues that face our nation.’ Harris said he will support Stony Rushing, a Union County commissioner, in the Republican primary for the district.”
N.C. special election draws attention to 2020 – Roll Call: “What may be the most high-profile special election of 2019 is likely to attract national attention as a harbinger of things to come in a competitive state next year. … In a nationalized political environment, the outcome would contribute to the narrative about North Carolina heading into 2020, when GOP Sen. Thom Tillis is up for his first re-election. Inside Elections rates the Senate race Tilts Republican. The demographically shifting state is also a must-win for Trump, who carried it by less than 4 points in 2016. Republicans fear a divisive and messy 9th District primary in a high-profile special election could jeopardize the seat and complicate their efforts in other federal races next year. … Democrats have the advantage of time and money. McCready has been consistently fundraising — raising more than $500,000 by the end of 2018 — well before the new election was called for.”
2020 EARLY-STATE DEM ACTIVIST TEMPERATURE CHECK
Five Thirty Eight: “[Political scientist Seth Masket] reached out to the 60 activists twice recently… Each time, [he] heard back from roughly 35 of the activists. Of those, only nine said they had committed to a candidate… That level of indecision doesn’t seem all that unusual given the size of the field. Most modern presidential nomination contests have an obvious front-runner, but when they don’t (as was the case with the Democratic field in 1988), activists may take their time choosing a candidate. Several … suggested that they may wait until the summer or fall of 2019 [or wait until they] meet with the candidates before making up their minds. … Overall, in February, there were five candidates — [Kamala Harris], [Cory Booker], Sherrod Brown, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar — who were being considered or had been committed to by more than 35 percent of these activists. It is notable to see Brown’s and Klobuchar’s names included in this group, since at the beginning of February, each had received little national media attention and neither had gained much traction in the polls.”
Klobuchar, Harris approach Iowa with same goal but different reasons – Atlantic: “Demographically and economically, Iowa isn’t actually that representative… Enter two candidates … who both see the state as crucial… Amy Klobuchar and Kamala Harris need the same thing, but they need it for opposite reasons. … For Klobuchar, Iowa is her neighbor to the south… A win in the Iowa caucuses could validate her pitch that the 2020 election is calling out for someone who can link the years her grandfather spent working in a mine to the ‘grit’ to stand in a snowstorm for her own campaign announcement two weeks ago, and connect a purported hard-nosed pragmatism to years of big wins in her home state. … But the state is key for [Harris] too: She wants a top finish here next February that would solidify her as a front-runner and give her the momentum going into a four-week blitz around the country…”
Biden team ‘collecting resumes’ ahead of final decision – Fox News: “A decision by former Vice President Joe Biden on running for the White House could still be more than a month away, but that’s not stopping members of his team from taking the initial steps to build a campaign structure. ‘They’re collecting resumes but making no commitments,’ a source close to Biden’s inner circle told Fox News on Tuesday. ‘They’re thinking about where people fit’ into a possible presidential campaign. The source asked to remain anonymous to speak more freely. … ‘We know we’ll lose people,’ the source acknowledged, with regard to the time Biden is taking to reach a decision. But those concerns don’t appear to weigh too heavily on the former vice president when it comes to his timetable.”
Sanders believes he can win in ‘Trump Country’ – Politico: “Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) at times Monday sounded like he was already running against President Trump in a general election, rather than the crowded field of Democrats he must first do battle with in the 2020 primary. During a televised town hall on CNN, Sanders criticized Trump for abandoning working Americans, promised to campaign in ‘Trump Country,’ and even gave a nod to a county in Pennsylvania that voted for Trump after backing Barack Obama twice. … Sanders also attempted to reach out to voters of color, speaking at length about racial disparities, including the wealth gap between black and white Americans. Sanders said he believes he can defeat Trump in Florida, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan, four swing states that were key to the president’s victory in 2016.”
Sanders will release his tax returns – National Journal: “Sen. Bernie Sanders is preparing to release his tax returns, sources with knowledge of his plans told National Journal. The display of personal financial transparency goes well beyond what the Vermont independent did during his 2016 presidential bid, when he failed to produce a comprehensive look at prior returns. One source familiar with the campaign’s internal discussions suggested that 10 years of filings would be released. The Sanders campaign did not respond to detailed questions about his plan by press time. Sanders brought in roughly $1.75 million in book royalties across 2016 and 2017, on top of his $174,000 Senate salary. But he still ranks among the least wealthy senators, according to the most recent public data.”
Gillibrand defends Green New Deal, big-money fundraisers – Fox News: “Presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand compared the Green New Deal to NASA’s race for the Moon in the 1960s, telling Fox News’ ‘Special Report’ Monday night that ‘global climate change … is the greatest threat to humanity we have.’ … Gillibrand and [Chris Wallace] then had a lively exchange over Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s vow to not hold any ‘big-money fundraisers’ during her campaign. Wallace asked Gillibrand if she saw any contradiction between Warren’s promise and Gillibrand’s plans to hold a March fundraiser at the home of Pfizer executive Sally Susman. … ‘Of course, I’m going to ask Americans all across this country to support my campaign,’ Gillibrand said.”
IT’S ELECTION DAY IN CHICAGO
USA Today: “Voters head to the polls Tuesday to pick a new mayor to take on the challenges weighing down the nation’s third-largest city: Billions of dollars in unmet pension obligations, endemic corruption and persistent gun violence. A record 14 candidates are on the ballot. Most of the candidates announced they were running after two-term Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced in September that he wouldn’t seek a third term. The field includes eight people of color and ten who have never held elected office. … Under Chicago’s election rules, if no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote-getters will face off in an April 2 runoff. No candidate is polling at more than 14 percent, according to a survey published Sunday by 270 Strategies.”
Trump lands in Vietnam for Kim Jong Un summit – Fox News
Pergram: Cohen on Capitol Hill could be crucial to understanding the direction of both parties before 2020 – Fox News
Nikki Haley re-enters political world through new policy group – WaPo
Dem to face primary challenge for Cory Gardner’s seat – The Colorado Sun
AUDIBLE: ‘DON’T LOOK BACK’
“I can remember college, you take a test and people gather around to talk about the test. I was never part of that gathering because there was not a damn thing I could do about what I’d written, so I didn’t do that. I took the test; that’s all I could do. Don’t look back.” – Former Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid in a wide-ranging interview with CNN discussing his legacy, the Bush era and other topics.
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YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG
WSBTV: “A Florida man stole more than $30,000 in rare coins and cashed them in for a fraction of their value at change machines at area grocery stores, investigators said. Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office investigators said Shane Anthony Mele, 40, stole the rare presidential coins, valued at $1,000 each, and other items worth a total of $350,000, the Palm Beach Post reports. Investigators said Mele sold some of the coins to a pawn shop for $4,000, then exchanged the majority of them through CoinStar change machines at grocery stores, which would only give face value for them, a fraction of their worth. Mele was arrested and charged with grand theft and unrelated drug charges.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“Great leaders are willing to retire unloved and unpopular as the price for great exertion.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing for the Houston Chronicle on Nov. 6, 2004.
Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.
Source: Fox News Politics
Republican Mark Harris said Tuesday he will not run in the new election for North Carolina’s 9th congressional district, citing his “extremely serious” health condition.
It comes just days after the North Carolina State Board of Election unanimously voted for a new election after the district’s House race from 2018 was marred by claims of ballot fraud.
“After consulting with my physicians, there are several things that my health situation requires as a result of the extremely serious condition that I faced in mid-January,” Harris said in a statement. “One of those is a necessary surgery that is now scheduled for the last week in March.”
Harris added, “I have decided not to file in the new election for Congressional District 9.”
Last week, Harris, who outpaced Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes in the contested race, said in court he has suffered two strokes since the election and was “struggling” to get through the hearing.
In his statement Tuesday, Harris threw his support behind Union County Commissioner Stony Rushing.
"The North Carolina Republican Party fully supports Dr. Harris’ decision,” North Carolina Republican Chairman Robin Hayes said. “The most important thing for him to address is his health. This has been a grueling process for all involved, and we unequivocally support his call for a new election.”
Last week, Harris acknowledged a new election should be held after days of testimony in a hearing on ballot-tampering.
“I believe a new election should be called,” Harris said. “It’s become clear to me that public confidence in the 9th District has been undermined to an extent that a new election is warranted.”
In his sworn testimony, Harris said that he was assured by political operative – and convicted felon – Leslie McCrae Dowless that campaign workers would never collect absentee ballots, despite concerns from Harris’ son, John, that Dowless was illegally collecting and turning in ballots from voters.
One of the methods participants said Dowless used was to hire workers to collect absentee ballots from voters who received them, and then turn them over to him, according to an elections board investigation.
State election law prohibits anyone other than a guardian or close family member from handling mail-in ballots. Harris’ team initially said in a legal briefing submitted to the elections board last week the board should certify him the winner — no matter what Dowless did for the campaign.
Harris’ comments calling for a new election came a day after his son took the stand in emotional testimony that left his father in tears.
"I raised red flags at the time the decision was made to hire Mr. Dowless," John Harris said in his testimony on Wednesday.
Fox News’ David Lewkowict and Andrew O’Reilly and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
Bernie Sanders’ Democratic presidential campaign is experiencing a major shakeup, with several top advisers heading for the exits, just one week after the Vermont senator launched his second bid for the White House.
Three of the top advisers who helped propel the senator’s 2016 White House bid — Tad Devine, Julian Mulvey, and Mark Longabaugh — are parting ways with Sanders, the campaign confirmed Tuesday.
Sanders 2020 campaign manager Faiz Shakir said in a statement to Fox News that "the campaign appreciates all the good work DML has done and wishes them well." DML is the name of the political consulting firm headed up by Devine, Mulvey and Longabaugh.
"The entire firm has stepped away. We’re leaving the campaign … We just didn’t have a meeting of the minds,” Longabaugh told NBC News, which was first to report the departure of the senior strategists.
Devine, a veteran political strategist who was a top adviser to the presidential campaigns of then-Vice President Al Gore in 2000 and then-Sen. John Kerry in 2004, served as Sanders’ chief strategist and leading surrogate in 2016. Longabaugh steered the campaign’s game plan for winning delegates and negotiating with the Democratic National Committee. Mulvey played a large role in creating the campaign’s television and digital ads.
Sanders, once a longshot for the 2016 Democratic nomination, crushed Hillary Clinton by 22 percentage points in the New Hampshire Democratic primary, launching him into a marathon battle with the eventual nominee that didn’t end until after the primary and caucus calendar concluded.
But this time, Sanders is running in a crowded field with several other liberal Democrats, like Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and California Sen. Kamala Harris, with others expected to join the race.
On Monday, Sanders’ campaign sought to demonstrate the enthusiasm for his campaign by reporting that 1 million people had already signed up to volunteer. As of Monday, six days after his campaign launch, the senator also had raised an eye-popping $10 million from over 359,914 donors. Those numbers put him far ahead of his rivals for the nomination in the race for campaign cash.
But Sanders has also drawn fire from former aides to Clinton, who leaked details about Sanders’ use of private jets in 2016 to attend campaign rallies on her behalf. That provoked Sanders’ 2016 campaign spokesman, Michael Briggs, to tell Politico that Clinton’s staff are the "biggest a–holes in American politics," adding that Clinton is “one of the most disliked politicians in America.”
Meanwhile, during a CNN town hall on Monday night, Sanders promised to release his taxes soon but downplayed the unveiling by saying “they’re very boring tax returns.”
Sanders faced some criticism for not releasing his taxes during his marathon 2016 primary battle with Hillary Clinton. He said Monday he would have done so had he beat Clinton.
“If we had won the nomination, we would have done it,” Sanders said.
Fox News’ Alex Pappas contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
Sen. Bernie Sanders says he’ll “soon” release a decade’s worth of his tax returns.
But the independent from Vermont who last week launched his second straight bid for the Democratic presidential nomination downplayed the public unveiling of his financial details, saying “they’re very boring tax returns.”
A rival for the nomination – Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts – last August posted 10 years of her returns online.
Asked during a CNN town hall Monday night why the delay in releasing his returns, Sanders answered “well, you know, the delay is not — it’ll bore — our tax returns will bore you to death. It’s simply — nothing special about them. It just was a mechanical issue. We don’t have accountants at home. My wife does most of it. And we will get that stuff out.”
The populist firebrand and self-described democratic socialist owns two homes in Vermont and one in Washington, D.C. Sanders has also earned more than $1 million annually in recent years, though he remains on the lower end of Senate Democrats in terms of net worth.
Sanders faced some criticism for not releasing his taxes during his marathon 2016 primary battle with eventual Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
“I didn’t end up doing it because I didn’t win the nomination. If we had won the nomination, we would have done it,” Sanders explained on Monday.
But Clinton made eight years’ worth of tax returns available in July 2015, early in the primary campaign and a year before the general election.
President Trump cast aside decades of tradition during the 2016 presidential campaign when he refused to voluntarily release his tax returns, which could give some transparency to his large real estate and entertainment empire that he touts is worth some $10 billion. Trump said at the time that his taxes couldn’t be released because he was under audit.
Democrats, who now control the House of Representatives, are taking steps to try to compel the president to release his returns. But Trump has repeatedly reiterated that he won’t release his personal tax returns or those for the Trump Organization until a review of the records is completed. And he’s argued that he wouldn’t release them because Americans elected him in 2016 without seeing his returns.
Sanders announced his 2020 presidential bid last Tuesday. As of Monday, six days after his campaign launch, the senator had raised an eye-popping $10 million from over 359,914 donors. Those numbers put him far ahead of his rivals for the nomination in the race for campaign cash.
Source: Fox News Politics
Hillary Clinton is calling for public hearings on Robert Mueller’s Russia report while slamming Congress for not taking stronger action based on already-known information.
The defeated 2016 presidential candidate gave a wide-ranging interview on Wondery’s "TBD with Tina Brown" in which she discussed Mueller’s Russia investigation, President Trump’s North Korea talks, and the unique challenges facing women running in 2020.
Speaking about the Russia investigation, Clinton said: “There hasn’t really been that kind of solemn, somber laying of facts and information before the public and the press that should happen in our democracy.
“There is enough grounds in what has already been made public for the government for Congress, in particular, to be doing more with [the Mueller report]. I’m pleased that under Speaker Pelosi, the Democrats are beginning to hold hearings and try to connect some of these dots.”
The former secretary of state also offered up some insight into her campaign, describing it as “kind of Obama 2.0,” and pointed the finger at Trump and the Russians for that campaign ultimately coming up short.
“I mean I obviously had hired a lot of Obama’s people. They were incredibly able, they did a great job, but Trump, the Russians, Cambridge Analytica, all of his assorted allies, were running a campaign in an entirely different arena,” Clinton told Tina Brown.
“I don’t think I or my people understood that, you know, we would see a little pop-up story that some idiot says that Pope Francis endorsed Donald Trump. Who is going to believe that, how ridiculous.”
The interview also turned to the topic of other women trying to go one step further than Hillary and make history as the first female president – including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Kamala Harris and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
Clinton said all women will face the challenge of having to come off as “likable,” saying it is not as much of a concern for their male opponents.
“This is still a problem for women on the public stage,” she said.
“How does a woman stand up for herself on the biggest stage in the world without No. 1 looking aggressive, maybe a little bit angry, that somebody is behaving like that, being willing to go toe to toe when there are so few memories embedded in our collective DNA where women do that?
“So yes I’m willing to stand up for what I believe in but that is still kind of scary for some people. So how do you get on this kind of Goldilocks path where you’re not too strong and you’re not too weak, you’re not too aggressive and you’re not too passive?”
Source: Fox News Politics
BLADENSBURG, Md. — The war memorial has seen better days. Sitting in a traffic circle in the Washington suburbs, the Bladensburg Peace Cross as it is known has large cracks in its tan concrete and pink granite. Water damage has stained the 40-foot structure, covered partially by a tarp to prevent more decay.
But this worn-down, century-old monument is now at the center of a fiery Supreme Court fight – one where the newest justice, Brett Kavanaugh, once again could play a decisive role.
The memorial’s supporters say the structure was erected solely to honor those who died in battle during World War I – and, despite its shape, is secular in nature. Opponents call it an impermissible overlap of church and state, since the Latin cross design sits on public land.
"There is an unfairness of suggesting that a cross could represent all veterans when clearly not all veterans are Christians," said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association, which opposes the cross on public land.
Justices Wednesday will hold 70 minutes of oral arguments and hear from both sides over an issue that has divided the courts and the public for decades. It presents another opportunity for consistent, clear markers to be created on when such "passive" religious displays and speech, if ever, can occur the public arena.
Hundreds of similar cross-shaped war memorials across the country, as well as other religious displays, could be affected. Those include permanent Ten Commandments monuments and seasonal Nativity scenes in local parks.
The Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty and the American Jewish Committee are among those backing the memorial’s removal. But 109 members of Congress and 28 states are among those filing briefs in support of the veterans.
“The Supreme Court should honor the way Gold-Star mothers chose to remember the service and sacrifice of their sons who died defending our freedom,” said Kelly Shackelford, president of First Liberty Institute, which is leading the legal fight to preserve the cross. “If this gravestone is bulldozed to the ground, it’s only a matter of time before the wrecking ball turns on Arlington National Cemetery and the hundreds of memorials like this one across the country.”
The Trump administration also will be given argument time before the justices to make its case for the memorial.
Honoring the Fallen
Fundraising for the Peace Cross began soon after the "war to end all wars" concluded. Spearheaded by Gold Star mothers of Prince George’s County, Md., who lost their sons to battle, it honors 49 men, including four African-American soldiers and a Medal of Honor recipient. It was completed in 1925, built by members of local American Legion posts with private donations. It was later rededicated as a memorial to honor all American veterans.
Inscribed at the base of the monument are four words: Valor, Endurance, Courage, and Devotion. There are no written references to God, Christianity, or religion.
Complicating matters, however, a Maryland parks commission in 1961 gained control of the cross and land around the busy intersection. The government now pays for maintenance and upkeep, though veterans groups regularly hold memorial services there. The structure includes the embedded symbol of the American Legion.
Among the names listed is Pvt. Thomas Notley Fenwick, who died of pneumonia in 1918 after being gassed while on the French front. His niece Mary Ann Fenwick Laquay grew up hearing stories about her uncle and regularly visits the memorial.
"I know he’s not buried there but I feel like he is, it’s like going to the cemetery," the 80-year-old said. "It needs to stay right where it is. It’s not hurting anybody … Why are [those opposed] so determined to destroy something that means so much to so many people?"
Similar cross displays on federal land to honor war dead can be found at nearby Arlington National Cemetery. A simple cross dedicated to World War I veterans was located for decades in California’s Mojave National Preserve, but was transferred in 2012 to private hands in a land swap, with the Supreme Court’s blessing.
In Bladensburg, three area residents and the American Humanist Association filed suit in 2014, saying in court papers the memorial sends a "callous message to non-Christians."
"I think it was intended to be a Christian symbol from the beginning," Roy Speckhardt, the group’s executive director, told Fox News. "Unfortunately the cross can’t be a symbol for all. It doesn’t represent our veterans who’ve served honorably who are Muslim, Buddhist, and Jewish. And of course those of no faith at all."
AHA and other groups point out the original contributors to the memorial signed a pledge, stating, "With our motto, ‘One God, one Country and one Flag,’ we contribute to this memorial cross commemorating the memory of those who have not died in vain."
The association has suggested the memorial either be moved to private property or redesigned.
A divided federal appeals court in 2017 agreed, ruling the Bladensburg memorial cross was a "core symbol of Christianity” and concluded "the purported war memorial breaches the wall of separation between Church and State."
"The sectarian elements easily overwhelm the secular ones," Judge Stephanie Thacker wrote for the 2-1 majority.
In lower court arguments, one judge said the dispute could be resolved by replacing the memorial. Another suggested stripping the horizontal arms from the cross, something its supporters liken to desecration.
The Supreme Court has a mixed record on disputes concerning religious freedom and the separation of church and state, with the justices often using a case-by-case determination.
The high court has allowed some religious-themed displays on public property, while banning others. In 1971, the court established its three-prong "Lemon" test, named for one of the parties in the case, for the relationship between church and state.
Under those standards, the government can assist a religious interest only if the primary purpose of the assistance is secular, the assistance neither promotes nor inhibits religion, and there is no excessive entanglement between church and state.
But the approach has had its critics. The late Justice Antonin Scalia in 1993 tweaked his colleagues for their "wavering" application of precedent.
"Like some ghoul in a late-night horror movie that repeatedly sits up in its grave and shuffles abroad, after being repeatedly killed and buried, Lemon stalks our Establishment Clause jurisprudence once again," he wrote. "It is there to scare us (and our audience) when we wish it to do so, but we can command it to return to the tomb at will."
Justice Clarence Thomas was more succinct in 2011, saying the court’s jurisprudence on the matter was "anyone’s guess."
Yet a court majority in recent years has sought a more nuanced position, recognizing perhaps how divisive the issue has become. In his narrowly drawn 2018 majority opinion, just weeks before announcing his retirement, Justice Anthony Kennedy was in the 7-2 majority favoring a Colorado baker who refused to create a customized cake for a gay couple’s union, claiming a sincere faith-based exemption to the state’s anti-discrimination law.
With Kennedy now replaced by Kavanaugh on the court, some observers believe the 5-4 conservative majority will be more sympathetic to religious liberty claims. And Kavanaugh could prove the decisive vote in the current fight, where history and context of the Bladensburg memorial are sure to be presented at argument.
‘We can’t back down’
The American Legion’s Colmar Manor Post 131 is less than a mile from the Bladensburg Peace Cross. Nearby are other smaller monuments to those lost from other American conflicts and the 9/11 terror attacks. The group sponsors the annual Memorial Day ceremony of remembrance on the site, and is one of the case litigants.
On a recent Friday, three local Vietnam-era veterans gathered to talk about their service, and support for the Peace Cross.
"The 49 men over there, we don’t know what religion they are," said Stan Shaw. "Because the military never asked them that, when they were over there fighting."
"When I came of age, 13 years old, my father took me by the Peace Cross, and said, ‘Son, this is what the people of this county think of military service,’" said Mike Moore. "Having that memorial torn down, defaced, or bulldozed, I can’t conceive of it. It would be an insult to all those who served."
"We can’t back down, we have got to win this," added Phillip Holdcraft. "We can’t desecrate all these memorials across the United States. They’re not for Christians, they’re for the veterans."
But some Jewish and Muslim veterans groups are among those opposing the memorial’s design, saying it is not inclusive or respectful of their faiths.
"Veterans of all stripes are united by their love of country, but they are not united by the cross," the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America, Inc., told the high court in a brief. "It does a disservice to both Jewish veterans and Christian veterans to suggest otherwise."
A ruling is expected by late June.
Fox News’ Caleb Parke contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
A federal appeals court on Tuesday rejected a challenge to the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, after a former assistant to Trump political adviser Roger Stone brought the case following his refusal to comply with a grand jury subpoena.
Stone associate Andrew Miller refused to testify before the grand jury as part of the Russia investigation, claiming Mueller was illegitimately appointed as special counsel. Miller claimed that Mueller’s appointment was “unlawful” because he was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, rather than former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Tuesday affirmed the validity of Mueller’s appointment to investigate Russian meddling and potential collusion with Trump campaign associates in the 2016 presidential election.
“Because the Special Counsel is an inferior officer, the Deputy Attorney General became the head of the Department [of Justice] by virtue of becoming the Acting Attorney General as a result of a vacancy created by the disability of the Attorney General [Jeff Sessions] through recusal on the matter, we hold that Miller’s challenge to the appointment of the Special Counsel fails,” the court wrote in its decision. “Accordingly, we affirm the order finding Miller in civil contempt.”
At this point, Miller has the ability to ask the Supreme Court to weigh in on the constitutionality of the special counsel appointment process, which is now overseen by Attorney General William Barr.
Prior to the decision, a lower court also held Miller in contempt. It is unclear whether Miller will now have to appear to testify before the grand jury.
Mueller was appointed on May 17, 2017, by Rosenstein. Rosenstein took oversight of the probe after Sessions recused himself due to his early work on the Trump campaign in 2016.
Mueller’s investigation, which was initially ordered to look into the 2016 election, has gone on for more than a year and a half. It has expanded to probe financial crimes of Trump associates before the election, conversations Trump’s national security adviser had with the Russians during the transition and whether Trump obstructed justice with his comments and actions related to the probe.
Stone was charged with obstruction of justice, witness tampering, and making false statements to Congress after being indicted last month as part of Mueller’s probe.
Twenty-six Russian nationals and three Russian companies have also been charged with interfering in the 2016 presidential election. But none of the Trump associates have been charged with crimes related to collusion.
Other convictions include former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, who both pleaded guilty to making false statements in 2017. Former campaign adviser Rick Gates in 2018 pleaded guilty and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was convicted and later pleaded guilty in a separate financial crimes case dating back before the 2016 election.
Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to making false statements in a case brought by Mueller in November. Alex van der Zwaan, a London-based lawyer, pleaded guilty to making false statements this year, and Richard Pinedo, a California man, pleaded guilty to identity fraud in 2018.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
Michael Cohen, the ex-Trump fixer who has been sentenced to three years in prison, arrived on Capitol Hill Tuesday for the first of three congressional hearings this week where he is expected to testify against his former boss.
Cohen’s testimony Tuesday before the Senate Intelligence Committee is taking place behind closed doors. On Wednesday, Cohen is testifying before the House Oversight Committee, which will be open. On Thursday, Cohen appears behind closed doors for a House Intelligence Committee interview.
As he entered the hearing room Tuesday, Cohen did not answer questions from reporters about why he should be trusted. As part of a deal with prosecutors, Cohen pleaded guilty to previously lying to Congress about Trump’s past business dealings in Russia, among other crimes.
The White House, in a statement Tuesday, sought to portray Cohen as a liar.
“Disgraced felon Michael Cohen is going to prison for lying to Congress and making other false statements,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said. “Sadly, he will go before Congress this week and we can expect more of the same. It’s laughable that anyone would take a convicted liar like Cohen at his word, and pathetic to see him given yet another opportunity to spread his lies.”
Asked by reporters Tuesday what he hopes to hear from Cohen, Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., replied: “Truth.” But Burr added that Cohen has got a questionable track record, when asked if he could believe Cohen or not.
Democrats said ahead of the hearing they want to press Cohen about Trump’s past business endeavors in Russia.
“Because we know that Donald Trump, during his campaign, said ‘I have no interest in Russia’ but that’s yet another one of his total lies,” Senate Judiciary Committee member Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, said Monday.
Cohen worked for Trump’s business for years before Trump ran for president, serving as the president’s personal lawyer and counselor.
According to a recent memo sent out by committee staff, Cohen’s appearance before the House oversight panel will concern various financial issues related to the 2016 presidential campaign, including payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal that federal prosecutors in New York say were directed by Trump. The hearing will also examine whether Trump has complied with campaign finance and tax laws, his ties to the Trump International Hotel in Washington and "potential and actual conflicts of interest."
A person with knowledge of Cohen’s planned testimony before the House Oversight Committee told the Wall Street Journal that Cohen will publicly accuse Trump of criminal conduct in relation to the hush-money payments.
The Wall Street Journal also reported that Cohen will accuse Trump in his testimony of inflating or deflating his net worth at times to avoid property taxes.
Cohen will not be questioned about the ongoing investigations by Special Counsel Robert Mueller or the House and Senate Intelligence Committees into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.
Last week, a federal judge approved Cohen’s request to push back the date he is scheduled to report to federal prison by two months. Cohen’s attorneys had pushed for the postponement, saying he had recently undergone shoulder surgery and needed the extra time to complete physical therapy as well as his congressional testimony.
Cohen was originally scheduled to report to jail on March 6 to begin serving a three-year sentence after he pleaded guilty to campaign finance and other violations last year. He is now scheduled to report to jail May 6.
In December, Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to campaign finance violations, tax evasion and lying to Congress. He agreed to cooperate with prosecutors as part of a deal.
The charges against Cohen arose from two separate investigations – one by federal prosecutors in New York, and the other by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Both cases hold potential implications for Trump. Cohen’s admission in the former to breaking the law in making hush-money payments during the 2016 campaign to two women who claimed affairs with Trump has raised questions about whether prosecutors may eventually pursue charges against the president. Cohen said he did so at Trump’s direction.
Speaking in court in December before the judge issued the sentence, Cohen said “blind loyalty” to Trump led him “to take a path of darkness instead of light.”
Fox News’ Catherine Herridge, Mike Emanuel, Jason Donner and Samuel Chamberlain contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
A decision by former Vice President Joe Biden on running for the White House could still be more than a month away, but that’s not stopping members of his team from taking the initial steps to build a campaign structure.
“They’re collecting resumes but making no commitments,” a source close to Biden’s inner circle told Fox News on Tuesday. “They’re thinking about where people fit” into a possible presidential campaign. The source asked to remain anonymous to speak more freely.
With at least 10 Democrats already in the race – including Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kamala Harris of California, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota – the field for the 2020 Democratic nomination is quickly getting crowded. And at least a half-dozen other likely contenders are expected to make it official in the coming weeks.
Many of the White House hopefuls have already hired experienced staff in the early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. And veteran fundraising bundlers and donors are committing to already-declared Democratic presidential candidates.
“We know we’ll lose people,” the source acknowledged, with regard to the time Biden is taking to reach a decision.
But those concerns don’t appear to weigh too heavily on the former vice president when it comes to his timetable.
“If he loses one more organizer or state chair, he’s not going to let himself get pushed him,” the source added.
As he mulls making a third bid for the White House, Biden’s indicated he’s in no rush.
Speaking overseas at the Munich Security Conference earlier this month, the former vice president said, “I think there is a sufficient amount of time to do that. And I think we have a tendency, particularly in the States, to start the whole election process much too early. I think we should be focusing now on what needs to be done to alter some of the policies that are being promoted by the president."
Another person close to Biden – who also asked to remain anonymous to speak more freely – told Fox News that the former vice president is “definitely leaning towards yes.”
But the source emphasized that family concerns remain the top issue for Biden as he makes his decision.
Looking ahead in the calendar, Jill Biden’s book, "Where the Light Enters: Building a Family, Discovering Myself," is scheduled to be published in May. What that may say about her husband’s 2020 timetable and whether Biden would announce a presidential campaign ahead of his wife’s book tour is unclear.
Source: Fox News Politics
Congressional Republicans plan to introduce resolutions on Tuesday to declare the nation’s debt – which topped $22 trillion earlier this month – a security threat ahead of this week’s debt-ceiling deadline.
“We introduced this resolution because the United States is racing towards a fiscal cliff,” Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., who is sponsoring the legislation, said. “Congress is taking few measures to solve this problem, and it is beyond time for our colleagues in both chambers to become serious about balancing the nation’s budget and recognize this issue as a threat to our national security.”
A similar resolution was introduced last year on the House side, but this time sponsors were able to get some support from Senate colleagues. Biggs has been working with Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga. — a vocal advocate for addressing the debt who even has a debt clock in his office — on a similar resolution in the upper chamber.
“The single greatest threat to our national security is our national debt, and it’s time Washington comes to grips with that reality,” Perdue told Fox News. “This month, our national debt topped $22 trillion. This news should have sounded alarms throughout Washington, but bureaucrats and career politicians didn’t even blink an eye.”
The House resolution aims to not only recognize the debt as a national security crisis, but also restore so-called “regular order” to the appropriations process and address the “fiscal crisis,” according to text of the bill provided to Fox News. The bill has 37 original co-sponsors, and Perdue is still looking for co-sponsors in the Senate.
The measure comes as the debt-ceiling deadline looms in Washington once again, though this time the March 1 deadline isn’t sounding alarm bells. The Treasury Department is expected to use available cash on hand to fund the government through the summer, allowing lawmakers to avoid the debt fight this time around, according to analysis from the Bipartisan Policy Center.
“Congress has bought itself quite a bit of breathing room with this most recent suspension,” Shai Akabas, BPC’s director of economic policy, said in a statement earlier this month. “But that doesn’t mean lawmakers should ignore the debt limit until the next critical deadline.”
Republicans, many of whom were elected on fiscal issues and a commitment to addressing the national debt, have been accused of hypocrisy now that a member of their own party is in the White House. Even in their own ranks, members have accused party leadership of abandoning fiscal principles.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., admonished his fellow members last year over the budget and spending increases. His opposition actually led to a short government shutdown.
“If you were against President Obama’s deficits and now you’re for the Republican deficits isn’t that the very definition of hypocrisy?” Paul said on the Senate floor last year. “Don’t you remember when Republicans howled to high heaven that President Obama was spending us into the gutter, spending us into oblivion?”
Leaders in the national security community have also made their concerns known about the massive debt. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats listed the debt as a national security concern last year in a hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
“This situation is unsustainable as I think we all know and represents a dire threat to our economic and national security,” Coats said.
Whether the new resolutions will bring the debt issue to the political forefront again remains unclear, but sponsors of the resolutions say it is one they remain committed to addressing.
“Ultimately, the debt impacts our ability to fund priorities, like providing our men and women in uniform with the resources they need to protect Americans,” Perdue said. “This debt crisis will only get worse, and if we don’t act now, our country will lose the ability to do the right thing.”
Source: Fox News Politics
President Trump landed Tuesday in Vietnam for his crucial summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un — the second such meeting as part of a bold push to rein in North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.
“Looking forward to a very productive Summit,” Trump tweeted on Monday before boarding Air Force One.
Trump landed in Hanoi hours after Kim arrived by armored train. Officials in Hanoi told The Associated Press that they only had about 10 days to prepare for the summit, but promised airtight security for the two leaders.
But the chaotic preparations included the White House press corps being shifted to a new hotel before Kim arrived. Kim subsequently toured parts of Hanoi, where locals stood behind barriers to catch a glimpse of the leader of the hermit kingdom.
Trump has repeatedly hailed his meeting with Kim in Singapore last June as a success, although there were few concrete outcomes from the summit.
North Korea initially turned over 55 boxes of presumed remains of U.S. soldiers killed in the Korean War as part of the agreement from the summit, although it has not yet followed through with returning additional remains.
North Korea also pledged to work “toward” complete denuclearization, something critics say the communist regime has not adequately honored either.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this month said that he was hoping for a “substantive step forward” but cautioned that “it may not happen, but I hope that it will.”
"President Trump has also said this is going to take time. There may have to be another summit. We may not get everything done this week," Pompeo said.
Pompeo said he hoped to put a "road map" in place, but would not discuss the possibility of declaring a formal end to the Korean War or pulling some American troops from South Korea, in keeping with his stand against publicly discussing the issue that could arise during the negotiations.
But Fox News is told that the White House, State Department, Defense Department, Treasury Department and Energy Department are concerned about where Special Envoy to North Korea Stephen Biegun is moving with negotiations — and that he is "getting too far over his skis."
One particular concern is that denuclearization, seen by many officials as non-negotiable, has now become a negotiating term. There is a belief among many officials that "we don’t want to make a deal just to make a deal", and that "we don’t want to give away something for nothing."
Fox News’ John Roberts, Lucas Tomlinson, Jennifer Earl and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
The expectations for President Trump are a lot higher as he meets with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un for their second summit, argued Democratic strategist Leslie Marshall.
The president and Kim are scheduled to have a two-day summit in Hanoi, Vietnam in hopes to have North Korea denuclearize and pursue peace in the Korean peninsula.
During the Fox News "Special Report All-Star Panel," Marshall, Fox News politics editor Chris Stirewalt, and “The Next Revolution” host Steve Hilton weighed in on the political stakes for Trump amid the summit.
Marshall told the panel that the “dealmaker” had a “good photo op and a bump in the polls” after the 2018 summit with Kim Jong Un in Singapore, but that “we can’t have that this time around” and predicted that this summit will only be a repeat.
“Dan Coats said, and I agree with him 100 percent, that Kim Jong Un needs to have the WMDs. That is his security blanket,” Marshall said. “Unless we are hard and push on full denuclearization, we are not taking baby steps toward our goal because in a sense, in this regard, Kim Jong Un is holding the cards and we’re not getting anywhere. What kind of a deal do we have? Really nothing and I fear that we will have that again.”
Steve Hilton expressed a bit more optimism, saying that the “process is the purpose” and that the fact that both nations are talking is a “positive result.”
“If any other president, whether Republican or Democrat, had got to this point by first getting China to participate in the pressure campaign and then to really reboot this relationship so that we’re talking rather than being on the brink of a nuclear catastrophe, they’d be hailed as a foreign policy genius,” Hilton argued.
Meanwhile, Stirewalt insisted that “time” was always on the side of the North Koreans and that part of this week’s summit is to entice Kim Jong Un with Vietnam’s thriving economy.
“The president’s promise to Kim is always, ‘C’mon, play ball with me and you’re gonna end up rich, your country’s gonna end up rich, and you’re gonna see quick growth.’ Whether or not that’s a real thing, I don’t know,” Stirewalt told the panel.
Source: Fox News Politics
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a 2020 presidential candidate, vowed on Monday to avoid any traditional political fundraisers with wealthy donors during the Democratic primaries but said she will go back to traditional fundraising during the general election when she’s up against the GOP’s "wealthy-wealthy donors" and "dark money."
Politico ran the headline, "Warren creates purity test unseen in modern presidential politics."
A senior aide for Warren told the publication, "She is an outsider. She is a reformer. She is an anti-corruption candidate, and this is one of many steps she has taken to help cement that in the mind of voters. By not doing the traditional big-dollar finance program, she will have a lot more time than other candidates to focus on organizing in the early states and other priorities."
Warren appeared on MSNBC’s "All in With Chris Hayes" and was asked about the move. She claimed that avoiding these big-ticket events helps the candidate connect with the grassroots voters and build a strong foundation prior to the 2020 general election.
She was questioned about her past that included reaching out to wealthy donors and putting together a sizable war chest of about $12 million. She indicated that the "big money" fundraiser avoidance would only apply to the primaries because Republicans will be "armed to the teeth" during the general election.
"They’ve got all of their donors, they’re wealthy-wealthy donors; they’ve got their Super PACs; they’ve got their dark money; they’ve got everything going for them,” she said.
The Wall Street Journal reported that her campaign manager wrote in an email that she will conduct fundraising events, but they will be “pay-what-you-can.”
The vow is the first of its kind among 2020 Democratic candidates. Warren acknowledged that the ever-growing Democratic primary field would likely outraise her due to her decision.
Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report
Source: Fox News Politics
Reuters called the report “unusual even by the sometimes bellicose standards of Russian state TV.” The targets included the Pentagon and Camp David. The report came days after Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the U.S. against deploying intermediate-range missiles in Europe.
Putin reaffirmed that Russia will not be the first to deploy new intermediate-range missiles in Europe, but warned that it will retaliate if the U.S. puts such missiles on the continent. He said it will not only target the host countries but field new weapons that will target U.S. decision-making centers.
The U.S. insisted that it has no plans to deploy missiles in Europe.
A Putin spokesman said he did not name any “geographic site Russian missiles” might be aimed at. The spokesman said the government does not interfere with news programs.
The Guardian reported that other U.S. sites included Maryland’s Fort Ritchie, McClellan air force base in California and Jim Creek naval communications base in Washington state.
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Washington Examiner’s Jerry Dunleavy first noted that representative erased three posts that were considered by some as anti-Semitic. Fox News has confirmed that those tweets have been deleted.
Omar’s Twitter troubles date back to 2012 when she claimed that Israel has “hypnotized the world” regarding the Jewish state’s ongoing conflict with Palestinians.
The Minnesota Democrat then reignited accusations of anti-Semitism when she suggested that the GOP’s support of Israel is bought, saying that its stance is “all about the Benjamins.” She later named AIPAC as a group that pays pro-Israel politicians despite the fact they don’t make financial contributions to campaigns.
Amid uproar, Omar issued an apology.
"Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole," Omar stated. "We have to always be willing to step back and think through criticism, just as I expect people to hear me when others attack me for my identity. This is why I unequivocally apologize."
Many in the GOP called Democratic leadership to remove Omar from the House Foreign Affairs Committee. President Donald Trump slammed her “lame” apology and called on her to resign from Congress.
Source: Fox News Politics
Bloomberg, a self-made and worth about $57 billion, has not yet indicated whether or not he’ll run in the Democratic primary, but there are reports that he’d spend at least $500 million from his fortune to deny Trump a second term.
Trump told Fox Business in October that Democrats would “eat him [Bloomberg] up” in the primaries, but Corey Lewansowski, the former Trump aide, called Bloomberg a serious threat to Trump.
Buffett told CNBC that if "Bloomberg announced tomorrow that he was a candidate, I would say I’m for him. I think he would be a very good president."
The Oracle of Omaha insisted that he voted for both Republicans and Democrats in the past. But said Bloomberg knows how to “run things.”
“I think he’s got the right goals for America,” he said.
Bloomberg’s top two priorities appear to be gun control and climate change. Those policies may appeal to the liberal part of the Democratic Party, but he is also considered by many to be a fiscal moderate. Politico reported that Bloomberg said if he’d run, he’d make climate change his top issue.
Source: Fox News Politics
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said Monday he was confident Attorney General Bill Barr would make the right decision about how much of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report on the FBI investigation into allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials should be made public.
"I think Attorney General Barr is going to make the right decision," Rosenstein said during an event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. "We can trust him to do that. He has a lot of experience with this … I think we can count on him to do the right thing."
Rosenstein pointed out that the Justice Department was required by law to inform Congress if the special counsel "proposes to take an action and is overruled by the attorney general or the acting attorney general," but added that "the special counsel is a subordinate employee who reports to the attorney general or the acting attorney general and who complies with department policies … just like an acting United States Attorney, for example, would need to do."
Rosenstein spoke one day after House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said he was willing to take the Justice Department to court "if necessary" to obtain the full Mueller report.
"We will obviously subpoena the report," Schiff told ABC News’ "This Week." "We will bring Bob Mueller in to testify before Congress … And in the end, I think the department understands they’re going to have to make this public."
However, Rosenstein — who has overseen much of Mueller’s day-to-day work since the special counsel’s appointment in May 2017 — appeared to strike a different tone on Monday, saying that "there are a lot of reasons not to be transparent about what we do in government."
"Just because the government collects information doesn’t mean that information is accurate and it can be really misleading if you’re overly transparent about information that the government collects," Rosenstein said. "My view is, the Department of Justice is best served when people are confident that we’re going to operate, when we’re investigating American citizens in particular, we’re going to do it with appropriate sensitivity to the rights of uncharged people."
Justice Department legal opinions have argued that a sitting president cannot be indicted, suggesting prosecutors would not be able to pursue charges against President Trump even if they uncover wrongdoing. That could mean investigators do not make public information they collected on Trump, in deference to the Justice Department’s protocol of not disclosing negative information about people it does not have enough evidence to charge or that, for other reasons, it decides against prosecuting.
"The guidance I always gave my prosecutors and the agents I worked with during my tenure on the front lines of law enforcement were, if we aren’t prepared to prove our case beyond a reasonable doubt in court," Rosenstein said, "then we have no business making allegations against American citizens."
In response to Rosenstein, Schiff tweeted Monday that the Justice Department had a "double standard," alluding to documents made public following the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, as well as information Republicans demanded last year during inquiries into the early stages of the FBI’s Russia investigation.
"For two years, I sounded the alarm about DOJ’s deviation from just that principle as it turned over hundreds of thousands of pages in closed or ongoing investigations," Schiff wrote. "I warned that DOJ would need to live by this precedent. And it will."
Also Monday, two prominent Republicans on the House Oversight Committee requested that Rosenstein appear before the panel later this week alongside Michael Cohen, the president’s onetime personal attorney. In a letter to Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Mark Meadows of North Carolina said Rosenstein should testify in order to give information "about the [Justice] Department’s views of Cohen’s crimes and conduct."
Jordan and Meadows also said they wanted to question Rosenstein about claims from former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe that Rosenstein suggested secretly recording Trump in the Oval Office and canvassing Cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment in order to remove Trump from office. Rosenstein has denied both claims.
Monday’s appearance is expected to be one of Rosenstein’s last as deputy attorney general. He is expected to step down in March and Trump has nominated Deputy Transportation Secretary Jeffrey Rosen to replace him.
When asked about his time as deputy attorney general, Rosenstein acknowledged that it had been "politically challenging," but added that he was "very confident that when we look back in the long run on this era of the Department of Justice, we’ll be proud of the way the Department’s conducted itself and the president will deserve credit for the folks that he appointed to run the department."
Fox News’ Jason Donner, Catherine Herridge, Bree Tracey and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
Attorneys for Paul Manafort, the convicted former chairman of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, asked a federal judge Monday to sentence the longtime political consultant to a prison term "substantially below the statutory maximum" of 10 years.
In documents filed in federal court in Washington, D.C, attorneys Kevin Downing, Thomas Zehnle and Richard Westling said prosecutors had presented Manafort "as a hardened criminal who ‘brazenly’ violated the law and deserves no mercy." In fact, they argue, Manafort committed "garden-variety" and "esoteric" crimes by illegally lobbying for a pro-Russian politician in Ukraine, "failed to report to the government the source and total amount of income he made from those activities, and he attempted to conceal his actions from the authorities."
The documents also alleged that Special Counsel Robert Mueller prosecuted Manafort because he was "unable to establish that Mr. Manafort engaged in any Russia collusion" and claimed that Manafort had been "widely vilified in a manner that this country has not experienced in decades."
Manafort pleaded guilty this past September to one count of "conspiracy against the United States" and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice. He faces up to five years in prison on each count.
The plea came ten days before he was due to go to trial in a Washington federal court on seven counts of foreign lobbying violations and witness tampering.
"Mr. Manafort has been punished substantially, including the forfeiture of most of his assets," the lawyers added. "In light of his age and health concerns, a significant additional period of incarceration will likely amount to a life sentence for a first time offender."
Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who is to decide Manafort’s sentence, ruled that he had violated his plea deal with prosecutors by lying to federal agents about several subjects, including about his interactions with Konstantin Kilimnik, a business associate who the U.S. said had ties to Russian intelligence. Manafort hasn’t been accused of any crimes related to Russian election interference, but court papers have revealed he gave Kilimnik polling data related to the Trump campaign during the 2016 election. A Mueller prosecutor also said that an August 2016 meeting between the two men went to the "heart" of the Russia probe. The meeting involved a discussion of a Ukrainian peace plan, but many other details about it have been redacted in court papers.
In addition to the case in Washington, Manafort faces the possibility of over 19 years in prison in a separate tax and bank fraud case in federal court in Virginia. A jury in that case convicted him of eight felony counts this past August.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
2020 presidential candidate Julián Castro doubled down Monday on his support for reparations to descendants of slavery.
In the wide-open field of Democrats, Castro so far is one of three candidates who’ve backed the policy, which the last Democrat in the White House, former President Barack Obama, had opposed. The other two who’ve indicated they support reparations are Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
The former secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama was asked about his stance by MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki, who cited a 2016 Marist poll that showed an overwhelming majority of Americans opposed reparations.
“I wonder if you could just talk a little bit more about what it is you would do as president when it came to that, and if you are worried that it sends a message to that 68 percent of Americans who say that they’re against it, that maybe you are out of the mainstream a little,” Kornacki said to the candidate.
“This is not something that I see through a political lens. I have long believed that this country should resolve its original sin of slavery and that one of the ways we should consider doing that is through reparations for people who are the descendants of slaves,” Castro responded. “It is interesting to me that under our Constitution and otherwise that we compensate people if we take their property. Shouldn’t we compensate people if they were property sanctioned by the state? So, I believe that that is a conversation worth having, and I see that as right and wrong and I don’t see that political or non-political.”
The former San Antonio mayor elaborated that he would, as president, establish a “task force” that would determine how reparations would be paid out, but stressed that a “dark cloud” still hung over the country and that he was not “naïve” about disagreements over the policy.
“I believe that we ought to move forward in the 21st century as one nation with one destiny and that until that issue is resolved, until that original sin is addressed, we may think that we are moving forward as one nation, but I don’t think we ever really will,” Castro added.
Source: Fox News Politics
Presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand compared the Green New Deal to NASA’s race for the Moon in the 1960s, telling Fox News’ "Special Report" Monday night that "global climate change … is the greatest threat to humanity we have."
"Scientists have just reached the conclusion that [climate change is] happening far quicker than we know," the fired-up senator from New York told Chris Wallace. "And, what New Yorkers know and what people all across this country know is, when severe weather hits, people die. It destroys communities."
The Green New Deal, championed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and endorsed by several of Gillibrand’s would-be competitors in the Democratic field, is an ambitious jobs and infrastructure program that calls for every building in the United States to be replaced or retrofitted to become more energy efficient and for the replacement of air travel with high-speed rail, among other conditions. Republicans have mocked the proposal, saying it would cost trillions of dollars and cripple the U.S. economy.
"When John F. Kennedy was president, he said, let’s put a man on the Moon in the next 10 years, not because it’s easy but because it’s hard," Gillibrand said. "It will be a measure of our innovation, our entrepreneurialism, our excellence. Why not say to the American people, ‘Global climate change is not only real, but the urgency of this moment requires a call to action to all of America’s engineers, all of our entrepreneurs, all of our innovators to … solve the problems together?’"
Gillibrand and Wallace then had a lively exchange over Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s vow to not hold any "big-money fundraisers" during her campaign. Wallace asked Gillibrand if she saw any contradiction between Warren’s promise and Gillibrand’s plans to hold a March fundraiser at the home of Pfizer executive Sally Susman.
"I think you do need to get money out of politics," Gillibrand said. "… Today, the wealthiest, most powerful lobbyists and special interest groups get to write bills in the dead of night."
"Okay, but answer my one question directly," Wallace interrupted.
"I will, but –" Gillibrand began.
"$2,700," said Wallace, referring to the reported top ticket price for the fundraiser.
"Let me finish, let me finish," Gillibrand said. "I got you, I got you, I got your point, I’m going to get to it." The senator went on to describe Susman as "who’s a dear friend who I’ve known for years and years, who believes in my gay-rights platform and believes in women’s rights."
"Okay, but what about $2,700 tickets?" Wallace asked again.
"Let me finish," Gillibrand said again. "So, what’s wrong with Washington is, there’s so much corruption. So much corruption, so much greed. We can’t actually pass common sense gun reform in this country not because the American people aren’t behind it – because they are – but because the (National Rifle Association) is more worried about gun sales than they are about the well-being of our kids. So what’s really wrong with Washington is corruption and greed."
"Can you answer my question," Wallace repeated.
"Yes, just let me finish," said Gillibrand, who went on to claim she would not take money from federal lobbyists, super-PACs or corporate PACs and would not have an individual super-PAC for her campaign.
"Could you just answer, though," Wallace responded. "$2,700 tickets, are you going to go ahead and have the fundraiser or not?"
"Of course, I’m going to ask Americans all across this country to support my campaign," Gillibrand said.
"And, you don’t see a contradiction?" asked Wallace.
"I don’t," Gillibrand said, "because at the end of the day, people are going to support our campaign because they believe in us."
Source: Fox News Politics
Conservative politicians, legal experts, and activist groups are rushing to the all-out defense of President Trump’s D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals nominee Neomi Rao, after a freshman Republican senator suggested he might vote against her confirmation because she may harbor pro-choice views.
Rao, who would take now-Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s vacated seat on the nation’s most influential appellate court, was questioned earlier this month by Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee concerning her past writings that implied intoxicated women might share some blame if they are raped. The defection of even a handful of conservatives could sink Rao’s confirmation in the Senate, where Republicans hold a slim 53-47 majority.
Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley told Axios over the weekend that he had "heard directly from at least one individual who said Rao personally told them she was pro-choice." Hawley clarified: "I don’t know whether that’s accurate, but this is why we are doing our due diligence."
Rao, 45, currently serves as administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, and observers have said she’s played a key role in executing the Trump administration’s deregulation agenda. She would be the first South Asian woman to serve on a federal appeals court.
However, Rao has never tried a case in state or federal court, and some of her writings — including as a professor at the George Mason University School of Law, later renamed the Antonin Scalia Law School – are leading conservatives to raise last-minute concerns.
According to Hawley, Rao’s academic writings have indicated she may support the concept of "substantive due process," a legal framework that identifies constitutional rights not expressly provided by the text of the Constitution. Conservatives fiercely have opposed the use of substantive due process to provide for some rights, including the right to privacy and abortion, which are not stated in the constitutional text but instead are purportedly implied by it.
"I am only going to support nominees who have a strong record on life," Hawley told Axios. "To me, that means … someone whose record indicates that they have respect for what the Supreme Court itself has called the interests of the unborn child; someone whose record indicates they will protect the ability of states and local governments to protect the interests of the unborn child to the maximum extent … and number three somebody who will not extend the doctrines of Roe v. Wade and Casey, which I believe are deeply incompatible with the constitution."
Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey were the seminal Supreme Court cases to find and define a constitutional right to an abortion. But, conservatives and legal scholars are aggressively pushing back on Hawley’s concerns this week, saying variously that there is no evidence that Rao is pro-choice — and some are suggesting that even if she supports abortion rights, her personal views should not bar her from judicial service.
Carrie Severino, the Chief Counsel and Policy Director at the conservative Judicial Crisis Network, accused Hawley of continuing the policies of the Democrat he defeated last November, then-Sen. Claire McCaskill.
"Sadly, barely a month after moving to Washington, Josh Hawley is already acting like Claire McCaskill when it comes to judges," Severino said. "Instead of supporting President Trump’s top judicial nominee, he is spreading the very same kind of rumors and innuendo and character assassination that Republican leaders fought during Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Hawley could be working to confirm her and other extraordinary nominees, but it seems he’d rather be making headlines.”
Hawley did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Columnist Quin Hillyer, meanwhile, wrote in The Washington Examiner that Hawley’s approach was a "dicey" push for a judicial litmus test.
"Conservatives have argued long and correctly that professional qualifications and personal integrity, along with a basic commitment to the Constitution itself, should be the only determinants of nominees’ fitness for appointment to federal judgeships," Hillyer wrote. "In particular, conservatives have inveighed against any result-oriented, single-issue litmus tests for judges, especially for those below the level of the Supreme Court."
In a statement, Club for Growth President David McIntosh praised Rao as an "originalist who is faithful to the Constitution," citing her work on deregulation in the Trump White House. McIntosh, whose organization is devoted to reducing taxes, also exalted Rao’s "extensive knowledge of administrative rulemaking."
“I have known Neomi for decades and have no doubt that she will be a principled jurist, cut from the same cloth as Justices Scalia and Thomas,” McIntosh said. "Senate Republicans should not be thrown off track by rumors and innuendo."
In a barrage of similar statements, other conservative luminaries lined up to defend Rao. Ed Meese, the former attorney general under President Ronald Reagan, said he also personally knew Rao and could vouch for her commitment to constitutional principles.
"I have had the privilege of knowing Professor Neomi Rao, and have observed her work, since she first started teaching at the Scalia Law School at George Mason University," Meese said. "She has made it her life’s work to support the Constitution as it is written, and she understands the proper judicial role in our society and what that requires of judges when they are interpreting the Constitution and the laws. I have no doubt that she will uphold the rule of law and not legislate from the bench."
Ralph Reed, the chairman of the nonprofit Faith and Freedom Coalition, which focuses on outreach to evangelicals, said he supported Rao’s confirmation and asserted that "her judicial philosophy is antithetical to federal judges issuing rulings untethered from the enumerated rights found in the Constitution."
Conservative groups also have ramped up spending with hundreds of thousands of dollars in media outreach to promote Rao, whose rocky confirmation hearing already gave some analysts cause for alarm. Democrats hammered Rao for working to kill regulations they helped champion, while Republicans questioned her past writings on sexual assault.
In a 1994 opinion column, Rao wrote: "Unless someone made her drinks undetectably strong or forced them down her throat, a woman, like a man, decides when and how much to drink. And if she drinks to the point where she can no longer choose, well, getting to that point was a part of her choice."
A good way to avoid a potential rape "is to stay reasonably sober," Rao added.
"To be honest, looking back at some of those writings … I cringe at some of the language I used," Rao told the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this month, adding that writings in which she criticized affirmative action and suggested that intoxicated women were partly responsible for date rape did not reflect her current thinking.
"I like to think I’ve matured as a thinker, writer and indeed as a person," she said.
Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, who recently revealed she was raped by her boyfriend in college, said Rao’s writings "give me pause," in part because of the message they’ve sent to young women who may be reluctant to report a rape.
Fox News’ Alex Pappas and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
Progressive groups are reaching out to 2020 Democratic presidential candidates to support their push to expand the number of Supreme Court justices in order to diminish the current conservative majority.
So far, the drive by the group named ‘Pack the Courts’ is getting two maybes from Democratic presidential contenders and a no from a likely White House hopeful.
“I don’t think we should be laughing at it,” South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a Democrat, said last week at an event in Philadelphia.
“Because in some ways it’s no more a shattering of norms than what’s already been done to get the judiciary to where it is today,” added Buttigieg, an Afghanistan War veteran who last month launched a presidential exploratory committee.
Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, who’s also launched a presidential exploratory committee, said last month on ‘Pod Save America’ that expanding the court or imposing term limits were “interesting ideas.”
But the move to increase the number of justices on the Supreme Court isn’t flying with likely White House contender Rep. Eric Swalwell.
“I wouldn’t. I think nine is good number. It’s worked for our country,” the four-term Democratic congressman from California told Fox News on Monday after he headlined ‘Politics and Eggs,” a must stop for White House hopefuls in New Hampshire.
“I don’t want to let these extraordinary times that President Trump has put us in lead us to too many extraordinary remedies,” the former prosecutor explained. “I’d rather see us go back to a country of following the law, having qualified justices, and depending on the systems of government that we already have in place, just making those systems more accountable and work better.”
‘Pack the Courts’ told Fox News it is meeting with Buttigieg on Monday evening. The group highlighted that it’s in the process of reaching out to Gillibrand, as well as the campaigns of presidential candidates Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kamala Harris of California.
“We’re in the process of reaching to every declared Democratic contender and hope to both enlighten them to the importance of this strategy for taking back the Court and enlist their support for their strategy,” ‘Pack the Court’ campaign manager Kate Kendell said.
Kendell said her group has received a $500,000 grant from the Palm Center, a progressive-leaning but independent non-partisan think tank in California to fund research on controversial and provocative policy proposals. She added they’re now beginning to raise small-dollar donations from individuals to further fuel their effort to expand the number of high court justices.
The organization is partnering with ‘Demand Justice,’ another progressive group founded last year to try and counter GOP efforts to put more conservatives into federal courts.
‘Demand Justice’ director Brian Fallon – who served as press secretary for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign – highlighted that “we strongly believe that reforming the Court — especially by expanding it — is the cornerstone for re-building American democracy."
But Republicans say advocating to expand the number of Supreme Court justices will make 2020 Democratic contenders appear more extreme to voters come the general election.
"Democrats are setting themselves up for failure in the general election by agreeing to every single progressive policy touted by the activist left including the Green New Deal, taxes on the wealthy, Medicare for All, and now packing the Supreme Court,” argued Sarah Dolan, executive director of the pro-GOP opposition research group ‘America Rising.’
The Judiciary Act of 1869 established the current number of nine justices for the Supreme Court. A push by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1937 to increase the number of justices failed.
Source: Fox News Politics