April 24, 2018

DOJ Inspector General Refers Obama’s McCabe for Criminal Charges

The Justice Department’s internal watchdog has sent a criminal referral for fired FBI official Andrew McCabe to the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington.

The move follows a recent DOJ inspector general report that found McCabe leaked a self-serving story to the press and later lied about it to then-Director James Comey and federal investigators, prompting Attorney General Jeff Sessions to fire him on March 16.

A source confirmed to Fox News that the referral was sent.

The Washington Post reported earlier that the IG referred the finding that McCabe misled investigators “some time ago,” asking the top federal prosecutor for D.C. to examine whether he should be charged.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz found that former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe lacked “candor” in conversations with federal investigators.  (AP)

Representatives with the Justice Department, inspector general’s office and U.S. attorney’s office all declined to comment.

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., backed the move in a tweet Thursday afternoon.

“The criminal referral from the IG is the right decision. It’s about time we have some accountability for this type of conduct at the Justice Department,” he said.

In an interview with CNN Thursday, Comey said that he had no knowledge of the referral, but confirmed that he could be a witness against McCabe if he is prosecuted.

“Given that the IG’s report reflects interactions that Andy McCabe had with me and other FBI senior executives, I could well be a witness,” said Comey.

The former FBI Director added that he liked McCabe “very much as a person, but sometimes even good people do things they shouldn’t do … I think it is accountability mechanisms working and they should work because it’s not acceptable in the FBI or the Justice Department for people to lack candor. It’s something we take really seriously.”

FILE - In this June 8, 2017 file photo, former FBI director James Comey speaks during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, in Washington. Comey is blasting President Donald Trump as “unethical and untethered to truth,” and says Trump’s leadership of the country is “ego driven and about personal loyalty.” Comey’s comments come in a new book in which he casts Trump as a mafia boss-like figure who sought to blur the line between law enforcement and politics. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

Former FBI Director James Comey ordered the inspector general investigation that led to Andrew McCabe’s ouster.  (AP)

In a statement, McCabe’s legal team said they were advised of the referral “within the past few weeks.”

“Although we believe the referral is unjustified, the standard for an IG referral is very low. We have already met with staff members from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. We are confident that, unless there is inappropriate pressure from high levels of the Administration, the US Attorney’s Office will conclude that it should decline to prosecute,” they said.

While Comey may not have intentionally launched the investigation gunning for McCabe, it was spurred by a desire to find who leaked to The Wall Street Journal in October 2016 about an FBI probe of the Clinton Foundation. The story said a senior Justice Department official expressed displeasure to McCabe that FBI agents were still looking into the Clinton Foundation, and McCabe had defended agents’ authority to pursue the issue.

That leak confirmed the existence of the probe into the Clinton Foundation, which Comey, who led the bureau at the time, refused to do.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz testifies during a Judiciary Committee hearing into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 26, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein - RC15A41CCB80

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz sent a criminal referral for Andrew McCabe to the U.S. Attorneys Office in Washington D.C.  (AP)

Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report said McCabe authorized the leak and then misled investigators about it, leaking in a way that did not fall under the “public interest” exception.

Horowitz found that McCabe lacked “candor” when questioned by FBI agents on multiple occasions, and that he told agents he did not authorize the disclosure and did not know who was responsible.

But McCabe’s legal counsel, Michael Bromwich, has blasted the inspector general report and has criticized Comey. The report said Comey and McCabe gave conflicting accounts about a conversation they had on the leak.

“The OIG should credit Mr. McCabe’s account over Director Comey’s,” Bromwich wrote to Horowitz in a letter, complaining that the report “paints Director Comey as a white knight carefully guarding FBI information, while overlooking that Mr. McCabe’s account is more credible…”

He issued a similar statement Wednesday in response to Comey’s interview comments:

“In his comments this week about the McCabe matter, former FBI Director James Comey has relied on the accuracy and the soundness of the Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) conclusions in their report on Mr. McCabe. In fact, the report fails to adequately address the evidence (including sworn testimony) and documents that prove that Mr. McCabe advised Director Comey repeatedly that he was working with the Wall Street Journal on the stories in question prior to publication. Neither Mr. Comey nor the OIG is infallible, and in this case neither of them has it right.”

On Wednesday, nearly a dozen Republican members of Congress sent their own criminal referral to the Justice Department and FBI seeking an investigation of McCabe, along with Comey, ex-Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Hillary Clinton and others.

GOP REPS REFER COMEY, CLINTON, MCCABE FOR CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION 

The IG referral, however, could represent a more serious problem for McCabe.

Fox News’ Catherine Herridge, Judson Berger, Samuel Chamberlain and Jake Gibson contributed to this report. 

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.

DOJ’s Rosenstein Assures Trump He is Not a Target

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told President Trump last week that the president is not a target in the Michael Cohen investigation, and that the investigation is focused solely on Cohen, the president’s personal attorney, a source familiar with the probe told Fox News on Thursday.

Trump has been told previously that he is not a target of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

The source also said the Cohen investigation, together with the abrupt departure of John Dowd from Trump’s legal team, slowed, but did not halt talks about Trump sitting down for a potential interview with Mueller.

The FBI last week raided the office, home and hotel room of Cohen. Federal agents reportedly obtained documents related to several issues, including Cohen’s payments to adult-film star Stormy Daniels in the weeks leading up to the 2016 presidential election.

Separately, President Trump’s in-house counsel Ty Cobb said no firings are currently under consideration, including those of Rosenstein or Mueller.

Earlier Thursday, Bloomberg reported that Rosenstein told Trump that he was not being targeted in the wider Mueller probe.

According to Bloomberg, Rosenstein told Trump that he wasn’t being targeted during a Thursday meeting at the White House. The assurances reportedly led to waning interest on behalf of the president to fire Rosenstein and Mueller.

In an interview on Thursday with CNN, former FBI director James Comey addressed the reports about Rosenstein’s reported conversation with Trump.

“I don’t know what it means,” Comey said. “It’s a fairly standard part of any investigation, trying to decide whether a person you’re encountering is a witness, a subject or a target. A target is someone on whom the investigation, the grand jury has developed … evidence sufficient to charge. Witness is somebody who has nothing to do with any exposure and a subject is everybody in the middle. So, I don’t know the context in which the Deputy Attorney General did that, but that’s the general framework.”

This is a developing story; check back for updates.

Fox News’ John Roberts and Samuel Chamberlain contributed to this report.

Nearly 150 Illegal Immigrant Gang Members Released by Sanctuary Cities Last Year

Dozens of gang members, some of whom belonged to the notorious MS-13, were shielded from deportation and released due to “sanctuary” policies last year, according to newly released stats from the Department of Homeland Security.

The revelation could jolt the escalating “sanctuary” debate, especially in California where many of those gang members were located.

“Two-thirds of the releases occurred in California, which has had a strict sanctuary policy in effect since January 2014,” the Center for Immigration Studies said in a post on the data, pointing to “obvious public safety problems.”

Gang members released due to ‘sanctuary’ policies, by state

From Oct. 1, 2016 to June 19, 2017:

Arizona: 1

California: 89

Illinois:  3

Louisiana: 2

Maryland: 13

Minnesota: 1

New Jersey: 2

New Mexico: 2

New York: 4

Oregon: 2

Rhode Island: 1

Texas: 11

Washington: 11

[Data from Department of Homeland Security]

DHS officials provided a breakdown of gang members that were released in fiscal 2017, in response to questions posed in June by the Senate Judiciary Committee at a hearing on the rise of MS-13.

From October 2016 to June 2017, DHS says, sanctuary jurisdictions refused to honor Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers on 142 suspected gang members — where ICE officials ask authorities to detain criminal illegal immigrants so ICE can take custody and deport them.

In the answers, the officials added that the numbers may be on the conservative side as jurisdictions that do not allow officials into jails make it more challenging to identify gang members.

“Because ICE often determines gang affiliation through interviews, ICE cannot speculate about the number of times it was denied access to an alien in the custody of state or local authorities who may have had such an affiliation,” the answers read.

Fifteen of those released were suspected members of MS-13, a gang started in the 1980s by Central American immigrants and known for its gruesome crimes. The gang’s presence across the country has been an escalating political issue.

“Violence is a central tenet of MS-13, as evidenced by its core motto — “mata, viola, controla,” translated as, ‘kill, rape, control,’ the DOJ said in a 2016 release.

WHAT IS MS-13, THE VIOLENT GANG TRUMP VOWED TO TARGET? 

The majority (89) of suspected gang members released were in California — whose state leaders are locked in a high-profile battle with the Trump administration, and even some of its own cities, over the state’s sanctuary policies. The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against the state last month, claiming that the policies prevent federal authorities from enforcing immigration laws.

On Tuesday, San Diego County became the latest local jurisdiction to back the lawsuit, claiming it limits police cooperation with federal agents. San Diego County is the largest county so far to back the suit, and its move comes after Orange County has also supported the administration.

California Gov. Jerry Brown said Tuesday that President Trump’s stance against illegal immigration is “just an inflammatory football that very low-life politicians like to exploit.”

SAN DIEGO VOTES TO JOIN TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S LAWSUIT AGAINST CALIFORNIA’S SANCTUARY CITY LAW 

If Trump “wants to round them up like some totalitarian government and ship them out, say that,” Brown said. “But he doesn’t say that because the American people would repudiate him and his party.”

Trump has repeatedly hailed the pushback against Brown and on Wednesday tweeted that there was a “revolution” in the state against sanctuary policies, which he called “ridiculous, crime infested & breeding concept.”

ICE figures show a surge in arrests related to MS-13. In fiscal 2017, there were 796 arrests of MS-13 members, compared with 432 in fiscal 2016 and 322 in fiscal 2015. More broadly, ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) said that 5,396 gang members were removed in fiscal 2017, compared with 2,057 in fiscal 2016.

DHS is also calling for tougher border security measures to combat MS-13.

In the questions posed to DHS officials, Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, asked officials whether a border wall would stem the violence from MS-13, to which the officials said it would, calling it a “cornerstone” in preventing criminals from entering the country.

“The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) believes further securing our border will impact the medium- and long-term health of MS-13 and the level of violence it perpetrates,” the response said. “As many current MS-13 gang members are illegal border entrants, DHS believes increasing border security will discourage the arrival of both current gang members and potential recruits.”

Additionally, officials said that MS-13 members regularly exploit border vulnerabilities and that U.S. Border Patrol agents arrest MS-13 members trying to enter the country “on a near-daily basis.”

Fox News’ Joseph Weber, William LaJeunesse and Paulina Dedaj contributed to this report.

Adam Shaw is a Politics Reporter and occasional Opinion writer for FoxNews.com. He can be reached here or on Twitter: @AdamShawNY.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo Met with Kim Jong Un Over Easter Weekend

CIA Director Mike Pompeo met with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un over Easter weekend in an effort to lay the groundwork for a summit between Kim and President Trump, Fox News has confirmed.

Pompeo’s trip, which was first reported by The Washington Post, came to light hours after Trump told reporters that the U.S. and North Korea are holding direct talks at “extremely high levels” in preparation for what would be an extraordinary meeting following months of heated rhetoric over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program.

Though the White House did not initially comment on the reports, Trump acknowledged the meeting in a Wednesday morning tweet, saying it went well.

“Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jong Un in North Korea last week. Meeting went very smoothly and a good relationship was formed. Details of Summit are being worked out now. Denuclearization will be a great thing for World, but also for North Korea!” he tweeted.

Trump, who welcomed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to his Florida resort Tuesday, said five locations for the potential summit are under consideration. The president would not disclose the sites but said the U.S. was not among them.

“We’ll either have a very good meeting or we won’t have a good meeting,” Trump told reporters. “And maybe we won’t even have a meeting at all, depending on what’s going in. But I think that there’s a great chance to solve a world problem.”

The president did not answer shouted questions about whether he has spoken with Kim.

Kim’s offer for a summit was initially conveyed to Trump by South Korea last month, and the president shocked many when it was announced that he had accepted. U.S. officials have indicated over the past two weeks that North Korea’s government has communicated directly with Washington that it is ready to discuss its nuclear weapons program.

Abe, who has voiced fears that short- and medium-range missiles that pose a threat to Japan might not be part of the U.S. negotiations, praised Trump on Tuesday for his bravery in agreeing to meet with the North Korean dictator.

“I’d like to commend Donald’s courage in his decision to have the upcoming summit meeting with the North Korean leader,” Abe said.

Trump also confirmed that North and South Korea are working to negotiate an end to hostilities before next week’s meeting between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae In. The meeting will be the third inter-Korean summit since the Koreas’ 1945 division.

North Korea has long sought a peace treaty with the U.S. to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War. But it is unusual for the North to seek to broach the issue directly with South Korea rather than with Washington. The armistice that ended the fighting was signed by the United Nations Command — the U.S.-led forces in the conflict — North Korea and China. South Korea was a member of the U.N. Command but was not a direct signatory.

Trump said Tuesday that the two Koreas “have my blessing to discuss the end of the war.”

Fox News’ John Roberts, Serafin Gomez and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Barbara Bush, Former First Lady, Dead at 92

With her cloud of snow-white hair, signature three strand pearls and compelling presence, Barbara Bush’s image was what she laughingly called “everybody’s grandmother.” But the feisty, outspoken Bush was also a tireless advocate for literacy , an author, experienced campaigner and both wife and mother of a U.S. president.

Bush, 92, died Tuesday, shortly after her family announced she was in failing health and would decline further medical treatment in favor of “comfort care.” There were no details of her specific health problems.

The announcement was made in a statement from the office of former President George H.W. Bush.

“A former First Lady of the United States of America and relentless proponent of family literacy, Barbara Pierce Bush passed away Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at the age of 92. She is survived by her husband of 73 years, President George H. W. Bush; five children and their spouses; 17 grandchildren; seven great grandchildren; and her brother, Scott Pierce. She was preceded in death by her second child, Pauline Robinson ‘Robin’ Bush, and her siblings Martha Rafferty and James R. Pierce.”

In a statement, her son, former President George W. Bush, called his mother “a fabulous First Lady and a woman unlike any other.”

“My dear mother has passed on at age 92. Laura, Barbara, Jenna, and I are sad, but our souls are settled because we know hers was. Barbara Bush was a fabulous First Lady and a woman unlike any other who brought levity, love, and literacy to millions. To us, she was so much more. Mom kept us on our toes and kept us laughing until the end. I’m a lucky man that Barbara Bush was my mother. Our family will miss her dearly, and we thank you all for your prayers and good wishes.”

Shortly after news of her passing came out, President Donald Trump shared his “thoughts and prayers” with the Bush family.

She was survived by her husband of 73 years, former President George H.W. Bush, five children (a sixth died as a toddler), 17 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Her granddaughter, Jenna Bush Hager, told NBC Monday that she and her twin, Barbara, named after her grandmother, had spoken with the family matriarch Sunday night and “she’s in great spirits, and she’s a fighter and she’s an enforcer.”

Barbara Bush was born June 8, 1925, in New York City, the third of four children of Marvin Pierce, a magazine publishing executive, and Pauline Robinson Pierce. She grew up in the affluent suburb of Rye, New York, where she was an avid athlete, excelling at swimming and tennis.

As a teen, she attended Ashley Hall, a boarding school in South Carolina. In 1941, when she was 16 and home on Christmas break, she met George Herbert Walker Bush, then a student at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., at a holiday dance. The attraction was immediate and 18 months later, they were engaged.

Barbara entered Smith College but dropped out to marry Bush, who had gone to war as a Navy torpedo bomber pilot. She was 19 and he was 20 when they wed January 6, 1945 in Rye. Years later, she said, “I married the first man I ever kissed. When I tell my children that, they just about throw up. ”

As newlyweds, the couple lived in New Haven, Conn., where Bush was a student at Yale and their first child, George W. Bush, was born. They then moved around regularly – to Texas, California, and back to various Texas cities – as the family grew. By the time she moved to Washington for her husband’s vice presidency, Barbara Bush estimated they had moved 29 times.

George W. Bush was followed by a sister, Robin, who lived almost four years before dying of leukemia (an event some speculated was the cause of Barbara Bush’s hair turning prematurely white). The children who followed were Jeb, Neil, Marvin and Dorothy.

While George – who called his wife “Bar” – built a business in the oil industry, Barbara devoted herself to raising their family. When he entered public life – as a congressman, U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in the People’s Republic of China, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and later as Vice President, she was at his side.

As the vice president’s wife, she selected literacy as her special cause. Later, after her husband was elected president, she founded the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. She also was an advocate for volunteerism, including programs involving the homeless, elderly and those with AIDS.

Along the way, she wrote two books about the family dogs, “C. Fred’s Story” and the best-selling “Millie’s Book,” with profits benefitting literacy. After her husband left the White House, she wrote a best-selling autobiography “Barbara Bush: A Memoir” in 1994 followed by “Reflections” in 2004.

Bush once explained that people liked her because “I’m fair and I like children and I adore my husband.”

She also was known for her forthright manner, especially when anyone challenged her family. In 1984, speaking of her husband’s vice presidential opponent, Geraldine Ferraro, Bush said she couldn’t say what she thought of the Democrat on television but “it rhymes with rich.”

Following her husband’s loss in the 1992 presidential election, the couple moved to Houston and also spent time at the longtime family home in Kennebunkport, Maine.

Bush was active in campaigning for her sons Jeb, who served as governor of Florida, and George, who was a two-term U.S. president. Only Barbara Bush and Abigail Adams were both the wife and mother of U.S. presidents.

In 2008, Bush underwent surgery for a perforated ulcer and in 2009, she had heart surgery.  In 2014, she was hospitalized with respiratory issues.

FoxNews.com

Porn Whore Screams for Penetration of Privilege

Judge won’t let Trump attorney Cohen review seized files before the feds, as Stormy Daniels speaks out

A federal judge on Monday denied a request from President Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen to review the documents seized from the lawyer’s home and office last week before prosecutors see them, dealing a setback to Trump’s legal team.

U.S. District Judge Kimbra Wood said that she had faith in the Justice Department’s so-called “taint team” to isolate materials protected by attorney-client privilege, but added that she would consider allowing a neutral third party requested by Cohen to weigh in.

Also Monday, attorneys confirmed that Fox News host Sean Hannity was the third individual who received Cohen’s legal help.

Cohen, who formerly worked at the Trump Organization, is under criminal investigation as part of a grand jury probe into his personal conduct and business dealings, including a $130,000 payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels in exchange for her silence about a sexual encounter with the married Trump in 2006.

Wood told prosecutors to put all the seized documents into a searchable database to determine which should come under review. Prosecutors said they expected to let Wood know on Wednesday how long it will take them to share the materials with Cohen’s legal team. Cohen’s lawyers say they will then go through the materials and share relevant information with President Trump’s legal team.

Lawyers for Cohen and Trump had sought to be allowed to decide which items seized are protected by attorney-client privilege before prosecutors see them.

Stormy Daniels and her attorney, Michael Avenatti, outside the courthouse in lower Manhattan Monday.  (Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Daniels attended the hearing and addressed reporters after it was over.

“For years, Mr. Cohen has acted like he is above the law,” Daniels said. “He has considered himself – and openly referred to himself – as Mr. Trump’s fixer. He has played by a different set of rules, or, should we say, no rules at all.

“He has never thought that the little man, or especially women – even more, women like me – mattered. That ends now,” she added. “My attorney and I are committed to making sure that everyone finds out the truth and the facts of what happened and I give my word that we will not rest until that happens.”

Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, said Judge Wood’s decision would ensure that “no documents are spoliated, destroyed or otherwise tampered with, which is our chief concern in connection with this process.”

The hearing took a surprise turn when Judge Wood instructed Cohen’s attorneys to disclose the name of a third Cohen client, apart from Trump and top GOP fundraiser Elliot Broidy.

“We have been friends a long time. I have sought legal advice from Michael,” Hannity said on his radio show in response.

But he also said that Cohen did not formally represent him.

“Michael Cohen has never represented me in any matter. I never retained him, received an invoice, or paid legal fees,” Hannity said in a statement issued after his radio show. “I have occasionally had brief discussions with him about legal questions about which I wanted his input and perspective. I assumed those conversations were confidential, but to be absolutely clear they never involved any matter between me and a third party.”

FILE - In this Oct. 28, 2013, file photo, former FBI Director Robert Mueller is seated before President Barack Obama and FBI Director James Comey arrive at an installation ceremony at FBI Headquarters in Washington. A veteran FBI counterintelligence agent was removed from special counsel Robert Mueller's team investigating Russian election meddling after the discovery of an exchange of text messages seen as potentially anti-President Donald Trump, a person familiar with the matter said Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

Special Counsel Robert Mueller referred an investigation of Michael Cohen to the U.S. Attorneys Office in the Southern District of New York.  (AP)

On his Fox News show Monday, Hannity told viewers his conversations with Cohen “almost exclusively focused on real estate.”

“I’ve said many times on my radio show: I hate the stock market, I prefer real estate,” Hannity said. “Michael knows real estate … I have no personal interest in this legal matter. That’s all there is. Nothing more.”

Lawyers for Cohen filed papers Monday saying investigators “took everything” during the raids, including more than a dozen electronic devices. They said that prosecutors had already intercepted emails from Cohen and executed the search warrants only after discovering that there were no emails between Trump and Cohen.

One of Trump’s lawyers, Joanna Hendon, asked the judge to block prosecutors from studying material seized in the raid until Cohen and the president have both had a chance to review those materials and argue which are subject to the “sacred” attorney-client privilege.

Lawyers for President Trump's personal attorney sought to go through evidence seized during FBI raids to identify 'privileged' communications; reaction and analysis on 'The Five.'

“The seized materials relating to the president must be reviewed by the only person who is truly motivated to ensure that the privilege is properly invoked and applied: the privilege-holder himself, the President,” Hendon wrote in court papers filed Sunday.

On Monday, Wood rejected Hendon’s request for a temporary restraining order on the grounds that it was too early for such an objection.

At issue is the topic of attorney-client privilege, which the president has claimed in recent days is “dead.”

Trump, who was in Florida on Monday, said all lawyers are now “deflated and concerned” by the FBI raid on Cohen.

“Attorney Client privilege is now a thing of the past,” he tweeted Sunday. “I have many (too many!) lawyers and they are probably wondering when their offices, and even homes, are going to be raided with everything, including their phones and computers, taken. All lawyers are deflated and concerned!”

Fox News’ Samuel Chamberlain, Jen Oliva and Shira Bush contributed to this report. The Associated Press also contributed to this report.

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.

President Announces Attacks on Syria

President Trump on Friday announced that he has approved military strikes in Syria against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The decision follows a suspected chemical gas attack from the Assad regime on a rebel-held town near the Syrian capital last weekend.

Trump’s announcement immediately preceded reports of loud explosions lighting up the sky in Damascus.

The United States launched the response, along with assurance from France and the United Kingdom, Trump stated. British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron announced they have joined the U.S. in launching military strikes in Syria.

At least 40 people died in the attack in Douma, about 10 miles east of Damascus, and over 500 people, mostly women and children, were injured and brought to medical centers. The attack occurred amid a resumed offensive by Syrian government forces after the collapse of a truce. Syrian activists, rescuers and medics said families suffocated in their homes.

Assad’s actions, Trump said, “are not the actions of a man,” but “are the crimes of a monster instead.”

A similar chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun in April 2017 that killed nearly 100 people prompted the U.S. to launch dozens of cruise missiles at a Syrian airfield to dissuade Assad from using chemical weapons in the future, officials said. But during the weekend, images of dead and sick women and children again circulated following another alleged chemical attack.

In his statement, the president also hit Russia and Iran for their sustained support of the Assad regime.

“To Iran and to Russia I ask, what kind of nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women and children,” Trump asked.

“The nations of the world can be judged by the friends that they keep,” he continued. “Russia must decide if it will continue down this dark path or continue with civilized nations.”

This is a developing story; please check back for updates

Fox News’ Ben Evansky and Alex Pappas contributed to this report.

DOJ Inspector General Report: ex-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe Lied Repeatedly

Andrew McCabe, onetime acting FBI director, leaked a self-serving story to the press and later lied about it to his boss and federal investigators, prompting a stunning fall from grace that ended in his firing last month, says a bombshell report released Friday by the Justice Department’s internal watchdog.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz, appointed by President Barack Obama, had been reviewing FBI and DOJ actions leading up to the 2016 presidential election.

The report, handed over to Congress on Friday and obtained by Fox News, looked at a leak to The Wall Street Journal about an FBI probe of the Clinton Foundation.

The report says that McCabe authorized the leak and then misled investigators about it, leaking in a way that did not fall under a “public interest” exception.

“[W]e concluded that McCabe’s decision to confirm the existence of the CF investigation through an anonymously sourced quote, recounting the content of a phone call with a senior department official in a manner designed to advance his personal interests at the expense of department leadership, was clearly not within the public interest exception,” the report says.

McCabe was fired last month by Attorney General Jeff Sessions just days before he would have been eligible for a lifetime pension after it was determined that he misled investigators reviewing the bureau’s probe of Hillary Clinton’s email server.

Sessions said that McCabe “made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and lacked candor − including under oath − on multiple occasions.”

President Trump reacted to the report Friday in a highly charged tweet saying McCabe “LIED! LIED! LIED!” and used the social media platform to describe allegations of collusion between his campaign and Moscow as “all made up by this den of thieves and lowlifes!”

The report faults McCabe for leaking information to Wall Street Journal reporter Devlin Barrett for an Oct. 30, 2016, story titled “FBI in Internal Feud Over Hillary Clinton Probe.” The story — written just days before the presidential election – focused on the FBI announcing the reopening of the Clinton investigation after finding thousands of her emails on a laptop belonging to former Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner, who was married to Clinton aide Huma Abedin.

“Among the purposes of the disclosure was to rebut a narrative that had been developing following a story in The WSJ on Oct. 23, 2016, that questioned McCabe’s impartiality in overseeing FBI investigations involving [Clinton], and claimed that McCabe had ordered the termination of the [FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigation] due to Department of Justice pressure,” the report says.

That leak confirmed the existence of the probe, which then-FBI Director James Comey had up to that point refused to do. The report says that McCabe “lacked candor” in a conversation with Comey when he said that he had not authorized the disclosure and didn’t know who had done so.

The IG also found that he also lacked candor when questioned by FBI agents on multiple occasions since that conversation, where he told agents that he did authorize the disclosure and did not know who was responsible.

McCabe has denied doing anything wrong. “This attack on my credibility is one part of a larger effort not just to slander me personally, but to taint the FBI, law enforcement and intelligence professionals more generally,” McCabe said in a statement after his firing.

In a letter submitted by McCabe’s counsel after reviewing a draft of the report, McCabe argues that “the OIG should credit Mr. McCabe’s account over Director Comey’s” and complains that the report “paints Director Comey as a white knight carefully guarding FBI information, while overlooking that Mr. McCabe’s account is more credible for at least three key reasons …”

McCabe’s counsel, Michael Bromwich, in a statement to Fox News, slammed the OIG report. “The core weakness of the OIG report is the lack of any understandable motive for his alleged wrongdoing. It is undisputed that Mr. McCabe was one of three senior FBI officials authorized to share information with the media, including on sensitive investigative matters,” he said.

“He chose to exercise that authority in October 2016, during one of the most turbulent periods in the history of the bureau, with the knowledge of Director Comey and other senior members of FBI management. His purpose was to protect the institutional reputation of the FBI against false claims, including that a sensitive investigation was being shut down for political reasons.”

McCabe and Bromwich seemingly sought to diminish the credibility of Comey, blasting his “recollection” as “not at all clear.”

“Mr. McCabe’s recollection of discussions he had with Director Comey about this issue is extremely clear; Director Comey’s recollection is, by his own acknowledgment, not at all clear. And yet two of the lack of candor allegations are based on Director Comey’s admittedly vague and uncertain recollection of those discussions. ”

McCabe has been in the news since his firing, particularly over a GoFundMe campaign which raised more than $500,000 for a legal defense fund.

McCabe also wrote a dramatic op-ed for The Washington Post in which he again denied lying to or misleading investigators, and talked of the humiliation he had undergone over the probe and the way in which he was fired.

“Not in my worst nightmares did I ever dream my FBI career would end this way,” he wrote.

 

Fox News’  Chad Pergram, Jake Gibson and Alex Pappas contributed to this report.

Adam Shaw is a Politics Reporter and occasional Opinion writer for FoxNews.com. He can be reached here or on Twitter: @AdamShawNY.

Trump Pardons ex-Cheney Aide Scooter Libby

President Trump on Friday pardoned Scooter Libby, the former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney who was ensnared in what was known as the “Valerie Plame affair” during the Bush administration.

“I don’t know Mr. Libby,” Trump said in a statement. “But for years I have heard that he has been treated unfairly. Hopefully, this full pardon will help rectify a very sad portion of his life.”

Libby told Fox News in a brief phone call after Trump’s announcement he is “pleased” his “innocence has been recognized.”

Libby, who served as Cheney’s chief of staff, was convicted in 2007 of perjury, obstruction of justice and making false statements. The case stemmed from an investigation into the leaking of the covert identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame, though Libby was not charged for the leak itself.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney

Supporters of Libby, including former Vice President Cheney, have long pushed for a pardon.  (AP)

President George W. Bush had previously commuted Libby’s prison sentence.

The Libby case has been criticized by conservatives, who argue he was the victim of an overly zealous and politically motivated prosecution by a special counsel.

Plame’s identity, it turned out, was leaked to journalist Robert Novak not by the White House, but by Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.

Supporters of Libby, including Cheney, have long pushed for a pardon. The effort intensified after former New York Times reporter Judith Miller’s 2015 book where she doubted the accuracy of her testimony that prosecutors used to convict Libby.

Miller testified in 2007 that Libby told her Plame was a CIA agent. Prosecutors used that testimony to say Libby lied.

But Miller wrote in her 2015 book, “The Story: A Reporter’s Journey” that she’s worried her memory “may have failed me” during the trial, and now doubts Libby ever told her that Plame worked for the CIA.

A statement from the White House explaining the pardon made an apparent reference to Miller, saying “one of the key witnesses against Mr. Libby recanted her testimony, stating publicly that she believes the prosecutor withheld relevant information from her during interviews that would have altered significantly what she said.”

The White House also noted that the District of Columbia Court of Appeals unanimously reinstated Libby to the bar, reauthorizing him to practice law, in 2016.

“In light of these facts, the president believes Mr. Libby is fully worthy of this pardon,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said.

Appearing on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom” on Friday, former Bush adviser Karl Rove, who was caught up in the controversy at the time, took aim at the case’s federal prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald.

“Fitzgerald persisted for years in trying to get somebody’s pelt nailed to his wall,” Rove said. “Mine and Scooter’s. And he got Scooter.”

The move would mark the third pardon by Trump. He granted one last year for former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was awaiting sentencing for contempt of court. Trump also has pardoned a U.S. Navy sailor, who was convicted after taking photos of classified portions of a submarine.

It comes as Trump is slamming former FBI director James Comey — who is promoting his anti-Trump book — as a “proven leaker and liar.”

Comey himself had a role in the Libby case: after Attorney General John Ashcroft recused himself from the case, then-Deputy Attorney General Comey appointed Fitzgerald as special counsel.

Victoria Toensing, an attorney for Libby who is close to President Trump, referenced Comey in her statement celebrating the pardon on Friday.

“Our law firm, diGenova & Toensing, was honored to represent Lewis (Scooter) Libby to request a pardon for the injustice inflicted on him and his family by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald and then-Deputy Attorney General James Comey,” Toensing said.

 

Fox News’ Catherine Herridge and John Roberts and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Alex Pappas is a politics reporter at FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AlexPappas.

Mueller War on Trump – It’s Time to Issue Mass Pardons

With the DOJ’s raid on the offices and homes of the President’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, it is finally time for the President to tactfully shut the investigation down.

The special counsel was given the DOJ assignment of investigating unlawful collusion activity between Russia and the Trump presidential campaign-accusations created solely in the minds of democrats. A year has gone by and not one whisper of unlawful activity has been uncovered. In lieu of results under his mandate, Robert Mueller has instead produced a series of nonsensical accusations against the president’s associates, in an attempt to force them to “make a deal” and manufacture unfounded accusations against the president.

Wisdom presumes that firing Meuller for ineptness and harassment would be a political misstep. However, simply making a public statement that the Meuller investigation has run its course, without results, and issuing pardons to the handful of people who have been attacked by Meuller, thus ending all inquiries, is the best method of bringing this rein of DOJ corruption to a conclusion.

Raiding the offices of a personal attorney is a clear violation of attorney-client privilege, and is the last convulsive, lawless act of a narcissistic government bureau desperately attempting to cling to unconstitutional power. It is time to shut it down. Issue the pardons and let Meuller slink back into the ooze of the swamp from which he sprang.

By James Thompson, political analyst and commentator.

Michael Goodwin: Time to Call a ‘Timeout’ on Mueller Russia Probe

Washington is full of blather, bombast and bullsh-t, but a line about Robert Mueller was the most important thing spoken or written there last week:

“Peter Carr, a spokesman for the special counsel’s office, declined to comment.”

Since Mueller’s office never says anything outside court publicly, who knew he had a spokesman or needed one?

The line was included in a Washington Post story that said Mueller told the White House that President Trump was not a target of the criminal investigation.

The story could be a big deal — if true. But the report is nonetheless remarkable because it was the first leak in memory that carried good news for Trump.

After breathless drip, drip, drip reports that had the president practically being frog-marched to a firing squad at dawn, the fever broke. Every dog has its day, and the Washington media decided this president’s day comes once every 15 months.

True to form, news outlets immediately pivoted back to their regularly scheduled programming of stories saying Trump is in imminent danger. The New York Times and ABC declared that George Nader, a Lebanese-American businessman, though a stranger to readers, is now Mueller’s hottest witness.

Enough.

The violent swings of the leaky pendulum make this an excellent moment to call timeout on the Mueller probe. What does he have, where is he going and when is he going to get there?

Those are basic questions that need to be answered. The American people deserve facts instead of waters muddied by partisanship, innuendo and special access to biased big-media companies.

Mueller’s team includes some active Democrats, and whether they are behind the anti-Trump leaks is, for the moment, beside the point. The point is that the leaks are creating a reality all their own about the investigation and the president.

It’s time to clear the air of rumor and speculation and put the facts on the record. It’s not as if the public has been impatient.

Mueller was appointed in May of last year to pick up the FBI probe started in the summer of 2016. Although there have been indictments, nothing implicates Trump in wrongdoing.

Yet even the hullabaloo about whether the president will agree to be interviewed is carried aloft by leaks. Has Mueller formally asked and has Trump formally declined? Who knows?

Then there’s the question of whether Mueller believes he can indict a sitting president, or whether he can subpoena Trump to a grand jury. Again, Mueller is, publicly at least, silent.

Under normal rules, the Justice Department is reluctant to either confirm or deny its investigations. One reason is that mere confirmation carries a lifetime whiff of guilt.

But this is hardly a normal situation. Mueller’s appointment was public and we know the president and his campaign team are being probed for possible collusion with Russia, and we know there is a possible issue of obstruction of justice over Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey.

Given the stakes, the public has a right to know at this point what it all adds up to. If Mueller won’t speak for himself, his handler, Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who created Mueller, should speak for him.

A concise report about where the probe stands would be enough. Mueller could make a statement, or Rosenstein could testify to Congress.

Rosenstein, because he alone decided a special counsel was needed, bears responsibility for keeping the probe focused and accountable. The recent revelation that he wrote a secret memo last August expanding Mueller’s jurisdiction illustrates what’s wrong with the secretive process.

Even at this late date, about two-thirds of the memo was redacted.

The blackout reeks of arrogance, as if Mueller and Rosenstein believe that whatever they decide will be passively accepted by the public. They act oblivious to the fact that most of the country is suspicious of the FBI because of the clear politicization of law enforcement during the 2016 election. And the stonewalling of Congress over documents only adds to the distrust.

The endless leaks are the final straw. Democracy is undermined by ostensible bombshell stories that cannot be evaluated for their credibility.

Anonymous sourcing defeats any effort by readers to draw conclusions about a story’s credibility based on the motive of the sources. If, for example, a story criticizing Republicans comes from Democrats, we can ascribe a partisan motive.

That doesn’t mean the story isn’t true, but the reader can factor motive into his judgment.

But without knowing who the sources are, readers are like the proverbial blind men touching different parts of an elephant. Each describes a different animal.

The Mueller probe is the most important investigation in a generation and is casting a cloud over a presidency. Yet many important things we supposedly know about it come from sources whose motives and honesty can’t be verified.

If this were a probe involving a third-level bureaucrat, assassination-by-leak would be distasteful but not as meaningful.

But this is the presidency, and even Trump haters should be appalled at the shoddy process.

In its story about Mueller saying Trump is not a target, the Washington Post also said the special counsel is “preparing a report about the president’s actions while in office and potential obstruction of justice.”

Is that true? Is the report the end of it?

Enough questions. It’s time for answers.

Recognize hate

If you are a terrorist, peace is dangerous.

Leaders from Hamas are outraged that the Saudi crown prince is recognizing Israel’s right to exist.

Mohammed bin Salman told Atlantic magazine, “I believe the Palestinians and the Israelis have the right to have their own land.”

The remarks are noteworthy but hardly radical — unless your aim is to destroy Israel.

“Regrettably, the virus of normalization [with Israel] has begun penetrating some Arab regimes, while the Arabs and Muslims remain categorically opposed to normalization with Israel,” Ahmed Yusef, a Hamas leader, told the Times of Israel. “Normalization is a dangerous germ.”

Imagine that.

Now this borders on high irony

Trump’s policies are cleverly explained in one tweet — and not his own. It comes from J Burton @JBurtonXP, who writes: “What kind of upside-down, nightmare world are we living in where the President is deploying troops to secure our own borders rather than random stretches of Middle Eastern desert halfway across the world from us?”

NYPD’s ‘race’ to assuage slay critics

To counter critics, the NYPD released the race and ethnicity of four cops involved in the killing of a black man in Brooklyn who threatened people with a gun-like metal object. Here’s The Post’s summary of the police racial bean counting: “One was African-American and fired three rounds; a second was white and fired two; a third was white and fired four rounds; and the fourth was Indian-American and fired once.”

Somehow I don’t think this is what Martin Luther King Jr. had in mind.

President: ‘Disgraceful’ that Feds are Targeting His Personal Attorney to Get Him

FBI raid targets Trump attorney Michael Cohen, under scrutiny over Stormy Daniels payments

The FBI raided President Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen’s home, office and hotel room Monday to seize a collection of documents — a development that Trump slammed as “a disgrace.”

 

Federal agents reportedly obtained documents related to several issues, including his payments to adult-film star Stormy Daniels in the weeks leading up to the 2016 presidential election. The New York Times was first to report the raid.

“Today the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York executed a series of search warrants and seized the privileged communications between my client, Michael Cohen, and his clients,” Cohen’s attorney Stephen Ryan said in a statement Monday. “I have been advised by federal prosecutors that the New York action is, in part, a referral by the Office of Special Counsel, Robert Mueller.”

Trump lashed out Monday evening at the White House, calling Mueller’s investigation “a total witch hunt” and “an attack on our country, in a true sense.”

The FBI did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One, the president says he didn't know why his lawyer, Michael Cohen, made the $130,000 payment or where funds came from.

A spokesman for the special counsel referred Fox News to U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 28, Section 600.4 regarding “additional jurisdiction.”

“If in the course of his or her investigation the Special Counsel concludes that additional jurisdiction beyond that specified in his or her original jurisdiction is necessary in order to fully investigate and resolve the matters assigned, or to investigate new matters that come to light in the court of his or her investigation, he or she shall consult with the Attorney General, who will determine whether to include the additional matters within the Special Counsel’s jurisdiction or assign them elsewhere,” the code reads.

That “elsewhere,” in this case, could be referring to the U.S. Attorneys’ Office in the Southern District of New York.

When asked whether it was Attorney General Jeff Sessions or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who directed the jurisdiction, the Justice Department declined to comment. A spokesman for USDNY declined comment to Fox News.

“The decision by the US Attorney’s Office in New York to conduct their investigation using search warrants is completely inappropriate and unnecessary,” Ryan told Fox News in a statement. “It resulted in the unnecessary seizure of protected attorney client communications between a lawyer and his clients.”

Ryan added: “These government tactics are also wrong because Mr. Cohen has cooperated completely with all government entities, including providing thousands of non-privileged documents to the Congress and sitting for depositions under oath.”

Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, claimed she had a one-time sexual encounter with the president in 2006 and was paid $130,000 by Cohen in the days before the 2016 presidential election as part of a nondisclosure agreement she has sought to invalidate.

Daniels and her attorney, Michael Avenatti, have pushed for depositions from the president and Cohen.

“Mr. Cohen has been placed in the crosshairs by Mr. Trump,” Avenatti told Fox News on Monday. “He has been set-up to take the fall. An enormous amount of misplaced faith has been placed on his shoulders and I do not believe he has the mettle to withstand it.”

Avenatti added: “If I am correct, this could end very, very badly for Mr. Trump and others.”

Cohen had been living in a hotel room while some repairs were being done to his apartment, Fox News has learned.

Two White House officials told Fox News on Monday that the president was watching cable news when reports broke that the FBI had raided Cohen’s propery. It is unclear at this point, though, whether the president has spoken with Cohen.

Last week, Trump was asked by reporters during a gaggle on Air Force One whether he knew about Cohen’s $130,000 payment to Daniels. “No,” Trump responded.

When asked why Cohen made the payment, Trump said, “You have to ask Michael Cohen–Michael’s my attorney.”

Trump also said he did not know where Cohen got the $130,000 to pay Daniels in the days before the election.

Fox News’ John Roberts, Kristin Brown, Serafin Gomez, Mike Arroyo and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.

Kennedy Legacy and Dems face a Reckoning as ‘Chappaquiddick’ Hits Theaters

The Kennedy dynasty faced a reckoning Friday, when a film hit theaters resurrecting the shocking details surrounding a late-night deadly car crash at Chappaquiddick Island that has haunted America’s most powerful political family since 1969.

“Chappaquiddick” opened in movie theaters across the U.S., drawing all eyes to the Kennedy family as the film renews questions about the controversial  incident at the island off Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts in 1969.

After the assassinations of both his brothers, former Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., was slated to carry the family’s political aspirations, even mulling a run for president of the United States.

This image released by Entertainment Studios shows Jason Clarke as Ted Kennedy, left, and Kate Mara as Mary Jo Kopechne in a scene from "Chappaquiddick." (Claire Folger/Entertainment Studios via AP)

Photo from the movie “Chappaquiddick.” 2016 Bridgewater Picture Finance, LLC. All Rights Reserved. (AP)

But the movie tells the story of the incident that stopped that potential campaign in its tracks—depicting the involvement of Kennedy, then 37, in the fatal July 19, 1969 car accident that claimed the life of a young campaign strategist, Mary Jo Kopechne.

At approximately 12:50 a.m., Kennedy and Kopechne, 28, were driving back from a party hosted by a cousin of Kennedy on Martha’s Vineyard following the Edgartown Regatta, in which Kennedy had sailed. Kennedy’s car plunged 10 feet off of a bridge and into a pond, killing Kopechne and giving Kennedy “a slight concussion.”

FILE -- In a July 19, 1969 file photo Sen. Edward Kennedy's car is pulled from water as the car is screened off the bridge in Edgartown, Mass. The body of Mary Kopechne of Washington, D.C., was found in rear seat. Her death was attributed to drowning. (AP Photo/file)

The scene of the Chappaquiddick incident on Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts in 1969. (AP)

Kennedy told police that he was “unfamiliar with the road,” came up to a narrow bridge, and said the car “went off the side of the bridge.” According to a description from a 1969 New York Times article, the road approaching the bridge is “narrow” with “no warning sign on the approach.”

--HOLD FOR RELEASE...EARLY RISER FOR MAY 3RD-- FILE--This undated file photograph shows Mary Jo Kopechne, who was killed after U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., drove a car off the Dyke Bridge on Chappaquiddick Island in Edgartown, Mass. on Martha's Vineyard, July 18, 1969. A new feature film is in the works about the tragedy on the small Massachusetts island nearly a half century ago that rocked the Kennedy political dynasty. Kopechne drowned in the accident. (AP Photo)

Mary Jo Kopechne, 28, was killed in the Chappaquiddick incident in July 1969. (AP)

Kennedy also told police that he had “no recollection” of how he got out of the car, which sank, landing with the roof resting on the bottom. Kennedy said that he “came to the surface and repeatedly dove down to the car in an attempt to see if the passenger was still in the car,” noting he was “unsuccessful in the attempt.”

Police said there was “apparently no criminal negligence involved in the accident itself.”

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and wife Joan approach Dukes County court house in Edgartown Monday, Jan. 5, 1970 where he will testify at inquest into death of Mary Jo Kopechne. Miss Kopechne was killed in car driven by the senator when it went off bridge on Chappaquiddick Island and into a pond last July 18. (AP Photo)

Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., coming out of a court room in 1970. (AP)

The accident, though, was not reported by Kennedy, but rather by a mother of a little boy who saw the overturned car in the pond when he was fishing.

Kennedy later described his failure to report the incident to police for 10 hours as “indefensible.”

Kennedy did, though, speak of the “Kennedy curse,” following the incident in a televised address, questioning whether “some awful curse did actually hang over all the Kennedys.”

Kennedy’s eldest brother, Joseph Kennedy Jr. died in 1944 in World War II; his sister, Kathleen Kennedy Cavendish, died in a plane crash in 1948; his brother, former President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963; his brother Robert Kennedy, who served as JFK’s attorney general, was assassinated in 1968; decades later, in 1997, Robert F. Kennedy’s son Michael was killed in a skiing accident; and in 1999, John F. Kennedy Jr. died while flying his plane to Martha’s Vineyard.

While the incident squashed Kennedy’s hopes of running for president, he did serve as one of the longest-serving U.S. senators, and passed away in 2009 at the age of 77.

U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) gestures as he addresses the convention after a tribute to his life and career was presented at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, August 25, 2008.

Former Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., was one of the longest serving U.S. senators in history. (Reuters)

Almost 50 years following the incident, the Kennedy political ambition lives on—with his nephew, Rep. Joe Kennedy III, D-Mass., a fresh face in the Democratic Party.

His office, though, did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment on the premiere of “Chappaquiddick.”

Rep. Kennedy, 37, delivered the Democratic response to President Trump’s first State of the Union address in January, following in the footsteps of Sen. Ted Kennedy, who delivered the same response to former President Ronald Reagan in 1982.

Chris Kennedy, the grandson of Robert F. Kennedy, launched a gubernatorial bid in Illinois, but failed to garner the votes to win the Democratic nomination last month.

Caroline Kennedy, the only surviving child of JFK, served as the U.S. ambassador to Japan from 2013 to 2017, appointed by former President Barack Obama. When Obama appointed Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, she mulled a run for Clinton’s Senate seat, but chose not to run.

FILE: Sept. 6, 2012: Caroline Kennedy addresses delegates during the final session of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

Caroline Kennedy addresses delegates during the final session of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

Despite not holding public office, Kennedy is still involved in the political world. Just last month, she spoke at the Desert Town Hall in California about navigating East Asian politics during her tenure as ambassador, and also discussing Trump and rising tensions with North Korea.

Douglas Kennedy, a son of Robert F. Kennedy, is a news correspondent at Fox News Channel.

Other Kennedys, while not yet rising to the political scene, have not stayed too far from the public eye.

Last summer, Robert F. Kennedy’s son, Max Kennedy, and his daughter were arrested after allegedly “inciting an angry mob” in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

In 2016, a grandson of RFK, Connor Kennedy, was arrested in Aspen, Colorado after allegedly getting into a fight in front of a nightclub. Connor also dated famed pop star Taylor Swift for a short period in 2012.

And JFK’s grandson, Jack Schlossberg, began Harvard Law School in August 2017.

FoxNews.com/The Associated Press contributed to this report. Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.

London Outlaws Guns-Murder Rate Tops New York as Stabbings Surge

London became a bit more like New York City in February, but it’s not a distinction to be proud of.

The city of Big Ben and the tube overtook New York in murders for the first time in modern history as the British capital dealt with a surge in knife attacks.

The Sunday Times reported 15 people were murdered in London, against 14 in New York. Both cities are very diverse with large populations: London has over 8.7 million residents to New York’s 8.5 million.

In March, according to the British publication, there had been 22 killings in London versus 21 in New York.

A massive decline in crime has helped to transform New York City: In 1990, of 2,245 people were murdered. Last year, however, that number dropped nearly 90 percent to 290 murders.

The total number of murders in London has fluctuated over the years, but it’s risen by 38 percent since 2014.

The Sunday Times reports that FBI data and crime studies show that since 1800 London has typically had a murder rate per person of between half and a 20th of New York’s.

Including January, London still has fewer murders so far this year — 45 against 55 — and its total in 2017 was also lower. But the gap has narrowed in recent years.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said websites and mobile phone applications such as YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram were partially to blame for the bloodshed, the Evening Standard reports.

Deadly stabbings in England and Wales are now at their highest levels since 2011, rising by 12 percent in the year ending December 2017.

 

Christopher Carbone is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @christocarbone.

On This Easter Morning, Let Us Remember

The New Testament of the Bible contains the story of the life of Jesus Christ. Within its pages is recounted how He was crucified on Friday, and his body was hastily removed from the cross and placed into a tomb hewn into the rock, with very little time to appropriately prepare the body for final burial before the Jewish Sabbath started at sunset.

It was early Sunday morning when Mary Magdalene and other women disciples arrived at the tomb to see the sepulcher and prepare His body. Suddenly there was a great earthquake and an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow.

The angel said to the women, “Fear not: for I know that you seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is arisen. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” He then instructed her to go and tell Jesus’ disciples that He was risen from the dead and that He would go before them to Galilee; and there they would see Him.

The others ran to tell the Apostles what they had seen and heard, but Mary stood at the door of the sepulcher weeping. As she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulcher, and saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet where the body of Jesus had lain.

They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”

empty-tombShe said, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.”

And when she had spoken she turned back, and saw Jesus standing, but knew not that it was Him. He spoke to her and said, “Woman, why are you crying? Whom do you seek?”

She, supposing him to be the gardener, said, “Sir, if you have borne him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”

Jesus looked upon her with compassion, and said, “Mary.”

Suddenly recognizing His voice, she turned herself and said to him, “Rabboni,” which is to say, Master.

Mary ran to him and embraced him, but Jesus said to her, “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say to them, ‘I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.’”

What is the significance of this story nearly 2,000 years later? Each of us must decide its implications and importance for ourselves, and apply its lessons in our own lives as we interpret the message for ourselves. John, the Apostle who recorded this version of the incident gives us his own explanation of why he recorded it: “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing, ye might have life through his name.”

Let us remember Him this Easter.

James Thompson is a Christian author, political commentator and ghostwriter.

 

 

Wounded Warriors Exec and Corporate CEO Bob Nardelli Should Head Veterans Administration

President Trump has announced his intention to replace Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin, with Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has been scandal plagued for years, delivering poor quality services to this nation’s heroes since its inception, and especially since its elevation to a cabinet Department in 1988. Its nine VA Secretaries have each failed to bring order from chaos and corruption. Many observers are skeptical that physician Ronny Jackson has the managerial and leadership skills to fare any better than his predecessors.

Whether or not Ronny Jackson receives the requisite senate confirmation is yet to be seen. If so, the question still looms: can a military physician successfully tame a toxic bureaucracy that is the very embodiment of what the president vehemently terms ‘the swamp’?

Mr. President, to bring order and heartfelt camaraderie and efficacy to the VA we suggest that you take a very close look at longtime friend and advocate of our men and women in uniform, Bob Nardelli, who currently serves on the Wounded Warriors Project Board of Directors. The WWP Board of Directors is responsible for guiding the organization, and providing strategic and financial oversight, and Bob Nardelli has certainly fulfilled that mandate.

2014 – Wounded Warriors Project Board of Directors member Bob Nardelli, with Steven Nardizzi, Chief Executive Officer, and David Gowel, CEO, RockTech, at the Veterans Day Parade in New York City.

2015–Bob Nardelli is a frequent expert guest on many network financial and business news programs. Pictured with Stephen Howe Jr., and Maria Bartiromo, anchor and global markets editor at Fox News.

What will Bob Nardelli bring to the VA? Allow me to share a portion of what he has accomplished with his time, and moreover, his willingness to work hard to serve organizations and their members and beneficiaries.

The Home Depot. As the Chairman and CEO of The Home Depot he doubled its size and organized it into a well oiled machine–a machine with a heart, nonetheless, strengthening employees’ families and establishing strong ties to America’s military branches and veterans’ organizations. At the time Nardelli took the helm, The Home Depot was a $45 billion decentralized ‘family’ company with little ability to leverage its size. Bob moved quickly to create an information and supply-chain infrastructure that, along with other operational and growth enhancements, generated more than 20% average annual earnings growth over the next six years. Under his leadership, Home Depot‘s revenues grew from $45 billion to $91 billion, while net earnings more than doubled, from $2.5 billion to $5.7 billion. The company also added more than 1,000 new stores and more than 135,000 jobs, soon becoming the world’s second largest retailer.

Chrysler. Bob was named Chairman and CEO of struggling Chrysler, and recognized the early signs of the looming global financial crisis. He was the first Big Three CEO to predict significantly lower new car sales for 2008 and beyond. Bob and his team quickly reduced Chrysler’s footprint in advance of the downturn, while simultaneously repaying a billion dollars of its debt, and accelerating new product development while introducing a range of fuel-efficient an award-winning vehicles. They also laid the groundwork for a partnership with Fiat. Industry analysts and Fiat itself would later say that these bold move saved Chrysler from extinction and allowed it to emerge from its restructuring in under two months, with a new product line intact and a distribution network that would make it a truly global player in the automotive industry.

US President George W. Bush (L) speaks about the economy as Home Depot President and CEO Bob Nardelli (R) looks on inside the Home Depot in Halethorpe, Maryland, December 5, 2003. AFP PHOTO/PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

As a civic-minded executive, Nardelli has chaired the Atlanta Board of Visitors of the Savannah College of Art and Design, and served on President Bush’s Council on Service and Civic Participation. He has also served on advisory boards at the University of Louisville and Western Illinois University. In addition to managing XLR-8, Bob Nardelli is Senior Advisor to the chief executive officer of Cerberus Capital Management LP, and Senior Advisor to Ernst & Young, the international accounting and consulting firm.

Bob Nardelli has everything the VA needs in a leader. We are very hopeful that Mr. Trump will seriously consider him as the man to restore the faith of our nation’s heroes, and to help a grateful nation honor them as we so strongly desire.

By James Thompson. James Thompson is a political analyst and writer, and ghostwriter of the nation’s top business and political leaders.

FBI Agent Charged with Leaking Classified Docs to Expose ‘Systemic Biases’

A former FBI agent in Minneapolis, seeking to expose what his attorneys called “systemic biases” at the agency, was charged this week with illegally disseminating classified information, according to a report.

Terry J. Albury, who joined the FBI in 2000, allegedly sent two classified documents to a reporter at an unspecified national media organization, according to charging documents obtained by the Star Tribune of Minneapolis.

Albury’s prosecution comes months after Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Trump administration promised to cut down on leaks in the federal government.

The former agent was charged with two counts of unauthorized disclosure of national defense information. Prosecutors filed a felony information, which signals that Albury is expected to plead guilty.

One of the leaked documents reportedly pertains to the agency’s methods for assessing confidential informants, while the other relates to “threats posed by certain individuals from a particular Middle Eastern country,” according to the information.

FILE PHOTO: FBI Director Christopher Wray delivers remarks to a graduation ceremony at the FBI Academy on the grounds of Marine Corps Base Quantico in Quantico, Virginia, U.S. December 15, 2017.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

FBI Director Christopher Wray was recently criticized by Attorney General Jeff Sessions for the agency’s ‘unacceptable’ pace.  (Reuters)

Albury shared the documents sometime between February 2016 and Jan. 31, 2017, prosecutors allege. He had most recently been assigned to counterterrorism operations at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Albury’s attorneys, JaneAnne Murray and Joshua Dratel, said in a statement that Albury served the U.S. with distinction domestically and in Iraq and “accepts full responsibility for the conduct set forth in the Information.

“We would like to add that as the only African-American FBI field agent in Minnesota, Mr. Albury’s actions were driven by a conscientious commitment to long-term national security and addressing the well-documented systemic biases within the FBI,” the attorneys added.

Prosecutors don’t name a reporter or news organization, but on Jan. 31 of last year, the Intercept posted a story about how the FBI assesses and manages informants.

“The use of the Espionage Act to prosecute whistleblowers seeking to shed light on matters of vital public concern is an outrage.”

– The Intercept editor-in-chief Betsy Reed

The story references a secret document dated Aug. 17, 2011, that deals with assessing informants and recruiting them by identifying their “motivations and vulnerabilities.”

In a statement, the Intercept editor-in-chief Betsy Reed sharply criticized whistleblower prosecutions without specifically discussing Albury’s alleged involvement.

“We do not discuss anonymous sources,” Reed said. “The use of the Espionage Act to prosecute whistleblowers seeking to shed light on matters of vital public concern is an outrage, and all journalists have the right under the First Amendment to report these stories.”

The Trump administration has made prosecuting government employees who leak sensitive information to the media a high priority.

Last year, Sessions pledged to clamp down on leaks, noting that the Justice Department had more than tripled the number of active leak investigations since President Barack Obama left office and that the FBI had created a new counterintelligence unit to focus on such cases.

He told members of Congress in November that the department was conducting 27 investigations into leaks of classified information.

The local FBI office referred questions to the Justice Department, which is handling the case. A spokesman with the Justice Department declined to comment beyond the charging documents.

The search warrant applications say the FBI linked references to secret documents in data requests filed by the Intercept to Albury’s activity on the bureau’s information systems.

The FBI also later identified 27 documents — 16 marked classified — that the Intercept published, and found that Albury had accessed more than two-thirds of them.

The charges filed Tuesday also allege that from April 7, 2017, to Aug. 28, 2017, Albury willfully kept a document about an online platform used by a specific terrorist group for recruitment, and failed to give it to an officer and federal employee who was entitled to it.

FoxNews.com / The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Former FBI Agent Says Andrew McCabe ‘Targeted’ and ‘Slandered’ Her

A former FBI counterterrorism agent reacted to an op-ed written by recently-fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

“Not in my worst nightmares did I dream my FBI career would end this way,” McCabe entitled his Washington Post piece published Friday.

Robyn Gritz, who said she served 16 years with the bureau fighting terrorism, told “Fox & Friends” that she celebrated McCabe’s dismissal and that it brought back memories of how he allegedly mistreated her.

Gritz said that she began working with McCabe in 2005 until she ultimately resigned several years later.

She said McCabe retaliated against her for filing a harassment claim against one of her supervisors.

Gritz said that, while working as a “detailee” to the CIA, her boss began “scrutinizing [her] work and asking questions” about her purportedly being “fragile” after her divorce.

“He made some discriminatory comments about why I was traveling and such,” Gritz said of her boss at the time, who was not McCabe.

When she heard that the boss was making similar comments to a black coworker, Gritz said she decided to file a complaint against him.

Gritz said when she filed the suit, McCabe signed off on an internal investigation against her, adding that “he know that I was either filing or going to file the [case].”

“I went through hell for a year and a half,” she said. “Andy made sure I couldn’t get out of the division.”

Gritz said that McCabe additionally made “nasty, false” comments about her in a meeting — “lying,” she said. “which is why he just got fired.”

She said she was at a restaurant when news of McCabe’s dismissal this month reached her, and that she verbally reacted with joy.

Gritz added that dozens of former FBI coworkers called her to celebrate McCabe “being held accountable.”

FoxNews.com

“March For Our Lives’ Offers No Solutions

Following last month’s shooting spree at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School liberals have taken to the streets to boisterously push their pet political agenda–to decimate the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; the right of U.S. citizens to keep and bear arms. To further their political ambitions they have used (abused) the indoctrinated students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School–whom they term “survivors.”

Indeed, many of the children who attended Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are shouting out leftist anti-constitution talking points through megaphones supplied by a variety of leftist organizations, most of which are financially supported by notorious international leftist financier George Soros, whose unmistakably anti-American activities seek to undermine the U.S. Constitution on multiple fronts.

Exploiting the trauma of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students are many leftist celebrities and politicians, all drawn to the “spontaneous” movement like sharks to blood, seeking to push their anti-constitution agenda onto a gullible public.

The problem with all of the shouting is that not one practical idea is being offered to stop would-be school shooters.

Background checks? Already have them. Outlaw automatic weapons? Did it decades ago. End gun violence? Sure–great idea, but how?

It is obvious that the anti-gun lobbyists are behind the current March For Our Lives movement. What do they want? A disarmed citizenry. When do they want it? NOW!

Before leftists have taken over every democracy or other society, they have first had to disarm its citizens–it’s difficult to dictate to people who have the power to resist your edicts. That is what is going on here. Pure and simple. You can dress it up in all sorts of costumes, and you can even put lipstick on it–but that changes nothing. The entire idea of disarming U.S. citizens has nothing to do with safety or non-violence. It is a leftist political expansion expediency, period.

Perhaps the only usable suggestion arising out of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre is to coordinate mental health issue reporting systems. Of course, that’s not the goal of the March For Our Lives movement. What has been exposed in this arena is the government’s total lack of ability to protect the public from monsters who decide to inscribe their names in eternal infamy. The “government” had several opportunities to prevent Nikolas Cruz from getting a weapon, and to institutionalize him for obvious mental disorders–but in typical government fashion, it failed at every step. Yet, this is the same government that the left promises us will protect us when we are no longer armed and able to protect ourselves.

No thank you.

By James Thompson

 

 

Trump Signs $1.3 Trillion Spending Bill

President Trump signed the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill Friday despite an earlier threat to veto the legislation due to the lack of border wall funding and a fix for DACA.

Trump signed the mammoth legislation reluctantly, saying in a press availability with other members of the administration that, in order to secure a necessary increase in military spending, he had to give money to Democratic projects that he derided as a “wasted sum of money.”

“It’s not right and it’s very bad for our country,” he said.

But he said that military spending was very important, and that for that reason he had decided to sign the bill.

“Therefore, as a matter of national security, I’ve signed this omnibus budget bill. There are a lot of things I’m unhappy about in this bill…But I say to Congress, I will never sign another bill like this again. I’m not going to do it again,” he said.

Trump had tweeted earlier Friday that he was considering using the veto, saying that recipients of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program “have been totally abandoned by the Democrats.” He added that the border wall, which he said was “desperately needed for our National Defense” is not fully funded.

The House adjourned Friday morning until Monday, meaning that if Trump had vetoed the bill then the government would shut down.

Trump moved to end the DACA program in September, giving Congress a six-month window to come up with a legislative fix. That deadline has been delayed by court orders, but the fate of the 800,000 enrolled recipients is still uncertain.

The White House has tried to use the DACA issue to convince Democrats to support approximately $25 billion in funding for Trump’s central campaign promise. But a congressional GOP source told Fox News talks broke drown after Democrats pushed for a path to citizenship to include also those who are currently eligible — expanding those covered to 1.8 million.

The spending bill passed Congress includes only $1.6 billion for border measures — much of which is for repairs to already existing fencing. It explicitly rules out any new prototypes of the kind President Trump viewed this month in California. But House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and the White House has pushed back against conservative concerns on Thursday, saying it provided for 100 miles of border construction.

Democrats had claimed victory on the issue, pointing to the fact that Trump’s requests for new deportation agents and detention center beds had gone unanswered, although they had expressed disappointment at the failure to get a DACA fix in the bill.

The deal has also irked more conservative members of Congress, who objected to the size and cost of the bill (which ran in at over 2,000 pages) as well as the failure to remove funding for Planned Parenthood and so-called “sanctuary cities.”  Other Republicans approved of the deal, pointing to a massive increase in military and infrastructure spending as well as funding to help combat the nation’s opioid crisis.

Trump’s veto threat was totally unexpected, particularly as the White House had signaled Trump would support the bill if passed by Congress. Most lawmakers have already left Washington for a two week recess. Some are on overseas trips already.

Some conservatives applauded Trump’s calls for a veto. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., called the bill “totally irresponsible” and encouraged the veto: “I am just down the street and will bring you a pen,” he tweeted.

Budget hawk Rand Paul, R-Ky., tweeted that Trump should veto “this sad excuse for legislation.”

The conservative House Freedom Caucus, which had opposed the measure, also expressed their support should the president choose to wield his veto pen.

But Fox News learned that Defense Secretary James Mattis was calling Trump about the possibility of losing all defense increases if he vetoes it.

It appeared to be this argument about the military that ultimately convinced Trump to sign the legislation.

“My highest duty is to keep America safe,” he said.

__________

Fox News’ Chad Pergram and Mike Emanuel contributed to this report.

Adam Shaw is a Politics Reporter and occasional Opinion writer for FoxNews.com. He can be reached here or on Twitter: @AdamShawNY.