January 24, 2019

Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh Denies Claim About Behavior in High School

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh vigorously denied claims involving an alleged high school incident made in an undisclosed letter and turned over to FBI by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

“I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time,” Kavanaugh, 53, said in a statement Friday.

Feinstein ignited controversy Thursday by releasing a statement saying she turned information about Kavanaugh over to the FBI. She did not detail the accusation, and Republicans accused her of trying to orchestrate a last-minute smear.

“I have received information from an individual concerning the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court,” Feinstein said in her surprise statement. “That individual strongly requested confidentiality, declined to come forward or press the matter further, and I have honored that decision. I have, however, referred the matter to federal investigative authorities.”

Fox News confirmed that the letter involved an allegation about Kavanaugh while a student at Georgetown Preparatory School in Bethesda, Maryland in the 1980s. A woman, who was also in high school at the time, accused Kavanaugh in the letter of holding her down and trying to force himself on her during a party, before she got away. The details were first reported Friday by the New Yorker.

The woman also claimed Kavanaugh was joined at the time by a friend who turned up music to conceal her protests. But that unnamed classmate reportedly told the New Yorker, “I have no recollection of that.”

Meanwhile, the Judiciary Committee on Friday received a letter from 65 women who said they knew Kavanaugh from high school and vouched for him as a “good person.” The letter was addressed to Feinstein and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.

“We are women who have known Brett Kavanaugh for more than 35 years and knew him while he attended high school between 1979 and 1983,” the letter, obtained by Fox News, reads. “For the entire time we have known Brett Kavanaugh, he has behaved honorably and treated women with respect. We strongly believe it is important to convey this information to the committee at this time.”

The White House blasted the charge on Thursday as a last-minute gambit.

“Not until the eve of his confirmation has Sen. Feinstein or anyone raised the specter of new ‘information’ about him,” White House spokesperson Kerri Kupec said in a statement.

The accusation comes after the Senate Judiciary Committee already grilled Kavanaugh and other witnesses and prepares to vote on sending his nomination to the full Senate.

A source familiar with the confirmation proceedings told Fox News that Feinstein received the letter back in July, but did not make its existence known publicly until Thursday.

The letter reportedly was given to Feinstein by Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., but has not been publicly disclosed by senators who have seen the document.

Feinstein met privately with Kavanaugh on August 20 and also questioned him repeatedly in open and closed session during the Judiciary Committee hearings on his nomination last week. There is no indication that the matter came up in either the private meeting or the closed committee session.

The FBI conducts background checks on all major government appointees, including Supreme Court nominees.

“Upon receipt of the information on the night of September 12, we included it as part of Judge Kavanaugh’s background file, as per the standard process,” the FBI said in a statement. Fox News has learned that the White House would have to request that the bureau follow up on the letter for the matter to be investigated further. It was not clear whether the White House had done so as of Thursday evening.

The woman referenced in the letter has yet to be identified, but is being represented by Debra Katz, a whistleblower attorney who works with #MeToo survivors, according to The Intercept.

Despite the turmoil over the letter, a spokesperson for Grassley said there is no plan to delay Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

Grassley set the panel’s vote on Kavanaugh for Sept. 20 and Republicans hope to confirm Kavanaugh by the start of the new court session Oct. 1.

 

Fox News’ Jake Gibson, Mike Emanuel and John Roberts contributed to this report.

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

Dem Chaos – Sen Booker Vows to Violate Senate Rules to Release Privileged Kavanaugh Emails

New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker injected chaos into Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing Thursday as he vowed to release a confidential Kavanaugh email with the backing of Democrats in violation of Senate rules, calling it an act of “civil disobedience” and drawing condemnation from the Republicans on the committee.

“I am going to release the e-mail about racial profiling and I understand that the penalty comes with potential ousting from the Senate,” Booker said at the beginning of the third day of Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing.

The New Jersey Democrat said he would “knowingly” violate the Senate rules to release the email. Other Democrats on the committee expressed their support for the effort.

A day earlier, in a dramatic exchange, Booker implied Kavanaugh had been open to racial profiling tactics, citing an email exchange between Kavanaugh and a colleague. However, Booker did not provide Kavanaugh a copy of the emails to review while questioning him about it, prompting another objection from Lee, who charged that it was inappropriate to “cross-examine” Kavanaugh about documents that he “can’t see.”

Booker said Thursady he would release it anyway, saying the document is a “great illustration of the absurdity of the process” because there’s nothing in it that’s “national security-related.”

“I come from a long line, as all of us do as Americans, that understand what that kind of civil disobedience is and I understand the consequences,” Booker said.

Top Republicans mocked and denounced Booker, thought to be considering a 2020 campaign for president, for the move.

“Running for president is no excuse for violating the rules of the Senate or of confidentiality of the documents that we are privy to,” Texas Sen. John Cornyn told Booker.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, dinged Booker for repeating his point.

“Can I ask you how long you’re going to say the same thing three or four times?” Grassley asked.

“I’m saying I’m knowingly violating the rules,” Booker replied. “Senator Cornyn has called me out for it.”

“How many times are you going to tell us that?” Grassley replied.

It came as Kavanaugh entered the final stretch of questioning in his confirmation hearing Thursday, with Democrats springing a series of cryptic questions – in an apparent attempt to box the nominee into an embarrassing admission or at least throw him off what has been a relatively steady performance.

He would not say Wednesday whether he thinks the president can be subpoenaed or whether the president can “self-pardon,” key questions amid the ongoing Russia probe.

Other lines of questioning were more mysterious, suggesting an effort to lay a trap.

In an especially combative moment late Wednesday, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., asked Kavanaugh whether he ever had discussed Special Counsel Robert Mueller or his Russia probe with anyone at Kasowitz Benson Torres, the law firm founded by Marc Kasowitz, a former personal attorney to President Trump.

“Be sure about your answer,” Harris warned. “I’m asking you a very direct question. Yes or no?”

“I’m not sure I know everyone who works at that law firm,” Kavanaugh said. “I’m not remembering, but I’m happy to be refreshed.”

“How can you not remember whether or not you had a conversation about Robert Mueller or his investigation with anyone at that law firm?” Harris asked, visibly exasperated. “This investigation has only been going on for so long, sir, so please answer the question.”

“I’m just trying to think — do I know anyone who works at that firm?” Kavanaugh eventually replied. “I’d like to know the person you’re thinking of.”

“I think you’re thinking of someone and you don’t want to tell us,” Harris shot back, sending the room into a few seconds of near-total silence.

Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee then interjected briefly to defend Kavanaugh, saying that “this town is full of law firms” and that they “are constantly metastasizing, they break off, they form new firms — they’re like rabbits. There’s no possible way we can expect this witness to know who populates an entire firm.”

A barrage of protesters erupted in a chant of “Answer the question” before being led out by police as Lee spoke. In all, 73 people were arrested and charged for unlawful demonstrations within Senate buildings on Wednesday, including 66 people who were removed from the hearing room during the day, according to Capitol Police officials.

Also Wednesday evening, Hawaii Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono pressed Kavanaugh at length about whether he was aware of inappropriate behavior by former 9th Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski when he clerked for Kozinski from 1991 to 1992. Kozinski abruptly retired last year after several woman who had worked as law clerks or colleagues accused him of sexual misconduct that included touching, inappropriate sexual comments and forced viewings of pornography in his chambers.

Hirono, who repeatedly has asked other judicial nominees whether they ever sexually harassed anyone, noted that Kavanaugh and Kozinski had kept in touch after his clerkship, with Kozinski recommending Kavanaugh during his 2006 confirmation hearings for his current job on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“You saw nothing, you heard nothing, and you obviously said nothing,” Hirono said, even as Kavanaugh denied being aware of any misconduct by Kozinski and said he would have reported it if he had known.

For the most part, the hearings have focused on Kavanaugh’s writings and, in particular, key opinions he authored while serving on the nation’s most prestigious appellate court.

The confirmation hearing has been chaotic at times, with Democrats trying to delay the proceedings as they complain they haven’t received enough records from Kavanaugh’s past work.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., pressed Kavanaugh about what he knew about the Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance program. Leahy also asked Kavanaugh if a president has a right to pardon himself, a power President Trump has said he believes he has.

“The question of self-pardons is something I have never analyzed,” Kavanaugh replied.

Outbursts from protesters have been a recurring feature since the hearings began. Moments after Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley opened the hearing Wednesday, shouting could be heard from the back of the room: “Sham president, sham justice!” Ironically, at one point, protesters shouted as Kavanaugh discussed how he tried to be respectful in court. “I’ve tried to be a very collegial judge, I’ve tried to be civil,” he said.

Kavanaugh served for more than a decade on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and, before that, for five years as a lawyer in the White House Counsel’s office in the George W. Bush administration. He also worked for independent counsel Ken Starr for three years during the probe that led to the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton.

Kavanaugh’s elevation from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court would mark a generational rightward shift on the Supreme Court, raising the stakes beyond those of last year’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch.

The judge’s nomination, though, will ultimately succeed or fail depending on a handful of swing-vote senators, including vulnerable red-state Democrats and moderate pro-choice Republicans who have all said that they would withhold judgment on the nominee.

Republicans command a narrow 51-49 Senate majority. Party leaders have said they hope to have Kavanaugh confirmed by a floor vote by early October, when the next Supreme Court term begins.

 

Fox News’ Gregg Re, Judson Berger, Kaitlyn Schallhorn and Bill Mears contributed to this report.

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

Dems Turn Kavanaugh Confirmation Hearing Into Outrageous Senate Circus

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus went out of business last year, but it found a  successor Tuesday on Capitol Hill as Democrats and demonstrators performed at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, commenting on repeated outbursts by demonstrators and steady string of complaints by Democratic senators, said that “this is something I’ve never gone through before in 15 Supreme Court nominations.”

The political theatrics kicked into high gear right out of the gate. Grassley wasn’t more than three lines into his opening statement when, one by one, Democrats attempted to hijack the hearing with calls for more of Kavanaugh’s documents, and even a motion to adjourn the hearing altogether.

The Democratic objections were absurd. Judge Kavanaugh – currently serving on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia – is the most transparent Supreme Court nominee in recent history.

As Grassley stated Tuesday, an astounding 488,000 pages of documents relating to Kavanaugh have been released.

For comparison, Justice Elena Kagan – who served in the Obama administration as solicitor general before she joined the high court – only had about 70,000 pages of documents released when she went through her confirmation hearing in 2010. About 182,000 pages of documents were released when the Senate confirmed President Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court last year.

Kavanaugh also submitted the most comprehensive bipartisan questionnaire in Senate Judiciary Committee history.

Also, as Grassley pointed out in the hearing, Kavanaugh has written 307 opinions as an appellate court judge and he was nominated on July 9.  Democrats have plenty of reading material, and they’ve had plenty of time to read it.

Many Democrats read enough within the first few days of Kavanaugh’s nomination to go on record opposing his nomination.  And you can bet they would have opposed whoever President Trump nominated for the Supreme Court opening created by the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy.

A woman stands and voices her opposition to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on his nomination for Supreme Court, on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018, in Washington.(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Democrats are engaged in nothing more than a desperate effort to delay a confirmation vote on Kavanaugh until next year, when they hope to control the Senate by winning a majority in the November midterm elections. Their stalling tactics have nothing to do with Kavanaugh’s qualifications – they have everything to do with the anti-Trump resistance and turning out the Democratic base to vote in November.

But Democrats up for re-election in November in states carried by President Trump in the 2016 election – and where he remains popular today – are under pressure to support Kavanaugh’s nomination to keep their jobs. Democratic Sens. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota could wind up supporting Kavanaugh’s confirmation for this reason.

All three senators voted to confirm Gorsuch when President Trump nominated him. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., whose top goal is to elect a Democratic majority in the chamber, would be foolish to pressure them to vote against Kavanaugh if it led to their electoral defeat two months from now.

Depending on Kavanaugh’s performance this week, pressure could also build on Democratic Sens.  Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Bill Nelson of Florida to vote to confirm Kavanaugh, since both are in tight re-election races.

For other Senate Democrats, this week will be less about defeating Kavanaugh and more about raising their profile for the 2020 presidential election.

Among the pool of likely Senate Democratic presidential hopefuls are Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Cory Booker of New Jersey, who both serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Look for them to use the hearings as a launching pad for their possible presidential campaigns.

It’s widely speculated that Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts will also run for president in 2020. She’ll likely be headed for a TV camera every time there’s a break in the hearing. It’s guaranteed the media will be happy to give her the free ad time.

Call it fearmongering or desperation, but the outrage among Senate Democrats began months ago. In the case of Harris, it was before Kavanaugh was even chosen as the nominee. On MSNBC’s “Hardball” she said of whoever President Trump would pick: “We’re looking at a destruction of the Constitution of the United States.”

No need to know the nominee’s name or look at his record. Harris knew enough. Yet, she was the first one to obstruct the hearing and feign outrage Tuesday morning because 488,000 documents weren’t enough reading material for her. No irony to see here.

In a July press conference Booker said of those supporting Judge Kavanaugh: “You are either complicit in the evil, you are either contributing to the wrong, or you are fighting against it.” He then had a kumbaya moment and instead called for everyone to love one another.

Still, barring anything unforeseen happening at his confirmation hearing, Kavanaugh is likely to be confirmed by the end of the month and seated when the Supreme Court reconvenes in October.

So get the popcorn ready and expect to see more political theater throughout this week. Democrats will move on to Act II with their political posturing and outrage on full display.

Who needs the Ringling Bros. circus when we have the Senate circus?

 

Lauren DeBellis Appell, a freelance writer in Fairfax, Virginia, was deputy press secretary for then-Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., in his successful 2000 re-election campaign, as well as assistant communications director for the Senate Republican Policy Committee (2001-2003).

Facebook Liberal Bias – Donald Trump Jr. Supports Social Media Alternative for Conservatives

President Donald Trump has been heavily criticizing social media giants Facebook, Google and Twitter this week for unfair bias against social and political conservatives.

‘I’d love to do it’

Donald Trump Jr. also announced today that he will lend his support to a new social media platform that will be fair to conservatives.

The new social media platform is being launched to give conservatives a full opportunity to share their pro-American, Pro-Constitution, Pro-Life, Pro-Family, Pro-God values with the world. The site is PlanetUs.com, and is a conservative-friendly social media platform.

Set up your free account with PlanetUs.com now>

PlanetUS administrators say that the new conservative-friendly social media website is ready to use, and is expected to launch in mid September.

“Everyone is welcome to get their accounts set up early, and to begin posting and communicating, even before the day of the official launch. Many leading conservatives have already reserved their names and organizational names.” – PlanetUS.com

When asked about it Donald Trump Jr. said today that he would back such a “conservative, Facebook-like social network” created to compete with Facebook and other social media platforms. He also demonstrated interest in leveraging his enormous social media presence in order to publicize the solution to the liberal bias from the left-leaning silicon valley social media companies.

PlanetUs is a conservative-friendly social media platform

“I’d love to do it,” Trump Jr. said. “I’d help promote the platform and be all over that.”

Trump Jr. has over 3 million followers on Twitter, and over 1.3 million followers on Instagram.

An adviser to President Trump has suggested that the president will use his Twitter presence to help publicize such a conservative social media forum.

‘They have it RIGGED, for me & others’

Conservatives and allies of the president have decried the left-wing bias in many of the companies controlling the biggest and most influential social media and online companies. Trump himself has been criticizing Twitter and Google by pointing to instances of what many critics see as evidence of the liberal agenda in online companies.

The president threatened on Tuesday that the situation would soon be “addressed.”

“Google & others are suppressing voices of Conservatives and hiding information and news that is good,” Trump tweeted. “They are controlling what we can & cannot see. This is a very serious situation…”

President Trump says Facebook is biased against “large portions of the population:

“I don’t think [this issue] is going away,” said Donald Trump Jr. of the bias in social media platforms, “because I don’t think it’s changing.”

PUBLIUS / With materials written by The Blaze

Chinese Hacked Clinton’s Server, Watched Every Email in Real-time

A Chinese state-owned company reportedly hacked former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s email server, then inserted code that forwarded them a copy of virtually every email she sent or received after that — a revelation President Trump is demanding be investigated.

The Daily Caller reported that the firm operating in the D.C. area wrote code that was then embedded in the server and generated a “courtesy copy” for almost all her emails — which was then forwarded to the Chinese company.

The code reportedly was discovered in 2015 by the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG), which then warned FBI officials of the intrusion.

A source briefed on the matter confirmed to Fox News the details of the Caller’s reporting, and said that the ICIG was so concerned by the revelation that officials drove over to the FBI to inform agents — including anti-Trump agent Peter Strzok — of the development after it was discovered via the emails’ metadata.

The source told Fox News the hack was from a Chinese company, describing it as a front for Chinese intelligence.

A second source briefed on the matter told Fox News that officials outside of the FBI indicated code on the Clinton server suggested a foreign source was receiving copies of emails in real time.

The hacking report caught the attention late Tuesday of President Trump, who warned that the FBI and DOJ should act or “their credibility will be forever gone.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying responded to Trump’s tweet, saying: “This isn’t the first time we’ve heard similar kinds of allegations.”

“China is a staunch defender of cybersecurity. We firmly oppose and crack down on any forms of internet attacks and the stealing of secrets,” she said, according to Reuters.

The ICIG and the FBI declined to comment.

Clinton’s office did not respond to a request for comment, but a spokesman told The Daily Caller, “The FBI spent thousands of hours investigating, and found no evidence of intrusion. That’s a fact.”

Fox News reported in March that Strzok was advised of an irregularity in the metadata of Clinton’s server that suggested a possible breach, but no follow-up action was taken.

Further, a May 2016 email from Strzok, obtained by Fox News earlier this year, said “we know foreign actors obtained access” to some Clinton emails, including at least one “secret” message “via compromises of the private email accounts” of Clinton staffers.

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, asked Strzok in a House Oversight Committee hearing in July whether he was briefed about an anomaly on Clinton’s emails found by ICIG officials.

“You were given that information, and you did nothing with it,” Gohmert told Strzok in July.

Strzok said he remembered meeting with the ICIG officials, but did not remember the contents of the meeting and that every allegation was forwarded to experts who looked at it carefully.

“If there was a lead, I gave it to the team,” Strzok said as part of a heated back-and-forth between the two. Strzok was fired this month after controversy surrounding anti-Trump texts he sent to FBI lawyer Lisa Page, with whom he was having an affair.

Reached by phone Tuesday, Gohmert told Fox News on Tuesday that the emails were obtained by a foreign country’s intelligence, but he declined to name the country in question. He said there was no sign that Strzok and the FBI had taken any action when informed by the ICIG, and no indication that they even informed Clinton.

He told Fox News he was surprised that his questioning about it in the Strzok hearing in July didn’t generate more media attention, but noted that the press seized on a comment he made shortly afterward when he asked Strzok, “How many times did you look into your wife’s eyes and lie about Lisa Page?”

“It’s critically important,” he said, when asked about the significance of the server revelation. “There are countries that would pay a tremendous amount of money to know what Clinton was saying, doing and thinking through her emails, what she’s doing, who she’s going to meet, what she thought about meetings, not necessarily classified but critically important and those emails were compromised and people like Strzok, when they were briefed, knew this would devastate her chances of being elected and they weren’t about to do anything to hurt those chances.”

Then-FBI Director James Comey concluded the FBI’s investigation into Clintons emails in July 2016, saying that while Clinton had been “extremely careless” in her handling of classified information, he would not recommend charges to the DOJ.

Adam Shaw is a reporter covering U.S. and European politics for Fox News. He can be reached here.

Sen John McCain Dead at 81

Arizona Sen. John McCain, a war hero who survived five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, served three decades in Congress and went on to become the Republican Party’s nominee for president in 2008, died Saturday. He was 81 years old.

In his last hours, McCain turned down further treatment, his family announced in a statement.

McCain was diagnosed with brain cancer in July 2017. Doctors discovered the tumor during a medical procedure to remove a blood clot from above his left eye. He remained upbeat after the diagnosis, flying back to Washington days after surgery with a large scar visible above his eye to partake in the Senate’s health care debate.

“I greatly appreciate the outpouring of support – unfortunately for my sparring partners in Congress, I’ll be back soon, so stand-by!” McCain tweeted on July 20 after his diagnosis.

On Friday, his family issued a statement saying,“Last summer, Senator John McCain shared with Americans the news our family already knew: he had been diagnosed with an aggressive glioblastoma, and the prognosis was serious. In the year since, John has surpassed expectations for his survival. But the progress of disease and the inexorable advance of age render their verdict.”

John S. McCain III is escorted by Lt. Cmdr. Jay Coupe Jr., public relations officer, March 14, 1973, to Hanoi's Gia Lam Airport after the POW was released.  (AP Photo/Horst Faas)

John McCain escorted to Hanoi airport on March 14, 1973 after being released from prison  (AP Photo/ Horst Faas)

They added, “With his usual strength of will, he has now chosen to discontinue medical treatment.”

McCain was born in 1936 in the Panama Canal Zone, where his father was stationed in the Navy. After graduating from the Naval Academy in 1958, McCain went to Vietnam.

In 1967, his A4 Skyhawk was hit by a surface-to-air missile over Hanoi. McCain was captured by the North Vietnamese, who tortured and beat him for more than five years. He was in solitary confinement for several of those years.

“My room was fairly decent-sized – I’d say about 10 by 10,” McCain would later write. “The door was solid. There were no windows. The only ventilation came from two small holes at the top in the ceiling, about 6 inches by 4 inches. The roof was tin, and it got hot as hell in there.”

His captors offered him early release after learning his father was a notable naval officer. But McCain refused to leave before the other prisoners. He was released in 1973.

McCain’s injuries from his imprisonment were visible the rest of his life, most noticeably the restricted movement of his arms.

McCain got a taste of politics in 1976, when he served as the Navy’s liaison to the Senate.

In 1982, McCain was elected to the House of Representatives. Only a few years later, in 1986, he won the race to replace Arizona’s conservative Sen. Barry Goldwater.

He was implicated in what became known as the Keating Five Scandal in 1989, accused with several other lawmakers of helping the owner of the Lincoln Savings and Loan, who had donated to his campaign.

McCain ran twice for president. In 2000, he ran for the Republican nomination for president, winning New Hampshire’s primary but losing the nomination to George W. Bush.

In 2008, he defeated a host of Republican candidates to win the GOP nomination for president.

He was responsible for introducing then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to a national audience by tapping her as his running mate. The McCain-Palin ticket went on to lose the general election to Barack Obama, who became the country’s first black president.

For years, McCain declined to call his choice of Palin a mistake. But in his upcoming book, “The Restless Wave,” McCain reportedly writes that he regrets not choosing his friend, then-Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman, as his running mate, calling it “another mistake that I made.” Lieberman, the 2000 Democratic nominee for vice president, was an independent who caucused with Democrats.

After the 2008 loss, McCain returned to the Senate, embracing his role as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

During his last years in politics, he had a complicated relationship with President Trump, who infamously attacked McCain during the GOP primary. In May, the McCain family was offended when it was reported that Trump aide Kelly Sadler dismissed McCain’s opposition to the president’s choice for CIA director by quipping during a private meeting, “It doesn’t matter, he’s dying anyway.”

According to the New York Times, McCain has made clear to the White House he doesn’t want Trump to attend his funeral, and would instead prefer Vice President Mike Pence at a service.

McCain is survived by his wife Cindy, seven children and five grandchildren.

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

John McCain Discontinues Cancer Treatment

Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, the self-styled “maverick” of the Senate who has served three decades in Congress, will discontinue medical treatment for brain cancer, his family said in a statement Friday.

The Vietnam War veteran, who survived five years as a prisoner of war and went on to become his party’s presidential nominee in 2008, was diagnosed last July with a brain tumor following a procedure earlier in the year to remove a blood clot from above his left eye.

He has not voted since last December. In Friday’s statement, his family revealed how the disease has worsened:

“Last summer, Senator John McCain shared with Americans the news our family already knew: he had been diagnosed with an aggressive glioblastoma, and the prognosis was serious. In the year since, John has surpassed expectations for his survival. But the progress of disease and the inexorable advance of age render their verdict.”

They said, “With his usual strength of will, he has now chosen to discontinue medical treatment.”

Reaction poured in after the family’s announcement.

“John McCain is an American hero, always putting country before self. From Vietnam to the halls of the U.S. Senate, the spirit of service and civility that has guided Senator McCain’s life stands as a model for all Americans, regardless of political affiliation,” Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said in a statement.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., tweeted: “Very sad to hear this morning’s update from the family of our dear friend @SenJohnMcCain. We are so fortunate to call him our friend and colleague. John, Cindy, and the entire McCain family are in our prayers at this incredibly difficult hour.”

The Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix last summer said that the original blood clot was associated with a primary brain tumor, known as a glioblastoma.

McCain, 81, has served in the U.S. Senate for more than two decades and ran for president twice. He lost the GOP nomination to George W. Bush in 2000 and was the Republican nominee in 2008 before losing to Barack Obama in the general election.

McCain was a prisoner of war in Vietnam for more than five years. Injuries from being tortured left him unable to lift his arms above his head.

Last December, McCain returned to the Senate for the first time since his brain cancer diagnosis. He delivered powerful remarks on the Senate floor addressing the need for bipartisanship amid gridlock in the chamber.

“Make no mistake, my service here is the most important job I have had in my life. And I am so grateful to the people of Arizona for the privilege—for the honor—of serving here and the opportunities it gives me to play a small role in the history of the country I love,” McCain said, acknowledging senators he’s “known and admired.” “But they knew that however sharp and heartfelt their disputes, however keen their ambitions, they had an obligation to work collaboratively to ensure the Senate discharged its constitutional responsibilities effectively.”

McCain has criticized the Senate’s deliberations in the last year, calling them “more partisan, more tribal” than any time he remembered.

McCain blamed “both sides” for the lack of cooperation.

Earlier this year, McCain penned a memoir titled “The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and Other Appreciations,” written by himself, and Mark Salter, who had collaborated with McCain on all seven of his other books.

“I don’t know how much longer I’ll be here. Maybe I’ll have another five years. Maybe, with the advances in oncology, they’ll find new treatments for my cancer that will extend my life. Maybe I’ll be gone before you read this. My predicament is, well, rather unpredictable,” he wrote. “But I’m prepared for either contingency, or at least I’m getting prepared. I have some things I’d like to take care of first, some work that needs finishing, and some people I need to see. And I want to talk to my fellow Americans a little more if I may.”

McCain, who has repeatedly been at odds with President Trump and criticized his rhetoric and leadership, said this year that he doesn’t want the president to attend his funeral, and prefers that Vice President Pence be there instead.

Last week, Trump signed a $716 billion defense policy bill, titled “John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019,” though did not mention the senator.

 

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

Illegal Alien Murdered Mollie Tibbetts, Makes Court Appearance

Mollie Tibbetts murder suspect makes first court appearance, Tibbetts family releases statement

An Iowa judge ordered Cristhian Rivera, the 24-year-old illegal immigrant accused of murdering Mollie Tibbetts, held on $5 million cash-only bond Wednesday — with Rivera’s first court appearance coming just minutes after Tibbetts’ family members broke their silence about their broken hearts.

Rivera was mostly stoic and looked straight ahead in the courtroom. He wore headphones and used an interpreter when the judge spoke, only answering “Yes” when asked if he understood the proceeding.

Later, given another chance to speak, Rivera declined.

Rivera’s lawyer, Allan Richards, filed a motion for a private hearing, after an earlier defense motion for a gag order was rejected. Richards argued the case had already become too politicized.

Cristhean Rivera, 24, is accused of murdering Mollie Tibbetts.

“The government has weighed in at the highest levels,” Rivera’s lawyer said.

If convicted of murdering the Iowa University sophomore, Rivera faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.

“Christhian is a young man who has been working a number of years for a respectable business in this community,” Richards said before bail was set. “No criminal record. we urge in court to be fair.”

A preliminary hearing in the case was set for Aug. 31 at 2 p.m.

Less than a half hour before Rivera walked into court, Tibbetts’ family members issued their first statement since Mollie’s body was found in an Iowa cornfield.

“Our hearts are broken,” the statement said. “On behalf of Mollie’s entire family, we thank all of those from around the world who have sent their thoughts and prayers for our girl.”

The statement continued: “We know that many of you will join us as we continue to carry Mollie in our hearts forever. At this time, our family asks that we be allowed the time to process our devastating loss and share our grief in private. Again, thank you for the outpouring of love and support that has been shared in Mollie’s name. We remain forever grateful.”

Fox News’ Melissa Chrise and Travis Fedschun contributed to this report.

Armed Bystander Stops Gunman at Crowded Back-to-school Event

An armed bystander shot a man who opened fire at a Florida park filled with over 100 people — including children — for a Saturday back-to-school cookout, officials said.

The Titusville Police Department said in a news release the man was involved in a fistfight with another person at the Issac Campbell Park and left around 5:20 p.m. — only to return with a gun minutes later and start shooting.

A bystander, who was lawfully licensed to carry a firearm, then shot the gunman.

“We are extremely grateful that nobody else was injured in this incident,” Deputy Chief Todd Hutchinson said in a statement. “This suspect opened fire at a crowded public park. This could have been so much worse.”

Florida Park Shooting

The shooting took place Saturday at the Isaac Campbell Park.  (Titusville Police)

The gunman, whose firearm was recovered at the scene, was airlifted to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries. No one else was injured during the shootout.

MORE THAN 450 PEOPLE IN FLORIDA ORDERED TO GIVE UP GUNS UNDER NEW LAW, REPORT SAYS

A DJ whose family organized the event at the park told Florida Today he was standing under a pavilion when he heard at least a dozen shots ring out.

Dwight Harvey was streaming the event live on his Facebook page when the shooting started. Children and parents could be seen in the video going through supplies when the shots suddenly rang out, WFTV reported.

“I was like, who lit firecrackers? I turned around and just said, ‘Oh no, he’s got a gun, he’s got a gun,’” Harvey told the newspaper.

Harvey told the news outlet he was thankful the bystander was in the right place at the right time to quickly end what could have been an even worse situation.

“This was standing your ground, in a situation like this with kids involved; not what you saw in Clearwater — that was murder,” Harvey told Florida Today, referring to a controversial shooting last month over a handicapped parking space that’s sparked protests.

The bystander who shot the suspect waited for officers and has been fully cooperative with the investigation, police said. Neither the shooter nor the bystander have been identified.

Matthews said no charges are expected to be filed against the bystander, as his actions were “within the law based on the preliminary investigation.”

Travis Fedschun is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @travfed

What A Booming Economy Means For The Midterms

President Trump’s popularity seems to be rising, according to a couple of recent polls. The bump may be linked to the fact that more Americans seem to be crediting Trump for the nation’s healthy economy. And that has raised one of the central questions of the midterm election season: whether the economy will help keep Republicans in control.

Voters like Allen Cowan, a 50-year-old from West Virginia, might offer some clues. Cowan considers himself a socially liberal, fiscally conservative voter, the type of voter who reluctantly chose Donald Trump in 2016.

“I held my nose at the voting booth,” Cowan said. But, these days he’s satisfied with at least one aspect of the Trump era.

“Financially speaking, I cannot complain,” he said. “My retirement I have through my employer has shown a remarkable increase.”

Still, neither Cowan’s personal finances nor the economic health of the country have changed his overall opinion of the president.

“I can look at President Trump and be like ‘OK, his policies in regards to the economy and stuff are good for the nation.’ But I’m still going to think President Trump — the whole kit and caboodle — is a bitter pill to swallow,” he said.

And Cowan is not alone.

Trump’s average approval rating is around 41 percent, which is not as high as you would expect, given the country’s low unemployment numbers, soaring stock market and expanding economy.

Granted, research by Mary Stegmaier, a professor at the University of Missouri, has shown there’s generally a lag in how the public perceives who’s responsible for the economy.

“The first year of a presidency is quite different than later years … because when a president is inaugurated he has inherited the economy from his predecessor,” she said. “It takes a while for the public to start holding the new president responsible for the economic conditions.”

And recent polls suggest the political winds may be shifting, as an increasing number of Americans begin crediting Trump over former President Obama for the current economic conditions.

The other complication for Republicans in an election year is that even though people might feel optimistic about the economy on a macro level, veteran GOP pollster David Winston says, many people are still not feeling financially secure on a personal level.

“There’s a sense that things are improving, but it’s going to take some time for that to evolve into a comfort level,” Winston said, pointing to a recent survey his consulting company conducted that showed many Americans still feel like they’re living paycheck to paycheck, just a few hundred dollars away from a financial crisis.

“People are still assessing — is this a temporary moment in the economy, or is this something longer term that they can have some confidence in that will let them then economically behave differently,” Winston explained.

Still, if Republicans are going to focus on one issue they think could give them a boost this campaign season, it’s the economy (and taxes). Winston says it’s imperative for Republican elected officials to sell the tax plan.

He says the economy is central for most voters.

“If you just take a look at the exit polls, the economy tends to pretty consistently be the top issue,” Winston said.

At a rally in Richfield, Ohio, Thursday, the president bragged about the strength of the economy under his presidency.

“Unemployment claims are at their lowest level in 45 years,” he said, repeating that last line to applause. “Lowest level — 45 years!”

Trump then told his supporters he needs them this November in order to keep this economy rolling.

“We can’t lose that by getting hurt in the midterms, so we can’t be complacent,” he told the crowd gathered at a local union apprenticeship and training center. “There’s never been an economy like this; everyone says it’s the most important thing.”

But the assumption that positive economic conditions have a direct effect on swinging seats in midterms is something Alan Abramowitz, a political science professor at Emory University, questions. Abramowitz has looked at the results of every midterm dating back to World War II.

He said the best predictor in midterms is the “generic ballot” — a poll question that asks voters which party they’ll vote for in Congress (rather than a specific candidate question).

In Abramowitz’s research, the other key factor is the president’s approval rating.

“The approval rating itself is a much better predictor of what’s going to happen in midterm elections than any measure of economic trends,” he said.

The economy, of course, can factor into a president’s approval numbers, and Abramowitz says his research shows that when we have an economy in a recession, it almost certainly will bring a president’s approval rating down, but “when you have a sort of mediocre to good economy, it doesn’t necessarily mean the president is going to be popular.”

And in situations when the economy and a president’s approval rating are not in sync — as is the case these days in the Trump presidency — Abramowitz says the approval rating tends to be far more important.

“We saw something very similar back in the 1960s,” he said. “In 1966, we had a midterm election, Lyndon Johnson was in the White House. The war in Vietnam was escalating and his approval rating had dropped, but the economy was very strong.”

Democrats lost 47 House seats that year.

So, Abramowitz’s message is that an economy that’s chugging along may not be enough for voters to credit the party in power, which means Republicans need to figure out a way to tie the economy to how voters feel about the president before November … so long as the economy stays in good shape.

 

 

Best romantic getaways – Elope to New Orleans

Another Democrat Threatens House GOP Leaders’ Lives

A New York man accused of leaving threatening voicemail messages for two top House Republicans had 200 rounds of ammunition at his home, along with receipts for an assault rifle and handgun, according to an affidavit filed in federal court by U.S. Capitol Police.

Carlos Bayon, 63, was charged last week with leaving the messages for House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., and Republican Conference Chairwoman Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash.

The messages appeared to reference President Trump’s immigration policy and included the warnings: “You are taking ours, we are taking yours.”

According to the affidavit, filed Friday in federal court in Buffalo, investigators found 150 rounds of rifle ammunition and 50 rounds of shotgun shells. They also spotted a 2004 receipt for an SKS assault rifle and a 1987 receipt for a .38-caliber revolver but did not find any firearms, the document showed.

Authorities also said they found books in Bayon’s home that included the titles “How to create a foolproof new identity,” “Middle Eastern Terrorist Bomb Designs,” and Silent But Deadly: homemade silencers.”

The contents of the affidavit were first reported by NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune.

Scalise, 52, is the No. 3 House Republican leader and is considered a potential successor to retiring Speaker Paul Ryan. McMorris Rodgers is the House GOP’s No. 4 leader.

Scalise was among five people wounded last year after a gunman attacked a Republican baseball practice. He was grievously injured and was hospitalized for more than a month. He now relies largely on crutches and an electric scooter to move around the Capitol. Capitol Police and other officers killed the gunman in that attack.

House Files Articles of Impeachment Against DOJ’s Obstructionist Rosenstein

It was not immediately clear whether the House of Representatives would consider the resolution before lawmakers begin the August recess Thursday afternoon. The House will reconvene Sept. 4.

The resolution states it will be “referred to the Committee,” meaning the Judiciary Committee, for further review. That language suggests the full House will not immediately consider the articles of impeachment.

The articles were introduced by Reps. Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Jim Jordan of Ohio, the chairman and a prominent member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.

Meadows and Jordan will discuss the articles of impeachment on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” on Wednesday night at 10 p.m. EST.

In one article of impeachment, Rosenstein is accused of improperly signing off on the FISA surveillance warrant application against ex-Trump aide Carter Page.

The application heavily relied on the infamous Steele Dossier, which was funded by the Clinton campaign and the DNC and contained unverified, salacious allegations against President Trump.

“Under Mr. Rosenstein’s supervision, the Department of Justice and FBI intentionally obfuscated the fact the dossier was originally a political opposition research document before the FISC [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court],” the articles of impeachment state.

They continue: “As Deputy Attorney General, Mr. Rosenstein has failed in his responsibility for the proper authorization of searches under FISA, and his conduct related to the surveillance of American citizens working on the Trump campaign has permanently undermined both public and congressional confidence in significant counterintelligence program processes.”

The documents also charge that Rosenstein has an impermissible conflict of interest.

“His conduct in authorizing the FISA surveillance at issue in the joint congressional investigation makes him a fact witness central to the ongoing investigation of potential FISA abuse,” the articles state. “Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein’s failure to recuse himself in light of this inherent conflict of interest and failure to recommend the appointment of a second Special Counsel constitute dereliction of duty.”

Rosenstein named Special Counsel Robert Mueller to lead the Trump-Russia probe after Rosenstein’s boss, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, recused himself from the investigation because of Sessions’ own role in the Trump campaign.

WATCH: ROSENSTEIN, FBI DIRECTOR GRILLED BY HOUSE REPUBLICANS

He has since clashed with House Republicans for months over requests for Department of Justice documents. GOP leaders grilled Rosenstein at a hearing in June for what they called his inadequate transparency.

In recent weeks, calls by top Republicans to remove Rosenstein grew louder. A simple majority of the House would suffice to impeach Rosenstein, but a two-thirds vote of the Senate would be required to remove him.

Last month, House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy told “Fox News Sunday” that House Speaker Paul Ryan led a meeting with senior members of the DOJ and FBI, and made it clear that “there’s going to be action on the floor of the House this week if FBI and DOJ do not comply with our subpoena request.”

Gowdy, R-S.C., said the GOP’s action could involve “the full panoply of constitutional weapons available to the people’s house.”

 

Chad Pergram, Catherine Herridge, and Gregg Re contributed to this report. This is a developing story; check back for more updates. 

President Trump Praises Mormon Settlers on Pioneer Day

President Donald Trump issued a statement Tuesday sending his best wishes to those celebrating Pioneer Day in Utah.

The statement celebrates the efforts of Mormon settlers who settled in Utah in 1847 as well as others who “endured frontier hardships.”

“Melania and I send our best wishes to all those celebrating Pioneer Day.

On this day in 1847, Brigham Young and the first group of Latter-day Saint pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley to begin building a new home for their families.  Fleeing persecution, these families undertook a difficult journey spanning more than a thousand miles from Illinois to the Utah territory.  In the years that followed, nearly 70,000 men, women, and children charted similar paths across windswept plains and rugged mountains in search of religious freedom and a better way of life.

Our Nation honors the ingenuity, industry, and unwavering commitment to faith of all those who endured frontier hardships.  These pioneers worked tirelessly to transform the arid desert landscape into a blossoming new home where their families could live in peace and prosperity.  The legacy they helped build across the American West lives on through hundreds of cities and towns that continue to thrive in the 21st century.

Today, we remember the extraordinary pioneers who uprooted their lives and undertook an incredible leap of faith into the unknown.  Their stories and accomplishments are lasting reminders of the importance of religious freedom and the enduring strength and spirit of the American people.”

by

Mainstream Media Meltdown – Trump Derangement Syndrome

A raging epidemic of Trump Derangement Syndrome broke out among reporters covering the summit between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, as journalists gave the American president hellish reviews for his performance in Helsinki at a joint news conference.

No reporters knew what actually transpired in the main event of the day – the private meeting between the two presidents. So journalists put themselves in the position of critics, grading President Trump’s news conference performance.

The critics provided the most outlandish and hyperbolic reactions to Trump since election night 2016 – making the president sound like he was following in the footsteps of the despised Revolutionary War turncoat Benedict Arnold.

Yes, unbelievably, the newest charge against President Trump was treason.

Treason, by the way, is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as: “the offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance or to kill or personally injure the sovereign or the sovereign’s family.”

So President Trump was trying to overthrow the government he leads or trying to kill or injure himself or his family?

USA Today reported in a front-page story: “Every nation has an infamous traitor. … And now, after a news conference Monday in Finland, the term is being used in relations to the 45th president of the United States. Donald Trump, master of the political insult, finds himself on the receiving end.”

The New York Daily News screamed “OPEN TREASON” on its cover page with a cartoon showing Trump holding Putin’s hand and holding a gun in his other hand and shooting Uncle Sam in the head. Really.

CNN host Fareed Zakaria wasn’t satisfied with “treason” as a descriptor. “I feel like treasonous is too weak a word, because the whole thing has taken on an air of such unreality,” he said.

Zakaria had lots of company: CNN analyst Max Boot, MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace, and, of course, former CIA Director John Brennan, who now works for NBC and MSNBC.

CNN presidential historian Douglas Brinkley said “the spirit of what Trump did is clearly treasonous,” and declared that the president “came off as being a puppet of Putin.”

MSNBC brought on presidential historian Jon Meacham and he agreed that, with the Russia connection, “the definition it meets is the first word of the impeachment article in the Constitution, which is, treason, bribery and high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Even when news organizations weren’t talking treason, they were still hyperventilating about America going to hell in a presidential handbasket. Check out this video of highlights of anchors and commentators on MSNBC and CNN erupting with anti-Trump fury.

CNN was Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 level panicked, devoting 87 percent of its evening coverage (more than seven hours) across three nights to fire-and-brimstone reports designed to inflame its viewers.

The network’s team responded just as the boss wished. CNN anchor Anderson Cooper called the Trump news conference “perhaps one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president at a summit in front of a Russian leader certainly that I’ve ever seen.”

And CNN anchor Chris Cuomo – the son of one New York Democratic governor and the brother of another who may seek his party’s presidential nomination to run against President Trump – continued his longstanding feud with the president by claiming a Trump tweet bashing the media was an “admission that you hate your country.”

MSNBC’s Mike Barnicle let his anger take over. He called for a complete abandonment of the republic. “Rewrite the Constitution and have another president take over right now,” he told the audience, failing to explain just how that happens without a military overthrow of the government.

MSNBC legal expert Jill Wine-Banks piled on the outlandish historical comparisons, actually claiming Trump-Putin news conference “will live in infamy as much as the Pearl Harbor attack or Kristallnacht.” She added it was the same as “Cuban missile crisis in terms of an attack, or the 9/11 attack.”

Even ABC wanted a ride on the “Highway to Hell.” Anchor George Stephanopoulos, who used to work for President Bill Clinton before becoming a “newsman,” urged retiring GOP Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona to back his criticism of Russia “with action.” Stephanopoulos wanted the anti-Trump Flake to withhold his vote to support the president’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh. This no doubt thrilled Team Clinton.

“The View” co-host Joy Behar bedeviled Trump by comparing his actions to ignoring “when they bombed Pearl Harbor in World War II.” (She also said it “rises to the level of treason,” but that was hardly original at that point.)

The hellish outrage over the Helsinki news conference had its desired effect … for now. Newsweek posted a story on an opinion poll that declared: “According to a new Ipsos poll, 49 percent of Americans said Trump was “treasonous” during the summit and ensuing press conference, with only 27 percent disagreeing.”

2. Tomorrow Is Another Day: Even in a hot summer made hotter with fiery politics, things can always get worse. Remember, we are less than four months to the midterm elections. And when those finish, the presidential election heats up.

That also means the More Stupid Than Usual Season is upon us. (It’s like a leap season that only happens election years.) Despite several Democrats calling to “abolish ICE,” the broadcast networks weren’t interested when a vote on ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) took place.

None of the three – ABC, CBS and NBC — covered Democrats doing their best “Run away!” Monty Python impersonations. This, even though lefty Vox was critical of the fact that Democrats weren’t “ready to actually vote for an ‘Abolish ICE’ bill.”

Since it is political season, you’d think media outlets would send their A-listers to do the top stories. You’d be … completely wrong.

The New York Times assigned a massive, 8,700 word magazine piece on the left’s own Daddy Warbucks (Daddy Globalist Bucks?) George Soros to a guy who writes about tennis and wine. Author Michael Steinberger is also a blatant liberal partisan who voted for Hillary Clinton, freaked out election night when Trump won and called the president the “Orange Menace.”

CBS used some seasoning itself as host Gayle King (the Democratic donor) defended possible Democratic 2020 presidential nominee Joe Biden against President Trump’s criticism. She whined that Trump’s attacks were “nasty,” “condescending,” and “hurtful,” while downplaying one of the biggest gaffes in Biden’s career.

 

Dan Gainor is the Media Research Center’s Vice President for Business and Culture. He writes frequently about media for Fox News Opinion. He can also be contacted on Facebook and Twitter as dangainor.

Anthony Bourdain Slammed Hillary Clinton and ‘Gropey, Disgusting’ Bill Clinton in Newly Released Interview

In an interview, published more than a month after his death, Anthony Bourdain called former President Bill Clinton a “gropey, grabby disgusting” person and slammed the Clintons for how they handled the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

The celebrity chef and “Parts Unknown” host, who hanged himself in a French hotel in June, sat down with journalist Maria Bustillos from the magazine Popula before his death. The sit-down was published on Sunday.

Bourdain, one of the most outspoken supporters of the #MeToo movement, told the magazine it was shameful how the Clintons handled the scandal involving Lewinsky.

PHOTOS: Remembering Anthony Bourdain

“Bill Clinton, look, the bimbo eruptions—it was f—ing monstrous. That would not have flown today,” Bourdain said about the scandal. “[Bill Clinton is] a piece of s—. Entitled, rapey, gropey, grabby, disgusting, and the way that he — and she [Hillary] — destroyed these women and the way that everyone went along, and, and are blind to this!”

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives with her husband former President Bill Clinton during inauguration ceremonies swearing in Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States on the West front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking - HT1ED1K18ZBUA

Bourdain slammed the Clintons for how they handled the political sex scandal.  (Reuters)

The 61-year-old went on to say it was “unforgivable” the way the couple had shut down the accusers.

“The way they efficiently dismantled, destroyed, and shamelessly discredited these women for speaking their truth,” he said.

When asked if Clinton should have been kicked out of the office, Bourdain said no.

“I would look at this way. I would never under any circumstances vote for Bill Clinton today,” Bourdain told the magazine. “But I think impeaching the guy over Lewinsky was ridiculous. Particularly given today.”

Bourdain said it was “unforgivable” how the Clintons handled the scandal involving Monica Lewinsky and other accusers.  (Reuters)

He added, “It was the shaming, discrediting, undermining the women that made both of them unsuitable for any future endeavors. I don’t think they should’ve pulled him from office.”

HOLLYWOOD STARS DEFEND ASIA ARGENTO AFTER SHE’S BULLIED FOLLOWING ANTHONY BOURDAIN’S DEATH

Bourdain also said he was frustrated by Hillary Clinton’s reaction to the allegations against Harvey Weinstein, but when he tweeted as such, he said his words were twisted.

“I was really disappointed with the statement. But even by expressing that, the way that my comment was turned, very neatly—suddenly I wasn’t expressing disappointment in her statement; I was blaming her for Harvey Weinstein’s crimes. The way that turned very nicely was a good bit of artistry and deeply frightening to me and really, really…” he said.

When speaking about Weinstein, the celebrity chef detailed how he wants the film producer to die.

“My theory of how he goes is, uh, he’s brushing his teeth in a bathroom, he’s naked in his famous bathrobe, which is flapping open, he’s holding his cell phone in one hand because you never know who on the Weinstein board has betrayed him recently, and he’s brushing his teeth,” Bourdain said.

Bourdain added that he imagines Weinstein getting a “massive f—ing stroke,” before falling backwards into a bathtub.

“He finds himself, um, with his robe open feet sticking out of the tub, and in his last moments of consciousness as he scrolls through his contacts list trying to figure out who he can call, who will actually answer the phone,” the celebrity chef said.

“And he dies that way, knowing that no one will help him and that he is not looking his finest at time of death,” Bourdain said.

ANTHONY BOURDAIN, CNN HOST AND CELEBRITY CHEF, CAUSE OF DEATH REVEALED

The TV host also spoke about his daughter Ariane, his relationship with girlfriend Asia Argento and how he would vote for Barack Obama despite finding him “very unconvincing in public.”

“Asia said this to me. Children create themselves independently of us. All you can do is show, like in my case, my daughter feels loved. She knows she’s loved. She has good self-esteem. Very important,” Bourdain said.

Chef Anthony Bourdain poses at the 2015 Creative Arts Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California September 12, 2015.

Anthony Bourdain often spoke out against Harvey Weinstein. He detailed how he envision how the fallen movie mogul will die.  (Reuters)

Bourdain was found unresponsive on June 8 in the bathroom of a luxury hotel in the small town of Kaysersberg. He was in France working on an upcoming episode of “Parts Unknown.”

 

Katherine Lam is a breaking and trending news digital producer for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @bykatherinelam

Trump DOJ Indicts 12 Russian Officers for Hacking Clinton Campaign, DNC Emails

A federal grand jury has indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for allegedly hacking emails from the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic Party during the 2016 election, the Justice Department announced Friday.

“The internet allows foreign adversaries to attack America in new and unexpected ways,” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said during a press conference.

All 12 defendants are members of GRU, the Russian intelligence agency.

The case stems from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. It comes as President Trump plans to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin for a summit in Helsinki on Monday.

The indictment amounted to the clearest allegation yet of Russian meddling in the election, blaming Moscow for the email hacking scandal that rocked the 2016 race by revealing embarrassing and politically damaging discussions by major Democrats. The charges swiftly fueled calls from Democratic lawmakers for Trump to cancel his Putin summit.

“There is no allegation that the conspiracy changed the vote count or affected any election result. The special counsel’s investigation is ongoing.”

– Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein

But as Trump continues to describe the probe as a “witch hunt,” the White House downplayed the allegations.

“Today’s charges include no allegations of knowing involvement by anyone on the campaign and no allegations that the alleged hacking affected the election result,” said Lindsay Walters, the deputy White House press secretary. “This is consistent with what we have been saying all along.”

Of the 12 defendants, 11 are charged with conspiracy to commit computer crimes, eight counts of aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to launder money. Another is charged with a separate conspiracy to commit computer crimes.

The 29-page indictment says starting in March 2016, the Russian agents used “a variety of means to hack the email accounts of volunteers and employees” of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Her campaign chairman, John Podesta, famously had his emails leaked during the campaign.

They also targeted campaign committees, like the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the indictment said.

“The conspirators covertly monitored the computers of dozens of DCCC and DNC employees, implanted hundreds of files containing malicious computer code and stole emails and other documents from the DCCC and DNC,”  it read.

By April 2016, according to the documents, the defendants began to release the hacked materials to the public by using fictitious online personas like DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0.

The indictment comes as Mueller’s team has investigated whether anyone associated with the Trump campaign assisted the Russians. 

But during his press conference, Rosenstein said, “there is no allegation in this indictment that any American citizen committed a crime.”

He also said, “There is no allegation that the conspiracy changed the vote count or affected any election result. The special counsel’s investigation is ongoing.”

The announcement came at the same time Trump was meeting with Queen Elizabeth II in England, with plans to meet Putin for a summit on Monday. Trump has previously cited Putin’s denials of election interference, while saying he would like their two countries to get along.

“President Trump should cancel his meeting with Vladimir Putin until Russia takes demonstrable and transparent steps to prove that they won’t interfere in future elections,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Friday. “Glad-handing with Vladimir Putin on the heels of these indictments would be an insult to our democracy.”

Rosenstein said he briefed the president on the charges this week.

Though the indictment listed the Democratic groups, Rosenstein made a point of not naming the political affiliation of the hacked organizations during his press statement, saying it’s important to think “patriotically” and not politically in the face of such threats.

Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee during the time period, took aim at Trump in a statement.

“I’m pleased that the Justice Department is following the facts wherever they may lead, despite Donald Trump’s dangerous distortions and his refusal to acknowledge the conclusions reached by the American intelligence community,” she said.

Russian individuals have previously been indicted as part of the case. In February, Mueller brought a case against 13 Russians and three Russian companies who are accused of setting a “strategic goal to sow discord in the U.S. political system, including the 2016 presidential election.”

In that case, the defendants are accused of spreading derogatory information about Clinton, denigrating Republican candidates Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio — and ultimately supporting Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders and then-Republican candidate Donald Trump.

 

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

Trump Announces Kavanaugh as Supreme Court Pick

President Trump nominated appeals court judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court Monday night to replace the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, ending a days-long guessing game that began the moment Kennedy announced his retirement on June 27.

In televised remarks from the East Room of the White House, the president praised what he called Kavanaugh’s “impeccable credentials, unsurpassed qualifications and a proven commitment to equal justice under the law.”

“There is no one in America more qualified for this position, and no one more deserving,” Trump said.

The four finalists – Kavanaugh and fellow appeals court judges Amy Coney Barrett, Thomas Hardiman and Raymond Kethledge – were drawn from a list of 25 names vetted by conservative groups.

A clue to Kavanaugh’s nomination emerged hours before the announcement when the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a written opinion in which the judge sided with the majority. The D.C. court does not typically issue opinions on Mondays except in response to emergency petitions, suggesting that the case had to be disposed of before Kavanaugh was nominated for the high court.

Kavanaugh, a former law clerk to Kennedy in 1993, was elevated to the powerful federal appeals court in the District of Columbia by President George W. Bush, under whom he had served as a White House lawyer and staff secretary. Kavanaugh, 53, also won the confidence of key players in the Bush circle such as strategist Karl Rove.

This, however, had risked being something of a double-edged sword for Kavanaugh in the Trump era, raising concerns among some Trump supporters that he was too much of a D.C. insider and too closely associated with the Bush circle.

The Bush connections also harmed him with Democrats at the time of his initial nomination, who delayed his confirmation. But despite the criticism, he wore his support for Bush on his sleeve. It remains to be seen if those ties will complicate his confirmation process now — both with Democrats and Trump’s base.

Trump, though, may have been swayed in part because of Kavanaugh’s record of being a reliable conservative on the court – and reining in dozens of administrative decisions of the Obama White House. There are some question marks for conservatives, particularly an ObamaCare ruling that signaled his implicit support of the law.

In a 2011 case, Kavanaugh acknowledged in his dissent that the Affordable Care Act’s “individual mandate provision” could fit “comfortably within Congress’ Taxing Clause power.” His detractors say that language helped provide the road map for the Supreme Court to uphold the mandate a year later.

However, supporters of Kavanaugh have pushed back against that argument. Justin Walker, a former Kavanaugh clerk, argued that the judge’s “hypothetical discussion” about the Taxing Clause has been misinterpreted and is actually “a road map to the conclusion reached by the dissenters—that the individual mandate is unconstitutional under the Taxing Clause.”

Further, it’s also unclear how Kavanaugh would rule on abortion, as he has never directly confronted the issue as a judge. Last year, Kavanaugh dissented from a decision allowing an illegal immigrant to receive an abortion, but pro-life conservatives have criticized him for not going far enough. Specifically, they have expressed concern about language where Kavanaugh wrote “the unlawful immigrant minor is assumed to have a right under precedent to an abortion.”

Despite potential conservative grumbling, the White House is gearing up for a combative confirmation process. The administration announced earlier Monday that former Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona would guide the nominee through the Senate confirmation process. Before retiring in 2013, Kyl was a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will be the first to consider the nomination. He now works for the Washington-based lobbying firm Covington & Burling. The White House hopes Kyl’s close ties to Senate Republicans will help smooth the path for Kavanaugh.

In addition, the conservative group Judicial Crisis Network will launch a $1.4 million ad buy in support of Kavanaugh, running advertisements in Alabama, Indiana, North Dakota, and West Virginia – states with Democratic senators on the fence about supporting Trump’s nominee.

A senior White House source told Fox News that five Democratic senators – Judiciary Committee ranking member Dianne Feinstein, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Doug Jones of Alabama, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia – were invited to attend the nomination announcement. All five declined.

Of the five, Donnelly, Heitkamp, and Manchin are up for re-election in November. All three voted to confirm Gorsuch last year. Jones, who was elected to the Senate in a December 2017 special election after Gorsuch was confirmed, is not up for re-election until 2020. He told CNN on Sunday that he was “not an automatic, knee-jerk no” on any of the potential nominees.

Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, both of whom have been seen as most likely to vote against a Trump nomination, also declined invitations to attend.

 

Fox News’ Adam Shaw, Bill Mears, Chad Pergram, John Roberts, Serafin Gomez and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Top Senate Dem Tells Colleagues to Oppose Trump’s Supreme Court Pick, Suggests Sacrificing Senate Seats

Just one day before President Trump is set to announce his pick to replace retiring Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy in a primetime address from the White House, a top Democratic senator suggested that stopping the nominee is more important than the upcoming midterm elections.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., acknowledged that so-called red-state Democrats may be tempted to vote for Trump’s selection out of political necessity, but urged his colleagues Sunday to consider more than their political careers.

“Beyond the procedure, beyond the gamesmanship, it is a life-and-death important decision to be made by this court on so many issues,” the Senate minority whip said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“The men and women that I work with on the Democratic side really take this seriously,” he added, after host Chuck Todd raised the possibility that Democrats could lose their bid to retake the Senate by opposing the nominee. “They understand it’s an historic decision. It’s about more than the next election. It’s about what future the United States of America is going to chart.”

“They understand it’s an historic decision. It’s about more than the next election.”

– Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.

Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham called the situation a veritable “nightmare” for Democrats hanging onto their vulnerable seats in states that largely support Trump.

Those Democrats — including West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp, and Indiana’s Joe Donnelly — must choose between alienating their constituents, or trying to halt a conservative nominee who may ultimately prove unstoppable anyway because of the GOP’s slim Senate majority.

Only 50 votes are needed to confirm a justice, because Senate Republicans eliminated the filibuster for Supreme Court justices last year — widely seen as a retaliation for Democrats’ decision to get rid of the filibuster to ensure that President Barack Obama’s nominees were seated on the D.C. Circuit.

WATCH: SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM SAYS SCOTUS SITUATION A ‘NIGHTMARE’ FOR RED-STATE DEMOCRATS

Durbin charged that it was “totally inconsistent” for Republicans to press for a vote on Trump’s nominee after stalling the nomination of Merrick Garland in 2016. GOP Senate leaders refused to vote on Garland’s selection, saying it was inappropriate to consider a nomination during a presidential election year — a principle Durbin claimed must logically apply to midterm election cycles as well.

But Judiciary Committee member Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., said Sunday he would still be willing to meet with Trump’s nominee, even as he echoed Durbin’s complaints about Garland’s treatment.

After rampant speculation that has reached a fevered pitch, Trump is believed to have narrowed his shortlist to four candidates: federal judges Thomas Hardiman, Brett Kavanaugh, Raymond Kethledge and Amy Coney Barrett.

Graham called the hyper-partisan Supreme Court nomination process “dysfunctional,” but said Republicans should be happy with those four candidates.

“If you’re a conservative Republican, the four people named — particularly Thomas Hardiman, I’m glad he’s on the list — are all winners, and all Republicans should embrace these picks,” Graham told host Dana Perino.

Hardiman, a newer arrival on Trump’s shortlist, is a 3rd Circuit judge with blue-collar appeal who married into a prominent Democratic family. He was a front-runner for the Supreme Court seat that went to Neil Gorsuch last year, and was reportedly recommended to Trump by his sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, who served on the bench with him.

DID SEN. ORRIN HATCH JUST GIVE A BIG CLUE ABOUT TRUMP’S SCOTUS PICK?

Hardiman’s stock was rising as some conservatives have soured on Kavanaugh in recent days, saying he has too much baggage from his work related to the Ken Starr investigation that led to President Bill Clinton’s impeachment.

Kavanaugh has also taken criticism for writing an opinion on the D.C. Circuit that used an obscure jurisdictional argument to avoid ruling at all on the constitutionality of ObamaCare — a rationale ultimately rejected by the Supreme Court, which opted to take the case and uphold the law on other grounds.

But Leonard Leo, a top Federalist Society executive and key adviser to Trump on Supreme Court picks, on Sunday downplayed those concerns.

“Every potential nominee before announcement, every potential nominee before announcement, gets concerns expressed about them by people who might ultimately support them,” Leo said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“People aren’t always familiar with their records,” he added. “Sometimes people say things about one nominee because they favor another.”

In fact, Leo said, the lack of a lengthy paper trail can be a detriment on its own, even if it can lead to less complicated confirmation hearings.

“Well, I think that first of all with regard to Ray Kethledge and Tom Hardiman, they’re a little bit less known by conservatives,” he said. “And their records are a little bit lighter.”

Republicans have long expressed regret over President H.W. Bush’s nomination of David Souter to the court, and vowed to more carefully screen future nominees. Predicted to be a conservative justice, Souter instead turned out to be a reliably liberal vote.

The White House has reportedly prepared advance information packages on four potential nominees. Trump’s announcement of his ultimate pick is expected at 9 p.m. ET on Monday.

 

Gregg Re is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @gregg_re.

‘Their Party Has No Future’: Former Democrat Urges Liberals to ‘Walk Away’ From Democratic Party

The creator of a social media campaign urging liberals to detach themselves from the Democratic Party said that the future of the party is over.

Brandon Straka started the “#WalkAway Campaign,” which shares video stories of people who decide to dissociate themselves from liberalism.

According to the movement’s Facebook page, it’s meant to “encourage and support those on the left to walk away from the divisive tenets.”

Straka appeared on The Ingraham Angle Tuesday and said that negative rhetoric spoken by the left and intolerance it has shown has been a big reason as to why he’s walked away.

“What do these people stand for? What is there platform? All I can figure out so far is ‘We hate Trump’ and ‘We love illegal immigrants,'” Straka said.

Straka said that his campaign is proving that politicians like the self-proclaimed socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) are the reasons why people are leacing the Democratic party.

DNC Chairman Tom Perez gave Ocasio-Cortez high praise on Tuesday, dubbing her “the future of our party.”

“Their party has no future, it’s over,” Straka said in response.

The one reason Straka was initially a Democrat was because he is gay.

“I think that if you’re a minority in America … there’s sort of this assumption that you are not wanted on the right,” he said.

He added that he believes the left takes minorities for granted and makes people feel that President Trump’s administration is looking to “hurt” them.

“If you’re a minority, you have a choice,” he said.

As seen on The Ingraham Angle

BREAKING: Justice Kennedy Retires from High Court, Giving President Trump Another Pick

Justice Anthony Kennedy announced Wednesday that he is retiring, giving President Trump a critical opportunity to move the Supreme Court more solidly to the right in what promises to be an epic confirmation fight.

The 81-year-old senior associate justice informed the White House in a letter of his intention to step down from the high court after 30 years, effective July 31. Rumors of another vacancy have reverberated across Washington in recent months, and it comes a year after Kennedy’s former law clerk Justice Neil Gorsuch, took over the seat occupied by the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

Arguably the most powerful member of the Supreme Court, Kennedy’s moderate-conservative views often left him the “swing” — or deciding — vote in hot-button cases ranging from abortion to gay rights to political campaign spending.

A Supreme Court vacancy will likely become a key issue in a midterm congressional election year, when control of the Senate is at stake.

That body will consider Trump’s latest high court nominee, requiring only a simple majority for confirmation. GOP leaders changed the rules when Gorsuch was being considered, to get rid of the 60-vote procedural filibuster threshold.

But Democrats are expected to try and transform the court opening into a broader political referendum on Trump’s leadership, and the future of social issues like immigration, gun rights, and race.

Republicans, for their part, hope Kennedy’s replacement helps them in the November elections.