December 16, 2018

It’s THANKSGIVING DAY, not Turkey Day

For many generations Americans have rightly paused on Thanksgiving Day to give thanks to a generous God, who is our Heavenly Father. America was founded on principles of Judeo-Christian ethics, and a shared faith in a personal God, who caringly watches over the affairs of humanity with a concerned eye (while leaving us to exercise free will).

As socialists have struggled to wrestle our personal liberties from us, one of their main tools has been to secularize our society. Indeed, the ACLU, Democratic Party and similar leftist organizations have led the fight to remove any mention of God or His Son, Jesus Christ, from the public’s vernacular.

As a result of this attempt to make God and Christ politically incorrect in our nation, we have recently been greeted with “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” and with “Happy Turkey Day” instead of “Happy Thanksgiving Day.”

We can see why the left would seek to take Christ out of Christmas, but why the shift from Thanksgiving Day to Turkey Day? Because “Thanksgiving” implies there is a reason to be thankful, and someone to whom we should give thanks–and that’s God.

I for one am careful to wish everyone I meet, at the store, at work, or in other public places, a hearty Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas. As a child of our Heavenly Father, I would much rather offend an anti-American, than offend God.

Happy Thanksgiving Day America, and may God bless us.

By James Thompson

 

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Trump Speaks on Acosta, Obama’s Private Advice on Greatest US threat

President Trump, speaking exclusively to Fox News’ Chris Wallace in a wide-ranging interview, revealed what President Obama told him was the biggest challenge facing the U.S., discussed pending high-level departures from his administration and admitted that he occasionally enjoys calling on CNN reporter Jim Acosta.

“Actually I like to do it, but in many cases I don’t,” Trump acknowledged. In ruling that the administration temporarily has to restore Acosta’s White House access pass on Fifth Amendment due process grounds, federal judge Timothy J. Kelly noted that Trump could simply choose to ignore Acosta. (The judge, in his preliminary decision, did not rule on CNN’s First Amendment claim.)

But Trump, speaking to Wallace, floated another idea for handling Acosta.

“I think one of the things we’ll do is maybe turn the camera off that faces them, because then they don’t have any air time, although I’ll probably be sued for that and maybe, you know, win or lose it, who knows,” Trump mused. “I mean, with this stuff you never know what’s going to happen.”

Calling Acosta “unbelievably rude to [White House Press Secretary] Sarah Huckabee, who’s a wonderful woman,” Trump said his administration is currently formulating “rules and regulations” for White House reporters. “And if he misbehaves, we’ll throw him out or we’ll stop the news conference,” the president added.

As President Donald Trump points to CNN's Jim Acosta, a White House aide takes the microphone from him during a news conference in the East Room of the White House, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

As President Donald Trump points to CNN’s Jim Acosta, a White House aide takes the microphone from him during a news conference in the East Room of the White House, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Trump also defended Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker against Democrats’ calls that he should recuse himself because he has written critically of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.

“I did not know that,” Trump said, when asked if he was aware prior to appointing him that Whitaker had argued Mueller’s authority and funding could justifiably be limited. “I did not know he took views on the Mueller investigation as such.”

Trump added that he “would not get involved” in Whitaker’s decisions as he oversees Mueller’s probe in his new role as head of the Justice Department. The DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel issued an opinion affirming the constitutionality of Whitaker’s temporary appointment without Senate approval.

“Look he — it’s going to be up to him,” Trump said. I think he’s very well aware politically.  I think he’s astute politically.  He’s a very smart person.  A very respected person.  He’s going to do what’s right.  I really believe he’s going to do what’s right.”

FILE -Then-Iowa Republican senatorial candidate and former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker watches before a live televised debate in Johnston, Iowa.

FILE -Then-Iowa Republican senatorial candidate and former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker watches before a live televised debate in Johnston, Iowa. (Associated Press)

The president added that he has personally responded to Mueller’s written questions in the Russia probe and that they would be submitted “very soon.” Trump said his team is “writing what I tell them to write” in response to the inquiries.

Turning to another one of his frequent critics — former President Barack Obama — Trump took something of a victory lap, following news that some of the top candidates Obama had backed in the midterm elections had come up short.

“I won against President Obama and Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama in a great state called Georgia for the governor,” Trump said, referring to defeated Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams’ top surrogates. “And it was all stacked against Brian [Kemp], and I was the one that went for Brian, and Brian won.” (Abrams acknowledged in a fiery speech this week that she would not win the race, but strongly suggested Republican Brian Kemp had prevailed because of voter suppression, and vowed a lawsuit.)

“Look at Florida,” Trump continued. “I went down to Florida. [GOP Senate candidate] Rick Scott won, and he won by a lot.  I don’t know what happened to all those votes that disappeared at the very end.  And if I didn’t put a spotlight on that election before it got down to the 12,500 votes, he would have lost that election, OK?  In my opinion he would have lost.  They would have taken that election away from him. Rick Scott won Florida.”

The results of a manual recount in the Florida Senate will be reported on Sunday, and Scott is expected to prevail over Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson, following a series of lawsuits and snafus that exposed long-running issues with ballot counting in the state. In the gubernatorial race, Democrat Andrew Gillum conceded this weekend in his close fight with Republican Ron DeSantis.

Michelle Obama, right, is greeted by Oprah Winfrey to discusses her new book during an intimate conversation to promote "Becoming" at the United Center on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, in Chicago. (Photo by Rob Grabowski/Invision/AP)

Michelle Obama, right, is greeted by Oprah Winfrey to discusses her new book during an intimate conversation to promote “Becoming” at the United Center on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, in Chicago. (Photo by Rob Grabowski/Invision/AP)

But Trump also revealed that Obama, who also campaigned against Trump in several other states, had offered him some important guidance in the White House shortly after his 2016 election.

“I think North Korea’s been very tough because you know we were very close. When I took that over — President Obama right in those two chairs, we sat and talked and he said that’s by far the biggest problem that this country has,” Trump told Wallace.  And I think we had real decision as to which way to go on North Korea and certainly at least so far I’m very happy with the way we went.”

Addressing national security matters, Trump told Wallace that he has been briefed on the audio recording of journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s apparent murder in Turkey, but said he hasn’t listened to it, calling it a “suffering tape” that he was advised not to hear.

“You saw we put on very heavy sanctions, massive sanctions on a large group of people from Saudi Arabia,” Trump said. “But at the same time we do have an ally and I want to stick with an ally that in many ways has been very good.” He also said it “takes two to tango” to resolve the conflict in Yemen, where Iranian-backed insurgents are facing off in a proxy war against Saudi-backed forces, noting that “I want Saudi to stop, but I want Iran to stop also.”

Trump went on to defend his administration’s decision to pull hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Pakistan, saying the country doesn’t do “a damn thing for us” and charging that its government helped terror leader Osama bin Laden hide there.

“They don’t do a damn thing for us.”

— President Trump on Pakistan

“You know, living – think of this – living in Pakistan, beautifully in Pakistan in what I guess they considered a nice mansion, I don’t know, I’ve seen nicer,” Trump said, referring to bin Laden and his former compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The compound was demolished shortly after United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group forces, in a daring late-night helicopter raid, killed bin Laden there in 2011.

“But living in Pakistan right next to the military academy, everybody in Pakistan knew he was there,” he added.  “And we give Pakistan $1.3 billion a year . … [bin Laden] lived in Pakistan, we’re supporting Pakistan, we’re giving them $1.3 billion a year — which we don’t give them anymore, by the way. I ended it because they don’t do anything for us, they don’t do a damn thing for us.”

And Trump sounded a note of regret for not visiting Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., on Veterans Day — which Obama did several times when he was in office.

“I should have done that,” Trump said. “I was extremely busy on calls for the country, we did a lot of calling, as you know. …  I probably, you know, in retrospect I should have and I did last year and I will virtually every year.  But we had come in very late at night and I had just left, literally, the American cemetery in Paris and I really probably assumed that was fine and I was extremely busy because of affairs of state doing other things.”

Trump, who spent nearly an hour Thursday at the Marine Barracks in Washington, D.C. — where tables were lined with miniature pumpkin pies ahead of Thanksgiving — said he has some plans to potentially visit U.S. troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan for the first time.

“Well, I think you will see that happen,” the president said, after Wallace noted that Obama and former President George W. Bush had each visited soldiers in war zones. “There are things that are being planned.  We don’t want to talk about it because of — obviously because of security reasons and everything else.”

Two Central American migrants walk along the top of the border structure separating Mexico and the United States Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, in Tijuana, Mexico. Migrants in a caravan of Central Americans scrambled to reach the U.S. border, catching rides on buses and trucks for hundreds of miles in the last leg of their journey Wednesday as the first sizable groups began arriving in the border city of Tijuana. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Two Central American migrants walk along the top of the border structure separating Mexico and the United States Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, in Tijuana, Mexico. Migrants in a caravan of Central Americans scrambled to reach the U.S. border, catching rides on buses and trucks for hundreds of miles in the last leg of their journey Wednesday as the first sizable groups began arriving in the border city of Tijuana. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Explaining why he canceled a trip to visit a World War I memorial ceremony in Paris, Trump cited the weather and sharply criticized the media for making a “big deal” out of the situation. The president noted he attended an event the next day in the rain at a cemetery just outside Paris on Armistice Day.

“They said, ‘Sir,’ the Secret Service said, ‘Sir, you cannot go. We are not prepared. You cannot go,'” Trump said. “Because it was supposed to be helicopter, but the helicopter couldn’t fly because of zero visibility.”

Calling media reports that he is bitter and resentful following the midterm elections nothing more than “disgusting fake news,” Trump next addressed some potential high-level departures from his administration.

On Department of Homeland Security head Kirstjen Nielsen, Trump suggested he wants to see an improvement on border security. The first members of a large Central American migrant caravan arrived in the Mexican city of Tijuana last week and were photographed attempting to climb a border fence there.

A Catholic nun gives travel advice to Central American migrants riding in the bed of a semi-trailer, as they move toward the U.S. border, in Ixtlán del Rio, Nayarit, Mexico, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018. The U.S. government said it was starting work Tuesday to "harden" the border crossing from Tijuana, Mexico, to prepare for the arrival of a migrant caravan leapfrogging its way across western Mexico. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

A Catholic nun gives travel advice to Central American migrants riding in the bed of a semi-trailer, as they move toward the U.S. border, in Ixtlán del Rio, Nayarit, Mexico, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018. The U.S. government said it was starting work Tuesday to “harden” the border crossing from Tijuana, Mexico, to prepare for the arrival of a migrant caravan leapfrogging its way across western Mexico. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

“Well, I like her a lot. I respect her a lot,” Trump said, referring to Nielsen. “She’s very smart.  I want her to get much tougher and we’ll see what happens there. But I want to be extremely tough. …  I like her very much, I respect her very much, I’d like her to be much tougher on the border — much tougher, period.”

He added there’s a “chance” that Nielsen, who was accosted in a restaurant this summer by far-left progressive activists as her security detail kept close watch, will continue in her role.

Trump definitively told Wallace that Chief of Staff John Kelly will “move on” at some point, even as he claimed there was still some chance Kelly will stay with the administration through 2020.

“There are certain things I love what he does,” the president said. “And there are certain things that I don’t like that he does — that aren’t his strength. It’s not that he doesn’t do — you know he works so hard. He’s doing an excellent job in many ways. There are a couple of things where it’s just not his strength. It’s not his fault, it’s not his strength. … But John, at some point, is going to want to move on. John will move on.”

Multiple reports have suggested that Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Nick Ayers, will replace Kelly.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly takes questions from the media while addressing the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., October 12, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque - HP1EDAC1F1Q8V

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly takes questions from the media while addressing the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., October 12, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque – HP1EDAC1F1Q8V (REUTERS)

And on Deputy National Security Adviser Mira Ricardel, whom the White House announced would depart her role this week, Trump offered a blunt assessment.

“I met with Mira two days ago, and we’re going to move her around,” Trump said. “She was with me for a long time, although I don’t know her.  She’s really somebody I don’t know very well.  But we’re going to move her around because she’s got certain talents. But, frankly, she is not — she’ll never be put in the United Nations, let me put it that way. … She’s not too diplomatic, but she’s talented.”

Taking stock of the administration’s progress after two years, amid some past and apparently pending roster changes, Trump gave himself high marks — literally.

“I think I’m doing a great job.  We have the best economy we’ve ever had,” the president said. “We’re doing really well. We would have been at war with North Korea if, let’s say, that administration continued forward.”

Trump continued: “I would give myself, I would – look, I hate to do it, but I will do it, I would give myself an A+, is that enough? Can I go higher than that?”

 

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Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg Hospitalized After Fall

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg fractured three ribs after a fall at her office Wednesday evening, the court said in a news release.

Ginsburg, 85, later experienced discomfort and was admitted to George Washington University Hospital “for observation and treatment.”

Tests showed the justice fractured three ribs on her left side. The justice broke two ribs in a fall in 2012. She has had two prior bouts with cancer and had a stent implanted to open a blocked artery in 2014.

The justice, who studied at Harvard Law School, was nominated to the highest court in the land by former President Bill Clinton. She was the president’s first Supreme Court appointment.

Ginsburg is the court’s oldest member and there has been much speculation on her retirement. She is one of the four liberal justices that sits on the bench.

Ginsburg has became a liberal icon and has appeared on late night television shows including the “The Late Show” with Stephen Colbert where she showed him her workout routine.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Kathleen Joyce is a breaking/trending news producer for FoxNews.com. You can follow her at @Kathleen_Joyce8 on Twitter. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

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Jeff Sessions Resigns as Attorney General; Matthew Whitaker Steps In

Jeff Sessions, once one of President Trump’s most loyal and trusted advisers before infuriating Trump over his recusal from the Russia investigation, has resigned as attorney general at the request of the president.

“At your request, I am submitting my resignation,” Sessions wrote in the Wednesday letter to Trump.

The president tweeted that Matthew Whitaker, who currently serves as chief of staff to Sessions, will become the acting attorney general.

“We are pleased to announce that Matthew G. Whitaker, Chief of Staff to Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the Department of Justice, will become our new Acting Attorney General of the United States. He will serve our Country well,” he said.

Trump added: “We thank Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his service, and wish him well! A permanent replacement will be nominated at a later date.”

Sources told Fox News that Trump did not call Sessions, but rather White House Chief of Staff John Kelly  informed him of the president’s request for him to resign. Sessions is expected to leave the Justice Department by the end of the day and Whitaker is expected to be sworn in Wednesday.

In his resignation letter, Sessions said was “honored to serve” as attorney general and said his Justice Department “restored and upheld the rule of law – a glorious tradition that each of us has a responsibility to safeguard.”

Sessions’ departure from the Justice Department is not unexpected, as the president has signaled changes to his administration after the midterms. But no one faced more rumors of an imminent dismissal than Sessions.

For more than a year, Trump has repeatedly lambasted Sessions over his recusal, saying he wouldn’t have installed Sessions as the country’s top law enforcement officer had he known his attorney general would recuse himself from the Russia probe.

In September, Trump said of his strained relationship with Sessions, “I don’t have an attorney general. It’s very sad.”

Shortly after taking office, Sessions removed himself from the Russia investigation in March of 2017, citing his involvement as a high-profile surrogate and adviser to Trump’s campaign.

 

The investigation into the Russian government’s attempted meddling in the election has hung over the president since he took office. Trump and his aides have denied any collusion with the Russians.

Sources told Fox News Whitaker will now be overseeing the Russia investigation. However, Justice Department ethics officials have not yet determined whether Whitaker will be able to hold that responsibility, or whether he may also eventually have to recuse himself from the investigation.

It’s unclear if Special Counsel Robert Mueller was informed before the announcement.

In March 2017, Sessions announced his plans to recuse himself after reports surfaced detailing undisclosed conversations with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the campaign. Sessions has said he was acting in his capacity as a Republican senator from Alabama.

At the time of his recusal, Sessions said he met with the “relevant senior career department officials” to discuss the issue.

“Having concluded those meetings today, I have decided to recuse myself from any existing or future investigations of any matters related in any way to the campaigns for president of the United States,” Sessions said.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein then took control of the investigation and decided to appoint Mueller to take over the probe.

Trump’s falling out with Sessions was remarkable, considering the pivotal and trusted role the Alabama Republican played for Trump during the campaign.

Sessions — who bonded with Trump over their populist views on trade and immigration — became the first sitting senator to endorse Trump in February 2016 when he announced his support of the New York businessman’s then-underdog campaign.

The endorsement was seen as a blow to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Trump’s conservative rival in the Republican race whose path to victory included a strong performance in Southern states. Trump won Alabama.

Sessions went on to become one of Trump’s most outspoken and prominent surrogates during the campaign. A number of Sessions’ top staffers – including Rick Dearborn and Stephen Miller – took senior White House roles. When other Republicans abandoned Trump after the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape just days before the general election, Sessions stood by Trump.

After Trump won the White House, Sessions, who faced no opposition in his 2014 re-election to the Senate, gave up a safe seat to become Trump’s attorney general.

During his confirmation hearing, Sessions denied accusations from Democrats that he had made racially insensitive statements in the past. Though most Democrats voted against their former colleague, his confirmation was seen as redemption for Sessions, whose nomination for a 1986 federal judgeship was rejected by the Senate Judiciary Committee at the time.

As attorney general, Sessions cracked down on illegal immigration, vowing to enforce federal law.

Sessions’ former Senate colleagues on Wednesday praised him for his service.

“As our country’s top law enforcement official, he has been integral in fighting the opioid epidemic, keeping violent criminals off our streets, and supporting victims,” Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn said in a statement. “Those who know him understand his commitment to the rule of law, and his deep and abiding concern for our country.”

But Sessions also had his critics.

“Jeff Sessions was the worst attorney general in modern American history,” American Civil Liberties Union executive director Anthony D. Romero said.

 

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President Trump’s Closing Argument: Vote Republican and Continue the Jobs Boom

OP ED by President Donald J. Trump.

For many Americans, the Great Recession brought dark days we will never forget – and never want to repeat. It wasn’t long ago that economists told us sluggish growth and flat wages were here to stay.

Pundits talked about a “jobless recovery.” And politicians promised hope and change but never delivered.

But now, thanks to Republican leadership, the United States has the best economy in the history of our country – and hope has finally returned to cities and towns across America.

Since I was elected, we have created 4.5 million new jobs. In the last month alone, we added another 250,000 jobs, and nearly a half-million Americans returned to the workforce. We have added nearly 500,000 manufacturing jobs to our economy – jobs that many self-proclaimed experts said would never return.

The unemployment rate just fell to the lowest level in nearly 50 years. More Americans are working today than ever before. And wages are now rising at the fastest rate in a decade.

Today, if you want a job, you can get a job. If you want a better job, you can get a better job. African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and Asian-Americans have the best job prospects in history. The employment outlook for women is the best in more than 65 years.

Students graduating from high school and college are entering the workforce with an abundance of opportunities.

These things didn’t happen by accident. They happened because Republicans are putting American workers and families first.

To reclaim America’s competitive edge, Republicans passed the largest package of tax cuts and reforms in American history. In addition to saving the average family $2,000 per year, our tax cuts kicked off a growth boom as businesses expanded and hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign profits flooded back into our country.

By doubling the child tax credit, providing a $500 tax credit for non-child dependents, and lowering tax rates, Republicans delivered the tax relief that working families need and deserve.

Republicans have waged the largest regulatory reduction campaign in our history – eliminating unnecessary regulation after unnecessary regulation that killed jobs and drove businesses overseas.

We have unleashed American energy resources. We ended ObamaCare’s punitive individual mandate and created new, affordable health-care options with lower premiums for families and businesses. And we are fixing broken trade deals and cracking down on foreign trading abuses that have, for decades, plundered America’s wealth.

Democrats adamantly, aggressively and hysterically opposed every one of these policies.

The top Democrat in Congress even predicted our tax cuts would lead to “Armageddon.” But here we are, two years later, and America has never been more prosperous or more optimistic.

Now America faces a critical choice: whether to build on the extraordinary prosperity that Republican policies have delivered for our nation – or whether to allow Democrats to take control and take a giant wrecking ball to your economy and your future.

If House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., take control of Congress, they will drag America back into the economic abyss we struggled so hard to climb out of.

The Democrats have promised to raise taxes, restore job-killing regulations, restrict American energy production, and impose socialism through a government takeover of your health care that would bankrupt our country with a $32 trillion price tag.

Put simply, the Democrats will pursue economic policies that are the exact opposite of the successful policies that Republicans have implemented. Democratic economic policies will drive our factories overseas, destroy the American health-care system, and obliterate American jobs, American wages and American wealth.

We have already tried the Democratic way – and it produced the worst so-called economic recovery on record. Why would we ever go back?

Instead, I am asking you to vote for a Republican House, a Republican Senate, and Republican governors so we can continue the incredible economic success that families across the nation are now enjoying.

America’s red-hot economy is the envy of the world, and it is only getting stronger every day. A strong jobs economy helps working Americans lift up the people they love: children, parents, friends, and neighbors.

A strong jobs economy also means that our government can protect the American people with the strongest military in the world, protect Medicare and Social Security for our great seniors, protect Americans with pre-existing conditions, and protect our borders.

With your vote for Republican candidates, we can keep our economy growing and our nation on the right track.

With your vote, we will keep lifting millions of our citizens from welfare to work, dependence to independence, and poverty to prosperity. And together, we will build a future of safety, security, prosperity, and freedom for all our citizens.

 

Donald J. Trump is president of the United States.

 

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Trump Executive Order to End Illegal Birthright Citizenship

President Trump said in a newly released interview he plans to sign an executive order ending so-called “birthright citizenship” for babies of non-citizens born on U.S. soil — a move that would mark a major overhaul of immigration policy and trigger an almost-certain legal battle.

Birthright citizenship allows any baby born on U.S. soil to automatically be a U.S. citizen.

The policy, which stems from a disputed but long-recognized interpretation of the 14th Amendment, has given rise to what Trump considers abuse of the immigration system. Trump told “Axios on HBO” that the U.S. is the only country in the world “where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States … with all of those benefits.”

Despite Trump’s claim, the U.S. is not the only nation to have birthright citizenship, but the policy is rare outside of the Americas. Trump called birthright citizenship “ridiculous” and said that “it has to end.”

Under current policy, anyone born in the U.S. – regardless of whether they are delivered by a non-citizen or undocumented immigrant – is considered a citizen. The interpretation has been blamed for so-called ‘birth tourism’ and chain migration.

The 14th Amendment states: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

Trump, should he pursue the executive order, would face court challenges, and it remains unclear whether he could prevail. Many legal scholars would argue such a change requires a constitutional amendment. But some conservatives argue the existing amendment holds room for interpretation.

Michael Anton, a former national security adviser for Trump, pointed out in July that “there’s a clause in the middle of the amendment that people ignore or they misinterpret – subject to the jurisdiction thereof.”

“What they are saying is, if you are born on U.S. soil subject to the jurisdiction of the United States – meaning you’re the child of citizens or the child of legal immigrants, then you are entitled to citizenship,” Anton told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson in July. “If you are here illegally, if you owe allegiance to a foreign nation, if you’re the citizen of a foreign country, that clause does not apply to you.”

The interview was released after Trump told Fox News that Central American migrants who are approaching the U.S.-Mexico border in caravans are “wasting their time” and vowed, “they are not coming in.”

Trump spoke to “The Ingraham Angle” hours after the Pentagon announced it would deploy some 5,200 troops to the southern border in what the commander of U.S. Northern Command described as an effort to “harden the southern border” by stiffening defenses at and near legal entry points.

“When they are captured, we don’t let them out,” Trump told host Laura Ingraham. “We’re not letting them out … We’re not catching, we’re not releasing … We’re not letting them into this country.”

Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals judge James C. Ho, who was appointed by Trump, has argued that it would be “unconstitutional” to change how the 14th amendment was written and that the line subject to debate applies to the legal obligation of all foreigners and immigrants to follow U.S. law, Axios reported.

 

/Benjamin Brown is a reporter for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @bdbrown473./Fox News’ Samuel Chamberlain contributed to this report

 

 

 

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BREAKING: Bombing Suspect arrested in Florida – Cesar Sayoc

Cesar Altieri Sayoc has been arrested in connection with the suspicious packages that were sent across to various liberal personalities and CNN. Sayoc was named as the suspect by NY1’s Myles Miller. Sayoc is 54 years old and is a resident of Aventura, Florida.

A male suspect was arrested in Florida on Friday morning in connection with the rash of suspicious packages sent to prominent Democrats nationwide, law enforcement sources confirmed to Fox News.

A law enforcement source told Fox News that the suspect is a white male in his 50s, a former New Yorker, who lives in Aventura, Florida, who had prior arrests for terroristic threats. Several of the packages went through a U.S. postal facility in Opa-locka, which is less than 10 miles from Aventura.

The Department of Justice will hold a press conference at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Federal authorities had been focusing on Florida as the location where the majority of packages originated.

“Some of the packages went through the mail,” Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen earlier told Fox News. “They originated, some of them, from Florida. I am confident that this person or people will be brought to justice.”

TRUMP SAYS ‘BOMB STUFF’ SLOWING GOP MOMENTUM, IN FRESH APPEAL FOR TURNOUT

The Miami-Dade County Police Department confirmed Thursday it was helping federal agents who were at the facility in Opa-locka as part of the ongoing investigation.

The USPS operates an innovative imaging system that photographs each piece of mail processed throughout the country. Investigators were likely relying on that system to pinpoint where some of the packages were mailed.

The FBI said the packages each consisted of a manila envelope with a bubble-wrap interior containing potentially destructive devices. The packages were addressed with a computer-printed address label and six stamps.

A government source told Fox News the FBI was analyzing the stamps in Quantico. The source also said the investigation had progressed “significantly” and that the FBI was reaching out to retailers to zero in on where the elements of the bombs were made and where they were sold.

SUSPICIOUS PACKAGE ADDRESSED TO JAMES CLAPPER, SEN. CORY BOOKER RECOVERED IN NEW YORK, FLORIDA

The envelopes and packaging materials likely contained a treasure trove of DNA information. Tiny bits of genetic material – traces of sweat, skin cells, saliva, hair or fingerprints – are typically used as a roadmap to the suspect’s door, investigators and bomb experts say.

The Washington, D.C., field office and the FBI headquarters had 24 teams in place and on the hunt for the culprit.

Forensic investigators in Quantico, Va., have been sifting through the packages addressed to former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, liberal billionaire George Soros, former Attorney General Eric Holder, former CIA Director John Brennan and California Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters.

The devices are thought to have been fashioned from crude, bomb-making designs widely available on the Internet. Authorities haven’t said whether the devices were built to explode and kill or simply sow fear.

ROBERT DE NIRO SPEAKS OUT ON SUSPICIOUS PACKAGE AT HIS RESTAURANT

Ryan Morris, founder of Tripwire Operation Group, a company that provides explosives training to law enforcement and military officials, called the devices “Mickey Mouse” bombs that were meant to be found. He told Fox News he believes the primary motive is fear. The packages were sent about two weeks ahead of the midterm elections.

Regardless, investigators were treating the devices as “live” explosives New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill said.

Larry Johnson, a former head of criminal investigations for the U.S. Secret Service who also served as a special agent in charge of the presidential protective detail, agreed that bomb makers usually leave evidence – and their signature- behind.

“If there is a human involved, there is a high probability you’re going to get somewhere investigatively,” he told The Associated Press. “There will be no stone left unturned.”

Johnson believes it’s “highly likely” the person who built the bombs will have been previously flagged by law enforcement. The Secret Service maintains a wide database of groups and individuals who have made threats in the past against presidents or other top political leaders and activists via email, letters or on social media.

James Fitzgerald, a retired FBI profiler and forensic linguist who, in 1996, helped catch “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski — who killed 3 people and injured 23 in bombings between 1978 and 1995 — told Fox News on Wednesday that the letter sent to John Brennan, the former director of the CIA and a staunch Trump critic, reminded him of something the Unabomber would send because of the number of stamps used on the package.

“The linguist in me noticed that Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the last name is spelled missing a ‘c’ and John Brennan’s name is spelled missing an ‘n’ and that kind of surprised me and I have a feeling that was done on purpose to make this look like somebody who doesn’t really know who these people are and that it wasn’t an honest mistake. If he had this much anger and vitriol against these people, you would think he would know how to spell their names.

 

Fox News’ Brooke Singman, Rick Leventhal and Catherine Herridge contributed to this report

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‘Potential Explosive Devices’ Sent to Clintons, Obama, Soros and CNN

The Secret Service said Wednesday it has “intercepted” two suspicious packages identified as “potential explosive devices” sent to former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

The security scare comes after an explosive device was found in the mailbox of liberal billionaire George Soros, though it’s unclear if any of the incidents are related. CNN employees also said Wednesday that they were being evacuated from their New York office, after reports of a suspicious package at the Time Warner Center.

The news of the additional packages to Clinton and Obama unfolded quickly Wednesday morning. It first emerged that the FBI was investigating one suspicious package found by the home of Bill and Hillary Clinton in Chappaqua, New York. But in a statement, the Secret Service said after that package addressed to Hillary Clinton was caught late Tuesday, a second package addressed to Obama “was intercepted by Secret Service personnel in Washington, DC” on Wednesday morning.

“The packages were immediately identified during routine mail screening procedures as potential explosive devices and were appropriately handled as such. The protectees did not receive the packages nor were they at risk of receiving them,” the Secret Service said in its statement.

The Secret Service said it has launched a “full scope criminal investigation that will leverage all available federal, state, and local resources to determine the source of the packages and identify those responsible.”

Sources told Fox News that former President Clinton was at home in Chappaqua when the suspicious package was found, but that it was screened in Westchester County–not at the Clinton residence. A spokesperson for Hillary Clinton told Fox News that the former secretary of state has been in Florida for the last several days.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, in a written statement, condemned what she described as “attempted violent attacks” against the two former first families.

“We condemn the attempted violent attacks recently made against President Obama, President Clinton, Secretary Clinton, and other public figures. These terrorizing acts are despicable, and anyone responsible will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. The United States Secret Service and other law enforcement agencies are investigating and will take all appropriate actions to protect anyone threatened by these cowards,” she said.

In New York, the New Castle Police Department and the Westchester County Police are assisting in their investigation into the first suspicious package.

“The matter is currently under federal investigation,” a spokesman for the New Castle Police Department said in a statement to Fox News.

The FBI’s New York Field Office tweeted Wednesday morning that they are “aware” of a “suspicious package found in the vicinity of the Clinton residence,” stating the investigation is ongoing.

According to The New York Times, an explosive device was found by a technician who screens mail for the Clintons.

On Monday, an explosive device also was found in the mailbox at the Bedford, New York, home of George Soros.

The Times reported that the device found by the Clintons’ home was similar to the one found at Soros’ home.

Chappaqua is approximately 20 minutes from Bedford. Both towns are about one hour outside of New York City.

 

Trump and Pence: Democrats and Leftist Groups May be Funding Migrant Caravan

President Trump on Tuesday accused Democrats of possibly funding the caravan of migrants from Central America that is currently making its way through Mexico.

Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office, the president offered no proof that the Democrats were funding the migrant caravan, but was reacting to an announcement by Vice President Mike Pence that the caravan was being backed by “leftist organizations” and “Venezuela.”

“Maybe they made a bad mistake,” Trump said of the Democrats.

Trump’s comments came on the heels of a series of tweets that he would cut aid to three Central American countries he accused of failing to stop thousands of migrants heading for the U.S. border even as there was no indication of any other action within the administration.

Trump tweeted on Monday, “Sadly, it looks like Mexico’s Police and Military are unable to stop the Caravan heading to the Southern Border of the United States.” He added without evidence that “criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in.”

Trump continued, “Must change laws!”

Pence said on Tuesday that “it is inconceivable” that people from the Middle East are not in the caravan.

Associated Press journalists traveling with the caravan for more than a week have spoken with Hondurans, Guatemalans and Salvadorans but said they have not met any of the “Middle Easterners” that Trump claimed had “mixed in” with the Central American migrants. It was clear, though, that more migrants were continuing to join the caravan.

Trump’s tweets marked the latest escalation of his efforts to thrust immigration politics into the national conversation in the closing weeks of the congressional elections. He and his senior aides have long believed the issue — which was a centerpiece of his winning presidential campaign — is key to revving up his base and motivating GOP voters to turn out in November.

“Blame the Democrats,” he wrote. “Remember the midterms.”

The three countries received about $500 million from the U.S. in fiscal year 2017. That money funds programs that promote economic development and education, as well as supporting democracy and human rights, among other issues. It was not immediately clear how much money Trump now hopes to cut, though the administration already had been pushing to reduce the government’s global aid and foreign operations budget by about 30 percent for fiscal 2019 that began Oct 1.

Paul O’Brien, the vice president for policy and advocacy at Oxfam America, said that any attempts to decrease aid to the Central American countries would be “devastating” since the U.S. is a key investor in the region, funding programs on issues ranging from workforce development to reducing violence and improving human rights. In addition, other investors look to the U.S. as a guide.

“If you take that money away or you make it unpredictable, you’re actually going to foster the very conditions that are driving people toward migration,” said O’Brien, who accused Trump of “essentially seeking to use migrants as a political chip.”

Trump on Tuesday acknowledged that there was “heartache on both sides,” but said that work to improve the human rights conditions in Central America “hasn’t worked for a long time.” The president added that the U.S. needed to implement a merit-based immigration system.

“We cannot allow our country to be violated like this,” he said. “We have to focus on our country for a change.”

 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

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Freed American Pastor Brunson Meets Trump, Given Hero’s Welcome in Oval Office

Freed American pastor Andrew Brunson met and prayed with President Trump in the Oval Office Saturday, thanking him for having “really fought for us” — a day after his release from house arrest in Turkey.

Brunson, from North Carolina, arrived in the U.S. earlier Saturday after stopping in Germany on Friday. Brunson was imprisoned in October 2016 due to his alleged ties to an outlawed group as part of a crackdown on a failed coup in Turkey against President Recep Erdogan’s government. A Turkish judge on Friday ordered him freed from house arrest on Friday after sentencing him to time served on terror and treason charges.

Brunson thanked Trump in the Oval Office, saying “you really fought for us, unusually so, from the time you took office.” He also thanked members of Congress on both sides of the aisle who had worked for his release. In a dramatic moment, Brunson knelt down and prayed with the President — asking God for “supernatural wisdom to accomplish all the plans you have for this country and for him.”

In his remarks, Trump said it was a “great honor” to have Brunson in the White House and thanked a number of lawmakers and members of the Cabinet for their assistance in securing Bunson’s release.

“If ever there was a bipartisan effort, this was it,” he said. A number of senators, as well as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton, were in attendance in the Oval Office.

Brunson said he and his wife looked forward to spending time with children and praying to see what God wants next from him.

Trump, who had thanked Turkish President Erdogan “for his help” earlier in the day, expressed hope that Brunson’s release would mark the start of better relations between the two countries. Trump said on Twitter that while there was “great appreciation” and a hope of good relations between the U.S. and Turkey, but there was “no deal” made for Brunson’s return.

“There was NO DEAL made with Turkey for the release and return of Pastor Andrew Brunson. I don’t make deals for hostages,” he tweeted. “There was, however, great appreciation on behalf of the United States, which will lead to good, perhaps great, relations between the United States & Turkey!”

The Trump administration advocated persistently for Brunson’s release, leading to an intense economic showdown between the two NATO allies. In August, the U.S. slapped sanctions on an array of Turkish officials and on some goods, sending Turkish currency into freefall.

Fox News’ Greg Norman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

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Laura Ingraham: Democrats Unleash Fury on Kanye for Daring to Think for Himself

It was an amazing moment in the Oval Office Thursday when pop culture icon, rapper extraordinaire Kanye West, met with President Trump before the cameras and unleashed a 10-minute monologue in which he explained his love of all things MAGA.

“You know, people expect that if you’re black you have to be Democrat,” West said. “You know, they tried to scare me to not wear this (red MAGA) hat, my own friends. But this hat, it gives me power in a way.

“It was something about when I put this hat on, it made me feel like superman,” he continued. “Like what I need “Saturday Night Live” to improve on or what I need the liberals to improve on is, if he don’t look good, we don’t look good. This is our president… He has to be the freshest, the flyest…”

Sometimes unlikely figures emerge in American history to play important roles, illuminating important truths. And Kanye West in his own eccentric way, has exposed the intolerance of the left. Their denunciations of his White House appearance were immediate and withering.

“When it comes to the issue of Kanye West bringing black people to President Trump, that’s a misnomer,” said one personality on CNN. “He certainly doesn’t speak to the diversity or to the broad experiences of 40 million black people.”

And on MSNBC one anchor remarked “That was an assault on our White House.”

An assault on our White House? Sure, West used some coarse language that he shouldn’t have, but in other settings, liberals would have called that “authentic.” The would have said he was being his “true self, speaking his own truth.” If you’re truly concerned about assaults or improprieties in the White House, how about what went on between Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky?  Or the Clintons’ close relationship with Harvey Weinstein?

Kanye West is hardly a political philosopher, and I’ve always believed that entertainers should first entertain and keep their politics separate from their art. But I cannot remember any artist on the left who was treated with the same vitriol and hatred as West has been subjected to since he announced his support for the president.

When Katy Perry or Miley Cyrus were headlining Hillary Clinton rallies, running through dorms to register voters, I don’t remember anyone at MSNBC or CNN criticizing them for lacking policy experience. And what about when Hillary Clinton sat down for an interview with the probing policy maven, Mary J. Blige, who serenaded the presidetial candidate with a song that went like this: “It ain’t no secret, no secret my friend, you can get killed just for living in your American skin.”

That was like an old coffee commercial from the 70’s. And remember, Obama was the biggest celebrity hound of them all. His cringe-worthy celebrity crushes were mutual. Remember when Barack and Michelle serenaded Usher in the White House? No one cried “impropriety” or “assault on the White House” then.

And how about Beyonce and Jay-Z? They were in and out of the Obama White House more frequently than the Secret Service. That was all perfectly acceptable. No policy concerns then. But when it was announced that Kanye West would be holding a meeting with Trump at the White House, all hell broke loose.

“So Kanye is going to let the president use him again,” said CNN’s Don Lemon.  A commentator on that network remarked, “He is the token Negro of the Trump administration…Black folks are about to trade Kanye West in the racial draft.”  Another said “Kanye West is what happens when Negroes don’t read.”

West is being subjected to the attacks that await any black conservative who dares to break ranks with the Democratic monolith. Liberals treat these entertainers like pawns who are not allowed to deviate from the leftist groupthink at all. God protect any Hispanic, gay or black who  goes his or her own way politically.

Remember the scorn that singer and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte heaped on Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell for working for George W. Bush? “Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell served Bush because they believe as he does,” Belafonte said. “They embrace his ideology. They embrace his imperial appetite. They are lackeys and tools of that. And my reference to them as the failed house slaves, meant that they were not the masters of their own destiny, although they had the choice to be and didn’t.”

House slaves – that was really nice. More than 30 years ago, a prominent figure in the Reagan administration argued that black Americans should cast off liberalism for conservative solutions, and summed up how the GOP had lost so much ground saying, “Democrats smugly assume blacks are monolithic and will by force of circumstances always huddle to the left of the political spectrum. The political right watches this herd mentality and action, concedes that blacks are monolithic, picks up a few dissidents, and wistfully shrugs at the seemingly unbreakable hold of the liberal left on black Americans.”

That official’s name was Clarence Thomas, then chair of the Equal Opportunity Commission. Individuals such as the brilliant conservative economist Thomas Sowell were courageous because, as Thomas noted, “they refused to give into the cult mentality and childless obedience that hypnotized black Americans into mindless political trance.”

I’m not going to say that rapper Kanye West is Thomas Sewell or Clarence Thomas.  But I will say that unless he is doing a giant punking of America, he has guts and gusto. Just because he dares to think for himself, to think differently, in his outspoken, over-the-top manner, he is pilloried by the politically correct performers in politics and journalism and of course in the entertainment industry. He represents a danger to the left because of his huge cultural influence. And moments like this, they are absolutely intolerable and frightening to liberals.

So next time you hear liberal pundits writing Kanye West off as a crazy, slavery-denying lunatic, remember this: They have to smear West for fear that black Americans will follow him into the arms of President Donald Trump. And what are the Democrats going to do then?

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Kavanaugh Confirmed to Supreme Court by Senate: What Happens Next?

Brett Kavanaugh, who has been embroiled in controversy over decades-old sexual assault allegations, was confirmed to the Supreme Court by the Senate Saturday in a 50-48 vote.

Trump officially tapped Kavanaugh as his Supreme Court pick on July 9 – less than two weeks after Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement from the bench. Since then, several women, including Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, publicly accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. Kavanaugh vehemently denied the allegations.

After an FBI investigation into the allegations, Trump continued to voice support for Kavanaugh. On Saturday, he congratulated Kavanaugh on his approval in a tweet and said he would sign his commission of appointment later the same day.

From how the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing works to the actual vote, read on for a look at how the confirmation process works.

The hearing

Once the president announces his nomination to the Court, the Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing for the nominee to provide testimony and answer questions. This hearing can take multiple days.

After the hearing, the committee will vote, and it typically recommends the nominee to the full Senate for a vote. The committee can give a favorable or unfavorable recommendation – or none at all.

In 1991, Justice Clarence Thomas was sent to the Senate for a vote without a recommendation – favorable or not – from the Judiciary Committee. Robert Bork was sent to the full floor with an unfavorable recommendation in 1987; the full Senate ultimately did not confirm him.

The vote

For the Supreme Court nominee to be confirmed, he or she needs to receive a simple majority of 51 votes.

But this wasn’t always the case.

Senate Republicans deployed the so-called “nuclear option” in 2017 to ensure Neil Gorsuch was confirmed to the nation’s highest court. This changed the rules, allowing a nominee to be confirmed with only 51 votes instead of 60.

Currently, there are 51 Republican senators and 49 Democrats (which includes two independents who caucus with Senate Democrats).

If there is a tie on the Senate floor, the vice president would break it, and he would be more than likely vote for Trump’s nominee.

President signs off

The final step in the confirmation process involves approval from the president.

Once the Supreme Court nominee is confirmed by the Senate, the president must issue a written commission to his nominee. Afterward, the nominee needs to be sworn in – taking two oaths of office – before assuming his official position on the nation’s highest court.

 

Fox News’ Judson Berger, John Roberts and The Associated Press have contributed to this report.

 

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Trump: Dems Piling on Kavanaugh Have Issues of Their Own

President Trump on Monday sought to turn the tables on Senate Democrats acting “holier-than-thou” over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s drinking and behavior in school, saying many of them “are not angels” themselves.

“I watched the senators on the Democrat side and I thought it was a disgrace,” Trump said of last week’s hearing with Kavanaugh over allegations of sexual assault. “And partially because I know them. I know them too well. And you know what? They are not angels.”

Taking questions in the Rose Garden during a press conference on the new trade deal with Mexico and Canada, the president cryptically referenced one senator “on the other side who is pretty aggressive.”

“I’ve seen that person in very bad situations,” Trump said. “Okay? I have seen that person in very, very bad situations. Somewhat compromising.”

Pressed by a reporter, the president wouldn’t clarify to whom he was referring.

“I think I will save it for a book like everybody else,” Trump said.

But Trump did fire back at several specific Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee who aggressively questioned Kavanaugh over the allegations, which the nominee denies.

He took aim at Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who battled accusations during his 2010 Senate race that he falsely claimed to have served in the Vietnam War.

Trump added: “And now he’s up there talking like he’s holier-than-thou.”

Trump also singled out New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, who once wrote a newspaper column admitting to groping a friend without her consent in high school. Trump on Monday referred to those “statements” about what Booker “was doing” in school.

“Take a look at Cory Booker,” Trump said, adding, “And now he is talking about Judge Kavanaugh?”

Booker’s office recently pushed back on criticism over that column, noting it was meant to condemn a culture that encourages young men to take advantage of women.

The president also criticized Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, for sitting on the allegations against Kavanaugh for months before turning them over to the FBI. He then speculated that Feinstein “leaked” the allegations to the media – something the Democrat has repeatedly denied.

“She probably leaked it. But, you know, who am I to say? But she probably leaked it, based on her very bad body language the other day,” he said.

Monday’s Rose Garden press conference was tense at times, as the president repeatedly shot down reporters who tried to ask about Kavanaugh while he was still discussing the new trade deal with Canada and Mexico.

“She’s shocked that I picked on her,” Trump said of one reporter. “She’s like in a state of shock.”

Eventually, Trump moved on from his comments on trade, opening up the floodgates for questions on Kavanaugh.

The president, asked about the FBI supplemental probe ordered last week into Kavanaugh’s behavior, said he wants the FBI to do a “very comprehensive investigation” but “with that being said, I’d like it to go quickly.”

The president also said he’s fine with the FBI interviewing all of Kavanaugh’s accusers, including Julie Swetnick, who is represented by Democratic attorney Michael Avenatti. Swetnick’s claim – that Kavanaugh was present for “gang rapes” and rape “trains” in the 1980s – has faced skepticism from some on Capitol Hill. During Thursday’s hearing, Kavanaugh called the “Swetnick thing” a “joke” and a “farce.”

Meanwhile, a senior Senate GOP source told Fox News they were told the Kavanaugh FBI probe could be completed by Tuesday. The GOP leadership is hoping the FBI report will push Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska — all seen as swing votes — to vote yes on the nomination.

In a light-hearted moment, the president referenced his own teetotaler practices, and said, “I’m not a drinker. I can honestly say I’ve never had a beer in my life. Okay? It’s one of my only good traits.”

He added, “Can you imagine if I had? What a mess I would be? I would be the world’s worst. But I never drink.”

He also drew laughter when he said many people in Washington could have skeletons in their closet – except his vice president.

“Except for Mike Pence, by the way,” Trump said. “If we find one on him, that will be the greatest shock of all time.”

 

Fox News’ Chad Pergram contributed to this report.

 

 

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Kavanaugh Denies Sexual Misconduct in Interview: ‘I know I’m telling the truth’ and ‘I was a Virgin During High School and College’

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh denied accusations of sexual misconduct that have threatened to derail his confirmation in an exclusive interview with Fox News on Monday.

“What I know is the truth, and the truth is I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone,” Kavanaugh told Fox News’ Martha MacCallum.

The full interview with Kavanaugh and his wife, Ashley, is set to air at 7 p.m. ET on “The Story”.

California professor Christine Blasey Ford has accused Kavanaugh of covering her mouth and trying to remove her clothing at a party in the early 1980s, when both were in high school. Kavanaugh and Ford are set to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

In the interview, Kavanaugh emphatically denied Ford’s claim against him, telling McCallum that he was a virgin through high school and for “many years after.”

“I was never at any such party,” Kavanaugh said. “The other people who alleged to be present have said they do not remember any such party. A woman who was present, another woman who was present who was Dr. Ford’s lifelong friend has said she doesn’t know me and never remembers being at a party with me at any time in her life.”

Kavanaugh added that he was “not questioning and have not questioned that perhaps Dr. Ford at some point in her life was sexually assaulted by someone at some place but what I know is I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone.”

Kavanaugh also told MacCallum that he would not withdraw his name from consideration over the allegations.

“I want a fair process where I can defend my integrity, and I know I’m telling the truth,” the judge said. “I know my lifelong record and I’m not going to let false accusations drive me out of this process. I have faith in God and I have faith in the fairness of the American people.”

Kavanaugh also addressed a New Yorker report published Sunday night in which classmate Deborah Ramirez said he exposed himself to her while they were students at Yale.

The couple also discussed how their two daughters are dealing with the accusations against their father.

KAVANAUGH FIGHTS BACK AGAINST ‘SMEARS, PURE AND SIMPLE’

Top Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., have slammed what they described as a “smear campaign” orchestrated in part by Democrats. Meantime, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, has asked for the Kavanaugh nomination to be halted while the FBI investigates the allegations.

This is a developing story; check back tonight for the full interview. Fox News’ Martha MacCallum contributed to this report.

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NYT: DOJ’s Rosenstein Suggested He and Others Secretly Record Trump

WASHINGTON — The deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, suggested last year that he secretly record President Trump in the White House to expose the chaos consuming the administration, and he discussed recruiting cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Mr. Trump from office for being unfit.

Mr. Rosenstein made these suggestions in the spring of 2017 when Mr. Trump’s firing of James B. Comey as F.B.I. director plunged the White House into turmoil. Over the ensuing days, the president divulged classified intelligence to Russians in the Oval Office, and revelations emerged that Mr. Trump had asked Mr. Comey to pledge loyalty and end an investigation into a senior aide.

Mr. Rosenstein was just two weeks into his job. He had begun overseeing the Russia investigation and played a key role in the president’s dismissal of Mr. Comey by writing a memo critical of his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. But Mr. Rosenstein was caught off guard when Mr. Trump cited the memo in the firing, and he began telling people that he feared he had been used.

Mr. Rosenstein made the remarks about secretly recording Mr. Trump and about the 25th Amendment in meetings and conversations with other Justice Department and F.B.I. officials. Several people described the episodes, insisting on anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. The people were briefed either on the events themselves or on memos written by F.B.I. officials, including Andrew G. McCabe, then the acting bureau director, that documented Mr. Rosenstein’s actions and comments.

None of Mr. Rosenstein’s proposals apparently came to fruition. It is not clear how determined he was about seeing them through, though he did tell Mr. McCabe that he might be able to persuade Attorney General Jeff Sessions and John F. Kelly, then the secretary of homeland security and now the White House chief of staff, to mount an effort to invoke the 25th Amendment.

The extreme suggestions show Mr. Rosenstein’s state of mind in the disorienting days that followed Mr. Comey’s dismissal. Sitting in on Mr. Trump’s interviews with prospective F.B.I. directors and facing attacks for his own role in Mr. Comey’s firing, Mr. Rosenstein had an up-close view of the tumult. Mr. Rosenstein appeared conflicted, regretful and emotional, according to people who spoke with him at the time.

Mr. Rosenstein disputed this account.

“The New York Times’s story is inaccurate and factually incorrect,” he said in a statement. “I will not further comment on a story based on anonymous sources who are obviously biased against the department and are advancing their own personal agenda. But let me be clear about this: Based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment.”

A Justice Department spokeswoman also provided a statement from a person who was present when Mr. Rosenstein proposed wearing a wire. The person, who would not be named, acknowledged the remark but said Mr. Rosenstein made it sarcastically.

Andrew G. McCabe, who became acting director of the F.B.I. after Mr. Comey was fired, memorialized his interactions with Mr. Rosenstein in memos. CreditAlex Wong/Getty Images

But according to the others who described his comments, Mr. Rosenstein not only confirmed that he was serious about the idea but also followed up by suggesting that other F.B.I. officials who were interviewing to be the bureau’s director could also secretly record Mr. Trump.

Mr. McCabe, who was later fired from the F.B.I., declined to comment. His memos have been turned over to the special counsel investigating whether Trump associates conspired with Russia’s election interference, Robert S. Mueller III, according to a lawyer for Mr. McCabe. “A set of those memos remained at the F.B.I. at the time of his departure in late January 2018,” the lawyer, Michael R. Bromwich, said of his client. “He has no knowledge of how any member of the media obtained those memos.”

The revelations about Mr. Rosenstein come as Mr. Trump has unleashed another round of attacks in recent days on federal law enforcement, saying in an interview with the Hill newspaper that he hopes his assaults on the F.B.I. turn out to be “one of my crowning achievements” and that he only wished he had terminated Mr. Comey sooner.

“If I did one mistake with Comey, I should have fired him before I got here. I should have fired him the day I won the primaries,” Mr. Trump said. “I should have fired him right after the convention. Say, ‘I don’t want that guy.’ Or at least fired him the first day on the job.”

Days after ascending to the role of the nation’s No. 2 law enforcement officer, Mr. Rosenstein was thrust into a crisis.

On a brisk May day, Mr. Rosenstein and his boss, Mr. Sessions, joined Mr. Trump in the Oval Office, where the president informed them of his plan to oust Mr. Comey. To the surprise of White House aides who were trying to talk the president out of it, Mr. Rosenstein embraced the idea, even offering to write the memo about the Clinton email inquiry. He turned it in shortly after.

A day later, Mr. Trump announced the firing, and White House aides released Mr. Rosenstein’s memo, labeling it the basis for Mr. Comey’s dismissal. Democrats sharply criticized Mr. Rosenstein, accusing him of helping to create a cover story for the president to rationalize the termination.

“You wrote a memo you knew would be used to perpetuate a lie,” Senator Christopher Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, wrote on Twitter. “You own this debacle.”

The president’s reliance on his memo caught Mr. Rosenstein by surprise, and he became angry at Mr. Trump, according to people who spoke to Mr. Rosenstein at the time. He grew concerned that his reputation had suffered harm and wondered whether Mr. Trump had motives beyond Mr. Comey’s treatment of Mrs. Clinton for ousting him, the people said.

A determined Mr. Rosenstein began telling associates that he would ultimately be “vindicated” for his role in the matter. One week after the firing, Mr. Rosenstein met with Mr. McCabe and at least four other senior Justice Department officials, in part to explain his role in the situation.

During their discussion, Mr. Rosenstein expressed frustration at how Mr. Trump had conducted the search for a new F.B.I. director, saying the president was failing to take the candidate interviews seriously. A handful of politicians and law enforcement officials, including Mr. McCabe, were under consideration.

To Mr. Rosenstein, the hiring process was emblematic of broader dysfunction stemming from the White House. He said both the process and the administration itself were in disarray, according to two people familiar with the discussion.

Mr. Rosenstein then raised the idea of wearing a recording device or “wire,” as he put it, to secretly tape the president when he visited the White House. One participant asked whether Mr. Rosenstein was serious, and he replied animatedly that he was.

If not him, then Mr. McCabe or other F.B.I. officials interviewing with Mr. Trump for the job could perhaps wear a wire or otherwise record the president, Mr. Rosenstein offered. White House officials never checked his phone when he arrived for meetings there, Mr. Rosenstein added, implying it would be easy to secretly record Mr. Trump.

The suggestion itself was remarkable. While informants or undercover agents regularly use concealed listening devices to surreptitiously gather evidence for federal investigators, they are typically targeting drug kingpins and Mafia bosses in criminal investigations, not a president viewed as ineffectively conducting his duties.

In the end, the idea went nowhere, the officials said. But they called Mr. Rosenstein’s comments an example of how erratically he was behaving while he was taking part in the interviews for a replacement F.B.I. director, considering the appointment of a special counsel and otherwise running the day-to-day operations of the more than 100,000 people at the Justice Department.

Mr. Rosenstein’s suggestion about the 25th Amendment was similarly a sensitive topic. The amendment allows for the vice president and majority of cabinet officials to declare the president is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”

Merely conducting a straw poll, even if Mr. Kelly and Mr. Sessions were on board, would be risky if another administration official were to tell the president, who could fire everyone involved to end the

effort.

Mr. Rosenstein acknowledged that Mr. Comey was a role model but said he thought it was appropriate to seek a new leader for the F.B.I.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

Mr. McCabe told other F.B.I. officials of his conversation with Mr. Rosenstein. None of the people interviewed said that they knew of him ever consulting Mr. Kelly or Mr. Sessions.

The episode is the first known instance of a named senior administration official weighing the 25th Amendment. Unidentified others have been said to discuss it, including an unnamed senior administration official who wrote an Op-Ed for The New York Times. That person’s identity is unknown to journalists in the Times news department.

Some of the details in Mr. McCabe’s memos suggested that Mr. Rosenstein had regrets about the firing of Mr. Comey. During a May 12 meeting with Mr. McCabe, Mr. Rosenstein was upset and emotional, Mr. McCabe wrote, and said that he wished Mr. Comey were still at the F.B.I. so he could bounce ideas off him.

Mr. Rosenstein also asked F.B.I. officials on May 14, five days after Mr. Comey’s firing, about calling him for advice about a special counsel. The officials responded that such a call was a bad idea because Mr. Comey was no longer in the government. And they were surprised, believing that the idea contradicted Mr. Rosenstein’s stated reason for backing Mr. Comey’s dismissal — that he had shown bad judgment in the Clinton email inquiry.

Mr. Rosenstein, 53, is a lifelong public servant. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard Law School, he clerked for a federal judge before joining the Justice Department in 1990 and was appointed United States attorney for Maryland.

Mr. Rosenstein also considered appointing as special counsel James M. Cole, himself a former deputy attorney general, three of the people said. Mr. Cole would have made an even richer target for Mr. Trump’s ire than has Mr. Mueller, a lifelong Republican: Mr. Cole served four years as the No. 2 in the Justice Department during the Obama administration and worked as a private lawyer representing one of Mrs. Clinton’s longtime confidants, Sidney Blumenthal.

Mr. Cole and Mr. Rosenstein have known each other for years. Mr. Cole, who declined to comment, was Mr. Rosenstein’s supervisor early in his Justice Department career when he was prosecuting public corruption cases.

Mr. Trump and his allies have repeatedly attacked Mr. Rosenstein, who oversees the Russia investigation because Mr. Sessions recused himself because of his role as a prominent Trump campaign supporter. Many of those same critics also have targeted Mr. McCabe, who was fired in March for failing to be forthcoming in a Justice Department inspector general investigation. Mr. McCabe’s actions were referred to federal prosecutors in Washington.

The president’s allies have seized on Mr. McCabe’s lack of candor to paint a damning picture of the F.B.I. under Mr. Comey and assert the Russia investigation is tainted.

The Justice Department denied a request in late July from Mr. Trump’s congressional allies to release Mr. McCabe’s memos, citing an ongoing investigation that the lawmakers believed to be Mr. Mueller’s. Mr. Rosenstein not only supervises that investigation but is considered by the president’s lawyers as a witness for their defense because he also sought the dismissal of Mr. Comey, which is being investigated as possible obstruction of justice.

Matt Apuzzo and Nicholas Fandos contributed reporting.

Follow Adam Goldman and Michael S. Schmidt on Twitter: @adamgoldmanNYT and @nytmike.

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Trump Orders Feds to Declassify Key FISA Documents

President Trump Monday ordered the declassification of several key documents related to the FBI’s probe of Russian actions during the 2016 presidential election, including 21 pages of an application for a renewed surveillance warrant against former campaign aide Carter Page, and text messages from disgraced FBI figures Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump had ordered the documents released “[a]t the request of a number of committees of Congress, and for reasons of transparency.”

The documents to be declassified also include 12 FBI reports on interviews with Justice Department official Bruce Ohr and all FBI reports of interviews prepared in connection with all other applications to surveil Carter Page.

Trump also ordered the Justice Department to release text messages from a number of the key players in the Russia investigation “without redaction” — including Ohr, Strzok, Lisa Page, former FBI Director James Comey, and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

It was not immediately clear when or how the documents would be released. Congressional sources told Fox News that House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., does not know how soon he will get the documents, but said Trump’s order covers “pretty much everything that he wanted … and the text messages are a bonus.”

Earlier this month, 12 Republican members of Congress publicly asked the president to declassify the June 2017 application for a warrant against Page as well as the FBI reports of interviews with Ohr, known in bureaucratic parlance as “Form 302s.”

On Sunday, Nunes told Fox Business Network that witness interview transcripts and other documents from that committee’s now-concluded Russia investigation should be made public before November’s midterm elections.

“If the president wants the American people to really understand just how broad and invasive this investigation has been to many Americans and how unfair it has been, he has no choice but to declassify,” Nunes said on FBN’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”

House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., said last week that it would be “beneficial” for Americans to see those documents.

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

 

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Sen. Kennedy: Kavanaugh Confirmation Process ‘An Intergalactic Freak Show’

Sen. John Kennedy called the confirmation hearings for Judge Brett Kavanaugh “an intergalactic freak show” and said he was embarrassed for Congress by the accusations of sexual misconduct leveled at the Supreme Court nominee.

“So far, it’s pretty much been an intergalactic freak show,” Kennedy, R-La., told Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.” “Most Americans are looking at this – most mainstream Americans – and they’re thinking that Congress has hit rock bottom and started to dig.”

Kennedy added: “I have been embarrassed by the whole process and, frankly, I’m – no disrespect to Senator Feinstein or to Stanford Law School – but I’m a little bit offended. I sit on Judiciary Committee. They’ve had this stuff for three months. If they were serious about it, they should’ve told us about it.”

The Louisiana lawmaker was referencing a secret letter that has been the subject of intrigue on Capitol Hill over the last week. A source familiar with the confirmation proceedings told Fox News that California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., received the letter back in July, but did not make its existence known publicly until Thursday.

The letter was relayed to lawmakers by 51-year-old research psychologist Christine Blasey Ford and concerns an alleged incident involving the 53-year-old Kavanaugh and her while they were in high school. The Washington Post first reported that Ford was the letter’s author.

In a statement released by the White House Friday, Kavanaugh said: “I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time.”

Senate Republicans insist Kavanaugh’s confirmation remains on track for a committee vote this upcoming Thursday. But the allegation has inflamed an already intense political battle over President Trump’s nominee. It also pushes the #MeToo movement into the court fight, less than two months before congressional elections that have seen a surge of female Democratic candidates.

The New Yorker magazine reported that the alleged incident took place at a party when Kavanaugh, now 53, was attending Georgetown Preparatory School. The woman making the allegation attended a nearby school.

The accusations against Kavanaugh resurfaced similar ones leveled against Associate Justice Clarence Thomas during his own confirmation hearings in 1991. Anita Hill accused Thomas, who was her supervisor at the Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, of sexually harassing her. Thomas denied those allegations and was confirmed.

Hill, who is now a professor at Brandeis University, urged the Senate to put in place a process for people to come forward.

“Even in the #MeToo era, it remains incredibly difficult to report harassment, abuse or assault by people in power,” she said.

The eleventh-hour revelations drew sharp criticism not only from Feinstein’s Republican colleagues in the Senate, but from the media in her home state of California, with the San Francisco Chronicle calling the allegations “unfair all around.”

“Feinstein’s treatment of a more than three-decades-old sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was unfair all around,” the newspaper’s editorial board noted on Sunday. “It was unfair to Kavanaugh, unfair to his accuser and unfair to Feinstein’s colleagues — Democrats and Republicans alike — on the Senate Judiciary Committee.”

The editorial continued: “Feinstein… took the worst possible course by waiting until almost a week after Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing was completed to ominously announce that she had turned over ‘information from an individual’ about Kavanaugh to the FBI, and adding that she would be honoring the person’s ‘strongly requested’ confidentiality.”

While Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court seems likely, it is not guaranteed and he will certainly not be a unanimous pick.

Feinstein penned an opinion piece for the Los Angeles Times over the weekend, explaining that she strongly opposes Kavanaugh’s nomination because of his stance on issues ranging from reproductive rights to judicial deference.

“Supreme Court justices should not be an extension of the Republican Party,” Feinstein wrote. “They must also have unquestionable character and integrity, and serious questions remain about Judge Kavanaugh in this regard, as indicated in information I referred to the FBI. For these and other reasons detailed below, I strongly oppose Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.”

Kennedy told “Fox News Sunday” that he believes it will be a close vote for Kavanaugh, but in the end the judge will join the Supreme Court.

“I think the vote will be 11-10 Wallace,” Kennedy said. “Straight party line vote. I think the nomination will come to the floor; that’ll be up to Senator (Mitch) McConnell (a Republican from Kentucky). I think every Republican will vote for Judge Kavanaugh. I think at least two and probably more Democrats will.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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).