October 17, 2018

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).

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

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

‘I’d love to do it’

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

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

Set up your free account with PlanetUs.com now>

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

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

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

PlanetUs is a conservative-friendly social media platform

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

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

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

‘They have it RIGGED, for me & others’

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

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

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

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

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

PUBLIUS / With materials written by The Blaze

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The ICIG and the FBI declined to comment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sen John McCain Dead at 81

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John McCain Discontinues Cancer Treatment

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

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

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

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

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

Reaction poured in after the family’s announcement.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Illegal Alien Murdered Mollie Tibbetts, Makes Court Appearance

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

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

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

Later, given another chance to speak, Rivera declined.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Naive Liberal Couple Murdered by ISIS

‘Evil is a make-believe concept’: US couple trumpets global goodness on bike trek. ISIS kills them.

Jay Austin and Lauren Geoghegan, both 29, quit their Washington, D.C., jobs a little over a year ago and embarked on a bicycle trip around the world. By April, their journey well underway, Austin wrote in the couple’s blog, Simply Cycling, that they were embracing something beyond a mere great adventure.

“You watch the news and you read the papers and you’re led to believe that the world is a big, scary place,” he wrote. “People, the narrative goes, are not to be trusted. People are bad. People are evil. People are axe murderers and monsters and worse.”

He continued:

I don’t buy it. Evil is a make-believe concept we’ve invented to deal with the complexities of fellow humans holding values and beliefs and perspectives different than our own—it’s easier to dismiss an opinion as abhorrent than strive to understand it. Badness exists, sure, but even that’s quite rare. By and large, humans are kind. Self-interested sometimes, myopic sometimes, but kind. Generous and wonderful and kind. No greater revelation has come from our journey than this.

 

Image source: YouTube screenshot

But in their very next blog entry, Austin described a driver in Spain trying to run him over amid a traffic jam.

It was a chilling portent of things to come.

Austin and Geoghegan were killed July 29 — just a few days into the second year of their journey — in what CBS News said was an ISIS-inspired attack as they rode through Tajikistan, which is predominantly Muslim and borders Afghanistan.

A car rammed into the couple and other bicycle tourists, after which five men exited the vehicle and attacked the group with knives, the network reported. Two others bicyclists — one from the Netherlands and one from Switzerland — also were killed.

The Islamic State initially claimed responsibility and then released a video showing the five purported attackers pledging allegiance to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, CBS News added. In the clip they sat before the ISIS flag and vowed to kill “disbelievers,” the New York Times said. Authorities told CBS News they tracked down the five suspects and killed four of them.

Image source: YouTube screenshot

A friend of the couple, Molly Scalise, told CBS News that Austin and Geoghegan were “such an example of an intentional and a principled life and had so much love to give.”

Embracing ‘vulnerability’

As for why bicycles were the chosen form of transportation for their globe-hopping trip, Austin noted the “vulnerability” they brought.

“With that vulnerability comes immense generosity: good folks who will recognize your helplessness and recognize that you need assistance in one form or another and offer it in spades,” he wrote, the Times said.

Austin, it appears, was driven by more than just putting his trust in others’ goodness. When he quit his job prior to the bike trip, Austin wrote that he’d “grown tired of spending the best hours of my day in front of a glowing rectangle, of coloring the best years of my life in swaths of grey and beige. I’ve missed too many sunsets while my back was turned. Too many thunderstorms went unwatched, too many gentle breezes unnoticed,” the paper reported.

He also was a vegan, built one of those tiny houses — 140 square feet — and lived a minimalist life, the Times said.

Jay Austin lounges in his tiny house he built — and dubbed “The Matchbox.” (Image source: YouTube screenshot)

In addition, he repeatedly opted for more paid leave as opposed to more money from his government job — and used his vacations for off-the-beaten-path travel, the paper said.

After Austin met Geoghegan — the pair were both graduates of Georgetown University, where she worked in the admissions office — his principles began rubbing off on her. She took up bicycling, too, and became a vegetarian. Then finally their trip was planned.

When Geoghegan’s friend Amanda Kerrigan found out about the trip, she told the Times she was concerned: “I said, ‘This is not the Lauren I know,’” Kerrigan recalled to the paper. “Jay changed the trajectory of Lauren’s life.”

That trajectory landed the pair in South Africa to begin their bicycle trip, CBS News said, and they headed north. Their blog describes the day-to-day struggles — harsh weather, rough terrain, tired and sometimes sick bodies — but also people helping them along the way.

More from the Times:

They continued north, crossing deserts where the sand was so deep they had to dismount and push their bikes. In Botswana, a concerned man stopped his car to offer them ice water as they pedaled in 95-degree heat.

They cycled on dirt paths, through dry riverbeds and on cracked asphalt, going days without a shower. In Morocco, a family offered the couple a room, and then sent them off the next morning with homemade bread.

Days turned to weeks, and then into months. Their bodies began to break. An ear infection landed Ms. Geoghegan in the emergency room in France. They both contracted pinkeye. They shouldered on through upset stomachs and sore throats.

It was winter by the time they reached Europe last December. Torrential rain soaked through their waterproof gloves. “Utterly hopeless, wet and cold,” they posted from Spain.

A few hours later, a couple in a white van stopped, handed them a towel and insisted on driving them to their house, where they dried their sopping clothes in the dryer.

Then came their final ride last month, in which a video purportedly showed the carload of attackers passing them, making a sharp U-turn, doubling back, and heading right for them, the Times said.

“There’s magic out there,” Austin wrote, the paper noted, “in this great big beautiful world.”

(H/T: Pluralist)

By Dave Urbanski

 

The Devil’s Bargain – when prosecutors suborn perjury to force false testimony against an innocent defendant

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

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

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

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

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

Florida Park Shooting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What A Booming Economy Means For The Midterms

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

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

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

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

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

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

And Cowan is not alone.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He says the economy is central for most voters.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Democrats lost 47 House seats that year.

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

 

 

Best romantic getaways – Elope to New Orleans

Another Democrat Threatens House GOP Leaders’ Lives

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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