January 21, 2018

President Trump Visits LDS Welfare Square

“We’re really proud of you. What you do is like nobody else.” Those were the words of U.S. President Donald J. Trump in his first visit to Salt Lake City since becoming president nearly a year ago. President Trump met with leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at Welfare Square Monday, December 4, 2017.

He was greeted by President Henry B. Eyring of the Church’s First Presidency; President Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Bishop Gérald Caussé of the Presiding Bishopric; and Sister Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society general president.

Church leaders took the president on a late-morning tour of the bishops’ storehouse and Deseret Bakery, where he learned about the Church’s welfare facilities and self-reliance programs, which are dedicated to serving the needy of many faiths around the world.

“We’re here in a place where we have food and materials that we give to the poor,” explained President Eyring. “This is simply an example of what we do across the world, the idea being that we think we have an obligation to God to look out for the people who, without our aid, have tragedy in their lives, be it poverty or hunger.”

While stopping at the bakery, the president invited volunteers to come out and take pictures and shake his hand.

In referring to the Church, President Trump said, “This is very exciting for me. The job you’ve done is beyond anything you could think of — taking care of people the way you take care of people and the respect that you have all over the world.”

Resources at Welfare Square come from member donations. Most of the people who process the goods are volunteers. The Church also owns farms, ranches, orchards and lands that supply the raw materials. Volunteers also assist in harvesting the crops.

In recent months, 50 semi-trailers of food from Welfare Square and other Church facilities were sent to Houston to assist in hurricane relief efforts, including 2 million pounds of commodities and non-food items. Church members throughout Texas and surrounding states also volunteered more than a million hours of labor in ongoing cleanup and recovery efforts.

Others included in the Salt Lake City visit were U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch from Utah and staff from the White House.

President Eyring and President Nelson expressed their appreciation to the president for the efforts by his administration to protect religious freedom. President Eyring gave the president a Christus statue before he departed for the Utah State Capitol.

In a long-standing tradition, many United States presidents have visited with Church leaders in Utah, beginning in 1875 when Ulysses S. Grant met with Church President Brigham Young and other Latter-day Saint leaders. U.S. presidents who have visited Church leaders in Utah in the past 70 years include presidents Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Supreme Court Permits Full Enforcement of Trump Travel Ban 7-2

Handing the White House a huge judicial victory, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled in favor of President Trump’s travel ban affecting residents of six majority-Muslim countries.

The justices said the policy can take full effect despite multiple legal challenges against it that haven’t yet made their way through the legal system.

The ban applies to people from Syria, Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.

Lower courts had said people from those countries with a “bona fide” relationship with someone in the United States could not be prevented from entry.

Grandparents and cousins were among the relatives courts said could not be excluded.

The nine-member high court said in two one-page orders late Monday afternoon that lower court rulings that partly blocked the ban should be put on hold while appeals courts in Richmond, Va., and San Francisco take up the case.

Liberal-leaning Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor said they would have left the lower court orders in place.

The justices offered no explanation for their order, but the administration had said that blocking the full ban was causing “irreparable harm” because the policy is based on legitimate national security and foreign policy concerns.

Both courts are scheduled to hear arguments in those cases this week.

Both courts are also dealing with the issue on an accelerated basis, and the Supreme Court noted it expects those courts to reach decisions “with appropriate dispatch.”

Quick resolution by appellate courts would allow the Supreme Court to hear and decide the issue this term, by the end of June.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley called the ban “lawful and essential to protecting our homeland.”

Gidley added in a written statement, “We look forward to presenting a fuller defense of the proclamation as the pending cases work their way through the courts.”

“We are pleased that the Supreme Court has agreed to allow us to fulfill this most vital mission performed by any sovereign nation.  DHS will continue to fully implement the President’s robust and Constitutional counterterrorism agenda in accordance with the law,” the Department of Homeland Security’s acting press secretary, Tyler Q. Houlton, said.

Trump’s travel ban has been challenged in separate lawsuits by Hawaii and the American Civil Liberties Union. Both have argued the ban discriminates against Muslims and should not go into effect under immigration laws.

“President Trump’s anti-Muslim prejudice is no secret — he has repeatedly confirmed it, including just last week on Twitter,” Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said in a statement. “It’s unfortunate that the full ban can move forward for now, but this order does not address the merits of our claims. We continue to stand for freedom, equality, and for those who are unfairly being separated from their loved ones. We will be arguing Friday in the Fourth Circuit that the ban should ultimately be struck down.”

Trump issued his first travel ban within days of being sworn in as president. That version tightened the country’s refugee and visa policies and suspended almost all refugee admissions for four months.

Trump issued a revised version in March after the first was blocked by federal courts. The second one expired in September after a lengthy court fight and was replaced with the current version.

Fox News’ Jake Gibson, Bill Mears and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Kate Steinle’s Killer Found Not Guilty of Murder in San Francisco

Jose Ines Garcia Zarate was found not guilty Thursday of murdering Kate Steinle on Pier 14 in San Francisco in July 2015 in a case that sparked a heated national debate over illegal immigration and so-called sanctuary cities.

Zarate was acquitted of first and second degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. He also was found not guilty of assault with a semi-automatic weapon. He was found guilty of possessing a firearm by a felon. The jury had deliberated for six days.

Steinle was walking with her father and a family friend in July 2015 when she was shot, collapsing into her father’s arms. Zarate had been released from a San Francisco jail about three months before the shooting, despite a request by federal immigration authorities to detain him for deportation.

San Francisco is a sanctuary city, with local law enforcement officials barred from cooperating with federal immigration authorities. President Trump has threatened to withhold federal funding to cities with similar immigration policies, but a federal judge in California permanently blocked his executive order last week.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced late Thursday: “Following the conclusion of this case, ICE will work to take custody of Mr. Garcia Zarate and ultimately remove him from the country.”

Radio host and author Mark Steryn sounds off on stunning not guilty verdict of illegal immigrant in Kate Steinle murder trial. #Tucker

ICE Deputy Director Tom Homan added, “San Francisco’s policy of refusing to honor ICE detainers is a blatant threat to public safety and undermines the rule of law. This tragedy could have been prevented if San Francisco had turned the alien over to ICE, as we requested, instead of releasing him back onto the streets.”

In a response to the verdict, Attorney General Jeff Sessions released a statement saying that despite California’s attempt at a murder conviction, Zarate was able to walk away with only a firearm possession conviction because he was not turned over by San Francisco to ICE.

“When jurisdictions choose to return criminal aliens to the streets rather than turning them over to federal immigration authorities, they put the public’s safety at risk,” the statement said. “San Francisco’s decision to protect criminal aliens led to the preventable and heartbreaking death of Kate Steinle.”

Upon leaving the courtroom, representatives from both sides spoke to reporters. Defense Attorney Matt Gonzalez offered his condolences to the Steinle family and said the outcome of the case did not make what happened in 2015 any less terrible.

Public Defender Jeff Adachi also released a statement saying Zarate was “extremely relieved” by the outcome and that while Steinle’s death “was a horrible tragedy,” it was used as “political fodder for then candidate Donald Trump’s anti-immigration agenda.”

Adachi added, “Despite the unfairly politicized atmosphere surrounding this case, jurors focused on the evidence, which was clear and convincing, and rendered a just verdict.”

A spokesperson for the district attorney’s office said the verdict was not the one prosecutors were seeking but at the end of the day, the jury ultimately makes the decision. Prosecutors also said the Steinle family was “incredible” and that their hearts went out to them.

While Zarate’s immigration status brought the case into the national spotlight, jurors did not hear evidence about that, and it was not a factor in the trial.

After 12 days of testimony, dozens of witnesses and two days of closing arguments, the jury had to decide whether Steinle’s death was the result of an act of murder or a tragic accident.

Reporters in the room said the jurors looked very somber as they entered. When the judge was handed the verdict, the courtroom was completely silent. During the reading of the not guilty verdict of involuntary manslaughter, the defense team nodded in approval but didn’t show any emotion. Zarate sat stoically in his seat.

Earlier in the day, the bailiff and court clerk were seen entering the jury room with a small yellow evidence bag before retreating with it a few minutes later.

A source inside the courtroom confirmed that the jury asked to see the gun used to shoot Steinle. Zarate and his defense team maintained the argument that the suspect found the stolen weapon on the pier that day and it “just fired.”

The gun belonged to a federal Bureau of Land Management ranger and was stolen from his parked car a week earlier.

The bullet ricocheted on the pier’s concrete walkway before it struck Steinle, killing her. Zarate has admitted to shooting Steinle, but says it was an accident.

However, the prosecution painted a very different picture, telling jurors that Zarate deliberately shot the gun towards Steinle while “playing his own secret version of Russian roulette.”

Following Steinle’s death, Congress took action to pass new legislation called Kate’s Law. The law — passed by the House of Representatives in June — increases the penalties for deported aliens who try to return to the United States and are caught.

Fox News’ Claudia Cowan and Jennifer Girdon in San Francisco and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Leftist Attacks on Tax Reform All Lies

As president of the State Financial Officers Foundation, I have the privilege of working with some of the nation’s sharpest financial officers.

They are not merely treasurers. They are thought leaders, experts, and fighters who, day-in and day-out, serve on the front lines of fiscal policy and intimately understand their state budgets, cash flow, and state pensions.

These leaders—state treasurers, state controllers, and state auditors—know firsthand how policies coming from inside the beltway impact the states.

The rhetoric during this year’s tax reform debate is producing more heat than light. While Democrats portray the tax reform bill as an all-out assault on the American middle class, members of the State Financial Officers Foundation have a different view. We believe tax reform is vital to growing our economy and empowering innovators in our states.

Regarding the middle class, Democrats fail to mention that under the new House plan, the standardized deduction would almost double from $6,350 to over $12,000 for single filers, and $12,700 to $24,000 for married couples filing jointly. That means the number of Americans who claim the standard deduction would likely go from 60 percent of all filers to 90 percent.

Critics also fail to mention that the tax credit per child would increase from $1,000 to $1,600.

Additionally, critics don’t admit that the impact of simplifying the tax code would disproportionately help lower- and middle-income taxpayers, most of whom would be able to file their taxes using a simple postcard.

Democrats are also arguing that higher education will be in shambles because students will no longer be able to deduct student loan interest. The current tax code allows a deduction up to $2,500 if your income is $65,000 or less.

However, this deduction goes away if your adjusted gross income is $80,000 or more. An analysis done by the American Enterprise Institute estimates the average benefit actually received by students is just $202.

The claim that losing the student loan interest deduction would prevent students from applying for new student loans and attending a college or university isn’t supported by facts. And frankly, if that were true, everyone should be pushing to eliminate the deduction, given that the student loan debt crisis in America has ballooned to an astonishing $1.3 trillion.

Democrats continue to argue that states with high taxes will be “destroyed” if state and local tax deductions are eliminated. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned in a tweet earlier this month that “New York will be destroyed, if the deductibility of state and local taxes is included in any final plan that passes the House.”

Some claim eliminating the state and local tax deduction is a “revenue grab” on behalf of the federal government. But the reality is that repealing the deduction would allow $1.3 trillion to be used to reduce tax rates for all individuals and business. The state and local tax deduction is nothing more than an unfair federal subsidy of wealthier states with higher tax rates.

And lastly, Democrats argue that eliminating the mortgage interest deduction on mortgages worth up to $1 million is somehow a tax increase on the middle class.

Aside: It is humorous to most of us that live between the coasts that somehow someone with a $1 million mortgage is still considered to be middle class.

This disingenuous claim only impacts new mortgages. Homeowners who currently own a home would still be able to deduct their mortgage interest. And for new home purchases, one would still be able to deduct the interest up to the first $500,000 of the mortgage.

Given the analysis by the National Low Income Housing Coalition that fewer than 4 percent of mortgages in the United States are over $500,000, the “middle class” statistically has nothing to worry about when it comes to the proposed changes.

State leaders from the State Financial Officers Foundation act as the chief financial officers and chief financial literacy officers for their states. Tax reform is one of the most common issues that constituents bring up to these elected officials.

The complicated tax code has made millions of Americans hate April 15 and has required many to hire accountants and lawyers to help them maneuver through the system.

Americans haven’t seen serious changes to the tax code since the Reagan administration. America is long overdue for sweeping tax reform.

Portrait of Derek Kreifels

Derek Kreifels is the president of the State Financial Officers Foundation, an organization of state treasurers, state controllers, and state auditors dedicated to free market principles and limited government.

Judge Denies Democrats Restraining Order to Stop Trump’s Pick for CFPB

In a victory for the Trump White House, a temporary restraining order to halt the president’s pick for acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Mick Mulvaney, was denied by a judge late Tuesday though the decision is likely to be appealed.

U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly ruled in favor of Trump in his effort to appoint White House budget director Mulvaney to lead the bureau, the nation’s top financial watchdog agency.

“Denying the president’s authority to appoint Mr. Mulvaney raises significant constitutional questions,” Kelly, a Trump nominee for the bench, said.

The ruling comes after a nasty partisan spat that pitted the Trump administration against an Obama-era holdover.

Leandra English was elevated to acting deputy director Friday when Richard Cordray resigned. The fight for control bled into the weekend and on Sunday, English filed an emergency restraining order to keep Mulvaney out.

The government filed a response to English’s restraining-order request late Monday, calling her claims to the office a “bureaucratic sleight-of-hand” meant to circumvent presidential authority.

English cited the Dodd-Frank Act, which created the CFPB. She said that as deputy director, she became the acting director under the law and argued that the federal law the White House contends supports Trump’s appointment of Mulvaney doesn’t apply when another statute designates a successor.

“We are pleased with the court’s decision to deny the request for a temporary restraining order, finding that the plaintiff had not shown a substantial likelihood of success on the merits,” Lauren Ehrsam, a spokesperson with the Department of Justice, said in a statement.

Former CFPB litigation counsel Deepak Gupta, who represented English, said the career civil servant would weigh her next step but added he didn’t think Kelly’s ruling was “the final stop for this case.”

Earlier Tuesday, Mulvaney instructed staff to “disregard” instructions from English and then tweeted a picture of himself working at a desk under the handle @CFPBDirector.

“Consistent with my email from yesterday, please disregard any email sent by, or instructions you receive from, Ms. English when she is purporting to act as the Acting Director,” Mulvaney wrote in an email Tuesday. “I apologize for having to send this instruction again. And I feel terrible about you folks being put in this position, as I understand it can be both confusing and disruptive.”

The scene was a follow-up to an awkward power struggle that played out Monday when Mulvaney and English both showed up for work. Mulvaney brought donuts. English sent out post-Thanksgiving holiday wishes.

Both declared in emails that they were in charge.

Mulvaney, a former congressman, has called the agency a “joke” and an example of bureaucracy run amok. He is expected to dismantle much of what the bureau has done.

A new director for the CFPB must be confirmed by the Senate.

Fox News’ Jake Gibson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Trump Calls Jones ‘Weak’ in Alabama Senate Race

President Trump on Sunday weighed in again on the fast-approaching Election Day in the Alabama Senate race, calling Democratic nominee Doug Jones “weak” on crime and other conservative issues, but stopping short of backing embattled GOP candidate Roy Moore.

“The last thing we need in Alabama and the U.S. Senate is a Schumer/Pelosi puppet who is WEAK on Crime, WEAK on the Border, Bad for our Military and our great Vets, Bad for our 2nd Amendment, AND WANTS TO RAISES [sic] TAXES TO THE SKY,” Trump tweeted. “Jones would be a disaster!”

Trump is in a tough political position. He and fellow Republicans desperately need to keep the Alabama Senate seat left open after GOP Sen. Jeff Session became U.S. attorney general, considering they now have just a narrow 52-46 member majority in the chamber.

Moore, a Christian conservative, has been accused in recent weeks of sexual misconduct with teenage women roughly four decades ago. He has denied the allegations and refused to quit the race, with Election Day on December 12.

Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., unsuccessfully backed Moore’s rival in the Alabama GOP primary, Luther Strange, a more moderate Republican appointed to Sessions’ seat until the election.

Trump has said Moore should step aside if the allegations are true. However, the president, before leaving on Thanksgiving break, appeared to soften his position, telling reporters, “I can tell you one thing for sure: We don’t need a liberal person in there, a Democrat Jones.”

He also said Moore “denies” the allegations.

“He says it didn’t happen,” Trump said. “He said 40 years ago this did not happen.”

By Joseph Weber

6 Key Elements in Understanding the Tangled Uranium One Scandal

Two House committees are investigating the tangled deal involving Russia, its acquiring of U.S. uranium, and Bill and Hillary Clinton. But the multiple layers that lawmakers, and potentially a special counsel, will explore take some unpacking.

The probe addresses unanswered questions about the Uranium One mining company’s ties to the Clinton Foundation, the nonprofit founded by the former president, during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.

In a 2010 deal approved by a committee including Hillary Clinton and eight other members of President Barack Obama’s Cabinet, a Kremlin-connected entity obtained 20 percent of America’s uranium production by acquiring Canada-based Uranium One.

Although a joint investigation by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is just getting under way, many congressional Republicans already are calling for a special counsel to look into the facts.

A Clinton Foundation spokesperson, citing numerous news stories and fact-checking organizations, told The Daily Signal that the Uranium One-related allegations against Hillary Clinton, Democrats’ 2016 nominee for president, have been debunked. A spokesperson for Uranium One did not respond to The Daily Signal’s phone and email messages Wednesday.

Here are six major elements to the scandal now known as Uranium One.

1. What Is the Deal, and Who Approved It?

Uranium One announced in June 2010 it was selling a majority of the mining company to ARMZ, part of Rosatom, a Russian-owned nuclear energy company. Promoters of the Russian company were involved in a $500,000 speaking engagement for Bill Clinton in Moscow.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a panel charged with approving any merger where national security questions emerge, approved the deal in October 2010.

National security came up in this case because uranium is the primary fuel for nuclear energy and can be used either to make weapons or produce electricity.

The foreign investment panel is made up of nine Cabinet members, two ex officio members, and others as appointed by the president. So, neither Clinton, who was secretary of state from 2009 until 2013, nor the State Department were in a sole position to approve the deal in which Russian interests acquired Uranium One. These officeholders frequently are represented on the foreign investment panel by lower-ranking officials.

If any member of the Foreign Investment Committee opposes a sale, then the president, in this case Barack Obama, is the only one who can step in to block it, according to Treasury Department guidelines.

Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, led by ranking member Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, warned against the sale in an October 2010 letter to then-Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, arguing:

The transaction could give Moscow control of up to 20 percent of the U.S. national uranium extraction capability and a controlling interest in one of the country’s largest uranium mining sites. … Russia’s record of transferring dangerous materials and technologies to rogue regimes, such as those in Iran and Syria, is very troubling.

The Uranium One logo.

2. What’s All This About Racketeering?

Most recently, The Hill news organization reported the foreign investment panel of Obama administration officials charged with approving the Russia-backed purchase of U.S. uranium resources was not made aware of an in-depth FBI criminal investigation related to Uranium One.

“I would hope the board and decisionmakers are as aware as possible of all factors, so they would know what they are voting on,” Ron Hosko, a former assistant director at the FBI, told The Daily Signal this week in a phone interview.

The FBI investigation appeared to be quite broad, The Hill reported that it found “substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion, and money laundering designed to grow [Russian President] Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States.”

The FBI probe began in 2004 when Robert Mueller, now the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign, was director of the bureau. The probe ended in three convictions of individuals for money laundering and violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a federal law.

Rod Rosenstein, then U.S. attorney for Maryland and now the Trump administration’s deputy attorney general at the Justice Department, supervised the FBI investigation.

After Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself early this year from probes of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential campaign, Rosenstein—No. 2 to Sessions at Justice—appointed Mueller as special counsel.

“There was a criminal investigation related to Uranium One already and it seems because of political considerations, it was kept from the American people,” Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, a conservative government watchdog, told The Daily Signal.

“Uranium One is just the tip of the iceberg regarding foreign money when Hillary Clinton was the secretary of state,” Fitton said in a phone interview. “With the information about the [Clinton] foundation and the State Department, there is easily enough to form the basis for a criminal investigation.”

Published reports have focused on numerous cases in which countries that gave money to the Clinton Foundation also had business before the State Department.

In August 2015, the Justice Department announced the guilty plea of Russian official Vadim Mikerin, a resident of Chevy Chase, Maryland, for his role in arranging more than $2 million in payments to corruptly influence the awarding of private contracts with Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy corporation.

Mikerin was head of Tenam Corp., a U.S.-based subsidiary of Moscow-based Tenax, the supplier and exporter for Russian uranium to nuclear power companies. Tenax was aligned with Rosatom, the Russian energy company, at the time Rosatom acquired Uranium One.

Daren Condrey of Glenwood, Maryland, also pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and conspiring to commit wire fraud. Boris Rubizhevsky of Closter, New Jersey, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering.

The Justice Department press release explained:

According to court documents, between 2004 and October 2014, Mikerin conspired with Condrey, Rubizhevsky and others to transmit funds from Maryland and elsewhere in the United States to offshore shell company bank accounts located in Cyprus, Latvia and Switzerland. Mikerin admitted the funds were transmitted with the intent to promote a corrupt payment scheme that violated the FCPA [Foreign Corrupt Practices Act]. Specifically, he admitted that the corrupt payments were made by conspirators to influence Mikerin and to secure improper business advantages for U.S. companies that did business with TENEX. …

According to court documents, over the course of the scheme, Mikerin conspired with Condrey, Rubizhevsky and others to transfer approximately $2,126,622 from the United States to offshore shell company bank accounts.

Hosko, the former FBI official, said he doesn’t believe the bureau’s past investigation would pose a conflict for Rosenstein, Sessions’ No. 2 at the Justice Department.

Hosko also said he doesn’t think the racketeering case should bear on Mueller’s current investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and suspected collusion between Russians and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, since an FBI director likely wouldn’t be aware of every investigation.

3. How Is the Clinton Foundation Involved?

Conservative author Peter Schweizer’s 2016 book “Clinton Cash,” as well as The New York Times, reported in April 2015 that the Clinton Foundation got millions from investors in Uranium One both before and after the government approved the deal, and the foundation didn’t disclose those donations.

The Clinton Foundation is a 20-year-old nonprofit charitable organization run by the former president along with his wife, Hillary, and their daughter, Chelsea.

After initially making denials, several days after the Times story appeared the Clinton Foundation issued a statement acknowledging that it had made a mistake:

Like every contributor to the Foundation, the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (Canada) is publicly listed as a donor on our website. But as it is a distinct Canadian organization, separate from the Clinton Foundation, its individual donors are not listed on the site. … So yes, we made mistakes, as many organizations of our size do, but we are acting quickly to remedy them, and have taken steps to ensure they don’t happen in the future.

As widely reported, Bill Clinton spoke at a Moscow conference organized by the Russia-based Renaissance Capital Group, collecting $500,000 for the appearance.

Clinton made the speech shortly after the Rosatom-Uranium One merger was announced in June, but before U.S. government officials approved it in October. Renaissance Capital Group reportedly had “talked up Uranium One’s stock.”

4. What’s the Case for a Special Counsel Probe?

Sessions told the House Judiciary Committee during testimony Tuesday that the Justice Department is reviewing requests from Congress to name a special counsel to investigate Uranium One and other legal questions surrounding Hillary Clinton.

However, the attorney general insisted a legal process exists to determine whether an independent investigator is needed.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., for one, is losing patience.

“I have been calling for three and a half months for an investigation on Uranium One and the Obama-Clinton era scandals, and have now reached the point that I am done with the DOJ’s smoke and mirrors,” Gaetz said in a written statement Thursday. “The time has come for Jeff Sessions to name a special counsel and get answers for the American people, or step down from his position as the attorney general.”

Conservative groups also strongly advocate an independent investigation, regarding not only Hillary Clinton but other Obama administration officials.

“The Obama administration cover-ups need to be investigated and exposed. This one is a no-brainer,” Jenny Beth Martin, chairwoman of the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund, told The Daily Signal in an email. “In a nutshell, the American people need to know whether or not Robert Mueller—then the FBI director—and Rod Rosenstein—then a U.S. attorney—told the committee of senior Obama administration officials about the FBI’s yearslong investigation into Uranium One that included allegations of kickbacks, bribery, and money laundering.”

Martin continued:

Those officials, who eventually decided to approve the sale of 20 percent of America’s uranium reserves to the Russians, needed that information before voting to approve the deal. Those officials included Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Attorney General Eric Holder. If they weren’t told about the [FBI] investigation, why not? If they were told, why did they approve a deal they should’ve certainly nixed? Either way, some big names are in hot water and either way, President Obama had to know.

It would benefit the public to have a fact-finding process, Hosko said, although the former assistant FBI director added that he agrees with the caution expressed by Sessions.

Hosko said the first step is establishing that a crime might have been committed.

“Second, if there is a crime to investigate, has the statute of limitations run out?” Hosko continued. “Third, is there some reason the Department of Justice or the FBI is disabled from conducting the investigation?”

5. Does a National Security Threat Exist?

Uranium, as a nuclear fuel, could be weaponized. However, under the rules of the deal, the Uranium One merger with the Kremlin-backed company Rosatom may not pose a national security threat, based on what the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has stated.

At the time, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said of two Uranium One facilities in Wyoming that “no uranium produced at either facility may be exported.”

In June 2015, the nuclear commission determined that Uranium One could export uranium from the Wyoming sites to Canada. The agency explained that Canada, where the mining company is headquartered, must obtain U.S. government approval to ship U.S. uranium to any country other than the United States.

The commission also said that “no Uranium One Inc.-produced uranium has been shipped directly to Russia and the U.S. government has not authorized any country to re-transfer U.S. uranium to Russia.”

The United States is home to 1 percent of the world’s uranium reserves, while Russia has 9 percent, according to the World Nuclear Association.

Uranium is significant because the metal is the primary fuel for nuclear energy power plants and is used in some regions of the world to produce electricity. Canada has the highest grade uranium in the world, while Australia has the greatest quantity.

6. What About the Congressional Probes?

In late October, the two House committees announced plans to investigate.

Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said the inquiry would focus on:

… regulatory approvals related to the U.S. uranium industry, foreign donations seeking to curry favor and influence with U.S. officials, whether a federal nuclear bribery probe developed evidence of wrongdoing connected to the Uranium One mining company, and Department of Justice criminal and counterintelligence investigations into bribery, extortion, and other related matters connected to Russian acquisition of U.S. uranium.

The two committees sent letters Tuesday to the FBI, the Treasury Department, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the State Department.

The House intelligence committee’s investigation is led by Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., chairman of the emerging threats subcommittee, and the oversight panel’s inquiry is led by Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., chairman of the national security subcommittee.

Democrats Turn on Franken Over Groping Allegations

Democrats lashed out at Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., Thursday after Los Angeles TV and radio host Leeann Tweeden accused him of kissing and groping her during a USO tour in 2006, with at least two female lawmakers pledging to return campaign funds raised for them by Franken’s political action committee.

Leaders of both parties in the Senate called for an ethics investigation of Franken, a request echoed by the senator himself, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

“The allegations brought forth are extremely disturbing,” Perez said in a statement. “Sexual misconduct, harassment, and assault are never acceptable, no matter one’s party or politics. The Senate should immediately begin an ethics investigation into Senator Franken’s conduct.”

Pelosi said any “credible allegation” should be subject to an ethics probe, telling Fox News “We are at a watershed moment and now is the time for Congress to overhaul how it deals with the issue of sexual harassment.”

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., went a step further, tweeting that she had donated $30,000 in campaign contributions from Franken’s Midwest Values PAC to food banks in her home state.

McCaskill said she was “shocked and concerned” by Tweeden’s allegations against Franken, who was elected to the Senate in 2008.

“Comedy is no excuse for inappropriate conduct,” McCaskill’s statement added.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., announced that she planned to donate $20,000 raised by Franken’s PAC to a group working on behalf of female veterans in the state.

“This type of behavior isn’t acceptable whether it’s from a Democrat or a Republican or an independent,” Baldwin, who is up for re-election next year, told MSNBC in an interview.

Another prominent Democratic woman, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, reportedly planned to donate $12,500 in campaign funds to Protect our Defenders, a nonprofit group dedicated to combating sexual assault in the military.

“The allegations against Sen. Franken are deeply concerning,” Gillibrand posted on Twitter. “This kind of behavior is unacceptable and should not be tolerated anywhere in our society. There is nothing funny about it and there is no excuse for it.”

Franken’s fellow Minnesota Democrat, Amy Klobuchar, said, “This should not have happened to Leeann Tweeden. I strongly condemn this behavior, and the Senate Ethics Committee must open an investigation.”

A spokeswoman for Klobuchar, who has received at least $15,000 from Midwest Values PAC, did not immediately respond to queries from Fox News about the senator’s plans for the money.

In a series of statements, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), singled out eleven Democratic senators and called on them to return their donations from Midwest Values PAC.

“If [senator’s last name] won’t immediately denounce Franken and return his donations, it will be clear [he or she] puts partisan politics over basic decency,” each statement read.

The senators named by the NRSC were McCaskill; Baldwin; Joe Manchin of West Virginia; Jon Tester of Montana; Tim Kaine of Virginia; Joe Donnelly of Indiana, to whom the NRSC referred as “Mexico Joe”; Debbie Stabenow of Michigan; Bob Casey of Pennsylvania; Bill Nelson of Florida; Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Sherrod Brown of Ohio.

Of the eleven, only McCaskill and Baldwin had announced plans to return the money Thursday evening.

Fox News’ Brooke Singman and Barnini Chakraborty contributed to this report. The Associated Press also contributed to this report.

House Passes Republican Tax Reduction Bill

The House on Thursday passed a sweeping tax bill largely along party lines that makes good on a Republican campaign promise to reform the country’s tax code.

The House bill passed 227-205.

But the future of the Senate version, which includes a repeal of ObamaCare’s individual mandate, is still very much up in the air.

While the “Tax Cut and Jobs Act” was pitched as a plan to help middle income Americans, the final version scaled back many popular deductions while cutting the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from 35 percent. It also collapsed tax brackets to four from seven.

Republicans aggressively marketed their plan as something that would benefit everyone but critics said much of the financial gains would go to the wealthiest Americans and big corporations.

New York Rep. Pete King, one of the most ardent opponents of the proposal, called the House bill “an unforced error,” and suggested it could come back to bite Republicans in next year’s midterm elections.

Ahead of the vote, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi slammed it as “a tax hike on 36 million middle class familiar that is dead on arrival in the Senate.”

The Senate version, which is working its way through the Finance Committee this week, is facing a lot of obstacles, including pushback from GOP senators.

Earlier Thursday, President Trump visited Capitol Hill to meet with House Republicans ahead of the vote.

“He told us that we have this once-in-a lifetime opportunity to do something really bold, and he reminded us that is why we seek these offices,” Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., said of Trump’s closed-door pep rally. “And here we are on the cusp of getting something really important done.”

Some House Republicans spoke warily of what might happen to the tax bill in the Senate.

“Political survival depends on us doing this,” said Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D. “Frankly, one of the things that scares me a little bit is that they’re going to screw up the bill to the point we can’t pass it.”

The House measure would collapse today’s seven personal income-tax rates into four: 12, 25, 35 and 39.6 percent. The Senate would have seven rates: 10, 12, 23, 24, 32, 35 and 38.5 percent.

Both bills would nearly double the standard deduction to around $12,000 for individuals and about $24,000 for married couples and dramatically boost the current $1,000 per-child tax credit.

Each plan would erase the current $4,050 personal exemption and annul or reduce other tax breaks. The House would limit interest deductions to $500,000 in the value of future home mortgages, down from today’s $1 million, while the Senate would end deductions for moving expenses and tax preparation.

Each measure would repeal the alternative minimum tax paid by higher-earning people. The House measure would reduce and ultimately repeal the tax paid on the largest inheritances, while the Senate would limit that levy to fewer estates.

Fox News’ Barnini Chakraborty and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Bitter Hillary Unloads on Trump DOJ as Possible Uranium One, Clinton Foundation Probes Loom

Clinton calls Uranium One story a ‘distraction,’ warns of dictatorship

Hillary Clinton on Wednesday slammed what she described as the “politicization of the Justice Department” after reports that the Trump administration was considering a special counsel to probe the Uranium One deal and alleged conflicts with the Clinton Foundation.

President Trump has criticized the uranium deal and suggested that Clinton, who served as U.S. secretary of state in the Obama administration, may be implicated in wrongdoing.

But in an interview with Mother Jones, Clinton claimed that the Uranium One story has been “debunked” a number of times and that the Trump administration was merely using the story as a distraction.

“And if they send a signal that we’re going to be like some dictatorship, some authoritarian regimen where political opponents are going to be unfairly, fraudulently investigated — that rips at the fabric of the contract we have that we can trust our justice system,” she said.

Trump and his supporters have accused Clinton of overseeing the sale of 20 percent of America’s uranium supply to Russia. They see her alleged role as a scandal, particularly amid charges the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 presidential election.

Allegations also have been made that the approval of the sale of Uranium One benefited major donors to the Clinton Foundation, raising conflict-of-interest questions.

Fox News reported exclusively Tuesday that Attorney General Jeff Sessions directed senior federal prosecutors to evaluate “certain issues” requested by congressional Republicans, involving the sale of Uranium One and alleged unlawful dealings related to the Clinton Foundation, leaving the door open for an appointment of another special counsel.

The alleged relationship between the approval of the sale and the Clinton Foundation was first raised in 2015 by conservative author Peter Schweizer. He and others have pointed to some of the investors in the deal and their ties to former President Bill Clinton and his foundation.

In April 2015, The New York Times published an article echoing much of the Schweizer book, including one sensational contention that not long after the Russians said they wanted to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Bill Clinton received $500,000 for a speech in Moscow. The speech was paid for by a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin as it promoted Uranium One stock.

Canadian financier Frank Giustra, a top Clinton Foundation donor, sold his company, UrAsia, to Uranium One, which was chaired by Ian Telfer, also a Clinton Foundation donor. Giustra has said he sold his stake in the deal in 2007, while Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were vying for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

PolitiFact found that the majority of the donations from individuals related to Uranium One and UrAsia were made before and during Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign — but before she became secretary of state in 2009.

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

Trump Assist: President Gets 3 UCLA Athletes Released From China

3 UCLA basketball players return to US after being detained in China for allegedly shoplifting

UCLA basketball players LiAngelo Ball, left, and Cody Riley, were two of the three players detained in China after being accused of shoplifting. (AP)

Three UCLA basketball players who were arrested in China for allegedly shoplifting while their team was in the country for a tournament last week were released and placed on a flight home Tuesday, Fox News confirmed.

UCLA Men’s Basketball players LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley were arrested after being accused of stealing designer sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store next to the team’s hotel in Hangzhou. They boarded a plane on Tuesday and are headed back to Los Angeles. The rest of the team flew back last Saturday.

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said Tuesday the matter “has been resolved to the satisfaction of the Chinese authorities.”

President Trump personally asked Chinese leader Xi Jinping to help resolve the case during his visit to Beijing last week, Fox News confirmed. Scott thanked Trump, the White House and the State Department for their efforts in resolving what he called “the incident with authorities in Hangzhou, China.” He indicated UCLA made “significant efforts” on behalf of its three players.

The team was playing their season-opening game against Georgia Tech in Shanghai on Saturday. They won the game 63-60.

It’s unclear if the players would be playing in Wednesday night’s home opener against Central Arkansas. They are expected to make a statement after they arrive in Los Angeles.

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

NPR Legal Reporter Criticizes Gorsuch for Citing the Constitution

The newest Supreme Court justice, Neil Gorsuch, has made headlines since joining the court last spring—and not just for his written opinions. Pedantic. Boorish and juvenile. Annoying. In his colleagues’ faces. These are some of the harsh things liberal Court watchers have had to say about Gorsuch.

It’s hard to square these comments with the outpouring of support Gorsuch received from former clerks, classmates, and others after he was nominated to the Supreme Court earlier this year. Just watch a few minutes of this speech by Mark Hansen, Gorsuch’s former law partner, who was close to tears at the end, talking about what an honorable, decent (and whip smart) friend and colleague he has been:

But the left would have you believe otherwise.

In a recent episode of the Supreme Court podcast “First Mondays,” NPR’s legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg took aim at Gorsuch. First in her crosshairs was his habit of frequently citing the Constitution. She objected to Gorsuch bringing things back to first principles at oral argument. He often prefaces his questions by saying, “Let’s look at what the Constitution says about this … It’s always a good place to start.” This should come as no surprise.

When rumors were swirling about potential Supreme Court nominees in late 2016, a former Gorsuch clerk wrote on Yale’s Notice & Comment blog: “Whenever a constitutional issue came up in our cases, he sent one of his clerks on a deep dive through the historical sources. ‘We need to get this right,’ was the memo—and right meant ‘as originally understood.’”

As a member of the Supreme Court, Gorsuch is putting these principles into practice and fulfilling his commitment to faithfully interpret the Constitution according to its original public meaning.

And that’s not all Totenberg had to say about Gorsuch. She claimed there is a rift on the court between Gorsuch and Justice Elena Kagan. Here’s what she said:

My surmise, from what I’m hearing, is that Justice Kagan really has taken [Gorsuch] on in conference. And that it’s a pretty tough battle and it’s going to get tougher. And she is about as tough as they come, and I am not sure he’s as tough—or dare I say it, maybe not as smart. I always thought he was very smart, but he has a tin ear somehow, and he doesn’t seem to bring anything new to the conversation.

First, I’m highly skeptical of someone purporting to know what happened when the court met in conference. The justices are notoriously secretive about these meetings—not even law clerks are allowed in the room. During conference, the justices discuss cases following oral argument and cast their initial votes in conference, though they sometimes change after draft opinions have been circulated. This is precisely the time for the justices to debate the issues in a case.

Second, Totenberg’s assertion that Gorsuch is “maybe not as smart” as she thought is off base. Anyone who has read his speeches or his written opinions—either from his time on the appeals court or his first two months on the Supreme Court—can see why that is patently false. The Columbia-Harvard-Oxford-educated judge weaves literary references into his opinions and writes in a clear, concise manner that’s easy for lawyers and lay people alike to understand.

Totenberg also said she hears Gorsuch “doesn’t believe in precedent”—which is likely motivated by a concern that he would overturn cases liberals like if given the chance. This same issue came up during his confirmation hearing, when Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., grilled Gorsuch about his views on the “superprecedent” status of Roe v. Wade. During the hearing, Gorsuch explained several factors that judges weigh when deciding whether an old decision is still good law.

He even wrote a book on this topic, along with 11 other judges and leading lexicographer Bryan Garner. And he’s given every indication that he’ll follow the Supreme Court’s guideposts for when to overrule or uphold a past decision. It’s also worth mentioning that, even if he disagreed with a past decision, Gorsuch can’t singlehandedly overturn precedents like Roe v. Wade. If an appropriate case came before the court, a majority of the justices would need to agree.

Gorsuch rubs Totenberg the wrong way—and she isn’t the only one.

At the start of the court’s current term, Jeffrey Toobin wrote an article for The New Yorker taking issue with Gorsuch “dominat[ing] oral arguments, when new Justices are expected to hang back” and writing dissents in his first couple months on the job.

Toobin highlighted a case involving statutory interpretation where Gorsuch dissented from the majority’s reading of the statute. Gorsuch wrote, “If a statute needs repair, there’s a constitutionally prescribed way to do it. It’s called legislation.” What Toobin objected to are basic functions of the job—if justices aren’t to ask questions at argument or write separately when they disagree with the majority, what are they supposed to do?

In an article in The New York Times over the summer, Linda Greenhouse—who referred to Gorsuch as “the justice who holds the seat that should have been Merrick Garland’s”—said the new justice violated the court’s unwritten rules and norms and “morph[ed]… quickly into Donald Trump’s life-tenured judicial avatar.” This gets to the heart of the problem.

According to the left, Gorsuch shouldn’t be on the Supreme Court, and Trump shouldn’t be in the White House. In other words, these criticisms of Gorsuch can be explained as simply another iteration of the resistance movement.

But Gorsuch isn’t going anywhere. The apoplectic left better get used to him sparring with the other justices, asking questions, writing fiery dissents, and generally returning to first principles.

By Elizabeth Slattery / /

ABC, CBS, NBC Initially Fail to Cover Donna Brazile’s Claim That the DNC Rigged Primary for Clinton

Three major news networks—ABC, CBS, and NBC— failed to cover on their nightly news programs Thursday the explosive allegations from Donna Brazile that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) rigged the 2016 Democratic primary in Hillary Clinton’s favor.

PHILADELPHIA, PA – JULY 26: on the second day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 26, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton received the number of votes needed to secure the party’s nomination. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Brazile claimed in an excerpt from her soon-to-be-released book that Clinton’s campaign had control over the DNC’s pocketbook and strategy in exchange for paying down the Party’s 2012 presidential campaign debt, explaining that the Party skewed the primary in Clinton’s favor through backroom financial deals so she could easily beat Bernie Sanders.

Despite these bombshell allegations, ABC, CBS, and NBC did not cover these revelations on their evening newscasts, even though the excerpt, taken from Brazile’s new book Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House, had been published more than 12 hours prior.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) spoke about the DNC rigging scandal on CNN at 4:40 p.m. Eastern, but ABC’s World News Tonight, CBS’s Evening News, and NBC Nightly News did not feature any segment about the subject on their 6:30 p.m. Eastern programs.

Instead, CBS broadcast a segment on the Niger ambush, while ABC and NBC led off with segments on President Trump’s proposed tax cut.

Trump called out the three networks for not giving any airtime to the DNC rigging revelations:

Media watchdog organizations, such as the Media Research Center, took notice of the networks’ failure to cover Brazile’s allegations.

Media Research Center Vice President Dan Gainor told Fox News:

The Donna Brazile story is astonishing. The media loves to tell stories of Republican discord. Here’s the woman who was the interim head of the DNC saying Bernie Sanders got screwed by the party and Team Clinton. No matter how much the media wants to hide that, it’s a huge issue and will impact future elections.

Brazile took over as interim chairperson of the DNC in July 2016 after party insiders ousted Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) as chair on the evening before the DNC convention in Philadelphia.

After Fox News and CNN aired segments about Brazile’s DNC rigging claims and the president tweeted about the subject, CBS and NBC published stories on their websites Friday afternoon about the matter. ABC published a story about it Friday night.

At Least 26 Killed in Mass Shooting at Texas Church

At least 26 people were killed in Texas, with many more wounded, after a gunman opened fire at a church outside San Antonio on Sunday, the state’s governor confirmed.

Multiple sources speaking to Fox News identified the gunman as 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley. The mass shooting unfolded at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, which is about 30 miles southeast of San Antonio. Police killed the gunman, Fox News has confirmed.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said up to 27 people were killed and “many more” wounded after a man walked into the church around 11:30 a.m. on Sunday and opened fire at the crowd of people.

Emergency personnel respond to a fatal shooting at a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017. (KSAT via AP)

Emergency personnel respond to a fatal shooting at a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017.  (KSAT via AP)

If the number of people dead is confirmed, Sunday’s shooting would be the deadliest at a church in modern U.S. history.

A possible motive was unclear. Kelly lived in a suburb of San Antonio and didn’t appear to be linked to organized terrorist groups, a U.S. official told The Associated Press. The official said investigators were looking at social media posts Kelley may have made in the days before Sunday’s attack, including one that appeared to show a semiautomatic weapon.

Rep. Henry Cuellar told Fox News that investigators believe the gunman drove to the church from Comal County, Texas.

“It is horrible,” Wilson County Commissioner Larry Wiley told Fox News of the massacre. “It appears someone walked in and started shooting.”

The church’s pastor, Frank Pomeroy, said his 14-year-old daughter was killed in the shooting, according to ABC News.

“We have accepted a multiple number of patients from the shooting,” Megan Posey, a spokeswoman for Connally Memorial Medical Center in Floresville, 15 miles from church, told Fox News. She said she did not have a specific number. She said doctors were assessing the patients.

Some victims were transported to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, KSAT reported.

Helicopters and emergency personnel were seen arriving at the scene. The FBI is also on scene.

Law enforcement officials stand next to a covered body at the scene of a fatal shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017. (Nick Wagner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

Law enforcement officials stand next to a covered body at the scene of a fatal shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017.  (Nick Wagner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

The gunman, according to Wiley, was killed roughly five miles away in Guadalupe County after being cornered by deputies.

Police are checking the gunman’s home for explosives, San Antonio Express-News reported.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton told Fox News that “people never think” a shooting like this can “happen in their communities.”

“In a small town, … I can imagine that these people are devastated. And everyone in the community is going to … have some type of close relationship” to those either killed or injured at the First Baptist Church.

He added it’s “hard to justify why anyone would do this.”

“This is horrific for our tiny little tight-knit town,” Alena Berlanga, who lives 10 minutes outside of Sutherland Springs told The Associated Press. “Everybody’s going to be affected and everybody knows someone who’s affected.”

President Trump, who’s currently traveling in Asia, tweeted: “May God be w/ the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas. The FBI & law enforcement are on the scene. I am monitoring the situation from Japan.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement that “While the details of this horrific act are still under investigation, Cecilia and I want to send our sincerest thoughts and prayers to all those who have been affected by this evil act.”

“I want to thank law enforcement for their response and ask that all Texans pray for the Sutherland Springs community during this time of mourning and loss,” the statement read.

Sutherland Springs has a population of about 400 residents.

Sunday’s shooting comes just over a month after 58 people were killed and hundreds injured on Oct. 1 after a gunman opened fire on a country music festival in Las Vegas.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates. Fox News’ Robert Gearty, Jake Gibson, Rick Leventhal and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Democratic Party Rocked by Bombshell Claims, Infighting

Still reeling from Hillary Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump in last year’s presidential election and wondering how to move forward, the schism within the Democratic Party appears to have widened even more in the wake of the bombshell claims made Thursday by a former interim party boss.

The allegations by Donna Brazile not only asserted that the Democratic National Committee helped rig last year’s presidential primary in favor of Clinton over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, but also raised a number of troubling questions as the party attempts to regroup ahead of next year’s midterm elections.

Are Brazile’s revelations the first shots in a virtual civil war between the Democratic establishment faithful to the Clintons and a growing progressive wing represented by lawmakers like Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren? Is this the final nail in the coffin for Clinton’s influence within the Democratic Party? Will this scandal linger into 2020 when the party challengesTrump for the White House?

“This is standard in politics when you don’t have the presidency because there is nobody in charge of the party,” Joe Trippi, a Democratic strategist and Fox News contributor, told Fox News. “You’re going to have an all-out battle and a new voice will eventually emerge.”

Finding out who that voice is and when it will emerge appears, for the time being, to be a long way away as the fallout from Brazile’s claims reverberate throughout the Democratic Party.

“It was obviously a shocking revelation,” Sanders’ campaign manager Jeff Weaver told CNN on Friday. “”It was pretty clear that they were on the Clinton side … I don’t think any of us imagined that there was actually a formal arrangement giving the Clinton campaign control of the DNC.”

In her new book – excerpts of which were published on Politico – Brazile writes that the DNC signed a joint fundraising agreement document with the Hillary Victory Fund and Hillary for America. It had been signed in August 2015, four months after Clinton announced her candidacy and a year before she officially secured the nomination over Sanders.

“The agreement—signed by Amy Dacey, the former CEO of the DNC, and Robby Mook with a copy to Marc Elias—specified that in exchange for raising money and investing in the DNC, Hillary would control the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised,” Brazile wrote. “Her campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would make final decisions on all the other staff.”

Defenders of Clinton have noted that the Sanders’ campaign also signed its own joint fundraising agreement with the DNC during the campaign season.

Clinton Southbank London

Brazile took over as the interim DNC chairman in 2016 when Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz was forced out as chairman over emails that indicated the party organization unfairly favored Clinton over Sanders during the primary.

DNC spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa, who works under current DNC chairman Tom Perez, told Fox News that the party “must remain neutral in the presidential primary process, and there shouldn’t even be a perception that the DNC is interfering in that process.” But it appears the damage has been done.

Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii said Brazile’s revelations confirmed “what many suspected for a long time” and added that the “deep financial debt, closed door decision-making, complete lack of transparency, and unethical practices are now front and center.”

Gabbard’s statement was preceded by a video earlier in this week in which she slammed Perez for a recent overhaul of the party’s executive committee, which she said was intended “to cast out those who haven’t fallen in line with the establishment and who are actually demanding real reform.”

Massachusetts’ Warren, who campaigned for Clinton during the presidential campaign and is rumored to be eyeing a run herself in 2020, said “yes” when asked if the campaign was rigged and called it “a real problem.”

“But what we’ve got to do as Democrats now, is we’ve got to hold this party accountable,” she said, according to the BBC.

Trump weighed in on social media on the mounting scandal and said the American public “deserves” an inquiry, while lashing out at Clinton in a series of tweets.

FoxNews.com/Alex Pappas contributed reporting to this story. 

Islamic Terror Attack in Manhattan Kills 8, Injures 9; Suspect in Custody

At least 8 people are dead after a driver barreled into a bike path and crashed a rental pickup truck into a crowd in Lower Manhattan Tuesday afternoon, shouting “Allahu Akbar,” law enforcement sources tell Fox News and The Associated Press.

Another nine people were injured, authorities said. Police tweeted that one person — who police shot twice — has been taken into custody and is expected to survive. Police added that there are “no others outstanding.”

NYPD shooting photo

The NYPD is responding to reports of a shooting in Lower Manhattan Tuesday, a few blocks from the World Trade Center Memorial.  (New York Police Department)

FBI officials confirmed to Fox News that they have agents responding to the situation “with NYPD.” A bomb squad is also on scene examining a vehicle.

A law enforcement source said the suspect had two weapons, believed to be a paintball gun and a B.B. gun.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has been briefed on the situation, and is at the scene. The mayor’s press secretary tweeted there was “NO active threat.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo tweeted he has “been briefed with preliminary information on the situation in Lower Manhattan and am heading to the scene.”

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said President Trump been briefed on the incident. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has also been briefed.

One witness who passed the scene while on the West Side Highway said he saw several peple bleeding on the ground and a truck hit several people. Another witness told The Associated Press the truck had collided with a small bus and another vehicle.

A school photographer nearby said he peeked around the corner, where he saw a thin man in a blue track suit running and holding a gun. He claimed he saw a heavier man chasing after him.

Fox News’ Jake Gibson and Rick Leventhal and The Associated Press contributed to this report. This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

North Korea’s Mountain Nuclear Site Collapsed, Killing at Least 200

200 feared dead after tunnel collapses at North Korean nuclear test site, Japanese TV claims

About 200 people are feared dead in North Korea after underground tunnels at a nuclear test site that was feared to be unstable reportedly collapsed, crushing 100 people in the initial cave-in and 100 others when the tunnels again gave way on top of rescuers.

The collapse at the Punggye-ri test site on Oct. 10 occurred while people were doing construction on the underground tunnel, Japan’s Asahi TV reported, citing a source in North Korea. The television station also said North Korea’s sixth nuclear test on Sept. 3 most likely caused the tunnel to crumble and created serious damage in the region.

No officials have confirmed the Japanese TV station’s claims, but experts have feared for more than a month that the test site was on the verge of crumbling since the nuclear blast. North Korea said it detonated a hydrogen bomb, calling it a “perfect success.” It was the country’s most powerful bomb tested to date and the blast was reportedly 10 times more powerful than the nuclear bomb that was dropped over Hiroshima at the end of World War II.

Japan Meteorological Agency's earthquake and tsunami observations division director Toshiyuki Matsumori speaks in front of a screen showing the seismic event that was indicated on North Korea and observed in Japan, during a news conference at the Japan Meteorological Agency in Tokyo, Japan, September 3, 2017, following the earthquake felt in North Korea and believed to be a nuclear test. REUTERS/Toru Hanai - RC19ECC1F430

Japan Meteorological Agency’s earthquake and tsunami observations division director Toshiyuki Matsumori speaks in front of a screen showing the seismic event that was indicated in North Korea and observed in Japan.  (Reuters)

The test triggered a 6.3-magnitude earthquake that day and multiple tremors have been detected from the area since then. Satellite images obtained by 38 North, which specializes in North Korea issues, showed several landslides occurred after the Sept. 3 test. Also a possible “collapse chimney crater” was seen on Mount Mantap, possibly caused by the underground tests.

It’s unclear if the mountain will collapse in the near future, but the report said there was “significant cracking” and “irreversible strain” on the land because of the nuclear test.

Some experts also said Mantap was suffering from “tired mountain syndrome” due to the stress on the ground, the Washington Post reported. Chinese scientists have also warned the mountain could collapse and release radiation. Radioactive xenon-133 was detected in South Korea after the test.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un provides guidance with Ri Hong Sop (2nd L) and Hong Sung Mu ( 2nd R) on a nuclear weapons program in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang September 3, 2017. KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. - RC173054AEE0

Kim Jong Un inspects what North Korea claims to be a nuclear warhead. The photos were released the same day North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test in September.  (Reuters)

Additionally on Tuesday, North Korea rebuked Trump and the U.S., saying “the Trump group’s vicious vituperation against the DPRK is an expression of their frustration, fear and horror,” according to a statement released by state-run Korean Central News Agency. The day before, the Hermit Kingdom blamed Trump’s “extreme, direct and long threats” for driving them to obtain “complete nuclear deterrence.”

“The U.S. has to ponder over the possible consequences,” the statement said.

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

Paul Manafort, Rick Gates to Surrender to Special Counsel

DEVELOPING:

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates were reportedly told to surrender to federal authorities on charges including tax fraud as part of the special counsel’s investigation into Russian meddling and potential collusion with Trump campaign officials during the 2016 presidential election.

According to The New York Times, Manafort and Gates will face the first charges in the special counsel’s investigation, though the charges are not immediately clear.

Manafort is expected in federal court in Washington, D.C. on Monday, according to the Wall Street Journal. The indictment is expected to be unsealed later Monday.

Gates is a longtime associate of Manafort. According to the Times, his name appeared on documents linked to companies that Manafort’s firm created in Cyprus to receive payments from politicians and businesspeople in Eastern Europe.

The special counsel’s office declined to comment to Fox News on the report.

White House lawyer Ty Cobb told Fox News he had no comment on the report at this time.

It was widely speculated that Manafort would receive the first charges in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Manafort has been investigated for his dealings in Ukraine several years ago, for which he did not register as a foreign agent until June 2017.

Top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said on ABC News’  “This Week” that the indictment could come for either Manafort, or former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn.

But House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., said on “Fox News Sunday” that it was unclear who would be charged.

“We don’t know who’s being charged…We don’t know what they are being charged for. We don’t know the time period,” Gowdy said Sunday, adding that “It’s kind of ironic that the people charged with investigating the law and executing the law would violate the law.”

From the New York Times:

WASHINGTON — Paul Manafort surrendered to federal authorities Monday morning, after a person close to the case said the first charges were filed in a special counsel investigation.

The charges against Mr. Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman were not immediately clear but represent a significant escalation in a special counsel investigation that has cast a shadow over the president’s first year in office. Also charged was Mr. Manafort’s former business associate Rick Gates, who was also told to surrender.

Mr. Manafort walked into the F.B.I.’s field office in Washington about 8:15 a.m. with his lawyer.

Mr. Gates is a longtime protégé and junior partner of Mr. Manafort. His name appears on documents linked to companies that Mr. Manafort’s firm set up in Cyprus to receive payments from politicians and businesspeople in Eastern Europe, records reviewed by The New York Times show.

Mr. Manafort had been under investigation for violations of federal tax law, money laundering and whether he appropriately disclosed his foreign lobbying.

Attempts to reach Mr. Gates on Monday were not successful. A spokesman for Mr. Manafort did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

When the campaign chairman you sought to lead ends up in jail, it speaks to the campaign itself, the relationship, the prior relationship,…

Mr. Manafort has expected charges since this summer, when F.B.I. agents raided his home and prosecutors warned him that they planned to indict him. That warning raised speculation that Mr. Manafort might try to cut a deal to avoid prosecution.

Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Ty Cobb, said there were no concerns that Mr. Manafort would offer damaging information about the president in exchange for a deal.

Some close to Mr. Manafort, including his former business partner Roger J. Stone Jr., have said he had nothing to offer that would help prosecutors build a case against Mr. Trump.

“He’s not going to lie,” Mr. Stone said in September.

Mr. Manafort, a veteran Republican strategist, joined the Trump campaign in March 2016 to help keep delegates from breaking with Mr. Trump in favor of establishment Republican candidates. Mr. Trump soon promoted him to chairman and chief strategist, a job that gave him control over day-to-day operations of the campaign.

But Mr. Trump fired Mr. Manafort just months later, after reports that he received more than $12 million in undisclosed payments from Viktor F. Yanukovych, the former Ukrainian president and a pro-Russia politician. Mr. Manafort spent years as a political consultant for Mr. Yanukovych.

American intelligence agencies have concluded that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia launched a stealth campaign of hacking and propaganda to try to damage Hillary Clinton and help Mr. Trump win the election. The Justice Department appointed Robert S. Mueller III as special counsel in May to lead the investigation into the Russian operations and to determine whether anyone around Mr. Trump was involved.

Mr. Trump has denied any such collusion, and no evidence has surfaced publicly to contradict him. At the same time, Mr. Trump and his advisers this year repeatedly denied any contacts with Russians during the campaign, only to have journalists uncover one undisclosed meeting after another.

The New York Times revealed in July that Mr. Manafort and others close to Mr. Trump met with Russians last year, on the promise of receiving damaging political information about Mrs. Clinton.

President Fires on Fusion, Uranium One and Hillary Scandals as Mueller Preps ‘Collusion’ Announcement

President Donald Trump talks to reporters as he walks to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Trump on Sunday said the lack of investigation into the Clinton campaign spending a reported $12 million on a dossier crafted during the 2016 presidential race to smear him has sparked unprecedented “anger and unity” among fellow Republicans.

“Never seen such Republican ANGER & UNITY as I have concerning the lack of investigation on Clinton made Fake Dossier (now $12,000,000?),” Trump said first in a series of tweets.

The president tweeted after South Carolina GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House Oversight committee, told “Fox News Sunday” that his concerns about Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign purportedly paying a law firm at least $10 million for the dossier, which was to be used as Trump opposition research.

“I’m interested in that … laundering money through a law firm,” Gowdy said.

In the series of tweets Sunday, the president again attempted to make the larger case that Washington and the rest of the country is consumed by the Justice Department’s special counsel probe into whether Trump associates colluded with Russia during the White House race, amid similar issues related to Democrats and others.

“The Uranium to Russia deal, the 33,000 plus deleted Emails, the Comey fix and so much more. Instead they look at phony Trump/Russia,” Trump tweeted following news reports earlier this weekend that special counsel Robert Mueller now has federal grand jury charges in the Russia investigation that could be made public as early as Monday.

Congressional investigators are in fact looking into new details about an Obama-era Uranium deal with connections to Russia and perhaps Clinton when she was secretary of State. The FBI investigated her use of private email servers and deleted emails when she ran the State Department.

However, then-FBI Director James Comey, whom Trump recently fired, concluded the server-email investigation without recommending criminal charges.

“The Dems are using this terrible (and bad for our country) Witch Hunt for evil politics, but the R’s … are now fighting back like never before. There is so much GUILT by Democrats/Clinton, and now the facts are pouring out. DO SOMETHING!,” Trump also said.

FoxNews.com

Kimberley Strassel: The Fusion GPS Bombshells Have Just Begun to Drop

The confirmation this week that Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid an opposition-research firm for a “dossier” on Donald Trump is bombshell news. More bombshells are to come.

The Fusion GPS saga isn’t over. The Clinton-DNC funding is but a first glimpse into the shady election doings concealed within that oppo-research firm’s walls. We now know where Fusion got some of its cash, but the next question is how the firm used it. With whom did it work beyond former British spy Christopher Steele ? Whom did it pay? Who else was paying it?

This probe of the Democratic Party’s Russian dalliance has a long, long way to go.

The answers are in Fusion’s bank records. Fusion has doggedly refused to divulge the names of its clients for months now, despite extraordinary pressure. So why did the firm suddenly insist that middleman law firm Perkins Coie release Fusion from confidentiality agreements, and spill the beans on who hired it?

Because there’s something Fusion cares about keeping secret even more than the Clinton-DNC news—and that something is in those bank records. The release of the client names was a last-ditch effort to appease the House Intelligence Committee, which issued subpoenas to Fusion’s bank and was close to obtaining records until Fusion filed suit last week. The release was also likely aimed at currying favor with the court, given Fusion’s otherwise weak legal case. The judge could rule as early as Friday morning. . .

Keep reading Kimberley Strassel’s column in the Wall Street Journal. >>

Kimberley Strassel writes the Potomac Watch column for the Wall Street Journal where she is a member of the editorial board. Her latest book is “The Intimidation Game: How the Left Is Silencing Free Speech” (Twelve, 2016).  Follow her on Twitter @KimStrassel.