August 23, 2019

Democrat Donor Epstein Found Dead – Another Clinton Witness Doesn’t Make it to Testimony

Disgraced multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein, who was accused of sex trafficking minors, died from an apparent suicide inside in his Manhattan jail cell, officials confirmed Saturday.

Attorney General William Barr said in a statement Saturday that he was “appalled” to learn of the death and the Inspector General would open an investigation into the circumstances of his death. The FBI is also investigating.

“Mr. Epstein’s death raises serious questions that must be answered,” he said. “In addition to the FBI’s investigation, I have consulted with the Inspector General who is opening an investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Epstein’s death.”

The 66-year-old Epstein was found unresponsive inside his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City around 6:30 a.m. Life-saving measures were initiated immediately by responding staff. He was transported to the New York Presbyterian-Lower Manhattan Hospital and was dead on arrival, officials said.

Law enforcement sources told Fox News that the initial call to the jail was cardiac arrest. Multiple reports claimed that he hanged himself. An autopsy is pending.

Marc Fernish, one of Epstein’s attorneys, blamed the government, the judge in the case and the media for this “unthinkable tragedy.”

“All these actors appear to bear some responsibility for this calamity. All seem to have a share of Mr. Epstein’s blood on their hands. All should be ashamed of their behavior,” the said in a personal statement to Fox News. “I call for a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding Mr. Epstein’s death. The public needs to know exactly what happened and why — and how his custodians could have let it occur.”

Epstein’s death comes two weeks after the 66-year-old was placed on suicide watch after he was found nearly unconscious in his cell with injuries to his neck. At the time, it was not clear whether the injuries were self-inflicted or from an assault.

He had been taken off suicide watch before he killed himself, a person familiar with the matter told the AP. It wasn’t immediately clear when he was taken off suicide watch.Video

Epstein was arrested on July 6 over the alleged sexual abuse of dozens of young girls in his Upper East Side townhouse and his waterfront mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, between 2002 and 2005

Epstein allegedly created and maintained a “vast network” and operation from 2002 “up to and including” at least 2005 that enabled him to “sexually exploit and abuse dozens of underage girls” in addition to paying victims to recruit other girls. Prosecutors said that victims would be escorted to a room with a massage table where they would perform massages on Epstein.

At the time of Epstein’s arrest, prosecutors said they found a trove of pictures of nude and seminude young women and girls at his $77 million Manhattan mansion. They also say additional victims have come forward since the arrest.

He had pleaded not guilty and faced up to 45 years in prison if convicted.

His death also comes a day after thousands of documents were unsealed Friday in connection with a defamation cause against his alleged recruiter that revealed dozens of high-profile names including former Maine Sen. George Mitchell, ex-New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Prince Andrew, Duke of York.Video

Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who has long claimed Epstein forced her to have sex with powerful men, claimed in the lawsuit that Epstein and his associate, Ghislaine Maxwell, kept her as a “sex slave” in the early 2000s when she was underage.

Giuffre claimed in the unsealed May 2016 deposition to have been trafficked to have sex with and provide erotic massages to powerful politicians, foreign leaders, and well-heeled businessmen.

JEFFREY EPSTEIN’S HIGH-PROFILE ASSOCIATES ‘BREATHING A SIGH OF RELIEF’ AFTER DEATH: DEROY MURDOCK

Her attorney, Brad Edwards, reacted to Epstein’s apparent suicide on Saturday, telling Fox News it was “unfortunate and predictable.”

“The fact that Jeffrey Epstein was able to commit the selfish act of taking his own life as his world of abuse, exploitation, and corruption unraveled in both unfortunate and predictable,” he said in a statement. “While we engaged in contentious legal battles for more than a decade, this is not the ending anyone was looking for.”

He continued: “The victims deserved to see Epstein held accountable, and he owed it to everyone he hurt to accept responsibility for all of the pain he caused. It is never too late to come forward with information. We will continue to represent his victims and will not stop in their pursuit of finality and justice.”Video

Epstein’s arrest drew national attention, particularly focusing on a deal that allowed Epstein to plead guilty in 2008 to soliciting a minor for prostitution in Florida and avoid more serious federal charges.

Federal prosecutors in New York reopened the probe after investigative reporting by the Miami Herald stirred outrage over that plea bargain.

But his lawyers maintained that the new charges brought by federal prosecutors in New York were covered by the deal and were improper. They said he hasn’t had any illicit contact with girls since serving his 13-month sentence in Florida.

High-profile attorney Lisa Bloom, who presents some of Epstein’s accusers, tweeted Saturday that his death means a “consciousness of guilt.”

“He was charged with only two counts. But he knew. He knew he was guilty, and all of his money would not prevent the inevitable conviction. He knew justice was coming and he could not face it”, she wrote.

David Boies, who represents several women allegedly victimized by Epstein, told Fox News: “This is the end of one chapter, but only one chapter, of the battle to bring the sex traffickers to justice.  Jeffrey Epstein did not act, and could not have done what he did, alone. Justice demands that those who acted with him also be held to account.”

Before his legal troubles, Epstein led a life of extraordinary luxury that drew powerful people into his orbit.

He socialized with princes and presidents and lived on a 100-acre private island in the Caribbean and one of the biggest mansions in New York. A college dropout, he became a sought-after benefactor of professors and scientists, donating millions of dollars in donations to Harvard University and other causes.Video

Still, it was never entirely clear how the middle-class Brooklyn math whiz became a Wall Street master of high finance.

Epstein’s death is likely to raise questions about how the Bureau of Prisons ensures the welfare of high-profile inmates. In October, Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger was killed in a federal prison in West Virginia where had just been transferred.

The Justice Department and the federal Bureau of Prisons did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Saturday.

Fox News’ Bryan Llenas, Robert Gearty, Marta Dhanis, Brooke Singman, Travis Fedschun, and the Associated Press contributed to this report.Lucia I. Suarez Sang is a Reporter & Editor for FoxNews.com. Follow her on Twitter @luciasuarezsang


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Ohio Shooter a Leftist Democrat Socialist Warren Supporter – Warren Raises Money

The 24-year-old gunman who killed his sister and eight other people in Ohio is an ardent leftist socialist democrat and supporter of Sen Elizabeth Warren (D) and Sen Bernie Sanders, and their socialist agenda.

“I want socialism, and i’ll not wait for the idiots to finally come round to understanding,” read one tweet.

Betts also exhibited a fascination with the devil, using such hashtags as “#selfie4satan,” “#HailSatan,” and “@SatanTweeting”. Typical leftist.

Sen Warren and the liberal media have completely ignored this reality and have launched money raising campaigns based on the assertion that the El Paso shooter didn’t like illegal aliens. They have further attempted to saddle President Trump with blame for both shooting sprees, completely ignoring the reality that the Ohio shooter was their guy.

Connor Betts, 24, the deceased gunman who shot and killed nine people in Ohio and wounded 27 others in a mass shooting early Sunday morning, had a twitter account showing he supported ANTIFA and socialist causes and was a supporter of presidential candidate Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

The Twitter biography reads, “he/him / anime fan / metalhead / leftist / i’m going to hell and i’m not coming back.” Tweets include praising Satan and “F— John McCain” after late Arizona Sen. John McCain died.

While the El Paso shooter decries the “Hispanic invasion of Texas,” he specifically tells the world that his personal beliefs “predate Trump and his campaign,” and are not part of the Trump agenda or movement.

Warren and Democrats are abusing the victims, their families and loved ones, as well as the public by misrepresenting the truth, and by demanding money at a time of national sorrow. Opportunists and vultures–as always.

by James Thompson

Dem Judge Dismisses DNC Hacking Lawsuit Against Trump

Judge says claims ‘entirely divorced from the facts’

A federal judge (in the Southern District of New York, appointed by Pres. Clinton) in very frank terms Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) against key members of the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks over hacked DNC documents, saying they “did not participate in any wrongdoing in obtaining the materials in the first place” and therefore bore no legal liability for disseminating the information.

The ruling came as Democrats increasingly have sought to tie the Trump team to illegal activity in Russia, in spite of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s findings that the campaign in fact refused multiple offers by Russians to involve them in hacking and disinformation efforts.

President Trump, in a tweet late Tuesday, noted that the judge in the case, John Koeltl, was appointed by Bill Clinton. The president called Koeltl’s decision “really big ‘stuff'” and “yet another total & complete vindication and exoneration.”

The DNC had asserted in court filings that the Trump team’s meetings “with persons connected to the Russian government during the time that the Russian GRU agents were stealing the DNC’s information” were “circumstantial evidence” that they were conspiring with the Russians to “steal and disseminate the DNC’s materials.”

The suit did not allege that the stolen materials were false or defamatory but rather sought to hold the Trump team and other defendants liable for the theft of the DNC’s information under various Virginia and federal statutes, including the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, Wiretap Act, Stored Communications Act, Digital Millenium Copyright Act, and laws protecting trade secrets.Video

However, Judge Koeltl, sitting in the Southern District of New York, wrote in his 81-page opinion Tuesday that the DNC’s argument was “entirely divorced” from the factual record in the case.

The DNC first filed its suit in April 2018, and the defendants responded that the First Amendment legally protected the dissemination of stolen materials.

“In short, the DNC raises a number of connections and communications between the defendants and with people loosely connected to the Russian Federation, but at no point does the DNC allege any facts … to show that any of the defendants — other than the Russian Federation — participated in the theft of the DNC’s information,” Koeltl said.

“Nor does the DNC allege that the defendants ever agreed to help the Russian Federation steal the DNC’s documents,” he added.

The DNC claimed the defendants illegally compromised their trade secrets contained in some of the stolen documents — including donor lists and strategies. But, the judge said, any such claim to trade secrecy was lost when the documents became public in the first place, and in any event, the newsworthiness of the matter trumped the trade secrecy issue.

“If Wikileaks could be held liable for publishing documents concerning the DNC’s political financial and voter-engagement strategies simply because the DNC labels them ‘secret’ and trade secrets, then so could any newspaper or other media outlet,” the judge wrote. That, he said, would elevate a privacy interest impermissibly over the First Amendment rights of people and media outlets to disseminate matters of “the highest public concern.”

Koeltl went on to describe multiple hacking efforts directed by Russians at the DNC, in which Russians “hacked into the DNC’s computers, penetrated its phone systems, and stole tens of thousands of documents.”

Author of ‘The Russia Hoax’ Gregg Jarrett says the president’s lawyers flagged Mueller’s lack of understanding of the Russia report months ago.

But, even if the Russians had provided the hacked documents to the Trump team directly, the judge wrote, it would not be criminal for the campaign to then publish those documents, as long as they did not contribute to the hacking itself. Similarly, the judge said, it is not criminal to merely solicit or “welcome” stolen documents.

Koeltl cited the infamous Pentagon Papers case in which the Supreme Court held that The New York Times and The Washington Post were protected by the First Amendment when they published articles concerning the government’s public justification for the Vietnam War.

“At first glance, this opinion raises serious concerns about our protections from foreign election interference and the theft of private property to advance the interests of our enemies,” DNC spokesperson Adrienne Watson said.

The suit also named the Russian government, but Koeltl noted that federal law prohibited suits against foreign governments except in highly specific circumstances. Koeltl nevertheless acknowledged that the Russian government “undoubtedly” was involved in the hacking.

Koeltl denied the Trump team’s motion for sanctions but dismissed the suit with prejudice — meaning it had a substantive legal defect and could not be refiled. An appeal remained possible.

In addition to the Trump campaign, WikiLeaks, and Russia, the DNC’s suit named Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, George Papadopoulos, Richard Gates (whose connections with Russia were especially “threadbare,” the judge wrote), Roger Stone, Joseph Mifsud and Julian Assange.

The DNC in its complaint mentioned, among other contacts, Papadopoulos’ meeting with Mifsud in Italy in March 2016, as well as the claim Mifsud told Papadopoulos on April 26, 2016, that the Russians had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of thousands of emails.

The FBI probe into the Trump team came after the bureau learned Papadopoulos then allegedly told an Australian diplomat about his contacts with Russians.

Mifsud had ties to both western and Russian intelligence, and Papadopoulos relayed to his superiors on the Trump campaign that there were “interesting messages coming in from Moscow.” There has been no evidence Papadopoulos told the Trump team specifically about the stolen emails.

The DNC also focused on statements from Stone that may have suggested he had advance warning of pending email hacks or dissemination, as well as Trump Jr.’s statement that he would “love” to receive potentially damaging information on Clinton. Several other communications from Trump officials to Russians or people tied to Russia were mentioned throughout the DNC’s complaint.Video

None of these alleged episodes, the judge ruled, established a criminal conspiracy.

Republicans, meanwhile, have focused increasingly on the DNC’s own apparent role in the origins of the FBI’s probe into the Trump campaign, which began in the summer of 2016 — after British ex-spy Christopher Steele, a longtime FBI informant funded by the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign, began work on his now-discredited dossier.

The dossier was used in secret surveillance warrants to monitor members of the Trump team, and later fueled media reports that kept the investigation going, despite many apparent problems with its reliability. For example, the dossier claimed that Trump lawyer Michael Cohen went to Prague to discuss Russian interference efforts, which Mueller found no evidence for.

The dossier also claimed the Russians had a compromising, lurid tape of Trump, and were running an interference operation out of a nonexistent Russian consulate in Miami, complete with Trump-affiliated U.S.-based hackers. Additionally, Mueller was unable to substantiate the dossier’s claims that former Trump aide Carter Page had received a large payment relating to the sale of a share of Rosneft, a Russian oil giant.

Multiple DOJ reviews into the dossier’s use, and related matters, were ongoing.

The chances of the FBI securing a secret 2016 surveillance warrant for a Trump campaign aide were “50/50” without the anti-Trump dossier, according to testimony in recently confirmed congressional transcripts from senior FBI lawyer Sally Moyer to House investigators.

And, Papadopoulos on Sunday told Fox News he was heading back to Greece to retrieve $10,000 that he suspected was dropped in his lap during the campaign as part of an entrapment scheme by the CIA or FBI. Federal investigators want to see the marked bills, which he said were stored in a safe.

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Papadopoulos said on “Sunday Morning Futures” he was “very happy” to see House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., grill Mueller about the summer 2017 payment during last week’s hearings — even though Mueller maintained, without explanation, that the matter was outside the scope of his investigation.

“I was very happy to see that Devin Nunes brought that up,” Papadopoulos said. “A man named Charles Tawil gave me this money [in Israel] under very suspicious circumstances. A simple Google search about this individual will reveal he was a CIA or State Department asset in South Africa during the ’90s and 2000s. I think around the time when Bob Mueller was the director of the FBI.”

Fox News’ Bill Mears and Catherine Herridge contributed to this report.


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A-listers Flock to Italian Resort in Private Jets, Yachts for Global Warming Confab


Hypocrite Stars attend Google summit on climate change in private jets, mega yachts.
Geniuses like Katy Perry, Leonardo DiCaprio and more attended a Google summit on climate change in private jets and mega yachts.

Google Camp is hosting the likes of former President Barack ObamaPrince HarryLeonardo DiCaprio and Katy Perry in Sicily, Italy, to discuss climate change, but it may come at a steep cost to Mother Earth.

“Everything is about global warming, that is the major topic this year,” a source told the New York Post.

Sources told the outlet that the three-day event will cost the tech giant $20 million.

Many of the guests, including Obama and DiCaprio – who has his own climate change foundation – have described global warming as the biggest threat to future generations.

Italian press reports allege that the Google Campers would show up in 114 private jets, and 40 had arrived by Sunday.Video

If the guests took 114 flights from Los Angeles to Palermo, the private jets would reportedly release 100,000 kilograms of CO2.

“Google Camp is meant to be a place where influential people get together to discuss how to make the world better,” a source told the Post. “There will likely be discussions about online privacy, politics, human rights, and of course, the environment, which makes it highly ironic that this event requires 114 private jets to happen.”

Attendees, who according to a source were personally invited by Google founder Sergey Brin and Larry Page, reportedly will foot the bill for their travel costs to Sicily’s Verdura Resort, but Google will pay the rest of their expenses. Rooms reportedly start at $903 a night in the luxurious vacation spot.

Other stars in attendance will be Perry’s fiancee Orlando Bloom, singer Harry Styles, Bradley Cooper, Nick Jonas, Priyanka Chopra, Gayle King, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, designer Diane von Furstenberg and Barry Diller. Furstenberg and Diller reportedly arrived via their $200 million yacht Eos; Dreamworks founder David Geffen is said to have given Perry and Bloom a lift to the event on his $400 million yacht, Rising Sun.

Perry, who’s starred in UNICEF videos about combating climate change, was reportedly spotted in a Maserati SUV that gets only an estimated 15 miles per gallon.


By Jessica Sager | Fox News


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AGAIN: Facebook Pays Historic $5B Fine for Privacy Violations

After months of speculation, Facebook and the Federal Trade Commission agreed to a $5 billion fine for privacy violations, as well as new oversight on how the company handles user data.

The fine is the largest the FTC has ever levied on a tech company and to the disappointment of some, CEO Mark Zuckerberg is only being held personally responsible in a limited fashion.

As part of the agency’s settlement with Facebook, Zuckerberg will have to personally certify his company’s compliance with its privacy programs. The FTC said that false certifications could expose him to civil or criminal penalties.

Facebook also does not admit any wrongdoing as part of the settlement.

In a statement posted to the FTC’s website, FTC Chairman Joe Simons said the Zuckerberg-led company “undermined consumer choices and the fine is being used not only to punish past violations, but future ones as well.

“Despite repeated promises to its billions of users worldwide that they could control how their personal information is shared, Facebook undermined consumers’ choices,” Simons said in the statement. “The magnitude of the $5 billion penalty and sweeping conduct relief are unprecedented in the history of the FTC. The relief is designed not only to punish future violations but, more importantly, to change Facebook’s entire privacy culture to decrease the likelihood of continued violations. The Commission takes consumer privacy seriously, and will enforce FTC orders to the fullest extent of the law.”

Three Republican commissioners voted for the fine while two Democrats opposed it. “The proposed settlement does little to change the business model or practices that led to the recidivism,” wrote Commissioner Rohit Chopra in his dissenting statement.

Chopra added the settlement imposes “no meaningful changes” to the company’s structure or business model. “Nor does it include any restrictions on the company’s mass surveillance or advertising tactics.”

The money is likely to go to the U.S. Treasury and far surpasses the FTC’s previous record for a fine on a tech company, $22.5 million, which it levied upon Google in 2012 for bypassing the privacy controls in Apple’s Safari browser.

The largest punishment against a non-tech company was the $14.7 billion fine that was handed out to Volkswagen to settle allegations it cheated on emissions tests and deceived customers.

The FTC investigation, which opened last year, stems from the scandal that data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica took user information from as many as 87 million Facebook users without their permission.

The government agency had also been looking into whether Facebook violated a settlement with government regulators in 2012 after it was determined the social networking giant broke privacy promises to users. That settlement said Facebook required user consent to share personal data that overrode their privacy settings.

Cambridge Analytica eventually shut down as a result of the scandal.

In a statement, Facebook’s General Counsel Colin Stretch said the agreement with the FTC would provide new standards for protecting user privacy.

“After months of negotiations, we’ve reached an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission that provides a comprehensive new framework for protecting people’s privacy and the information they give us,” Stretch wrote in a blog post.

“The agreement will require a fundamental shift in the way we approach our work and it will place additional responsibility on people building our products at every level of the company. It will mark a sharper turn toward privacy, on a different scale than anything we’ve done in the past,” Stretch added.

Zuckerberg said the company has a “responsibility to protect people’s privacy,” and as part of the deal with the FTC, it will further its efforts.

“As part of this settlement, we’re bringing our privacy controls more in line with our financial controls under the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation,” Zuckerberg wrote. “Our executives, including me, will have to certify that all of the work we oversee meets our privacy commitments. Just as we have an audit committee of our board to oversee our financial controls, we’ll set up a new privacy committee of our board that will oversee our privacy program. We’ve also asked one of our most experienced product leaders to take on the role of Chief Privacy Officer for Products.”

Sources close to the matter said that Zuckerberg will also discuss the changes at a company-wide meeting Wednesday afternoon.

On its first-quarter earnings call in April Facebook told analysts that it estimated the settlement with the FTC to be between $3 billion and $5 billion.

Separately, The Wall Street Journal reported late Tuesday that Facebook would also settle with the Securities and Exchange Commission to close the matter of whether it properly disclosed its privacy practices to investors and pay a fine “larger than $100 million.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.Follow Chris Ciaccia on Twitter @Chris_Ciaccia


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Omar Introduces Resolution to Boycott Israel, Likens it to Nazis, USSR

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar proposed a resolution this week supporting the right to boycott Israel, likening the boycott of the Jewish state to boycotts of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

Omar’s resolution seeks to push back against U.S. laws banning the boycott of Israel and affirms the right of Americans to organize boycotts of foreign countries if they so wish.

While the resolution doesn’t explicitly name Israel or the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, she told media outlets that the resolution concerns the Jewish state.

“And it is an opportunity for us to explain why it is we support a nonviolent movement, which is the BDS movement.”— U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.

“We are introducing a resolution … to really speak about the American values that support and believe in our ability to exercise our First Amendment rights in regard to boycotting,” Omar told Al-Monitor.

“And it is an opportunity for us to explain why it is we support a nonviolent movement, which is the BDS movement,” she added.

The resolution attracted some Republican detractors, with Rep. Lee Zeldin slamming Omar for introducing it, saying she brought “her hateful twist” by propping up the BDS movement.

“Israel is our best ally in the Mid East; a beacon of hope, freedom & liberty, surrounded by existential threats,” Zeldin wrote in a tweet. “Shame on Rep Omar for bringing her hateful twist on that reality to House Foreign today, propping up the BDS movement & blaming Israel for all of its challenges.”

The resolution affirms the right to boycott as an expression of free speech and cites examples of boycott movements against Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, and apartheid South Africa.

“Americans of conscience have a proud history of participating in boycotts to advocate for human rights abroad including … boycotting Nazi Germany from March 1933 to October 1941 in response to the dehumanization of the Jewish people in the lead-up to the Holocaust,” Omar said in the resolution introduced Tuesday.

“Americans of conscience have a proud history of participating in boycotts to advocate for human rights abroad including … boycotting Nazi Germany from March 1933 to October 1941 in response to the dehumanization of the Jewish people in the lead-up to the Holocaust.”— U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.

Omar’s measure will be co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., the first female Palestinian-American lawmaker in Congress who openly supports a one-state solution in the Israeli-Palestine conflict, and U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga.

But the resolution will likely lead to yet another clash with her fellow Democrats who are mulling a resolution condemning the boycott movement.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee passed Wednesday a resolution that accuses the BDS movement of promoting “principles of collective guilt, mass punishment and group isolation,” the Times of Israel reported.

It remains unclear if the resolution will be introduced to the whole Congress next week amid fears over intra-party clashes.

“I think the timing would not be very wise to take up additional measures around the Middle East,” Rep. Mark Pocan told Politico. “Donald Trump just brought us all together, so let’s take advantage of that.”


Lukas Mikelionis is a reporter for FoxNews.com


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CNN’s Collapsed Ratings Trigger Network Panic

CNN is suffering a credibility crisis as viewership for the once-proud network continues to crater with a no apparent plan in place to fix things anytime soon, according to media watchdogs and insiders.

CNN’s audience shriveled in the second quarter of 2019, averaging only 541,000 total viewers while being more than doubled by Fox News Channel’s 1.3 million average in the process. But CNN struggled even more during the primetime hours of 8-11 p.m. ET, finishing as the fifteenth most-watched network on basic cable behind networks such as TLC, Investigation Discovery and the Hallmark Channel. CNN averaged a dismal 761,000 primetime viewers while FNC averaged 2.4 million.

The Hill media guru Joe Concha told Fox News that CNN’s freefall may not be slowing.

THIS IS CNN? PRIMETIME SHOWS FILLED WITH LIBERAL OPINION, NOT STRAIGHT NEWS AS NETWORK CLAIMS

“The numbers warrant concern, yes. Q2 was a particularly news-rich quarter highlighted by the release of the Mueller report and all the aftermath and controversy following it, plus the launch of several high-profile Democratic candidacies including Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg to propel 2020 coverage into high gear,” Concha said. “It may only get worse in Q3 given the numbers we’re already seeing.”

CNN did not immediately respond when asked for comment.

CNN started off the third quarter with “the network’s lowest average since 2015” when it comes to primetime viewers among the key demographic of adults age 25-54, according to TVNewser. But the network has extended various contributors through the election, indicating that its apparent anti-Trump programming strategy will remain in place for at least the duration of the president’s first term.

“You know the answer,” a longtime CNN employee said when asked if staffers are panicked about the ratings decay before declining further comment.

Another current CNN employee told Fox News that there is widespread concern about the network’s ratings problem, but high-profile hosts such as Anderson Cooper remain unfazed.

“The people that are concerned – it’s certainly not the anchors who have lucrative contracts – it’s the people among the lower levels, such as producers and show bookers.”— CNN employee

“The people that are concerned – it’s certainly not the anchors who have lucrative contracts – it’s the people among the lower levels, such as producers and show bookers,” the employee said.

A third current staffer told Fox News that CNN “is clearly doing something wrong if the ratings are like this,” before asking, “So why don’t we try something different?”

Cable news viewership has declined in general as more and more consumers cut the cord in favor of OTT streaming services, but CNN’s losses are overwhelming. Zucker’s network lost 18 percent of its audience compared to the second quarter of last year. CNN also dropped a whopping 38 percent of primetime viewers among the key demo.

“Losing nearly 40 percent of an already-third place audience must be a primary topic in internal meetings, with immediate remedies not readily apparent.”— Joe Concha

“Losing nearly 40 percent of an already-third place audience must be a primary topic in internal meetings, with immediate remedies not readily apparent,” Concha said.

CNN’s most popular show averaged only 910,000 viewers. Fourteen Fox News programs and 10 MSNBC programs attracted larger audiences.

Chris Cuomo and Anderson Cooper are part of CNN’s struggling primetime lineup that lost 38% of its audience in the key demo during the second quarter of 2019.
Chris Cuomo and Anderson Cooper are part of CNN’s struggling primetime lineup that lost 38% of its audience in the key demo during the second quarter of 2019.

Reporter-turned-banker Porter Bibb is surprised parent company AT&T hasn’t made any changes. “My guess is that senior management is more concerned about the launch of HBO Max than CNN, at least for the moment,” he said.

Sagging ratings weren’t the only negative headlines generated by CNN executives during the second quarter, as the network reduced headcount days after publically declaring there wouldn’t be mass layoffs.

A CNN spokesperson told Fox News on May 7 that reports of looming layoffs were a “crazy rumor,” but staffers were shocked when members of the network’s Atlanta-based staff that covered health care were shown the door only two weeks later.

CNN also saw over 100 employees accept a voluntary buyout option, losing bureau chiefs and award winners in the process while the network moved into elaborate new New York City digs.

“My guess is that senior management is more concerned about the launch of HBO Max than CNN, at least for the moment.”— Porter Bibb

CNN began broadcasting in May from the network’s ritzy new facility in the Hudson Yards area on the West Side of Manhattan. The brand-new, state-of-the-art headquarters is part of a luxurious complex that also features condominiums which start at $4.3 million, high-end restaurants and stores such as Cartier, Rolex, Louis Vuitton and Neiman Marcus.

The second quarter also saw the release of the White House correspondent Jim Acosta’s anti-Trump book. Before its June release, one current CNN employee told Fox News that CNN’s Acosta might not be the right person to cover Trump’s White House these days.Video

“Jim Acosta is, a lot of times, asking the right questions but it doesn’t always need to be about him and his grandstanding,” the CNN staffer said. “People get tired of it. Acosta is supposed to be a correspondent reporting the facts but you can’t tell the difference between him and a paid pundit.”

MSNBC’s recent Democratic presidential primary debate attracted a large audience, and CNN is set to host its own version later this month. The event would typically be a reason for optimism, but CNN announced on Monday that opinion host Don Lemon would a moderator, raising eyebrows in the process as respected journalists such as Erin Burnett and Poppy Harlow remain on the sideline.

Debate moderators are historically straight-news journalists, as opposed to partisan pundits, but CNN’s decision mirrors NBC’s strategy to allow Maddow to moderate last month’s Democratic Debate. CNN has continued to label Lemon an “anchor” despite him spouting anti-Trump opinions on a regular basis.

Conservative strategist Chris Barron told Fox News that CNN’s decision is “a disservice to voters all across the political spectrum” because Lemon – whose beleaguered primetime show has contributed to the network’s ratings crisis — is so open about his own views.Video

DePauw University professor and media critic Jeffrey McCall recently told Fox News that Lemon is no longer a news anchor in the traditional sense because of his partisan rhetoric.

“He is a host of an opinion-driven show in which his opinions are front and center. Thus, he is a host rather than a news anchor,” McCall said. “His show does discuss news topics, but it is not designed as an objective news show.”

In recent memory, Lemon has compared Trump to Adolf Hitler, then claimed he “didn’t mean” to compare the president and Hitler. He has also called Trump a “racist,” a “fraud,” “con man,” questioned whether or not the State of the Union should air on a delay to avoid “propaganda,” declared that he wouldn’t shake the president’s hand and questioned Trump’s mental fitness.

“To pretend he’s not an opinion host is lunacy,” a CNN employee told Fox News.

Lemon has also suggested Trump doesn’t do enough work, speculated on whether or not the president lies about his weight, tied Trump to the college admissions cheating scheme and took a shot at Trump as he was giving his colleague Chris Cuomo a brief tour of his new studio, suggesting that the president can’t afford such a lavish space since he isn’t a “real billionaire.”

One certainty is that Lemon wasn’t selected to lift the debate’s viewership totals. Lemon’s “CNN Tonight” finished the second quarter of 2019 as the 35th most-watched show on cable news.


Brian Flood covers the media for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter at @briansflood.


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New Witnesses in Obama Admin FISA Abuse Probe Agree to Testify

Key witnesses sought for questioning by Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz early in his investigation into alleged government surveillance abuse have come forward at the 11th hour, Fox News has learned.  

Sources familiar with the matter said at least one witness outside the Justice Department and FBI started cooperating — a breakthrough that came after Attorney General William Barr ordered U.S. Attorney John Durham to lead a separate investigation into the origins of the bureau’s 2016 Russia case that laid the foundation for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz looks on as he testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on "Examining the Inspector General's First Report on Justice Department and FBI Actions in Advance of the 2016 Presidential Election" in the Hart Senate Office Building on June 18, 2018, on Capitol Hill. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP/Getty Images)

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz looks on as he testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on “Examining the Inspector General’s First Report on Justice Department and FBI Actions in Advance of the 2016 Presidential Election” in the Hart Senate Office Building on June 18, 2018, on Capitol Hill. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP/Getty Images)

While the investigative phaseof the inspector general’s long-running probe is said to be complete, the sources said recent developments required some witnesses to be reinterviewed. And while Barr testified that he expected the report into alleged Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) abuse to be ready in May or last month, multiple sources said the timeline has slipped.

“The wheels of inspector general investigations move very, very slowly,” former senior DOJ official Tom Dupree told Fox News.

Dupree, who served as deputy assistant attorney general from 2007 to 2009, does not have firsthand knowledge of the current IG case but is familiar with the process. He added, “Like any investigation, you talk to one person, something that person tells you sends you back … to the first person, so it can be a very extensive, exhaustive process, because you are constantly picking up leads, interviewing former sources and navigating complex questions of classified information.”

Late-breaking information is known to delay such investigations. Horowitz’s office similarly encountered new evidence late in the process of the IG review into law enforcement decisions during the 2016 Hillary Clinton email investigation. In this case, additional FISA information came to light late in the process – including October 2016 contact (first reported by The Hill and confirmed by Fox News) between a senior State Department official and a former British spy Christopher Steele, who authored the infamous and salacious anti-Trump dossier.  

The State Department contact with Steele was relayed to a senior FBI official.  The timeline matters because about two weeks later, the FBI and DOJ used Steele’s unverified research, paid for by the DNC and Clinton campaign, to secure a surveillance warrant against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. At the very least, it’s been argued, Steele’s contact with another government agency should have been a red flag for the FBI because it may have violated his confidential human source agreement.

Steele was later fired by the FBI over his media contacts before the 2016 presidential election. The Page surveillance warrant is the central issue of the DOJ IG’s review.

With the timeline for Horowitz’s report not public, one of the wild cards is the final review by the FBI and DOJ, which includes classification issues and could take weeks.

A spokesman for Horowitz would not comment on the report’s status. But during largely unrelated testimony in November, Horowitz offered some guidance for the timeline of the FISA abuse probe in response to questions from GOP Rep. Jim Jordan.  

“What I can say is given the volume of documents we’ve had and the number of witnesses it looks like we’ll need to interview, we are likely to be in the same sort of general range of documents and witnesses as the last report,” Horowitz said, referring to his team’s review of the Clinton email case. “It wouldn’t surprise me if we are in that million or so plus range of documents and a hundred-ish or so interviews. The last review, as you know, took us about … 16 months or so.”

If that same guidance holds, the window for completion would begin this month, though it remains unclear how much the DOJ/FBI review and the additional interviews could delay the process.

Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.

Facebook’s Process to Label You a ‘Hate Agent’ Revealed

Facebook monitors the offline behavior of its users to determine if they should be categorized as a “Hate Agent,” according to a document provided exclusively to Breitbart News by a source within the social media giant.

The document, titled “Hate Agent Policy Review” outlines a series of “signals” that Facebook uses to determine if someone ought to be categorized as a “hate agent” and banned from the platform.

Those signals include a wide range of on- and off-platform behavior. If you praise the wrong individual, interview them, or appear at events alongside them, Facebook may categorize you as a “hate agent.”

Facebook may also categorize you as a hate agent if you self-identify with or advocate for a “Designated Hateful Ideology,” if you associate with a “Designated Hate Entity” (one of the examples cited by Facebook as a “hate entity” includes Islam critic Tommy Robinson), or if you have “tattoos of hate symbols or hate slogans.” (The document cites no examples of these, but the media and “anti-racism” advocacy groups increasingly label innocuous items as “hate symbols,” including a cartoon frog and the “OK” hand sign.)

Facebook will also categorize you as a hate agent for possession of “hate paraphernalia,” although the document provides no examples of what falls into this category.

The document also says Facebook will categorize you as a hate agent for “statements made in private but later made public.” Of course, Facebook holds vast amounts of information on what you say in public and in private — and as we saw with the Daily Beast doxing story, the platform will publicize private information on their users to assist the media in hitjobs on regular American citizens.

Breitbart News has already covered some of the individuals that Facebook placed on its list of potential “hate agents.” Paul Joseph Watson eventually was categorized as “hateful” and banned from the platform, in part, according to the document, because he praised Tommy Robinson and interviewed him on his YouTube channel. Star conservative pundit Candace Owens and conservative author and terrorism expert Brigitte Gabriel were also on the list, as were British politicians Carl Benjamin and Anne Marie Waters.

The Benjamin addition reveals that Facebook may categorize you as a hate agent merely for speaking neutrally about individuals and organizations that the social network considers hateful. In the document, Facebook tags Benjamin with a “hate agent” signal for “neutral representation of John Kinsman, member of Proud Boys” on October 21 last year.

Facebook also accuses Benjamin, a classical liberal and critic of identity politics, as “representing the ideology of an ethnostate” for a post in which he calls out an actual advocate of an ethnostate.

In addition to the more unorthodox signals that Facebook uses to determine if its users are “hate agents,” there is also, predictably, “hate speech.” Facebook divides hate speech into three tiers depending on severity and considers attacks on a person’s “immigration status” to be hate speech.

Here’s how “hate speech” — both on and off Facebook — will be categorized by the platform, according to the document:

Individual has made public statements, or statements made in private and later made public, using Tier 1, 2, or 3 hate speech or slurs:

3 instances in one statement or appearance = signal
5 instances in multiple statements or appearances over one month = signal

If you’ve done this within the past two years, Facebook will consider it a hate signal.

Other signals used by Facebook to determine if its users should be designated as hate agents include carrying out violence against people based on their “protected or quasi-protected characteristics,” attacks on places of worship, and conviction of genocide.

Are you a source at Facebook or any other corporation who wants to confidentially blow the whistle on wrongdoing or political bias at your company? Reach out to Allum Bokhari securely at allumbokhari@protonmail.com.

Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News.


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Hillary Clinton’s Russia collusion IOU: The answers she owes America

During the combined two decades she served as a U.S. senator and secretary of State, Hillary Clinton’s patrons regularly donated to her family charity when they had official business pending before America’s most powerful political woman.

The pattern of political IOUs paid to the Clinton Foundation was so pernicious that the State Department even tried to execute a special agreement with the charity to avoid the overt appearance of “pay-to-play” policy.

Still, the money continued to flow by the millions of dollars, from foreigners and Americans alike who were perceived to be indebted to the Clinton machine or in need of its help.

It’s time for the American public to call in their own IOU on political transparency.

The reason? Never before — until 2016 — had the apparatus of a U.S. presidential candidate managed to sic the weight of the FBI and U.S. intelligence community on a rival nominee during an election, and by using a foreign-fed, uncorroborated political opposition research document.

But Clinton’s campaign, in concert with the Democratic Party and through their shared law firm, funded Christopher Steele’s unverified dossier which, it turns out, falsely portrayed Republican Donald Trump as a treasonous asset colluding with Russian President Vladimir Putin to hijack the U.S. election.

Steele went to the FBI to get an investigation started and then leaked the existence of the investigation, with the hope of sinking Trump’s presidential aspirations.

On its face, it is arguably the most devious political dirty trick in American history and one of the most overt intrusions of a foreigner into a U.S. election.

It appears the Clinton machine knew that what it was doing was controversial. That’s why it did backflips to disguise the operation from Congress and the public, and in its Federal Election Commission (FEC) spending reports.

Clinton and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) used the law firm of Perkins Coie to hire Glenn Simpson’s research firm, Fusion GPS, which then hired Steele — several layers that obfuscated transparency, kept the operation off the campaign’s public FEC reports and gave the Clintons plausible deniability.

But Steele’s first overture on July 5, 2016, failed to capture the FBI’s imagination. So the Clinton machine escalated. Steele, a British national, went to senior Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr — whose wife, Nellie, also worked for Fusion — to push his Trump dirt to the top of the FBI.

Nellie Ohr likewise sent some of her own anti-Trump research augmenting Steele’s dossier to the FBI through her husband. Perkins Coie lawyer Michael Sussmann used his connection to former FBI general counsel James Baker to dump Trump dirt at the FBI, too.

Then Steele and, separately, longtime Clinton protégé Cody Shearer went to the State Department to get the story out, increasing pressure on the FBI.

In short, the Clinton machine flooded the FBI with pressure — and bad intel — until an investigation of Trump was started. The bureau and its hapless sheriff at the time, James Comey, eventually acquiesced with the help of such Clinton fans as then-FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.

To finish the mission, Simpson and Steele leaked the existence of the FBI investigation to the news media to ensure it would hurt Trump politically. Simpson even called the leaks a “hail Mary” that failed.

Trump won, however. And now, thanks to special counsel Robert Mueller, we know the Russia-collusion allegations relentlessly peddled by Team Clinton were bogus. But not before the FBI used the Clinton-funded, foreign-created research to get a total of four warrants to spy on the Trump campaign, transition and presidency from October 2016 through the following autumn.

The Clinton team’s dirty trick was as diabolical as it was brilliant. It literally used house money and a large part of the U.S. intelligence apparatus to carry out its political hit job on Trump.

After two years of American discomfort, and tens of millions of taxpayer dollars spent, it’s time for the house to call in its IOU.

Hillary Clinton owes us answers — lots of them. So far, she has ducked them, even while doing many high-profile media interviews.

I’m not the only one who thinks this way. Longtime Clinton adviser Douglas Schoen said Friday night on Fox News that it’s time for Clinton to answer what she knew and when she knew it.

Here are 10 essential questions:

  1. In January 2018, the Senate Judiciary Committee sent a formal investigative request for documents and written answers from your campaign. Do you plan to comply?
  2. Please identify each person in your campaign who was involved with, or aware of, hiring Fusion GPS, Glenn Simpson and Christopher Steele.

  3. Please identify each person in your campaign, including Perkins Coie lawyers, who were aware that Steele provided information to the FBI or State Department, and when they learned it.

  4. Describe any information you and your campaign staff received, or were briefed on, before Election Day that was derived from the work of Simpson, Steele, Fusion GPS, Nellie Ohr or Perkins Coie and that tried to connect Trump, his campaign or his business empire with Russia.

  5. Please describe all contacts your campaign had before Election Day with or about the following individuals: Bruce Ohr, Nellie Ohr, Glenn Simpson, Christopher Steele, former Australian diplomat Alexander Downer, former foreign policy scholar Stefan Halper and Maltese academic Joseph Mifsud.

  6. Did you or any senior members of your campaign, including lawyers such as Michael Sussmann, have any contact with the CIA, its former Director John Brennan, current Director Gina Haspel, James Baker, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page or former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe?

  7. Describe all contacts your campaign had with Cody Shearer and Sidney Blumenthal concerning Trump, Russia and Ukraine.

  8. Describe all contacts you and your campaign had with DNC contractor Alexander Chalupa, the Ukraine government, the Ukraine Embassy in the United States or the U.S. Embassy in Kiev concerning Trump, Russia or former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

  9. Why did your campaign and the Democratic Party make a concerted effort to portray Trump as a Russian asset?

  10. Given that investigations by a House committee, a Senate committee and a special prosecutor all have concluded there isn’t evidence of Trump-Russia collusion, do you regret the actions by your campaign and by Steele, Simpson and Sussmann to inject these unfounded allegations into the FBI, the U.S. intelligence community and the news media?

Hillary Clinton owes us answers to each of these questions. She should skip the lawyer-speak and answer them with the candor worthy of an elder American stateswoman.

John Solomon is an award-winning investigative journalist whose work over the years has exposed U.S. and FBI intelligence failures before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal scientists’ misuse of foster children and veterans in drug experiments, and numerous cases of political corruption. He serves as an investigative columnist and executive vice president for video at The Hill. Follow him on Twitter @jsolomonReports.


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Far-Left CNN Suffers Double Digit Primetime Ratings Crash in May

The news just keeps getting worse and worse for the far-left CNN, which suffered a 16 percent primetime ratings collapse last month.

The embattled CNN, which always lands is far-last place and axed more than 100 jobs already this year, had about as bad of a ratings month as is possible in May.

It’s primetime hours were only able to average a measly 761,000 viewers, while the fake news outlet’s total day viewers dove nine percent (compared to this same month last year) to just 559,000 viewers.

For comparison purposes, Fox News earned three times as many primetime viewers (2.34 million) and more than twice as many total day viewers (1.34 million). What’s more, when compared to this same month last year, Fox lost none of its primetime viewers and only four percent of its total day viewers.

The most astounding thing, though, is that CNN’s ratings are already so low, it seems impossible they could dive any lower — and yet, they always do.

Do you have any idea just how low 761,000 primetime viewers is…?

How does a nationally known brand like CNN, a brand that is decades old, only manage to attract 761,000 viewers throughout a gonzo news month in a country of over 300 million?

But his is just how far over the cliff CNN has gone… CNN has lost almost all of its viewers, all of its moral authority, and every bit of trust it once had. Over the past six years, as soon as Jeff Zucker took over, CNN got every major national  story exactly wrong, including…

  • Hispanic George Zimmerman: The White Racist Killer
  • Hands Up, Don’t Shoot
  • Trump Can’t Win
  • Brett Kavanaugh: Serial Rapist
  • The KKKids from KKKovington High School
  • Trump Colluded with Russia

And in every one of those cases, CNN got it deliberately wrong because CNN is nothing less than a hysterical propaganda outlet, a fire hose of hate, violence, and lies

Things are so bad at CNN that even though it is only competing with two other cable news networks, the fake news outlet’s top rated program, Cuomo Prime Time, crash-landed in 25th place averaging only 938,000 viewers.

That’s right, the top 24 slots are all filled with shows from Fox News and MSNBC — and Fox holds seven of the top ten.

The insufferable Jake Tapper, the guy Zucker put at 4 p.m. hoping he’d act as a primetime anchor, as a lead-in for the rest of the night, landed in a pathetic 36th place with only 706,000 average viewers, which is 55,000 fewer viewers than CNN’s primetime average.

Among CNN shows, Tapper used to regularly place in the top three as far as total viewers. Now he’s in sixth place among his fake news colleagues.

CNN’s flagship morning show, New Day, is a laughingstock with just 485,000 average viewers.

How big of a fail is that?

Well, New Day is losing by about 80,000 viewers to Fox & Friends First, which airs at — get this — 4 a.m.

Morning shows are supposed to be Zucker’s specialty, where he truly shines, and New Day is a catastrophe — but so is CNN overall in every possible metric — including integrity, decency, honesty, and humanity.

Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.


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Special Counsel Robert Mueller Speaks, Closes Russia Probe

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, in his first public appearance since being appointed to lead the Russia investigation, said it was “not an option” to charge President Trump with a crime, citing Department of Justice policy, but maintained that if they had “confidence” that the president did not commit a crime, they “would have said so.”

“I am speaking out today because our investigation is complete,” Mueller said. “The attorney general has made the report on our investigation largely public. We are formally closing the special counsel’s office. And as well, I’m resigning from the Department of Justice to return to private life.”

The Justice Department announced Mueller would make a statement on Wednesday morning–his first in the more than two years since he was appointed as special counsel.  A senior White House official told Fox News that the White House was advised on Tuesday night of Mueller’s plans.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters Wednesday morning that President Trump was “aware” Mueller’s remarks were coming but had no comment when asked whether the White House had advanced knowledge of the substance of Mueller’s remarks. Sanders also had no comment on whether the president would make a public statement after Mueller speaks.

Meanwhile, multiple sources familiar with the situation told Fox News that Attorney General Bill Barr was aware of Mueller’s plans to deliver a statement Wednesday. One source told Fox News that Barr has also been made aware of the contents of Mueller’s statement. The attorney general, though, will not be at the Justice Department for Mueller’s appearance, and is, instead, traveling to Alaska to meet with law enforcement officials.

Mueller’s appearance comes amid mounting pressure for Mueller to testify before the House Judiciary Committee in a public setting as part of that panel’s oversight investigation of the probe and the Trump administration.

The committee, led by Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., has been in negotiations with Mueller to schedule a hearing for the special counsel, but it is unclear if and when he will appear.

Meanwhile, the special counsel’s office this week issued a rare denial in response to questions about controversial author Michael Wolff’s upcoming book, “Siege: Trump Under Fire,” which reportedly claims that Mueller drew up an obstruction of justice indictment against President Trump.

Robert Mueller set to make first public statement since the release of the report

Video

According to The Guardian’s Edward Helmore, Wolff reports that Mueller’s office planned to charge the president with “influencing, obstructing or impeding a pending proceeding,” “tampering with a witness, victim or informant” and “retaliating against a witness, victim or informant” but eventually decided to “shelve” it. The Guardian reporter claimed he viewed the document, but the special counsel’s office denied it even exists.

“The documents described do not exist,” Mueller spokesman Peter Carr told Fox News on Tuesday.

DOJ AGREES TO SHARE SOME MUELLER DOCUMENTS WITH DEMOCRATS

Last month, Mueller’s report, with redactions covering sources and methods, and grand jury material, was released to the public and to Congress. The special counsel found no evidence of collusion between the Russians and members of the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election.

Mueller was also leading an inquiry into whether the president obstructed justice, outlining 10 instances that could have been perceived as obstruction. Mueller did not, however, come to a conclusion on that matter.

Attorney General Bill Barr, in March, upon reviewing Mueller’s report, said in his four-page summary that the special counsel’s investigation did not find evidence sufficient to charge the president with an obstruction of justice offense.

Barr has come under intense scrutiny over his handling of the report. The House Judiciary Committee, earlier this month, voted to hold him in contempt after he failed to comply with a subpoena to turn over an unredacted version of the Mueller report and its underlying documents and evidence to the committee. The president, then, asserted executive privilege in a bid to protect those files from release.

Fox News’ Kristin Brown, Jake Gibson, Brian Flood, and Blake Burman contributed to this report. Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.


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US Attorney John Durham has been Investigating Origins of Russia Probe For Weeks Already


Attorney General Bill Barr assigns Connecticut attorney John Durham to review the origins of the FBI’s Russia probe.

The U.S. attorney appointed to examine the origins of the Russia investigation has been working on his review “for weeks,” a person familiar with the process told Fox News on Tuesday.

Fox News reported on Monday that Attorney General Bill Barr had assigned John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, to conduct the inquiry into alleged misconduct and alleged improper government surveillance on the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election, as well as whether Democrats were the ones who improperly colluded with foreign actors.

https://video.foxnews.com/v/6036508658001/

Durham, known as a “hard-charging, bulldog” prosecutor, according to a source, will focus on the period before Nov. 7, 2016—including the use and assignments of FBI informants, as well as alleged improper issuance of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants.

Barr first announced that he was reviewing the “conduct” of the FBI’s original Russia investigation during the summer of 2016 last month, following calls from Republicans, and President Trump, to investigate the origins of the probe.

“I am reviewing the conduct of the investigation and trying to get my arms around the aspects of the counterintelligence investigation that was conducted in the summer of 2016,” Barr testified on April 9.

AG Barr taps US attorney John Durham to investigate Russia probe origins

That same day, Fox News learned that Barr had assembled a “team” to investigate the origins of the investigation. A source told Fox News Tuesday that Durham has been working on the investigation “for weeks,” but it is unclear if he was part of the original team assembled by Barr last month.

The FBI’s July 2016 counterintelligence investigation was opened by former senior agent Peter Strzok. Former FBI counsel Lisa Page, with whom Strzok was romantically involved, revealed during a closed-door congressional interview that the FBI “knew so little” about whether allegations against the Trump campaign were “true or not true,” at the time that they opened the probe, noting that they had just “a paucity of evidence because we are just starting down the path” of vetting the allegations. Page later said that it was “entirely common” that the FBI would begin a counterintelligence investigation with just a “small amount of evidence.”

The FBI, at the time, was led by former Director James Comey and former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe—both fired during the Trump administration.

It has been widely reported that in the weeks and months leading up to the 2016 election, the FBI employed informants to probe and extract information from Trump campaign officials.

Earlier this month, The New York Times reported that an investigator working for the U.S. intelligence community posed as a Cambridge University research assistant in September 2016, and tried to probe former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos on the campaign’s possible ties to Russia.

The investigator, who went by Azra Turk, met with Papadopoulos at a London Bar, where she asked directly whether the Trump campaign was working with Russia. Papadopoulos told Fox News that he saw Turk three times in London: once over drinks, another time over dinner, and then once with Stefan Halper, the Cambridge professor who had been a longtime FBI informant. The Times noted that Turk had apparently been sent to oversee Halper, and possibly provide cover for Halper in the event Turk needed to testify.

Papadopoulos told Fox News earlier this month that he “immediately thought she was an agent, but a Turkish agent, or working with the CIA,” and explained “that’s why I never accepted her overtures and met her again after London…London became a very bizarre hangout spot for me that year.”

Papadopoulos also told Fox News that Turk was trying to “seduce” him in an effort to “make me slip up and say something that they knew I had no info on.”

The role of the informants, however, are also reportedly part of Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s review into potential abuses of FISA. Horowitz’s probe began last year, and Fox News has learned that that investigation is nearing completion. Horowitz’s probe is also focused on the FISA warrants issued and recertified for former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

Christopher Wray on if the FBI engages in spying: 'That's not the term I would use'

Republicans, for months, have called for a careful review as to whether the FBI violated Page’s constitutional rights, misled the FISA court, or withheld exculpatory information.

The FBI’s ultimately successful October 2016 warrant application to surveil Page, which relied in part on information from British ex-spy Christopher Steele, who compiled the now-infamous anti-Trump dossier, accused Page of conspiring with Russians. Page was never charged with any wrongdoing.

Republicans have also been looking for answers from U.S. Attorney John Huber, who was appointed by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to review not only surveillance abuses by the Justice Department and the FBI, but also their handling of the investigation into the Clinton Foundation and other matters. Huber apparently has made little progress, and has spoken to few key witnesses and whistleblowers.

Meanwhile, Barr’s appointment of Durham comes after he testified last month that he believed that “spying did occur” on the Trump campaign in 2016.

“I think spying did occur,” Barr said at a congressional hearing. “The question is whether it was adequately predicated…Spying on a political campaign is a big deal.”

Barr later clarified in the hearing: “I am not saying that improper surveillance occurred; I’m saying that I am concerned about it and looking into it, that’s all.”

But FBI Director Chris Wray during a separate congressional hearing broke with Barr’s sentiment.

“That’s not the term I would use,” Wray told lawmakers on the Senate Appropriations Committee when asked if FBI agents engage in “spying” when they follow FBI policies and procedures.

“Lots of people have different colloquial phrases,” he continued. “I believe that the FBI is engaged in investigative activity, and part of investigative activity includes surveillance activity of different shapes and sizes, and to me the key question is making sure that it’s done by the book, consistent with our lawful authorities.”

But former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who resigned in November amid a political clash with the president following his decision in 2017 to recuse himself from oversight of the Russia investigation due to his work with the campaign, later took Barr’s side.

“I think that ‘spying’ is a perfectly good word,” Sessions said during an on-stage interview at a conference in Las Vegas last week.

Fox News’ Jake Gibson, Gregg Re and Adam Shaw contributed to this report. Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.


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Colorado School Shooters are Leftist Terrorists – Thwarted by Mormon Youth and Others

Devon Erickson, the 18-year-old accused in the fatal shooting at a Colorado charter school shared social media posts that were critical of President Trump and Christians, but heaped praise on former President Barack Obama.

Joshua Jones, Kendrick Castillo and Brendan Bialy are credited with disarming one of the two shooters — an act that undoubtedly saved many lives. Castillo died as a result of his wounds, while Jones was shot but survived.

One student was killed and nine others were injured when Erickson and he and another underage suspect allegedly opened fire inside a K-12 school on the afternoon of May 7. Kendrick Castillo, 18, was fatally shot, and eight others were hospitalized. Several of the shooting victims have been released, and one was upgraded from serious to fair condition on Friday.

Devon Erickson, leftist-terrorist who attacked innocent and defenseless children at the STEM School Highlands Ranch in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, with Maya McKinney.

The two suspects — 18-year-old student Devon Erickson and 16-year-old Alec McKinney — will appear in court next week to hear the charges against them. They are both students at the school and face murder and attempted murder charges.

The 16-year-old shooter is a female, Maya McKinney, an LGBTQ proponent who identified as a male at the time of Tuesday’s shooting at the STEM School Highlands Ranch in Highlands Ranch, Colo., that left one student dead and eight others wounded. McKinney reportedly goes by the name Alec or Alex.
LGBTQ McKinney’s father is a criminal illegal alien, the 33-year-old Jose Evis Quintana, who was jailed for 15 months for domestic violence against McKinney’s mother Morgan Lynn McKinney. He was also convicted of “menacing with a weapon,” and has been deported by ICE a number of times.

Devon Erickson was a well-known bully who joked about shootings and threatened other students for years, a former friend said. Kevin Cole used to go to STEM School Highlands Ranch, where one student was killed and eight others injured Tuesday in a shooting. Two suspects are in custody and will appear in court next week to hear the charges against them.

One of those alleged shooters was Devon Erickson, 18, who was once a friend of Cole’s. “They couldn’t believe that he would actually do it, but they weren’t entirely surprised that he did,” Cole said of the suspect’s friends.

He would enter the classroom and say, “When the pencil hits the floor I’m going to start shooting.” Then, he would spend the rest of class sporadically dropping pencils, Cole said of the suspect. And sometimes, the “jokes” were more like threats.

“He would just get really close and kind of hunch himself over your shoulder as you were sitting down, and he would just whisper in your ear ‘don’t come to school tomorrow’ and just kind of crack a smile and walk back to his seat,” Cole said.

Devon Erickson not only posted anti-President Trump messages on Facebook, but shared pro-Obama posts from left-wing Facebook page “Occupy Democrats.”

It was just three days before the last day of school, and students inside the English classroom were relaxing during the last period of the day watching “The Princess Bride” when one of their classmates walked in late and pulled out a gun.

“The only thing he said out loud to the students was, ‘Don’t you move,’” said Nui Giasolli, an 18-year-old senior who was in the class at the time.

In that moment, she recalled, Kendrick Castillo, a gentle teenager fascinated by cars and engineering, lunged to stop the gunman and was shot dead. Eight other students were wounded in the shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch on Tuesday afternoon, which the authorities said was carried out by two fellow students.

Kendrick Castillo, the gentle hero who tried to stop the gunmen was shot dead.
Latter-day Saint ‘hero’ shot twice after rushing gunman at Colorado school shooting.

Castillo’s friend, Joshua Jones and two classmates saved lives when they tackled one of two people behind the Colorado mass shooting that killed a young hero and wounded eight others.

Jones pinned the shooter with his body until police arrived, according to Lewis. He suffered gunshot wounds to his left calf and hip.

Jones is at home recovering, his family insisting that he use his crutches. He vows to ditch them for his May 20 graduation, according to Lewis. Jones always thought he wanted to become an EMT but now he’s certain, Lewis says. The teenager would like to go on a Mormon mission before his EMT training.

By James Thompson. James holds a doctoral degree, and is a political commentator and professional ghostwriter.


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9th Circuit Agrees Trump Admin can Send Asylum Claimants to Wait in Mexico

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals late Tuesday granted the Trump administration’s request to send asylum seekers back to Mexico to wait out court proceedings temporarily.

The court order reversed a decision by a San Francisco judge that would have blocked the policy — giving President Trump a temporary victory on immigration.

The case must still be considered on its merits at a lower court in San Francisco and could end up at the Supreme Court.

U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg ruled April 8 that the policy should be halted while a lawsuit, filed on behalf of 11 asylum applicants and several other organizations, proceeds.

Migrants from around the world gather in Mexico with goal of entering US

The American Civil Liberties Union, which brought the suit along with the Southern Poverty Law Center, and Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, said that despite the ruling, “there is good reason to believe that ultimately this policy will be put to a halt.”

“Asylum seekers are being put at serious risk of harm every day that the forced return policy continues,” Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said in a statement. “Notably, two of the three judges that heard this request found that there are serious legal problems with what the government is doing.”

The lawsuit on behalf of 11 asylum seekers from Central America and legal advocacy groups says the Trump administration is violating U.S. law by failing to adequately evaluate the dangers that migrants face in Mexico.

Yuma at breaking point over asylum seekers, Sen. McSally says ‘crisis getting worse everyday’

Video

It also accuses Homeland Security and immigration officials of depriving migrants of their right to apply for asylum by making it difficult or impossible for them to do so.

The Trump administration says the policy responds to a crisis at the southern border that has overwhelmed the ability of immigration officials to detain migrants. Growing numbers of families are fleeing poverty and gang violence in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Last year, the Justice Department eliminated gang violence and domestic abuse as a possible justification for seeking asylum.

The so-called “Remain in Mexico” policy was one of the primary innovations of former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who left her role with the Trump administration last month.

Asylum law, conservatives point out, is intended to shield individuals from near-certain death or persecution on account of limited factors like religious or political affiliation — not poor living conditions and economic despair.

Most asylum applicants are ultimately rejected for having an insufficient or unfounded personalized fear of persecution, following a full hearing of their case before an asylum officer or an immigration judge.


Fox News’ Raymond Bogan, Gregg Re and The Associated Press contributed to this report.Nicole Darrah covers breaking and trending news for FoxNews.com. Follow her on Twitter at @nicoledarrah.


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Kimberly Strassel: AG Barr Attacked Because His New Probe Targets Powerful Democrats

The only thing uglier than an angry Washington is a fearful Washington. And fear is what’s driving this week’s blitzkrieg of Attorney General William Barr.

Mr. Barr tolerantly sat through hours of Democratic insults at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday. His reward for his patience was to be labeled, in the space of a news cycle, a lawbreaking, dishonest, obstructing hack. Speaker Nancy Pelosi publicly accused Mr. Barr of lying to Congress, which, she added, is “considered a crime.” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said he will move to hold Mr. Barr in contempt unless the attorney general acquiesces to the unprecedented demand that he submit to cross-examination by committee staff attorneys. James Comey, former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, lamented that Donald Trump had “eaten” Mr. Barr’s “soul.” Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren demands the attorney general resign. California Rep. Eric Swalwell wants him impeached.

These attacks aren’t about special counsel Robert Mueller, his report or even the surreal debate over Mr. Barr’s first letter describing the report. The attorney general delivered the transparency Democrats demanded: He quickly released a lightly redacted report, which portrayed the president in a negative light. What do Democrats have to object to?

Some of this is frustration. Democrats foolishly invested two years of political capital in the idea that Mr. Mueller would prove President Trump had colluded with Russia, and Mr. Mueller left them empty-handed. Some of it is personal. Democrats resent that Mr. Barr won’t cower or apologize for doing his job. Some is bitterness that Mr. Barr is performing like a real attorney general, making the call against obstruction-of-justice charges rather than sitting back and letting Democrats have their fun with Mr. Mueller’s obstruction innuendo.

But most of it is likely fear. Mr. Barr made real news in that Senate hearing, and while the press didn’t notice, Democrats did. The attorney general said he’d already assigned people at the Justice Department to assist his investigation of the origins of the Trump-Russia probe. He said his review would be far-reaching – that he was obtaining details from congressional investigations, from the ongoing probe by the department’s inspector general, Michael Horowitz, and even from Mr. Mueller’s work. Mr. Barr said the investigation wouldn’t focus only on the fall 2016 justifications for secret surveillance warrants against Trump team members but would go back months earlier.

He also said he’d focus on the infamous “dossier” concocted by opposition-research firm Fusion GPS and British former spy Christopher Steele, on which the FBI relied so heavily in its probe. Mr. Barr acknowledged his concern that the dossier itself could be Russian disinformation, a possibility he described as not “entirely speculative.” He also revealed that the department has “multiple criminal leak investigations under way” into the disclosure of classified details about the Trump-Russia investigation.


Kimberley Strassel is a Fox News contributor and 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.  


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Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein Resigns

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who frequently found himself in the political crosshairs due to his role in the special counsel’s Russia probe and whose departure has long been expected, submitted his resignation on Monday to President Trump, effective May 11.

Attorney General William Barr in a statement said Rosenstein served the Justice Department “with dedication and distinction.”

“His devotion to the Department and its professionals is unparalleled,” the statement read. “Over the course of his distinguished government career, he has navigated many challenging situations with strength, grace, and good humor.”

Rosenstein, 54, previously served as deputy assistant attorney general and U.S. attorney. He had intended to leave his position last month but stayed on for the completion of the Mueller probe, which Rosenstein had overseen.

In February, Fox News reported that Barr had picked Jeffrey Rosen, who currently serves as Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation, to take over for Rosenstein.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein defends Attorney General Bill Barr's handling of the Mueller report

Rosenstein was part of a small group of department officials who reviewed the document and helped shape its public release. After Mueller didn’t reach a conclusion on whether Trump had obstructed the investigation, Barr and Rosenstein stepped in and determined the evidence wasn’t enough to support such an allegation.

In recent months, Rosenstein became a frequent target of Trump’s ire, after FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe described private discussions about secretly recording and potentially ousting the president in the days after he fired FBI Director James Comey.

Trump accused them of pursuing a “treasonous” plot against him. Rosenstein, though, denied pursuing a recording of the president and has pushed back on claims he broached the idea of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. However, Rosenstein was largely spared the type of anger directed by Trump at Sessions, whose recusal infuriated the president and led to Sessions’ to his forced resignation last November.

As first reported by The New York Times last year, Rosenstein allegedly discussed wearing a “wire” to tape Trump and pursuing his removal from office in meetings and conversations with Justice Department and FBI officials. This would have been in the tumultuous days after Comey was fired as FBI director, with the president citing in part a memo penned by Rosenstein — reportedly catching him off guard.

Are Democrats overreacting to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's expected departure from the DOJ?

Fox News has learned one key meeting took place on May 16, 2017 at Justice Department headquarters. Several people were in the room, including McCabe and former FBI counsel Lisa Page. Mueller was appointed as special counsel the next day.

Rosenstein’s conservative critics on the Capitol Hill seized on the reports, with North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows, the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, calling on him to appear before Congress to explain the comments. In July, Meadows and Jim Jordan of Ohio, another member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, introduced five articles of impeachment against Rosenstein.

Those impeachment articles accused Rosenstein of intentionally withholding documents and information from Congress, failure to comply with congressional subpoenas and abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). That effort was referred to the House Judiciary Committee, where it has not been voted upon.

Before named by Trump to serve as the No. 2 to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Rosenstein served as the U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland. Rosenstein took over the Russia probe after Sessions recused himself from the investigation. It was Rosenstein who later appointed Mueller to his post.

Fox News’ William Mears, Alex Pappas, Jake Gibson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.Nicole Darrah covers breaking and trending news for FoxNews.com.


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Joe Biden Announces 2020 Presidential Bid

3 things to know about the former vice president

Former Vice President Joe Biden officially announced his 2020 presidential bid.

“The core values of this nation, our standing in the world, our very democracy, everything that has made America — America — is at stake. That’s why today I’m announcing my candidacy for president of the United States,” Biden announced in a tweet early Thursday.

Biden, 76, is the latest Democrat to enter the crowded race for the White House against President Trump. A former senator from Delaware, Biden has emerged as a frontrunner for the Democratic nomination — topping the polls alongside self-proclaimed Democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Here are three things to know about the former vice president as his campaign journey begins.

He first bid for the presidency came over three decades ago

Biden’s announcement on Thursday marks the beginning of his third campaign for the White House.

As a 45-year-old senator from Delaware, Biden launched his first campaign in 1987 at the Wilmington train station. The first campaign didn’t last long, ending after it became public that he had plagiarized a speech from a British politician, according to the Delaware News Journal.

His second bid began in 2007, but he dropped out in 2008 after failing to gain enough support. Biden ultimately went on to serve as vice president for two terms under Barack Obama.

In 2016, there was much speculation that Biden would again announce a bid for president, but he decided against running for personal reasons. His son, Beau, had died in 2015 after battling brain cancer.

His choice of transportation is the Amtrak train

Aptly nicknamed “Amtrak Joe,” Biden had long been a fixture on the rail line between his home in Delaware and his office in Washington D.C.

Biden began taking the train home every night to care for his two sons after his wife and daughter died in a car accident in 1972, according to the Washington Post.

He carried on the Amtrak tradition throughout his decades-long Senate career. Biden’s affinity for the train gained national attention when he became Obama’s running mate in 2008.

He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom

President Barack Obama presents Vice President Joe Biden with the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Jan. 12, 2017.

President Barack Obama presents Vice President Joe Biden with the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Jan. 12, 2017. (The Associated Press)

In January 2017, outgoing President Obama surprised Biden with the President Medal of Freedom in an emotional ceremony.

“To know Joe Biden is to know love without pretense, service without self-regard, and to live life fully,” Obama said.

Biden tearfully accepted the honor.

By Stephen Sorace


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Dr. Qanta Ahmed: Rep. Ilhan Omar is a Disgrace to Islam

Rep. Ilhan Omar continues to be an embarrassment and a disgrace for me and other American Muslims with her outrageous, ignorant, anti-Semitic and now anti-American comments.

And while Omar, a Minnesota Democrat, holds herself out as a proud Muslim, she repeatedly projects a distorted and patently Islamist interpretation of Islam – a religion that in reality stands for the values of justice, peace and ethical conduct.

Sadly, Omar gives millions of Americans a false impression of what Islam is and what we Muslims believe and stand for. While she denounces prejudice against Muslims, her aberrant views on Islam fuel prejudice against me and my coreligionists by distorting who we are while defaming and dishonoring the great monotheism of Islam.

Omar’s latest absurd and insulting comment came to light just a few days ago. Describing the horrific Islamist terrorist attacks on America on Sept. 11, 2001 that killed almost 3,000 people and injured more than 6,000 others – including many Muslims – Omar told a Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) fundraiser: “CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something, and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.”

First, Omar betrayed her ignorance, because CAIR was founded in 1994. Second, the congresswoman displayed an appalling and dismissive insensitivity to the worst foreign attack on America in our history, claiming almost 600 more lives than the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Omar’s grotesque trivialization of a national tragedy amounts to an explicit denial of 9/11 – a desecration of all the lives erased that awful day. This denial is inexplicable unless she has strong and covert Islamist sympathies.

Tragically, the Sept. 11 attacks continue to take a toll almost 18 years later.

Some estimate more than 2,100 first responders who worked in Ground Zero in New York City in an effort to save lives and then find the deceased after the attacks have died of diseases they incurred. More than 10,000 people have been diagnosed with cancer related to the World Trade Center attacks and over 43,000 have been certified with World Trade Center-related illnesses.

Omar should be honest. There is no escaping the fact that the atrocities of 9/11 were not simply committed by “some people.” Islamist jihadists were responsible and they came from within the Muslim fold.

Most of the almost 490,000 Americans who either lived near Ground Zero or responded to the recovery and rebuilding efforts have never enrolled in the government’s health programs. So we don’t know how many more have suffered health problems from the terrorist attack on the twin towers.

I am a physician now working in New York and I’m affiliated with New York University Winthrop Hospital’s World Trade Center Health Program. I see the burden of Sept. 11 on a regular basis, treating brave and selfless first responders who still suffer from complex sleep disorders – including post-traumatic stress – that I specialize in treating.

President Trump responded to Omar’s comments by posting a video on Twitter mixing her words with terrible scenes of the Sept. 11 attacks. His action can be considered insensitive to many 9/11 survivors and family members – including some of my own patients – who can’t view these pictures without experiencing repeat trauma.

However, the president’s exposure of Omar’s hypocrisy and offensive diminishment of 9/11 was both legitimate and necessary.

In her dismissal of Sept. 11, Omar callously erased the deep suffering of every survivor and family I attend, and everyone else still impacted by the terrorist attacks.

Like each person old enough to remember Sept. 11, 2001, the day will be engraved in my mind for as long as I live.

I was working as a physician in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It was 4 p.m. when I turned on my TV and watched the world come to a standstill as I witnessed (along with people around the world) the jet planes go through the World Trade Center, and soon after saw the twin towers collapse.

Mass murder on live TV – an unbelievable nightmare, like a horror film come to life.

Living at the time in the Saudi Kingdom – the epicenter of Islam – as the world learned the identity of the 9/11 terrorists, I wondered how my religion had been hijacked by suicidal killers who claimed they had a religious duty to kill innocents.

And I knew from that moment that these murderers would now become the face of Islam for many non-Muslims who know little about a religion with more the 1.6 billion followers around the globe.

Of course, only the perpetrators of the 9/11attacks and their supporters are to blame for their evil and immoral massacre. But on that sad day it became the responsibility of every Muslim to understand the heinous perversion of Islam known as Islamist jihadism and to stand against it.

In her grotesque trivialization of the Sept. 11 attacks, Omar betrays the Islam she claims to follow. She also denigrates every victim and survivor of the attacks and does me and every other Muslim a grave dishonor.

And while Omar relishes in flaunting her Muslim identity, she categorically fails in her Islamic duty. Islam is very clear in assigning responsibility for wrongdoing. Each Muslim has a clear-cut duty to himself or herself, to God and to society.

In fact, the holy texts of Islam emphasize that one’s greatest allegiance should be to justice – even if doing so demands superseding family and coreligionist ties.

“Be strict in observing justice, and be witness for Allah, even though it be against yourselves or against your parents or kindred,” the Koran says in Chapter 4, Verse 36. Omar fails on every count when her remarks trivializing the Sept. 11 attacks are seen in the light of this verse.

There is no question that the Sept. 11 attacks were an act of war launched through evolutionary Islamist jihadism, which has since become the hallmark of radical Islam.

Radical Islam – also known as Islamism – is a deviant, fictional and extreme distortion of true Islam, perpetrated by Islamist Muslims who use it to justify hatred and lethal violence that in reality have nothing to do with Islam.

Omar should be honest. There is no escaping the fact that the atrocities of 9/11 were not simply committed by “some people.” Islamist jihadists were responsible and they came from within the Muslim fold.

The vast majority of the world’s Muslims reject the cult or murder and death embraced by the hijackers of our beautiful religion, and in fact, many Muslims continue to die at the hands of Islamist jihadism. We each bear a responsibility to expose it.

Finally, let me set the record straight on Omar’s frequent complaints about how she and other Muslims are being persecuted and discriminated against in the United States today.

As a Muslim woman of color and immigrant – just like Omar – it’s logical to assume that if there was pervasive anti-Muslim discrimination in the United States I would be aware of it.

But in fact, Muslims have not experienced a contraction of civil rights in the U.S. since the Sept. 11 attacks. We continue to have the same rights as all other Americans.

Rather than being second-class citizens, Muslims born in America and immigrating here legally have full citizenship open to us. We are all allowed to both be and feel fully American and recognized as such, unlike the way many Muslims tell me they feel in European nations.

The greatest obscenity in the lie that Omar pedals is that she – along with millions of other Muslims in America – is somehow victimized. Do not believe this.

Muslims in America are mainstream and most are middle-class. Some of us are even wealthy. Many of us are highly educated, upwardly mobile and among the fastest immigrants to climb the economic ladder and earn six-figure incomes. This is in stark contrast to Muslims in Europe, where Muslims are much less affluent than the general population.

The myth of Muslim victimhood is an Islamist one. It is completely false in the setting of Islam in America and in comparison to Islam in the wider Muslim-majority world.

For me, condemning Omar’s trivialization of the Sept. 11 mass murders is an act of being fully American, being a physician advocate for my 9/11 survivor patients and their families, and at the same time – keeping in line with Islam’s clear teachings – being fully Muslim.

Omar’s words are a grotesque injustice against people who have already experienced diabolic injustice.

I thank God every day that I was able to immigrate to the United States of America, where I am now a proud citizen in a country I love and where I enjoy the blessings of  American liberty and protection of my rights under the U.S. Constitution. Wouldn’t it be nice to hear Rep. Ilhan Omar express these same sentiments?  Don’t expect it anytime soon.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE BY QANTA AHMEDQanta A. Ahmed, M.D., is  a councilor at the USC Shoah Foundation and member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She is also an associate professor of medicine at the State University of New York. Follow her on Twitter @MissDiagnosis.


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On This Easter Morning, Let Us Remember

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

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

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

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

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

empty-tomb

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let us remember Him this Easter.

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


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