June 22, 2018

DOJ’s Rosenstein Assures Trump He is Not a Target

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told President Trump last week that the president is not a target in the Michael Cohen investigation, and that the investigation is focused solely on Cohen, the president’s personal attorney, a source familiar with the probe told Fox News on Thursday.

Trump has been told previously that he is not a target of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

The source also said the Cohen investigation, together with the abrupt departure of John Dowd from Trump’s legal team, slowed, but did not halt talks about Trump sitting down for a potential interview with Mueller.

The FBI last week raided the office, home and hotel room of Cohen. Federal agents reportedly obtained documents related to several issues, including Cohen’s payments to adult-film star Stormy Daniels in the weeks leading up to the 2016 presidential election.

Separately, President Trump’s in-house counsel Ty Cobb said no firings are currently under consideration, including those of Rosenstein or Mueller.

Earlier Thursday, Bloomberg reported that Rosenstein told Trump that he was not being targeted in the wider Mueller probe.

According to Bloomberg, Rosenstein told Trump that he wasn’t being targeted during a Thursday meeting at the White House. The assurances reportedly led to waning interest on behalf of the president to fire Rosenstein and Mueller.

In an interview on Thursday with CNN, former FBI director James Comey addressed the reports about Rosenstein’s reported conversation with Trump.

“I don’t know what it means,” Comey said. “It’s a fairly standard part of any investigation, trying to decide whether a person you’re encountering is a witness, a subject or a target. A target is someone on whom the investigation, the grand jury has developed … evidence sufficient to charge. Witness is somebody who has nothing to do with any exposure and a subject is everybody in the middle. So, I don’t know the context in which the Deputy Attorney General did that, but that’s the general framework.”

This is a developing story; check back for updates.

Fox News’ John Roberts and Samuel Chamberlain contributed to this report.

Nearly 150 Illegal Immigrant Gang Members Released by Sanctuary Cities Last Year

Dozens of gang members, some of whom belonged to the notorious MS-13, were shielded from deportation and released due to “sanctuary” policies last year, according to newly released stats from the Department of Homeland Security.

The revelation could jolt the escalating “sanctuary” debate, especially in California where many of those gang members were located.

“Two-thirds of the releases occurred in California, which has had a strict sanctuary policy in effect since January 2014,” the Center for Immigration Studies said in a post on the data, pointing to “obvious public safety problems.”

Gang members released due to ‘sanctuary’ policies, by state

From Oct. 1, 2016 to June 19, 2017:

Arizona: 1

California: 89

Illinois:  3

Louisiana: 2

Maryland: 13

Minnesota: 1

New Jersey: 2

New Mexico: 2

New York: 4

Oregon: 2

Rhode Island: 1

Texas: 11

Washington: 11

[Data from Department of Homeland Security]

DHS officials provided a breakdown of gang members that were released in fiscal 2017, in response to questions posed in June by the Senate Judiciary Committee at a hearing on the rise of MS-13.

From October 2016 to June 2017, DHS says, sanctuary jurisdictions refused to honor Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers on 142 suspected gang members — where ICE officials ask authorities to detain criminal illegal immigrants so ICE can take custody and deport them.

In the answers, the officials added that the numbers may be on the conservative side as jurisdictions that do not allow officials into jails make it more challenging to identify gang members.

“Because ICE often determines gang affiliation through interviews, ICE cannot speculate about the number of times it was denied access to an alien in the custody of state or local authorities who may have had such an affiliation,” the answers read.

Fifteen of those released were suspected members of MS-13, a gang started in the 1980s by Central American immigrants and known for its gruesome crimes. The gang’s presence across the country has been an escalating political issue.

“Violence is a central tenet of MS-13, as evidenced by its core motto — “mata, viola, controla,” translated as, ‘kill, rape, control,’ the DOJ said in a 2016 release.

WHAT IS MS-13, THE VIOLENT GANG TRUMP VOWED TO TARGET? 

The majority (89) of suspected gang members released were in California — whose state leaders are locked in a high-profile battle with the Trump administration, and even some of its own cities, over the state’s sanctuary policies. The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against the state last month, claiming that the policies prevent federal authorities from enforcing immigration laws.

On Tuesday, San Diego County became the latest local jurisdiction to back the lawsuit, claiming it limits police cooperation with federal agents. San Diego County is the largest county so far to back the suit, and its move comes after Orange County has also supported the administration.

California Gov. Jerry Brown said Tuesday that President Trump’s stance against illegal immigration is “just an inflammatory football that very low-life politicians like to exploit.”

SAN DIEGO VOTES TO JOIN TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S LAWSUIT AGAINST CALIFORNIA’S SANCTUARY CITY LAW 

If Trump “wants to round them up like some totalitarian government and ship them out, say that,” Brown said. “But he doesn’t say that because the American people would repudiate him and his party.”

Trump has repeatedly hailed the pushback against Brown and on Wednesday tweeted that there was a “revolution” in the state against sanctuary policies, which he called “ridiculous, crime infested & breeding concept.”

ICE figures show a surge in arrests related to MS-13. In fiscal 2017, there were 796 arrests of MS-13 members, compared with 432 in fiscal 2016 and 322 in fiscal 2015. More broadly, ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) said that 5,396 gang members were removed in fiscal 2017, compared with 2,057 in fiscal 2016.

DHS is also calling for tougher border security measures to combat MS-13.

In the questions posed to DHS officials, Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, asked officials whether a border wall would stem the violence from MS-13, to which the officials said it would, calling it a “cornerstone” in preventing criminals from entering the country.

“The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) believes further securing our border will impact the medium- and long-term health of MS-13 and the level of violence it perpetrates,” the response said. “As many current MS-13 gang members are illegal border entrants, DHS believes increasing border security will discourage the arrival of both current gang members and potential recruits.”

Additionally, officials said that MS-13 members regularly exploit border vulnerabilities and that U.S. Border Patrol agents arrest MS-13 members trying to enter the country “on a near-daily basis.”

Fox News’ Joseph Weber, William LaJeunesse and Paulina Dedaj contributed to this report.

Adam Shaw is a Politics Reporter and occasional Opinion writer for FoxNews.com. He can be reached here or on Twitter: @AdamShawNY.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo Met with Kim Jong Un Over Easter Weekend

CIA Director Mike Pompeo met with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un over Easter weekend in an effort to lay the groundwork for a summit between Kim and President Trump, Fox News has confirmed.

Pompeo’s trip, which was first reported by The Washington Post, came to light hours after Trump told reporters that the U.S. and North Korea are holding direct talks at “extremely high levels” in preparation for what would be an extraordinary meeting following months of heated rhetoric over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program.

Though the White House did not initially comment on the reports, Trump acknowledged the meeting in a Wednesday morning tweet, saying it went well.

“Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jong Un in North Korea last week. Meeting went very smoothly and a good relationship was formed. Details of Summit are being worked out now. Denuclearization will be a great thing for World, but also for North Korea!” he tweeted.

Trump, who welcomed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to his Florida resort Tuesday, said five locations for the potential summit are under consideration. The president would not disclose the sites but said the U.S. was not among them.

“We’ll either have a very good meeting or we won’t have a good meeting,” Trump told reporters. “And maybe we won’t even have a meeting at all, depending on what’s going in. But I think that there’s a great chance to solve a world problem.”

The president did not answer shouted questions about whether he has spoken with Kim.

Kim’s offer for a summit was initially conveyed to Trump by South Korea last month, and the president shocked many when it was announced that he had accepted. U.S. officials have indicated over the past two weeks that North Korea’s government has communicated directly with Washington that it is ready to discuss its nuclear weapons program.

Abe, who has voiced fears that short- and medium-range missiles that pose a threat to Japan might not be part of the U.S. negotiations, praised Trump on Tuesday for his bravery in agreeing to meet with the North Korean dictator.

“I’d like to commend Donald’s courage in his decision to have the upcoming summit meeting with the North Korean leader,” Abe said.

Trump also confirmed that North and South Korea are working to negotiate an end to hostilities before next week’s meeting between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae In. The meeting will be the third inter-Korean summit since the Koreas’ 1945 division.

North Korea has long sought a peace treaty with the U.S. to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War. But it is unusual for the North to seek to broach the issue directly with South Korea rather than with Washington. The armistice that ended the fighting was signed by the United Nations Command — the U.S.-led forces in the conflict — North Korea and China. South Korea was a member of the U.N. Command but was not a direct signatory.

Trump said Tuesday that the two Koreas “have my blessing to discuss the end of the war.”

Fox News’ John Roberts, Serafin Gomez and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Barbara Bush, Former First Lady, Dead at 92

With her cloud of snow-white hair, signature three strand pearls and compelling presence, Barbara Bush’s image was what she laughingly called “everybody’s grandmother.” But the feisty, outspoken Bush was also a tireless advocate for literacy , an author, experienced campaigner and both wife and mother of a U.S. president.

Bush, 92, died Tuesday, shortly after her family announced she was in failing health and would decline further medical treatment in favor of “comfort care.” There were no details of her specific health problems.

The announcement was made in a statement from the office of former President George H.W. Bush.

“A former First Lady of the United States of America and relentless proponent of family literacy, Barbara Pierce Bush passed away Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at the age of 92. She is survived by her husband of 73 years, President George H. W. Bush; five children and their spouses; 17 grandchildren; seven great grandchildren; and her brother, Scott Pierce. She was preceded in death by her second child, Pauline Robinson ‘Robin’ Bush, and her siblings Martha Rafferty and James R. Pierce.”

In a statement, her son, former President George W. Bush, called his mother “a fabulous First Lady and a woman unlike any other.”

“My dear mother has passed on at age 92. Laura, Barbara, Jenna, and I are sad, but our souls are settled because we know hers was. Barbara Bush was a fabulous First Lady and a woman unlike any other who brought levity, love, and literacy to millions. To us, she was so much more. Mom kept us on our toes and kept us laughing until the end. I’m a lucky man that Barbara Bush was my mother. Our family will miss her dearly, and we thank you all for your prayers and good wishes.”

Shortly after news of her passing came out, President Donald Trump shared his “thoughts and prayers” with the Bush family.

She was survived by her husband of 73 years, former President George H.W. Bush, five children (a sixth died as a toddler), 17 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Her granddaughter, Jenna Bush Hager, told NBC Monday that she and her twin, Barbara, named after her grandmother, had spoken with the family matriarch Sunday night and “she’s in great spirits, and she’s a fighter and she’s an enforcer.”

Barbara Bush was born June 8, 1925, in New York City, the third of four children of Marvin Pierce, a magazine publishing executive, and Pauline Robinson Pierce. She grew up in the affluent suburb of Rye, New York, where she was an avid athlete, excelling at swimming and tennis.

As a teen, she attended Ashley Hall, a boarding school in South Carolina. In 1941, when she was 16 and home on Christmas break, she met George Herbert Walker Bush, then a student at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., at a holiday dance. The attraction was immediate and 18 months later, they were engaged.

Barbara entered Smith College but dropped out to marry Bush, who had gone to war as a Navy torpedo bomber pilot. She was 19 and he was 20 when they wed January 6, 1945 in Rye. Years later, she said, “I married the first man I ever kissed. When I tell my children that, they just about throw up. ”

As newlyweds, the couple lived in New Haven, Conn., where Bush was a student at Yale and their first child, George W. Bush, was born. They then moved around regularly – to Texas, California, and back to various Texas cities – as the family grew. By the time she moved to Washington for her husband’s vice presidency, Barbara Bush estimated they had moved 29 times.

George W. Bush was followed by a sister, Robin, who lived almost four years before dying of leukemia (an event some speculated was the cause of Barbara Bush’s hair turning prematurely white). The children who followed were Jeb, Neil, Marvin and Dorothy.

While George – who called his wife “Bar” – built a business in the oil industry, Barbara devoted herself to raising their family. When he entered public life – as a congressman, U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in the People’s Republic of China, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and later as Vice President, she was at his side.

As the vice president’s wife, she selected literacy as her special cause. Later, after her husband was elected president, she founded the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. She also was an advocate for volunteerism, including programs involving the homeless, elderly and those with AIDS.

Along the way, she wrote two books about the family dogs, “C. Fred’s Story” and the best-selling “Millie’s Book,” with profits benefitting literacy. After her husband left the White House, she wrote a best-selling autobiography “Barbara Bush: A Memoir” in 1994 followed by “Reflections” in 2004.

Bush once explained that people liked her because “I’m fair and I like children and I adore my husband.”

She also was known for her forthright manner, especially when anyone challenged her family. In 1984, speaking of her husband’s vice presidential opponent, Geraldine Ferraro, Bush said she couldn’t say what she thought of the Democrat on television but “it rhymes with rich.”

Following her husband’s loss in the 1992 presidential election, the couple moved to Houston and also spent time at the longtime family home in Kennebunkport, Maine.

Bush was active in campaigning for her sons Jeb, who served as governor of Florida, and George, who was a two-term U.S. president. Only Barbara Bush and Abigail Adams were both the wife and mother of U.S. presidents.

In 2008, Bush underwent surgery for a perforated ulcer and in 2009, she had heart surgery.  In 2014, she was hospitalized with respiratory issues.

FoxNews.com

Porn Whore Screams for Penetration of Privilege

Judge won’t let Trump attorney Cohen review seized files before the feds, as Stormy Daniels speaks out

A federal judge on Monday denied a request from President Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen to review the documents seized from the lawyer’s home and office last week before prosecutors see them, dealing a setback to Trump’s legal team.

U.S. District Judge Kimbra Wood said that she had faith in the Justice Department’s so-called “taint team” to isolate materials protected by attorney-client privilege, but added that she would consider allowing a neutral third party requested by Cohen to weigh in.

Also Monday, attorneys confirmed that Fox News host Sean Hannity was the third individual who received Cohen’s legal help.

Cohen, who formerly worked at the Trump Organization, is under criminal investigation as part of a grand jury probe into his personal conduct and business dealings, including a $130,000 payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels in exchange for her silence about a sexual encounter with the married Trump in 2006.

Wood told prosecutors to put all the seized documents into a searchable database to determine which should come under review. Prosecutors said they expected to let Wood know on Wednesday how long it will take them to share the materials with Cohen’s legal team. Cohen’s lawyers say they will then go through the materials and share relevant information with President Trump’s legal team.

Lawyers for Cohen and Trump had sought to be allowed to decide which items seized are protected by attorney-client privilege before prosecutors see them.

Stormy Daniels and her attorney, Michael Avenatti, outside the courthouse in lower Manhattan Monday.  (Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Daniels attended the hearing and addressed reporters after it was over.

“For years, Mr. Cohen has acted like he is above the law,” Daniels said. “He has considered himself – and openly referred to himself – as Mr. Trump’s fixer. He has played by a different set of rules, or, should we say, no rules at all.

“He has never thought that the little man, or especially women – even more, women like me – mattered. That ends now,” she added. “My attorney and I are committed to making sure that everyone finds out the truth and the facts of what happened and I give my word that we will not rest until that happens.”

Daniels’ attorney, Michael Avenatti, said Judge Wood’s decision would ensure that “no documents are spoliated, destroyed or otherwise tampered with, which is our chief concern in connection with this process.”

The hearing took a surprise turn when Judge Wood instructed Cohen’s attorneys to disclose the name of a third Cohen client, apart from Trump and top GOP fundraiser Elliot Broidy.

“We have been friends a long time. I have sought legal advice from Michael,” Hannity said on his radio show in response.

But he also said that Cohen did not formally represent him.

“Michael Cohen has never represented me in any matter. I never retained him, received an invoice, or paid legal fees,” Hannity said in a statement issued after his radio show. “I have occasionally had brief discussions with him about legal questions about which I wanted his input and perspective. I assumed those conversations were confidential, but to be absolutely clear they never involved any matter between me and a third party.”

FILE - In this Oct. 28, 2013, file photo, former FBI Director Robert Mueller is seated before President Barack Obama and FBI Director James Comey arrive at an installation ceremony at FBI Headquarters in Washington. A veteran FBI counterintelligence agent was removed from special counsel Robert Mueller's team investigating Russian election meddling after the discovery of an exchange of text messages seen as potentially anti-President Donald Trump, a person familiar with the matter said Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

Special Counsel Robert Mueller referred an investigation of Michael Cohen to the U.S. Attorneys Office in the Southern District of New York.  (AP)

On his Fox News show Monday, Hannity told viewers his conversations with Cohen “almost exclusively focused on real estate.”

“I’ve said many times on my radio show: I hate the stock market, I prefer real estate,” Hannity said. “Michael knows real estate … I have no personal interest in this legal matter. That’s all there is. Nothing more.”

Lawyers for Cohen filed papers Monday saying investigators “took everything” during the raids, including more than a dozen electronic devices. They said that prosecutors had already intercepted emails from Cohen and executed the search warrants only after discovering that there were no emails between Trump and Cohen.

One of Trump’s lawyers, Joanna Hendon, asked the judge to block prosecutors from studying material seized in the raid until Cohen and the president have both had a chance to review those materials and argue which are subject to the “sacred” attorney-client privilege.

Lawyers for President Trump's personal attorney sought to go through evidence seized during FBI raids to identify 'privileged' communications; reaction and analysis on 'The Five.'

“The seized materials relating to the president must be reviewed by the only person who is truly motivated to ensure that the privilege is properly invoked and applied: the privilege-holder himself, the President,” Hendon wrote in court papers filed Sunday.

On Monday, Wood rejected Hendon’s request for a temporary restraining order on the grounds that it was too early for such an objection.

At issue is the topic of attorney-client privilege, which the president has claimed in recent days is “dead.”

Trump, who was in Florida on Monday, said all lawyers are now “deflated and concerned” by the FBI raid on Cohen.

“Attorney Client privilege is now a thing of the past,” he tweeted Sunday. “I have many (too many!) lawyers and they are probably wondering when their offices, and even homes, are going to be raided with everything, including their phones and computers, taken. All lawyers are deflated and concerned!”

Fox News’ Samuel Chamberlain, Jen Oliva and Shira Bush contributed to this report. The Associated Press also contributed to this report.

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.

Michael Goodwin: Time to Call a ‘Timeout’ on Mueller Russia Probe

Washington is full of blather, bombast and bullsh-t, but a line about Robert Mueller was the most important thing spoken or written there last week:

“Peter Carr, a spokesman for the special counsel’s office, declined to comment.”

Since Mueller’s office never says anything outside court publicly, who knew he had a spokesman or needed one?

The line was included in a Washington Post story that said Mueller told the White House that President Trump was not a target of the criminal investigation.

The story could be a big deal — if true. But the report is nonetheless remarkable because it was the first leak in memory that carried good news for Trump.

After breathless drip, drip, drip reports that had the president practically being frog-marched to a firing squad at dawn, the fever broke. Every dog has its day, and the Washington media decided this president’s day comes once every 15 months.

True to form, news outlets immediately pivoted back to their regularly scheduled programming of stories saying Trump is in imminent danger. The New York Times and ABC declared that George Nader, a Lebanese-American businessman, though a stranger to readers, is now Mueller’s hottest witness.

Enough.

The violent swings of the leaky pendulum make this an excellent moment to call timeout on the Mueller probe. What does he have, where is he going and when is he going to get there?

Those are basic questions that need to be answered. The American people deserve facts instead of waters muddied by partisanship, innuendo and special access to biased big-media companies.

Mueller’s team includes some active Democrats, and whether they are behind the anti-Trump leaks is, for the moment, beside the point. The point is that the leaks are creating a reality all their own about the investigation and the president.

It’s time to clear the air of rumor and speculation and put the facts on the record. It’s not as if the public has been impatient.

Mueller was appointed in May of last year to pick up the FBI probe started in the summer of 2016. Although there have been indictments, nothing implicates Trump in wrongdoing.

Yet even the hullabaloo about whether the president will agree to be interviewed is carried aloft by leaks. Has Mueller formally asked and has Trump formally declined? Who knows?

Then there’s the question of whether Mueller believes he can indict a sitting president, or whether he can subpoena Trump to a grand jury. Again, Mueller is, publicly at least, silent.

Under normal rules, the Justice Department is reluctant to either confirm or deny its investigations. One reason is that mere confirmation carries a lifetime whiff of guilt.

But this is hardly a normal situation. Mueller’s appointment was public and we know the president and his campaign team are being probed for possible collusion with Russia, and we know there is a possible issue of obstruction of justice over Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey.

Given the stakes, the public has a right to know at this point what it all adds up to. If Mueller won’t speak for himself, his handler, Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who created Mueller, should speak for him.

A concise report about where the probe stands would be enough. Mueller could make a statement, or Rosenstein could testify to Congress.

Rosenstein, because he alone decided a special counsel was needed, bears responsibility for keeping the probe focused and accountable. The recent revelation that he wrote a secret memo last August expanding Mueller’s jurisdiction illustrates what’s wrong with the secretive process.

Even at this late date, about two-thirds of the memo was redacted.

The blackout reeks of arrogance, as if Mueller and Rosenstein believe that whatever they decide will be passively accepted by the public. They act oblivious to the fact that most of the country is suspicious of the FBI because of the clear politicization of law enforcement during the 2016 election. And the stonewalling of Congress over documents only adds to the distrust.

The endless leaks are the final straw. Democracy is undermined by ostensible bombshell stories that cannot be evaluated for their credibility.

Anonymous sourcing defeats any effort by readers to draw conclusions about a story’s credibility based on the motive of the sources. If, for example, a story criticizing Republicans comes from Democrats, we can ascribe a partisan motive.

That doesn’t mean the story isn’t true, but the reader can factor motive into his judgment.

But without knowing who the sources are, readers are like the proverbial blind men touching different parts of an elephant. Each describes a different animal.

The Mueller probe is the most important investigation in a generation and is casting a cloud over a presidency. Yet many important things we supposedly know about it come from sources whose motives and honesty can’t be verified.

If this were a probe involving a third-level bureaucrat, assassination-by-leak would be distasteful but not as meaningful.

But this is the presidency, and even Trump haters should be appalled at the shoddy process.

In its story about Mueller saying Trump is not a target, the Washington Post also said the special counsel is “preparing a report about the president’s actions while in office and potential obstruction of justice.”

Is that true? Is the report the end of it?

Enough questions. It’s time for answers.

Recognize hate

If you are a terrorist, peace is dangerous.

Leaders from Hamas are outraged that the Saudi crown prince is recognizing Israel’s right to exist.

Mohammed bin Salman told Atlantic magazine, “I believe the Palestinians and the Israelis have the right to have their own land.”

The remarks are noteworthy but hardly radical — unless your aim is to destroy Israel.

“Regrettably, the virus of normalization [with Israel] has begun penetrating some Arab regimes, while the Arabs and Muslims remain categorically opposed to normalization with Israel,” Ahmed Yusef, a Hamas leader, told the Times of Israel. “Normalization is a dangerous germ.”

Imagine that.

Now this borders on high irony

Trump’s policies are cleverly explained in one tweet — and not his own. It comes from J Burton @JBurtonXP, who writes: “What kind of upside-down, nightmare world are we living in where the President is deploying troops to secure our own borders rather than random stretches of Middle Eastern desert halfway across the world from us?”

NYPD’s ‘race’ to assuage slay critics

To counter critics, the NYPD released the race and ethnicity of four cops involved in the killing of a black man in Brooklyn who threatened people with a gun-like metal object. Here’s The Post’s summary of the police racial bean counting: “One was African-American and fired three rounds; a second was white and fired two; a third was white and fired four rounds; and the fourth was Indian-American and fired once.”

Somehow I don’t think this is what Martin Luther King Jr. had in mind.

President: ‘Disgraceful’ that Feds are Targeting His Personal Attorney to Get Him

FBI raid targets Trump attorney Michael Cohen, under scrutiny over Stormy Daniels payments

The FBI raided President Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen’s home, office and hotel room Monday to seize a collection of documents — a development that Trump slammed as “a disgrace.”

 

Federal agents reportedly obtained documents related to several issues, including his payments to adult-film star Stormy Daniels in the weeks leading up to the 2016 presidential election. The New York Times was first to report the raid.

“Today the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York executed a series of search warrants and seized the privileged communications between my client, Michael Cohen, and his clients,” Cohen’s attorney Stephen Ryan said in a statement Monday. “I have been advised by federal prosecutors that the New York action is, in part, a referral by the Office of Special Counsel, Robert Mueller.”

Trump lashed out Monday evening at the White House, calling Mueller’s investigation “a total witch hunt” and “an attack on our country, in a true sense.”

The FBI did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One, the president says he didn't know why his lawyer, Michael Cohen, made the $130,000 payment or where funds came from.

A spokesman for the special counsel referred Fox News to U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 28, Section 600.4 regarding “additional jurisdiction.”

“If in the course of his or her investigation the Special Counsel concludes that additional jurisdiction beyond that specified in his or her original jurisdiction is necessary in order to fully investigate and resolve the matters assigned, or to investigate new matters that come to light in the court of his or her investigation, he or she shall consult with the Attorney General, who will determine whether to include the additional matters within the Special Counsel’s jurisdiction or assign them elsewhere,” the code reads.

That “elsewhere,” in this case, could be referring to the U.S. Attorneys’ Office in the Southern District of New York.

When asked whether it was Attorney General Jeff Sessions or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who directed the jurisdiction, the Justice Department declined to comment. A spokesman for USDNY declined comment to Fox News.

“The decision by the US Attorney’s Office in New York to conduct their investigation using search warrants is completely inappropriate and unnecessary,” Ryan told Fox News in a statement. “It resulted in the unnecessary seizure of protected attorney client communications between a lawyer and his clients.”

Ryan added: “These government tactics are also wrong because Mr. Cohen has cooperated completely with all government entities, including providing thousands of non-privileged documents to the Congress and sitting for depositions under oath.”

Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, claimed she had a one-time sexual encounter with the president in 2006 and was paid $130,000 by Cohen in the days before the 2016 presidential election as part of a nondisclosure agreement she has sought to invalidate.

Daniels and her attorney, Michael Avenatti, have pushed for depositions from the president and Cohen.

“Mr. Cohen has been placed in the crosshairs by Mr. Trump,” Avenatti told Fox News on Monday. “He has been set-up to take the fall. An enormous amount of misplaced faith has been placed on his shoulders and I do not believe he has the mettle to withstand it.”

Avenatti added: “If I am correct, this could end very, very badly for Mr. Trump and others.”

Cohen had been living in a hotel room while some repairs were being done to his apartment, Fox News has learned.

Two White House officials told Fox News on Monday that the president was watching cable news when reports broke that the FBI had raided Cohen’s propery. It is unclear at this point, though, whether the president has spoken with Cohen.

Last week, Trump was asked by reporters during a gaggle on Air Force One whether he knew about Cohen’s $130,000 payment to Daniels. “No,” Trump responded.

When asked why Cohen made the payment, Trump said, “You have to ask Michael Cohen–Michael’s my attorney.”

Trump also said he did not know where Cohen got the $130,000 to pay Daniels in the days before the election.

Fox News’ John Roberts, Kristin Brown, Serafin Gomez, Mike Arroyo and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.

Kennedy Legacy and Dems face a Reckoning as ‘Chappaquiddick’ Hits Theaters

The Kennedy dynasty faced a reckoning Friday, when a film hit theaters resurrecting the shocking details surrounding a late-night deadly car crash at Chappaquiddick Island that has haunted America’s most powerful political family since 1969.

“Chappaquiddick” opened in movie theaters across the U.S., drawing all eyes to the Kennedy family as the film renews questions about the controversial  incident at the island off Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts in 1969.

After the assassinations of both his brothers, former Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., was slated to carry the family’s political aspirations, even mulling a run for president of the United States.

This image released by Entertainment Studios shows Jason Clarke as Ted Kennedy, left, and Kate Mara as Mary Jo Kopechne in a scene from "Chappaquiddick." (Claire Folger/Entertainment Studios via AP)

Photo from the movie “Chappaquiddick.” 2016 Bridgewater Picture Finance, LLC. All Rights Reserved. (AP)

But the movie tells the story of the incident that stopped that potential campaign in its tracks—depicting the involvement of Kennedy, then 37, in the fatal July 19, 1969 car accident that claimed the life of a young campaign strategist, Mary Jo Kopechne.

At approximately 12:50 a.m., Kennedy and Kopechne, 28, were driving back from a party hosted by a cousin of Kennedy on Martha’s Vineyard following the Edgartown Regatta, in which Kennedy had sailed. Kennedy’s car plunged 10 feet off of a bridge and into a pond, killing Kopechne and giving Kennedy “a slight concussion.”

FILE -- In a July 19, 1969 file photo Sen. Edward Kennedy's car is pulled from water as the car is screened off the bridge in Edgartown, Mass. The body of Mary Kopechne of Washington, D.C., was found in rear seat. Her death was attributed to drowning. (AP Photo/file)

The scene of the Chappaquiddick incident on Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts in 1969. (AP)

Kennedy told police that he was “unfamiliar with the road,” came up to a narrow bridge, and said the car “went off the side of the bridge.” According to a description from a 1969 New York Times article, the road approaching the bridge is “narrow” with “no warning sign on the approach.”

--HOLD FOR RELEASE...EARLY RISER FOR MAY 3RD-- FILE--This undated file photograph shows Mary Jo Kopechne, who was killed after U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., drove a car off the Dyke Bridge on Chappaquiddick Island in Edgartown, Mass. on Martha's Vineyard, July 18, 1969. A new feature film is in the works about the tragedy on the small Massachusetts island nearly a half century ago that rocked the Kennedy political dynasty. Kopechne drowned in the accident. (AP Photo)

Mary Jo Kopechne, 28, was killed in the Chappaquiddick incident in July 1969. (AP)

Kennedy also told police that he had “no recollection” of how he got out of the car, which sank, landing with the roof resting on the bottom. Kennedy said that he “came to the surface and repeatedly dove down to the car in an attempt to see if the passenger was still in the car,” noting he was “unsuccessful in the attempt.”

Police said there was “apparently no criminal negligence involved in the accident itself.”

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and wife Joan approach Dukes County court house in Edgartown Monday, Jan. 5, 1970 where he will testify at inquest into death of Mary Jo Kopechne. Miss Kopechne was killed in car driven by the senator when it went off bridge on Chappaquiddick Island and into a pond last July 18. (AP Photo)

Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., coming out of a court room in 1970. (AP)

The accident, though, was not reported by Kennedy, but rather by a mother of a little boy who saw the overturned car in the pond when he was fishing.

Kennedy later described his failure to report the incident to police for 10 hours as “indefensible.”

Kennedy did, though, speak of the “Kennedy curse,” following the incident in a televised address, questioning whether “some awful curse did actually hang over all the Kennedys.”

Kennedy’s eldest brother, Joseph Kennedy Jr. died in 1944 in World War II; his sister, Kathleen Kennedy Cavendish, died in a plane crash in 1948; his brother, former President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963; his brother Robert Kennedy, who served as JFK’s attorney general, was assassinated in 1968; decades later, in 1997, Robert F. Kennedy’s son Michael was killed in a skiing accident; and in 1999, John F. Kennedy Jr. died while flying his plane to Martha’s Vineyard.

While the incident squashed Kennedy’s hopes of running for president, he did serve as one of the longest-serving U.S. senators, and passed away in 2009 at the age of 77.

U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) gestures as he addresses the convention after a tribute to his life and career was presented at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, August 25, 2008.

Former Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., was one of the longest serving U.S. senators in history. (Reuters)

Almost 50 years following the incident, the Kennedy political ambition lives on—with his nephew, Rep. Joe Kennedy III, D-Mass., a fresh face in the Democratic Party.

His office, though, did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment on the premiere of “Chappaquiddick.”

Rep. Kennedy, 37, delivered the Democratic response to President Trump’s first State of the Union address in January, following in the footsteps of Sen. Ted Kennedy, who delivered the same response to former President Ronald Reagan in 1982.

Chris Kennedy, the grandson of Robert F. Kennedy, launched a gubernatorial bid in Illinois, but failed to garner the votes to win the Democratic nomination last month.

Caroline Kennedy, the only surviving child of JFK, served as the U.S. ambassador to Japan from 2013 to 2017, appointed by former President Barack Obama. When Obama appointed Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, she mulled a run for Clinton’s Senate seat, but chose not to run.

FILE: Sept. 6, 2012: Caroline Kennedy addresses delegates during the final session of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

Caroline Kennedy addresses delegates during the final session of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

Despite not holding public office, Kennedy is still involved in the political world. Just last month, she spoke at the Desert Town Hall in California about navigating East Asian politics during her tenure as ambassador, and also discussing Trump and rising tensions with North Korea.

Douglas Kennedy, a son of Robert F. Kennedy, is a news correspondent at Fox News Channel.

Other Kennedys, while not yet rising to the political scene, have not stayed too far from the public eye.

Last summer, Robert F. Kennedy’s son, Max Kennedy, and his daughter were arrested after allegedly “inciting an angry mob” in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

In 2016, a grandson of RFK, Connor Kennedy, was arrested in Aspen, Colorado after allegedly getting into a fight in front of a nightclub. Connor also dated famed pop star Taylor Swift for a short period in 2012.

And JFK’s grandson, Jack Schlossberg, began Harvard Law School in August 2017.

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

Wounded Warriors Exec and Corporate CEO Bob Nardelli Should Head Veterans Administration

President Trump has announced his intention to replace Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin, with Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has been scandal plagued for years, delivering poor quality services to this nation’s heroes since its inception, and especially since its elevation to a cabinet Department in 1988. Its nine VA Secretaries have each failed to bring order from chaos and corruption. Many observers are skeptical that physician Ronny Jackson has the managerial and leadership skills to fare any better than his predecessors.

Whether or not Ronny Jackson receives the requisite senate confirmation is yet to be seen. If so, the question still looms: can a military physician successfully tame a toxic bureaucracy that is the very embodiment of what the president vehemently terms ‘the swamp’?

Mr. President, to bring order and heartfelt camaraderie and efficacy to the VA we suggest that you take a very close look at longtime friend and advocate of our men and women in uniform, Bob Nardelli, who currently serves on the Wounded Warriors Project Board of Directors. The WWP Board of Directors is responsible for guiding the organization, and providing strategic and financial oversight, and Bob Nardelli has certainly fulfilled that mandate.

2014 – Wounded Warriors Project Board of Directors member Bob Nardelli, with Steven Nardizzi, Chief Executive Officer, and David Gowel, CEO, RockTech, at the Veterans Day Parade in New York City.

2015–Bob Nardelli is a frequent expert guest on many network financial and business news programs. Pictured with Stephen Howe Jr., and Maria Bartiromo, anchor and global markets editor at Fox News.

What will Bob Nardelli bring to the VA? Allow me to share a portion of what he has accomplished with his time, and moreover, his willingness to work hard to serve organizations and their members and beneficiaries.

The Home Depot. As the Chairman and CEO of The Home Depot he doubled its size and organized it into a well oiled machine–a machine with a heart, nonetheless, strengthening employees’ families and establishing strong ties to America’s military branches and veterans’ organizations. At the time Nardelli took the helm, The Home Depot was a $45 billion decentralized ‘family’ company with little ability to leverage its size. Bob moved quickly to create an information and supply-chain infrastructure that, along with other operational and growth enhancements, generated more than 20% average annual earnings growth over the next six years. Under his leadership, Home Depot‘s revenues grew from $45 billion to $91 billion, while net earnings more than doubled, from $2.5 billion to $5.7 billion. The company also added more than 1,000 new stores and more than 135,000 jobs, soon becoming the world’s second largest retailer.

Chrysler. Bob was named Chairman and CEO of struggling Chrysler, and recognized the early signs of the looming global financial crisis. He was the first Big Three CEO to predict significantly lower new car sales for 2008 and beyond. Bob and his team quickly reduced Chrysler’s footprint in advance of the downturn, while simultaneously repaying a billion dollars of its debt, and accelerating new product development while introducing a range of fuel-efficient an award-winning vehicles. They also laid the groundwork for a partnership with Fiat. Industry analysts and Fiat itself would later say that these bold move saved Chrysler from extinction and allowed it to emerge from its restructuring in under two months, with a new product line intact and a distribution network that would make it a truly global player in the automotive industry.

US President George W. Bush (L) speaks about the economy as Home Depot President and CEO Bob Nardelli (R) looks on inside the Home Depot in Halethorpe, Maryland, December 5, 2003. AFP PHOTO/PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

As a civic-minded executive, Nardelli has chaired the Atlanta Board of Visitors of the Savannah College of Art and Design, and served on President Bush’s Council on Service and Civic Participation. He has also served on advisory boards at the University of Louisville and Western Illinois University. In addition to managing XLR-8, Bob Nardelli is Senior Advisor to the chief executive officer of Cerberus Capital Management LP, and Senior Advisor to Ernst & Young, the international accounting and consulting firm.

Bob Nardelli has everything the VA needs in a leader. We are very hopeful that Mr. Trump will seriously consider him as the man to restore the faith of our nation’s heroes, and to help a grateful nation honor them as we so strongly desire.

By James Thompson. James Thompson is a political analyst and writer, and ghostwriter of the nation’s top business and political leaders.

FBI Agent Charged with Leaking Classified Docs to Expose ‘Systemic Biases’

A former FBI agent in Minneapolis, seeking to expose what his attorneys called “systemic biases” at the agency, was charged this week with illegally disseminating classified information, according to a report.

Terry J. Albury, who joined the FBI in 2000, allegedly sent two classified documents to a reporter at an unspecified national media organization, according to charging documents obtained by the Star Tribune of Minneapolis.

Albury’s prosecution comes months after Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Trump administration promised to cut down on leaks in the federal government.

The former agent was charged with two counts of unauthorized disclosure of national defense information. Prosecutors filed a felony information, which signals that Albury is expected to plead guilty.

One of the leaked documents reportedly pertains to the agency’s methods for assessing confidential informants, while the other relates to “threats posed by certain individuals from a particular Middle Eastern country,” according to the information.

FILE PHOTO: FBI Director Christopher Wray delivers remarks to a graduation ceremony at the FBI Academy on the grounds of Marine Corps Base Quantico in Quantico, Virginia, U.S. December 15, 2017.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

FBI Director Christopher Wray was recently criticized by Attorney General Jeff Sessions for the agency’s ‘unacceptable’ pace.  (Reuters)

Albury shared the documents sometime between February 2016 and Jan. 31, 2017, prosecutors allege. He had most recently been assigned to counterterrorism operations at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Albury’s attorneys, JaneAnne Murray and Joshua Dratel, said in a statement that Albury served the U.S. with distinction domestically and in Iraq and “accepts full responsibility for the conduct set forth in the Information.

“We would like to add that as the only African-American FBI field agent in Minnesota, Mr. Albury’s actions were driven by a conscientious commitment to long-term national security and addressing the well-documented systemic biases within the FBI,” the attorneys added.

Prosecutors don’t name a reporter or news organization, but on Jan. 31 of last year, the Intercept posted a story about how the FBI assesses and manages informants.

“The use of the Espionage Act to prosecute whistleblowers seeking to shed light on matters of vital public concern is an outrage.”

– The Intercept editor-in-chief Betsy Reed

The story references a secret document dated Aug. 17, 2011, that deals with assessing informants and recruiting them by identifying their “motivations and vulnerabilities.”

In a statement, the Intercept editor-in-chief Betsy Reed sharply criticized whistleblower prosecutions without specifically discussing Albury’s alleged involvement.

“We do not discuss anonymous sources,” Reed said. “The use of the Espionage Act to prosecute whistleblowers seeking to shed light on matters of vital public concern is an outrage, and all journalists have the right under the First Amendment to report these stories.”

The Trump administration has made prosecuting government employees who leak sensitive information to the media a high priority.

Last year, Sessions pledged to clamp down on leaks, noting that the Justice Department had more than tripled the number of active leak investigations since President Barack Obama left office and that the FBI had created a new counterintelligence unit to focus on such cases.

He told members of Congress in November that the department was conducting 27 investigations into leaks of classified information.

The local FBI office referred questions to the Justice Department, which is handling the case. A spokesman with the Justice Department declined to comment beyond the charging documents.

The search warrant applications say the FBI linked references to secret documents in data requests filed by the Intercept to Albury’s activity on the bureau’s information systems.

The FBI also later identified 27 documents — 16 marked classified — that the Intercept published, and found that Albury had accessed more than two-thirds of them.

The charges filed Tuesday also allege that from April 7, 2017, to Aug. 28, 2017, Albury willfully kept a document about an online platform used by a specific terrorist group for recruitment, and failed to give it to an officer and federal employee who was entitled to it.

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

Former FBI Agent Says Andrew McCabe ‘Targeted’ and ‘Slandered’ Her

A former FBI counterterrorism agent reacted to an op-ed written by recently-fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

“Not in my worst nightmares did I dream my FBI career would end this way,” McCabe entitled his Washington Post piece published Friday.

Robyn Gritz, who said she served 16 years with the bureau fighting terrorism, told “Fox & Friends” that she celebrated McCabe’s dismissal and that it brought back memories of how he allegedly mistreated her.

Gritz said that she began working with McCabe in 2005 until she ultimately resigned several years later.

She said McCabe retaliated against her for filing a harassment claim against one of her supervisors.

Gritz said that, while working as a “detailee” to the CIA, her boss began “scrutinizing [her] work and asking questions” about her purportedly being “fragile” after her divorce.

“He made some discriminatory comments about why I was traveling and such,” Gritz said of her boss at the time, who was not McCabe.

When she heard that the boss was making similar comments to a black coworker, Gritz said she decided to file a complaint against him.

Gritz said when she filed the suit, McCabe signed off on an internal investigation against her, adding that “he know that I was either filing or going to file the [case].”

“I went through hell for a year and a half,” she said. “Andy made sure I couldn’t get out of the division.”

Gritz said that McCabe additionally made “nasty, false” comments about her in a meeting — “lying,” she said. “which is why he just got fired.”

She said she was at a restaurant when news of McCabe’s dismissal this month reached her, and that she verbally reacted with joy.

Gritz added that dozens of former FBI coworkers called her to celebrate McCabe “being held accountable.”

FoxNews.com

Trump Signs $1.3 Trillion Spending Bill

President Trump signed the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill Friday despite an earlier threat to veto the legislation due to the lack of border wall funding and a fix for DACA.

Trump signed the mammoth legislation reluctantly, saying in a press availability with other members of the administration that, in order to secure a necessary increase in military spending, he had to give money to Democratic projects that he derided as a “wasted sum of money.”

“It’s not right and it’s very bad for our country,” he said.

But he said that military spending was very important, and that for that reason he had decided to sign the bill.

“Therefore, as a matter of national security, I’ve signed this omnibus budget bill. There are a lot of things I’m unhappy about in this bill…But I say to Congress, I will never sign another bill like this again. I’m not going to do it again,” he said.

Trump had tweeted earlier Friday that he was considering using the veto, saying that recipients of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program “have been totally abandoned by the Democrats.” He added that the border wall, which he said was “desperately needed for our National Defense” is not fully funded.

The House adjourned Friday morning until Monday, meaning that if Trump had vetoed the bill then the government would shut down.

Trump moved to end the DACA program in September, giving Congress a six-month window to come up with a legislative fix. That deadline has been delayed by court orders, but the fate of the 800,000 enrolled recipients is still uncertain.

The White House has tried to use the DACA issue to convince Democrats to support approximately $25 billion in funding for Trump’s central campaign promise. But a congressional GOP source told Fox News talks broke drown after Democrats pushed for a path to citizenship to include also those who are currently eligible — expanding those covered to 1.8 million.

The spending bill passed Congress includes only $1.6 billion for border measures — much of which is for repairs to already existing fencing. It explicitly rules out any new prototypes of the kind President Trump viewed this month in California. But House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and the White House has pushed back against conservative concerns on Thursday, saying it provided for 100 miles of border construction.

Democrats had claimed victory on the issue, pointing to the fact that Trump’s requests for new deportation agents and detention center beds had gone unanswered, although they had expressed disappointment at the failure to get a DACA fix in the bill.

The deal has also irked more conservative members of Congress, who objected to the size and cost of the bill (which ran in at over 2,000 pages) as well as the failure to remove funding for Planned Parenthood and so-called “sanctuary cities.”  Other Republicans approved of the deal, pointing to a massive increase in military and infrastructure spending as well as funding to help combat the nation’s opioid crisis.

Trump’s veto threat was totally unexpected, particularly as the White House had signaled Trump would support the bill if passed by Congress. Most lawmakers have already left Washington for a two week recess. Some are on overseas trips already.

Some conservatives applauded Trump’s calls for a veto. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., called the bill “totally irresponsible” and encouraged the veto: “I am just down the street and will bring you a pen,” he tweeted.

Budget hawk Rand Paul, R-Ky., tweeted that Trump should veto “this sad excuse for legislation.”

The conservative House Freedom Caucus, which had opposed the measure, also expressed their support should the president choose to wield his veto pen.

But Fox News learned that Defense Secretary James Mattis was calling Trump about the possibility of losing all defense increases if he vetoes it.

It appeared to be this argument about the military that ultimately convinced Trump to sign the legislation.

“My highest duty is to keep America safe,” he said.

__________

Fox News’ Chad Pergram and Mike Emanuel contributed to this report.

Adam Shaw is a Politics Reporter and occasional Opinion writer for FoxNews.com. He can be reached here or on Twitter: @AdamShawNY.

John Bolton to Replace H.R. McMaster as White House National Security Adviser

President Trump announced Thursday that former United Nations Amb. John Bolton will replace Gen. H.R. McMaster as his National Security Adviser effective April 9.

“I am pleased to announce that, effective 4/9/18, @AmbJohnBolton will be my new National Security Advisor. I am very thankful for the service of General H.R. McMaster who has done an outstanding job & will always remain my friend. There will be an official contact handover on 4/9,” Trump tweeted.

The president’s announcement came after months of speculation over whether McMaster would resign or be fired from his post.

Bolton told Fox News’ “The Story” Thursday evening, “I didn’t really expect that announcement this afternoon, but it’s obviously a great honor. It’s always an honor to serve our country and I think particularly in these times internationally, it’s a particular honor.”

But on Thursday evening, a White House official said that the president and McMaster “mutually agreed” that he would resign from his post. The two have been discussing this for some time, the official said, noting that the timeline was expedited as they both felt it was important to have a new team in place, instead of constant speculation.

A White House official said the decision was not related to any one moment or incident, but rather the result of ongoing conversations between the two.

The official told Fox News that the move has been contemplated for some time, and was just about the “worst-kept secret” in Washington.

The president took his time to find a replacement for McMaster because he wanted the “right person.”

While Trump spoke to Bolton many times about the job, the deal was cemented in an Oval Office meeting between the two Thursday afternoon.

Bolton told Fox News’ Martha MacCallum that the process of his hiring “came to a conclusion this afternoon, but … there’s still a transition. I look forward to working with H.R. and his team and the other senior members of the president’s team on national security and I have no doubt there’s a lot of work to do.”

Bolton has served as a Fox News contributor. The position of White House national security adviser does not require Senate confirmation.

“After thirty-four years of service to our nation, I am requesting retirement from the U.S. Army effective this summer after which I will leave public service. Throughout my career it has been my greatest privilege top serve alongside extraordinary servicemembers and dedicated civilians,” McMaster said in a statement.

He added: “I am thankful to President Donald J. Trump for the opportunity to serve him and our nation as national security adviser. I am grateful for the friendship and support of the members of the National Security Council who worked together to provide the President with the best options to protect and advance our national interests.”

McMaster said he was “especially proud” to have served with National Security Council staff, who he said “established a strong foundation for protecting the American people, promoting American prosperity, achieving peace through strength, and advancing American influence.

“I know that these patriots will continue to serve our President and our nation with distinction,” McMaster said.

White House chief of staff John Kelly said McMaster is “a fine American and Military officer.”

“He has served with distinction and honor throughout his career in the U.S. Army and as the National Security Advisor,” Kelly said Thursday. “He brought and maintained discipline and energy to our vital interagency processes. He helped develop options for the president and ensured that those options were presented fully and fairly. A true solider-scholar, his impact on his country and this government will be felt for years to come.”

Bolton, who served as U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 2005 to 2006 and as Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security from 2001 to 2005, will take over for McMaster next month.

“Thank you to Lieutenant General HR McMaster for your service and loyalty to our country. Your selfless courage and leadership has inspired all of us. Most of all, thank you for your friendship,” current U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley tweeted.

A White House official said Bolton is one of the strongest voices and experts on the full range of national security issues and challenges facing the U.S.

McMaster’s retirement comes just one week after the president fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Twitter, and after other high profile administration departures. Earlier this month, Chief Economic Adviser Gary Cohn resigned amid disagreements over a round of steel and aluminum tariffs, which Trump supported.

Bolton has served in the Republican administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, and served as a Bush lawyer during the 2000 Florida recount.

A strong supporter of the Iraq war and an advocate for aggressive use of American power in foreign policy, Bolton was unable to win Senate confirmation after his nomination to the U.N. post alienated many Democrats and even some Republicans. He resigned after serving 17 months as a Bush “recess appointment,” which allowed him to hold the job on a temporary basis without Senate confirmation.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., tweeted that Bolton “was too extreme to be confirmed as UN ambassador in 2005 and is absolutely the wrong person to be national security advisor [sic] now.”

McMaster was brought in after Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was dismissed after less than a month in office. White House officials said he was ousted because he did not tell top advisers, including Vice President Mike Pence, about the full extent of his contacts with Russian officials.

Fox News’ Kristin Brown, Chad Pergram, John Roberts, Samuel Chamberlain and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe Fired 2 Days Before Retirement

The Justice Department dealt a stunning blow to former Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe on Friday night, firing him just days before he would have been eligible for a lifetime pension after determining that he lied to investigators reviewing the bureau’s probe of Hillary Clinton’s email server.

“Pursuant to Department Order 1202, and based on the report of the Inspector General, the findings of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility, and the recommendation of the Department’s senior career official, I have terminated the employment of Andrew McCabe effective immediately,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement.

“After an extensive and fair investigation and according to Department of Justice procedure, the Department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) provided its report on allegations of misconduct by Andrew McCabe to the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR),” Sessions said.

“The FBI’s OPR then reviewed the report and underlying documents and issued a disciplinary proposal recommending the dismissal of Mr. McCabe.  Both the OIG and FBI OPR reports concluded that Mr. McCabe had made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and lacked candor − including under oath − on multiple occasions.

“The FBI expects every employee to adhere to the highest standards of honesty, integrity, and accountability. As the OPR proposal stated, ‘all FBI employees know that lacking candor under oath results in dismissal and that our integrity is our brand.'”

McCabe hit back in a fiery response of his own.

“This attack on my credibility is one part of a larger effort not just to slander me personally, but to taint the FBI, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals more generally,” McCabe said. “It is part of this Administration’s ongoing war on the FBI and the efforts of the Special Counsel investigation, which continue to this day. Their persistence in this campaign only highlights the importance of the Special Counsel’s work.

“For the last year and a half, my family and I have been the targets of an unrelenting assault on our reputation and my service to this country,” McCabe continued. “Articles too numerous to count have leveled every sort of false, defamatory and degrading allegation against us. The President’s tweets have amplified and exacerbated it all. He called for my firing. He called for me to be stripped of my pension after more than 20 years of service. And all along we have said nothing, never wanting to distract from the mission of the FBI by addressing the lies told and repeated about us. No more.”

McCabe’s firing marked a stunning fall for a man who was No. 2 at the bureau for a time under former FBI Director James Comey, ran it and even was reportedly on President Donald Trump’s short list for the directorship.

But McCabe has also been mired in controversy in recent years.

Sessions’ decision to fire McCabe came as Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz concluded a bureau oversight investigation, with a report expected to be critical of McCabe’s handling of the Clinton email probe, his handling of the bureau during the early months of the Russia investigation, and his ties to the Democratic Party.

Horowitz determined that McCabe hadn’t been forthcoming in regard to the handling of the FBI’s probe into Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state in the Obama administration.

The inspector general’s finding sparked an FBI disciplinary process that recommended McCabe’s firing.

Sources told Fox News that the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility made the recommendation to fire McCabe. Sessions had the option to either accept the recommendation, or step in to stop the firing process.

Horowitz’s investigation, which landed McCabe in hot water, faults the former deputy director for the way he answered questions about his approval for interactions between an FBI official and a reporter about the bureau’s investigation into the nonprofit Clinton Foundation.

McCabe was “removed” from his post as deputy to FBI Director Christopher Wray in January, setting in motion a plan to leave the bureau after months of conflict-of-interest complaints from Republicans — including President Trump.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Thursday that the decision was entirely up to Sessions, but that McCabe was a “bad actor.”

“That’s a determination we [left] up to Attorney General Sessions, but we do think that it is well documented that he has had some very troubling behavior and has been a bad actor,” Sanders said.

“FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is racing the clock to retire with full benefits. 90 days to go?!!!” Trump tweeted in December, before McCabe’s removal.

McCabe became acting director of the FBI after Trump fired Comey on May 9, 2017. McCabe led the bureau, independently, until Aug. 2, 2017 — during the early months of the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and potential collusion with Trump campaign associates.

Republicans have also long criticized McCabe for his ties to the Democratic Party — his wife received donations during a failed 2015 Virginia Senate run from a group tied to a Clinton ally, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe — all while the Clinton email probe was underway.

“How can FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, the man in charge, along with leakin’ James Comey, of the Phony Hillary Clinton investigation (including her 33,000 illegally deleted emails) be given $700,000 for wife’s campaign by Clinton Puppets during investigation?” the president tweeted in December.

The president was “not a part of the decisionmaking process,” when McCabe was removed from the bureau in January, press secretary Sanders said.

McCabe returned to the white-hot spotlight when Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee released its memo on Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) abuses in connection with the Russia probe, saying that McCabe signed a FISA warrant targeting former Trump campaign volunteer adviser Carter Page.

“McCabe testified before the committee in December 2017 that no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the [FISA court] without the Steele dossier information,” the memo read. The Steele dossier was unverified, and financed as opposition research by the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign.

And recently uncovered text messages between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page revealed a new timeline in the Clinton email probe, apparently showing McCabe’s knowledge of the investigation.

The text messages suggest that as of Sept. 28, 2016, Strzok, Page and McCabe were aware of new Clinton emails found on the laptop of disgraced former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, spouse of Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin.

“Got called up to Andy’s earlier … hundreds of thousands of emails turned over by Weiner’s atty to sdny, includes a ton of material from spouse. Sending team up tomorrow to review…this will never end …” Strzok wrote in a text message to Page.

But it wasn’t until Oct. 27, 2016 that Comey was briefed on the newly discovered emails — meaning McCabe kept the director in the dark for a month.

Horowitz is specifically investigating McCabe and whether he wanted to avoid taking action on the laptop findings until after the presidential election, in which Clinton lost to Trump.

According to testimony obtained by Fox News from an Office of Special Counsel interview with former Comey Chief of Staff James Rybicki, McCabe’s office did not notify him until the night of Oct. 26, 2016.

The OSC also interviewed FBI Deputy General Counsel Trisha Anderson, who testified that Comey was first briefed on the material found on Weiner’s laptop on Oct. 27, 2016.

Anderson noted that the director’s office decided to “urgently” address the situation.

“Given the significance of the matter, um, uh, that we had to proceed quickly,” Anderson told investigators. “It was just too, too explosive for us to sit on.”

So it wasn’t until Oct. 28, 2016, that Comey sent a letter to Congress announcing the “recent developments” of the discovery of the Clinton and Abedin communications found on the laptop —which he had just been briefed on a day before. That letter reopened the Clinton email probe just a week before the election. The inspector general is investigating McCabe’s involvement in this timeline.

Several Republicans also have pointed with alarm to the Strzok-Page texts and their references to McCabe in relation to an “insurance policy” to prevent Trump from being elected president, and a “secret society” within the bureau.

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.

Warren: No White House bid, No DNA test

Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Sunday ruled out a 2020 presidential run and taking a DNA test to prove Native American ancestry — an issue that has nagged her Senate campaigns and would almost certainly create problems in a White House bid.

“I’m not running for president,” Warren, a champion of the Democratic Party’s progressive wing, told “Fox News Sunday.”

When asked Sunday whether she’d agree to calls for genetic testing to resolve the heritage controversy, Warren launched into a family history, as purportedly told by her parents and grandparents, before saying, “It’s a part of who I am, and no one’s ever going to take that away.”

Warren, who is seeking a second Senate term this year, has been accused of saying she is of Native American heritage to help in securing jobs, including one as a Harvard law professor.

She has acknowledged identifying as a minority, but denies using such status to help advance her career.

President Trump has repeatedly called Warren, a Wall Street critic and potential White House rival, “Pocahontas,” a notable American Indian woman in colonial history, to highlight the controversy.

“Let me tell you a little bit about my family,” Warren said Sunday. “My mom and dad were born and raised out in Oklahoma, and my daddy was in his teens when he fell in love with my mother.

“She was a beautiful girl who played the piano. And he was head over heels in love with her and wanted to marry her. And his family was bitterly opposed to that because she was part Native American.

“And eventually my parents eloped and they survived the Great Depression, they survived The Dust Bowl. They went through a lot of hard times. They raised three boys, my older brothers, all of whom went off to the military.

“They raised me. They knocked around and it was tough but they hung together. They hung together for 63 years. I know who I am because of what my mother and my father told me, what my grandmother and my grandfather told me, what all my aunts and uncles told me and my brothers.”

Big Dems Run From Mega-Donor When Gay Lover Found Dead

Some Dems disavow mega-donor amid probe of male escort Gemmel Moore’s death

Democratic donor Ed Buck is seen with Hillary Clinton in 2016. Gemmel Moore, who died inside Buck’s home, is seen at right. (Facebook)

At least a half dozen Democrats have quietly returned or redirected donations from a high-powered donor being investigated in the fatal drug overdose of a male escort—while bigger-name national party figures who also took his money remain uncharacteristically silent on the case.

The mayor of Los Angeles, three members of Congress, two people running for Congress and the Los Angeles district attorney have all returned or given away their donations from Ed Buck, 63, a West Hollywood resident who has given more than $500,000 to Democratic candidates and groups over the years. Buck is now the subject of an investigation into the death of Gemmel Moore, a 26-year-old escort who was found dead of a methamphetamine overdose at Buck’s home on July 27.

Buck’s own congressman, Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, who received $2,700 in 2016, told Fox News through a spokesperson that he donated the full amount to the Trevor Project—a nonprofit that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth nationwide.

Schiff’s press office would not confirm precisely when he made the donation to the Trevor Project. “The death of Gemmel Moore is deeply tragic,” Emilie Simons, spokesperson for Schiff, told Fox News in a recent statement.

But Hillary Clinton and former president Barack Obama, both of whom also received donations from Buck, have not responded to inquiries about the case.

U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence ranking member Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) speaks with reporters about the Committee's Russia investigation on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 30, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas - RC19665E3000

Congressman Adam Schiff of California donated the $2,700 he received from Ed Buck to the Trevor Project. (Reuters)

The investigation into Moore’s death, originally ruled an accidental overdose, was reopened in August by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office. Boosted by information found at the scene and provided by Moore’s family, the case remains open as officials try to find and interview others who may have been involved with Buck in similar situations, or have some knowledge of the case.

JUSTICE FOR GEMMEL MOORE? FAMILY WANTS ANSWERS IN ESCORT’S DEATH AT DEM DONOR’S HOME

Among the allegations being investigated are reports that Buck frequently employed escorts to come to his home and do drugs. Authorities have examined a diary found in Moore’s possessions, which appears to describe Buck’s apparent insistence and instruction that Moore do drugs.

Buck’s attorney, Seymour Amster, maintains that his client bears no responsibility for Moore’s death and told Fox News that Buck was “legitimately trying to help” the young man.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti speaks at the 2018 California Democrats State Convention Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti returned Ed Buck’s donation in November of last year. (AP)

“The cause of [Moore’s] death was not the result of anything Mr. Buck did,” Amster told Fox News, adding that his client considered Moore a friend.

The reopened investigation was enough for Kevin de Leon, a California state senator who is hoping to unseat Sen. Dianne Feinstein, to give $19,700 in contributions from Buck—made over the course of several years—to a local nonprofit.

“Senator de Leon has absolutely zero tolerance for hate, discrimination or violence of any kind. He has donated Mr. Buck’s contribution to a provider of crisis prevention services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault,” Jonathan Underland, a spokesperson for the state senator, said after Fox News published an article on the case on Feb. 13.

Other officials had similarly distanced themselves from Buck.

“What I am hearing and reading about [Buck’s] conduct with Gemmel is deeply disturbing.”

– Rep. Karen Bass of California

An adviser for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told Fox News on Tuesday his office last year returned $1,400 from Buck that was contributed in November of 2016. The money was returned soon after the case was reopened, the adviser said.

Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey, who received $100 from Buck in 2012, returned that donation in the last month.

“DA Lacey does not know Mr. Buck and she has returned the contribution,” Lacey’s campaign consultant told Fox News.

A campaign spokesperson for Rep. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona told Fox News this week that the congresswoman donated the $5,400 she’d received from Buck to a Phoenix organization for homeless youth.

kevin de leon

California State Sen. Kevin de Leon gave the funds from Buck to a local nonprofit. (California State Senate)

“It’s horribly sad that this young man lost his life. We wish his family peace. While the investigation continues, we’ve donated the money to the Tumbleweed program at UMOM New Day Center,” the campaign said in a statement to Fox News.

And the first elected official to disavow Buck’s contribution, California Rep. Karen Bass, gave her $250 donation to Moore’s family back in August.

“I’m stunned by the news of Gemmel’s death and the tragic and sad circumstances surrounding it,” Bass said in a statement. “What I am hearing and reading about [Buck’s] conduct with Gemmel is deeply disturbing.

If there are other victims, they should come forward immediately,” Bass said in a statement. “It is my hope that law enforcement is prepared to investigate and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.”

Bryan Caforio, who is running to represent the 25th Congressional district seat currently occupied by Republican Rep. Steve Knight, last year returned a $2,700 contribution that he received from Buck in October of 2016.

gemmel moore facebook

Family and friends of Moore, above, have demanded that Democrats return funds they received from Buck. (Facebook)

Moore’s family and friends have launched a campaign to bring awareness to the case, and have asked all Democrats who received contributions from Buck to either return the funds or donate them to Moore’s family or a nonprofit.

A petition circulating calling for the action has picked up 4,584 signatures. “As Democrats we are often the first to call on Republicans to return money at the slightest hint of impropriety — there should not be a double standard when a Democratic donor is involved in the wrongdoing,” the petition states.

But not every politician has repudiated Buck. West Hollywood Mayor John Heilman, who received a $500 donation in March, told Fox News he has “no intention” of returning the donation, adding: “I support a full and fair investigation by the Sheriff’s department with respect to the tragic death of Gemmel Moore.”

When Fox News asked Amster about Buck’s donations being returned, and whether his client plans to continue giving money to the Democratic Party, he said: “It’s their decision and what he’s doing politically is his private business.”

Christopher Carbone is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @christocarbone.

Broward Coward – Deputy Who Hid During School Shooting Seeks Armed Guards

Cop who didn’t enter school during Florida shooting resigns, has home guarded, is slammed as ‘coward’ by Trump

The home of the former school resource deputy who stayed outside the Florida high school as last week’s massacre unfolded was being protected Friday by law enforcement officials — even as President Trump called out the ex-cop, suggesting he was a “coward.”

Deputy Scot Peterson, shown speaking in 2015, was armed and stationed on campus when Nikolas Cruz opened fire.

Reporters who attempted to approach the West Palm Beach home of ex-Broward County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Scot Peterson were reportedly met with resistance from at least six police officers who were standing guard outside.

“They prevented us from approaching the house,” WSVN’s Frank Guzman tweeted Thursday.

An Associated Press reporter said he approached Peterson’s home Thursday night, seeing lights on inside and cars present. He rang the doorbell twice, but no one answered.

TIMELINE OF FLORIDA SCHOOL SHOOTING

Before departing for his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday morning, Trump, in a set of fiery remarks, lambasted Peterson.

“When it came time to get in there and do something, he didn’t have the courage, or something happened,” Trump said. “He certainly did a poor job. That’s the case where somebody was outside, they are trained, they didn’t react properly under pressure or they were a coward.”

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said Peterson, who was armed when gunman Nikolas Cruz opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, “never went in[to]” the building that was under attack. He said the school resource officer instead took up a position viewing the western entrance of the building.

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School attend a memorial following a school shooting incident in Parkland, Florida, U.S., February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Thom Baur - RC1AFD9727E0

Officials said Thursday the resource deputy assigned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, never entered the building during Feb. 14’s mass shooting.  (Reuters)

Israel said he was “devastated, sick to my stomach” after learning of Peterson’s inaction during the school shooting that left 17 people dead. The sheriff said he believes Peterson remained outside the building for roughly four minutes, while the shooting in total lasted around six minutes. Israel said the officer never fired his weapon.

“What matters is that when we, in law enforcement, arrive at an active shooter, we go in and address the target,” the sheriff said. “And that’s what should’ve been done.”

When asked what Peterson should have done, Israel said the deputy should have “went in, addressed the killer, killed the killer.”

He added: “There are no words. I mean, these families lost their children…I’ve been to the funerals…I’ve been to the vigils. It’s just, ah, there are no words.”

Peterson resigned Thursday after video surveillance showed he never entered the school, even though he “clearly” knew there was a shooting taking place, officials said.

Officer Tim Burton of the Coral Springs Police Department, who responded to the shooting, told the New York Times that Peterson “was seeking cover behind a concrete column leading to a stairwell.”

School Protectors – The Time Has Arrived to Put Military Guards at Schools

It’s time to employ School Protectors.

Because we live in a sick society where human life has such little value and so many Americans have been stripped of their humanity (see our article Liberals Have Created Murder Monsters of February 16, 2018), our schools have become defenseless shooting galleries for any psychotic idiot who gets his hands on a firearm.

Let’s just say up front that anyone who suggests that gun control legislation will protect our children from shooters is out of touch with reality, and cares more about a political philosophy than protecting our children.

Because schools are gun-free zones (another failed liberal idea), psychotic child killers use them as their personal killing fields, launching them into eternal infamy without any resistance.

Reluctantly, we must face the fact that schools are no longer safe places to send our defenseless children. They must now be hardened.

Arming teachers and coaches is one idea I heard the President discussing today. That’s good–so long as you can find teachers willing to pack heat during the day.

We have National Guard and Military personnel who are available and on the payroll already. I suggest that we assign at least two to each school, to be on active patrol throughout the school day.

Of course, many don’t like the idea of uniformed officers patrolling our schools carrying fully automatic weapons (real assault weapons–not the single shot AR-15s that the media tell us are assault weapons). I would agree that full military uniform could give a militaristic flavor to our schools that we don’t want. However, undercover Air Marshall style guards simply won’t blend into the youth environment. I would suggest a uniform that looks much more civilian, yet is easily recognizable as a School Protector.

Not only will School Protectors harden our schools to would-be shooters, who will no longer have unrestricted access to shoot defenseless children by the dozens before responders can arrive, but their very presence will have a calming effect on every campus, making it essentially bully-free. After all, as we say, an armed population is a polite population.

By James Thompson

Billy Graham Dead at 99

The Rev. Billy Graham , the Christian evangelist whose worldwide crusades and role as adviser to decades of U.S. presidents made him one of the best known religious figures of his time, died Wednesday at age 99 at his home in Montreat, N.C, Todd Shearer of DeMoss Associates told Fox News.

Graham, who had been in ill health for a number of years, was regularly listed in polls as one of the “Ten Most Admired Men in the World.”

Shearer told Fox News that Graham died from “natural causes.”

His Christian crusades took him from the frenzy of Manhattan to isolated African villages and according to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association website, he preached to more people in live audiences than anyone else in history.

The BGEA put his audience at nearly 215 million people in more than 185 countries and territories, with “hundreds of millions more” viewing him on television, video, film and webcasts.

“My one purpose in life,” he said, “is to help people find a personal relationship with God, which, I believe, comes through knowing Christ.”

Graham was last hospitalized November 30 (2011) at Mission Hospital in Asheville, N.C. for what was described as “evaluation and treatment of his lungs.” He previously was hospitalized in May 2011 with pneumonia.

William Franklin Graham Jr. was born November 7, 1918 and raised on a dairy farm in Charlotte, N.C.

At 15, he made his personal commitment to Christ at a revival meeting in Charlotte. After attending Bob Jones College and the Florida Bible Institute, Graham was ordained a Southern Baptist clergyman in 1939.

In 1943, he graduated from Wheaton College, where he met fellow student Ruth McCue Bell, daughter of a medical missionary, who had spent the first 17 years of her life in China.

They married in August 1943 and had five children, 19 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren.

Ruth Graham died in June 2007 after 64 years of marriage.

Graham vaulted to national prominence with his 1948 Los Angeles crusade, scheduled for three weeks and extended to eight.

Subsequent crusades in various cities around the globe also lasted far longer than scheduled – in New York, he ran nightly for four months at Madison Square Garden in 1957.

In 1950, Graham founded the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, based in Minneapolis, Minn. until it relocated to Charlotte in 2003.

Dwight Eishenhouer

Through the BGEA he conducted his weekly “Hour of Decision” radio program and published “Decision” Magazine as well as producing television programs for Christian networks.

In addition, Graham wrote 29 books, including his autobiography “Just As I Am.” His last book, “Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well” was published last October (2011).

In the 1960s, he ardently opposed segregation, refusing to speak to segregated audiences.

“The ground at the foot of the cross is level,” he once said, “and it touches my heart when I see whites standing shoulder to shoulder with blacks at the cross.”

Graham also was noted for consulting and praying with every U.S. president from Dwight Eisenhower to Barack Obama, who in April (2010) visited Graham at his mountaintop cabin in North Carolina.

The White House later said Obama was “extraordinarily gratified” that Graham took the time to meet with him.

Graham presided over the graveside services for President Lyndon Johnson in 1973 and spoke at the funeral of President Richard Nixon in 1994.

On September 14, 2001 he led a national prayer service at Washington National Cathedral after the 9/11 attacks.

He and his wife were both awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 1966.

But Graham found himself the target of criticism in 2002 and again in 2009 following the release of tapes of 1973 conversations he had with Richard Nixon that were critical of Jews.

He remained active well into his 70s but in recent years had been slowed by Parkinson’s Disease and other medical problems.

His last crusade was in 2004. His elder son, Franklin, has long been expected to succeed his father as head of his ministry.

FoxNews.com

DOJ: No Russian Collusion with GOP, 13 Russian Nationals Indicted for Interfering in US Elections

A federal grand jury on Friday indicted 13 Russians and three Russian companies for allegedly interfering in the 2016 presidential election, in a case brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller that detailed a sophisticated plot to wage “information warfare” against the U.S.

The Russian nationals are accused of setting a “strategic goal to sow discord in the U.S. political system, including the 2016 presidential election.”

The indictment – the first filed against Russian nationals as part of Mueller’s probe – effectively returns focus to the meddling activities out of Russia in the run-up to the 2016 election, following a string of charges relating to the actions of Trump associates.

Further, the DOJ made clear that the indictment does not allege that any of the interference changed the outcome of the presidential race.

“There is no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity. There is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election,” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the special counsel probe, said at a Friday press conference.

President Trump reacted to the indictments by seizing on Rosenstein’s comment that the election results were not impacted by the Russians’ activity.

“Russia started their anti-US campaign in 2014, long before I announced that I would run for President,” Trump tweeted. “The results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong – no collusion!”

The 37-page indictment, signed by Mueller, said the actions detailed by prosecutors date back to 2014.

The defendants are accused of spreading derogatory information about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, denigrating Republican candidates Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio — and ultimately supporting Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders and then-Republican candidate Donald Trump.

“There is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election.”

– Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein

It says the defendants spread derogatory information about various candidates throughout the 2016 campaign and by “early to mid-2016” were supporting Trump’s presidential campaign.

Rosenstein, though, said that after the election, the group worked both to stage rallies in favor of President-elect Trump and in opposition to his election.

Rosenstein on Friday described a sophisticated operation by Russian organization Internet Research Agency. He said the scheme involved setting up hundreds of social media accounts using stolen or fictitious identities to make it appear like the accounts were controlled by individuals in the U.S. He said the defendants posed as politically active Americans and recruited “real Americans” to stage rallies and engage in political activities.

But Rosenstein said those Americans did not know they were communicating with Russians.

“We have known that Russians meddled in the election, but these indictments detail the extent of the subterfuge,” House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said. “These Russians engaged in a sinister and systematic attack on our political system. It was a conspiracy to subvert the process, and take aim at democracy itself.”

Democrats on Capitol Hill, though, reacted by continuing to suggest that people associated with Trump or his campaign could have been involved in Russia’s meddling.

“It is imperative that the Special Counsel investigation be allowed to continue to follow the facts on the Trump-Russia scandal, unhindered by the White House or Republicans in Congress,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said. “The American people deserve to know the full extent of Russia’s interference in our election and the involvement of Trump officials.”

The president ignored shouted questions from reporters as he departed the White House for Florida on Friday afternoon.

But in a statement released by the White House, Trump said “We cannot allow those seeking to sow confusion, discord, and rancor to be successful.”

“It’s time we stop the outlandish partisan attacks, wild and false allegations, and far-fetched theories, which only serve to further the agendas of bad actors, like Russia, and do nothing to protect the principles of our institutions,” he said. “We must unite as Americans to protect the integrity of our democracy and our elections.”

READ THE INDICTMENT OF RUSSIAN NATIONALS

According to the special counsel, the indictment charges the defendants with conspiracy to defraud the United States, three defendants with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud and five defendants with aggravated identity theft.

The three entities charged in the indictment are Internet Research Agency LLC, Concord Management and Consulting LLC and Concord Catering.

The 13 Russians charged are: Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin; Mikhail Ivanovich Bystrov; Mikhail Leonidovich Burchik; Aleksandra Yuryevna Krylova; Anna Vladislavovna Bogacheva; Sergey Pavlovich Polozov; Maria Anatolyrvna Bovda; Robert Sergetevich Bovda; Dzheykhun Nasimi Ogly; Vadim Vladimirovich Podkopaev; Gleb Igorevich Vasilchenko; Irina Viktorovna Kaverzina and Vladimir Venkov.

The indictment says Internet Research Agency registered with the Russian government as a corporate entity in 2013. It employed hundreds of individuals for its online operations and had an annual budget equaling millions of U.S. dollars, the filing said.

Prosecutors accuse the Russians of communicating with a real U.S. person affiliated with a Texas-based grassroots organization. They learned from that person to focus their activities on “purple states like Colorado, Virginia and Florida,” the indictment says.

It also says the group’s employees – referred to as “specialists” – created social media accounts to look like they were operated by Americans. They created group pages on Facebook and Instagram with names like “Secured Borders,” “Blacktivist” (to promote the Black Lives Matter movement), “United Muslims of America,” “Army of Jesus,” “South United” and “Heart of Texas.”

They also created and controlled numerous Twitter accounts, like one named “Tennessee GOP” under the @TEN_GOP handle that attracted more than 100,000 followers.

According to the indictment, the specialists were instructed to post content online that criticized “Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump – we support them).”

It said they used pro-Trump, anti-Clinton hashtags online like “#Trump2016,” “#TrumpTrain,” “#MAGA,” “#IWontProtectHillary,” and “Hillary4Prison.”

It says the defendants, around the latter half of 2016, encouraged minority groups in the United States not to vote in the election or vote for a third party candidate. An Instagram account they controlled called “Woke Blacks” posted a message on Oct. 16, 2016 that read: “We cannot resort to the lesser of two devils. Then we’d surely be better off without voting AT ALL.”

The special counsel’s office also said Friday that an American, Richard Pinedo, 28, of Santa Paula, Calif., pleaded guilty Feb. 12 to identity fraud as part of its investigation. A filing from prosecutors said Pinedo sold bank account numbers over the internet.

By Alex Pappas, Judson Berger | Fox News Alex Pappas is a politics reporter at FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AlexPappas.. Fox News’ Jake Gibson contributed to this report.