November 20, 2018

Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg Hospitalized After Fall

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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

 

Conservative-friendly social media PlanetUS.com

 

Jeff Sessions Resigns as Attorney General; Matthew Whitaker Steps In

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But Sessions also had his critics.

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

 

Get conservative-friendly social media: PlanetUS.com

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

OP ED by President Donald J. Trump.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Donald J. Trump is president of the United States.

 

Conservative-friendly social media. Set up your free account today. PlanetUS.com

 

Trump Executive Order to End Illegal Birthright Citizenship

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

 

Conservative-friendly social media. Facebook will eventually delete you and ban your free speech. PlanetUS.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Social Media for Conservatives  PlanetUS.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conservative-friendly social media

www.PlanetUS.com

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

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

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

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

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

The hearing

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

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

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

The vote

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

But this wasn’t always the case.

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

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

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

President signs off

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

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

 

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

 

Conservative-friendly social media – PlanetUS.com

Trump: Dems Piling on Kavanaugh Have Issues of Their Own

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Fox News’ Chad Pergram contributed to this report.

 

 

Conservative-friendly social media PlanetUS.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KAVANAUGH FIGHTS BACK AGAINST ‘SMEARS, PURE AND SIMPLE’

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

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

Social media that does not censor conservatives: PlanetUS.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh Denies Claim About Behavior in High School

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh vigorously denied claims involving an alleged high school incident made in an undisclosed letter and turned over to FBI by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

“I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time,” Kavanaugh, 53, said in a statement Friday.

Feinstein ignited controversy Thursday by releasing a statement saying she turned information about Kavanaugh over to the FBI. She did not detail the accusation, and Republicans accused her of trying to orchestrate a last-minute smear.

“I have received information from an individual concerning the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court,” Feinstein said in her surprise statement. “That individual strongly requested confidentiality, declined to come forward or press the matter further, and I have honored that decision. I have, however, referred the matter to federal investigative authorities.”

Fox News confirmed that the letter involved an allegation about Kavanaugh while a student at Georgetown Preparatory School in Bethesda, Maryland in the 1980s. A woman, who was also in high school at the time, accused Kavanaugh in the letter of holding her down and trying to force himself on her during a party, before she got away. The details were first reported Friday by the New Yorker.

The woman also claimed Kavanaugh was joined at the time by a friend who turned up music to conceal her protests. But that unnamed classmate reportedly told the New Yorker, “I have no recollection of that.”

Meanwhile, the Judiciary Committee on Friday received a letter from 65 women who said they knew Kavanaugh from high school and vouched for him as a “good person.” The letter was addressed to Feinstein and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.

“We are women who have known Brett Kavanaugh for more than 35 years and knew him while he attended high school between 1979 and 1983,” the letter, obtained by Fox News, reads. “For the entire time we have known Brett Kavanaugh, he has behaved honorably and treated women with respect. We strongly believe it is important to convey this information to the committee at this time.”

The White House blasted the charge on Thursday as a last-minute gambit.

“Not until the eve of his confirmation has Sen. Feinstein or anyone raised the specter of new ‘information’ about him,” White House spokesperson Kerri Kupec said in a statement.

The accusation comes after the Senate Judiciary Committee already grilled Kavanaugh and other witnesses and prepares to vote on sending his nomination to the full Senate.

A source familiar with the confirmation proceedings told Fox News that Feinstein received the letter back in July, but did not make its existence known publicly until Thursday.

The letter reportedly was given to Feinstein by Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., but has not been publicly disclosed by senators who have seen the document.

Feinstein met privately with Kavanaugh on August 20 and also questioned him repeatedly in open and closed session during the Judiciary Committee hearings on his nomination last week. There is no indication that the matter came up in either the private meeting or the closed committee session.

The FBI conducts background checks on all major government appointees, including Supreme Court nominees.

“Upon receipt of the information on the night of September 12, we included it as part of Judge Kavanaugh’s background file, as per the standard process,” the FBI said in a statement. Fox News has learned that the White House would have to request that the bureau follow up on the letter for the matter to be investigated further. It was not clear whether the White House had done so as of Thursday evening.

The woman referenced in the letter has yet to be identified, but is being represented by Debra Katz, a whistleblower attorney who works with #MeToo survivors, according to The Intercept.

Despite the turmoil over the letter, a spokesperson for Grassley said there is no plan to delay Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

Grassley set the panel’s vote on Kavanaugh for Sept. 20 and Republicans hope to confirm Kavanaugh by the start of the new court session Oct. 1.

 

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

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

Dem Chaos – Sen Booker Vows to Violate Senate Rules to Release Privileged Kavanaugh Emails

New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker injected chaos into Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing Thursday as he vowed to release a confidential Kavanaugh email with the backing of Democrats in violation of Senate rules, calling it an act of “civil disobedience” and drawing condemnation from the Republicans on the committee.

“I am going to release the e-mail about racial profiling and I understand that the penalty comes with potential ousting from the Senate,” Booker said at the beginning of the third day of Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing.

The New Jersey Democrat said he would “knowingly” violate the Senate rules to release the email. Other Democrats on the committee expressed their support for the effort.

A day earlier, in a dramatic exchange, Booker implied Kavanaugh had been open to racial profiling tactics, citing an email exchange between Kavanaugh and a colleague. However, Booker did not provide Kavanaugh a copy of the emails to review while questioning him about it, prompting another objection from Lee, who charged that it was inappropriate to “cross-examine” Kavanaugh about documents that he “can’t see.”

Booker said Thursady he would release it anyway, saying the document is a “great illustration of the absurdity of the process” because there’s nothing in it that’s “national security-related.”

“I come from a long line, as all of us do as Americans, that understand what that kind of civil disobedience is and I understand the consequences,” Booker said.

Top Republicans mocked and denounced Booker, thought to be considering a 2020 campaign for president, for the move.

“Running for president is no excuse for violating the rules of the Senate or of confidentiality of the documents that we are privy to,” Texas Sen. John Cornyn told Booker.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, dinged Booker for repeating his point.

“Can I ask you how long you’re going to say the same thing three or four times?” Grassley asked.

“I’m saying I’m knowingly violating the rules,” Booker replied. “Senator Cornyn has called me out for it.”

“How many times are you going to tell us that?” Grassley replied.

It came as Kavanaugh entered the final stretch of questioning in his confirmation hearing Thursday, with Democrats springing a series of cryptic questions – in an apparent attempt to box the nominee into an embarrassing admission or at least throw him off what has been a relatively steady performance.

He would not say Wednesday whether he thinks the president can be subpoenaed or whether the president can “self-pardon,” key questions amid the ongoing Russia probe.

Other lines of questioning were more mysterious, suggesting an effort to lay a trap.

In an especially combative moment late Wednesday, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., asked Kavanaugh whether he ever had discussed Special Counsel Robert Mueller or his Russia probe with anyone at Kasowitz Benson Torres, the law firm founded by Marc Kasowitz, a former personal attorney to President Trump.

“Be sure about your answer,” Harris warned. “I’m asking you a very direct question. Yes or no?”

“I’m not sure I know everyone who works at that law firm,” Kavanaugh said. “I’m not remembering, but I’m happy to be refreshed.”

“How can you not remember whether or not you had a conversation about Robert Mueller or his investigation with anyone at that law firm?” Harris asked, visibly exasperated. “This investigation has only been going on for so long, sir, so please answer the question.”

“I’m just trying to think — do I know anyone who works at that firm?” Kavanaugh eventually replied. “I’d like to know the person you’re thinking of.”

“I think you’re thinking of someone and you don’t want to tell us,” Harris shot back, sending the room into a few seconds of near-total silence.

Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee then interjected briefly to defend Kavanaugh, saying that “this town is full of law firms” and that they “are constantly metastasizing, they break off, they form new firms — they’re like rabbits. There’s no possible way we can expect this witness to know who populates an entire firm.”

A barrage of protesters erupted in a chant of “Answer the question” before being led out by police as Lee spoke. In all, 73 people were arrested and charged for unlawful demonstrations within Senate buildings on Wednesday, including 66 people who were removed from the hearing room during the day, according to Capitol Police officials.

Also Wednesday evening, Hawaii Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono pressed Kavanaugh at length about whether he was aware of inappropriate behavior by former 9th Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski when he clerked for Kozinski from 1991 to 1992. Kozinski abruptly retired last year after several woman who had worked as law clerks or colleagues accused him of sexual misconduct that included touching, inappropriate sexual comments and forced viewings of pornography in his chambers.

Hirono, who repeatedly has asked other judicial nominees whether they ever sexually harassed anyone, noted that Kavanaugh and Kozinski had kept in touch after his clerkship, with Kozinski recommending Kavanaugh during his 2006 confirmation hearings for his current job on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“You saw nothing, you heard nothing, and you obviously said nothing,” Hirono said, even as Kavanaugh denied being aware of any misconduct by Kozinski and said he would have reported it if he had known.

For the most part, the hearings have focused on Kavanaugh’s writings and, in particular, key opinions he authored while serving on the nation’s most prestigious appellate court.

The confirmation hearing has been chaotic at times, with Democrats trying to delay the proceedings as they complain they haven’t received enough records from Kavanaugh’s past work.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., pressed Kavanaugh about what he knew about the Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance program. Leahy also asked Kavanaugh if a president has a right to pardon himself, a power President Trump has said he believes he has.

“The question of self-pardons is something I have never analyzed,” Kavanaugh replied.

Outbursts from protesters have been a recurring feature since the hearings began. Moments after Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley opened the hearing Wednesday, shouting could be heard from the back of the room: “Sham president, sham justice!” Ironically, at one point, protesters shouted as Kavanaugh discussed how he tried to be respectful in court. “I’ve tried to be a very collegial judge, I’ve tried to be civil,” he said.

Kavanaugh served for more than a decade on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and, before that, for five years as a lawyer in the White House Counsel’s office in the George W. Bush administration. He also worked for independent counsel Ken Starr for three years during the probe that led to the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton.

Kavanaugh’s elevation from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court would mark a generational rightward shift on the Supreme Court, raising the stakes beyond those of last year’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch.

The judge’s nomination, though, will ultimately succeed or fail depending on a handful of swing-vote senators, including vulnerable red-state Democrats and moderate pro-choice Republicans who have all said that they would withhold judgment on the nominee.

Republicans command a narrow 51-49 Senate majority. Party leaders have said they hope to have Kavanaugh confirmed by a floor vote by early October, when the next Supreme Court term begins.

 

Fox News’ Gregg Re, Judson Berger, Kaitlyn Schallhorn and Bill Mears contributed to this report.

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

Dems Turn Kavanaugh Confirmation Hearing Into Outrageous Senate Circus

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus went out of business last year, but it found a  successor Tuesday on Capitol Hill as Democrats and demonstrators performed at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, commenting on repeated outbursts by demonstrators and steady string of complaints by Democratic senators, said that “this is something I’ve never gone through before in 15 Supreme Court nominations.”

The political theatrics kicked into high gear right out of the gate. Grassley wasn’t more than three lines into his opening statement when, one by one, Democrats attempted to hijack the hearing with calls for more of Kavanaugh’s documents, and even a motion to adjourn the hearing altogether.

The Democratic objections were absurd. Judge Kavanaugh – currently serving on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia – is the most transparent Supreme Court nominee in recent history.

As Grassley stated Tuesday, an astounding 488,000 pages of documents relating to Kavanaugh have been released.

For comparison, Justice Elena Kagan – who served in the Obama administration as solicitor general before she joined the high court – only had about 70,000 pages of documents released when she went through her confirmation hearing in 2010. About 182,000 pages of documents were released when the Senate confirmed President Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court last year.

Kavanaugh also submitted the most comprehensive bipartisan questionnaire in Senate Judiciary Committee history.

Also, as Grassley pointed out in the hearing, Kavanaugh has written 307 opinions as an appellate court judge and he was nominated on July 9.  Democrats have plenty of reading material, and they’ve had plenty of time to read it.

Many Democrats read enough within the first few days of Kavanaugh’s nomination to go on record opposing his nomination.  And you can bet they would have opposed whoever President Trump nominated for the Supreme Court opening created by the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy.

A woman stands and voices her opposition to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on his nomination for Supreme Court, on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018, in Washington.(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Democrats are engaged in nothing more than a desperate effort to delay a confirmation vote on Kavanaugh until next year, when they hope to control the Senate by winning a majority in the November midterm elections. Their stalling tactics have nothing to do with Kavanaugh’s qualifications – they have everything to do with the anti-Trump resistance and turning out the Democratic base to vote in November.

But Democrats up for re-election in November in states carried by President Trump in the 2016 election – and where he remains popular today – are under pressure to support Kavanaugh’s nomination to keep their jobs. Democratic Sens. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota could wind up supporting Kavanaugh’s confirmation for this reason.

All three senators voted to confirm Gorsuch when President Trump nominated him. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., whose top goal is to elect a Democratic majority in the chamber, would be foolish to pressure them to vote against Kavanaugh if it led to their electoral defeat two months from now.

Depending on Kavanaugh’s performance this week, pressure could also build on Democratic Sens.  Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Bill Nelson of Florida to vote to confirm Kavanaugh, since both are in tight re-election races.

For other Senate Democrats, this week will be less about defeating Kavanaugh and more about raising their profile for the 2020 presidential election.

Among the pool of likely Senate Democratic presidential hopefuls are Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Cory Booker of New Jersey, who both serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Look for them to use the hearings as a launching pad for their possible presidential campaigns.

It’s widely speculated that Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts will also run for president in 2020. She’ll likely be headed for a TV camera every time there’s a break in the hearing. It’s guaranteed the media will be happy to give her the free ad time.

Call it fearmongering or desperation, but the outrage among Senate Democrats began months ago. In the case of Harris, it was before Kavanaugh was even chosen as the nominee. On MSNBC’s “Hardball” she said of whoever President Trump would pick: “We’re looking at a destruction of the Constitution of the United States.”

No need to know the nominee’s name or look at his record. Harris knew enough. Yet, she was the first one to obstruct the hearing and feign outrage Tuesday morning because 488,000 documents weren’t enough reading material for her. No irony to see here.

In a July press conference Booker said of those supporting Judge Kavanaugh: “You are either complicit in the evil, you are either contributing to the wrong, or you are fighting against it.” He then had a kumbaya moment and instead called for everyone to love one another.

Still, barring anything unforeseen happening at his confirmation hearing, Kavanaugh is likely to be confirmed by the end of the month and seated when the Supreme Court reconvenes in October.

So get the popcorn ready and expect to see more political theater throughout this week. Democrats will move on to Act II with their political posturing and outrage on full display.

Who needs the Ringling Bros. circus when we have the Senate circus?

 

Lauren DeBellis Appell, a freelance writer in Fairfax, Virginia, was deputy press secretary for then-Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., in his successful 2000 re-election campaign, as well as assistant communications director for the Senate Republican Policy Committee (2001-2003).

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

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

‘I’d love to do it’

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

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

Set up your free account with PlanetUs.com now>

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

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

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

PlanetUs is a conservative-friendly social media platform

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

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

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

‘They have it RIGGED, for me & others’

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

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

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

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

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

PUBLIUS / With materials written by The Blaze

Sen John McCain Dead at 81

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John McCain Discontinues Cancer Treatment

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

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

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

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

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

Reaction poured in after the family’s announcement.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Naive Liberal Couple Murdered by ISIS

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

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

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

He continued:

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

 

Image source: YouTube screenshot

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

It was a chilling portent of things to come.

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

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

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

Image source: YouTube screenshot

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

Embracing ‘vulnerability’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More from the Times:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(H/T: Pluralist)

By Dave Urbanski

 

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

President Trump Praises Mormon Settlers on Pioneer Day

President Donald Trump issued a statement Tuesday sending his best wishes to those celebrating Pioneer Day in Utah.

The statement celebrates the efforts of Mormon settlers who settled in Utah in 1847 as well as others who “endured frontier hardships.”

“Melania and I send our best wishes to all those celebrating Pioneer Day.

On this day in 1847, Brigham Young and the first group of Latter-day Saint pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley to begin building a new home for their families.  Fleeing persecution, these families undertook a difficult journey spanning more than a thousand miles from Illinois to the Utah territory.  In the years that followed, nearly 70,000 men, women, and children charted similar paths across windswept plains and rugged mountains in search of religious freedom and a better way of life.

Our Nation honors the ingenuity, industry, and unwavering commitment to faith of all those who endured frontier hardships.  These pioneers worked tirelessly to transform the arid desert landscape into a blossoming new home where their families could live in peace and prosperity.  The legacy they helped build across the American West lives on through hundreds of cities and towns that continue to thrive in the 21st century.

Today, we remember the extraordinary pioneers who uprooted their lives and undertook an incredible leap of faith into the unknown.  Their stories and accomplishments are lasting reminders of the importance of religious freedom and the enduring strength and spirit of the American people.”

by

Mainstream Media Meltdown – Trump Derangement Syndrome

A raging epidemic of Trump Derangement Syndrome broke out among reporters covering the summit between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, as journalists gave the American president hellish reviews for his performance in Helsinki at a joint news conference.

No reporters knew what actually transpired in the main event of the day – the private meeting between the two presidents. So journalists put themselves in the position of critics, grading President Trump’s news conference performance.

The critics provided the most outlandish and hyperbolic reactions to Trump since election night 2016 – making the president sound like he was following in the footsteps of the despised Revolutionary War turncoat Benedict Arnold.

Yes, unbelievably, the newest charge against President Trump was treason.

Treason, by the way, is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as: “the offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance or to kill or personally injure the sovereign or the sovereign’s family.”

So President Trump was trying to overthrow the government he leads or trying to kill or injure himself or his family?

USA Today reported in a front-page story: “Every nation has an infamous traitor. … And now, after a news conference Monday in Finland, the term is being used in relations to the 45th president of the United States. Donald Trump, master of the political insult, finds himself on the receiving end.”

The New York Daily News screamed “OPEN TREASON” on its cover page with a cartoon showing Trump holding Putin’s hand and holding a gun in his other hand and shooting Uncle Sam in the head. Really.

CNN host Fareed Zakaria wasn’t satisfied with “treason” as a descriptor. “I feel like treasonous is too weak a word, because the whole thing has taken on an air of such unreality,” he said.

Zakaria had lots of company: CNN analyst Max Boot, MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace, and, of course, former CIA Director John Brennan, who now works for NBC and MSNBC.

CNN presidential historian Douglas Brinkley said “the spirit of what Trump did is clearly treasonous,” and declared that the president “came off as being a puppet of Putin.”

MSNBC brought on presidential historian Jon Meacham and he agreed that, with the Russia connection, “the definition it meets is the first word of the impeachment article in the Constitution, which is, treason, bribery and high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Even when news organizations weren’t talking treason, they were still hyperventilating about America going to hell in a presidential handbasket. Check out this video of highlights of anchors and commentators on MSNBC and CNN erupting with anti-Trump fury.

CNN was Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 level panicked, devoting 87 percent of its evening coverage (more than seven hours) across three nights to fire-and-brimstone reports designed to inflame its viewers.

The network’s team responded just as the boss wished. CNN anchor Anderson Cooper called the Trump news conference “perhaps one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president at a summit in front of a Russian leader certainly that I’ve ever seen.”

And CNN anchor Chris Cuomo – the son of one New York Democratic governor and the brother of another who may seek his party’s presidential nomination to run against President Trump – continued his longstanding feud with the president by claiming a Trump tweet bashing the media was an “admission that you hate your country.”

MSNBC’s Mike Barnicle let his anger take over. He called for a complete abandonment of the republic. “Rewrite the Constitution and have another president take over right now,” he told the audience, failing to explain just how that happens without a military overthrow of the government.

MSNBC legal expert Jill Wine-Banks piled on the outlandish historical comparisons, actually claiming Trump-Putin news conference “will live in infamy as much as the Pearl Harbor attack or Kristallnacht.” She added it was the same as “Cuban missile crisis in terms of an attack, or the 9/11 attack.”

Even ABC wanted a ride on the “Highway to Hell.” Anchor George Stephanopoulos, who used to work for President Bill Clinton before becoming a “newsman,” urged retiring GOP Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona to back his criticism of Russia “with action.” Stephanopoulos wanted the anti-Trump Flake to withhold his vote to support the president’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh. This no doubt thrilled Team Clinton.

“The View” co-host Joy Behar bedeviled Trump by comparing his actions to ignoring “when they bombed Pearl Harbor in World War II.” (She also said it “rises to the level of treason,” but that was hardly original at that point.)

The hellish outrage over the Helsinki news conference had its desired effect … for now. Newsweek posted a story on an opinion poll that declared: “According to a new Ipsos poll, 49 percent of Americans said Trump was “treasonous” during the summit and ensuing press conference, with only 27 percent disagreeing.”

2. Tomorrow Is Another Day: Even in a hot summer made hotter with fiery politics, things can always get worse. Remember, we are less than four months to the midterm elections. And when those finish, the presidential election heats up.

That also means the More Stupid Than Usual Season is upon us. (It’s like a leap season that only happens election years.) Despite several Democrats calling to “abolish ICE,” the broadcast networks weren’t interested when a vote on ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) took place.

None of the three – ABC, CBS and NBC — covered Democrats doing their best “Run away!” Monty Python impersonations. This, even though lefty Vox was critical of the fact that Democrats weren’t “ready to actually vote for an ‘Abolish ICE’ bill.”

Since it is political season, you’d think media outlets would send their A-listers to do the top stories. You’d be … completely wrong.

The New York Times assigned a massive, 8,700 word magazine piece on the left’s own Daddy Warbucks (Daddy Globalist Bucks?) George Soros to a guy who writes about tennis and wine. Author Michael Steinberger is also a blatant liberal partisan who voted for Hillary Clinton, freaked out election night when Trump won and called the president the “Orange Menace.”

CBS used some seasoning itself as host Gayle King (the Democratic donor) defended possible Democratic 2020 presidential nominee Joe Biden against President Trump’s criticism. She whined that Trump’s attacks were “nasty,” “condescending,” and “hurtful,” while downplaying one of the biggest gaffes in Biden’s career.

 

Dan Gainor is the Media Research Center’s Vice President for Business and Culture. He writes frequently about media for Fox News Opinion. He can also be contacted on Facebook and Twitter as dangainor.

Trump Announces Kavanaugh as Supreme Court Pick

President Trump nominated appeals court judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court Monday night to replace the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, ending a days-long guessing game that began the moment Kennedy announced his retirement on June 27.

In televised remarks from the East Room of the White House, the president praised what he called Kavanaugh’s “impeccable credentials, unsurpassed qualifications and a proven commitment to equal justice under the law.”

“There is no one in America more qualified for this position, and no one more deserving,” Trump said.

The four finalists – Kavanaugh and fellow appeals court judges Amy Coney Barrett, Thomas Hardiman and Raymond Kethledge – were drawn from a list of 25 names vetted by conservative groups.

A clue to Kavanaugh’s nomination emerged hours before the announcement when the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a written opinion in which the judge sided with the majority. The D.C. court does not typically issue opinions on Mondays except in response to emergency petitions, suggesting that the case had to be disposed of before Kavanaugh was nominated for the high court.

Kavanaugh, a former law clerk to Kennedy in 1993, was elevated to the powerful federal appeals court in the District of Columbia by President George W. Bush, under whom he had served as a White House lawyer and staff secretary. Kavanaugh, 53, also won the confidence of key players in the Bush circle such as strategist Karl Rove.

This, however, had risked being something of a double-edged sword for Kavanaugh in the Trump era, raising concerns among some Trump supporters that he was too much of a D.C. insider and too closely associated with the Bush circle.

The Bush connections also harmed him with Democrats at the time of his initial nomination, who delayed his confirmation. But despite the criticism, he wore his support for Bush on his sleeve. It remains to be seen if those ties will complicate his confirmation process now — both with Democrats and Trump’s base.

Trump, though, may have been swayed in part because of Kavanaugh’s record of being a reliable conservative on the court – and reining in dozens of administrative decisions of the Obama White House. There are some question marks for conservatives, particularly an ObamaCare ruling that signaled his implicit support of the law.

In a 2011 case, Kavanaugh acknowledged in his dissent that the Affordable Care Act’s “individual mandate provision” could fit “comfortably within Congress’ Taxing Clause power.” His detractors say that language helped provide the road map for the Supreme Court to uphold the mandate a year later.

However, supporters of Kavanaugh have pushed back against that argument. Justin Walker, a former Kavanaugh clerk, argued that the judge’s “hypothetical discussion” about the Taxing Clause has been misinterpreted and is actually “a road map to the conclusion reached by the dissenters—that the individual mandate is unconstitutional under the Taxing Clause.”

Further, it’s also unclear how Kavanaugh would rule on abortion, as he has never directly confronted the issue as a judge. Last year, Kavanaugh dissented from a decision allowing an illegal immigrant to receive an abortion, but pro-life conservatives have criticized him for not going far enough. Specifically, they have expressed concern about language where Kavanaugh wrote “the unlawful immigrant minor is assumed to have a right under precedent to an abortion.”

Despite potential conservative grumbling, the White House is gearing up for a combative confirmation process. The administration announced earlier Monday that former Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona would guide the nominee through the Senate confirmation process. Before retiring in 2013, Kyl was a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will be the first to consider the nomination. He now works for the Washington-based lobbying firm Covington & Burling. The White House hopes Kyl’s close ties to Senate Republicans will help smooth the path for Kavanaugh.

In addition, the conservative group Judicial Crisis Network will launch a $1.4 million ad buy in support of Kavanaugh, running advertisements in Alabama, Indiana, North Dakota, and West Virginia – states with Democratic senators on the fence about supporting Trump’s nominee.

A senior White House source told Fox News that five Democratic senators – Judiciary Committee ranking member Dianne Feinstein, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Doug Jones of Alabama, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia – were invited to attend the nomination announcement. All five declined.

Of the five, Donnelly, Heitkamp, and Manchin are up for re-election in November. All three voted to confirm Gorsuch last year. Jones, who was elected to the Senate in a December 2017 special election after Gorsuch was confirmed, is not up for re-election until 2020. He told CNN on Sunday that he was “not an automatic, knee-jerk no” on any of the potential nominees.

Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, both of whom have been seen as most likely to vote against a Trump nomination, also declined invitations to attend.

 

Fox News’ Adam Shaw, Bill Mears, Chad Pergram, John Roberts, Serafin Gomez and The Associated Press contributed to this report.