July 26, 2017

Mueller Probe: The Lawyers Who Gave $$ to Hillary, Now Investigating Team Trump

Why are Democratic Party Donors being picked to investigate the GOP Administration?

President Trump’s tough criticism of Special Counsel Robert Mueller signals a renewed effort to challenge his investigators’ credibility over their track record of pro-Democratic political donations and other associations.

There is no shortage of examples to fuel the president’s case.

Of the 15 attorneys currently on staff for Mueller, at least seven have donated to Democratic candidates and campaigns, including Trump’s 2016 rival Hillary Clinton. The rest have not made political donations, according to federal records; and none of the attorneys on Mueller’s roster donated money to Trump.

“This is just a witch hunt—it’s all a hoax,” White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway told “Fox & Friends” last week after Trump criticized Mueller in a New York Times interview. “People should know what folks’ past motivations, and their political motivations are—these weren’t minor donations, these were significant donations by members of that team.”

Conway said the donations are “relevant information for people to have.”

Multiple reports in recent days have detailed a special counsel investigation digging deep into Trump associates’ dealings, prompting a range of public responses from the Trump administration. The president went so far over the weekend as to declare he has “complete power to pardon.” But in the near-term, expect to hear more about the political affiliation of Mueller’s attorneys.

“They clearly wanted the other person to win. Now, whether that prejudices them in one way or another remains to be seen, but it is relevant information for people to have,” Conway said.

Here’s a snapshot of some of the attorneys on Mueller’s team and their political contributions:

James Quarles

Quarles is a former partner at WilmerHale and former assistant special prosecutor for the Watergate Special Prosecution Force. According to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, Quarles had made significant donations to Democratic candidates, including former President Barack Obama and Clinton. Most recently, in October 2016, Quarles donated $2,700 to Clinton’s presidential campaign. Quarles also donated over $7,000 to Obama over the last decade. Quarles did, however, donate $2,500 to former Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, in 2015.

Jeannie Rhee

Rhee is a former partner at WilmerHale who also served in the Office of Legal Counsel and as an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia. At WilmerHale, Rhee focused on representing people in government investigations including white-collar criminal probes and criminal and civil fraud matters. Rhee donated a total of $5,400 to Clinton, combining donations from 2015 and 2016. Rhee also donated a combined $4,800 to Obama in 2008 and 2011. Rhee also has contributed smaller amounts of money to the Democratic National Committee and other Democrats running for Congress.

Andrew Weissmann

Weissmann served as general counsel at the FBI and was an assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York. Weissmann is a veteran Justice Department prosecutor. He was the deputy, and then leader, of the department’s task force that investigated and prosecuted Enron executives in the energy giant’s collapse. Weissmann donated a combined $2,300 to Obama’s campaign in 2008. In 2006, Weissmann contributed at least $2,000 to the DNC.

Andrew Goldstein

Goldstein is an attorney on detail from the Southern District of New York, where he had worked under U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara—until Bharara was fired along with other U.S. attorneys by Trump.

Goldstein’s old boss has become a prominent Trump critic since his firing and has been particularly outspoken over concerns that Trump may be gearing up to get Mueller fired. In a tweetstorm last week, Bharara openly wondered, “If Mueller is fired, how much obscene & horses-t character assassination will Trump & allies level against this honored military vet?” He added if that happens, “do Trump & allies realize he will forever appear guilty of a crime even if the Special Counsel may not have found one?”

Bharara also praised Goldstein as “Best of best in every way. Fair, tough smart,” after he was brought on by Mueller.

Goldstein contributed a combined $3,300 to Obama’s campaigns in 2008 and 2012.

Elizabeth Prelogar

Prelogar is an appellate attorney on detail from the Office of the Solicitor General. Prelogar donated $250 to Clinton in 2016 and $250 to Obama in 2012.

Brandon Van Grack

Van Grack is an attorney on detail from the National Security Division of the DOJ. Van Grack donated $286 to Obama in 2008.

Rush Atkinson

Atkinson is an attorney on detail from the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section of the DOJ. Records show that Atkinson donated $200 to Clinton’s campaign in 2016.

Zainab Ahmad

Ahmad is a U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of New York. She has worked extensively on counterterrorism cases. Records show that Ahmad has not made any political donations.

Michael Dreeben

Dreeben is an appellate attorney on detail from the Office of the Solicitor General. Records show he has made no political donations. Dreeben has represented the federal government in a range of cases — including on the police use of GPS tracking to monitor potential suspects, and whether former Republican Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell crossed the line in performing favors for a wealthy supporter who provided gifts to McDonnell and his wife.

Adam Jed

Jed is an appellate attorney on detail from the Civil Division of the DOJ. Records show he has made no political donations.

Jed’s notable casework includes arguing in defense of then-secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius in 2014 in the Supreme Court case of Little Sisters of the Poor v. Sebelius. The case challenged the contraceptive insurance requirement under ObamaCare. Jed also argued, before the Supreme Court, to strike down the definition of marriage between a man and a woman in the Defense of Marriage Act in the United States v. Windsor.

Aaron Zebley

Zebley is a former partner at WilmerHale, who previously served with Mueller at the FBI as chief of staff. Zebley served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia. Records show he has made no political donations.

Aaron Zelinsky

Zelinksy is an attorney on detail from the District of Maryland. Records show he has made no political donations.

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

 

Jim Carrey Delivers Incredible Speech about Forgiveness, Grace and the Atonement of Jesus Christ

A video showing actor and comedian Jim Carrey giving a remarkable speech about faith and forgiveness to former convicts is garnering significant attention.

Carrey delivered the remarks in June to Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles. According to its website, Homeboy Industries “provides hope, training, and support to formerly gang-involved and previously incarcerated men and women allowing them to redirect their lives and become contributing members of our community.” More than 10,000 former gang members use Homeboy Industries every year.

“You are heroes to me, and I admire you,” Carrey said to the crowd at Homeboy Industries. “When you stepped through these doors, you decided to be a part of this family. You made a decision to transcend and to leave darkness behind, and it takes a champion to make that decision.”

Citing “challenges” he’s faced, Carrey told the audience “suffering leads to salvation.

“Ultimately, I believe that suffering leads to salvation. In fact, it’s the only way,” Carrey said. “We have to somehow accept, not deny, but feel our suffering and feel our losses. And then we make one of two decisions: We either decide to go through the gate of resentment, which leads to vengeance, which leads to self-harm, which leads to harm to others. Or we go through the gate of forgiveness, which leads to grace.”

“Your being here is an indication that you’ve made that decision already,” Carrey added. “You’ve made the decision to walk through the gate of forgiveness, to grace—just as Christ did on the cross. He suffered terribly and was broken by it, to the point of doubt and a feeling of absolute abandonment, which all of you have felt. And then there was a decision to be made, and the decision was to look upon the people who were causing that suffering, or the situation that was causing that suffering, with compassion and with forgiveness. And that’s what opens the gates to heaven for all of us.”

Since being posted on YouTube, Carrey’s brief speech has been viewed more than 378,000 times.

By  

Spicer Resigns from White House

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has resigned over the hiring of a new top communications aide, sources confirmed Friday to Fox News.

The move came as Trump booster and Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci was expected to be tapped for White House communications director.

Speculation about Spicer’s status with the White House has run rampant for months, but one source described the appointment of Scaramucci was the deciding factor.

Spicer originally was supposed to lead a newly restructured communications operation. Under that structure, the communications director would report to him — which may have caused a conflict with Scaramucci, who met with Trump on Friday.

Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in recent weeks has taken the lead on many daily press briefings, which are mostly held off camera and no longer televised live.

Spicer’s abrupt exit came on a busy day for changes in Trump’s inner circle.

News broke overnight on the resignation of Mark Corallo, who had been the lead spokesman on behalf of Trump’s long-time personal attorney Marc Kasowitz and the legal team. Corallo, who was previously a spokesman for the Justice Department, reportedly objected to public criticisms of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. His resignation comes days after Trump told The New York Times that he didn’t want Mueller investigating Trump family business ties outside the Russia scope.

Kasowitz, meanwhile, is stepping back to take a lower-profile role.

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

Why Republicans Choke When It’s Their Turn to Govern

The more liberal a person, the more he tends to run with the pack. The more conservative, the more individualistic he tends. When it comes to governance, the pack animals stick together better than the mavericks.

Look at the cities in our nation–they are concentrations of democrats. They readily surrender their individual sovereignty to their democratic leaders in exchange for perceived security. It is the people in the less populated suburban and rural regions that vote republican, and they prefer to maintain their personal sovereignty and look upon government with mistrust.

Why is this? There appears to be a dichotomy of personality types, and like animals, they tend toward those who prefer to run with the pack, and those who prefer a more solitary existence. The pack animals, like wolves, hunt together, and glut on the efforts of their entire society, rarely depending on their own personal efforts for every meal. Sound familiar?

Other species, like birds or bears, prefer to live in smaller groups, focused on close family relationships rather than packs. These are the republicans.

The very characteristics that render republicans enviable in their personal lives–independence, sovereignty, self-determination–makes it difficult for them to come together in a unified purpose and pass sweeping legislation, even when they all understand how important the legislation is.

Democrats stick together, and all read off of the same talking points, in unison–like a Chinese acrobatic team. They have very few defectors when they propose a point of legislation. They do not turn on each other, and if one strays from acceptable behavior, they all band together and surround the offender and protect him from his own stupidity.

Republicans do none of these things. They are the first to turn on one of their own, and the last to adopt the party line.

For these reasons, Democrats are much more able to legislate and govern. Of course, their governance is flawed, and cuts against the principles of our Constitution–a governing document constructed by political conservatives. Republicans are poor at providing governance, because they fail to get together absent a leader who brings them together. Unfortunately, we have not had such a leader since Newt Gingrich penned the GOP’s Contract With America and led the Republican party to victory in the House, and forced Bill Clinton to support several important laws.

Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan are not anything approaching Newt Gingrich.

By James Thompson

James Thompson is a ghostwriter who writes books for many political and business leaders.

5 Promising Alternatives to Escape the Grasp of Socialized Education

Learning is crucial. Education is just the structure. So the question is: what is the best education we can provide for quality learning to take place among future generations?

Parents and teachers complain about students being less motivated because schools either cause too much stress or too much boredom among kids. Despite what some politicians and celebrities seem determined to achieve, a one-size-fits-all education simply won’t work in this country. Americans come from highly diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, incomes and cultures, which means successful education cannot be dictated by standardized government institutions.

Flexibility and autonomy are key ingredients to success.

Thankfully, alternatives do exist for parents to take charge of their children’s education. PragerU recently released a video about how one girl’s life was transformed and how she achieved success all because of school choice.

Here are five alternative options to escape the federal government’s grasp on your children’s education.

1. Online Whether on laptops or smartphones, students are taking advantage of virtual schools popping up all over the internet. And why not? Taking online courses is convenient, cost-effective and practically limitless in terms of available subject matter. Online schools offer varied curriculums and formats that cater to many styles of learning. Today’s technological revolution broadens and enhances this educational alternative continually. Prior to enrollment, be sure to do your research on the programs, instructors and overall quality of the school. Organizations like SR Education Group can help you navigate by providing comprehensive lists of most affordable, most recommended and even top military friendly online schools.

2. Charter Like school districts, charter schools are monitored and accredited under the statewide testing and accountability system due to the strings attached to the federal government. Despite this required state protocol, this type of structure still provides teachers the autonomy to run their classrooms as they see fit. This means curriculums are often founded on solid principles, while teachers have the flexibility to specialize in certain areas and switch things up as needed for the benefit of the students. According to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, there were more than 6,900 charter schools in the United States, enrolling an estimated 3.1 million students from 2016 to 2017.

3. Private Private schools can be a smart way to get a personalized education of your liking. Finding a private school that supports your religious views or other values in its curriculum is often worth the financial investment when it ensures a healthy learning environment for your child. In a report shared by the Council of American Private Education, 80 percent of parents with enrolled children reported being “very satisfied” with their child’s education as well as the academic standards of the private school. An advantage of a good private school is that smaller class sizes, qualified instructors and curriculums based on your values promote a challenging, but intellectually rewarding experience for your child.

4. Homeschool Homeschooling offers one of the most personalized educational experiences possible. In this setting, you don’t have to rely on a government institution (or any institution, for that matter) to influence your child’s learning. As a parent, you can teach your child the art of learning by absorbing and mastering materials in all of life, not only in academics — something often overlooked and difficult to achieve in regular schools. This option is becoming more and more practical with the development of new curriculums and homeschooling communities. In addition to being the most personal education you can give your child, homeschooling is also much less of a burden on taxpayers. Brian D. Ray, Ph.D. with the National Home Education Research Institute, observed taxpayers fork out an average of $11,732 per public school student (K-12), while homeschooling families pay only an average of $600 per child. If you are a confident parent and ready to go through an education again yourself, homeschooling is an inventive experience where you get to be with your growing child every step of the way.

5. Trade School When it comes to higher learning, our society tends to assume a four-year degree at a prestigious university or college is the only way to sprout wings and become successful. Trade schools provide an environment where students learn the actual skills they need for real-life work experience, instead of a vague, standardized route that often lacks foundational knowledge for many possible careers. Not only do trade schools provide a head start in the hiring field, they are often much more financially manageable than college. In a recent article, The Simple Dollar highlighted the statistic that trade school students graduate with 70 percent less debt than the average four-year degree student. The departments and work specialization of these schools cover careers in the fields of entertainment, culinary arts, film-making, radio and television broadcasting, business, paralegal studies, graphic design, nursing, radiology technology, computer technology, mechanical engineering, welding, electrical work, carpentry and more. Television host and actor Mike Rowe has been a big proponent of trade schools as a valuable option for secondary education. His mikeroweWORKS Foundation helps high school graduates pay their way through a trade school where they can learn the skills necessary for “jobs that actually exist.” These schools teach habits of hard work and discipline as well as the readiness to be hired into a career that they have been trained for. A four-year college experience certainly offers skills needed for careers in the future, but trade schools can provide an extra head start, getting students into the workforce sooner than many of their peers.

Conclusion

To resist an encroaching federal government that limits choices for our children’s education, Americans must get involved to improve our nation’s education system for future generations to thrive. While considering school choice, it’s important to remember successful education results in the desired outcome of learning for our children. Anything that inhibits or prevents this desired outcome contradicts a healthy education.

By Emi Tuttle

Former NSC Senior Director: ‘Coordinated Attack’ on President Trump by Media, Obama Loyalists

A former senior director of the National Security Council under President George W. Bush said on Thursday that the liberal media and Obama loyalists inside and outside of the federal government had executed a “coordinated attack” on President Donald Trump since he was elected.

Michael Doran made the remarks at the Hudson Institute in Washington, DC, where he is a senior fellow on Middle East security and was a panelist for a discussion at the institute on Russian meddling in the U.S. 2016 presidential election. The conversation quickly shifted to Trump and his campaign’s relationship with the Russians and the ongoing investigation into it.

“What we have is a coordinated attack between elements of the press, elements in the bureaucracy and then sitting — during the transition — and now former Obama officials weaving this vast Trump-Putin conspiracy theory, which doesn’t hold up under scrutiny.”

Panelist David Tafuri, former State Department legal counsel, argued that, although there is no evidence of collusion between Trump and the Russians, evidence could be unearthed by special counsel Robert Mueller, who was named by the Department of Justice to look into ties between President Trump’s campaign and Russian officials.

But Doran said that Russians meddling into U.S. elections and government has been going on for years, including the eight years that President Barack Obama was in charge of protecting the nation from its enemies.

“We knew the Russians were involved in all kinds of nefarious actions and we did nothing until December 29th [2016] just before the Trump inauguration,” Doran said. “One of the psychological benefits to the Democrats of this Russian collusion nonsense is that it has completely white-washed the appeasement of the Russians by Obama.

“We’ve just forgotten all that,” Doran said.

“Intelligence community testimony and an ongoing special counsel investigation suggest an extensive Russian effort to interfere in last year’s U.S. presidential election and thereby undermine confidence in our democratic system,” the Hudson Institute said of its event. “Much relevant information remains classified and congressional and executive-branch inquiries are far from concluded.”

“But the outlines of this purported Kremlin meddling do reflect a range of intelligence tactics previously developed by Russia to destabilize its Baltic neighbors and weaken democratic institutions worldwide,” the Hudson Institute website states.

by Penny Star

Gorsuch Making Conservative Mark on Supreme Court, Amid Kennedy Rumors

The newest member of the Supreme Court already is making his mark after just three months on the job, effectively restoring a conservative tilt to the bench in decision after decision – amid mounting speculation over whether President Trump could soon have the chance to pick a second justice.

Neil Gorsuch, who joined the court in April, helped the court round out its term with a rapid-fire set of decisions reinstating much of Trump’s travel ban for now, siding with a Missouri church in a dispute over state funding and more.

Having officially settled into the role, Gorsuch and his family are planning to make the permanent move to Washington this summer. He spent the July 4 holiday back home in Colorado — but after riding along the parade route in the back of a 1959 Cadillac with his wife and daughter and posing for photos with neighbors, he and the family are putting their Boulder County home on the market.

With lifetime job security, there’s no going back – to the delight of conservatives who fought for his appointment to the high court, filling the seat held by the late Antonin Scalia.

Take the court’s final week of work in June. In the biggest ruling this term, Gorsuch agreed officials in Missouri were wrong to deny competitive state grants to a Lutheran church, in order to improve its preschool playground.

While the majority limited its holding by not addressing “religious uses of funding,” Gorsuch made clear he would have gone further, writing separately, “The general principles here do not permit discrimination against religious exercise — whether on the playground or anywhere else.”

Gorsuch helped secure other outcomes as well, while at times splitting off from the other justices:

— In the final sweep of decisions, the court allowed Trump’s executive order imposing a temporary travel ban on six mostly Muslim countries to partially go into effect, a compromise that gave both sides a chance to claim victory. But Gorsuch — joined by Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas — thought the presidential action should be enforced entirely, with no restrictions.

— Gorsuch and Thomas disagreed with the court’s denial of an appeal over gun rights and a California law restricting the ability of citizens to carry a concealed weapon in public for self-protection.

— Gorsuch dissented in the court’s summary judgment that tossed out an Arkansas law preventing same-sex couples from having both names on a child’s birth certificate. Gorsuch wrote there was “nothing wrong” with a traditional approach of listing just the biological parents on the state form. In doing so, Gorsuch indirectly criticized Justice Anthony Kennedy, based on the landmark 2015 ruling allowing same-sex marriage, which the elder justice authored.

“Nothing in Obergefell  [ruling] spoke — let alone clearly — to the question whether (the Arkansas law), or a state supreme court decision upholding it, must go,” Gorsuch said.

Gorsuch, who turns 50 next month, has wasted little time jumping into the ideological scrum of Supreme Court arguments and deliberations. In his very first oral argument in April, the junior justice’s pointed questions of counsel took about 10 minutes of the one-hour debate.

He was so persistent, at one point he apologized “for taking up so much time” with his questions.

That assuredness has come with a clearly defined legal lens —staking out consistent positions in line with conservative Justices Thomas and Alito — and even going beyond.

Although the count covered just 13 cases, Gorsuch voted with Thomas 100 percent of time, and all but once with Alito.

Another vacancy looming?

Kennedy – who incidentally was Gorsuch’s mentor when the Colorado native clerked for him during the 1993 term – is the other justice in the spotlight these days.

Rumors of his imminent retirement came and went as the court embarked on its annual three-month summer recess. Kennedy did not leave, apparently ready to return for his 31st year on the court as its influential “swing” justice. And the justice — who turns 81 this month — is not talking.

But that has not stopped the Washington whispers, since the next Supreme Court vacancy promises to be a political and ideological game-changer.

“Justice Kennedy has been the deciding vote in favor of marriage equality, recently in favor of racial justice, whether it’s through housing or in education through affirmative action programs,” said Elizabeth Wydra, president of the Constitutional Accountability Center, a progressive legal group. “So it would be a strong shift of the court to the right.”

Government sources say the White House is ready for any judicial opening, and will build its strategy on the successful Gorsuch nomination’s template.

“It’s likely that he’s going to step down likely during Trump’s presidency,” said Carrie Severino, chief legal counsel at the conservative Judicial Crisis Network. “I’m glad to hear the administration is ready because they’ve got a great list that they’re working with to have someone who is going to be faithful to the Constitution.”

Kennedy and Gorsuch currently serve as the two bookends preserving the court’s shaky right-leaning majority. The moderate mentor and his conservative protégé are at different points on the ideological spectrum but united in similar personalities: easy-going, courteous, reflective.

And while Gorsuch attracts widespread attention, Kennedy remains the most-powerful member given his ‘swing vote’ status.

That dynamic may not last. And if Kennedy exits, the same groups that backed Gorsuch – like JCN – are prepared to do the same for the next nominee.

The fireworks didn’t end on July 4th

The new term that begins in October promises more fireworks, regardless of the makeup of the court.

At least three big cases are teed up for argument by year’s end:

— The Trump revised travel ban and the constitutional limits of executive authority over immigration. The White House frames the issue as a temporary move involving national security. A coalition of groups in opposition call the order blatant religious discrimination, since the six countries involved have mostly Muslim populations: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

A major sticking point for the justices will be navigating how much discretion the president has over immigration. Courts have historically been deferential in this area, and recent presidents have used it to deny entry to certain refugees and diplomats, including from nations such as Iran, Cuba and North Korea.

— Partisan gerrymandering and just how far a state legislature may go to create an election map favoring one party. Federal courts have struck down Wisconsin’s 2011 voting boundaries, and the justices could finally be ready to decide a workable legal standard for determining when such maps are impermissibly extreme.

— Religious liberty and the case of a Colorado baker who refused to create a custom-made wedding cake for a same-sex couple. The businessman cited his sincerely held Christian beliefs, but lower courts found he violated the state’s “public accommodation” law by discriminating based on sexual orientation.

“This issue has been percolating for a long time,” said Thomas Dupree, a former top Justice Department attorney. “This is the sort of issue that I suspect we’re going to see the court returning to in the years ahead, particularly if they solidify a five-justice conservative majority, more decisions in this First Amendment freedom of religion.”

Other cases that will percolate to the court in coming months cover gun rights, personal privacy in the digital age, state-funded tuition benefits for illegal aliens, and foreign detainees held in Guantanamo.

But now more than ever, the court’s unapologetic “swing vote” will continue flexing his judicial power on a dizzying mix of hot-button cases.

Months of internal turmoil over the Scalia vacancy and Gorsuch’s raucous confirmation left a strategic void that makes Kennedy’s unique jurisprudence that much more coveted among his colleagues. As the court returns to a temporary period of normalcy, he quietly thrives.

Do the math: the four reliable liberals and four reliable conservatives now orbit around Kennedy’s moderate-conservative credentials, knowing he almost inevitably will provide the crucial deciding vote. While the justice mostly holds to the right, he can move comfortably away when he sees fit.

For however long he chooses to stay, it will in many ways remain Kennedy’s court.

Independence Day: “The Star-Spangled Banner”

To celebrate Independence Day, the editors have decided to share the original words of the national anthem, in the original words and spelling of Francis Scott Key. Do you know the words?

The Star-Spangled Banner

O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bomb bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,
‘Tis the star-spangled banner – O long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Francis Scott Key

New York Times Condemns Trump’s CNN-WWE Re-tweet — But Sponsors Play Depicting His ‘Assassination’

The New York Times is reporting on “criticism, disbelief and dumbfoundedness” in the wake of President Donald Trump’s tweet on Sunday in which the president is depicted wrestling and punching a figure whose head has been replaced with the logo for CNN.

Times’ personalities condemned the tweet as, among other things, a “call for violence against the media,” and “unseemly that the president would attack journalists for doing their jobs, and encourage such anger at the media.”

Unmentioned by the newspaper is that The Times stood by its decision to back the controversial production of “Julius Caesar” in Central Park in which Caesar was glaringly depicted as a Trump-like figure being brutally assassinated by Roman senators.

For those who doubted the play’s intent, the production also featured Calpurnia, Caesar’s wife, speaking with a Slavic accent resembling that of First Lady Melania Trump.

The Times continued to back the play even after companies like Delta Air Lines, American Express and Bank of America pulled their sponsorship following public outcry.

“As an institution that believes in free speech for the arts as well as the media,” The Times said in a statement, “we support the right of the Public Theater to stage the production as they choose.”

Members of that same institution slammed Trump’s CNN wrestling tweet as inciting violence against reporters.

Trump’s tweet was accompanied by the hashtag #FraudNewsCNN #FNN.  The video seems to have been an edited version of a 2011 appearance that Trump made at the WrestleMania competition.

Alan Rappeport, The Times’ economic policy reporter, labeled the tweet a “call for violence against the media.”

Dean Baquet, executive editor of The Times, was quoted by the newspaper stating, “I think it is unseemly that the president would attack journalists for doing their jobs, and encourage such anger at the media.”

The Times’ article reporting on Trump’s tweet told readers the missive “stirred criticism, disbelief and dumbfoundedness. Some journalists denounced its portrayal of violence as dangerous, saying it could incite attacks or threats against news media employees.”

Trump’s CNN tweet comes as members of the news media have repeatedly falsely depicted the U.S. president as a usurper who may have colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 presidential election.

One establishment talking point, as Breitbart News previously documented, had numerous Democratic Party operatives and media pundits repeatedly using the word “treason” in a seeming attempt to smear Trump over unproven claims of collusion with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign.

The Russia narrative seems to have angered James T. Hodgkinson, the man who shot up lawmakers and aides at a practice in Alexandria, Va., for an annual congressional baseball game. Hodgkinson reportedly expressed anti-Trump sentiment on his Facebook page tied to the unproven Russia collusion claims. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was critically wounded in the shooting attack and four others were injured.

The Boston Globe reported on Hodgkinson’s political views:

One posting indicates that Hodgkinson signed a change.org petition for “the legal impeachment and or legal removal of The President & Vice President, et al., for Treason and Misprision of Treason.”

Another indicates that Hodgkinson signed a change.org petition asking past presidents to urge Congress to launch a “powerful and independent inquiry” into the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia.

Another indicates that he signed a change.org petition supporting legislation sponsored by Massachusetts US Representative Katherine Clark that would require Trump to place his assets in a blind trust or disclose when he makes a decision that affects his personal finances.

CNN in recent days has been facing a public relations crisis concerning its Russia coverage.

The network has been under fire for the last week, after CNN retracted a story that relied on one anonymous source to allege ties between a Trump ally and a Russian investment bank.  Three CNN staffers reportedly resigned in the wake of the scandal.  The network abruptly deleted and then retracted the story after the narrative was questioned by Breitbart’s Matt Boyle.

CNN faced more controversy after Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe released a video in which the network’s supervising producer, John Bonifield, who works for the medical and health section, referred to the Russia interference story as “mostly bullshit” while indicating the story was being pumped for ratings.

“I just feel like they don’t really have it, but they want to keep digging. And so I think the president is probably right to say, like, look you are witch hunting me,” Bonifield was filmed stating. “You have no smoking gun, you have no real proof.”

O’Keefe followed that up with a second video in which CNN commentator Van Jones called the Russia collusion story a “big nothing burger.”

A third O’Keefe video caught a producer for CNN’s New Day Show with Chris Cuomo criticizing Trump and mocking American voters.

by Aaron Klein

Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.

Independence Day: “The Battle Hymn Of The Republic”

In honor of the celebration of our independence from Britain, let us remember the God whose glory shines on a nation that serves Him:

 

The Battle Hymn Of The Republic

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword;
His truth is marching on.

I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps;
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps,
His day is marching on.

I have read His fiery gospel writ in rows of burnished steel!
“As ye deal with my condemners, so with you My grace shall deal!
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel, ”
Since God is marching on.

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat;
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him; be jubilant, my feet!
Our God is marching on.

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me;
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free!
While God is marching on.

Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.

By Julia Ward Howe

LDS Church Weighs in on “Medical” Marijuana Ballot Initiative in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints could have a significant impact on the upcoming ballot initiative for medical marijuana in Utah.

The LDS Church, which weighs in on moral and social issues, has spoken out against recreational cannabis ballot initiatives in the past. Asked by FOX 13 about the medical marijuana ballot initiative filed in Utah, a church spokesman responded with a statement:

“Lawmakers across the country have wrestled with whether to legalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. This discussion raises legitimate questions regarding the benefits and risks of legalizing a drug that has not gone through the well-established and rigorous process to prove its effectiveness and safety.

During the 2017 legislative session, a bill was passed that appropriately authorized further research of the potential benefits and risks of using marijuana. The difficulties of attempting to legalize a drug at the state level that is illegal under Federal law cannot be overstated.

Accordingly, we believe that society is best served by requiring marijuana to go through further research and the FDA approval process that all other drugs must go through before they are prescribed to patients.”

The Utah Patients Coalition, which is running the campaign for the medical marijuana ballot initiative, told FOX 13 it would not comment on the LDS Church’s statement. Instead, it would focus on persuading voters to approve the ballot initiative in 2018.

Internal polling released by the group claims 73% of Utah voters have said they would vote in favor of the ballot initiative. Presumably, that would include Mormon voters.

Supporters told FOX 13 they hoped the LDS Church would not be vocally opposed to the ballot initiative.

“I’m hoping they stay neutral on this issue because this is a harm-reduction tool,” said Christine Stenquist, the head of Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education (TRUCE), which supports the ballot question.

“We’re talking about saving lives. Utah truly does have an opioid crisis.”

Supporters of the medical marijuana ballot question include a number of people with medical issues and patient advocates. They said they have pushed for it after years of inaction by the Utah State Legislature.

The Utah Patients Coalition filed the paperwork on Monday to begin the process to get it before voters on the 2018 ballot. They will next hold public meetings across the state and, if paperwork checks out with the Lt. Governor’s Office, they can begin gathering nearly 115,000 signatures to put it on the ballot.

Former Sen. Mark Madsen, L-Saratoga Springs, said Monday patients who are LDS are put in a tough spot when it comes to medical cannabis. In some states it’s legal, but in Utah it is not.

“If I stay here, I not only run the risk of being a criminal but my status with my church is dubious,” he said. “Can I or can I not go to the temple? Those decisions, I think, are unfair to put a member of the church in.”

Madsen said he remains hopeful that as the ballot initiative moves forward, the LDS Church stays out of it.

“I think I have about as much business running the church as they do running the state,” he said.

by

Editor’s Note: In passing through states that have passed similar “Medical” Marijuana bills recently, it is abundantly clear that the “Medical” aspect is a mere ruse to pry open the door. Once opened, it is full-on marijuana for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Keyword: RUSE

Supreme Court Will Decide Trump Travel Ban Block

The U.S. Supreme Court has announced that it will hear the Trump administration’s appeal of a lower court’s ruling that blocked the president’s executive order temporarily restricting travel from several terror-risk, Muslim-majority countries.

In a win for the administration, the court also allowed parts of the travel ban to be enforced in the interim.

This case is important to the administration because the law clearly gives the president broad powers to designate which foreigners can and cannot enter the country, while liberal federal courts have ruled that the President may not restrict Muslims, based on a religious discrimination test, citing campaign promises of “Candidate” Trump before he was elected President.

PUBLIUS

FEELIN’ THE BERN? Sanders, Wife Lawyer Up as FBI Probes $10M Loan

Sen. Bernie Sanders and his wife have hired defense attorneys amid an FBI probe into a loan the senator’s wife procured for Burlington College while she was school president, according to news reports.

Sanders, a Vermont Independent, and wife Jane hired a legal team in connection to a 2010 loan application Jane Sanders purportedly filed so the school could borrow $10 million to purchase 33 acres of land, as reported first by Politico.

The hiring of the attorneys was confirmed to CBS News by Jeff Weaver, the campaign manager for Sanders in his bid to win the Democratic Party nomination in the 2016 presidential race.

Jane Sanders purportedly distorted school donor levels in the loan application she filed to People’s United Bank, according to the January 2016 complaint. The liberal arts college closed that same year.

Politico also reports that federal prosecutors could be looking into allegations that Sen. Sanders’ office tried inappropriately to get the bank to approve the loan.

Sanders supporter Rich Cassidy has reportedly been hired to represent the senator, and Washington defense attorney Larry Robbins has reportedly been retained for his wife.

The claims regarding the loan were filed to the U.S. attorney in Vermont by Brady Toensing, who led President Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign in the state.

Toensing told CBS that the investigation was started during the Obama administration.

Sanders has called the allegations “nonsense,” but last month said commenting on the matter would be “improper.”

FoxNews.com

Supreme Court Vacancy: Will Justice Kennedy Retire this Month?

The Supreme Court’s term ends next week with growing speculation that Justice Anthony Kennedy–the panel’s most pivotal member–may retire at age 80 after 29 years on the court.

Action is expected on President Trump’s travel ban before the court’s long summer break but the biggest news of all would be if Kennedy were to use the court’s last public session on Monday to announce his retirement, the Associated Press reported Saturday.

Kennedy has played an important role as the court’s swing vote on many important rulings. His departure would allow conservatives to wrest near total control of the bench for the foreseeable future.

Several of his former law clerks have said they think he is contemplating stepping down in the next year or so.

Kennedy and his clerks were gathering over the weekend for a reunion that was pushed up a year and helped spark talk he might be leaving the court.

“Soon we’ll know if rumors of Kennedy’s retirement are accurate,” one former Kennedy clerk, George Washington University law professor Orin Kerr, said on Twitter Friday.

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told reporters in April, “I would expect a resignation this summer.”

Kennedy’s departure would allow Trump to fill a second Supreme Court vacancy in just a short period of time.

Justice Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s first nominee, joined the court in April, overriding efforts by the Democratic minority to block the nomination.

The vote came after Senate Republicans voted to change parliamentary rules to require only 51 votes to confirm Supreme Court nominees.

The other two older justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 84, and Stephen Breyer, 78, are Democratic appointees.

Neither appear to be ready to step down with Trump in the White House—if they can help it.

“I love my job,” Ginsburg told a Georgetown University audience last month.

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

Dem Official Says He’s ‘Glad’ Scalise Was Shot

A Nebraska Democratic Party official was removed from his post on Thursday after an audio recording surfaced of him saying he’s “glad” House Majority Whip Steve Scalise got shot last week.

Phil Montag, now-former co-chair of the state party’s technology committee, was recorded saying he wishes Scalise, R-La., were “dead.”

“His whole job is to get people, convince Republicans to [expletive] kick people off [expletive] health care. I’m glad he got shot,” Montag said in the audio recording. “I wish he was [expletive] dead.”

The audio was posted on YouTube. Nebraska Democratic Chairwoman Jane Kleeb confirmed to FOX 42 that the voice on the audio recording was, in fact, Montag’s.

“We obviously condemn any kind of violence whether it’s comments on Facebook or comments in a meeting,” Kleeb said. “Our country is better than the political rhetoric that is out there from both the far right and the far left.”

Montag, in an interview with the Omaha World-Herald, said his words were taken out of context and he was “horrified” by the shooting.

“I did not call for the congressman’s death,” Montag reportedly said.

Kleeb removed Montag from his post just one week after Nebraska Democratic Black Caucus Chairwoman Chelsey Gentry-Tipton was asked to resign over a Facebook post about Scalise and the attack on Republicans. She did not.

“Gentry-Tipton had posted in a thread about the shooting: ‘Watching the congressman crying on live tv abt the trauma they experienced. Y is this so funny tho?,’” the Omaha World-Herald reported.

Later, in the same thread, she reportedly stated, “The very people that push pro NRA legislation in efforts to pad their pockets with complete disregard for human life. Yeah, having a hard time feeling bad for them.”

FoxNews.com

Pres. Trump Signs VA Reform Bill

President Trump on Friday signed a bill that would protect whistleblowers while making it easier to fire employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act passed by Congress earlier this month streamlines the process to remove, demote, or suspend VA employees for poor performance or misconduct. In addition, it authorizes the VA secretary to recoup any bonuses awarded to employees who have acted improperly.

Under the new law, protections for whistleblowers will be expanded and the VA will be prevented from dismissing an employee who has an open complaint against the department.

The bill helped Trump follow through on a 2016 campaign promise.

The law marks the second time Congress has tried to change the disciplinary process at the VA. In 2014, the Choice Act was passed and tried to cut senior executives’ rights to appeal discipline to the Merit Systems Protection Board. However, a court ruled that it was unconstitutional and violated the Constitution’s appointments clause.

Ahead of the signing, Concerned Veterans for America, a conservative advocacy group, hailed the legislation as a positive step forward in a “new era of accountability, customer focus, and integrity at the department.”

By Barnini Chakraborty 

New Light: Pres. Washington’s Farewell Address

September 19, 1796

Friends and Fellow Citizens:

The period for a new election of a citizen to administer the Executive Government of the United States being not far distant, and the time actually arrived when your thoughts must be employed in designating the person who is to be clothed with that important trust, it appears to me proper, especially as it may conduce to a more distinct expression of the public voice, that I should now apprise you of the resolution I have formed to decline being considered among the number of those out of whom a choice is to be made.

I beg you at the same time to do me the justice to be assured that this resolution has not been taken without a strict regard to all the considerations appertaining to the relation which binds a dutiful citizen to his country; and that in withdrawing the tender of service, which silence in my Situation might imply, I am influenced by no diminution of zeal for your future interest, no deficiency of grateful respect for your past kindness, but am supported by a full conviction that the step is compatible with both.

The acceptance of and continuance hitherto in the office to which your suffrages have twice called me have been a uniform sacrifice of inclination to the opinion of duty and to a deference for what appeared to be your desire. I constantly hoped that it would have been much earlier in my power, consistently with motives which I was not at liberty to disregard, to return to that retirement from which I had been reluctantly drawn. The strength of my inclination to do this previous to the last election had even led to the preparation of an address to declare it to you; but mature reflection on the then perplexed and critical posture of our affairs with foreign nations and the unanimous advice of persons entitled to my confidence impelled me to abandon the idea. I rejoice that the state of your concerns, external as well as internal, no longer renders the pursuit of inclination incompatible with the sentiment of duty or propriety, and am persuaded, whatever partiality may be retained for my services, that in the present circumstances of our country you will not disapprove my determination to retire.

The impressions with which I first undertook the arduous trust were explained on the proper occasion. In the discharge of this trust I will only say that I have, with good intentions, contributed toward the organization and administration of the Government the best exertions of which a very fallible judgment was capable, Not unconscious in the outset of the inferiority of my qualifications, experience in my own eyes, perhaps still more in the eyes of others, has strengthened the motives to diffidence of myself; and every day the increasing weight of years admonishes me more and more that the shade of retirement is as necessary to me as it will be welcome. Satisfied that if any circumstances have given peculiar value to my services they were temporary, I have the consolation to believe that, while choice and prudence invite me to quit the political scene, patriotism does not forbid it.

In looking forward to the moment which is intended to terminate the career of my political life my feelings do not permit me to suspend the deep acknowledgment of that debt of gratitude which I owe to my beloved country for the many honors it has conferred upon me; still more for the steadfast confidence with which it has supported me, and for the opportunities I have thence enjoyed of manifesting my inviolable attachment by services faithful and persevering, though in usefulness unequal to my zeal. If benefits have resulted to our country from these services, let it always be remembered to your praise and as an instructive example in our annals that under circumstances in which the passions, agitated in every direction, were liable to mislead; amidst appearances sometimes dubious; vicissitudes of fortune often discouraging; in situations in which not unfrequently want of success has countenanced the spirit of criticism, the constancy of your support was the essential prop of the efforts and a guaranty of the plans by which they were effected. Profoundly penetrated with this idea, I shall carry it with me to my grave as a strong incitement to unceasing vows that Heaven may continue to you the choicest tokens of its beneficence; that your union and brotherly affection may be perpetual; that the free Constitution which is the work of your hands may be sacredly maintained; that its administration in every department may be stamped with wisdom and virtue; that, in fine, the happiness of the people of these States, under the auspices of liberty, may be made complete by so careful a preservation and so prudent a use of this blessing as will acquire to them the glory of recommending it to the applause, the affection, and adoption of every nation which is yet a stranger to it.

Here, perhaps, I ought to stop. But a solicitude for your welfare which can not end but with my life, and the apprehension of danger natural to that solicitude, urge me on an occasion like the present to offer to your solemn contemplation and to recommend to your frequent review some sentiments which are the result of much reflection, of no inconsiderable observation, and which appear to me all important to the permanency of your felicity as a people. These will be offered to you with the more freedom as you can only see in them the disinterested warnings of a parting friend, who can possibly have no personal motive to bias his counsel. Nor can I forget as an encouragement to it your indulgent reception of my sentiments on a former and not dissimilar occasion.

Interwoven as is the love of liberty with every ligament of your hearts, no recommendation of mine is necessary to fortify or confirm the attachment.

The unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you. It is justly so, for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquillity at home, your peace abroad, of your safety, of your prosperity, of that very liberty which you so highly prize. But as it is easy to foresee that from different causes and from different quarters much pains will be taken, many artifices employed, to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth, as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion that it can in any event be abandoned, and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.

For this you have every inducement of sympathy and interest. Citizens by birth or choice of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together. The independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint councils and joint efforts, of common dangers, sufferings, and successes.

But these considerations, however powerfully they address themselves to your sensibility, are greatly outweighed by those which apply more immediately to your interest. Here every portion of our country finds the most commanding motives for carefully guarding and preserving the union of the whole.

The North, in an unrestrained intercourse with the South, protected by the equal laws of a common government, finds in the productions of the latter great additional resources of maritime and commercial enterprise and precious materials of manufacturing industry. The South, in the same intercourse, benefiting by the same agency of the North, sees its agriculture grow and its commerce expand. Turning partly into its own channels the seamen of the North, it finds its particular navigation invigorated; and while it contributes in different ways to nourish and increase the general mass of the national navigation, it looks forward to the protection of a maritime strength to which itself is unequally adapted. The East, in a like intercourse with the West, already finds, and in the progressive improvement of interior communications by land and water will more and more find, a valuable vent for the commodities which it brings from abroad or manufactures at home. The West derives from the East supplies requisite to its growth and comfort, and what is perhaps of still greater consequence, it must of necessity owe the secure enjoyment of indispensable outlets for its own productions to the weight, influence, and the future maritime strength of the Atlantic side of the Union, directed by an indissoluble community of interest as one nation. Any other tenure by which the West can hold this essential advantage, whether derived from its own separate strength or from an apostate and unnatural connection with any foreign power, must be intrinsically precarious.

While, then, every part of our country thus feels an immediate and particular interest in union, all the parts combined can not fail to find in the united mass of means and efforts greater strength, greater resource, proportionably greater security from external danger, a less frequent interruption of their peace by foreign nations, and what is of inestimable value, they must derive from union an exemption from those broils and wars between themselves which so frequently afflict neighboring countries not tied together by the same governments, which their own rivalships alone would be sufficient to produce, but which opposite foreign alliances, attachments, and intrigues would stimulate and imbitter. Hence, likewise, they will avoid the necessity of those overgrown military establishments which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty. In this sense it is that your union ought to be considered as a main prop of your liberty, and that the love of the one ought to endear to you the preservation of the other.

These considerations speak a persuasive language to every reflecting and virtuous mind, and exhibit the continuance of the union as a primary object of patriotic desire. Is there a doubt whether a common government can embrace so large a sphere? Let experience solve it. To listen to mere speculation in such a case were criminal. We are authorized to hope that a proper organization of the whole, with the auxiliary agency of governments for the respective subdivisions, will afford a happy issue to the experiment. It is well worth a fair and full experiment. With such powerful and obvious motives to union affecting all parts of our country, while experience shall not have demonstrated its impracticability, there will always be reason to distrust the patriotism of those who in any quarter may endeavor to weaken its bands.

In contemplating the causes which may disturb our union it occurs as matter of serious concern that any ground should have been furnished for characterizing parties by geographical discriminations–Northern and Southern, Atlantic and Western– whence designing men may endeavor to excite a belief that there is a real difference of local interests and views. One of the expedients of party to acquire influence within particular districts is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts. You can not shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heartburnings which spring from these misrepresentations; they tend to render alien to each other those who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection. The inhabitants of our Western country have lately had a useful lesson on this head. They have seen in the negotiation by the Executive and in the unanimous ratification by the Senate of the treaty with Spain, and in the universal satisfaction at that event throughout the United States, a decisive proof how unfounded were the suspicions propagated among them of a policy in the General Government and in the Atlantic States unfriendly to their interests in regard to the Mississippi. They have been witnesses to the formation of two treaties that with Great Britain and that with Spain–which secure to them everything they could desire in respect to our foreign relations toward confirming their prosperity. Will it not be their wisdom to rely for the preservation of these advantages on the union by which they were procured? Will they not henceforth be deaf to those advisers, if such there are, who would sever them from their brethren and connect them with aliens?

To the efficacy and permanency of your union a government for the whole is indispensable. No alliances, however strict, between the parts can be an adequate substitute. They must inevitably experience the infractions and interruptions which all alliances in all times have experienced. Sensible of this momentous truth, you have improved upon your first essay by the adoption of a Constitution of Government better calculated than your former for an intimate union and for the efficacious management of your common concerns. This Government, the offspring of our own choice, uninfluenced and unawed, adopted upon full investigation and mature deliberation, completely free in its principles, in the distribution of its powers, uniting security with energy, and containing within itself a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence and your support. Respect for its authority, compliance with its laws, acquiescence in its measures, are duties enjoined by the fundamental maxims of true liberty. The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But the constitution which at any time exists till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government.

All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction; to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community, and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to snake the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans, digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests.

However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things to become potent engines by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people, and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying. afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.

Toward the preservation of your Government and the permanency of your present happy state, it is requisite not only that you steadily discountenance irregular oppositions to its acknowledged authority, but also that you resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its principles, however specious the pretexts. One method of assault may be to effect in the forms of the Constitution alterations which will impair the energy of the system, and thus to undermine what can not be directly overthrown. In all the changes to which you may be invited remember that time and habit are at least as necessary to fix the true character of governments as of other human institutions; that experience is the surest standard by which to test the real tendency of the existing constitution of a country; that facility in changes upon the credit of mere hypothesis and opinion exposes to perpetual change, from the endless variety of hypothesis and opinion; and remember especially that for the efficient management of your common interests in a country so extensive as ours a government of as much vigor as is consistent with the perfect security of liberty is indispensable. Liberty itself will find in such a government, with powers properly distributed and adjusted, its surest guardian. It is, indeed, little else than a name where the government is too feeble to withstand the enterprises of faction, to confine each member of the society within the limits prescribed by the laws, and to maintain all in the secure and tranquil enjoyment of the rights of person and property.

I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally.

This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but in those of the popular form it is seen in its greatest rankness and is truly their worst enemy.

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual, and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation on the ruins of public liberty.

Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-rounded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another; foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passion. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

There is an opinion that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the government, and serve to keep alive the spirit of liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in governments of a monarchical cast patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose; and there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be by force of public opinion to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.

It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution in those intrusted with its administration to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power and proneness to abuse it which predominates in the human heart is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position. The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power, by dividing and distributing it into different depositories, and constituting each the guardian of the public weal against invasions by the others, has been evinced by experiments ancient and modern, some of them in our country and under our own eyes. To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them. If in the opinion of the people the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this in one instance may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit which the use can at any time yield.

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness–these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule indeed extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric? Promote, then, as an object of primary importance, institutions ‘for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.

As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit. One method of preserving it is to use it as sparingly as possible, avoiding occasions of expense by cultivating peace, but remembering also that timely disbursements to prepare for danger frequently prevent much greater disbursements to repel it; avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertions in time of peace to discharge the debts which unavoidable wars have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burthen which we ourselves ought to bear. The execution of these maxims belongs to your representatives; but it is necessary that public opinion should cooperate. To facilitate to them the performance of their duty it is essential that you should practically bear in mind that toward the payment of debts there must be revenue; that to have revenue there must be taxes; that no taxes can be devised which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant; that thee intrinsic embarrassment inseparable from the selection of the proper objects (which is always a choice of difficulties), ought to be a decisive motive for a candid construction of the conduct of the Government in making it, and for a spirit of acquiescence in the measures for obtaining revenue which the public exigencies may at any time dictate.

Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and morality enjoin this conduct. And can it be that good policy does not equally enjoin it? It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and at no distant period a great nation to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence. Who can doubt that in the course of time and things the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advantages which might be lost by a steady adherence to it? Can it be that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a nation with its virtue? The experiment, at least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature. Alas! is it rendered impossible by its vices?

In the execution of such a plan nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations and passionate attachments for others should be excluded, and that in place of them just and amicable feelings toward all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges toward another an habitual hatred or an habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur.

Hence frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. The nation prompted by ill will and resentment sometimes impels to war the government contrary to the best calculations of policy. The government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would reject. At other times it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility, instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of nations has been the victim.

So, likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others, which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill will, and a disposition to retaliate in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld; and it gives to ambitions, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation) facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country without odium, sometimes even with popularity, gilding with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.

As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practice the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public councils! Such an attachment of a small or weak toward a great and powerful nation dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter. Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence ( I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy, to be useful, must be impartial, else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people to surrender their interests.

The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is, in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop.

Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves by artificial ties in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.

Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people, under an efficient government, the period is not far off when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality we may at any time resolve upon to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.

Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor, or caprice?

It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world, so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it; for let me not be understood as capable of patronizing infidelity to existing engagements. I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs that honesty is always. the best policy. I repeat, therefore, let those engagements be unwise to extend them.

Taking care always to keep ourselves by suitable establishments on a respectable defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.

Harmony, liberal intercourse with all nations are recommended by policy, humanity, and interest. But even our commercial policy should hold an equal and impartial hand, neither seeking nor granting exclusive favors or preferences; consulting the natural course of things; diffusing and diversifying by gentle means the streams of commerce, but forcing nothing; establishing with powers so disposed, in order to give trade a stable course, to define the rights of our merchants, and to enable the Government to support them, conventional rules of intercourse, the best that present circumstances and mutual opinion will permit, but temporary and liable to be from time to time abandoned or varied as experience and circumstances shall dictate; constantly keeping in view that it is folly in one nation to look for disinterested favors from another; that it must pay with a portion of its independence for whatever it may accept under that character; that by such acceptance it may place itself in the condition of having given equivalents for nominal favors, and yet of being reproached with ingratitude for not giving more. There can be no greater error than to expect or calculate upon real favors from nation to nation. It is an illusion which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard.

In offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels of an old and affectionate friend I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression I could wish–that they will control the usual current of the passions or prevent our nation from running the course which has hitherto marked the destiny of nations. But if I may even flatter myself that they may be productive of some partial benefit, some occasional good–that they may now and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism– this hope will be a full recompense for the solicitude for your welfare by which they have been dictated.

How far in the discharge of my official duties I have been guided by the principles which have been delineated the public records and other evidences of my conduct must witness to you and to the world. To myself, the assurance of my own conscience is that I have at least believed myself to be guided by them.

In relation to the still subsisting war in Europe my proclamation of the 22d of April, 1793, is the index to my plan. Sanctioned by your approving voice and by that of your representatives in both Houses of Congress, the spirit of that measure has continually governed me, uninfluenced by any attempts to deter or divert me from it.

After deliberate examination, with the aid of the best lights I could obtain, I was well satisfied that our country, under all the circumstances of the case, had a right to take, and was bound in duty and interest to take, a neutral position. Having taken it, I determined as far as should depend upon me to maintain it with moderation, perseverance, and firmness.

The considerations which respect the right to hold this conduct it is not necessary on this occasion to detail. I will only observe that, according to my understanding of the matter, that right, so far from being denied by any of the belligerent powers, has been virtually admitted by all.

The duty of holding a neutral conduct may be inferred, without anything more, from the obligation which justice and humanity impose on every nation, in cases in which it is free to act, to maintain inviolate the relations of peace and amity toward other nations.

The inducements of interest for observing that conduct will best be referred to your own reflections and experience. With me a predominant motive has been to endeavor to gain time to our country to settle and mature its yet recent institutions, and to progress without interruption to that degree of strength and consistency which is necessary to give it, humanly speaking, the command of its own fortunes.

Though in reviewing the incidents of my Administration I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. Whatever they may be, I fervently beseech the Almighty to avert or mitigate the evils to which they may tend. I shall also carry with me the hope that my country will never cease to view them with indulgence, and that, after forty-five years of my life dedicated to its service with an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned to oblivion, as myself must soon be to the mansions of rest.

Relying on its kindness in this as in other things, and actuated by that fervent love toward it which is so natural to a man who views in it the native soil of himself and his progenitors for several generations, I anticipate with pleasing expectation that retreat in which I promise myself to realize without alloy the sweet enjoyment of partaking in the midst of my fellow-citizens the benign influence of good laws under a free government–the ever-favorite object of my heart, and the happy reward, as I trust, of our mutual cares, labors, and dangers.

GO. WASHINGTON.

 

#Resist Assassin Shoots Hundreds of Rounds at GOP House Members in Attempted Massacre

‘WE WERE SITTING DUCKS’

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and a congressional aide were shot by a rifle-wielding gunman who sprayed a hail of bullets at a GOP baseball practice in Virginia Wednesday morning, before U.S. Capitol Police took the gunman down.

The shooter was identified as 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson, of Illinois, the AP reported, citing a government official.

Shooter James T. Hodgkinson is Pronounced Dead at hospital

Scalise was “badly injured,” according to a tweet from President Trump, but is expected to recover. A news release from Scalise’s office said he was “stable” and undergoing surgery after being shot in the hip. Five people were “transported medically” from the scene, Alexandria Police Chief Michael Brown said. It appeared that included Scalise, Zack Barth, a congressional aide to Roger Williams, Hodgkinson and two law enforcement officers — one of whom was hit by fragments.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told Fox News: “We were like sitting ducks.”

“Without the Capitol Hill police it would have been a massacre,” Paul said, describing the scene as “sort of a killing field.”

The gunman was shot by Capitol Police and Alexandria Police, apprehended and taken to the hospital, officials said. The incident occurred at Simpson Field in Alexandria, about 10 miles from Washington D.C. The FBI was taking over the investigation because a federal official — Scalise — was assaulted in the attack.

FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Office Timothy Slater said it was too early to tell if the attack was terror-related.

“The vice president and I are aware of the shooting incident in Virginia and are monitoring developments closely,” President Trump said in a statement. “We are deeply saddened by this tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the members of Congress, their staffs, Capitol Police, first responders and all others affected.”

Trump later tweeted: “Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, a true friend and patriot, was badly injured but will fully recover. Our thoughts and prayers are with him.”

Trump was set to make a statement at 11:30 a.m. from the White House and House Speaker Paul Ryan is going to address the House at noon. Trump had spoken to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Ryan, Scalise’s wife and chief of staff and the chief of the Capitol Hill Police.

The Department of Homeland Security was monitoring the episode.

Rep. Roger Williams, R-Tex., was seen being taken from the field on a stretcher, but he was reportedly injured while jumping into the dugout as the shots rang out. Williams’ office released a statement saying a staffer had been shot, however.

“Finally, the shooter was shot behind home plate as he was circling around to the first base dugout where there were a number of US congressmen and other folks,” Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., told FMTALK1065. “Our security detail was able to incapacitate him at that point. I don’t know if he [the shooter] was dead. He was wounded. I don’t know how many times he was wounded.”

Brooks reportedly used a belt as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding of an aide who was shot in the leg.

Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., told Fox News he left just before the shooting. As he walked to his car, a man asked DeSantis if it was Republicans or Democrats practicing. About 3 minutes later, at around 7:15 a.m., the shooting began, DeSantis said. It reportedly lasted about 10 minutes.

Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, told Fox News he “felt like I was in Iraq, but without my weapon.”

“Behind third base, I see a rifle…I hear Steve Scalise over near 2nd base scream,” Brooks said. “…While all of this is going on, Steve Scalise our whip was lying on the ground near the second base position crawling into right field, leaving a trail of blood.”

Brooks said the gunman was using the dugout as cover and estimated the assailant got off 50-100 shots during the attack on the 15-25 people gathered at the field.

“We were there within 3 minutes,” Brown said. “Two of our officers engaged in gunfire and returned fire.”

A man walking his dog at a park near the field told Fox News he heard police yelling at the gunman to put the gun down followed by someone in or around the dugout screaming back “Just shoot him.”

Aside from Scalise, Williams, Paul, Brooks, Wenstrup and DeSantis, Sen. Jeff Flake and Reps. Mike Bishop, Jack Bergman, Chuck Fleischmann and Joe Barton were also at the field. A photographer and Bishop’s aides were present, too.

Alexandria schools were placed on lockdown as the incident unfolded. There was an uptick in the police presence around the Capitol, however, the building was still open. There was not expected to be any votes held on Wednesday in light of the shooting.

Witnesses and residents described a shattered calm Wednesday morning in a normally peaceful neighborhood now plastered with police tape.

Reba Winstead, who lives in the area, described hearing a “boom boom boom boom.” She said she was getting her daughter ready for school and then “all of a sudden there was gunfire in our neighborhood.”

Scalise, 51, is the House majority whip. He has represented Louisiana’s 1st Congressional District since 2008 and chairs the House Republican Study Committee. He is married with two children. Scalise’s district includes New Orleans.

Since he’s in leadership, Scalise has a security detail.

Scalise, who studied computer science at Louisiana State University, worked as a systems engineer before launching his political career. Scalise endorsed President Trump during last year’s presidential campaign, and has been a vocal backer of Trump’s travel ban. As leader of the powerful study group, he has also spearheaded the effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

The Congressional Baseball Game is scheduled for June 15 at Nationals Park. The game, which has been a tradition since 1909, pits Senate and House members of each party who sport the uniform of their home state.

Fox News’ Chad Pergram, Garrett Tenney and Barnini Chakraborty contributed to this report.

A.G. Jeff Sessions Denies Russia Collusion, Defends Comey firing

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in dramatic Senate testimony, on Tuesday decried suggestions he colluded with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign as an “appalling and detestable lie” — while staunchly defending his role in the firing of former FBI Director James Comey.

“I have never met with or had any conversations with any Russians or any foreign officials concerning any type of interference with any campaign or election,” Sessions told the Senate Intelligence Committee. “I have no knowledge of any such conversations by anyone connected to the Trump campaign.”

The attorney general addressed the same Senate panel that heard last week from Comey, becoming the highest-ranking official to testify in the Russia investigation.

Democrats used the forum to pepper Sessions with tough questions, at times accusing him of “stonewalling” and impeding the congressional probe.

The normally reserved Sessions showed his feisty side in response, pushing back on what he called the “secret innuendo” being leaked about his contact with Russians and challenging portions of Comey’s testimony.

In a fiery opening statement, Sessions specifically contradicted Comey’s claims that he remained silent when the former FBI director expressed his concerns over a meeting with President Trump.

“I responded to his comment by agreeing that the FBI and Department of Justice needed to be careful to follow Department policies regarding appropriate contacts with the White House,” Sessions said, adding he was confident that Comey understood the rules on communicating with the White House about ongoing investigations.

Sessions had earlier recused himself from all matters relating to the Russia investigation after it was reported he had failed to disclose two meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden asked Sessions about conflicting accounts rising from Comey’s testimony and claims that there was something “problematic” about Sessions’ role before his recusal.

Asked what issues might be problematic, Sessions raised his voice: “Why don’t you tell me? There are none, Senator Wyden, there are none … This is a secret innuendo being leaked out there about me, and I don’t appreciate it.”

Democrats appeared to be looking for evidence that Sessions’ contact with Russian officials was more significant than previously thought. Sessions has said neither of the two disclosed encounters had anything to with the Trump campaign in 2016 and that the meetings took place in his role as a lawmaker.

Sessions flatly denied a third meeting with the Russian liaison at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington during a campaign event in April.

“I did not have any private meetings nor do I recall any conversations with any Russian officials at the Mayflower Hotel,” he said. “I did not attend any meetings at that event. Prior to the speech, I attended a reception with my staff that included at least two dozen people and President Trump. Though I do recall several conversations I had during that pre-speech reception, I do not have any recollection of meeting or talking to the Russian ambassador or any other Russian officials.”

Tuesday was Sessions’ first time in the witness seat since his confirmation hearing in February.

Sessions’ testimony came on the heels of Comey’s explosive testimony last week on Russia’s medding in U.S. elections and allegations that Trump tried to kill a related investigation.

During Comey’s hearing, he hinted at Sessions’ role in the controversy.

“We were also aware of facts that I cannot discuss in an open setting that would make his continued engagement in a Russia investigation problematic,” Comey said.

The Justice Department and Sessions himself have pushed back on such suggestions. Sessions also has faced questions from Democrats about why he was involved in recommending Comey’s firing even after he recused himself from the Russia investigation. However, Sessions said Tuesday he had a duty to oversee the Justice Department and FBI, and a “fresh start” was needed at the FBI.

He also said he has the right to defend himself.

“I recused myself from any investigation into the campaign for president. I did not recuse myself from defending my honor against scurrilous and false allegations,” he said.

Unlike Comey, who bluntly said he tried to avoid one-on-one encounters with Trump and began documenting their interactions, Sessions is a staunch supporter of the president.

Sessions was one of the first members of Congress to endorse Trump and was then-candidate Trump’s adviser on almost every major decision and policy proposal pushed on the campaign trail.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio asked Sessions whether Trump had recorded conversations he had in the White House with Comey – something Trump hinted he had done then walked back.

Comey said last week that he hopes there are tapes and encouraged the White House to release them.

“I do not [know],” Sessions said when asked whether he knows whether the president records his conversations.

Comey had also said that Sessions had lingered in the Oval Office following a group meeting, just before the private encounter during which Comey has said Trump asked him to pull back on his investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. As Trump tried to shoo everyone out to talk alone with Comey, Sessions lingered, in Comey’s account. Comey suggested this indicated the attorney general’s awareness that it was improper for Trump and Comey to meet alone together, given the specter of the Department of Justice’s investigation into Russia’s election meddling and possible ties with the Trump campaign.

But Sessions disputed that was why he lingered, suggesting there was really nothing to it.

“I do recall being one of the last ones to leave, I don’t know how that occurred,” Sessions said. “I eventually left.”

By Barnini Chakraborty The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Climate Experts are Baffled by Latest “Global Warming” Findings

Global Warming protestors concerned about deforestation and loss of habitat are ignorant of the fact that slight temperature increases have actually increased forested regions by 9%. They also assume the rises are due to industrial pollution, and not natural warming and cooling trends produced by solar activity cycles.

Patrick Michaels, a climate expert and director of the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute, says combining the findings of two important studies could reveal “a remarkable hypothesis” about the benefits of increased carbon-dioxide levels and global warming.

In a recent article published on the Cato Institute’s blog, Michaels describes the results of a recent study published in Science, a highly influential journal, that examined global drylands and found global forest cover had been undercounted by “at least 9%” in previous studies.

Michaels then recounts the findings produced by researcher Zaichan Zhu and 31 coauthors in 2016, which revealed—based on “a remarkable analysis of global vegetation change since satellite sensors became operational in the late 1970s”—that the “vast majority of the globe’s vegetated area shows greening, with 25-50% of that area showing a statistically significant change, while only 4% of the vegetated area is significantly browning,” according to Michaels.

A winter fair used to be held on the frozen Thames River in London every year, and even elephants could walk across the thick ice. These annual affairs came to an end even before the rise of the industrial age due to a natural warming trend of the earth, which could reverse in the near future, depending on solar activity.

As Michaels quotes in his post, the researchers found, “Factorial simulations with multiple global ecosystem models show that CO2 fertilization effects explain 70% of the observed greening trend …”

“And the other greening driver that stood out from the statistical noise was—you guessed it—climate change,” Michaels added to the researchers’ quote.

At the same time the Thames River would freeze in London, the Delaware was likewise known to freeze and be choked with ice during the American Revolution. These annual deep freezes ceased before the rise of the industrial age.

By combining the two studies’ findings together, Michaels says a “remarkable hypothesis” emerges: “This may lead to a remarkable hypothesis—that one of the reasons the forested regions were undercounted in previous surveys (among other reasons) is that there wasn’t enough vegetation present to meet Bastin’s criterion for ‘forest,’ which is greater than 10% tree cover, and carbon dioxide and global warming changed that.”

Put simply, Michaels is suggesting it’s possible one of the primary reasons forest cover had previously been undercounted is because significant greening linked to carbon-dioxide emissions and higher temperatures has occurred in recent decades. If a direct link could be proven, this would be a very important revelation, because it would add to the mounting evidence that shows the benefits of a warmer global climate outweigh any drawbacks.

Contrary to the arguments often made by climate alarmists, higher temperatures are much less dangerous than global cooling would be, and climate scientists cannot guarantee that global cooling won’t occur at some point in the relatively near future. In fact, some scientists believe global cooling could be just around the corner.

In 2016, Professor Valentina Zharkova at Northumbria University and a team of researchers found future solar cycles could produce much lower temperatures.

“We will see it from 2020 to 2053, when the three next cycles will be very reduced magnetic field of the sun,” Zharkova said, according to a report by Anthony Watts at Watts Up With That? “Whatever we do to the planet, if everything is done only by the sun, then the temperature should drop similar like it was in the Maunder Minimum. At least in the Northern hemisphere, where this temperature is well protocoled and written. We didn’t have many measurements in the Southern hemisphere, we don’t know what will happen with that, but in the Northern hemisphere, we know it’s very well protocoled. The rivers are frozen. There are winters and no summers, and so on.”

Watts points out “because things are not the same as they were in the 17th century,” it’s not clear whether the cooling will actually occur, but he said, “it will be interesting to see how the terrestrial and the solar influences play out.”

By