Adam Shaw

President Trump on Saturday ripped into what he described as an “activist Obama appointed judge” after a federal judge blocked the administration’s plan to reallocate money to building a wall on the southern border with Mexico.

“Another activist Obama appointed judge has just ruled against us on a section of the Southern Wall that is already under construction,” he said. “This is a ruling against Border Security and in favor of crime, drugs and human trafficking.”

JUDGE TEMPORARILY BLOCKS TRUMP’S BORDER WALL CONSTRUCTION PLANS

Trump went on to say that the administration is asking for “an expedited appeal.”

U.S District Court Judge Haywood Gilliam’s ruling late Friday temporarily prevents the administration from using reallocated funds for two wall-related projects in Arizona and Texas by diverting money that Congress has not approved.

Trump declared a national emergency in February and is using that declaration to redirect funding from the Pentagon, after Congress did not agree to the president’s demand for more than $5 billion in wall funding.

“Congress’s ‘absolute’ control over federal expenditures — even when that control may frustrate the desires of the executive branch regarding initiatives it views as important — is not a bug in our constitutional system. It is a feature of that system, and an essential one,” Gilliam, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, wrote in his opinion.

“In short, the position that when Congress declines the executive’s request to appropriate funds, the executive nonetheless may simply find a way to spend those funds ‘without Congress’ does not square with fundamental separation of powers principles dating back to the earliest days of our Republic,” he said.

Gilliam’s ruling does not stop the Trump administration from using other sources to fund the wall, and he rejected a request by California and 19 other states to prevent the diversion of $600 million in Treasury funds to the wall.

REPUBLICAN LAUNCHES FRESH PUSH TO DEFUND SANCTUARY CITIES AFTER COURTS BLOCK TRUMP

Trump’s declaration of a national emergency, coming after a 35-day government shutdown, was controversial on both sides of the aisle.  A resolution disapproving of the declaration passed both chambers of Congress, but was vetoed at the president’s desk. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called it a “power grab by a disappointed president” in a statement.

Congress had OK’d $1.4 billion for border security, but it wasn’t close to the $5 billion Trump requested.

The White House eyed an additional $8 billion in existing funding that could be moved for the wall, $3.5 billion of which could be shifted over from the Defense Department’s military construction budget via the emergency declaration.

Trump predicted a difficult legal fight when he declared the national emergency, saying he believed it would end up in the Supreme Court.

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“We will have a national emergency, and we will then be sued,” Trump said, adding that the federal appeals courts could well rule against his administration. “Then we’ll end up in the Supreme Court, and hopefully we’ll get a fair shake, and we’ll win at the Supreme Court — just like the [travel] ban.”

The case is one of a number of lawsuits the administration is facing over the declaration. On Thursday, a judge in Washington heard arguments on a lawsuit from the House of Representatives that claims it violates the Constitution.

The judge was considering whether the House can sue the president instead of resolving a dispute through the political process.

Fox News’ Louis Casiano, Brooke Singman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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President Trump on Saturday started his four-day visit to Japan by declaring that Tokyo has a “substantial” trade advantage over the U.S. — and that he hopes a future trade agreement will rebalance the situation.

Trump, speaking to businessmen at the U.S. ambassador’s residence, hailed the U.S.-Japanese relationship. He said that the countries are “working together to promote mutually beneficial investment.” and that they are working on a bilateral trade deal.

JAPAN WELCOMES TRUMP WITH A CHARM CAMPAIGN, GOLF AND SUMO

“I would say that Japan has had a substantial edge for many, many years but that’s OK,” he said. “Maybe that’s why you like me so much.

“But we’ll get it a little bit more fair,” he added. “I think we’ll do that.”

Trump has made rebalancing trading relationships, particularly with China and the European Union, a priority of his administration. He has threatened Japan with tariffs on automobiles and auto parts if Japan does not give ground to the U.S. in talks.

In his speech, he said that he hopes the deal will address the imbalance by removing barriers to U.S. exports and ensuring “fairness and reciprocity” in the U.S.-Japanese relationship. He struck an optimistic note about negotiations, though, and said that “we’re getting close.”

“Just last week, U.S. beef exports gained full access to Japan and to the markets in Japan for the first time since the year 2000,” he said. “We welcome your support for these efforts and we hope to have several further announcements soon and some very big ones over the next few months.”

JOHN BOLTON SAYS NORTH KOREAN MISSILE TESTS VIOLATE UN RESOLUTIONS

As part of that push, he told business leaders that there’s “never been a better time to invest and do business in the United States.”

“Last year for the first time in a decade the United States was ranked the most competitive economy anywhere in the world,” he said, before taking a swipe at the Federal Reserve. “During that year our economy grew. At three percent. And if the Fed didn’t raise interest rates frankly it would have been much higher than 3 percent.“

He went on to tout his administration’s efforts to cut red tape and the strength of U.S. labor markets as he sought to sell the U.S. to potential investors. He told the audience that the U.S.-Japanese relationship “has never been more powerful, never been closer.”

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“If you join in seizing the incredible opportunities now before us in terms of investments in the United States, I think you’re going to see a tremendous return on your investments,” he said.

Trump will become the first head of state to meet Emperor Naruhito on Monday. He will also play golf and attend a sumo wrestling championship match during his visit.

Also on the table is North Korea. National Security Adviser John Bolton said that Trump will talk with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe about “making sure the integrity of the Security Council resolutions are maintained.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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National Security Adviser John Bolton on Saturday said that there is “no doubt” that recent short-range missile launches by North Korea are in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions — suggesting that the White House may be looking at putting a sharper edge on their diplomatic relations with dictatorship.

“U.N. Security Council resolutions prohibit North Korea from firing any ballistic missiles,” Bolton told reporters in Tokyo. “In terms of violating U.N. Security Council resolutions, there is no doubt about that.”

IRANIAN PRESIDENTIAL AIDE SAYS TRUMP WILL ‘GET A WAR’ FOR LISTENING TO ‘THE MUSTACHE’ JOHN BOLTON

The former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. made the remarks ahead of President Trump’s four-day visit to Japan, and said Trump would talk with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe about “making sure the integrity of the Security Council resolutions are maintained.”

North Korea’s tests earlier this month were the first launches since 2017 and are seen as a way to pressure the U.S. to compromise on its demands for North Korea to denuclearize.

The launches stopped in 2017 after an escalation in rhetoric from President Trump, who warned of “fire and fury” if North Korea kept up its aggression, and a slew of U.N. Security Council resolutions that imposed a broad range of sanctions on the country’s exports from from coal to seafood.

That in turn led to historic meetings between North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and President Trump. The two leaders met in 2018 and earlier this year, but that relationship appears to have broken down since then.

The North requested sanctions relief in exchange for partial denuclearization measures. The U.S. balked at the request, insisting sanctions would not be relaxed until complete denuclearization.

Bolton’s remarks are in contrast in tone to President Trump’s reaction to the launches. Trump tweeted this month Kim “knows that I am with him & does not want to break his promise to me.”

TRUMP SAYS KIM JONG UN ‘KNOWS THAT I AM WITH HIM’ DESPITE LATEST NORTH KOREA TEST

“Deal will happen!” he said.

Bolton on Saturday told reporters that the administration’s position on denuclearization is consistent and described as “appropriate” the recent seizure of a North Korean cargo ship that was involved in banned coal exports. He added that the U.S. is prepared to resume talks at any point, saying that Special Representative Stephen Biegun is ready “to get on a plane and go anywhere.”

But Pyongyang on Friday said that negotiations won’t resume until Washington abandons its disarmament demands, and accused the U.S. of making impossible demands and therefore deliberately sabotaging the talks.

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Bolton on Saturday said that he takes “much of what they say with a grain of salt” and suggested the two sides discuss the return of a U.S. naval intelligence ship held by the North Koreans since the 1960s.

Bolton also said he backs a summit between Kim and Abe, who has recently said he is willing to hold a summit with Kim without preconditions — having previously said he would not do so without clear steps from the North Koreans to denuclearize.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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EXCLUSIVE: Republicans are renewing their fight against “sanctuary cities,” with a new bill that aims to pull immigration funding from those jurisdictions that shield illegal immigrants from deportation – while protecting law enforcement officials who follow federal law.

The bill, introduced by House freshman Rep. Lance Gooden, R-Texas, seeks to cut off federal law enforcement grants to states that do not comply with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer requests. Gooden, speaking to Fox News, said the cuts are focused and designed to sting scofflaw states without harming key enforcement priorities.

CARSON CLASHES WITH DEMS OVER PROPOSAL TO BLOCK ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS FROM PUBLIC HOUSING

“We’re not targeting terrorism preparedness, drug enforcement or other DHS grants unrelated to immigration,” he said. “This is in no way going to disrupt law enforcement practices that are ongoing as respect to those grants.”

The push is a more targeted version of a stalled effort by the Trump administration that sought to cut law enforcement grants from sanctuary areas in 2017. The Justice Department wrote to 29 sanctuary jurisdictions in November 2017, saying it intended to withhold law enforcement grants due to their policies.

However, the move was hit by a series of court challenges and, of those jurisdictions, only Oregon has yet to be cleared to receive the grants from 2017, a Justice Department spokesman told The Associated Press in March.

Gooden says his bill pairs with the immigration proposal announced last week by President Trump. Trump unveiled overhauls that primarily deal with legal immigration, but this bill focuses on the fight against illegal immigration and efforts to stall immigration enforcement.

A unique part of the bill is a provision that protects law enforcement officers who comply with ICE detainers against liability and gives them immunity in any lawsuit filed by detained illegal immigrants. It also makes it illegal for a jurisdiction to fire or discriminate against a law enforcement officer for complying with an ICE detainer.

The bill has firm support from both traditional conservative groups as well as groups that advocate for stronger enforcement of U.S. immigration laws. Groups such as Heritage Foundation, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and NumbersUSA have come out in favor of the bill.

TRUMP, AGAIN, SAYS ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS WILL BE ‘GIVEN’ TO SANCTUARY CITIES, STATES

“Sanctuary jurisdictions threaten public safety and disregard the rule of law. This important legislation would ensure that localities do not adopt these dangerous policies while still receiving financial and material support from the Department of Homeland Security,” FAIR spokesman Matthew Tragesser told Fox News in a statement. “Further, protecting cooperative jurisdictions from frivolous civil action is an important step in encouraging state and local law enforcement to honor detainer notices from federal immigration authorities.”

“We fully support Rep. Gooden’s effort to end sanctuary cities,” NumbersUSA Deputy Director Chris Chmielenski said. “His bill is a focused and common sense approach to addressing the problem, and I’m hopeful that Democrats who support the rule of law and the safety of their constituents would join Rep. Gooden in his effort to prevent the continued release of criminal aliens and to fully allow localities to cooperate with immigration enforcement.”

Gooden’s bill may rally conservative groups, but it faces a tough climb in the Democrat-dominated House of Representatives. Amid a left-wing shift by the party as a whole, dozens of lawmakers and 2020 presidential candidates have endorsed not only sanctuary policies but abolishing ICE entirely.

Gooden was not sugar-coating the bill’s prospects in the current political climate on immigration.

“I’m not unreasonable, I don’t believe that Democrats will even admit we have an immigration problem so it would be delusional of me to say I think Democrats will get on board with my bill, or any bill that does something to address our illegal immigration problem,” he said.

However, he said that Democrats in some pro-Trump districts see there are immigration challenges to confront.

The new bill comes as the Trump administration has been considering sending detained illegal immigrants to sanctuary cities.

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“Due to the fact that Democrats are unwilling to change our very dangerous immigration laws, we are indeed, as reported, giving strong considerations to placing Illegal Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities only,” Trump tweeted last month.

The idea prompted a critical response from Democrats. “The extent of this Administration’s cynicism and cruelty cannot be overstated,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s spokeswoman Ashley Etienne said in a statement. “Using human beings—including little children—as pawns in their warped game to perpetuate fear and demonize immigrants is despicable, and in some cases, criminal.”

She added: “The American people have resoundingly rejected this Administration’s toxic anti-immigrant policies, and Democrats will continue to advance immigration policies that keep us safe and honor our values.”

Pelosi’s district of San Francisco was among the sanctuary cities under consideration.

The Florida legislature this month passed a Republican ban on sanctuary policies in the state.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., on Friday defended his support of left-wing regimes and his antiwar activism in the 1980s, saying, “I did my best” to stop American foreign policy during the administration of former President Ronald Reagan.

“As a mayor, I did my best to stop American foreign policy, which for years was overthrowing governments in Latin America and installing puppet regimes,” the 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful said in an interview with The New York Times. “I did everything that I could as a mayor of a small city to stop the United States from getting involved in another war in Central America trying to overthrow a government.”

BERNIE SANDERS SEEN IN UNEARTHED 1986 VIDEO RECALLING EXCITEMENT OVER CASTRO’S REVOLUTION IN CUBA

Sanders spoke to The Times after the paper a day earlier published a story providing more details on Sanders’ focus on foreign policy when he served as Burlington mayor and how that led to him forming connections with repressive left-wing governments across the globe.

The report details how Sanders journeyed for 14 hours to reach Nicaragua in 1985 and met with socialist President Daniel Ortega on the sixth anniversary of the Sandinista revolution. Amid anti-American chants (“Here, there, everywhere, the Yankee will die.”) Sanders reportedly celebrated the Sandinista takeover.

“After many years of economic and political domination, Nicaragua is determined not to be a banana republic anymore, and it’s free to make its own decisions,” he said.

Sanders told the Times Friday that he doesn’t remember hearing the chants, but added: “Of course there was anti-American sentiment there. This was a war being funded by the United States against the people of Nicaragua. People were being killed in that war.”

Asked if now viewed Ortega differently, he said he is “very concerned about the anti-democratic policies of the Ortega government.”

The Times reports that Sanders pushed a number of measures as mayor to oppose Reagan policies in Central America. He established two sister-city programs with cities in Russia and Nicaragua. He urged Reagan to “stop the CIA war against the people of Nicaragua” and embarked on trips to the Soviet Union and Cuba. On the Soviet Union, he described it Friday as “an authoritarian dictatorship” and said that he held those beliefs in the 80s as well.

“On the other hand, I was going to do everything that I could to prevent a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union,” he said.

His trip to the U.S.S.R. in particular has drawn scrutiny in the past, as have his remarks apparently glossing over some of the more disturbing aspects of communist countries — such as food shortages.

“It’s funny sometimes American journalists talk about how bad a country is because people are lining up for food. That’s a good thing,” he said in one vintage video unearthed by conservative activists earlier this year. “In other countries, people don’t line up for food, rich people get the food and poor people starve to death.”

After a trip to the Soviet Union in 1988, he held a press conference, along with his wife Jane, and said he was “extremely impressed” by the USSR’s public transportation system and that the “palaces of culture,” which he told an audience were much better than anything the U.S. had mustered.

“I was also impressed by the youth programs that they have, their palaces of culture for the young people, a whole variety of programs for young people, and cultural programs which go far beyond what we do in this country,” he said.

VINTAGE BERNIE FOOTAGE SHOWS NOW-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES PRAISING BREADLINES, COMMUNIST NATIONS

On Friday he said that he thought many of the principles that the Soviet system was based on was good, even if the delivery was poor.

“The truth also is the Soviet system — the quality of care in the Soviet Union — was not particularly good. But the principle of providing free health care or the principle of providing affordable housing is a good principle,” he told the Times.

In another 1985 interview with a local TV station, dug up by BuzzFeed News in 2015, he said of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro that “just because Ronald Reagan dislikes these people, doesn’t mean that people in their own nations feel the same way.”

“In 1959 … everybody was totally convinced that Castro was the worst guy in the world and all of the Cuban people were going to rise up in rebellion against Fidel Castro,” Sanders said. “They forgot that he educated their kids, gave their kids healthcare, totally transformed the society.”

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Sanders’ history of aligning with left-governments has been well known but has come under greater scrutiny since he announced his 2020 presidential bid and stands a real chance of winning both the Democratic nomination — and the White House.

Otto Reich, a former special envoy to Latin America who helped oversee Reagan administration policy on Nicaragua, was blunt in his assessment to the Times of Sander’s connections: “He has, by virtue of these travels and associations, joined up with some of the most repressive regimes in the world.”

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Former Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday launched his 2020 campaign with a rally that put unity and bipartisanship at its core, calling on the country to put aside “angry” politics — though he saved plenty of barbs for President Trump.

“Our politicians, politics today traffics in division and our president is the divider-in-chief, but he’s not the only one, far from it,” Biden said in his address in Philadelphia. “He’s just the worst practicioner of politics that singles out, scapegoats and demonizes.”

FOX NEWS POLL: BIDEN UP BY DOUBLE DIGITS IN DEMOCRATIC RACE

“Our politics has become so mean, so petty, so negative, so partisan, so angry and so unproductive,” he said. “Instead of debating our opponents we demonize them. Instead of questioning judgements, we question their motives. Instead of listening, we shout.”

In the speech, he made reference to the angrier rhetoric coming from his fellow primary rivals and distanced himself from it.

“Some of the smart folks say Democrats don’t want to hear about unity. They say Democrats are so angry that the angrier a candidate can be the better chance he or she has to to win the Democratic nomination,” he said. “Well, I don’t believe it. I really don’t, I believe Democrats want to unify this nation. That’s what our party’s always been about.”

The speech taps into the perception of Biden as a more centrist candidate, who supporters say can clinch vital swing states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan that went to Trump in 2016.

But he could face a difficult time in the primaries, with 22 other opponents so far and many of them pulling the party to the left on issues such as taxation, Medicare-for-all, impeaching President Trump and the Green New Deal.

Biden emphasized his calls for unity when he said that he does not want to demonize Republicans or his fellow Democrats. When some in the crowd yelled at a protester, Biden said: “That’s not how we do it. That’s how other campaigns do it but that’s not how we do it.”

He later said he was hoping to offer “a different path.”

“If the American people want a president to add to our division, to lead with a clenched fist, closed hand and a hard heart, to demonize your opponents and spew hatred — they don’t need me, they’ve got President Donald Trump” he said to boos.

He later said he knows how to work with Republicans “because I’ve done it,” in reference to his decades in the Senate, where he worked with Republicans on various pieces of legislation.

BIDEN CAMPAIGN SETTING UP HEADQUARTERS IN PHILADELPHIA

But that more open stance toward some Republicans may be controversial among some in the party’s left-wing base. In February, Biden walked back his description of Vice President Mike Pence as a “decent guy” after criticism from “Sex and the City” actress and activist Cynthia Nixon called him out.

He was on safer territory with activists on Saturday when he hailed former President Barack Obama as “an extraordinary man” and spoke of Obama’s record on passing ObamaCare and the Recovery Act — items that Biden will likely tout in part as his credentials for running for office.

He also claimed that Trump inherited a good economy from an “Obama/Biden administration, just like he inherited everything else in his life” — a barb that drew some of the loudest applause in his speech.

Biden’s campaign relaunch comes as the former vice president has shot to the top of polls for the Democratic nomination, and his lead appears to be growing.

A Fox News Poll published Friday found that among Democratic primary voters, Biden’s 35 percent (up from 31 percent in March) leaves Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in a distant second place with 17 percent (down from 23 percent). All other candidates are in single digits.

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Biden also performs best in hypothetical 2020 matchups.  Among all registered voters, he leads Trump by 11 points (49-38 percent), up from a 7-point advantage in March. Biden’s is the only lead outside the margin of sampling error in the matchups tested — and he is the only Democrat to push Trump’s support below 41 percent.

Fox News’ Dana Blanton contributed to this report.

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Former FBI Director James Comey ripped into Attorney General William Barr on Friday, accusing him of “sliming his own department” after Barr said that government power was used “to spy on American citizens.”

“The AG should stop sliming his own Department,” Comey tweeted. “If there are bad facts, show us, or search for them professionally and then tell us what you found.”

BILL BARR REVEALS RUSSIA PROBE REVIEW TO FOCUS ON TRUMP DOSSIER BRIEFING, LEAKER

“An AG must act like the leader of the Department of Justice, an organization based on truth,” he said. “Donald Trump has enough spokespeople.”

Comey did not specify what comments he was reacting to, but the tweet came after Barr gave interviews to Fox News and The Wall Street Journal about the investigation into the origins of the Russia investigation, that he has tapped U.S. Attorney John Durham to lead.

Barr told Fox News that the investigation will cover the time period between Election Day and Inauguration Day, and he told Fox News’ Bill Hemmer that “some very strange developments” took place during that period.

Barr said the country must know “exactly what happened” with counterintelligence activities conducted during the 2016 election — and he is determined to get to the bottom of the case.

“The first step is to find out exactly what happened, and we’re trying to get our arms around that, getting all the relevant information from the various agencies and starting to talk to some of the people that have information,” Barr told Hemmer.

He also expressed concern about the role of the anti-Trump Steele dossier to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant against Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

AG BARR DETAILS HIS HUNT FOR THE TRUTH ON WHAT REALLY WENT ON WITH THE RUSSIA PROBE: LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW

“It’s a very unusual situation to have opposition research like that, especially one that, on its face, had a number of clear mistakes and in a somewhat jejune analysis,” Barr said. “And to, and to use that, take it to conduct counterintelligence against an American political campaign is a strange — would be a strange development.”

He told The Wall Street Journal that the investigation could lead to rule changes for counterintelligence investigations of political campaigns.

“Government power was used to spy on American citizens,” he said. “I can’t imagine any world where we wouldn’t take a look and make sure that was done properly.”

“Just like we need to ensure that foreign actors don’t influence the outcome of our elections, we need to ensure that the government doesn’t use its powers to put a thumb on the scale,” he said.

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Comey’s comments came just days after former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein accused the former FBI chief of being a “partisan pundit” and trampling on “bright lines that should never be crossed.”

“Now, the former director is a partisan pundit, selling books and earning speaking fees while speculating about the strength of my character and the fate of my immortal soul,” Rosenstein said. “That is disappointing. Speculating about souls is not a job for police and prosecutors. Generally, we base our opinions on eyewitness testimony.”

Fox News’ Brooke Singman, Liam Quinn and Gregg Re contributed to this report.

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Illinois Republicans unhappy at the influence the Democrat-controlled city of Chicago holds over the state are looking at trying to blow the Windy City out of the state altogether — despite the long odds that such a push would face.

A new report by Pew Trusts’ Stateline shines light on an effort by the state’s GOP to turn the state red by turning the blue city into its own state.

CALEXIT SUPPORTERS REVAMP CAMPAIGN WITH PLAN TO CONVERT HALF OF CALIFORNIA INTO ‘AUTONOMOUS NATIVE AMERICAN NATION’

The outlet reports that a resolution calling on Congress to declare Chicago America’s 51st state now has eight Republican co-sponsors in the state’s House, as well as growing support from conservative activists.

Supporters of the move have noted that Chicago is where much of the state’s political power and money rests, and its politics are different than other more conservative parts of the state. The sponsor of the bill, state Rep. Brad Halbrook, said he supports the split due to differences on issues such as the Second Amendment and abortion.

“Our traditional family values seem to be under attack at every angle,” Halbrook said, according to The State Journal-Register. “We are trying to drive the discussion to get people at the table to say these are not our values down here.”

The bill notes a “$221 million bailout” for the city’s pension system last year, and says that “the majority of residents in downstate Illinois disagree with City of Chicago residents on key issues such as gun ownership, abortion, immigration, and other policy issues.”

Any such push would require significant political muscle, and the resolution itself is only a statement of support for the push, not legislation that would work to actually make a new state. It would need to pass both the state legislature, and be approved by Congress — making it a longshot proposition.

ILLINOIS RESIDENTS COULD BE CHARGED $1,000 A YEAR TO OWN AN ELECTRIC VEHICLE UNDER NEW LEGISLATION

Even some Republicans sponsoring the bill have indicated it’s more of an expression of frustration rather than a deep-rooted desire to boot the city out of the state.

“It’s more of a frustration of the policies than the true belief that Chicago and Illinois would be better off as separate states,” Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer told the Journal Register last month. ”I don’t believe that Chicago and the state of Illinois should be separated. Our relationship is mutually beneficial.”

He went on to say that the push is designed to highlight how policies from Chicago are hurting the more rural areas of the state.

“The reality is the city of Chicago is competing with New York City and L.A. and San Francisco, and (downstate is) competing against rural Indiana and rural Missouri,” he said. “The policies that come down from Chicago are actually pushing our economic opportunity away.”

But Halbrook indicated to Stateline that he, and his constituents, are dead serious.

“Everywhere I go, people say we just need to get rid of Chicago,” he told Stateline. “It gets rid of all of our problems. My constituency is serious about it. I’m trying to save the state.”

The battle over Chicago’s place in the state has been rumbling for some time. This year’s resolution is the second bill in two years and in 2017 gubernatorial candidate Robert Marshall called for Illinois to be transformed into three states: Chicago, suburbs and the rest of the state.

“Each state would negotiate how they wanted and each state would start off with a new constitution,” he told Chicago Tonight. “Everything would be new. We’d start off with a better financial situation than we are in now.”

Stateline notes that there is a precedent for Chicago being split from Illinois. Maine split from Massachusetts and West Virginia split from Virginia in the 1800s, and that the divide rose to the surface during the two-years-long budget battle between Democrats and then-Gov. Bruce Rauner. The resolution notes that there was a resolution passed by the City in 1925 to form a state of Chicago.

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And while efforts are still in their infancy, the outlet’s study finds some evidence that the movement is taking form. In April, the southern Effingham County voted to hold a referendum in 2020 to ask whether it should work towards forming a new state, and activists say they’ve gathered signatures enough for referenda in two other counties.

It isn’t the only campaign to mix up the U.S. state count, with decades-old calls for statehood for D.C. and Puerto Rico to be made states. Last year, organizers of a long-running initiative to secure California’s secession from the United States (known as Calexit) said they instead want to give away nearly half of the state, including all of its federal land, to form an “autonomous Native American nation.”

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Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on Wednesday unveiled a bill that would end asylum claims from Central America at the border and return unaccompanied minors to their home countries — a targeted effort to tackle the escalating migration crisis.

“This is a nightmare for smugglers,” Graham said. “This is a godsend to stop the humanitarian disaster.”

TRUMP ADMIN PUSH TO STOP ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION HAMPERED BY DISTRICT JUDGES, DESPITE SURGE: US ATTORNEY

Graham’s bill is designed specifically to deal with loopholes he says are encouraging migrants from Central America to make the treacherous journey north and bring children with them. He pointed in particular to the 20-day limit for authorities to hold unaccompanied minors and families before having to release them into the U.S. homeland.

“The word is out on the street in Central America if you bring a minor child with you, your chance of being deported goes to almost zero, your hearing date is years away and we release you inside the country and that’s the goal of coming,” he said.

The bill would end asylum claims at the U.S. border for migrants from the Northern Triangle of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. Instead, those applications would be filed at refugee processing centers set up in the Northern Triangle and Mexico. The legislation would also allow unaccompanied minors to be returned to their country of origin, which Graham said would be treating them the same way as minors from Canada and Mexico.

His bill would extend the time families can be held together from 20 days to 100 days to help allow claims to be filed without families being released into the U.S. It would also add an additional 500 immigration judges to deal with the backlog of asylum claims

TSA DEPLOYING HUNDREDS OF OFFICIALS TO SOUTHERN BORDER TO COMBAT IMMIGRATION CRISIS

Until these loopholes are dealt with, Graham said, other border security measures and funding are pointless — including President Trump’s call for a wall on the southern border.

“No matter how high the wall will be built, how many drones you have, no matter how many agents you have in the border, they’ll keep coming because they want to get caught,” he said.

Graham told reporters he was prepared to work with Democrats on moving the bill in Congress, including other immigration-related goals Democrats are pursuing.

“If we do these four things, then the incentives created by our laws will cease to exist, this humanitarian disaster will begin to repair itself and I am willing to sit down with Democrats and find a way to address the underlying problem in Central America,” he said. “I am willing to put other immigration ideas on the table to marry up with this but what I am not willing to do is ignore this problem any longer.”

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Graham’s proposal comes after the Customs and Border Protection said it apprehended or turned away more than 109,000 migrants attempting to cross the border in April, the second month in a row the number has topped 100,000.

Fox News confirmed Wednesday that The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is planning to send hundreds of officials to the southern border to help the Department of Homeland Security with the crisis.

Fox News’ Griff Jenkins contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is planning to send hundreds of officials to the southern border to help the Department of Homeland Security with the escalating immigration crisis, Fox News confirmed Wednesday.

“TSA, like all DHS components, is supporting the DHS effort to address the humanitarian and security crisis at the southwest border,” a spokesperson told Fox News. “TSA is in the process of soliciting volunteers to support this effort while minimizing operational impact.”

TEXAS BORDER AGENTS SAY 5,500 MIGRANTS A DAY ARE ILLEGALLY ENTERING US

The move, first reported by CNN, is expected to consist of a few hundred officials, with a maximum of 400 volunteers, ranging from department attorneys to, potentially, some air marshals. CNN reported that the agency does not initially plan to involve uninformed airport screeners, but that some parts of TSA will be asked to contribute around 10 percent of their workforce.

The spokesperson said that the deployment schedule had not yet been finalized and that Americans should not be concerned that the deployment will hurt air travel safety because “at this time, the deployment will not include any frontline resources.”

The measure comes as the Trump administration faces a spike in the number of illegal border crossings, and as President Trump increases his calls for Congress to act to end loopholes in immigration law and make funding available to secure the border.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it apprehended or turned away more than 109,000 migrants attempting to cross the border In April, the second month in a row the number has topped 100,000 and averaged more than 3,000 apprehensions a day.

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Last month, Rio Grande Valley Sector Chief Patrol Agent Rodolfo Karisch told lawmakers on the Senate Homeland Committee that his sector is being hit by a caravan-size influx of migrants crossing the border each week.

“This is not a manufactured crisis created by those of us who live and work in the border area. Border Patrol continues to apprehend record numbers of people who purposely violate U.S. immigration laws, we are taken advantage of by gaps in our legal frameworks and that undermine the rule of laws,” he said.

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Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Tuesday described China as America’s’ “foremost national security concern,” warning that the conventional wisdom about the communist superpower is “dead.”

“China has become our foremost national security concern,” she said in an address to the Asian Leadership Conference in Seoul, South Korea. “ Does this mean it’s America’s enemy? No. Not necessarily. At one and the same time it is a principal trade and investment player, our chief strategic competitor, and our most serious potential military antagonist.”

TRUMP SAYS DEAL WITH CHINA WILL HAPPEN ‘WHEN THE TIME IS RIGHT,’ US NEEDS TO ‘MAKE UP’ GROUND FIRST

The former South Carolina governor dismissed the theory of convergence, which predicted that as China grew wealthier, it would have to liberalize politically at home and therefore become similar to the U.S. in domestic politics and its outlook on foreign relations.

She called such a theory “false comfort,” and said that Chinese President Xi Jinping has “effectively killed the notion of convergence.”

2019/03/25: Nikki Haley, former Ambassador of the United States to the United Nations seen speaking during the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

2019/03/25: Nikki Haley, former Ambassador of the United States to the United Nations seen speaking during the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

“China is growing economically without democratizing. On the contrary, its government is thoroughly ideological and increasingly repressive,” she said, according to prepared remarks. “Its military ambitions are not just regional and defensive; they are global and designed to intimidate.”

“So, I’m here to tell you that the long-standing conventional wisdom about China is dead. Wishful thinking has been overtaken by events,” she said.

Haley said that Xi’s China has created “an Orwellian surveillance state,” kidnapped domestic critics abroad, stolen intellectual property from foreigners (including the U.S.) and is using economic policy to strengthen the government’s power at home and abroad: “The Americans think business, while the Chinese think power politics.”

As an example of Chinese aggression, she pointed to Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative — an ambitious international infrastructure and development program. Haley noted that it “relies heavily on corrupt financing arrangements that burden foreign governments with debt they cannot afford to pay.”

She drew attention to a “civil-military integration policy” by which the Chinese government requires even privately-owned companies to work for the military, meaning that “business with Chinese is not just business.”

CHINA IS FIGHTING TO ‘PROTECT ITS LEGITIMATE RIGHTS AND INTERESTS’ IN TRADE WAR WITH US, STATE MEDIA SAYS

Haley’s remarks come as the Trump administration is ramping up sanctions against Beijing as part of an escalating trade war between the two countries. The U.S. last week began increasing tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion of Chinese goods. China responded by upping tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. goods.

A Chinese delegation was in Washington last week, but while talks broke off, both sides indicated that further talks will be held.

Trump struck a positive note on his relationship with Xi on Tuesday, saying in a tweet that his “respect and friendship with [Xi] is unlimited” but that any trade deal must be “a great deal for the United States or it just doesn’t make any sense.”

Trump said Monday that he will meet with the Chinese premier during the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan at the end of June.

In her remarks Tuesday, Haley said that Americans will look “with deep regret” at the state of U.S. relations with China, noting that the U.S. has looked for decades to build better relations, and even helped China enter the World Trade Organization.

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“We gave it access to our markets even though China did not reciprocate,” she said. “China’s increasingly hostile policies cannot be explained as a reaction to unfriendliness from our side.”

She cautioned that the U.S. should “observe China with care” and think about the country “critically, creatively and courageously.”

“Managing our relationship with China is a complex strategic puzzle, and the stakes could be life or death,” she said.

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President Trump on Tuesday said that a deal with China will happen “when the time is right,” and only after the U.S. is allowed to “make up” ground he says was lost after the formation of the World Trade Organization.

“When the time is right we will make a deal with China. My respect and friendship with President Xi is unlimited but, as I have told him many times before, this must be a great deal for the United States or it just doesn’t make any sense,” Trump said as part of a lengthy tweetstorm.

CHINA IS FIGHTING TO ‘PROTECT ITS LEGITIMATE RIGHTS AND INTERESTS’ IN TRADE WAR WITH US, STATE MEDIA SAYS

The tweets come after the U.S. last week began increasing tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion of Chinese goods. China responded by upping tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. goods.

But both sides have expressed willingness to come together and make a trade deal to cool the escalating trade war between the two superpowers. A Chinese delegation was in Washington last week, and while talks broke off Friday, both sides have indicated that further talks will happen.

However, the Trade Representative’s Office listed a further $300 billion of Chinese goods for possible tariffs on Monday, while the Chinese government warned it was prepared to “fight to the finish” in response to U.S. action.

WHY THE US-CHINA TRADE WAR COULD SETTLE THE 2020 ELECTION IN 2019

Trump has repeatedly said that the trade structure between the two countries is imbalanced, and has sought to rectify that. The Trump administration started placing tariffs on Chinese goods last year. He pointed his finger on Tuesday at the WTO, whose formation he said is at least partly responsible for U.S. losses on trade.

“We have to be allowed to make up some of the tremendous ground we have lost to China on Trade since the ridiculous one sided formation of the WTO,” he said. “It will all happen, and much faster than people think!”

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Responding to fears that a trade war with China could hurt American farmers, Trump said that they would in fact be “the biggest beneficiaries of what is happening now.”

“Hopefully China will do us the honor of continuing to buy our great farm product, the best, but if not your Country will be making up the difference based on a very high China buy,” he said. “This money will come from the massive Tariffs being paid to the United States for allowing China, and others, to do business with us.”

Trump has touted his relationship with Xi, and said Monday he will meet with the Chinese premier during the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan at the end of June.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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President Trump said Friday that it would be “appropriate” for him to talk to Attorney General William Barr about opening an investigation into former vice president and 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden.

“Certainly it would be an appropriate thing to speak to him about, but I have not done that as of yet. … It could be a very big situation,” Trump told Politico.

GIULIANI CANCELS UKRAINE TRIP, SAYS HE’D BE ‘WALKING INTO A GROUP OF PEOPLE THAT ARE ENEMIES OF THE US’

Trump made his remarks after his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, said he would be traveling to Ukraine to urge the incoming Ukrainian government to look into several probes that may prove “very, very helpful” to the Trump White House as it looks to prove it was Democrats who improperly conspired with foreign governments, not the Trump campaign.

One of those investigations pertains to allegations that Biden pressured Ukraine to fire its top prosecutor in order to take the heat off the prosecutor’s probe into a company that employed his son, Hunter, as a board member.

Another such investigation concerns evidence that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton campaign may have worked with Ukrainians to illegally help Clinton by revealing damaging information about then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

However, Giuliani said Friday evening on “Fox News @ Night” that he will not be traveling as planned, saying he believed he would be “walking into a group of people that are enemies of the president, and in some cases, enemies of the United States and in one case, an already convicted person who has been found to be involved in assisting the Democrats with the 2016 investigation.”

Giuliani said his decisions had nothing to do with the 2020 election, but Giuliani had faced fierce pushback from Democrats, who accused the president of “asking a foreign government to investigate his political rival.”

On Friday, Trump told Politico that the only reason the Biden controversy wasn’t a full-blown scandal yet is that Biden is a Democrat.

“Because he’s a Democrat,” Trump said, the revelations had about “one-hundredth” the impact as it would have if Biden “were a Republican.”

CLINTON-UKRAINE COLLUSION ALLEGATIONS ‘BIG’ AND ‘INCREDIBLE,’ WILL BE REVIEWED, TRUMP SAYS

It isn’t the first time Trump has weighed in on the controversies linking Democrats to Ukraine. Asked last month by Fox News host Sean Hannity whether Americans need to see the results of Ukraine’s ongoing investigation into whether officials in that country worked with the Clinton team, Trump replied, “I think we do.”

“It sounds like big stuff, very interesting with Ukraine,” he said.

But any push from Trump to get the Justice Department to investigate political opponents is likely to face intense resistance from Democrats.

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Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., last week sent a letter to the Department of Justice’s inspector general demanding he investigates whether the White House had urged Barr to investigate President Trump’s political opponents — after Barr appeared to demur on the question somewhat in congressional testimony.

“In response to my questions during the [Senate Judiciary] hearing, Attorney General Barr proved unable or unwilling to state whether he had been directed to open investigations at the request or suggestion of the President or other White House officials — an alarming response that strikes at the very heart of the rule of law and threatens to undermine the longstanding independence of the Justice Department,” she said in a letter to Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

Fox News’ Gregg Re and Charles Creitz contributed to this report.

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The White House asked former White House counsel Don McGahn to say publicly that he did not believe that President Trump obstructed justice, Fox News confirmed Friday — although McGahn’s attorney said they never perceived the request as a threat.

“We did not perceive it as any kind of threat or something sinister. It was a request, professionally and cordially made,” McGahn’s attorney William Burck said in a statement.

WHITE HOUSE BLOCKS MCGAHN FROM PRODUCING DOCUMENTS SUBPOENAED BY HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE

The Wall Street Journal first reported that White House officials made the request to McGahn, but that McGahn declined — purportedly because he didn’t want to weigh in on the evidence in the report beyond his own testimony, and did not want to comment on his own testimony in isolation.

The request, made by White House lawyer Emmett Flood, came after the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report last month. The report did not find evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and did not come to a conclusion on whether President Trump obstructed justice.

However, it did outline a number of controversial actions and requests made by the president that were examined as part of Mueller’s obstruction inquiry.

One of those examples Mueller outlines was an instance in which Trump called McGahn and told him to have Mueller fired. McGahn is said to have ignored that request.

“On June 17, 2017, the president called [White House Counsel Don] McGahn at home and directed him to call the Acting Attorney General and say that the Special Counsel had conflicts of interest and must be removed. McGahn did not carry out the direction, however, deciding that he would resign rather than trigger what he regarded as a potential Saturday Night Massacre,” the report stated, referencing the Watergate scandal.

The report also said that when media outlets reported the president’s request for McGahn to have Mueller removed, the president directed White House officials “to tell McGahn to dispute the story and create a record stating he had not been ordered to have the special counsel removed.”

TRUMP TELLS DEMS ‘IT’S OVER,’ SAYS MCGAHN WON’T TESTIFY

“McGahn refused to back away from what he remembered happening,” the report said.

Trump has denied the claim that he told McGahn to fire Mueller “even though I had the legal right to do so.”

“If I wanted to fire Mueller, I didn’t need McGahn to do it, I could have done it myself,” he tweeted.

Democrats have quickly seized on the examples as proof that Trump did in fact obstruct justice, and have pushed for further investigations. The House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed McGahn to appear before the panel to testify and provide documents related to the Mueller probe, but the White House this week said it had ordered McGahn defy the subpoena and not appear for testimony.

“The White House provided these records to Mr. McGahn in connection with its cooperation with the Special Counsel’s investigation and with the clear understanding that the records remain subject to the control of the White House for all purposes,” White House Counsel Pat Cipollone wrote in a letter to Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y.

“The White House records remain legally protected from disclosure under longstanding constitutional principles, because they implicate significant Executive Branch confidentiality interests and executive privilege,” he said.

The fight comes amid a broader battle between congressional Democrats and the White House over documents and testimony related to the Mueller report. Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee voted this week to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for his refusal to hand over the full, unredacted report to Congress and the underlying evidence in response to a committee subpoena.

“We did not relish doing this, but we have no choice,” Nadler said after the vote. “We’ve talked for a long time about approaching a constitutional crisis. We are now in it.”

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The White House on Wednesday announced that President Trump had asserted executive privilege over the documents in a bid to protect them from release, criticizing Nadler’s “blatant abuse of power.”

“The Attorney General has been transparent and accommodating throughout this process, including by releasing the no-collusion, no-conspiracy, no-obstruction Mueller Report to the public and offering to testify before the Committee. These attempts to work with the Committee have been flatly rejected. They didn’t like the results of the report, and now they want a redo,” Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement Wednesday.

Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

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Top Republican lawmakers demanded answers Friday on whether the FBI was warned of anti-Trump dossier author Christopher Steele’s “political motivations” before the bureau applied for a surveillance warrant against a Trump campaign aide based in part on that document.

In a pair of letters to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Sens. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa., cited newly revealed notes that a State Department official took during a meeting with Steele in October 2016, just 10 days before the first warrant application and a month before the presidential election. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has also written separate letters to Pompeo and Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

FORMER TOP FBI LAWYER ON DEFENSE AS IG PROBE ON SURVEILLANCE ABUSE NEARS CLOSE

Those notes, first reported by The Hill, say that Steele’s security firm Orbis was “keen to see this information [in the dossier] come to light prior to November 8,” suggesting that it wanted the information to directly influence the 2016 presidential election.

“Based on the publicly-released version of the typed notes of the meeting, it appears Steele’s intent of the meeting with the State Department was to maximize the impact of the unverified information that he had acquired in an effort to undermine the Trump campaign,” Grassley and Johnson wrote. “Further, if that information was included in the material submitted to the FBI, then the FBI may have been aware of Steele’s political motivations before submitting any FISA application.”

They specifically want to know when the State Department shared these details with the FBI. An email from the official, Kathleen Kavalec, was sent on Oct. 13, 2016, though the recipient’s identity is completely redacted, as is an attachment.

The notes, as published by The Hill and posted by Citizens United, also point to the involvement of opposition research firm Fusion GPS, noting that firm co-founder Glenn Simpson and colleague Peter Fritch recommended Steele’s group for the job.

The dossier was eventually published by BuzzFeed News in 2017 and is filled with salacious and unverified claims about alleged dirt the Russians had over Trump. It is believed to have formed a significant part of the FBI’s application for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant against Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

Since the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report, which did not find evidence of many of the claims within the dossier, fresh scrutiny has returned to the dossier and the role it played in the Page warrant application.

INSPECTOR GENERAL PROBING ROLE OF TRUMP DOSSIER IN SECURING SURVEILLANCE WARRANT FOR AIDE

Republicans have pointed to Steele’s political motivations, as well as the funding of the dossier by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Hillary Clinton campaign, as proof that the origins of the probe were political as well.

“This important information further demonstrates the bias of the primary source of material that was the basis for the Carter Page FISA warrant,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., wrote.

The notes also said that Steele indicated he had been in communication with reporters, which Johnson and Grassley say contradicts the FISA warrant application, “where the FBI repeatedly represented to the court that Steele did not have unauthorized contacts with the press prior to October 2016.”

The lawmakers want to know about the FBI’s communications with the State Department and what information was provided to it about the meetings — specifically when State provided the notes about the meeting to the FBI. Graham also requested that the State Department make the official who took the meeting with Steele, Kathleen Kavalec, available for a transcribed interview with the Judiciary Committee.

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The new revelations come as Horowitz is believed to be approaching the end of his investigation into the FBI and DOJ’s surveillance conduct in the 2016 election, and whether the agencies acted improperly. The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Horowitz’s team has questioned why the FBI considered Steele a credible source, and why the bureau seemed to use news reports to bolster his credibility.

President Trump has repeatedly called the Russia investigation a “witch hunt” while Attorney General William Barr told lawmakers last month that “spying did occur” during the campaign.

Fox News’ Jason Donner contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Former FBI counsel James Baker, speaking Friday at a rare public appearance, defended the FBI’s controversial surveillance of a former Trump aide during the 2016 campaign, as a closely watched inspector general investigation into that process nears its conclusion.

Baker was quizzed at a forum organized by Brookings Institution about the FBI’s application for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant against Trump aide Carter Page in 2016 and the use of an unverified anti-Trump dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele in the application for the warrant.

INSPECTOR GENERAL PROBING ROLE OF TRUMP DOSSIER IN SECURING SURVEILLANCE WARRANT FOR TRUMP CAMPAIGN AIDE

Republicans have alleged that the dossier was a central source for the warrant and that agents did not properly disclose the dossier was funded by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. Baker was asked Friday why the reference to where the dossier originated came in a footnote rather than in “big red magic marker.”

“Nobody is going to miss a page-long footnote in regular type, OK?” Baker responded. “These are federal judges for goodness’ sake, they know how to evaluate wiretap applications.”

“[The information] was consistent with the type of information and the way we would phrase things to basically, effectively be the red light on top of a document like ‘hey court pay attention to this, there are issues here, we think you need to know about these things,’” he said.

His remarks come as IG Michael Horowitz enters what is thought to be the final phases of his review into alleged surveillance abuses during the 2016 campaign. A source familiar with the matter confirmed to Fox News this week that Horowitz is focusing on how the dossier was used to secure the original warrant on Page, as well as three renewals.

With Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report now out in the open, attention has returned to the salacious and unverified anti-Trump dossier authored by Steele — especially since its more sensational claims were not substantiated by Mueller’s team.

PRESIDENT TRUMP ON BEING INVESTIGATED, FIRING JAMES COMEY, AND THE 2020 PRESIDENTIAL RACE

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that Horowitz is close to concluding his inquiry into the genesis of the Russia probe. The report said Horowitz’s team has questioned why the FBI considered Steele a credible source, and why the bureau seemed to use news reports to bolster Steele’s credibility.

It was revealed in January that Baker was under federal investigation for allegedly leaking to the media, an investigation believed to have been opened during the Obama administration and not in the course of the Russia investigation.

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Asked if he was nervous about Horowitz’s investigation, Baker said “I’m always nervous about the IG I guess” but said he has had a good relationship with the IG’s office for decades and has confidence in the decisions he made and welcomed the accountability.

“I’m confident in the judgments I made at the time based on the information I have available to me,” he said.

Fox News’ Catherine Herridge and Alex Pappas contributed to this report.

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President Trump on Friday debuted a new nickname for 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden — calling the former vice president “SleepyCreepy Joe.”

“Looks to me like it’s going to be SleepyCreepy Joe over Crazy Bernie [Sanders],” Trump tweeted. “Everyone else is fading fast!”

BIDEN LABELS TRUMP ‘A CLOWN’ DURING CAMPAIGN STOP IN SOUTH CAROLINE

Trump’s prior moniker for Biden was “Sleepy Joe,” but Trump has turned up the heat on the former veep as he dominates the polls in the race for the 2020 Democratic nomination. The new nickname appears to refer to accusations of inappropriate touching that dogged Biden before his campaign launch. Trump last month tweeted out a meme mock video of Biden touching, sniffing and groping himself.

“WELCOME BACK JOE!” he tweeted.

Trump regularly assigns nicknames to his political opponents, sometimes with devastating effectiveness. Republican primary rival Jeb Bush struggled to escape the shadow of “low-energy Jeb,” while Trump’s decision to brand election rival Hillary Clinton as “Crooked Hillary” zeroed in on the 2016 Democratic nominee’s difficulties shaking off her email scandal and other controversies.

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Biden was asked last week in South Carolina if he had a nickname for Trump, and said: “You can just start with clown.”

Trump’s focus on Biden comes as the former vice president continues to build on a strong lead since announcing his long-awaited run last month.

A new Monmouth University poll in the vital primary state of New Hampshire shows Biden with 36 percent support among registered Democrats, with Bernie Sanders trailing him at 18 percent. All other candidates are in single digits.

Source: Fox News Politics

President Trump’s U.S. envoy for international negotiations, Jason Greenblatt, made a surprise visit to the United Nations on Thursday, as members of the U.N. Security Council held an informal meeting to condemn Israeli settlements — a meeting that Greenblatt called “baffling and disappointing.”

Security Council members Indonesia, South Africa and Kuwait organized the meeting and invited Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki and other critics of Israel to speak.

Maliki praised Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas for his work as a peacemaker and condemned Israel, saying that it no longer hides behind its “true colonial nature of its occupation and its intention to annex Palestinian land.” Maliki said that Israel’s colonialism was a violation of the U.N. Charter.

Indonesia, presiding over the Security Council for this month, sent Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi to chair the meeting.

White House adviser on Israel Jason Greenblatt, seen here in March 2019, blasted "the obvious, continual anti-Israel bias at the U.N." (Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

White House adviser on Israel Jason Greenblatt, seen here in March 2019, blasted “the obvious, continual anti-Israel bias at the U.N.” (Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

She said the issue of settlements deserved the council’s full attention and said that “the international community needs to ensure accountability and respect of international law of the occupying power (Israel).” She also called for more public pressure from the world community to end settlement construction.

One way of doing that, she said, was to have an international day of solidarity for what she said were the victims of illegal settlements.

The meeting is the latest broadside at Israel from the U.N., where Israeli actions are regularly the focus of condemnation — leading to claims from the U.S. and Israel that the world body is fundamentally biased against the Middle East democracy.

Greenblatt said it was “baffling and disappointing to see the obvious, continual anti-Israel bias at the U.N.”

He drew attention to the U.S. effort to get the U.N. General Assembly to condemn Hamas rocket attacks in December — an effort that ultimately failed in the assembly hall. The U.S. has noted repeatedly that Israel has been condemned repeatedly, yet Palestinian terror group Hamas has not been condemned by name.

“It is truly shameful that in these halls there have been nearly 700 resolutions condemning actions of Israel, the region’s only real democracy, yet not one condemning Hamas’ attacks on Israelis or its abuse and neglect of the very people it claims to represent,” he said.

Greenblatt criticized the decision not to invite Israel to the meeting, calling it “surprising and unfair” and called on U.N. members to make a real effort to bring peace to the region. The Trump administration is expected to reveal its plan for peace in the Middle East this year.

ISRAEL MARKS INDEPENDENCE DAY WITH SOMBER CEREMONY

“We hope to present our vision soon,” Greenblatt said. “In the meantime, we will continue to speak the truth, even where it is not welcome.”

Greenblatt took aim at the notion that settlements are to blame for a lack of a peace deal: “Let’s stop pretending that settlements are what is keeping the sides from a negotiated peaceful solution.  This farce and obsessive focus on one aspect of this complicated conflict helps no one.”

In maybe a clue to what might come out of the peace deal he is working on Greenblatt said that he had heard the same points being made for many years at today’s gathering, and that, “the sad truth is that saying the same things, repeating the same tired talking points, but not identifying a realistic way forward, has not and will not lead to peace – Ever!”

Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon, in a statement to Fox News, said member states should call out the Palestinian Authority’s “culture of terrorism and incitement.”

“The Palestinian leadership repeats the same lies against Israel while it continues to pay salaries to terrorists. This policy has only led to more U.N. discussions, but not to a future for its people,” he said. “The international community must renounce the PA’s culture of terrorism and incitement, and not condone this policy.”

The Trump administration has pulled the U.S. out of the U.N. Human Rights Council, citing political bias, and has cut its funding to the U.N. Palestinian refugee agency. It also withdrew, along with Israel, from the U.N. Social and Cultural Body (UNESCO). This more combative approach by the U.S. has been praised by Israeli Settler groups, who called the Thursday afternoon meeting “pernicious.”

“Thankfully the Trump administration has already recognized this pernicious effort to really delegitimize Israel by erasing Jewish history and has left UNESCO, and has left the Human Rights Council,” Yishai Fleisher, spokesperson for the Jewish Community of Hebron, told Fox News. “What they are really trying to do is not to come to any peace accords, but to delegitimize the Jewish people in the land of Israel.”

Former Ambassador Nikki Haley spent a significant part of her tenure at Turtle Bay pushing back against alleged anti-Israel bias, and in her final speech to the U.N. Security Council described the U.N. as “hopelessly biased.”

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“This U.N. obsession [with Israel] has been entirely unproductive. It’s actually worse than that. The U.N.’s obsession with this issue has been counterproductive.”

“It has sent a loud and false message to the Palestinians that they might be able to achieve their goals by relying on the U.N., rather than through direct negotiations. And it has sent a loud and accurate message to the Israelis that they can never trust the U.N.” she said.

Source: Fox News Politics

President Trump on Thursday accused former Secretary of State John Kerry of breaking the law by meeting with Iranian officials last year — and went so far as to say he should be prosecuted under the Logan Act.

“You know John Kerry speaks to them a lot, and John Kerry tells them not to call. That’s a violation of the Logan Act, and frankly he should be prosecuted on that,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

TRUMP AND KERRY TRADE BARBS OVER EX-SECRETARY OF STATE’S MEETINGS WITH IRANIAN REGIME

“But my people don’t want to do anything, only the Democrats do that kind of stuff. If it were the opposite way, they’d prosecute him under the Logan Act,” he said.

Trump appears to be partially referring to a reported meeting between Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif at the beginning of 2018, part of what the Boston Globe called “an aggressive yet stealthy” mission to put pressure on the Trump administration to keep the Iran nuclear deal.

Such a push was unsuccessful as Trump would announce the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) just a few months later.

But Trump has repeatedly accused Kerry of being in violation of the Logan Act, which prohibits private citizens from negotiating on behalf of the U.S. government without authorization. No one has ever been successfully prosecuted under the law, however.

In September, Kerry acknowledged meeting with Zarif “three or four times” since leaving office, admitting to discussing the scrapped nuclear deal, among other issues.

CLINTON SLAMS TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S ‘MAXIMUM PRESSURE’ CAMPAIGN 

“What I have done is tried to elicit from him what Iran might be willing to do in order to change the dynamic in the Middle East for the better,” Kerry said on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show.

On Thursday, Trump indicated he believes the contact between Kerry and Tehran to be ongoing, accusing Kerry of having “many meetings and many phone calls and he’s telling them what to do — that is a total violation of the Logan Act.”

A spokesman for Kerry pushed back on Trump’s remarks, calling them “simply wrong, end of story.”

“He’s wrong about the facts, wrong about the law, and sadly he’s been wrong about how to use diplomacy to keep America safe. Secretary Kerry helped negotiate a nuclear agreement that worked to solve an intractable problem,” the spokesman said.

“The world supported it then and supports it still. We’d hope the President would focus on solving foreign policy problems for America instead of attacking his predecessors for theater.”

Trump’s remarks came as the administration imposed sanctions on Tehran’s steel, aluminum, copper and iron sectors this week, the latest pressure the administration is putting on Iran’s already fragile economy.

Iran, meanwhile, announced that it will keep excess uranium instead of selling it as required by the nuclear deal. It also issued an ultimatum to Europe that it will enrich its stockpile in 60 days unless new terms to the deal are negotiated.

Fox Business Network’s Blake Burman and Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., tore into House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., Thursday, questioning his ability to “handle the gavel” — a day after Democrats voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress.

“If you listen to it, the question continues to be raised that Nadler can’t even handle the gavel,” McCarthy told reporters. “Not only how he dealt with the last committee hearing, it comes into doubt regardless of what the issue is, whether he’s capable of being chairman.”

NADLER ONCE CALLED HOLDER CONTEMPT VOTE ‘SHAMEFUL,’ NOW LEADS CHARGE AGAINST BARR

McCarthy’s comments come a day after Nadler led the charge to hold Barr in contempt for not giving lawmakers the full, unredacted Mueller report and the underlying evidence. Nadler branded the fight a “constitutional crisis.”

The Trump administration dismissed Nadler’s actions as “inappropriate political theatrics” and Trump responded to the push by asserting executive privilege in a bid to keep the files from being released.

“Faced with Chairman Nadler’s blatant abuse of power, and at the Attorney General’s request, the President has no other option than to make a protective assertion of executive privilege,” press secretary Sarah Sanders said Wednesday.

Barr had refused to appear for a scheduled hearing before the committee last week after Democrats demanded that staff question him instead of lawmakers. Nadler said the use of executive privilege was a sign that the administration does not respect congressional oversight.

“By invoking executive privilege on all of our materials that are subject to subpoena, the process has come to a screeching halt,” Nadler said. “The administration has announced loud and clear that it does not recognize Congress as a co-equal branch of government with independent constitutional oversight authority and it will continue to wage its campaign of obstruction.”

TOP DEM CLAIMS MUELLER REPORT SHOWS RUSSIA ‘ARTIFICIALLY’ PLACED TRUMP IN WHITE HOUSE

Republicans on the committee were enraged by Nadler’s actions, calling it a push by Democrats unhappy at Mueller’s report.

“I think it’s all about trying to destroy Bill Barr because Democrats are nervous he’s going to get to the bottom of everything,” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said. “He’s going to find out how and why this investigation started in the first place.”

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On Thursday, McCarthy accused Nadler of wanting “impeachment without saying the word” and blasted “his lack of ability to handle even the most basic motions, from whether there’s a quorum, whether it’s a privileged motion or not, his lack of knowledge of that.”

“He has a plan of what he wants to do to the president, and he doesn’t even have the ability of knowledge to make it work,” he said.

He also hit Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee for issuing a subpoena to Donald Trump Jr., in regards to Trump Jr.’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2017.

“I believe Donald Trump Jr. has already testified for hours, more than 20 hours. I believe it’s time to move on,” McCarthy said. “I think they have it wrong.”

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House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., led the charge Wednesday to hold Attorney General Bill Barr in contempt of Congress for not handing over documents related to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe — declaring the move necessary as the country enters a “constitutional crisis.”

But Nadler took a very different stance on contempt back in 2012, when House Republicans took the same step against then-AG Eric Holder for refusing to hand over documents related to the Fast and Furious gun-running scandal, where DOJ officials tracked thousands of guns smuggled across the border but did nothing to stop them.

HOUSE PANEL VOTES TO HOLD BARR IN CONTEMPT, AS TRUMP ASSERTS EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE OVER MUELLER FILES 

“Just joined the #walkout of the House chamber to protest the shameful, politically-motivated GOP vote holding AG [Eric] Holder in contempt,” Nadler tweeted in 2012.

He joined more than 100 Democrats in walking out over the vote to hold the Obama-era DOJ leader in contempt.

Then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., argued House Republicans were more politically motivated in attacking Holder than driven to get to the bottom of the failed operation.

“What is happening here is shameful,” said Pelosi.

After the contempt vote on Wednesday, conservatives pointed to the vintage Nadler tweet as an example of a double standard.

“Ahhh the irony. Political hacks gonna hack,” Donald Trump Jr. tweeted.

“Nadler now says the White House ‘stonewalling’ Congress represents an attack on ‘the essence of our democracy’ – as though stonewalling were some new phenomena,” former Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said in an op-ed for Fox News. “Where was Nadler’s righteous indignation when the stonewalling came from a Democratic White House?”

JASON CHAFFETZ: NADLER CRIES ‘CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS’ BUT LET’S LOOK AT WHAT DEMS SAID ABOUT FAST AND FURIOUS

Nadler’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News.

Nadler was also accused of hypocrisy last month by GOP critics for his subpoena of the unredacted Mueller report, with critics pointing to video from the Clinton days showing him urging caution regarding the release of details from then-Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr’s report.

“But now a different political landscape compels the chairman to adopt new standards of fairness, ignore existing law and demand the material he once considered ‘unfair to release,’” Committee Ranking Member Doug Collins, R-Ga., said.

Nadler maintained he has been consistent in both cases — calling in 1998 and the present day for the committee to first review the documents, acknowledging in both cases concerns about the release of grand jury materials to the general public.

Democrats aren’t the only ones switching sides on contempt. Republicans who voted for Holder to be held in contempt in 2012 dismissed the vote this week as the Democrats’ latest effort to drag out the Russia controversy in the wake of the Mueller report.

But Republicans argue that the fight over the Fast and the Furious scandal was more substantive.

“The fight with Barr is a political stunt,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said this week. “Real oversight was when House sought documents about #FastandFurious an Eric Holder program that allowed guns to reach drug cartels in Mexico.”

Chaffetz said the Congress should hold fast to its subpoena power, “but they need a winning case (Barr wins this case easily), and a principled backbone of consistency.”

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“America should not mistake this charade by the Democrats for a principled stand,” he wrote. “Not when the principles shift with the political fortunes of the Democratic Party.”

The fight over documents in the 2012 controversy seemed to resolve only this week when a settlement was reached between the House and DOJ. According to Politico, both sides said they maintained their disagreements but were dropping their appeals and the underlying lawsuit.

Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

The United Nations has elected several countries with poor women’s rights records to boards charged with promoting those rights — leading one critic to compare the decision to “asking the fox to guard the chickens.”

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Lebanon, Nigeria and Sierra Leone were among those elected by the U.N.’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to the Executive Board of the U.N. Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (U.N. Women), while Somalia was among those elected to the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women.

ECONOMIST, PROMINENT UN FIGURE BLAMES AMERICAN SANCTIONS FOR THOUSANDS OF DEATHS IN VENEZUELA

The Executive Board governs U.N. Women’s operational activities, approves its programs and activities, and decides the budgets and financial plans of the body. The Commission on the Status of Women, meanwhile, is tasked with “the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women,” according to its website.

“The CSW is instrumental in promoting women’s rights, documenting the reality of women’s lives throughout the world, and shaping global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women,” the website says.

While numerous other countries such as Germany and New Zealand were also elected to terms on these panels, the presence of nations with poor women’s rights records is likely to raise questions.

The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report placed Congo at 144th out of 147 countries it monitored. Lebanon was 140th, Nigeria was 133rd and Sierra Leone was 114th.

The elections are the latest example of countries with questionable records being elected to U.N. bodies charged with protecting rights. (iStock)

The elections are the latest example of countries with questionable records being elected to U.N. bodies charged with protecting rights. (iStock)

“The election to U.N. women’s rights bodies of countries such as Somalia, where female genital mutilation is widespread, or the Democratic Republic of Congo, which many consider the rape capital of the world, is a betrayal of the UN’s founding principles,” Hillel Neuer, executive director of U.N. Watch, an independent monitoring group based in Switzerland, told Fox News.

“By placing regimes that are complicit with some of the worst crimes committed against women to global leadership posts on women’s equality, the U.N. is saying that they don’t really care about the rights of women,” he said. “This just sends absolutely the wrong message.”

A U.N. Women official stressed to Fox News that elections are a member states-led process with member states being elected by their peers, and that therefore the body does not comment on the countries elected to the board and commission.

“U.N. Women welcomes in inter-governmental fora all countries that are interested in discussing and promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women,” the official said. “The U.N. Women Executive Board and the CSW are Member State fora where all countries have the right to contribute to a constructive discussion on gender equality.”

The U.N. Women’s website itself gives some damning summaries of those countries that have been elected. It notes that “the women of Somalia bear an unequal brunt of the hardships occasioned by poverty, conflict and clan-based culture which promotes strict male hierarchy and authority.”

“Somalia has extremely high rates of maternal mortality, rape, cases of female genital mutilation, violence against women and child marriage,” the U.N. Women’s website says. “Women’s access to justice is restricted both within the formal, clan based and sharia-based judicial systems. Women face limited access to economic resources and assets. This is compounded by women’s low participation in politics and decision making spheres.”

“Violence against women and girls remains high in Somalia with displaced women and girls targeted. Somalia also has a history of violent attacks on women leaders, women who speak out against gender-based violence and the men and women who defend them,” it says.

ISRAEL’S UN AMBASSADOR GIVES THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL A HISTORY LESSON ON THE BIBLE

U.N. Women reports that in the DRC, up to 52 percent of women are survivors of domestic violence, and that women have little access to decent jobs, less access to education and lower rates of literacy.

Lebanon, meanwhile, is praised for recent strides in women empowerment and for having “one of the most vibrant feminist movements in the Arab region” but the report notes a number of “legal, institutional and social hurdles to women’s full enjoyment of their rights remain in place” and the labor force participation rate for women is just 22 percent, compared with 72 percent for men.

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“Countries that show contempt to the founding purposes of UN women’s rights bodies should never have been elected as their leaders,” Neuer said. “It’s asking the fox to guard the chickens.”

The elections are the latest example of countries with questionable records being elected to U.N. bodies charged with protecting rights. The Human Rights Council, from which the U.S. withdrew last year, currently includes Cuba, China, DRC, Eritrea and Saudi Arabia among its members.

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A top Democratic lawmaker claimed Wednesday that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report shows Moscow “artificially” placed President Trump in the White House — despite the report finding no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion.

The statement came amid a fiery session of the House Judiciary Committee where lawmakers weighed holding Attorney General Bill Barr in contempt for defying a subpoena for the full Mueller report.

“Seventeen different intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia interfered with our election, attacked our democracy for the sole purpose of artificially placing someone at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,” Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., the House Democratic Caucus chairman, said. “They were successful, and that’s also what the Mueller report shows.”

FBI OPENED OBSTRUCTION CASE AGAINST TRUMP BEFORE MUELLER WAS APPOINTED, COURT FILES SHOW

“This is not a politically inspired witch hunt,” he added.

Republicans at the session, meanwhile, expressed their anger at what they described as a politically motivated push by Democrats unhappy at the conclusions of Mueller’s report and worried about efforts to probe the origins of the Russia investigation itself.

“I think it’s all about trying to destroy Bill Barr because Democrats are nervous he’s going to get to the bottom of everything,” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said. “He’s going to find out how and why this investigation started in the first place.”

TRUMP ASSERTS EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE TO BLOCK RELEASE OF UNREDACTED MUELLER REPORT

Mueller’s investigation did not find evidence of collusion between Trump campaign associates and the Russian government, though it detailed “links” between the two.

“[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities,” the special counsel report stated.

“While the investigation identified numerous links between individuals with ties to the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump Campaign, the evidence was not sufficient to support criminal charges. Among other things, the evidence was not sufficient to charge any Campaign official as an unregistered agent of the Russian government or other Russian principal,” the report said.

The probe did not come to a conclusion on the separate question of whether Trump obstructed justice.

But Democrats have pointed to numerous instances Mueller identified of possible obstruction, as well as contacts between members of the Trump campaign and Russians, as cause for future investigations — with a number of House Democrats and 2020 presidential hopefuls calling for impeachment hearings.

House Judiciary Democrats have subpoenaed the full unredacted report, as well as the underlying evidence Mueller used to come to his conclusions.

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But the DOJ has rebuffed those demands. The White House announced on Wednesday that President Trump has asserted executive privilege over those documents.

“Faced with Chairman Nadler’s blatant abuse of power, and at the Attorney General’s request, the President has no other option than to make a protective assertion of executive privilege,”  press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement on Wednesday.

Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

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A top economist who has worked for years with the United Nations is claiming that U.S. sanctions are responsible for more than 40,000 deaths in Venezuela and that such actions are illegal under international and U.S. law — his latest attack on the Trump administration in recent weeks.

Jeffrey Sachs, an economist at Columbia University and a Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) advocate for U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, co-authored the report, “Economic Sanctions as Collective Punishment: The Case of Venezuela,” which criticizes sanctions the U.S. has imposed since 2017.

TRUMP ANNOUNCES US WITHDRAWAL FROM UN ARMS TREATY

“We find that the sanctions have inflicted, and increasingly inflict, very serious harm to human life and health, including an estimated more than 40,000 deaths from 2017-2018; and that these sanctions would fit the definition of collective punishment of the civilian population as described in both the Geneva and Hague international conventions, to which the US is a signatory,” the report, published by the Centre for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) says.

“They are also illegal under international law and treaties which the US has signed, and would appear to violate US law as well,” it says. Sachs co-authored the report with CEPR’s Mark Weisbrot.

Venezuela has been gripped by turmoil and economic crisis for years under the socialist dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro, which has escalated recently as opposition leader and U.S.-recognized President of Venezuela Juan Guaido has attempted to oust Maduro out of office.

The report is the latest barb by left-leaning analysts and politicians to place at least partial blame for the crisis on the U.S. and points to August 2017 financial sanctions that bars the government from borrowing in U.S. financial markets. It also criticizes January 2019 sanctions that targeted Venezuelan oil exports.

Jeffrey Sachs gives a discussion on climate change and surviving Trump during the Starmus Festival on June 21, 2017 in Trondheim, Norway. (Getty Images)

Jeffrey Sachs gives a discussion on climate change and surviving Trump during the Starmus Festival on June 21, 2017 in Trondheim, Norway. (Getty Images)

The report alleges that the sanctions have exacerbated power outages and deprived the Venezuelan economy of billions needed to pay for “essential and live-saving imports”

“The sanctions implemented in 2019, including the recognition of a parallel government, accelerated this deprivation and also cut off Venezuela from most of the international payments system, thus ending much of the country’s access to these essential imports including medicine and food — even those that could normally be bought with available dollars,” the report says. “There is no doubt that all of these sanctions since August 2017 have had severe impacts on human life and health.”

The report also claims “an economic recovery could have already begun in the absence of economic sanctions.”

In an interview with Democracy Now!, Sachs said the U.S. was “deliberately creating massive, massive suffering” and said it was “a catastrophe largely created by the U.S.”

It is the latest fiery broadside by Sachs against the Trump administration. Last month, he called for Congress to launch impeachment proceedings against Trump after Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report.

PENCE SAYS VENEZUELA AMBASSADOR ‘SHOULDN’T BE HERE’ WHILE ADDRESSING UN SECURITY COUNCIL

“Trump recklessly welcomed Russian interference in the 2016 election for political gain while he was pursuing personal business interests in Russia, and those actions, together with his brazen attempts to obstruct Mueller’s investigation, surely constitute high crimes and misdemeanors justifying the launch of impeachment hearings,” he wrote in a CNN op-ed.

Sachs has worked with the U.N. for years in a number of roles, having served as a special adviser to multiple secretaries-general including Guterres from 2001 until last year. In addition to his role as an SDG advocate for Guterres, he is also a director of the U.N. Sustainable Development Solutions Network and a commissioner of the U.N. Broadband Commission for Development, none of which are paid roles.

“The views expressed by Mr. Sachs on United States policy are his own and are expressed in his personal capacity,” Guterres spokesman Stephane Dujarric told Fox News in an email. “They do not reflect the opinion of the Secretary-General or the United Nations.”

While Sachs has built a reputation as one of the world’s most well-known economists, he’s also emerged as a prominent critic of President Trump. In 2017, when he was a special adviser, he wrote a column called “Donald Trump’s Climate Fantasies” in which he told readers to pity the president.

“In less than 100 days, we have learned that Trump is a man living in a fantasy world. He issues decrees, barks orders, sends out midnight Tweets, but to no avail. The facts – real ones, not his ‘alternative’ variety – keep intervening,” Sachs wrote.

Also in 2017, he wrote a column for The Boston Globe accusing Trump of “mining that deep vein of fear and hate” with his travel ban affecting certain Muslim-majority countries. He also has called Trump the “quintessential short-run populist” and a “non-stop font of lies.”

Sachs, while holding a plethora of roles at Turtle Bay, has with his commennts risked exacerbating already-frayed relations between the Trump administration and the U.N.

Since the U.N.-skeptical Trump took office, the U.S. has pulled out of the U.N. Human Rights Council, the U.N.’s Social and Cultural Commission (UNESCO) and cut funding to the U.N. Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA.)

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Last month Trump announced that he is withdrawing the U.S. signature from the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty, in response to concerns from gun rights activists that it could impinge on Americans’ right to bear arms.

“By taking these actions, we are reaffirming that American liberty is sacred and that American citizens live by American laws not by laws of foreign countries,” he said.

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FBI Director Christopher Wray, testifying to Congress Tuesday, said that he would not describe the bureau’s traditional surveillance as “spying” — indicating a possible split with Attorney General William Barr on his controversial use of the term to describe intelligence-gathering during the Russia probe.

“That’s not the term I would use,” Wray told lawmakers on the Senate Appropriations Committee when asked if FBI agents engage in “spying” when they follow FBI policies and procedures. “Lots of people have different colloquial phrases. I believe that the FBI is engaged in investigative activity, and part of investigative activity includes surveillance activity of different shapes and sizes, and to me the key question is making sure that it’s done by the book, consistent with our lawful authorities.”

CONTROVERSIAL STEELE DOSSIER BACK IN SPOTLIGHT AFTER MUELLER REPORT’S RELEASE

Both Barr and President Trump have alleged, in the wake of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report, that the bureau engaged in spying against Trump associates during the 2016 presidential campaign.

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

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

BARR HAMMERED FOR STATING ‘SPYING DID OCCUR,’ DESPITE CONFIRMATION OF TRUMP TEAM SURVEILLANCE

DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz is currently looking into the origins of the Russia probe and if any surveillance abuses occurred, but Barr’s remarks were widely criticized by Democrats, with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., accusing Barr of “peddling conspiracy theories.”

When asked about the controversy surrounding Barr’s remarks, a person familiar with his thinking denied last month that he was trying to fuel conspiracy theories or play to the conservative base.

“When he used the word spying, he means intelligence collecting,” the source told Fox News, also noting Barr’s history as a CIA analyst in the 1970s. “He wasn’t using it in a pejorative sense, he was using it in the classic sense.”

Wray on Tuesday, when asked directly by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., whether he believes the FBI spied on the 2016 Trump campaign, deferred to the ongoing investigation by Horowitz.

“I want to be careful about how I answer this question here because there is an ongoing inspector general investigation,” he said. “I have my own thoughts based on the limited information I’ve seen so far but I don’t think it would be right or appropriate to share those at this stage because I really do think it is important for everybody to respect the independent inspector general’s investigation, which I think this line of questioning starts to implicate, and I think it’s very important for everybody to be able to have full confidence in his review.”

He later said that “I don’t think I personally have any evidence” of illegal surveillance into the Trump campaign in the 2016 election, but he said that he has been in “close contact” with Barr about helping him get to bottom of how the Russia investigation began.

Barr testified last week that he’s working with Wray to try and “reconstruct” the origins of the probe.

Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

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Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams again claimed she won the state’s 2018 gubernatorial race on Friday, despite losing to now-Gov. Brian Kemp — telling supporters, “I’m not a good sport.”

“I’m here to tell you a secret that makes Breitbart and [Fox News host] Tucker Carlson go crazy: We won,” Abrams said, according to The Houston Chronicle. “I am not delusional. I know I am not the governor of Georgia — possibly yet.”

DEMOCRATS ABRAMS, GILLUM QUESTION OUTCOMES OF 2018 GUBERNATORIAL RACES

She made the remarks an a Houston fundraiser hosted by Annie’s List, a group that seeks to elect progressive women into office. Abrams justified her refusal to accept the result of the election by calling Kemp “an architect of voter suppression that spent the last eight years knitting together a system of voter suppression that is unparalleled in America.”

According to Texas Tribune reporter Patrick Svitek, she said in her remarks that “we don’t have to concede elections anymore, because when we concede, we are condoning systems that are used to oppress us.”

Abrams has considered both a Senate and presidential run and has been floated as a possible vice presidential candidate. She delivered the formal State of the Union response to President Trump in January.

STACEY ABRAMS WON’T RUN FOR SENATE IN 2020

She announced this week that she will not run for the Senate in 2020 and that she was “going to continue to watch how the national conversation around the presidency unfolds.”

Yet she has repeatedly questioned the outcome of the 2018 race and refused to concede, saying in March, “I did win my election. I just didn’t get to have the job.”

It is unclear if Democratic Party leadership will be put off by her refusal to accept the election result, less than four years after many Democrats expressed horror at then-candidate Donald Trump’s statements that he may not accept the results of the presidential election.

“I will look at it at the time,” Trump said in 2016 when asked in a presidential debate if he would accept the result of the election.

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“That’s horrifying,” then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton responded. “This is how Donald thinks, and it’s funny but it’s also really troubling. This is now how our democracy works.

Abrams on Friday, in video captured by The Texas Signal, indicated that any future run will not be preceded by a concession. She said that “usually candidates feel like they have to concede if they want to run for office again to show that they’re a good sport.”

“I am not a good sport,” she said to applause.

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Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., on Friday sent a letter to the Department of Justice’s inspector general demanding he investigates whether the White House had urged Attorney General William Barr to investigate President Trump’s political opponents.

“In response to my questions during the [Senate Judiciary] hearing, Attorney General Barr proved unable or unwilling to state whether he had been directed to open investigations at the request or suggestion of the President or other White House officials — an alarming response that strikes at the very heart of the rule of law and threatens to undermine the longstanding independence of the Justice Department,” she said in a letter to Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

KAMALA HARRIS TEARS INTO BARR AT SENATE HEARING, AS 2020 DEMS PILE ON AG

“I request that the Office of the Inspector General investigate whether the Attorney General has received or acted upon such improper requests,” she said.

The letter comes days after Harris questioned Barr Tuesday at the Senate hearing over details in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report that noted instances where Trump had either suggested or called for the Department of Justice to investigate Hillary Clinton.

Harris quizzed Barr whether Trump or anyone at the White House had asked him to investigate anyone — an exchange it detailed in its letter to Horowitz.

In that exchange, Harris asked: “Has the President or anyone at the White House ever asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone?”

COMEY DEFENDS FBI’S INVESTIGATION IN RESPONSE TO NYT ‘SPYING’ REPORT

“I’m trying to grapple with the word ‘suggest.’ I mean, there have been discussions of, of matters out there that, uh—they have not asked me to open an investigation,” Barr said.

When Harris asked if anyone had hinted, suggested or inferred, Barr said he didn’t know. Harris’ letter describes Barr as “unable or unwilling to answer the question.”

“There must be no doubt that the Department of Justice and its leadership stand apart from partisan politics, and resist improper attempts to use the power of federal law enforcement to settle personal scores,” she wrote.

The letter is the latest pushback from Democrats against Barr since the release of the Mueller report. In particular, they have zeroed in on Barr’s handling of the report’s release, alleging that he is biased toward the president in his presentation of the report in his initial four-page summary of its conclusions.

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Harris criticized Barr’s decision not to personally review the underlying evidence before concluding that there was not enough evidence to establish that the president had committed obstruction of justice. She joined a number of Democrats saying that Barr should resign.

“This Attorney General lacks all credibility and has I think compromised the American public’s ability to believe that he is a purveyor of justice,” she told reporters after the hearing.

Fox News’ Jason Donner and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

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President Trump on Saturday asked why “radical left wing media” like CNN and the New York Times are allowed to be on Twitter and Facebook due to their “so wrong” coverage of the Russia investigation — as he raised concerns about the banning of conservative figures from the social media platforms.

“When will the Radical Left Wing Media apologize to me for knowingly getting the Russia Collusion Delusion story so wrong? The real story is about to happen! Why is @nytimes, @washingtonpost, @CNN, @MSNBC allowed to be on Twitter & Facebook. Much of what they do is FAKE NEWS!”

TRUMP SLAMS CENSORSHIP ON SOCIAL MEDIA, GIVES SHOUTOUT TO JAMES WOODS: ‘WE’RE MONITORING CLOSELY!’

Trump comments came as he also retweeted messages critical of Facebook’s decision to ban a number of controversial conservative commentators including Milo Yiannopoulos, InfoWars’ Alex Jones and Paul Joseph Watson from Facebook and Instagram on Thursday. While those who were targeted were mostly right-wing commentators, it also banned Nation of Islam founder Louis Farrakhan.

“We’ve always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology. The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to our decision to remove these accounts today,” Facebook said in a statement to Fox News.

The banning has renewed concerns from many conservatives that right-wing voices are censored or discriminated against by the Silicon Valley platforms. On Saturday, Trump retweeted a number of tweets criticizing Facebook’s move, including one by Watson, who urged supporters to “keep up the pressure” on the company.

On Friday, Trump said he was “surprised” at Twitter’s decision to lock the account of actor James Woods and that Fox Nation hosts Diamond & Silk had been treated “horribly” by Facebook.

“It’s getting worse and worse for Conservatives on social media!” he declared. He also suggested he could use his office to push back against the actions of the tech behemoths.

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“I am continuing to monitor the censorship of AMERICAN CITIZENS on social media platforms,” he said. “This is the United States of America — and we have what’s known as FREEDOM OF SPEECH! We are monitoring and watching, closely!!”

Fox News’ Christopher Carbone contributed to this report.

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A federal court on Friday found Ohio’s congressional map unconstitutional, ordering that a new map be proposed by June ahead of the 2020 elections — and blocking the state from holding another election under the current map.

“Accordingly, we declare Ohio’s 2012 map an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander, enjoin its use in the 2020 election, and order the enactment of a constitutionally viable replacement,” the decision said.

SUPREME COURT WARILY WEIGHS PARTISAN GERRYMANDERING

The case was decided by a three-judge panel in Cincinnati, which ruled unanimously that district boundaries were manipulated by Republican mapmakers, and in a way that violates voters’ rights to choose their representatives democratically.

Voters rights and Democratic groups who sued Republican officials claimed that redistricting after the 2010 census yielded a map with an unbending 12-4 advantage for Republicans. Republicans countered that the map was drawn with bipartisan support and that a new map would be drawn after the 2020 census regardless. They also noted that the map resulted in each party losing a seat — the delegation was previously 13-5 for Republicans.

Calling it “one of the most egregious gerrymanders in recent history,” the suit used 19-term Rep. Marcy Kaptur, of Toledo, as a witness. Kaptur said her district was “hacked apart,” forcing her into a Democratic primary with veteran congressman Dennis Kucinich, of Cleveland, in 2012. She won the contest.

SUPREME COURT SIDES WITH TEXAS ON GERRYMANDERING DISPUTE

Any appeal on the ruling would likely to go directly to the Supreme Court, and the state may also ask that the current maps be allowed to be used while the appeal process continues.

This is the second time in recent days a federal court has struck down a redistricting map created by a GOP-controlled legislature. Last month, parts of Michigan’s map were also ordered redrawn by a three-judge panel in time for 2020 elections.

More than three-dozen states rely on the state legislature to directly redraw boundaries, now using sophisticated computer models that have the ability to target voters by their street or household. Other states such as California rely on an independent commission to create what supporters say would be less extreme districts.

The Supreme Court is currently deciding separate partisan gerrymandering claims from North Carolina (drawn by the GOP legislature) and Maryland (drawn to advantage the Democrats). Other legal challenges are playing out across the country, including in Virginia and Wisconsin.

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The justices are being asked to articulate a clear standard for when partisan gerrymandering becomes unconstitutional. This is something the court has tried and failed to do over the years. How the court decides such rulings, due by June, will affect how appeals from Michigan, Ohio and other states are being handled.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., the lead House sponsor of the sweeping “Medicare-for-all” health care plan, said this week that her proposed program would force about 1 million employees of private health insurance companies out of their jobs.

She made the remarks during a town hall at American University, while stressing her goal to try and help those “displaced” by a shift to a government-managed health care system.

“There are a lot of people who work in the private insurance industry,” Jayapal said. “We have thought carefully about how we’d take care of those folks because we think those people are very important.”

‘MEDICARE-FOR-ALL’ BATTLE KICKS OFF WITH TENSE AND EMOTIONAL HOUSE HEARING

In video taken by conservative group “America Rising,” she predicted “there’s about a million people we think will be displaced if ‘Medicare-for-all’ happens” and then outlined how her bill would “take care” of those people whose jobs are made redundant.

“We have set aside one percent a year of the total cost of the bill for five years to take care of a transition for employees in the private insurance sector,” Jayapal said. “If they are able to retire, that might be one, pension guarantees, job training so they can move into a different system.”

The bill, which was introduced in February by Jayapal and Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., was co-sponsored by more than 100 House Democrats. A number of 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls have given their support to similar “Medicare-for-all” plans — including Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who introduced a new version last month — though the proposal has seen skepticism from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

The displacement of private insurance workers would be inevitable under the kind of sweeping overhaul being proposed — as would the transfer of millions of patients off their current policies, an issue that has proved a thorny one on the campaign trail.

The text of Jayapal’s bill makes clear that private policies largely would be eliminated. One clause in the bill makes it “unlawful” for a private health insurer “to sell health insurance coverage that duplicates the benefits provided under this Act.” The text prohibits employers from doing the same.

The proposal took a step forward this week as the House Rules Committee held a hearing to look at the bill, with Republicans warning that the price tag could be as high as $32 trillion and describing the plan as a form of socialism.

“Medicare-for-All would require all Americans to pay more in taxes, wait longer for care and receive potentially worse care, even worse it would put our existing Medicare recipients at risk,” Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said

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But Democrats on the panel offered support and downplayed Republican predictions of chaos if the plan were implemented.

“People aren’t going to lose their health care with Medicare-for-all, you’d actually get to keep your doctors, and go to your hospitals that you currently have — the only difference is that you wouldn’t have to deal with insurance companies,” Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass., said.

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A top Iran resistance group is calling on European nations to shut down Tehran’s embassies in response to the regime’s alleged use of embassies to plot terror attacks against its political opponents across the continent — as the Trump administration ramps up sanctions against the Islamic republic.

“What we are calling for is closing the Iranian regime’s embassies,” National Council of Resistance of Iran Deputy Director Alireza Jafarzadeh told reporters at a news conference in Washington D.C. this week. “These diplomatic relations have allowed the regime to plot terrorist attacks and assassinations in the West.”

IRAN PLOTS TERROR ON EUROPEAN SOIL AS EU TRIES TO SHIELD REGIME FROM TRUMP SANCTIONS PUSH

The news conference was held to discuss the release of the group’s new book “Iran’s Emissaries of Terror,” which seeks to highlight Tehran’s use of embassies in plotting terror attacks against political opponents in the U.S. and Europe.

Iranian-backed plots have surged in recent years, particularly in 2018, where the NCRI logged 10 instances of terror plots or terror-related arrests against Iranian officials. The most significant was the foiled plot to bomb an annual gathering of Iranian dissident groups (under the umbrella of the NCRI) in Paris last year — an event that was attended by Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani. An Iranian diplomat based in Vienna was one of four arrested for the plot.

German prosecutors allege that Assadollah Assadi was a member of Iran’s intelligence agency (MOIS) tasked with targeting dissident groups inside and outside of Iran. He was charged with activity as a foreign agent and conspiracy to commit murder. The NCRI says that MOIS is a central organization in Tehran’s terror operations abroad and called Wednesday for the West to brand the group a foreign terrorist organization (FTO).

Meanwhile, Dutch authorities expelled two Iranian diplomats last July in connection with the murder of two Iranian dissidents in the country. In November, Denmark’s intelligence agency foiled an Iranian plot to kill an opposition activist, arresting a Norwegian of Iranian descent. The suspect, and the Iranian Foreign Ministry, denied involvement. The plots eventually led the European Union to impose sanctions on MOIS in January.

Dissidents told Fox News last year that there has also been considerable concern about the regime’s presence in Albania, where the Iranian embassy is alleged to be staffing up and has sent top intelligence operatives. Albania is significant because 2,000 Iranian dissidents belonging to People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MEK) were relocated from Iraq in 2016.

Former Albanian Prime Minister Pandeli Majko revealed to Fox News at the time that he has been told by U.S. officials he needs to increase his security after intelligence of a threat against him. A senior U.S. counterterrorism official told Fox News that Albanian authorities arrested two Iranian operatives on terror charges last year.

The NCRI also has pointed to arrests and alleged plots in Britain, Germany, Turkey and the U.S. — where two Iranians were arrested by the FBI in August on suspicion of gathering intelligence for MOIS — as signs of Iran’s increased terror movements in the West.

The increased presence by Iran in Europe has been noticed in Washington and has posed difficulties for European countries seeking to rally support for the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal after the U.S. withdrew from the deal last year.

CRACKS IN IRAN DEAL COALITION? EUROPEANS FUME OVER TEHRAN MISSILE TEST

The Trump administration has repeatedly pointed to that terror threat as it has ramped up pressure on Iran, escalating sanctions and last month branding Iran’s Revolutionary Guard an FTO. Last month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described a “concerted assassination effort” in Europe by the Iranians.

“This is an effort by the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran – the president, Rouhani, who’s the president of Iran, is permitting to take place, where they’re going to Europe and killing people on European soil. This is unacceptable in Western Europe,” he said.

But the NCRI says that while Iran’s terror movement has set off alarms bells in the U.S. and Europe, the response from European countries in particular has been “tepid.”

“Although several agents were arrested on terrorism and espionage-related charges in the U.S. and Europe in 2018, one top terrorist-diplomat is in prison, and five others, including an ambassador, were expelled, a multilateral Western approach to Tehran’s rogue behavior remains elusive,” the group says in its book.

Among its recommendations, the NCRI’s call for the State Department to designate MOIS an FTO and its calls for Europe to shut down Iran’s embassies are the most significant.

“Tehran’s terrorist diplomats should be brought to justice or expelled, and its embassies shut down. They have been and remain the nerve centers of espionage and terrorism and critical to Tehran’s terrorist operations abroad,” the book says.

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The NCRI’s message comes less than a month since President Trump branded the IRGC an FTO and Pompeo announced that the U.S. will no longer grant sanctions waivers to any country importing oil from Iran.

“We are going to zero,” he said at a press conference. “How long we remain there at zero depends solely on the Islamic Republic of Iran’s senior leaders.”

Last week National Security Adviser John Bolton said on “Fox News Sunday” that the Trump administration’s policy was having a significant effect.

“[The policy] is to put maximum pressure on the regime to change its behavior, and I think it’s working, and I think that’s what they’re worried about.”

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Justice Department officials chided congressional Democrats this week for ignoring a less-redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report made available to them, even as they pursue a subpoena for the full document and accused the department of stonewalling.

The DOJ released a statement hours after Attorney General William Barr had testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee for more than five hours, answering questions about the department’s handling of the report’s release last month. The statement said that Democrats, including House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., had refused to review a version of the report with fewer redactions already available.

BARR ACCUSES DEMS OF USING CRIMINAL JUSTICE PROCESS AS ‘POLITICAL WEAPON’ AS HEARING TENSIONS FLARE

“The Attorney General also voluntarily released the Special Counsel’s confidential report with minimal redactions to Congress and the public, made an even-less redacted report available to Chairman Nadler and congressional leadership (which they have refused to review), and made himself available to the Committee by volunteering to testify this week,” spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said.

Democrats had objected to Barr’s decision to transmit the report to Congress with redactions, and Nadler has subpoenaed the full report along with underlying materials. But Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd, in a letter to Nadler on Wednesday, said the less-redacted version available to key members “would permit review of 98.5 percent of the report, including 99.9 percent of Volume II, which discusses the investigation of the President’s actions.”

“Regrettably, before even reviewing the less-redacted version or awaiting the Attorney General’s testimony, you served a subpoena demanding (i) the unredacted report, (ii) every document cited therein, and (iii) “all documents obtained and investigative materials created” by the Special Counsel’s office over nearly two years,” he wrote. “You served such a subpoena knowing that the Department could not lawfully provide the unredacted report, that the Committee lacks any legitimate legislative purpose for seeking the complete investigative files, and that processing your requests would impose a significant burden on the Department.”

One GOP lawmaker said the key section on obstruction that Democrats have ignored contains just four redactions.

Nadler, though, explained Thursday — at a hearing that Barr was boycotting over the terms of the forum — that Democrats do not want to see that version because of restrictions placed on viewing it.

He said just a dozen members were allowed to look behind “some but not all” of the redactions, provided they agree not to discuss what they see with colleagues and leave notes behind at the DOJ.

“It is urgent that we see the documents we have subpoenaed, but I cannot agree to conditions that prevent me from discussing the full report with my colleagues that prevent the House from acting on the full report in any meaningful way.”

His counterpart, ranking member Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., fired back that Nadler could always view it and ask for more.

“The chairman won’t even go look at what the attorney general offered him,” he said.

NADLER SLAMS BARR’S DECISION TO SKIP HOUSE HEARING, THREATENS CONTEMPT CITATION

Politico reported Tuesday that only two lawmakers — Collins and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. — had viewed the less-redacted version, both of whom said that the changes have no bearing on Mueller’s conclusions. Democrats boycotted the less-redacted version, saying Barr should provide an unredacted version instead.

Collins, after viewing the report last month, said that the report’s look at the question of potential obstruction “includes only four redactions in total” and reinforces Mueller’s main conclusions that there was no evidence of collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign, and that there was insufficient evidence to bring an obstruction-of-justice charge against President Trump.

By Wednesday evening, however, the controversy had moved to Barr’s scheduled appearance at the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday. Nadler demanded that Barr, who was scheduled to testify to the committee Thursday, be questioned by committee staff instead of lawmakers — a request that led Barr to decline to show up

“Congress and the Executive branch are co-equal branches of government, and each have a constitutional obligation to respect and accommodate one another’s legitimate interests. Chairman Nadler’s insistence on having staff question the Attorney General, a Senate-confirmed Cabinet member, is inappropriate,” Kupec said.

That refusal led Democratic Caucus chairman Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., to promise that Democrats “plan on subpoenaing” Barr “if he decides not to show up.”

“He can run but he can’t hide,” Jeffries said.

Nadler, meanwhile, accused Barr of trying to “blackmail the committee into not following the most effective means of eliciting the information we need.”

“He is terrified of having to face a skilled attorney,” he said.

Although Barr has not yet been subpoenaed to testify, Nadler said contempt citations could be possible down the road not only if the full Mueller report is not released, but also if Barr does not comply with a possible future subpoena.

Fox News’ Jake Gibson and Gregg Re contributed to this report

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President Trump on Wednesday said he is overturning the military’s plan to decommission the U.S.S. Harry S. Truman, promising it will be updated “at the fraction of the cost of a new one” instead.

“I am overriding the Decommission Order of the magnificent aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman, built in 1998 (fairly new), and considered one of the largest and finest in the world,” the president tweeted. “It will be updated at a fraction of the cost of a new one (which also are being built)!”

US MILITARY STOPS RELEASING AFGHAN WAR INFORMATION

The Navy announced plans to scrap the aircraft carrier in February as part of a cost-saving move to bring in more advanced aircraft carriers. The Navy said that the move not to refuel the Truman (with a new nuclear reactor normally done at the mid-point of ship’s life after 25 years) and retire her early would save $30 billion.

Adm. John Richardson defended the move this week, saying that it was important to keep Navy technology moving.

“So, we’re trying to move, and that is exactly the decision dynamic with respect to what’s more relevant for the future,” the admiral said, according to The Washington Examiner. “Is it going to be the Harry S. Truman and its air wing where there’s a lot of innovation taking place, or is it something else?”

But lawmakers on both sides of the aisles opposed the decision, and Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday visited the Truman in Norfolk, Va., to announce Trump’s decision.

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“We are keeping the best carrier in the world in the fight. We are not retiring the Truman,” Pence announced to applause. “The U.S.S. Harry S. Truman is gonna be giving ‘em hell for many years to come.”

Last fall the Truman became the first American aircraft carrier to conduct flight operations above the Arctic Circle in nearly 30 years to send a message to the Russians, according to officials.

Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this report.

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President Trump on Wednesday went on a marathon retweeting spree, amplifying supporters in quick-fire succession who objected to a firefighters union endorsing 2020 Democratic hopeful Joe Biden.

The International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) endorsed Biden this week, just days after Biden announced his 2020 bid. It cited his past support, including for fair pay, overtime guaranteed pay and employee rights.

MEDIA THAT DISMISSED BIDEN NOW SEE HIM AS CLEAR FRONT-RUNNER

But when former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino, a Trump supporter and Fox News contributor, tweeted out that “NONE of the Firemen I know are supporting Joe Biden for President,” Trump retweeted a number of users backing that statement.

“Nope not me either. I’m not voting for crazy Joe. My support is behind @realDonaldTrump in 2020!” one user who caught Trump’s eye said.

“Just the union leadership supports Biden. Members support Trump. This applies to most unions,” another said.

Trump went on to eventually retweet more than 50 supporters within just a few minutes.

However, retweeting dozens of Twitter users is a risky game. One “supporter” who tweeted, “My husband a New York City firefighter for 15 years will be voting Trump 2020 all the way!!” changed their account’s name to “F— Donald Trump” after being retweeted by the White House — and changed their profile picture to a “Bernie [Sanders] 2020” logo.

In addition to the many retweets, Trump also weighed in on the endorsement himself.

“I’ve done more for Firefighters than this dues sucking union will ever do, and I get paid ZERO!” he said.

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Liberal Democrats’ ambitious plan to transfer Americans to a government-run “Medicare-for-all” system took a step forward Tuesday as the House held an emotional first hearing for the proposal — and Republicans vigorously pushed back, warning the program would offer inferior health care at tremendous cost.

The Rules Committee hearing was held to look at the 2019 Medicare-for-All Act, introduced by Reps. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., and Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., and co-sponsored by more than 100 House Democrats.

MEDICARE-FOR-ALL PROPOSAL IS ‘STUNNING,’ WILL END PRIVATE INSURANCE WITH FEDS TAKING OVER: GOP CONGRESSMAN

Presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have all endorsed some version of the proposal, bringing the plan from the party’s fringes into the Democratic mainstream as the 2020 election nears.

The hearing was an emotional one, particularly during the testimony of activist Ady Barkan, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2016 and testified about his struggles with the health care industry in getting coverage for treatment for his condition.

Supporters seated near him wiped tears from their eyes as he spoke of becoming increasingly paralyzed from the condition. He testified via a computer system that tracks his eye movement and converts text into speech.

“This health care system only works if you’re a pharmaceutical or health care industry executive who wants to maximize their own profit at the expense of people like me,” he said. “It is simply unconscionable that I should have to pay $9,000 a month for lifesaving medical care at a time when the insurance industry is raking in record profit.”

MCCONNELL VOWS TO BE ‘GRIM REAPER’ FOR MEDICARE FOR ALL IN THE SENATE

“That’s wrong and it needs to stop,” he said.

Despite warnings that most “Medicare-for-all” plans would largely abolish private insurance, Democrats downplayed the claim from opponents that it would have negative effects on Americans.

“People aren’t going to lose their health care with Medicare-for-all, you’d actually get to keep your doctors, and go to your hospitals that you currently have — the only difference is that you wouldn’t have to deal with insurance companies,” Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass., said.

But Republicans disagreed, arguing that it would lead to worse care and less choice.

“Medicare-for-All would require all Americans to pay more in taxes, wait longer for care and receive potentially worse care, even worse it would put our existing Medicare recipients at risk,” Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said

Republicans called on witnesses who warned that abolishing private health care for a government-run system would be costly (some estimates have put the cost as high as $32 trillion, though some of that would offset what Americans already spend on premiums and deductibles) and lead to less choice.

“It is hard to see how consumers would be more empowered when dealing with a single government payer in a country that values diversity,” Galen Institute’s Grace Marie-Turner testified. ”Will one massive program, with one list of benefits and one set of rules work for everyone?”

Republicans and allied groups have pushed back heavily on Medicare-for-all, suggesting it is the latest example of the Democratic Party lurching left and embracing socialist ideas.

MEDICARE CHIEF SAYS ‘MEDICARE-FOR-ALL’ IS ‘BIGGEST THREAT TO AMERICAN HEALTH CARE SYSTEM’

“This is just the latest evidence that Democrats in Congress are being rapidly consumed by socialism. ‘Medicare for All’ is socialism by any other name.  It’s a government takeover of private health insurance, which over 200 million Americans rely on, including 38 million small business employees. The financial cost, estimated at $33 trillion, would cripple our economy and probably throw us into recession,” Alfredo Ortiz, CEO of the Job Creators Network, said in a statement.

“Now is the time for reasonable Democrats to speak out and push back against ‘Medicare for All.’ Americans deserve a real healthcare debate, not just failed ideas and cheap slogans,” he said.

The hearing comes amid lukewarm support for the policy from Democratic leadership. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has been publicly skeptical about Medicare-for-all and Politico reported this month that one of her advisers, Wendell Primus, urged health care policy groups to raise their concerns about the plan.

Pelosi said in February that Medicare-for-all would not be “as good a benefit as the Affordable Care Act.”

“It doesn’t have catastrophic [coverage] — you have to go buy it. It doesn’t have dental. It’s not as good as the plans that you can buy under the Affordable Care Act. So I say to them, come in with your ideas, but understand that we’re either gonna have to improve Medicare — for all, including seniors — or else people are not gonna get what they think they’re gonna get,” she said in an interview with Rolling Stone. “And by the way, how’s it gonna be paid for?”

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The response has led to concerns from progressives that the hearing would amount to little more than”deliberation theater,” charging that Primus was involved in planning the hearing.

But congressional Democrats have strongly pushed back on those claims, saying only the Rules Committee — not the speaker’s office or anyone else in the Democratic Party leadership — has the final say over the proceedings, and that the hearing is designed to quickly but thoroughly consider the proposal.

Fox News’ Gregg Re contributed to this report.

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Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., in promoting his Green New Deal, warned Tuesday that President Trump’s Florida estate will be underwater within 15 years if the U.S. does not act to stop climate change.

“Within 15 years, Mar-a-Lago’s going to be underwater for over 100 days a year, it’s going to be Mar-a-Lagoon, not Mar-a-Lago,” Markey said in a discussion on the Green New Deal at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Markey, who has long focused on environmental issues, introduced a resolution on the Green New Deal in February along with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. While the legislation failed a Senate test vote last month, the Green New Deal has spread into the Democratic mainstream — and Markey’s resolution was co-signed by a number of top 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls.

Feb. 8: Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey speaks at The Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (Photo by Paul Marotta/Getty Images)

Feb. 8: Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey speaks at The Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (Photo by Paul Marotta/Getty Images)

That push for a Green New Deal has been accompanied by increasingly apocalyptic language from Democratic lawmakers, who have seized on a U.N. report that concluded significant actions must be taken by 2030 to reduce climate change.

2020 hopeful Beto O’Rourke, after he unveiled a climate change initiative that would cost $5 trillion over 10 years to reach zero carbon emissions by 2050, said Monday that society has 10 years to “make the kind of bold change that we need.”

Ocasio-Cortez put it more bluntly in January: “Millennials and people, you know, Gen Z and all these folks that will come after us are looking up and we’re like: ‘The world is gonna end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change and your biggest issue is how are we gonna pay for it?'”

Republicans, including in the White House, have been skeptical about climate change and have opposed Democrats’ government-focused ideas to combat the threat. But Markey on Tuesday declared the question was not up for debate.

“It’s no longer a debatable subject, regardless of how much money the Koch brothers throw at the phony science, no matter how much greenwashing the fossil fuel industry seeks to engage in,” he said. “That debate is over.”

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We’re more than 18 months out from Election Day, but liberal activist group MoveOn already is throwing its weight behind the four freshman congresswomen energizing the base with everything from the controversial Green New Deal to calls for President Trump’s impeachment.

The group handed out endorsements last week to Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., saying they had shown “true leadership on progressive, visionary policies.”

OCASIO-CORTEZ, OMAR FIRE BACK AFTER NRA OFFICIAL SAYS ‘REAL AMERICA’ WILL REJECT SOCIALIST POLICIES

The endorsement of all four of the freshman firebrands came two days after the group first formally endorsed Omar — saying that 77 percent of MoveOn members in her district voted to endorse her.

“We don’t usually send out announcements like these outside of the district where constituent MoveOn members voted to make the endorsement. But in this case, given the way that Rep. Omar’s leadership is playing out in a national context, and given the intensity of national attacks aimed at her, we wanted to share out our first 2020 endorsement with all MoveOn members,” the organization said in a statement.

PARTICIPANTS IN AOC’S FUN RUN DIDN’T KNOW THEY WERE DONATING TO HER CAMPAIGN

“During an era when moral clarity is of the utmost importance, we want to make it clear that Rep. Omar is definitely an important voice in Washington, D.C.—and in the country,” it said.

Omar and her colleagues have shot to the forefront of media attention with their fiery and controversial statements — Omar has faced pointed criticism for allegedly anti-Semitic comments — as well as their pushes for far-reaching policies such as the Green New Deal, “Medicare-for-all” and impeachment proceedings for Trump.

While only representing a fraction of the Democratic House majority, ideas such as Medicare-for-all and the Green New Deal have moved from the fringes of the party to the mainstream within months of the freshman lawmakers taking office.

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Ocasio-Cortez, along with Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., introduced a Green New Deal resolution last month, endorsed by almost all 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls. However, a test vote failed in the Senate with most Democrats voting “present.”

Tlaib this month introduced legislation to urging the launch of impeachment hearings against Trump — which was supported by her colleagues Omar and Ocasio-Cortez.

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Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., said this week that she does not support launching impeachment hearings against President Trump in the wake of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report — the latest wrinkle in left-wing Democrats’ plans to oust the president.

The Arizona Republic asked Sinema, who won a tight race in the traditionally Republican state in November, whether she supported impeachment proceedings.

SCHIFF HEDGES ON TRUMP IMPEACHMENT, SAYS INSTEAD, ‘VOTE HIS A– OUT OF OFFICE’

“No,” she responded. When asked why, she said: “Everyone knows.”

Sinema will receive a classified version of the report next week, and she said that she wants to “read all the information I can get before making a determination” on her views of Mueller’s findings.

While investigators effectively cleared the president and his associates on the question of collusion with the Russian government, it outlined a series of actions investigated as part of the obstruction-of-justice inquiry — although it did not make a determination on the question.

Democrats have demanded access to the full unredacted report and called on Mueller to testify, but some left-wing Democrats in the House and in the 2020 field have called for the House to begin impeachment proceedings.

“We cannot be an America that says it is OK for a president of the United States to try and block an investigation into a foreign attack on our country or an investigation into that president’s own misbehavior — so I have called on the House to initiate impeachment proceedings,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said in New Hampshire last week.

In justifying her call, she said that there are “three big toplines [from the Mueller report] that are inescapable.”

“A hostile foreign government attacked our 2016 election in order to help Donald Trump; Donald Trump welcomed that help; and when the federal government tried to investigate what happened, Donald Trump took multiple steps to try and derail or obstruct the investigations,” she said.

MUELLER REPORT IGNITES NEW DEM BATTLE OVER IMPEACHMENT

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., said Monday that she believes Congress “should take the steps toward impeachment,” although she noted the difficulties such a push would face getting through the Republican-controlled Senate.

In the House, the push has picked up the support from left-wing freshman Democrats. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., who said in January that she wanted to “impeach the motherf—-r,” has introduced a resolution urging the House Judiciary Committee to probe whether Trump committed impeachment-level offenses. That resolution has been signed onto by fellow freshman Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.

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But not only would impeachment be a tough sell to Republicans, it has been opposed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who said last month: “I’m not for impeachment.”

“Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country,” she told The Washington Post. “And he’s just not worth it.”

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A slew of top 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls will be in Las Vegas Saturday to pitch their working-class credentials to the top Service Employees International Union (SEIU) as they seek to distinguish themselves from a crowded field of candidates.

Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Kamala Harris, D-Calif., will be in attendance at the National Forum on Wages and Working People, along with former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro will be in attendance.

BIDEN TOPS SANDERS, O’ROURKE FOR LARGEST FUNDRAISING HAUL OUT OF THE GATE

The gathering has been arranged by both the SEIU and the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

The event gives candidates the chance to talk about kitchen table issues that could be key to a future Democratic nominee’s hopes of winning key swing states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin — where many working-class voters backed Trump in 2016.

The importance of that bloc of voters, in addition to the large field of candidates, means that unions could emerge as a significant influence on who gets the nomination.

“The clout of organized labor is going to be stronger than it has been in the recent past,” former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, told reporters on a conference call, according to Bloomberg News.

The SEIU has said that it is hoping for the nominee to commit to making it easier for workers to join a union and a federal $15 minimum wage. But so far the Democratic conversation has focused on liberal items such as Medicare-for-all, Green New Deal and more recently, whether criminals in prison should be given the right to vote.

IN LETTER TO AOC, BIG LABOR SAYS GREEN NEW DEAL COULD CAUSE ‘IMMEDIATE HARM’ TO UNION WORKERS

While some unions have expressed support for action on climate change, others have expressed skepticism about the Green New Deal in particular.

“We will not accept proposals that could cause immediate harm to millions of our members and their families. We will not stand by and allow threats to our members’ jobs and their families’ standard of living go unanswered,” the AFL-CIO Energy Committee wrote to Green New Deal sponsors Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. last month.

But candidates such as Klobuchar and Warren, in particular, have attempted to make their own blue-collar pitches. Klobuchar was in Vegas this month speaking to airline and rail workers at a union convention, while Warren joined Stop & Shop workers on a strike in New Hampshire. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., campaign, meanwhile, has allowed its staff to unionize.

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It is likely that former Vice President Joe Biden, who formally entered the race this week, will make blue-collar issues a cornerstone of his campaign — but he will not be in Vegas on Saturday. Earlier this month he made an appearance at a rally for striking grocery store workers in Boston, and expressed his solidarity with union members.

“Wall Street CEOs and bankers did not build America, you built America,” Biden told a crowd of United Food and Commercial Workers International Union gathered outside a Stop & Shop market in the Dorchester neighborhood.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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A senior adviser to former Vice President Joe Biden’s 2020 bid previously called him “overhyped” and said she “cringed” at a joke he made in reference to allegations he inappropriately touched women.

Symone Sanders, whose hiring was announced this week, told McClatchy in February that “the conversation about [Biden] being the front-runner is overhyped, frankly.”

JOE BIDEN’S SENIOR ADVISER IN 2016: ‘WE DON’T NEED WHITE PEOPLE LEADING THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY RIGHT NOW’

‘Anyone who is frontrunner a year out from Iowa, a year out from South Carolina, is a front-runner because of name identification,” she said, although she did call a Biden candidacy “formidable.”

Sanders, a prominent Democratic strategist and former Sen. Bernie Sanders campaign staffer, said on CNN in December that she questioned how much room Biden has to grow in popularity as a candidate.

“I think the thing that will be concerning, if I was someone advising Vice President Joe Biden, which, to be clear, I’m not, is that….his name recognition is that. People know the vice president. So the question is, how much room does he have to grow, if any?” she asked.

Biden came under fire this month when allegations of improper conduct with women emerged. Although he apologized and issued a video statement, he also made light of the situation when he joked that he “had permission to hug” a union president whom he embraced at an event.

“I cringed, much like, I’m sure, many people at the table today cringed,” Symone said about the joke on CNN earlier this month. “But look, I think that — I do believe the video was sincere, his comments after today were sincere, and he is publicly working through this. Voters are going to have to decide if this and the many other things that are deal breakers for them.”

Sanders later said she “didn’t think the joke was funny.”

WARREN BLASTS BIDEN’S ‘SWANKY PRIVATE FUNDRAISER’ WITH LOBBYISTS AFTER LAUNCH OF HIS WH BID

“I didn’t think it was funny because for lots of little girls and women watching, what they saw was is someone coming forward saying they don’t like something that someone did, someone made them feel uncomfortable, and then the response was the man or the gentleman in the situation making light of it,” she said.

However, despite that remark, she said that she didn’t think Biden meant any harm: “I think it was an off-the-cuff careless remark, which is why you saw him go to camera after as soon as he got off the stage, went to camera unprompted.“

“I think that this is something that won’t keep him out of the race for president and voters are going to have to make a decision about if this disqualifying for him or not. But I think this is something that will continue to come up, and he is having a real-time conversation with the American people. And that’s more than I can say for Donald Trump.”

The remarks aren’t the only ones that Sanders has made that are resurfacing since she took the job on the Biden campaign. Footage from November 2016 that resurfaced this week shows her expressing her opposition to a white person leading her party after Donald Trump’s election.

“In my opinion, we don’t need white people leading the Democratic Party right now,” Sanders said during a discussion on Howard Dean potentially becoming Democratic National Committee chairman.

“The Democratic party is diverse, and it should be reflected as so in leadership and throughout the staff, at the highest levels. From the vice chairs to the secretaries all the way down to the people working in the offices at the DNC,” she said, in remarks resurfaced by RealClearPolitics.

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Sanders wrapped up her remarks by saying: “I want to hear more from everybody. I want to hear from the millennials and the brown folks.”

But the controversy has not prevented Biden’s long-awaited campaign from a largely successful opening, drawing in more than $6.3 million in the first 24 hours.

Fox News’ Liam Quinn contributed to this report.

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President Trump announced Friday that his administration is withdrawing the U.S. signature from the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty, in response to concerns from gun rights activists that it could impinge on Americans’ right to bear arms

“Under my administration we will never surrender American sovereignty to anyone, we will never allow foreign bureaucrats to trample on your Second Amendment freedom and that is why my administration will never ratify the U.N. trade treaty,” Trump told an audience at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Indianapolis.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION CRACKS DOWN ON INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT, REVOKES TOP PROSECUTOR’S VISA

“I am officially announcing today that the United States will be revoking the effect of America’s signature from this badly misguided treaty, we’re taking our signature back,” he said.

Former President Barack Obama signed the treaty in 2013 and sent the treaty to the Senate for ratification. Onstage Friday, Trump signed a notice to the Senate asking it to stop the ratification process and return the treaty to the White House, “where I will dispose of it.”

The treaty seeks to regulate international trade in conventional arms, including everything from tanks to small arms, specifically looking to “prevent and eradicate the illicit trade in conventional arms and prevent their diversion.”

PERSON APPEARS TO THROW PHONE ON STAGE DURING TRUMP’S SPEECH TO NRA

But, while supporters of the treaty have argued that it could not infringe on Second Amendment rights, the document had long been opposed by the NRA — who pointed to the treaty’s call for national recordkeeping and for governments to share those records, and claimed that the treaty meant that U.S. gun policy “could become the rest of the world’s business and subject to its approval, on pain of trade restrictions if it doesn’t meet ‘international norms.’”

Trump has been skeptical of both the U.N. and multilateral agreements and supported the NRA’s concerns in his speech.

“By taking these actions, we are reaffirming that American liberty is sacred and that American citizens live by American laws not by laws of foreign countries,” he said.

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Under the Trump administration, the U.S. has pulled out of the Iran nuclear agreement and the Paris climate accord. It has also withdrawn from the controversial U.N. Human Rights Council and the U.N.’s educational and cultural organization, UNESCO.

In the speech to the crowd in Indianapolis, Trump presented himself as a defender of Second Amendment rights, telling NRA supporters that it “is an honor to fight by your side” and promising to defend Americans’ rights to carry guns.

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President Trump on Friday blasted liberal billionaire activist Tom Steyer for his continued push to impeach Trump — with Trump claiming Steyer is “trying to remain relevant” and doesn’t have the “guts” to run for the White House himself.

“Weirdo Tom Steyer, who didn’t have the ‘guts’ or money to run for President, is still trying to remain relevant by putting himself on ads begging for impeachment,” the president tweeted. “He doesn’t mention the fact that mine is perhaps the most successful first 2 year presidency in history & NO C OR O! [Collusion or Obstruction]”

TRUMP IMPEACHMENT BACKERS NOT GIVING UP AFTER MUELLER REPORT

Trump and his allies have pointed to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report’s conclusions that there was no evidence of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign and its decision not to make a conclusion on obstruction of justice as a vindication for the president.

But some Democrats and left-wing activists have pointed to the instances of possible obstruction of justice that the investigation looked into as proof of the need for more investigations or even impeachment proceedings.

ELIZABETH WARREN DOUBLES DOWN ON TRUMP IMPEACHMENT PUSH, SAYS IT’S ‘BIGGER THAN POLITICS’

Steyer has been one of the leaders backing a push to impeach Trump and founded “Need to Impeach” and has kept up that push since the report’s release. He announced on Thursday that he was calling on Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to support impeachment proceedings.

On Friday he responded to Trump’s tweet, calling him “angry and scared.”

“I know you want it all to go away. But for the sake of the country you must face your transgressions. Rage away, but that anger doesn’t matter,” he said in a tweet. The truth and the people will prevail.”

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Impeachment hearings have been backed by a number of House Democrats, as well as 2020 presidential hopefuls Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Kamala Harris, D-Calif. However, Pelosi has long been skeptical of impeachment proceedings against Trump.

“I’m not for impeachment,” Pelosi told The Washington Post in an interview last month. “Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country. And he’s just not worth it.”

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UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt fired back at a claim by the outgoing French ambassador to the U.S. that Britain’s influence in Washington, D.C. has “vanished” — saying the U.K. “will not take any lessons” from the French in having good relations with America.

“Mon cher ami [Gerard Araud] I am sure you enjoyed making hay with the UK’s temporary Brexit travails but until there is a French President’s bust in the Oval Office we will not take any lessons in having good relations with Washington,” Hunt tweeted, along with a picture of President Trump and UK Prime Minister Theresa May standing next to the bust of former PM Winston Churchill.

TRUMP TO VISIT UK, FRANCE IN JUNE FOR D-DAY ANNIVERSARY

His tweet was attached with a winking emoji, indicating the tweet was perhaps meant to be taken lightly — but it comes after Araud, who is leaving his post as France’s representative to Washington, said that British influence has disappeared.

“The UK has vanished,” Araud told The Financial Times. “The British ambassador told me — and I loved it — that every time the British military is meeting with the American military, the Americans are talking about the French.”

Araud has been on something of a tear as he departs the capital, giving a series of interviews in which he has weighed in on current affairs in often-undiplomatic language.

In an interview with Foreign Policy last week, he drew a stark contrast between the presidencies of Barack Obama and Trump.

FRENCH AMBASSADOR BLASTS ‘BIG MOUTH’ TRUMP, SAYS HE READS ‘BASICALLY NOTHING’

“On one side, you had this ultimate bureaucrat, an introvert, basically a bit aloof, a restrained president. A bit arrogant also but basically somebody who every night was going to bed with 60-page briefings and the next day they were sent back annotated by the president,” he said, referring to Obama.

“And suddenly you have this president who is an extrovert, really a big mouth, who reads basically nothing or nearly nothing, with the interagency process totally broken and decisions taken from the hip basically.”

Outgoing Ambassador of France to the United States Gerard Araud has said the British influence in Washington has "vanished." (Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)

Outgoing Ambassador of France to the United States Gerard Araud has said the British influence in Washington has “vanished.” (Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)

Both Britain and France have had tumultuous relationships with the U.S. since Trump entered the White House. The White House announced Tuesday that Trump will travel to both countries in June to mark the anniversary of the D-Day landings — which will include a state visit to London.

Trump has repeatedly backed Britain’s departure from the European Union, and recently called for a “large scale Trade Deal with the United Kingdom” once it leaves, but has also criticized May’s handling of the negotiations.

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Meanwhile, Trump described French President Emmanuel Macron as “perfect” when he visited the White House last year, before the relationship soured over issues such as NATO funding, tariffs and Trump’s decision to begin withdrawing from Syria.

Macron would go on to mull a European army to “protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America” — which led Trump to point to the French surrender to Germany in World War II, and to knock Macron’s low approval ratings.

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A top Republican congressman is firing back at Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., in response to her claim that the Department of Veteran Affairs provides “some of the highest quality care” to veterans.

“Apparently ignorance is bliss when it comes to Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and her views of VA,” Rep. Phil Roe, the ranking Republican on the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, said in a statement to Fox News. “It is evident that she paid little attention to the scandalous treatment of veterans that occurred several years ago by some in the very agency created to serve them.”

OCASIO-CORTEZ DECLARES VA ‘ISN’T BROKEN,’ ALREADY PROVIDES TOP-NOTCH CARE

Ocasio-Cortez claimed during a town hall last week that the VA “isn’t broken” despite the scandals that have plagued the agency over the last decade.

“All I can think of is that classic refrain that my parents always taught me growing up, is that: ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,’” she said in New York, as part of her argument against privatizing aspects of the agency.

“That is the opening approach we have seen when it comes to privatization, it’s the idea that this thing that isn’t broken, this thing that provides some of the highest quality care to our veterans somehow needs to be fixed, optimized, tinkered with until we don’t even recognize it anymore,” she said, in comments first reported by The Washington Examiner.

Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., is calling out Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., for her comments about the VA. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., is calling out Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., for her comments about the VA. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

“They are trying to fix the VA for pharmaceutical companies, they are trying to fix the VA for insurance corporations, and, ultimately they are trying to fix the VA for a for-profit healthcare industry that does not put people or veterans first,” she said. “And so we have a responsibility to protect it.”

Ocasio-Cortez’s comments were aimed at Trump administration efforts to expand choice and private health care options in the VA health care system, particularly via the MISSION Act — signed into law by President Trump last year.

But Roe, R-Tenn., in his statement, said there has been “widespread recognition” from Democrats and Republicans that the department needed reform since the 2014 scandal that found secret wait lists, systemic neglect and veterans dying waiting to see a doctor. He noted that the MISSION Act was signed into law with bipartisan support in Congress and backing from veteran groups — but said there remains “mountains of work ahead of us still.”

“While Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and I have VA medical facilities in and near our districts with great quality ratings, not all veterans are so lucky. That’s not to mention the many student veterans across the nation who struggled to pay their bills last fall due to VA’s failure to properly process their GI Bill benefits, or the many veterans who wait years for decisions on their disability claims,” he said.

VA SECRETARY WARNS TRUMP’S SIGNATURE PROGRAM COULD COLLAPSE WITHOUT FIX

“Problems and inconsistencies like that are the definition of a system that needs fixing,” he said. “I am baffled as to how Rep. Ocasio-Cortez fails to see that.”

“When you don’t know anything about anything you should probably keep your mouth shut or everyone will know you don’t know anything,” he added.

Roe was joined in his criticism of Ocasio-Cortez by Rep. Greg Steube, R-Fla., who also serves on the committee.

“From veterans waiting 30-60 days for an appointment, suicide hotlines going to voicemail, to the rationing of medicine and vast cost overruns, this Department is failing on multiple fronts,” he said in a statement. “To say that this is the level of care those who put their lives on the line to defend our nation deserve is frankly offensive.”

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Steube noted that Ocasio-Cortez is a strong proponent of government-run, single-payer health care plans in her pushes for a Green New Deal and Medicare-for-all and suggests it is that ideological bent that leads her to view the VA in a positive light.

“As a partially disabled veteran who deals with VA frequently, I know that this department is in need of serious reform,” he said. “But, it doesn’t surprise me that Representative Ocasio-Cortez won’t admit it — she advocates for government run health care for all every day, so if she were to admit the failures of the only current system of government run health care, she would have to admit faults within her own plan.”

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., claimed during a recent town hall event that the Department of Veterans Affairs “isn’t broken” and is actually providing “some of the highest quality” care to veterans.

“All I can think of is that classic refrain that my parents always taught me growing up, is that: ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,’” she said in New York, as part of her argument against privatizing aspects of the scandal-scarred agency’s work.

VA SECRETARY WARNS TRUMP’S SIGNATURE PROGRAM COULD COLLAPSE WITHOUT FIX

“That is the opening approach we have seen when it comes to privatization, it’s the idea that this thing that isn’t broken, this thing that provides some of the highest quality care to our veterans somehow needs to be fixed, optimized, tinkered with until we don’t even recognize it anymore,” she said, in comments first reported by The Washington Examiner.

“They are trying to fix the VA for pharmaceutical companies, they are trying to fix the VA for insurance corporations, and, ultimately they are trying to fix the VA for a for-profit healthcare industry that does not put people or veterans first,” she said. “And so we have a responsibility to protect it.”

Ocasio-Cortez’s comments were aimed at Trump administration efforts to expand choice and private health care options in the VA health care system, particularly via the MISSION Act — signed into law by President Trump last year.

The comments are likely to raise the ire of proponents advocating VA reform. The department was plagued by scandal during the Obama administration — including secret wait lists, systemic neglect and veterans dying while waiting to see a doctor.

VA SECRETARY WILKIE: THE VA IS MAKING REAL PROGRESSION ON SUICIDE PREVENTION FOR VETERANS

“Putting our veterans first means making sure they are at the center of any reform efforts. That is exactly what the administration did with the VA MISSION Act — put the veteran ahead of the bureaucracy,” Dan Caldwell, executive director of Concerned Veterans for America, told Fox News when asked about Ocasio-Cortez’s comments. “The VA is structured for a veteran population that has fundamentally changed from when it was built. Policy reforms should fundamentally change with the population and the times. When the resources follow the veteran, the veteran wins.”

“When resources go to prop up an aging and outdated bureaucracy, the veteran loses. It’s not about ‘fixing’ the VA, rather it is about making sure the focus of the VA is on the veteran, not itself,” he said.

Current VA Secretary Robert Wilkie is the fourth secretary to lead the VA in the past four years, while the VA’s $200 billion budget has doubled in the past decade.

Wilkie has since declared the VA to be making “groundbreaking progress,” on accountability, transparency and efficiency while touting the MISSION Act.

“Under President Trump, VA has done more in the last two years than it has in decades in reforming the department and improving care and benefits for our nation’s heroes,” he said in a Fox News op-ed in January, before saying there was still work to be done on issues such as suicide prevention.

Ocasio-Cortez’s comments are part of an increasing ideological shift among Democrats questioning the benefits of private health care — with many now pushing single-payer forms of government-run health care for the population at large.

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2020 hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., this month unveiled his latest Medicare-for-all plan, signed onto by a number of other 2020 hopefuls. That plan would largely abolish private insurance plans — with Sanders suggesting insurers could be reduced to cosmetic surgery.

“Under Medicare for All, we cover all basic health care needs, so they’re not going to be there to do that. I suppose if you want to make yourself look a bit more beautiful, you want to work on that nose, your ears. They can do that,” he said.

Fox News’ Barnini Chakraborty contributed to this report.

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President Trump will travel to the U.K. and France in June to mark the anniversary of the D-Day landings, the White House announced Tuesday.

“President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump accepted the invitation of Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to visit the United Kingdom from June 3 to 5, 2019,” a statement said. “This state visit will reaffirm the steadfast and special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom.

DESPITE ANGER IN LONDON, TRUMP FINDS SUPPORT IN ENGLAND’S PRO-BREXIT WORKING-CLASS TOWNS

Trump will also participate in a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May and attend a ceremony in Portsmouth to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day, before traveling to France on June 6, to participate in a ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery and meet with French President Emmanuel Macron.

Trump has visited both countries before, but Trump’s visit to the U.K. will be part of a state visit — an aspect that was absent when he visited the country last year on a working visit and where he sparked a significant anti-Trump protest in London, as well as a number of smaller pro-Trump rallies.

FRENCH AMBASSADOR BLASTS ‘BIG MOUTH’ TRUMP, SAYS HE READS ‘BASICALLY NOTHING’

Trump has had a somewhat rocky relationship with both May and Macron. While his relationship with May has largely been positive, he has also publicly criticized her handling of Britain’s departure from the European Union.

The relationship with Macron, on the other hand, hit a high last year when the Frenchman visited the White House and was warmly embraced by the president (“He is perfect,” Trump told the press). But it later soured over issues such as Trump’s criticism of French defense spending, tariffs and Trump’s move to begin withdrawing troops from Syria.

After Macron said in November that Europe may have to build its own army to “protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America,” Trump called the remarks “very insulting” and pointed to the French surrender to Germany in World War II — before hitting Macron’s approval ratings.

“He was just trying to get onto another subject,” he said.

Fox News’ Kristin Brown contributed to this report.

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Members of Congress allegedly sexually harassed night shift custodial staff as they cleaned their offices, according to a recent inspector general’s report on sexual harassment within the Architect of the Capitol.

The IG report, first reported by Roll Call, examines the Architect of the Capitol’s (AOC) response to sexual harassment complaints over the last 10 years. It includes allegations that workers endured sexual harassment by members of Congress and their staff,

STUDENT ACCUSES FORMER GOVERNOR OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT

“Staff have reported overhearing harassing conversations, being the target of harassment, and observing materials such as pornography, but do not speak up due to fear of losing their jobs,” the report says.

It found that it found 57 incidents of sexual harassment reported since 2008, 44 percent of which it says were substantiated. The report notes that it is a relatively low number, but the perception remains that harassment is a problem.

The IG said that it found “reluctance to cooperate” with the inquiry from AOC, and cited it as evidence of “cultural resistance and lack of transparency at all levels.” It blasted an “outdated cultural attitude” in some departments, which it said has set a tone of “permissibility.”

In its introduction the IG report says that the results of the inquiry were “primarily positive” and said that the majority of identified gaps were already receiving attention of officials.

Roll Call reported that Congress embarked on a mission in 2017-8 to overhaul the reporting of harassment for staffers on Capitol Hill, discussing in particular the imbalance of power that can occur when a lawmaker harasses a low-level employee.

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“No one had an answer when we asked ‘What happens if the harasser is a member of Congress?’” one employee told the IG. “This was not a hypothetical question. It happens.”

The outlet notes that dozens of lawmakers reportedly sleep in their offices rather than rent an apartment, some sleep of mattresses, futons and murphy bed — meaning that night staff can possibly encounter lawmakers in states of undress.

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2020 presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., is known for her left-wing views on issues from health care-for-all to taxing the super-wealthy. But a new deep dive into the left-wing firebrand’s past finds that she was known as a “diehard conservative” in school.

Politico reports that, while Warren has acknowledged but downplayed her Republican past in public, a review of her scholarship and interviews with friends reveals that she has a hitherto unexplored “conservative track record” — mainly on economic policy.

WARREN NOT WORRIED ABOUT POLLS: ‘IT’S EARLY…I’M RUNNING THE CAMPAIGN THAT I WANT TO RUN’

“Liz was a diehard conservative in those days. … Now we’ve swapped — a 180-degree turn and an about-face,” Katrina Harry, one of Warren’s high school friends, told the outlet.

“Liz was sometimes surprisingly anti-consumer in her attitude,” law professor Calvin Johnson, a colleague of Warren’s at the University of Texas at Austin in the early 1980s, said of the future senator, who, decades later, would be credited as architect of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB.)

“She’s definitely changed. It’s absolutely clear that something happened,” said Rutgers law professor Gary Francione, another Warren colleague from the 1980s.

Politico reports that Warren first had a political conversion in the ’80s when she traveled to bankruptcy courts and saw that Americans filing, far from being irresponsible as she’d imagined, actually resembled her own family.

But she reportedly moved to the left when she was recruited on a federal commission to reform the bankruptcy code in the mid-1990s, before losing that battle in 2005.

WARREN’S $6 MILLION FUNDRAISING HAUL FAR BEHIND SANDERS

“She really did have a ‘Road to Damascus’ conversion when she saw the bankrupt consumers really were suffering — forced into bankruptcy by illness, firing or divorce—and not predators,” Johnson said.

“I realize nonpartisan just isn’t working,” Warren told Politico. “By then it’s clear: The only allies I have are in the Democratic Party, and it’s not even the majority of Democrats.”

Despite Warren’s conservative past, her left-wing credentials are not in doubt. In addition to supporting radical policies such as the Green New Deal and Medicare-for-all, Warren has distanced herself from the 2020 field by pushing a “wealth tax” for those with more than $50 million in assets.

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“The rich & powerful run Washington. Here’s one benefit they wrote for themselves: After making a killing from the economy they’ve rigged, they don’t pay taxes on that accumulated wealth. It’s a system that’s rigged for the top if I ever saw one,” she tweeted.

But should Warren secure the 2020 Democratic nomination, she wouldn’t be the only one on the ballot to have switched parties. President Trump donated to Democratic candidates in the past, and was registered as a Democrat between 2001 and 2009.

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2020 presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., is known for her left-wing views on issues from health care-for-all to taxing the super-wealthy. But a new deep dive into the left-wing firebrand’s past finds that she was known as a “diehard conservative” in school.

Politico reports that, while Warren has acknowledged but downplayed her Republican past in public, a review of her scholarship and interviews with friends reveals that she has a hitherto unexplored “conservative track record” — mainly on economic policy.

WARREN NOT WORRIED ABOUT POLLS: ‘IT’S EARLY…I’M RUNNING THE CAMPAIGN THAT I WANT TO RUN’

“Liz was a diehard conservative in those days. … Now we’ve swapped — a 180-degree turn and an about-face,” Katrina Harry, one of Warren’s high school friends, told the outlet.

“Liz was sometimes surprisingly anti-consumer in her attitude,” law professor Calvin Johnson, a colleague of Warren’s at the University of Texas at Austin in the early 1980s, said of the future senator, who, decades later, would be credited as architect of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB.)

“She’s definitely changed. It’s absolutely clear that something happened,” said Rutgers law professor Gary Francione, another Warren colleague from the 1980s.

Politico reports that Warren first had a political conversion in the ’80s when she traveled to bankruptcy courts and saw that Americans filing, far from being irresponsible as she’d imagined, actually resembled her own family.

But she reportedly moved to the left when she was recruited on a federal commission to reform the bankruptcy code in the mid-1990s, before losing that battle in 2005.

WARREN’S $6 MILLION FUNDRAISING HAUL FAR BEHIND SANDERS

“She really did have a ‘Road to Damascus’ conversion when she saw the bankrupt consumers really were suffering — forced into bankruptcy by illness, firing or divorce—and not predators,” Johnson said.

“I realize nonpartisan just isn’t working,” Warren told Politico. “By then it’s clear: The only allies I have are in the Democratic Party, and it’s not even the majority of Democrats.”

Despite Warren’s conservative past, her left-wing credentials are not in doubt. In addition to supporting radical policies such as the Green New Deal and Medicare-for-all, Warren has distanced herself from the 2020 field by pushing a “wealth tax” for those with more than $50 million in assets.

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“The rich & powerful run Washington. Here’s one benefit they wrote for themselves: After making a killing from the economy they’ve rigged, they don’t pay taxes on that accumulated wealth. It’s a system that’s rigged for the top if I ever saw one,” she tweeted.

But should Warren secure the 2020 Democratic nomination, she wouldn’t be the only one on the ballot to have switched parties. President Trump donated to Democratic candidates in the past, and was registered as a Democrat between 2001 and 2009.

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi attempted to present a united Democratic Party on Friday as lawmakers closed out a Washington-area retreat, despite suggestions that she is grappling with her own version of the “Tea Party” that roiled the Republican Party establishment during the Obama years.

Pelosi told reporters after the Democratic Caucus’ policy retreat in Virginia that it was a “very substantive, unifying, energizing” conference.

LESLIE MARSHALL: PELOSI AND OCASIO-CORTEZ ARE IN A POWER STRUGGLE, WITH PELOSI WINNING

“This was an ‘alleluia,’ a cause for celebration for what it means in the lives of the American people,” she said.

But since reclaiming the gavel in January, the California Democrat has been forced to spend much of her time putting out fires from her party’s left flank as it pushes policies such as reparations for black Americans, ‘Medicare-for-all’ and the Green New Deal. She is currently facing another revolt against a bipartisan budget measure to increase spending for the Pentagon and domestic agencies, with critics on the left objecting to the increases for the military.

Amid a string of such confrontations, Melissa DeRosa, New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s top aide, reportedly told a crowd on Thursday that a new Tea Party is forming on the left.

“We saw this play out in the Tea Party, and I feel like at the time the Democratic Party sort of stood on the other side and said, ‘They’re destroying themselves. How do they not see what they are doing? This is crazy! But fine, they can destroy themselves; it’s to our betterment,'” DeRosa said, according to Crain’s. “And I think a version of that is happening right now on the Democratic side.”

On the Republican side, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he sympathized with Pelosi.

“I was almost tempted to call up my friend the speaker and say, ‘Congratulations, you’ve got a Freedom Caucus on your hands,'” he told reporters Thursday, referring to the conservative faction aligned in part with the Tea Party movement.

For her part, Pelosi has dismissed the idea that Democrats are divided, scolding reporters on Thursday: “You guys have it all wrong.”

“We have such a unified caucus. But it serves your purpose to say we’re seething,” she said, according to Roll Call. “You’re on the wrong track. But you can waste your time on that while we go forward with what we’re going to do for the American people.”

PELOSI APPEARS TO MOCK OCASIO-CORTEZ OVER RELIANCE ON TWITTER FOR SUPPORT

But as she uttered those words, another controversy was brewing from the freshman class of the party as Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., was criticized for describing 9/11 as “some people did something.” Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., rallied to Omar’s side as she faced fierce criticism from Republicans for the remarks.

On Friday, speaking at the end of the Democratic Caucus meeting, Pelosi indicated when asked about the controversy that she’d be speaking to Omar about the issue, saying her policy is to “call them in before I call them out.”

The 9/11 controversy comes a month after Omar suggested that supporters of Israel were pushing for U.S. politicians to declare “allegiance” to that nation. The comments resulted in a broad resolution against bigotry that did not mention Omar by name, leading to accusations that party leaders allowed the text to be watered down under pressure.

But Democrats have also had difficulty forming a message on hot-topic issues like immigration where, amid activists and some 2020 hopefuls calling for the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), lawmakers have struggled to come up with a solution to the crisis at the border other than opposing President Trump’s controversial policies.

The Washington Post reported that at this week’s retreat, a “session on the issue organized by liberal members largely focused on how to reduce enforcement and detention.”

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But legislative plans currently do not include border security measures.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics


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