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Hillary Clinton hasn’t announced a 2020 run for the White House but remarks she delivered in Houston may have sounded like a campaign speech to some listeners.

Clinton launched a fiery attack Friday against President Trump, claiming the president tweeted a disputed video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi because he was “running scared.”

“Just look at what’s happened in the last 24 hours,” she said. “The president and his cronies have been running around spreading a doctored video of Nancy Pelosi. Now, it is sexist trash. But it is also a sign that Trump is running scared.”

JOY BEHAR: STAFF WHO KEPT HILLARY CLINTON FROM ‘THE VIEW’ SHOULD HAVE ‘BEEN FIRED’

The former secretary of state, U.S. senator and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee made the remarks at a gathering of the Harris County Democratic Party.

Her speech seemed aimed at motivating Houston-area Democrats to get out the vote for the party’s candidates in 2020.

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‘Constitutional crisis’

“We have to remind Americans we are the party that can deliver for them,” Clinton said. “But we also are the party that will stand up and protect the Constitution and address what is a very real constitutional crisis that this president has put us in.”

Earlier this month, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., declared the U.S. was in a “constitutional crisis,” after Attorney General William Barr declined to testify before his panel after being subpoenaed.

Nadler claimed the Trump administration was “stonewalling” efforts by congressional Democrats to continue probes into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, even though Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the investigation he led for two years claimed no evidence of collusion existed.

The next day after Nadler spoke, Pelosi said she agreed with him that the nation was in a constitutional crisis.

HILLARY CLINTON REPLIES TO TRUMP’S TWEET ON HER 2020 ANNOUNCEMENT WITH ‘MEAN GIRLS’ GIF

President Trump, meanwhile, has maintained that the Russia investigations still underway in Congress should end because of Mueller’s findings, and claimed that the Democrats’ continued focus on Russia was designed to motivate their voters in 2020 – and was perhaps proof that the party had not yet recovered from Trump’s defeat of Clinton in 2016.

Some political observers have suggested that Clinton could make a third bid for the presidency in 2020 if none of the more than 20 Democrats currently in the running emerges as a clear threat to deny Trump a second term.

A recent Fox News Poll shows former Vice President Joe Biden leading the Democratic field with support from 35 percent of respondents, followed by Sen. Bernie Sanders at 17 percent and the rest of the pack in single digits.

Biden baggage?

But a Biden nomination would carry some baggage heading into a general election: The former U.S. senator from Delaware is known for gaffes during public appearances and recently drew criticism for his history of placing his hands on women and girls. In addition, his son Hunter Biden has drawn scrutiny over business dealings in China, Ukraine and Romania.

A sudden loss of confidence in Biden among Democratic voters, coupled with the failure of any of the other Democrats to fill the void, could motivate Clinton – who attracted nearly 66 million votes in 2016 – to make another run at the White House, some argue.

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Clinton made headlines in March when she told a New York-area news station that she would not seek the presidency in 2020.

“Aw-shucks,” President Trump responded in a Twitter message, “does that mean I won’t get to run against her again? She will be sorely missed!”

But just a day later, “someone close to Clinton” told the New York Times that Clinton didn’t intend for her comments to “close the door on running.”

“She has told her team she is waiting at least to see the Mueller report,” the Times reported, citing the same source.

But has Clinton’s chance to win the presidency come and gone? A joint speaking tour with her husband, former President Bill Clinton, resulted in plunging ticket prices in several cities. In December, deals on tickets were being offered on Groupon.

Last week, Newsweek magazine featured the Clintons on its cover with the headline, “Clintons in Exile: What’s it like when you’re no longer the world’s most powerful couple?”

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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., responded to a controversial Health and Human Services rule by claiming President Trump’s administration was only motivated by hatred and cruelty.

“They have no agenda but hate. No ‘accomplishments’ but hurting people. No motivation but cruelty. Disgusting, outrageous, and pathetic,” she tweeted on Saturday.

She was commenting on an article about the HHS rule, which would reverse the Obama-era decision to protect “gender identity” under federal laws prohibiting sex discrimination in health care.

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Gillibrand, a 2020 contender, added to the many progressive voices denouncing the Trump administration’s decision. It was the latest in a series of policies that interpreted sex discrimination protections as only applying to biological attributes rather than self-described identity.

HHS has pushed back on the idea that its decision would result in discrimination. “I don’t want to see that happen,” Roger Severino, director of the Office of Civil Rights, reportedly said.

“Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect,” he also said, noting that he intended to “fully enforce” laws against discrimination.

TUCKER CARLSON: KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND AND THE LEFT DON’T BELIEVE AMERICANS DESERVE THEIR COUNTRY

Gillibrand’s comments received a wave of criticism on Twitter:

Gillibrand, an outspoken critic of the president’s, has also joined other 2020 candidates in condemning abortion regulations as well as immigration practices under the administration.

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According to RealClearPolitics’ polling average, she fell behind a long list of other candidates vying for the Democratic nomination — grabbing just 0.7 percent of support.

Trump, meanwhile, enjoyed the strong support of the Republican National Committee and touted the economic milestones reached under his administration. Those included substantial GDP growth, record-low unemployment among the general population and within minority segments, and rapid manufacturing growth.

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President Trump expressed his confidence in North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Saturday, indicating that the strongman’s rogue nation may have tried to send him a “signal” with a new editorial critical of former Vice President Joe Biden.

“I have confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me, & also smiled when he called Swampman Joe [Biden] a low IQ individual, & worse. Perhaps that’s sending me a signal?” he tweeted on Saturday.

He was referring to an editorial, published on Tuesday, that lobbed a series of insults at Biden, the 2020 contender leading in the race to challenge Trump for the presidency. The editorial, posted by the Korean Central News Agency, called Biden “self-praising” and suggested it was laughable for Biden to consider himself the most popular presidential candidate.

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“He is self-praising himself as being the most popular presidential candidate. This is enough to make a cat laugh,” the piece read.

Trump’s tweet came at a time when National Security Adviser John Bolton has been unequivocal in saying that recent North Korean missile launches violated U.N. Security Council resolutions. “U.N. Security Council resolutions prohibit North Korea from firing any ballistic missiles,” he said. “In terms of violating U.N. Security Council resolutions, there is no doubt about that.”

Kim and Trump met during a historic summit in 2018, following an aggressive pressure campaign at the beginning of Trump’s presidency. Another summit in February ended with Trump walking away after North Korea demanded the U.S. lift all of its sanctions on it,

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Fox News’ Adam Shaw and Bradford Betz contributed to this report.

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President Trump is expected to nominate former Virginia attorney general Kenneth Cuccinelli to oversee the nation’s immigration system as the next director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, according to media reports.

Cuccinelli —  an immigration hardliner — would replace Lee Francis Cissna, who is resigning after pressure from the White House, the New York Times reported. He officially steps down June 1. Trump has long-regarded the country’s immigration system as broken and in need of restructuring.

Cissna had support from a number of groups opposed to illegal immigration, but not from White House officials.

Ken Cuccinelli is reportedly being tapped to lead the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Ken Cuccinelli is reportedly being tapped to lead the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. (Fox News)

While Cuccinelli has Trump’s support, getting confirmed to the post could be a problem. The Times reports that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said his chances were close to zero.

Cuccinelli in 2014 was part of the Senate Conservatives Fund political action committee that supported Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin to challenge McConnell in a primary, according to the paper.

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McConnell previously said he opposed Cuccinelli to head the Department of Homeland Security after Kirstjen Nielsen was fired last month.

“I’ve not spoken to him about any of them. I have expressed my, shall I say, lack of enthusiasm for one of them … Ken Cuccinelli,” McConnell told reporters in April.

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Facebook has released a statement amid concerns about its decision not to remove an altered video that went viral — one concocted to make it seem that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was slurring her words.

Although the social media giant triggered a backlash by not taking down the vid, it said it did reduce the content’s distribution and add a disclaimer notifying users that the video was “false.”

“We remove things from Facebook that violate our Community standards, and we don’t have a policy that stipulates that the information you post on Facebook must be true,’ the company said Friday, according to ABC7 News.

By Saturday, the video had more than 28,000 comments, nearly 50,000 shares, and at least 2.6 million views. It was posted on Wednesday. Underneath the video’s caption, a long list of articles, from labeled fact-checkers, criticized the video.

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It showed Pelosi making controversial comments about Trump’s alleged behavior during an infrastructure meeting that was cut short earlier this week.

The platform clarified that it didn’t think all content deserved to be distributed but allowed some content as forms of expression.

“There’s a tension here; we work hard to find the right balance between encouraging free expression and promoting a safe and authentic community, and we believe that reducing the distribution of inauthentic content strikes that balance,” it said.

“But just because something is allowed to be on Facebook doesn’t mean it should get distribution. In other words, we allow people to post it as a form of expression, but we’re not going to show it at the top of News Feed.” The platform also outlined how it combated misleading content.

MARK ZUCKERBERG CLAIMS FACEBOOK SECURITY EFFORTS WILL SUFFER IF COMPANY IS BROKEN UP

“We fight the spread of false news on Facebook in a number of ways, namely by removing content that violates our Community Standards, like fake accounts; reducing the distribution of content that does not directly violate Community Standards, but still undermines the authenticity of the platform, by demoting it in News Feed; and empowering people to decide for themselves what to read, trust, and share by informing them with more context in-product and promoting news literacy,” it said.

The controversy erupted amid already-growing scrutiny surrounding Facebook and other social media companies and the way they handled content on their platform. Facebook and Twitter specifically took heat for apparent bias against conservatives as well as allowing content promoted by Russians during the 2016 election.

Monika Bickert, Facebook’s vice president for product policy and counterterrorism, said on CNN that her company “dramatically” reduced the video’s distribution and told users the video was false.

“We have acted … anybody who is seeing this video in News Feed, anyone who is going to share it with somebody else, anybody who has shared it in the past — they are being alerted that this video is false,” she said.

FACEBOOK REVEALS HOW OFTEN IT GETS CONTENT TAKEDOWNS WRONG

CNN’s Anderson Cooper pressed Bickert on why she decided to keep the video on the platform.

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“We think it’s important for people to make their own informed choice about what to believe. Our job is to make sure that we are getting them accurate information and that’s why we work with more than 50 fact-checking organizations around the world,” she told Cooper.

She added that the company would remove misinformation related to on-going riots or some kind of threat to physical violence.

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Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats says the nation’s spy agencies will provide the Justice Department all appropriate information for its review of intelligence activities related to Russian interference in the 2016 election.

President Donald Trump claims his campaign was the victim of “spying” and has given Attorney General William Barr full authority to publicly disclose still-secret information collected during the investigation.

Some former intelligence officials and Democrats worry that Barr will cherry-pick intelligence to paint a misleading picture about the roots of the probe.

In a statement released Friday, Coats said he’s confident that Barr will work with “long-established standards to protect highly sensitive, classified information that, if publicly released,” would put U.S. national security at risk.

___

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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.

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“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.”

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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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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., reportedly indicated that he was open to differing abortion views within his party, describing the position as a “personal” one.

“Members run and take positions. It’s a personal position, and they have to stake out their own personal position, just as I have,” McCarthy said, according to Vice News on Thursday.

His comments came as he pushed back against Alabama’s restrictive abortion law that excluded exceptions for rape and incest.

McCarthy’s position reflected the personal view of his party’s chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel, who told CNN that she would include those exceptions in abortion legislation. McDaniel, however, also said that her party had a broad tent and allowed states like Alabama to craft their own legislation even if it didn’t stricly adhere to her position.

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State-level abortion initiatives — in particular, Alabama’s and New York’s — have put politicians in both parties in tough spots as they faced questions about aspects of the procedure that were seen as the most difficult to defend.

According to Vice, the Republican Study Committee (RSC), a prominent conservative caucus, circulated a “messaging guidance” email that blamed the media for creating division in the GOP and directed members to use talking points that supported Alabama’s law.

“While some Republicans may disagree with the timing and/or particular legal strategies being implemented with the various state measures, it is critical our members speak with clarity and conviction about the broader issue of the sanctity and inherent value of every single human life,” the email read.

Claiming that “every single human life has inestimable dignity and inherent value,” it argued that rape and incest didn’t justify abortions.

2020 DEMS JUMP INTO ABORTION FRAY AS LEGAL BATTLE HEATS UP

“Committing a second violent act with abortion to a woman who has already been victimized by an act of rape or incest could phyiscally or psychologically wound her further,” the guidance also argued.

When the president tweeted on the issue, however, he said he supported exceptions for rape, incest, and protecting the mother’s life.

“As most people know, and for those who would like to know, I am strongly Pro-Life, with three exceptions – Rape, Incest, and protecting the Life of the mother – the same position taken by [former President] Ronald Reagan,” Trump said.

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His tweet reflected a vigorously pro-life agenda and Supreme Court nominees who could overturn longstanding precedent on the issue.

Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have sued over many state laws, including Alabama’s, setting up legal challenges for the court to consider. While it’s unclear how the Supreme Court will rule on the issue, pro-choice advocates have been adamant about politicians defending abortion access.

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But Democrats, like Republicans, seemed to face differences within their own party. Just after Louisiana’s Democratic governor signaled he would sign his state’s “heartbeat” legislation, the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus called for “strong primaries” against pro-life Democrats.

While Democratic leaders have indicated it was possible to be pro-life and a Democrat, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., previously made clear that his party was pro-choice.

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As a team of U.S. Navy Seals prepared to take down the mastermind behind the Sept. 11 attacks, Admiral William McRaven had some frank words for his troops.

While recalling that raid during an interview on “Fox & Friends,” McRaven said he treated the raid like “any other mission.” “What I told the guys was, ‘look, it is going to be easy to get overcome by the moment but just do your job.'”

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He told Pete Hegseth that the raid felt different given that if former Al Qaeda leader Usama Bin Laden was in that Pakistani compound, his troops would be taking part in a “historic moment in terms of bringing justice to all those people that were killed in 9/11.”

When Hegseth asked what kept the admiral going, he said the young men and women of the military.

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“If you spend time around the young men and women of the military, you can’t help but be inspired by their courage, their heroism, their sacrifice … all you got to do is spend a little time with them and you’ll get the energy to do the job.”

McRaven was promoting his book, “Sea Stories,” which recounted details from his life of service. He received attention for his book “Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World.”

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After Hegseth asked about raising good kids, McRaven praised milennials as the “next greatest generation.”

“I’m probably the biggest fan of the milennials you’ll ever meet and I think that surprises people,” he said. “I hear this that the milennials are pampered and they’re soft and they’re entitled. I’m quick to tell people, ‘then you never saw them in a firefight in Afghanistan’ or ‘you never saw them in a classroom in the University of Texas system trying to improve their life and the lives of their families.”

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Democrats were puffing hot air and criticized the Trump administration because they feared his declassification plan would uncover their dirty deeds, according to Fox News contributor Jason Chaffetz.

When “Fox & Friends” co-host Jedediah Bila asked Chaffetz about Democrats’ concerns that President Trump’s plans would hurt national security Saturday, the former chairman of the House Oversight Committee responded that it was “hogwash.”

Trump’s plan, Chaffetz argued, would improve Attorney General William Barr’s ability to communicate with intelligence agencies.

“First of all, the attorney general has every security clearance that he could possibly have, the Federal Bureau of Investigations has a counterintelligence component.”

He speculated that Democrats were projecting their own fears about the declassification uncovering troubling activities on their part.

BRENNAN, CLAPPER LASH OUT AT TRUMP FOR DECLASSIFYING 2016 ELECTION INTEL

“I think it’s projection by the Democrats that they’re scared to death that the highest echelons within some of these agencies — specifically [former CIA Director John] Brennan and [former Director of National Intelligence James] Clapper and perhaps [former national security advisor Susan] Rice and some of these other people along the way were doing some things that they shouldn’t have been doing,” Chaffetz said.

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Chaffetz was commenting on Trump’s decision to give the attorney general greater authority in investigating the origins of the Russia investigation.

Chaffetz, on Saturday, suggested that instead of getting criticism, the president should be receiving awards for his efforts at transparency.

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There is an old expression in Washington that nothing is decided until everything is decided.

Well, consider the state of the $19.1 billion disaster bill.

It took a Herculean effort to pry that package loose Thursday in the Senate, triggering an overwhelming, 85-8 vote. President Trump signaled to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., and Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., that he would sign the package – even without provisions for the border. The senators say the President indicated the disaster money was too important and had been stalled too long. States in the south and Midwest – stricken by hurricanes and flooding – could wait no longer.

That’s until Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, torpedoed everything Friday morning.

There are three ways the House and Senate can approve bills. They can conduct a standard roll call vote, where everyone either casts ballots as yea or nay. The House and Senate can hold a “voice vote.” That’s where everyone either hollers yea or nay. The loudest side is supposed to win.

However, the lawmaker who is presiding always declares “in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it” or “the noes have it.” But, if the losing side doesn’t like the outcome, they can always demand a recorded vote. Finally, there is “unanimous consent.” That’s where all 435 or 100 people must agree. All it takes is a solitary objection, even if everyone else wants to do something else. Lodging an objection stops everything.

LONE GOP REP BLOCKS DISASTER AID BILL IN SURPRISE MOVE

It is said you can make the sun rise in the west if you obtain unanimous consent.

This is where Roy comes in.

There were only three House members on the floor Friday when the House tried to advance the disaster aid measure by unanimous consent and sync up with the Senate. Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., presided over the session. Rep. Donna Shalala, D-Fla., was on the floor to make the unanimous consent request. And then there was Roy.

Those in favor of the measure outnumbered Roy two one.

Unanimous consent is powerful – but hard to obtain. There’s only one reason Roy showed up Friday morning as the House attempted to approve the measure with a skeleton staff on hand. Passing the package by unanimous consent would mean the House and Senate were in alignment, having okayed the same package. The measure would then be ready for President Trump’s signature.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., implored Democratic leaders to keep the House in session on Thursday to approve the disaster aid measure. But the House wasn’t going to budge until the Senate acted. Most House members jetted out of Washington midday Thursday for a week-and-a-half, starting the Memorial Day recess.

It was unclear until early Thursday afternoon as to the fate of the disaster package. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., warned his colleagues the Senate would vote “on something” on disaster aid and “not adjourn.” The Senate pondered re-voting a sidetracked version of disaster aid which fell apart in early April. But the Senate was set to vote on a retooled plan once President Trump signaled he would sign the measure – even without the border provisions. Things came together very quickly in the Senate. But the House was long gone.

One may ask whether it would have been worthwhile to keep the House in session just to see if the Senate would act. Of course, there’s always grandstanding from lawmakers about such efforts. Lawmakers regularly trumpet why Congress should remain in session over a recess or a weekend to try to fix one issue or another. Those are often the same lawmakers who have a cab idling just outside the Capitol, ready to whisk them across the river to make a flight at Reagan National Airport.

The Memorial Day recess is particularly problematic for scheduling. Many members have big overseas work trips planned. A number of lawmakers are expected to go to Normandy, France in a few days for the 75th anniversary of D-Day. That’s to say nothing of lawmakers who are jetting back to their states and districts to participate in Memorial Day parades and visit cemeteries.

Tethering lawmakers to Washington for a day or two, without a clear idea that a consequential vote is coming presents a problem. Yes, the Senate approved the disaster bill just after the House abandoned Washington. But it was far from clear that senators would do that Thursday.

So, the disaster measure is now stalled. Again.

Roy chatted briefly with Shalala on the House floor just before the session started Friday morning.

“He came up to graciously inform me he was going to object because he wanted the President’s border request to be included,” said Shalala. “This is not the way our government should work. We’re ready to work in the House in a bipartisan way. The same as the Senate was ready to go. One individual. His position is irresponsible.”

Shalala characterized the turn of events as “tragic.” She worried about the additional delay for families trying to recover.

“Why should they have to wait a week longer because some member of Congress objects?” asked the Florida Democrat.

Of course, the question is whether Roy simply delayed the inevitable. But the House won’t return to full action until June 4. The House appears to have the votes to pass the plan in bipartisan fashion.

“This, is respectfully, swamp-speak. Delaying the inevitable. It’s the inevitability of DC. The inevitability of spending where we don’t speak up and voice the concerns that I hear when I go back to every town in Texas 21,” said Roy. “Why aren’t we addressing disaster spending in a way that is fiscally responsible? We just keep writing checks.”

Roy got an earful from Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.

“It’s craven, shameful politics at its worst that a single House member would choose to further delay disaster relief,” protested Fried. “Congressman Roy must have forgotten the aid that Texans received after hurricane Harvey.”

But is passage of the bill inevitable? Simply delayed?

SENATE PASSES DISASTER AID BILL 

It is said that house guests and fish start to smell after three days. Consider the controversy which stymied this disaster package. Republicans tried to infuse the bill with presidential politics. They argued Senate Democrats running for President should vote yes – or face trouble in sodden Iowa ahead of the caucuses. Republicans contended Democrats played politics with Puerto Rico money. There were questions about what a stunted disaster bill would mean for Sens. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Ben Sasse, R-Neb., John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Perdue. All face re-election bids in states desperate for disaster assistance. All could face competitive races. Ernst is in a battleground state. Texas and Georgia are trending slightly toward Democrats. Then there were issues about adding humanitarian provisions for the border. Are things settled with this legislation? Or, will another impediment possibly expose the bill to political enzymes, ready to foul the legislation?

“I am not looking for a way to erode support for something,” said Roy when asked about letting the legislation bake in the parliamentary elements for more than a week. “This legislation should be offset. This legislation should include border funding so we can deal with that crisis.”

But the bill may not have to wait a week.

Only a few House members will linger around Washington for the next 11 days. The House is scheduled to meet briefly at 2 pm on Tuesday, May 28 and at 4:30 pm on Thursday, May 30. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., intimated that “we will take action as early as next week when the House meets again during pro forma.”

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That’s a reference to those short sessions. The House could again attempt to marshal unanimous consent to pass the disaster aid bill without a roll call vote. This is a ploy by Democrats to dare Roy or other Republicans to object again. Then Democrats can portray them as obstructionists who are trying to delay disaster assistance.

This could all backfire on Roy and other GOPers. If they don’t object, then the bill passes and the protestations fall by the wayside. If they do block the bill a second or a third time, then Democrats can easily make the case about Republican obstructionism.

Not a lot of people knew who Chip Roy was before today. But now they do. Democrats will pin a name and a face on the obstruction.

Then again, one senior Republican source told Fox “perhaps Roy wants it that way.”

Source: Fox News Politics

There is an old expression in Washington that nothing is decided until everything is decided.

Well, consider the state of the $19.1 billion disaster bill.

It took a Herculean effort to pry that package loose Thursday in the Senate, triggering an overwhelming, 85-8 vote. President Trump signaled to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., and Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., that he would sign the package – even without provisions for the border. The senators say the President indicated the disaster money was too important and had been stalled too long. States in the south and Midwest – stricken by hurricanes and flooding – could wait no longer.

That’s until Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, torpedoed everything Friday morning.

There are three ways the House and Senate can approve bills. They can conduct a standard roll call vote, where everyone either casts ballots as yea or nay. The House and Senate can hold a “voice vote.” That’s where everyone either hollers yea or nay. The loudest side is supposed to win.

However, the lawmaker who is presiding always declares “in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it” or “the noes have it.” But, if the losing side doesn’t like the outcome, they can always demand a recorded vote. Finally, there is “unanimous consent.” That’s where all 435 or 100 people must agree. All it takes is a solitary objection, even if everyone else wants to do something else. Lodging an objection stops everything.

LONE GOP REP BLOCKS DISASTER AID BILL IN SURPRISE MOVE

It is said you can make the sun rise in the west if you obtain unanimous consent.

This is where Roy comes in.

There were only three House members on the floor Friday when the House tried to advance the disaster aid measure by unanimous consent and sync up with the Senate. Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., presided over the session. Rep. Donna Shalala, D-Fla., was on the floor to make the unanimous consent request. And then there was Roy.

Those in favor of the measure outnumbered Roy two one.

Unanimous consent is powerful – but hard to obtain. There’s only one reason Roy showed up Friday morning as the House attempted to approve the measure with a skeleton staff on hand. Passing the package by unanimous consent would mean the House and Senate were in alignment, having okayed the same package. The measure would then be ready for President Trump’s signature.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., implored Democratic leaders to keep the House in session on Thursday to approve the disaster aid measure. But the House wasn’t going to budge until the Senate acted. Most House members jetted out of Washington midday Thursday for a week-and-a-half, starting the Memorial Day recess.

It was unclear until early Thursday afternoon as to the fate of the disaster package. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., warned his colleagues the Senate would vote “on something” on disaster aid and “not adjourn.” The Senate pondered re-voting a sidetracked version of disaster aid which fell apart in early April. But the Senate was set to vote on a retooled plan once President Trump signaled he would sign the measure – even without the border provisions. Things came together very quickly in the Senate. But the House was long gone.

One may ask whether it would have been worthwhile to keep the House in session just to see if the Senate would act. Of course, there’s always grandstanding from lawmakers about such efforts. Lawmakers regularly trumpet why Congress should remain in session over a recess or a weekend to try to fix one issue or another. Those are often the same lawmakers who have a cab idling just outside the Capitol, ready to whisk them across the river to make a flight at Reagan National Airport.

The Memorial Day recess is particularly problematic for scheduling. Many members have big overseas work trips planned. A number of lawmakers are expected to go to Normandy, France in a few days for the 75th anniversary of D-Day. That’s to say nothing of lawmakers who are jetting back to their states and districts to participate in Memorial Day parades and visit cemeteries.

Tethering lawmakers to Washington for a day or two, without a clear idea that a consequential vote is coming presents a problem. Yes, the Senate approved the disaster bill just after the House abandoned Washington. But it was far from clear that senators would do that Thursday.

So, the disaster measure is now stalled. Again.

Roy chatted briefly with Shalala on the House floor just before the session started Friday morning.

“He came up to graciously inform me he was going to object because he wanted the President’s border request to be included,” said Shalala. “This is not the way our government should work. We’re ready to work in the House in a bipartisan way. The same as the Senate was ready to go. One individual. His position is irresponsible.”

Shalala characterized the turn of events as “tragic.” She worried about the additional delay for families trying to recover.

“Why should they have to wait a week longer because some member of Congress objects?” asked the Florida Democrat.

Of course, the question is whether Roy simply delayed the inevitable. But the House won’t return to full action until June 4. The House appears to have the votes to pass the plan in bipartisan fashion.

“This, is respectfully, swamp-speak. Delaying the inevitable. It’s the inevitability of DC. The inevitability of spending where we don’t speak up and voice the concerns that I hear when I go back to every town in Texas 21,” said Roy. “Why aren’t we addressing disaster spending in a way that is fiscally responsible? We just keep writing checks.”

Roy got an earful from Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.

“It’s craven, shameful politics at its worst that a single House member would choose to further delay disaster relief,” protested Fried. “Congressman Roy must have forgotten the aid that Texans received after hurricane Harvey.”

But is passage of the bill inevitable? Simply delayed?

SENATE PASSES DISASTER AID BILL 

It is said that house guests and fish start to smell after three days. Consider the controversy which stymied this disaster package. Republicans tried to infuse the bill with presidential politics. They argued Senate Democrats running for President should vote yes – or face trouble in sodden Iowa ahead of the caucuses. Republicans contended Democrats played politics with Puerto Rico money. There were questions about what a stunted disaster bill would mean for Sens. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Ben Sasse, R-Neb., John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Perdue. All face re-election bids in states desperate for disaster assistance. All could face competitive races. Ernst is in a battleground state. Texas and Georgia are trending slightly toward Democrats. Then there were issues about adding humanitarian provisions for the border. Are things settled with this legislation? Or, will another impediment possibly expose the bill to political enzymes, ready to foul the legislation?

“I am not looking for a way to erode support for something,” said Roy when asked about letting the legislation bake in the parliamentary elements for more than a week. “This legislation should be offset. This legislation should include border funding so we can deal with that crisis.”

But the bill may not have to wait a week.

Only a few House members will linger around Washington for the next 11 days. The House is scheduled to meet briefly at 2 pm on Tuesday, May 28 and at 4:30 pm on Thursday, May 30. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., intimated that “we will take action as early as next week when the House meets again during pro forma.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

That’s a reference to those short sessions. The House could again attempt to marshal unanimous consent to pass the disaster aid bill without a roll call vote. This is a ploy by Democrats to dare Roy or other Republicans to object again. Then Democrats can portray them as obstructionists who are trying to delay disaster assistance.

This could all backfire on Roy and other GOPers. If they don’t object, then the bill passes and the protestations fall by the wayside. If they do block the bill a second or a third time, then Democrats can easily make the case about Republican obstructionism.

Not a lot of people knew who Chip Roy was before today. But now they do. Democrats will pin a name and a face on the obstruction.

Then again, one senior Republican source told Fox “perhaps Roy wants it that way.”

Source: Fox News Politics

Former CIA Director John Brennan and former DNI James Clapper blasted President Trump on Friday night for directing Attorney General William Barr to declassify documents related to the surveillance of his campaign during the 2016 election, calling it “outrageous.”

“I see it as a very, very serious and outrageous move on the part of Mr. Trump, once again, trampling on the statutory authorities of the Director of National Intelligence and the heads of the independent intelligence agencies,” Brennan told MSNBC host Chris Hayes. “And it’s unclear to me what Mr. Barr is actually going to do. Is he investigating a crime? Well, what’s the predication of that crime? Or he is just going to be looking for information… that Mr. Trump can just give to his defenders on the right and cherry-pick information that could be taken out of context?”

TRUMP VOWS TO UNCOVER RUSSIA PROBE ROOTS WITH DECLASSIFICATION CALL: ‘WE’RE EXPOSING EVERYTHING’

Brennan expressed concern about exposing “sources and methods” as well as the intelligence of “partners abroad.”

“This is very serious and I know that my former colleagues in the intelligence agencies are looking upon this with great concern and worry,” the former top Obama official stated.

He later said he hopes that DNI Dan Coats and CIA Director Gina Haspel will “stand up” to President Trump’s “unprecedented act.”

Brennan slammed President Trump on Twitter after the president shared a political cartoon mocking the former CIA Director, former DNI Clapper, and FBI Director James Comey.

TRUMP GIVES AG BARR AUTHORITY TO DECLASSIFY DOCUMENTS RELATED TO 2016 CAMPAIGN SURVEILLANCE

“Young people everywhere: Please do not emulate Mr. Trump’s very immature behavior. Find others of honesty, integrity, & decency to be your role models,” the MSNBC analyst tweeted. “And always try to do what you know is the right thing, even when doing what is right is both unpopular & difficult.”

Meanwhile, Clapper told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that the “bigger issue” is “what exactly is the scope” of the declassification, whether it involves all of Russia’s interference in the election or just the counter-intelligence probe. He expressed similar concerns as Brennan regarding sources and methods being exposed and putting “people’s lives at risk.”

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Clapper, now a CNN analyst, insisted that the infamous Steele dossier was not used as sourcing for the intelligence community assessment in January 2017.

Source: Fox News Politics

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is blasting President Donald Trump for “chest-thumping militarism” and warned that rising tensions between the U.S. and Iran “could very quickly get away from this president.”

At a campaign event Friday night in the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire, the one-time long shot for the nomination — who has surged the past two months to become a credible contender — also vowed that “I’m going to win” as he took an indirect jab at former Vice President Joe Biden, the clear front-runner in the Democratic 2020 race.

TRUMP SENDS 1,500 TROOPS TO MIDDLE EAST AMID RISING TENSIONS WITH IRAN

The South Bend, Indiana mayor and Afghanistan War veteran criticized the Republican president just hours after the Pentagon said that 1,500 additional U.S. forces and firepower are headed to the Middle East as the specter of potential conflict with Tehran increases.

The Trump administration has been ringing alarms the past month over what it calls “troubling” and “escalatory” moves by Iran. The U.S. has been raising the volume on Iran ever since the president took the country out of a multilateral nuclear deal with Iran a year ago.

Trump has spent weeks alternating between tough talk towards Tehran while still insisting he’s open to negotiating with the Islamic Republican. On Friday, the president told reporters before departing on a trip to Japan that “we’re going to be sending a relatively small number of troops, mostly protective.”

Buttigieg, speaking at a campaign event in Exeter, New Hampshire, claimed that Trump “now seems to be setting us on a course that could lead to violent confrontation.”

He later told reporters that “I’m very worried because we have steps towards confrontation in Iran that almost make it seem as though we learned nothing from the experience in Iraq.”

And he warned that “what we’re seeing right now is a set of escalations that could very quickly get away from this president to where he’s not even in control.”

JUDGE TEMPORARILY BLOCKS TRUMP’S BORDER WALL CONSTRUCTION PLANS

For the third time in two days, Buttigieg took aim at Trump accusing him of faking a disability decades ago in order to avoid military service in the Vietnam War.

Speaking to a crowd jam-packed into Exeter’s historic town hall that his campaign estimated at 680 people, the candidate charged Trump “used his privilege to avoid serving when it was his turn.”

He made similar comments at a campaign event with veterans in Londonderry, New Hampshire earlier in the evening.

Trump received five deferments from the draft for military service during the Vietnam War. Four were education deferments while he was a college student and the fifth – in 1968 after he graduated – was a medical exemption.

Two daughters of a New York podiatrist told The New York Times recently that 50 years ago, their father diagnosed Trump with bone spurs in his heels, as a favor to the doctor’s landlord, millionaire real estate developer Fred Trump.

SANDERS RIPS BIDEN FOR SWANKY FUNDRAISERS, ACCUSES HIM OF COURTING ELITE

On the campaign trail in 2015, as he was running for president, Trump said: “It was a long time ago … I had student deferments and then ultimately had a medical deferment because of my feet. I had a bone spur.”

Trump told reporters at the time that he couldn’t remember which foot had the problem. His campaign later said the bone spurs affected both feet.

Minutes after once again charging that Trump used his “privilege” to avoid military service, Buttigieg emphasized to the audience that “we can’t spend all our time thinking up a zinger that’s going to knock the president flat. Because any energy that goes his way, any attention that goes his way, even in the form of criticism, it’s kind of like food, he just takes it in and gets bigger off of it.”

Asked later by Fox News how he could square those comments with his repeated attacks on Trump the past two days over his Vietnam War deferments, the candidate answered “we absolutely need to say exactly what we think about the president’s wrongdoing, malfeasance and lies. It’s just that that can’t be our message. As soon as we say that, we’ve got to return to the question of how we’re going to make American lives better.”

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Buttigieg also appeared to take a shot at the former vice president during the town hall. In an obvious reference to Biden – who many voters feel may be the most electable candidate of the two-dozen Democrats currently running for president, Buttigieg argued that “sometimes we pick somebody who is less inspiring that we think will also be less risky and we wind up getting somebody that’s neither.”

“The point is you can move people. It’s not just about ideology. It’s not just about where your dot is on the political spectrum. It is about offering something new, offering something different,” the 37-year old candidate emphasized.

Asked by a member of the crowd why they should support him, Buttigieg declared “two reasons, I’m going to make a really good president and I’m going to win.”

Source: Fox News Politics

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump landed in Japan on Saturday, kicking off a highly anticipated state visit — with the president to become the first foreign leader to meet Japan’s new Emperor Naruhito.

The trip, which will last through Tuesday, comes amid fears among Japanese political and business leaders that U.S. tariffs on the auto industry will have a crippling effect on the Asian nation’s economy.

Japan enjoys a $70 billion trade surplus with the U.S, while it imports just a fraction of U.S. goods and imposes protective measures against competition from other countries, a source of frustration for Trump, who sees tariffs as a corrective measure.

U.S. President Donald Trump, right, and first lady Melania Trump arrive at the Haneda International Airport Saturday, May 25, 2019, in Tokyo. (Associated Press)

U.S. President Donald Trump, right, and first lady Melania Trump arrive at the Haneda International Airport Saturday, May 25, 2019, in Tokyo. (Associated Press)

TRUMP CHEERS US TROOPS DURING STOP IN ALASKA ON WAY TO MEET JAPAN’S NEW EMPEROR

Japan is expected to use the state visit as a charm offensive to convince Trump to spare the country of the punitive tariffs.

To fulfill this task, Trump is officially the first foreign leader invited to meet with the country’s new Emperor Naruhito, who inherited the throne earlier this month, a fact Trump gleefully acknowledged earlier this week. The emperor will treat Trump to a meeting and host an imperial banquet in Trump’s honor.

“Prime Minister [Shinzo] Abe said to me, very specifically, ‘You are the guest of honor.’ There’s only one guest of honor … I’m the guest of honor at the biggest event that they’ve had in over 200 years,” Trump said this week.

“So it’s a great thing. And we get along very well with Japan. I get along very well with the prime minister.”

U.S. President Donald Trump, right, is greeted by Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, left, on Trump's arrival at the Haneda International Airport Saturday, May 25, 2019, in Tokyo. (Associated Press)

U.S. President Donald Trump, right, is greeted by Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, left, on Trump’s arrival at the Haneda International Airport Saturday, May 25, 2019, in Tokyo. (Associated Press)

But the president’s first stop will be a dinner with business leaders at the U.S. ambassador’s residence in Tokyo after a brief airport welcome.

JAPAN’S TRADE NEGOTIATOR: US WON’T IMPOSE QUOTAS ON AUTOS

On Sunday, Trump and Abe are expected to play golf and then watch a sumo wrestling tournament in front-row seats. Trump previously called the sport “fascinating.”

Only on Monday will the two leaders sit down to talk about trade. A possibility of a trade deal is reportedly on the table, but officials on neither side committed to such goal. (Because of the Japan trip, Trump paid a pre-Memorial Day visit to Arlington National Cemetery on Thursday, to honor America’s war dead.)

The U.S. and Japanese leaders will also discuss the threat from North Korea, an issue that comes in the wake of U.S. national security adviser John Bolton’s comments on Friday that a series of short-range missile tests by North Korea last month was a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

U.S. President Donald Trump, second from left, reviews an honor guard during a welcome ceremony, escorted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Akasaka Palace in Tokyo, Nov. 6, 2017. (Associated Press)

U.S. President Donald Trump, second from left, reviews an honor guard during a welcome ceremony, escorted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Akasaka Palace in Tokyo, Nov. 6, 2017. (Associated Press)

But it remains to be seen whether the celebrations and close relationship between Trump and Abe will be enough to force Washington to reconsider imposing tariffs on Japanese auto exports.

The Trump administration is currently embroiled in a trade war against China over the country’s treatment of American companies.

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Yet the administration has been tough and criticized both Japan and the European Union for, in its view, unfair trade practices that exploit the U.S. economy.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif, invoked the 25th Amendment while weighing in on the bitter feud between President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during an appearance Friday on MSNBC.

When asked if she agreed with Pelosi that there’s “concern” about the president’s mental fitness, Speier not only agreed; she said she believes Trump should have been removed from office long ago.

HOUSE DEM SPEAKS ABOUT HER OWN ABORTION: GOVERNMENT HAS ‘NO RIGHT IN MY UTERUS’

“I have felt for some time that the mental stability of the president of the United States is in question,” Speier said. “And I suggested invoking the 25th Amendment way back when, when he was calling the leader of North Korea ‘Rocket Man,’ and trying to gin up a war with North Korea. And I think that what we have here is someone who is obsessed.”

The congresswoman went on to echo psychiatrists who’ve diagnosed Trump “from afar” and determined he is a “malignant narcissist,” which she said involves “anti-social behavior, paranoia, and sadism.”

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After she urged everyone to “put the name-calling aside,” Speier went on to call the president a “petulant child.”

“Nancy Pelosi is a mother of five and the grandmother of many more. She knows how to deal with petulant children,” Speier added.

Source: Fox News Politics

President Trump greeted military personnel in Alaska during a refueling stop on Friday while on his way to Japan for a state visit.

Trump talked with American troops on the tarmac at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, posed for photos and signed caps.

“Nice stop,” he was heard saying while walking across the tarmac.

TRUMP’S JAPAN VISIT TO FOCUS ON PERSONAL TIES, NOT SUBSTANCE

“We’re here in Alaska, we’re on our way to Japan, we’re with our great military. These are great, great future leaders, right?” Trump said in a video posted on Twitter.

“We just got off the plane, I wanted to say hello, and these are tremendous people,” he continued, pointing at the troops. “So thank you very much.”

Trump also met with Gov. Mike Dunleavy during the stop, discussing issues concerning Alaska such regulations affecting Alaska economy.

Trump was set to arrive in Japan on Saturday evening local time, with the president being the first foreign leader to meet Japan’s new emperor, Naruhito.

TRUMP PAYS RESPECT TO MILITARY DEAD AT ARLINGTON AHEAD OF MEMORIAL DAY

President Donald Trump greets troops after landing at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson for a refueling stop en route to Japan Friday, May 24, 2019, in Anchorage. (Associated Press)

President Donald Trump greets troops after landing at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson for a refueling stop en route to Japan Friday, May 24, 2019, in Anchorage. (Associated Press)

The latest charm offensive from Japan comes amid fears among Japanese leaders that the potential U.S. tariffs on cars could be devastating to the economy.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe likely to use his close relationship with Trump to make sure his country is spared of the tariffs.

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To make that happen, the organizers of the state visit will show Trump the country’s traditions, including meeting the emperor and attending sumo wrestling matches.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

A proposal to pay every American adult $1,000 per month is an opportunity to “put economic resources directly into” the taxpayers’ hands, Andrew Yang said.

Yang, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, told Laura Ingraham on “The Ingraham Angle” his plan would also be an incentive for cities to “invest in people who are struggling with substance abuse or homelessness.”

He claimed his proposal, dubbed the “Freedom Dividend,” would help fix problems faced by people who are struggling.

“It would create an economic path forward for many people who, right now, are struggling and don’t have access to, let’s say, treatment for substance abuse problems, or mental health issues,” Yang said.

2020 CANDIDATE ANDREW YANG DEFENDS $1,000 A MONTH PROGRAM, SLAMS DEMS FOR WANTING TO ABOLISH ELECTORAL COLLEGE

Yang claimed he’s traveled around the country and heard from voters who feel they are not “connected” to some of the positive results happening in the U.S. economy.

“The experience I’m having when I talk to voters around the country is that 70 percent of them are living paycheck to paycheck. Fifty-seven percent can’t afford an unexpected $500 bill,” he claimed.

“The experience I’m having when I talk to voters around the country is that 70 percent of them are living paycheck to paycheck. Fifty-seven percent can’t afford an unexpected $500 bill.”

— Andrew Yang, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate

Yang, 44, described the current economy as “winner-take-all” and said that in urban areas, poor and wealthy are living “next to each other in different circumstances.”

“We need to wake up to the fact that we’re in the midst of the greatest economic transformation in our country’s history, and start moving in the direction of just putting economic resources directly into our hands.”

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In a previous Fox News interview, Yang criticized the Trump administration’s tax cut, saying it benefits the wrong people.

“There is a lot of population that is struggling in the economy that has been charged up somewhat by a tax cut — most of which the benefits went to shareholders and stockholders instead of workers,” he said.

Fox News’ Victor Garcia contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

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.

Source: Fox News Politics

Democrats‘ continued subpoenas for documents and witnesses pertaining to the Trump administration are a way to “inflame their base,” according to a Republican lawmaker.

Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., claimed on “Hannity” that Democrats are trying to energize their voting base with their investigations into President Trump.

Guest host Jason Chaffetz asked why Democrats would call witnesses who “can’t attend” and would subpoena documents “they know can’t be released.”

PELOSI URGES TRUMP AIDES, FAMILY TO STAGE AN ‘INTERVENTION’ FOR THE ‘GOOD OF THE COUNTRY’

“They are trying to inflame their base. You served on the [Judiciary] committee with me, so you know how some of the people are who we faced on a regular basis,” Biggs claimed.

“They are trying to conduct an impeachment investigation without getting to impeachment,” he added. “The Democrats are ready to rock and roll.”

Biggs claimed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is doing everything in her power to “pull back on the horses” and keep her caucus “in check” on impeachment.

“I don’t think she can hold them back much longer,” he said.

Biggs charged that Pelosi “put gas on the fire” by accusing Trump of a “cover-up.”

“Those are the key phrases of the Nixon impeachment and Bill Clinton’s impeachment. She has to be so careful.”

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On Thursday, Pelosi criticized Trump’s alleged behavior at a White House meeting on infrastructure that was cut short.

“The president stormed out, pounded the table, walked out the door,” Pelosi told reporters. “Another temper tantrum, again, I pray for the president of the United States. I wish that his family, the administration, and his staff would have an intervention for the good of the country.”

Source: Fox News Politics

Fox News’ Tucker Carlson vented his frustration on Friday with Democrats, criticizing them for their reaction to President Trump giving Attorney General William Barr authority to declassify information related to the origins of the Russia probe and accusing them of trying to “distract” Americans.

“Politicizing the Justice Department, that’s what they’re concerned about? Politicizing the Justice Department didn’t seem to be a main concern when FBI agents spied on and then slandered [former Trump campaign aide] Carter Page an entirely innocent American citizen. When another two FBI agents were caught talking about an insurance policy against trump becoming president, and then promising to stop him, that wasn’t politicizing the Justice Department either according to them,” Carlson said on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

TRUMP GIVES AG BARR AUTHORITY TO DECLASSIFY DOCUMENTS RELATED TO 2016 CAMPAIGN SURVEILLANCE

Trump on Friday promised to uncover the origins of the Russia investigation for all to see after he approved the declassification of documents related to the surveillance of his campaign during the 2016 presidential election.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., criticized the president for allowing classified materials to be released.

“While Trump stonewalls the public from learning the truth about his obstruction of justice, Trump and Barr conspire to weaponize law enforcement and classified information against their political enemies.  The coverup has entered a new and dangerous phase.  This is un-American,” Schiff tweeted Thursday.

Carlson called Schiff a “nut case” and accused Democrats of trying to distract Americans.

“For two and a half years we listened to their absurd theories about Russian collusion. The goal was to distract us from the implications of the 2016 election. And more broadly to keep Americans from noticing what is happening to their country. The dying small towns, the needles and garbage flooding the big cities, the overrun border, the Middle Eastern wars that persist for no reason. The grotesque and growing income inequality on the coast. The rise of China abroad, etc. these are actual problems. In some cases they are full-blown crises,” Carlson explained.

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Carlson added, “They need solutions and serious people to think about those solutions every day this farce about Russia and coverups continues is another day that America gets weaker and more divided.”

Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

A federal judge on Friday temporarily blocked the Trump administration’s plan to spend billions to construct a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border with Defense Department funds.

U.S. District Court Judge Haywood Gilliam’s ruling applies to wall construction in specific areas in El Paso, Texas and Yuma, Arizona. Trump declared a national emergency in February to redirect funding from the Department of Defense to begin construction of his long-promised border wall.

“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,” wrote Gilliam, who was appointed to the bench by former President Barack Obama.

In this Nov. 21, 2018, file photo, two Honduran men pose as a photographer, at left, takes their picture after the group climbed the border wall separating Tijuana, Mexico, and San Diego, before climbing back down on the Mexican side, seen from San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

In this Nov. 21, 2018, file photo, two Honduran men pose as a photographer, at left, takes their picture after the group climbed the border wall separating Tijuana, Mexico, and San Diego, before climbing back down on the Mexican side, seen from San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

THAT LOOSE CHANGE LEFT AT AIRPORTS MAY BE USED TO HELP FUND BORDER OPERATIONS

The move was a workaround Congress, which had not given in to his demands to fund the barrier. The wall has been Trump’s signature promise. Gilliam’s ruling doesn’t prevent the Trump administration from using other sources to fund the wall.

He said Trump’s plan to divert Pentagon funds for border-wall construction was unconstitutional because the argument White House relied on applied to unforeseen needs, Politico reported.

“Defendants’ argument that the need for the requested border barrier construction funding was ‘unforeseen’ cannot logically be squared with the Administration’s multiple requests for funding for exactly that purpose dating back to at least early 2018,” the Obama nominee wrote.

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a Fox News request for comment.

Trump declared the national emergency after a stand-off between him and Democrats over border wall funding resulted in the 35-day partial government shutdown.

Around 20 states, environmental groups and civil liberties groups sued the administration to halt plans for the wall.

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“This order is a win for our system of checks and balances, the rule of law, and border communities,” Dror Ladin, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project, said in a statement. “The court blocked all the wall projects currently slated for immediate construction. If the administration begins illegally diverting additional military funds, we’ll be back in court to block that as well.”

The ACLU filed a motion on behalf of the Sierra Club and the Southern Border Communities Coalition to block wall construction.

This is a developing story. Check back with Fox News for updates.

Source: Fox News Politics

A federal judge on Friday temporarily blocked the Trump administration from spending billions to construct a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border with money from Trump national emergency declaration.

U.S. District Court Judge Haywood Gilliam’s ruling applies to construction in specific areas in Texas and Arizona.

“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.”

Around 20 states, environmental groups and civil liberties groups sued the administration to halt plans for the wall.

This is a developing story. Check back with Fox News for updates.

Source: Fox News Politics

Why are Obama-era intelligence officials so concerned with President’s Trump’s call to declassify information regarding the origins of the Russia probe?

“Because we don’t know exactly what they did,” Washington Examiner chief political correspondent Byron York said Friday on “The Story with Martha MacCallum.”

Trump vowed Friday to uncover the origins of the Russia investigation for all to see after he approved the declassification of documents related to the surveillance of his campaign during the 2016 presidential election.

DOJ AGREES TO SHARE SOME MUELLER DOCUMENTS WITH DEMOCRATS

“We are exposing everything,” the president said Friday.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., blasted the president for allowing the release of classified materials, calling it a “corrupt escalation of the president’s intention” to politicize the intelligence community.

York argued that the president and Attorney General Barr are trying to get to the bottom of a story that has become a public concern.

“We are learning in dribs and drabs something we need to have a bigger picture on that’s what the president and attorney general are trying to get at,” York said.

As for concerns that confidential material will be released York says that that will be Barr’s job to ensure that what needs to remain confidential will.

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“There are a few things that need to stay secret. Most of it can be released. These are judgments that the attorney general is going to make to give the public an idea of what happened,” York said.

York added, “But, in this, especially since it’s a matter of such public concern, one party has wanted to use this Trump-Russia affair to try to remove the president from office. I mean, there is the highest need for public knowledge about this.  This is the president’s way by delegating it to the attorney general to do it a fairly orderly but fast fashion.”

Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Why are Obama-era intelligence officials so concerned with President’s Trump’s call to declassify information regarding the origins of the Russia probe?

“Because we don’t know exactly what they did,” Washington Examiner chief political correspondent Byron York said Friday on “The Story with Martha MacCallum.”

Trump vowed Friday to uncover the origins of the Russia investigation for all to see after he approved the declassification of documents related to the surveillance of his campaign during the 2016 presidential election.

DOJ AGREES TO SHARE SOME MUELLER DOCUMENTS WITH DEMOCRATS

“We are exposing everything,” the president said Friday.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., blasted the president for allowing the release of classified materials, calling it a “corrupt escalation of the president’s intention” to politicize the intelligence community.

York argued that the president and Attorney General Barr are trying to get to the bottom of a story that has become a public concern.

“We are learning in dribs and drabs something we need to have a bigger picture on that’s what the president and attorney general are trying to get at,” York said.

As for concerns that confidential material will be released York says that that will be Barr’s job to ensure that what needs to remain confidential will.

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“There are a few things that need to stay secret. Most of it can be released. These are judgments that the attorney general is going to make to give the public an idea of what happened,” York said.

York added, “But, in this, especially since it’s a matter of such public concern, one party has wanted to use this Trump-Russia affair to try to remove the president from office. I mean, there is the highest need for public knowledge about this.  This is the president’s way by delegating it to the attorney general to do it a fairly orderly but fast fashion.”

Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

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Is there a double standard for President Trump in his war of words with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi?

Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich says there is and criticized Democrats and the media for favoring Pelosi. Indeed, Pavlich defended the president for defending himself.

“I love how the phrase ‘getting under someone’s skin’ is now defined by simply responding to attacks. Remember how [then-Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett] Kavanaugh defended himself and everyone’s like, ‘he’s too angry to be on the Supreme Court.’ This is basically the same thing,” Pavlich said Friday while co-hosting “The Five.”

TRUMP CALLS OUT PELOSI FOR ACCUSING HIM OF A ‘COVER-UP’ DURING INFRASTRUCTURE MEETING

“She accuses him of a cover-up in front of everybody to appease her Democratic caucus after an impeachment meeting, and then wonders why the president would have something to say about her behavior and what they are doing.”

Trump and Pelosi went back and forth Thursday, with the speaker asking the president’s family to hold an intervention for Trump due to his meeting walkout Wednesday. Trump responded by saying Pelosi was “not the same person, she’s lost it.”

Pavlich called out MSNBC host Joe Scarborough for saying Friday that the president was “pre-dementia.”

“People very close to him told us that he feared he was pre-dementia, that he had changed. You watch Donald Trump in the late 1980s, even in the 90s, you watch him now, he is completely changed,” Scarborough said.

“Can we talk about the media again doing their own self-diagnosis of the problem? Like, you’re not allowed to make any jokes right now about Jerry Nadler having an issue, but people like Joe Scarborough are allowed to go on national television and say that people have told him without actually naming anybody, that the president is pre-dementia,” Pavlich said.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Nadler, D-N.Y., had to receive medical attention Friday after a health scare at an event in New York City.

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His office said he merely felt ill but did not faint, disputing reports. A spokesman for Nadler told Fox News that the congressman “seems to have been dehydrated.”

Pavlich criticized members of the media for speculating on the president’s health.

“I remember when … we weren’t allowed to ask about anybody’s health when it came to that, but now news anchors are diagnosing people’s mental health,” Pavlich said.

Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

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The American people “have every right to know” if political interference took place at the Justice Department regarding the Russia investigation, Greg Steube said.

Representative Steube, R-Fla., claimed Friday on “Outnumbered Overtime” that anyone involved in potential interference “has every right for justice to be served.”

Steube’s remarks come in the wake of President Trump giving Attorney General William Barr the authority to declassify any documents related to surveillance of the Trump campaign in 2016.

TRUMP GIVES AG BARR AUTHORITY TO DECLASSIFY DOCUMENTS RELATED TO 2016 CAMPAIGN SURVEILLANCE

“Today, at the request and recommendation of the attorney general of the United States, President Donald J. Trump directed the intelligence community to quickly and fully cooperate with the attorney general’s investigation into surveillance activities during the 2016 presidential election,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

“The attorney general has also been delegated full and complete authority to declassify information pertaining to this investigation, in accordance with the long-established standards for handling classified information. Today’s action will help ensure that all Americans learn the truth about the events that occurred, and the actions that were taken, during the last presidential election and will restore confidence in our public institutions,” Sanders’ statement continued.

Steube, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, predicted that Barr would empanel a grand jury if indictments are necessary in the future.

He added Americans are likely concerned with the existence of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court.

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“I think that every American would initially have some grave concerns of a court that is operating completely in secret,” Steube claimed. “Given all the information and facts, if the information that was represented to the FISA court — if they knew this was campaign fodder or promulgated and still decided to issue a warrant, that would bring a lot of things to questions.”

“Those are questions that I would have,” he said.

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The Trump administration on Friday informed Congress the president will invoke his emergency authority to bypass lawmakers’ approval of arms sales to Saudi Arabia, citing the threat to the United States from Iran.

The move comes as Trump announced plans Friday to send about 1,600 troops to the Middle East amid rising tensions with Iran.

TRUMP APPROVES PENTAGON PLAN TO SEND MORE U.S. TROOPS TO MIDDLE EAST

“Iran’s malign activity poses a fundamental threat to the stability of the Middle East and to Americans at home and abroad. We took this step of prudent diplomatic deterrence to augment our partners’ long-term capacity for self-defense and threat mitigation,” a senior State Department official told Fox News.

The official added, “Congress won’t act, but we will. “

The administration is using an emergency loophole in the Arms Export Control Act to move ahead with sales of $7 billion in precision-guided munitions, other bombs, ammo and aircraft maintenance support to Saudi Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates and Jordan, without lawmakers’ approval.

The chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Republican Sen. Jim Risch of Idaho, said he was “reviewing and analyzing the legal justification for this action and the associated implications.”

The administration pointed out that this authority has been invoked by past presidents on multiple occasions, including in 1979, 1984, 1990 and 2006.

The plan was swiftly condemned by Democratic senators.

“I am disappointed, but not surprised, that the Trump administration has failed once again to prioritize our long-term national security interests or stand up for human rights, and instead is granting favors to authoritarian countries like Saudi Arabia,” said New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“President Trump circumventing Congress to sell more weapons to Saudi Arabia is unacceptable,” said California Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

“President Trump is only using this loophole because he knows Congress would disapprove of this sale,” said Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

In his notification, Pompeo said he had made the determination “that an emergency exists which requires the immediate sale” of the weapons “in order to deter further the malign influence of the government of Iran throughout the Middle East region.” He said the transfers “must occur as quickly as possible in order to deter further Iranian adventurism in the Gulf and throughout the Middle East.”

It comes as the administration has actively courted close ties with Saudi Arabia over congressional objections, notably following the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a U.S.-based columnist for The Washington Post, by Saudi agents in October.

There is a precedent for using the emergency exemption for arms sales to Saudi Arabia. President Ronald Reagan invoked it in the 1980s, and both Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush used it for sales before the 1991 Gulf War and the 2003 Iraq war, respectively.

Fox News’ Rich Edson, Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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President Trump’s administration will reportedly reverse his predecessor’s policy of blocking federal funding for religious adoption organizations that refuse to serve same-sex couples.

Administration officials, according to Axios Friday, debated to decide between two different provisions — a religious-based exemption and striking down the previous administration’s rule altogether — to accomplish their goal without facing defeat in the courts.

The policy change would likely come in July and through the Health and Human Services Department’s Office of Civil Rights, a group that has been at the forefront of angering progressives with rules advancing Trump’s religious freedom agenda.

Roger Severino, director of that office, reportedly refused to comment directly on the issue.

PROTECTIONS EXPANDED FOR DOCTORS WITH ‘CONSCIENCE’ OBJECTIONS TO ABORTIONS, OTHER PROCEDURES

The administration’s reported decision reflected a broader battle in which states struggled to balance religious interests with those of same-sex couples. Multiple Catholic adoption agencies have already shut down, refusing to comply with anti-discrimination policies due to Church teaching on marriage and sex.

The reported policy drew swift condemnation from the Human Rights Campaign, which has derided similar measures at the state level.

“Quite literally the definition of cruel and evil,” HRC president Chad Griffin tweeted on Friday.

CHRISTIAN ADOPTION AGENCY SUES NEW YORK AFTER STATE TRIES TO SHUT IT DOWN

“Our leaders should be making it easier for children in need of a loving home to find one, not trying to find new ways to license discrimination,” he added. “This is unconscionable and an attack on families.”

Conservatives have maintained that same-sex couples could seek opportunities with secular agencies. They’ve also argued that without religious exemptions, foster children would lose even more resources as longstanding agencies drop their practices altogether.

In Philadelphia, foster families sued the city over an ordinance that would force Catholic Social Services to end its program. The suit, according to the firm that brought the case, represented the first opportunity to test how courts viewed religious freedom in that context. A Christian adoption agency similarly sued the city of Syracuse after it gave them an ultimatum: serve same-sex couples or close shop.

The Supreme Court eventually dismissed a request to grant a preliminary injunction on behalf of the foster families in Philadelphia. Becket Fund senior counsel Lori Windham, who spearheaded that case, said HHS’s current rules violated the First Amendment.

FEDERAL JUDGE BLOCKS MEDICAID WORK RULES IN SETBACK FOR TRUMP

HHS did not immediately provide comment when requested by Fox News.

“We need all hands on deck finding loving homes for kids. We have already seen this regulation used to try to shut down faith-based agencies in Michigan,” Windham said in a statement provided to Fox News.

“HHS should admit that this rule violates the First Amendment. Then it should remove barriers to the full participation of faith-based adoption agencies.”

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News of the administration’s decision came on the same day that HHS faced blowback over a rule excluding “gender identity” from sex discrimination protections for health care.

HHS, along with the Education Department, took the controversial step of interpreting Title IX — a sex discrimination statute — as only applying to biological attributes rather than self-described identity.

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Presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, (D-Hawaii), said Friday she would re-enter the Iran nuclear deal if elected to the White House.

On “America’s Newsroom,” Gabbard told hosts Bill Hemmer and Sandra Smith that the United States is on the brink of war with Iran, echoing comments she made during an appearance on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” Thursday night.

“I know where this path leads us and I’m concerned because the American people don’t seem to be prepared for how devastating and costly such a war would be,” Gabbard said.

Gabbard, 38, referred to her time as a service member, saying, “I’m very familiar with the region, the cost of war, and where this path leads us. And, the American people need to understand how devastating and costly such a war would be, how it would impact almost every part of our lives.

“It would undermine our national security. It would strengthen terrorist groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda. It would take a terrible human toll: the cost of countless American service members’ lives: my brothers and sisters in uniform. The cost to civilians in the region…Increasing the refugee crisis across Europe…And, it would cost trillions of dollars. Trillions of dollars that would come out of our pockets. Taxpayers’ pockets. To pay for this endless war. Resources that we would not be able to use for things like rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure.”

President Trump  approved the Pentagon’s plan to send about 1,600 troops to the Middle East amid rising tensions with Iran, U.S. officials told Fox News on Friday.

Fewer than 1,000 new troops are deploying, but about 600 soldiers who are already deployed will be extended. The 600 are part of a Patriot missile battalion currently deployed in the region.

Gabbard said that the decisions the Trump administration has taken towards Iran have made relations even more strained. “The decisions that this administration has taken towards Iran have made things worse not better. They have made our country, the American people, less safe—not more secure—by pulling out of this Iran nuclear deal.”

Gabbard acknowledged there were “flaws” and “concerns” in the Iran nuclear deal, “…that should’ve been addressed separately while maintaining and upholding the Iran nuclear deal to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.”

“Instead, by the Trump administration pulling out from this deal, they’ve essentially given Iran an excuse to be able to restart this Iran nuclear weapons program,” said Gabbard. “That makes us and the world far less safe.

“So, as president, I would re-enter the Iran nuclear deal. I would work out the difference separately outside of that and de-escalate the tensions that are, unfortunately, bringing us to the point where we are at a brink of war with Iran today.

“As president, I will end these wasteful regime-change wars. Whether it’s against countries like Venezuela, Iran, or Syria…Work to end this new Cold War that we are in with ever-increasing tensions between the United States and nuclear-armed countries like Russia and China, and end this nuclear arms race and take the trillions of dollars that we would continue to spend on these wars and weapons if we continue down the path we are on. And, take those dollars and put them back in the pockets of the American people. Use those dollars to serve the needs of the American people,” she said.

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Sen. Bernie Sanders‘ presidential campaign is once again taking aim at Joe Biden for the former vice president’s numerous top-dollar fundraising events from coast to coast.

In a fundraising email to supporters titled “We risk falling behind,” Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir wrote Friday that Biden’s “raising huge sums of money at large fundraising events all across the country. And these are not grassroots fundraising events.”

BIDEN CAMPAIGN TOUTS DIGITAL FUNDRAISING

He said “these are high-dollar functions hosted and attended by corporate lobbyists, health care executives, a Republican casino-CEO, and a union-busting lawyer among others.”

Faiz stressed the independent senator from Vermont’s small-dollar and grassroots approach to fundraising, highlighting that “the truth of the matter is that the American people are pretty sick and tired of the billionaire class of this country buying up our candidates and our elections. We can win elections without begging those people for money.”

Biden has been raising big bucks through small-dollar online donations – his campaign this week touted their online contributions and said those kinds of contributions made up the lion’s share of the whopping $6.3 million it raised in the 24 hours after the former vice president announced his candidacy last month.

But Biden’s also been holding some high-profile, high-end fundraisers. On his first night as a White House contender, he raised $700,000 at the Philadelphia home of a Comcast executive. He also hauled in big bucks at a Hollywood finance event earlier this month and at two Florida fundraisers this week.

The former vice president’s expected to hold two major fundraisers in Boston on June 5, and two more in New York City on June 17, sources close to Biden’s inner circle told Fox News.

Fundraising was far from then-Sen. Biden’s wheelhouse in his unsuccessful White House runs in the 1988 and 2008 presidential cycles. But so far, the third time appears to be the charm, as Biden’s raking in big bucks both at traditional fundraisers with deep-pocketed donors — which he’s opened up to media coverage in a move for transparency — as well as through online contributions.

Biden adviser Brandon English touted in an email earlier this week that the campaign’s “fundraising has been driven by rapid, massive growth over the last month.”

The courting of wealthy donors used to be commonplace, but this time around, the two progressive leaders in the Democratic nomination race — Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts — have criticized Biden and sworn off those types of donations.

LATEST POLL NUMBERS IN 2020 DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION RACE

But Sanders reportedly has decided to now hold in-person fundraising events and has hired an official to oversee such finance events.

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Among the throng of abortion-rights demonstrators in front of the Supreme Court this week were six Democratic presidential candidates.

They were there to protest new abortion restrictions passed by Republican-dominated legislatures in such states as Georgia, Missouri and especially Alabama, which approved an outright ban on abortions.

SOUTH CAROLINA GOVERNOR PLEDGES TO SIGN ‘HEARTBEAT’ ABORTION BILL

“We are not going to allow them to move our country backward,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota vowed as she spoke to the crowd.

Another White House hopeful, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, called the measures “the beginning of President Trump’s war on women.”

And Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey urged those protesting to “wake up more men to join this fight.”

The demonstration on the steps of the nation’s highest court was the latest sign that the divisive issue of abortion has rocketed to the center of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination — and with a lawsuit filed Friday against the Alabama law, legal proceedings could easily keep the debate hot going into the 2020 general election.

But the question going forward — will the debate mobilize Democrats to the same degree Republicans have used the issue to energize social conservatives in the decades since the landmark Roe v. Wade high court ruling codified abortion protections? Part of President Trump’s 2016 coalition included social conservatives who, despite reservations about the candidate, wanted to ensure federal court vacancies were filled by like-minded jurists.

LA COUNTY OFFICIALS VOTE TO BAN TRAVEL TO ALABAMA OVER ABORTION LAW

And with numerous state abortion laws tempting legal challenges, an epic battle over abortion restrictions could be shaping up in the future before a Supreme Court that Trump has made more conservative since taking office.

On Friday, Missouri’s governor signed a bill banning abortions after eight weeks. Last week, Alabama passed an outright abortion ban, including for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, unless the woman’s life is in danger. Days earlier, Georgia banned abortions absent a medical emergency after six weeks of pregnancy. The measure also made abortions illegal after a fetus’s heartbeat can be detected, which can happen before a woman even realizes she is pregnant.

“More than anything, I think what you’re seeing from both the presidential candidates and the broader Democratic elected and progressive activist universe is a visceral response to blatant attacks on women’s reproductive rights,” highlighted veteran Democratic consultant and communications strategist Lynda Tran. “For so many women — and men — across the country, this isn’t politics as much as it is personal.”

In his 2012 re-election, then-President Barack Obama hammered GOP nominee Mitt Romney and Republicans for waging what he and other Democrats described as a “war on women.”

Four years later, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton reiterated the theme as she spotlighted her support for Roe v. Wade — and Trump vowed to put “pro-life justices on the court.”

While the 2020 Democrats largely support abortion rights and criticize the recent state laws, they do differ when it comes to how much emphasis they put on the issue.

Gillibrand traveled to Atlanta last week, to protest Georgia’s new measure at the state capital and once again vowed to nominate judges who vow to uphold Roe v. Wade.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts produced a new policy proposal to protect access to reproductive health care.

And Sen. Kamala Harris of California has spotlighted the fight for abortion rights on the campaign trail the past couple of weeks.

But it’s not just the female candidates.

Booker earlier this week rolled out a plan that would include creating a White House Office of Reproductive Freedom.

Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Reps. Tim Ryan of Ohio, Eric Swalwell of California, and Seth Moulton of Massachusetts also attended the rally outside the Supreme Court.

Social conservatives are banking on the legal challenges against the new state laws eventually ending up before the high court, which they hope will overturn Roe v. Wade.

FOX NEWS POLL: MAJORITY WANT ROE V. WADE TO ENDURE

But public perceptions about the 1973 ruling appear to be shifting.

A Fox News Poll in January indicated that six in 10 registered voters wanted the precedent to remain in place, while just 21 percent wanted Roe v. Wade overturned.

And 28 percent of those questioned in a Quinnipiac University survey released this week said abortion should be legal in all cases, an all-time high in that organization’s polling. Eight percent said abortion should be illegal in all cases, the lowest level since Quinnipiac first asked the question 15 years ago.

Female voters helped drive the Democrats’ success at the ballot box in 2018, as they recaptured the majority in the House. Democratic strategists say the issues will help rally the troops again in 2020.

Tran noted that “Republicans seem to be banking on these laws and this fight helping to turn out their base in 2020.”

But she spotlighted “what it will also likely do is enable Democrats who won huge victories in 2018 thanks to women voters in key districts nationally to drive up what is already heightened voter enthusiasm among progressives even higher.”

The Republican National Committee says the issue of abortion is distracting Democrats from getting the work of the people accomplished.

“While Democrats continue to espouse extreme positions on abortion,” argued RNC press secretary Blair Ellis, “they neglect the real and substantive work they promised the American people.”

A veteran GOP consultant thinks the significance of abortion’s impact on the 2020 election is overstated.

“The issue of abortion rights is a hot button issue for a small portion of either party,” said Lauren Caren, a veteran of numerous Republican presidential and Senate campaigns.

“What the middle of the road person expects is common sense. So I don’t see this issue as being the pinnacle of all issues for this election cycle,” added Carney, who served as a top adviser to Carly Fiorina’s 2016 White House bid.

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Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on Friday signed a bill that bans abortions on or beyond the eighth week of pregnancy without exceptions for cases of rape or incest, making it among the most restrictive abortion policies in the nation.

Under the law that comes into force Aug. 28, doctors who violate the eight-week cutoff could face five to 15 years in prison. Women who terminate their pregnancies cannot be prosecuted. A legal challenge is expected, although it’s unclear when that might occur.

The measure includes exceptions for medical emergencies, such as when there is a risk of death or permanent physical injuries to “a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.” But the lack of exceptions women who find themselves pregnant after being raped or subject to incest has drawn sharp criticism, including from wealthy GOP donor David Humphreys, a Missouri businessman, who had urged the Republican governor to veto the bill and called it “bad public policy.”

Parson defended the lack of exceptions as he spoke to a group of abortion opponents gathered Friday for the bill signing in his Capitol office.

ALABAMA ABORTION LAW CHALLENGED IN PLANNED PARENTHOOD LAWSUIT

“Is it a terrible thing that happens in those situations? Yes it is. … But the reality of it is bad things do happen sometimes. But you have two months to decide what you’re going to do with that issue, and I believe in two months you can make a decision,” he said.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri said it was exploring “all options, including litigation, to block the law from going into effect.” The organization’s state legislative and policy director, Sara Baker, in a statement said the bill is “unconstitutional, and it must be stopped.”

Alabama’s governor signed a bill on May 15 making performing an abortion a felony in nearly all cases. Supporters have said they hope to provoke a legal challenge that will eventually force the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit its landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationally.

Unlike Alabama’s near-total abortion ban, lawmakers who helped draft the Missouri bill say it’s meant to withstand court challenges instead of spark them. If the eight-week ban is struck down, the bill includes a ladder of less-restrictive time limits at 14, 18 or 20 weeks.

Missouri’s bill also includes an outright ban on abortions except in cases of medical emergencies, but that would kick in only if Roe v. Wade is overturned. Missouri Right to Life called it “the strongest pro-life bill in Missouri history.”

KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR CALLS FOR BOYCOTT OF STATES OVER ANTI-ABORTION LAWS

Missouri state House Democratic Minority Leader Crystal Quade said in a written statement the new law treats women “as little more than fetal incubators with no rights or role in the decision, even in cases of rape and incest.”

Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio and Georgia also have approved bans on abortions once fetal cardiac activity can be detected, which can occur in about the sixth week of pregnancy. Some of those laws already have been challenged in court, and similar restrictions in North Dakota and Iowa have been struck down by judges.

Missouri already has some of the nation’s most restrictive abortion regulations, including a requirement that doctors performing abortions have partnerships with nearby hospitals. Missouri is down to one clinic performing abortions, which is in St. Louis.

A total of 3,903 abortions occurred in Missouri in 2017, the last full year for which the state Department of Health and Senior Services has statistics online. Of those, 1,673 occurred at under nine weeks and 119 occurred at 20 weeks or later in a pregnancy.

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A total of 2,910 abortions occurred in 2018 in Missouri, according to the agency.

The bill also bans abortions based solely on race, sex or a diagnosis indicating the potential for Down syndrome.

It also requires a parent or guardian giving written consent for a minor to get an abortion to first notify the other parent, except if the other parent has been convicted of a violent or sexual crime, is subject to a protection order, is “habitually in an intoxicated or drugged condition,” or lacks legal or physical custody.

Source: Fox News Politics

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on Friday signed a bill that bans abortions on or beyond the eighth week of pregnancy without exceptions for cases of rape or incest, making it among the most restrictive abortion policies in the nation.

Under the law that comes into force Aug. 28, doctors who violate the eight-week cutoff could face five to 15 years in prison. Women who terminate their pregnancies cannot be prosecuted. A legal challenge is expected, although it’s unclear when that might occur.

The measure includes exceptions for medical emergencies, such as when there is a risk of death or permanent physical injuries to “a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.” But the lack of exceptions women who find themselves pregnant after being raped or subject to incest has drawn sharp criticism, including from wealthy GOP donor David Humphreys, a Missouri businessman, who had urged the Republican governor to veto the bill and called it “bad public policy.”

Parson defended the lack of exceptions as he spoke to a group of abortion opponents gathered Friday for the bill signing in his Capitol office.

ALABAMA ABORTION LAW CHALLENGED IN PLANNED PARENTHOOD LAWSUIT

“Is it a terrible thing that happens in those situations? Yes it is. … But the reality of it is bad things do happen sometimes. But you have two months to decide what you’re going to do with that issue, and I believe in two months you can make a decision,” he said.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri said it was exploring “all options, including litigation, to block the law from going into effect.” The organization’s state legislative and policy director, Sara Baker, in a statement said the bill is “unconstitutional, and it must be stopped.”

Alabama’s governor signed a bill on May 15 making performing an abortion a felony in nearly all cases. Supporters have said they hope to provoke a legal challenge that will eventually force the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit its landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationally.

Unlike Alabama’s near-total abortion ban, lawmakers who helped draft the Missouri bill say it’s meant to withstand court challenges instead of spark them. If the eight-week ban is struck down, the bill includes a ladder of less-restrictive time limits at 14, 18 or 20 weeks.

Missouri’s bill also includes an outright ban on abortions except in cases of medical emergencies, but that would kick in only if Roe v. Wade is overturned. Missouri Right to Life called it “the strongest pro-life bill in Missouri history.”

KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR CALLS FOR BOYCOTT OF STATES OVER ANTI-ABORTION LAWS

Missouri state House Democratic Minority Leader Crystal Quade said in a written statement the new law treats women “as little more than fetal incubators with no rights or role in the decision, even in cases of rape and incest.”

Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio and Georgia also have approved bans on abortions once fetal cardiac activity can be detected, which can occur in about the sixth week of pregnancy. Some of those laws already have been challenged in court, and similar restrictions in North Dakota and Iowa have been struck down by judges.

Missouri already has some of the nation’s most restrictive abortion regulations, including a requirement that doctors performing abortions have partnerships with nearby hospitals. Missouri is down to one clinic performing abortions, which is in St. Louis.

A total of 3,903 abortions occurred in Missouri in 2017, the last full year for which the state Department of Health and Senior Services has statistics online. Of those, 1,673 occurred at under nine weeks and 119 occurred at 20 weeks or later in a pregnancy.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

A total of 2,910 abortions occurred in 2018 in Missouri, according to the agency.

The bill also bans abortions based solely on race, sex or a diagnosis indicating the potential for Down syndrome.

It also requires a parent or guardian giving written consent for a minor to get an abortion to first notify the other parent, except if the other parent has been convicted of a violent or sexual crime, is subject to a protection order, is “habitually in an intoxicated or drugged condition,” or lacks legal or physical custody.

Source: Fox News Politics

President Trump vowed Friday to uncover the origins of the Russia investigation for all to see after he approved the declassification of documents related to the surveillance of his campaign during the 2016 presidential election.

Before departing the White House for a trip to Japan, the president defended his decision in the face of Democratic accusations that he had overridden “longstanding rules” on classified material.

“We want to be very transparent, so as you know, I declassified everything,” Trump told reporters. “We are exposing everything.”

TRUMP GIVES AG BARR AUTHORITY TO DECLASSIFY DOCUMENTS RELATED TO 2016 CAMPAIGN SURVEILLANCE

The president said his decision will ensure that investigators looking into the origins of the probe have everything they need, “so they’ll be able to see how and why this whole hoax started.” He reiterated his charge that the probe was an “attempted takedown of the president of the United States.”

He added: “You’re gonna learn a lot. I hope it’s going to be nice, but perhaps it won’t be.”

The president, meanwhile, denied that he has “payback” in mind as Attorney General Bill Barr launches the review of the Russia probe, now being led by a top federal prosecutor.

In his Thursday directive, Trump ordered members of the intelligence community to cooperate with Barr’s probe.

“The Attorney General has also been delegated full and complete authority to declassify information pertaining to this investigation, in accordance with the long-established standards for handling classified information. Today’s action will help ensure that all Americans learn the truth about the events that occurred, and the actions that were taken, during the last Presidential election and will restore confidence in our public institutions,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

The president and the attorney general have both claimed that the Trump campaign in 2016 was a target of “spying,” though intelligence community and law enforcement officials maintain they acted lawfully. Barr came under criticism for testifying last month that “spying did occur” — but his defenders note that the use of surveillance warrants and informants during that period already has been widely reported.

DOJ AGREES TO SHARE SOME MUELLER DOCUMENTS WITH DEMOCRATS

With the conclusion of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, the DOJ review opens up another front in the seemingly never-ending battle over the Russia allegations. Democrats, not satisfied with the conclusion of Mueller’s investigation which found no evidence of collusion and left the obstruction question open, have escalated their own probes and continue to debate internally over whether to pursue impeachment proceedings. But Trump has long maintained that the true scandal lies in the opening of the FBI probe itself.

At the helm of the DOJ review is U.S. Attorney from Connecticut John Durham. According to sources familiar with the latest investigation, Durham has been working on his review of the Russia probe “for weeks.” He is expected to focus on the period before Nov. 7, 2016—including the use of FBI informants as well as alleged improper issuance of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants.

A source also told Fox News that Barr is working “collaboratively” on Durham’s investigation with FBI Director Chris Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats. Durham is also working with Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who is currently reviewing allegations of FISA abuses and the role of FBI informants during the early stages of the Russia investigation.

Meanwhile, Trump on Friday accused congressional Democrats of being “very unhappy” with the results of Mueller’s nearly two-year-long Russia investigation.

“They want to do a re-do of the Mueller report,” Trump said. “They lost. There’s no re-do.”

But Democrats, like House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., are blasting the president for allowing the release of classified materials, calling it a “corrupt escalation of the president’s intention” to politicize the intelligence community.

“The clear intent of this abuse of power is to override longstanding rules governing classified information to serve the President’s political interests, advance his ‘deep state’ narrative, and target his political rivals,” Schiff said in a statement Friday.

Source: Fox News Politics

**Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**

On the roster: ‘The torch; be yours to hold it high’ – The GOP’s long game to diminish Biden – How Socialist Bernie became Bernie the millionaire – Phony Pelosi video blows up on right wingers – *ahem* A clean getaway

‘THE TORCH; BE YOURS TO HOLD IT HIGH’
We feel self-conscious to even talk about Peter Jackson’s World War I documentary, “They Shall Not Grow Old” because so few people have discussed it. 

If social media engagement is a reflection of interest in the masterful film that heartbreakingly tells the story of the war that made the modern world compared to those from any television show about sexy dragon masters or sexy serial killers or sexy pirates, or… God help us.

But this is our note, and we think what Jackson has accomplished needs far more attention. In fact, our culture is in terrible need of the movie right now. You can find discussions of libertarianism and intersectionality in “Game of Thrones” elsewhere, if that’s your bag.

Jackson took 100 hours of mostly unseen films and 600 hours of taped interviews with veterans of the Great War that had been moldering at the Imperial War Museum and turned them into an arresting, evocative work that we will not soon forget.

The movie was made to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the end of the war last November, and made it to some American theaters this year, but is now widely available to stream at home.   

Its title comes from the 1914 poem “For the Fallen” by Lawrence Binyon.

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old://Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.//At the going down of the sun and in the morning//We will remember them.” 

It is a movie told entirely in the voices of the survivors – there is no narrator – but it is most certainly about the dead. Binyon, too old for service but who would later make it to the front in 1916 as a medic, was writing with the pang of guilt that many of his countrymen felt when the terrible cost of the war was first becoming clear.

Fighting a war with 20th century technology and 19th century techniques produced immediate, catastrophic losses. In one battle alone – Verdun, where Binyon tended to the wounded – more than 300,000 men were killed. 

British losses were staggering. Nearly a million subjects of the empire were killed. More than 2 percent of the United Kingdom’s entire population was dead by the time the guns were finally silenced. Nearly an entire generation of men lost.  

Our losses were a pittance by comparison. More than 116,000 Americans died “over there,” something like 20 times fewer fatalities as a percentage of our population compared to Britain. 

You may notice that British people wear paper poppies on their lapels in the month of November to commemorate Armistice Day when, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the senseless, industrialized slaughter finally was allowed to end. 

We celebrate our Veterans Day at the same time, but it has a very different meaning for us than it does to our British cousins. We use that day to thank our neighbors who served. They are called to stand up at church or the football game to hear our grateful applause. We celebrate the living. They mourn the dead of a million soldiers who fought with ancient methods against modern means. 

The poppies are from another war poem, “In Flanders Fields,” by Royal Army surgeon John McRae after the battle of Ypres in Belgium.

“In Flanders fields the poppies blow//Between the crosses, row on row,// That mark our place; and in the sky//The larks, still bravely singing, fly//Scarce heard amid the guns below.//We are the Dead. Short days ago//We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,//Loved and were loved, and now we lie,//In Flanders fields.”

For Americans under 35, there is an answer to Veterans Day. Are you a U.S. citizen or permanent resident? Do you have a high school diploma or the equivalent? Do you meet medical, moral and physical requirements? Your local recruiter would be happy to talk.

But there isn’t such an answer for Britons to Armistice Day. 

There will, Lord hear our prayer, never be another war like those that devastated the Western world in the first half of the last century. Modern technology and techniques have changed the way we fight, and the existence of nuclear weapons has for more than 70 years ensured that great powers avoid direct confrontations.

Nov. 11 is a day for Americans to celebrate those who served. It is a day for the British to mourn the dead.

We have our own day for that.

Memorial Day is many things in our culture: The unofficial start of summer, a much-needed long weekend and a good time to buy a mattress. But its purpose is clear in its name: To lift high the memory of our own war dead. 

Memorial Day grew out of Decoration Day, when the survivors and widows of the Civil War would festoon the graves of those killed in our own great, tragic war.

The war to end slavery and preserve the union claimed nearly 700,000 lives, a proportion of our population that time roughly equivalent to the losses Britain suffered in World War I. 

And like the Great War, the slaughter was industrial in scale. There were more than 12,000 casualties before noon at the Battle of Antietam alone. 

This weekend is the time for Americans to pause over a hard truth: The freedom and prosperity we enjoy was bought with blood. More than 1.3 million Americans have died in conflicts back to the revolution that made us a nation. That’s about the population of Dallas. And they too shall not grow old.

Because we are free, we can observe Memorial Day any way we choose. And life is indeed for the living, so we should enjoy these first ardent rays of the summer sun. 

But we would suggest that you make some room in your playlist amid the dragon-fired bodice rippers for Jackson’s masterful work. You will find it engrossing for sure, but it may also stir in you a fresh desire to be the kind of citizen who would be worthy of their sacrifices.

[Ed. note: In observance of Memorial Day, the Halftime Report will not be published on Monday.
   
THE RULEBOOK: EQUAL REPRESENTATION 
“Taking each State by itself, its laws are the same, and its interests but little diversified. A few men, therefore, will possess all the knowledge requisite for a proper representation of them.” – Alexander Hamilton or James MadisonFederalist No. 56

TIME OUT: BRIGHT STARS
Atlantic: “The first stars ignited billions of years ago… The stars blazed until they exploded in bursts powerful enough to forge heavy chemical elements. … The new elements found their way into other stars, and then planets, and, eventually, life. It’s a remarkable cosmic tale, with a recent twist. Some of the stardust has managed to become sentient, work out its own history, and use that knowledge to better understand the stars. Astronomers know stars so well, in fact, that they can tell when one doesn’t belong—when it’s migrated to our galaxy from a completely different one. Today astronomers study the chemical compositions of stars near and far… Astronomers take starlight, absorbed and collected by telescopes, and break it down into its constituent lines, same as a prism of glass stretches light into the colors of the rainbow. These lines correspond to different elements, from the light kind … to the heavy stuff…”

Flag on the play? – Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.

SCOREBOARD
Trump job performance 
Average approval:
 41.6 percent
Average disapproval: 53.2 percent
Net Score: -11.6 points
Change from one week ago: down 4.2 points 
[Average includes: CBS News: 41% approve – 52% disapprove; Monmouth University: 41% approve – 52% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 38% approve – 57% disapprove; Fox News: 46% approve – 53% disapprove; Gallup: 42% approve – 52% disapprove.]

THE GOP’S LONG GAME TO DIMINISH BIDEN
Vanity Fair: “Welcome to the plot to take down Joe Biden, the 2020 candidate most feared by President Donald Trump and the Republican insiders working to re-elect him. For years, decades really, Biden was largely written off as a buffoon. … After a couple years lashed to the Trump merry-go-round, Uncle Joe looks like the steady, centrist status quo. … With laser-like precision, the G.O.P. machine plans to expose it all… Republicans want to rewind the clock and re-write the script, recasting Biden as the rhetorically cringe-worthy second coming of Crooked Hillary, responsible for nearly everything that’s gone wrong in Washington during Biden’s 50 years walking the corridors of power. To pull it off, the R.N.C., working hand in hand with the Trump campaign, has assembled perhaps its largest-ever war room, with approximately six to seven operatives working in opposition research and four to five conducting near ‘round-the-clock rapid media response. The effort—featuring public document requests and other standards of the dirt-digging trade—has been well underway since last year.”

Bill Weld gets Trumpian with Trump – ABC News: “President Donald Trump’s lone Republican primary challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, ratcheted up his attacks on the president Tuesday night. Speaking at the first in a series of Kennedy Institute events focused on the 2020 election cycle, Weld levied a number of his harshest verbal jabs yet, saying earlier this week that the president preferred an ‘Aryan nation.’ ‘I celebrate that America has always been a melting pot,’ Weld said at the speaking event on Tuesday. ‘It seems he would prefer an Aryan nation.’ … When asked to explain what specifically he meant by ‘Aryan nation,’ Weld told ABC News that he believes the president ‘would prefer a nation with no immigrants.’ The comment, which appeared to be a step further than Weld had gone with past attacks aimed at the president, even elicited a justification from the long-shot candidate himself.”

HOW SOCIALIST BERNIE BECAME BERNIE THE MILLIONAIRE
Politico: “Based, though, on a deeper examination of [Bernie Sanders’] financial disclosures, his tax returns, property records in Washington and Vermont and scarcely leafed-through scraps of his financial papers housed here at UVM, Sanders’ current financial portrait is not only some stroke-of-luck windfall. It’s also the product (with the help of his wife) of decades of planning. The upward trajectory from that jalopy of his to his relative riches now—as off-brand as it is for a man who once said he had ‘no great desire to be rich’—is the product of years of middle-class striving, replete with credit card debt, real estate upgrades and an array of investment funds and retirement accounts. As an immigrant’s son who started close to the bottom and has ended up nearer to the top, Sanders has a narrative arc that would form the backbone of the campaign story of almost any other candidate. But it’s more complicated for him. There’s never been anybody like Sanders in the modern political history of this country—somebody who made a career out of haranguing millionaires … and who is now a millionaire himself.”

Castro speaks out against Trump’s merit immigration plan – NPR: “Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro has a plan to change immigration policy in the U.S. The former Housing and Urban Development secretary wants to address immigrant detention, family reunification and the immigration court system. In stark contrast to current policy, he also wants to decriminalize crossing the border illegally, a plan he outlined in a Medium post in April. ‘For a long time in this country we actually did not treat crossing the border as a criminal act. We treated it as a civil violation,’ Castro told NPR. ‘A lot of the problems that we see in the system today flared up after we started treating it as a criminal offense.’

PHONY PELOSI VIDEO BLOWS UP ON RIGHT WINGERS 
WaPo: “Distorted videos of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), altered to make her sound as if she’s drunkenly slurring her words, are spreading rapidly across social media, highlighting how political disinformation that clouds public understanding can now grow at the speed of the Web. The video of Pelosi’s onstage speech Wednesday at a Center for American Progress event, in which she said President Trump’s refusal to cooperate with congressional investigations was tantamount to a ‘coverup,’ was subtly edited to make her voice sound garbled and warped. It was then circulated widely across Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. One version, posted by the conservative Facebook page Politics WatchDog, had been viewed more than 2 million times by Thursday night, been shared more than 45,000 times, and garnered 23,000 comments with users calling her ‘drunk’ and ‘a babbling mess.’ The origin of the altered video remains unclear…”

Giuliani tweets unclear apology for sharing the video – WashTimes: “Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s attorney, gave a confusing statement Friday after sharing and deleting a video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Thursday that was doctored to display her as inarticulate. ‘Ivesssapology for a video which is allegedly is a caricature of an otherwise halting speech pattern, she should first stop, and apologize for, saying the President needs an ‘intervention.’ Are,’ Mr. Giuliani tweeted along with a gif of a basketball game celebration, which was screenshotted by Mediaite. Mr. Giuliani followed it up with another tweet that makes his point better. ‘Nancy Pelosi wants an apology for a caricature exaggerating her already halting speech pattern. First she should withdraw her charge which hurts our entire nation when she says the President needs an ‘intervention. ‘People who live in a glass house shouldn’t throw stones,’’ he tweeted.”

TRUMP GIVES BARR AUTHORITY OVER CLASSIFIED RUSSIA DOCS
AP: “President Donald Trump has granted Attorney General William Barr new powers to review and potentially release classified information related to the origins of the Russia investigation, a move aimed at accelerating Barr’s inquiry into whether U.S. officials improperly surveilled Trump’s 2016 campaign. Trump on Thursday directed the U.S. intelligence community to ‘quickly and fully cooperate’ with Barr’s investigation of the origins of the multiyear probe of whether his campaign colluded with Russia. Former intelligence officials and Democratic lawmakers criticized Trump’s move, which marked an escalation in his efforts to ‘investigate the investigators’ as he works to undermine the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe. Trump’s announcement came amid mounting Democratic calls to bring impeachment proceedings against him.”

Rep. Nadler says Mueller willing to do private testimony – NBC News: “Special counsel Robert Mueller has expressed interest in giving private testimony to Congress about his two-year investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election. Mueller has told House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler that he is willing to make a public opening statement, but leave his testimony behind closed doors, Nadler said on ‘The Rachel Maddow Show’ Thursday night. Nadler, D-N.Y., has made repeated efforts for Mueller to speak in front of Congress. If Mueller did proceed with private testimony on his report, the public would get a transcript, Nadler said.”

PLAY-BY-PLAY
Pelosi makes it to recess, doesn’t cave to impeachment pressures – Politico

UK PM Theresa May announces resignation amid fury over Brexit – Fox News

Trump unveils a second, $16 billion bailout for farmers hit by his trade war – WSJ

AUDIBLE: LET THE GAMES BEGIN 
“When he engages in the general, it will be like tagging Hulk Hogan into the ring.” –Rep. Eric Swalwell talking about what he expects when President Obama gets involved in the general election. 

ANY GIVEN SUNDAY
This weekend Mr. Sunday will sit down with presidential candidate Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. Watch “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.” Check local listings for broadcast times in your area.

#mediabuzz – Host Howard Kurtz has the latest take on the week’s media coverage. Watch #mediabuzz Sundays at 11 a.m. ET. 

FROM THE BLEACHERS
“Chris and Brianna, Thank you for sharing the story of ‘Crechale’s Cafe’s Highway Legacy’ by John Edge. This has to be more than serendipitous as my wife and I have a July trip planned to Jackson MS. We will be visiting to see our son umpire the MiLB series between Jackson Generals v Pensacola Blue Wahoos. I promise to email a review of both Crechale’s and the ballpark’s fare.” – Dan Burch, Turlock, Calif.

[Ed. note: Oh good! Ours is a world filled with delights for those willing to see them. But little could ever surpass a truly great onion ring.]

Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.

*AHEM* A CLEAN GETAWAY 
Boston Globe: “When Nate Roman came home from work on May 15, he could tell that a stranger had been in his house. Roman, 44, lives in a single-family home on a typical suburban tree-lined street in Marlborough. He said it’s possible that he forgot to lock his back door, because whoever entered his house didn’t break anything to gain entry. But here’s the strange part: whoever ventured into his home didn’t take anything. They just thoroughly cleaned his house. Roman looked around and saw that they neatly made the beds, vacuumed the rugs, and scrubbed the toilets. … Marlborough Police Sergeant Daniel Campbell said the department hasn’t heard of any other situations like this one. … Roman said he still doesn’t know who did it. The best theory he could come up with is that a housekeeping service mistakenly went to the wrong address and showed up at his house.”

AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“The premise of a free market is that people can withhold their labor if they find the conditions under which they work intolerable.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing for Time magazine on Jan. 31, 2003.

Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.

Source: Fox News Politics

**Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**

On the roster: ‘The torch; be yours to hold it high’ – The GOP’s long game to diminish Biden – How Socialist Bernie became Bernie the millionaire – Phony Pelosi video blows up on right wingers – *ahem* A clean getaway

‘THE TORCH; BE YOURS TO HOLD IT HIGH’
We feel self-conscious to even talk about Peter Jackson’s World War I documentary, “They Shall Not Grow Old” because so few people have discussed it. 

If social media engagement is a reflection of interest in the masterful film that heartbreakingly tells the story of the war that made the modern world compared to those from any television show about sexy dragon masters or sexy serial killers or sexy pirates, or… God help us.

But this is our note, and we think what Jackson has accomplished needs far more attention. In fact, our culture is in terrible need of the movie right now. You can find discussions of libertarianism and intersectionality in “Game of Thrones” elsewhere, if that’s your bag.

Jackson took 100 hours of mostly unseen films and 600 hours of taped interviews with veterans of the Great War that had been moldering at the Imperial War Museum and turned them into an arresting, evocative work that we will not soon forget.

The movie was made to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the end of the war last November, and made it to some American theaters this year, but is now widely available to stream at home.   

Its title comes from the 1914 poem “For the Fallen” by Lawrence Binyon.

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old://Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.//At the going down of the sun and in the morning//We will remember them.” 

It is a movie told entirely in the voices of the survivors – there is no narrator – but it is most certainly about the dead. Binyon, too old for service but who would later make it to the front in 1916 as a medic, was writing with the pang of guilt that many of his countrymen felt when the terrible cost of the war was first becoming clear.

Fighting a war with 20th century technology and 19th century techniques produced immediate, catastrophic losses. In one battle alone – Verdun, where Binyon tended to the wounded – more than 300,000 men were killed. 

British losses were staggering. Nearly a million subjects of the empire were killed. More than 2 percent of the United Kingdom’s entire population was dead by the time the guns were finally silenced. Nearly an entire generation of men lost.  

Our losses were a pittance by comparison. More than 116,000 Americans died “over there,” something like 20 times fewer fatalities as a percentage of our population compared to Britain. 

You may notice that British people wear paper poppies on their lapels in the month of November to commemorate Armistice Day when, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the senseless, industrialized slaughter finally was allowed to end. 

We celebrate our Veterans Day at the same time, but it has a very different meaning for us than it does to our British cousins. We use that day to thank our neighbors who served. They are called to stand up at church or the football game to hear our grateful applause. We celebrate the living. They mourn the dead of a million soldiers who fought with ancient methods against modern means. 

The poppies are from another war poem, “In Flanders Fields,” by Royal Army surgeon John McRae after the battle of Ypres in Belgium.

“In Flanders fields the poppies blow//Between the crosses, row on row,// That mark our place; and in the sky//The larks, still bravely singing, fly//Scarce heard amid the guns below.//We are the Dead. Short days ago//We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,//Loved and were loved, and now we lie,//In Flanders fields.”

For Americans under 35, there is an answer to Veterans Day. Are you a U.S. citizen or permanent resident? Do you have a high school diploma or the equivalent? Do you meet medical, moral and physical requirements? Your local recruiter would be happy to talk.

But there isn’t such an answer for Britons to Armistice Day. 

There will, Lord hear our prayer, never be another war like those that devastated the Western world in the first half of the last century. Modern technology and techniques have changed the way we fight, and the existence of nuclear weapons has for more than 70 years ensured that great powers avoid direct confrontations.

Nov. 11 is a day for Americans to celebrate those who served. It is a day for the British to mourn the dead.

We have our own day for that.

Memorial Day is many things in our culture: The unofficial start of summer, a much-needed long weekend and a good time to buy a mattress. But its purpose is clear in its name: To lift high the memory of our own war dead. 

Memorial Day grew out of Decoration Day, when the survivors and widows of the Civil War would festoon the graves of those killed in our own great, tragic war.

The war to end slavery and preserve the union claimed nearly 700,000 lives, a proportion of our population that time roughly equivalent to the losses Britain suffered in World War I. 

And like the Great War, the slaughter was industrial in scale. There were more than 12,000 casualties before noon at the Battle of Antietam alone. 

This weekend is the time for Americans to pause over a hard truth: The freedom and prosperity we enjoy was bought with blood. More than 1.3 million Americans have died in conflicts back to the revolution that made us a nation. That’s about the population of Dallas. And they too shall not grow old.

Because we are free, we can observe Memorial Day any way we choose. And life is indeed for the living, so we should enjoy these first ardent rays of the summer sun. 

But we would suggest that you make some room in your playlist amid the dragon-fired bodice rippers for Jackson’s masterful work. You will find it engrossing for sure, but it may also stir in you a fresh desire to be the kind of citizen who would be worthy of their sacrifices.

[Ed. note: In observance of Memorial Day, the Halftime Report will not be published on Monday.
   
THE RULEBOOK: EQUAL REPRESENTATION 
“Taking each State by itself, its laws are the same, and its interests but little diversified. A few men, therefore, will possess all the knowledge requisite for a proper representation of them.” – Alexander Hamilton or James MadisonFederalist No. 56

TIME OUT: BRIGHT STARS
Atlantic: “The first stars ignited billions of years ago… The stars blazed until they exploded in bursts powerful enough to forge heavy chemical elements. … The new elements found their way into other stars, and then planets, and, eventually, life. It’s a remarkable cosmic tale, with a recent twist. Some of the stardust has managed to become sentient, work out its own history, and use that knowledge to better understand the stars. Astronomers know stars so well, in fact, that they can tell when one doesn’t belong—when it’s migrated to our galaxy from a completely different one. Today astronomers study the chemical compositions of stars near and far… Astronomers take starlight, absorbed and collected by telescopes, and break it down into its constituent lines, same as a prism of glass stretches light into the colors of the rainbow. These lines correspond to different elements, from the light kind … to the heavy stuff…”

Flag on the play? – Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.

SCOREBOARD
Trump job performance 
Average approval:
 41.6 percent
Average disapproval: 53.2 percent
Net Score: -11.6 points
Change from one week ago: down 4.2 points 
[Average includes: CBS News: 41% approve – 52% disapprove; Monmouth University: 41% approve – 52% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 38% approve – 57% disapprove; Fox News: 46% approve – 53% disapprove; Gallup: 42% approve – 52% disapprove.]

THE GOP’S LONG GAME TO DIMINISH BIDEN
Vanity Fair: “Welcome to the plot to take down Joe Biden, the 2020 candidate most feared by President Donald Trump and the Republican insiders working to re-elect him. For years, decades really, Biden was largely written off as a buffoon. … After a couple years lashed to the Trump merry-go-round, Uncle Joe looks like the steady, centrist status quo. … With laser-like precision, the G.O.P. machine plans to expose it all… Republicans want to rewind the clock and re-write the script, recasting Biden as the rhetorically cringe-worthy second coming of Crooked Hillary, responsible for nearly everything that’s gone wrong in Washington during Biden’s 50 years walking the corridors of power. To pull it off, the R.N.C., working hand in hand with the Trump campaign, has assembled perhaps its largest-ever war room, with approximately six to seven operatives working in opposition research and four to five conducting near ‘round-the-clock rapid media response. The effort—featuring public document requests and other standards of the dirt-digging trade—has been well underway since last year.”

Bill Weld gets Trumpian with Trump – ABC News: “President Donald Trump’s lone Republican primary challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, ratcheted up his attacks on the president Tuesday night. Speaking at the first in a series of Kennedy Institute events focused on the 2020 election cycle, Weld levied a number of his harshest verbal jabs yet, saying earlier this week that the president preferred an ‘Aryan nation.’ ‘I celebrate that America has always been a melting pot,’ Weld said at the speaking event on Tuesday. ‘It seems he would prefer an Aryan nation.’ … When asked to explain what specifically he meant by ‘Aryan nation,’ Weld told ABC News that he believes the president ‘would prefer a nation with no immigrants.’ The comment, which appeared to be a step further than Weld had gone with past attacks aimed at the president, even elicited a justification from the long-shot candidate himself.”

HOW SOCIALIST BERNIE BECAME BERNIE THE MILLIONAIRE
Politico: “Based, though, on a deeper examination of [Bernie Sanders’] financial disclosures, his tax returns, property records in Washington and Vermont and scarcely leafed-through scraps of his financial papers housed here at UVM, Sanders’ current financial portrait is not only some stroke-of-luck windfall. It’s also the product (with the help of his wife) of decades of planning. The upward trajectory from that jalopy of his to his relative riches now—as off-brand as it is for a man who once said he had ‘no great desire to be rich’—is the product of years of middle-class striving, replete with credit card debt, real estate upgrades and an array of investment funds and retirement accounts. As an immigrant’s son who started close to the bottom and has ended up nearer to the top, Sanders has a narrative arc that would form the backbone of the campaign story of almost any other candidate. But it’s more complicated for him. There’s never been anybody like Sanders in the modern political history of this country—somebody who made a career out of haranguing millionaires … and who is now a millionaire himself.”

Castro speaks out against Trump’s merit immigration plan – NPR: “Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro has a plan to change immigration policy in the U.S. The former Housing and Urban Development secretary wants to address immigrant detention, family reunification and the immigration court system. In stark contrast to current policy, he also wants to decriminalize crossing the border illegally, a plan he outlined in a Medium post in April. ‘For a long time in this country we actually did not treat crossing the border as a criminal act. We treated it as a civil violation,’ Castro told NPR. ‘A lot of the problems that we see in the system today flared up after we started treating it as a criminal offense.’

PHONY PELOSI VIDEO BLOWS UP ON RIGHT WINGERS 
WaPo: “Distorted videos of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), altered to make her sound as if she’s drunkenly slurring her words, are spreading rapidly across social media, highlighting how political disinformation that clouds public understanding can now grow at the speed of the Web. The video of Pelosi’s onstage speech Wednesday at a Center for American Progress event, in which she said President Trump’s refusal to cooperate with congressional investigations was tantamount to a ‘coverup,’ was subtly edited to make her voice sound garbled and warped. It was then circulated widely across Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. One version, posted by the conservative Facebook page Politics WatchDog, had been viewed more than 2 million times by Thursday night, been shared more than 45,000 times, and garnered 23,000 comments with users calling her ‘drunk’ and ‘a babbling mess.’ The origin of the altered video remains unclear…”

Giuliani tweets unclear apology for sharing the video – WashTimes: “Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s attorney, gave a confusing statement Friday after sharing and deleting a video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Thursday that was doctored to display her as inarticulate. ‘Ivesssapology for a video which is allegedly is a caricature of an otherwise halting speech pattern, she should first stop, and apologize for, saying the President needs an ‘intervention.’ Are,’ Mr. Giuliani tweeted along with a gif of a basketball game celebration, which was screenshotted by Mediaite. Mr. Giuliani followed it up with another tweet that makes his point better. ‘Nancy Pelosi wants an apology for a caricature exaggerating her already halting speech pattern. First she should withdraw her charge which hurts our entire nation when she says the President needs an ‘intervention. ‘People who live in a glass house shouldn’t throw stones,’’ he tweeted.”

TRUMP GIVES BARR AUTHORITY OVER CLASSIFIED RUSSIA DOCS
AP: “President Donald Trump has granted Attorney General William Barr new powers to review and potentially release classified information related to the origins of the Russia investigation, a move aimed at accelerating Barr’s inquiry into whether U.S. officials improperly surveilled Trump’s 2016 campaign. Trump on Thursday directed the U.S. intelligence community to ‘quickly and fully cooperate’ with Barr’s investigation of the origins of the multiyear probe of whether his campaign colluded with Russia. Former intelligence officials and Democratic lawmakers criticized Trump’s move, which marked an escalation in his efforts to ‘investigate the investigators’ as he works to undermine the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe. Trump’s announcement came amid mounting Democratic calls to bring impeachment proceedings against him.”

Rep. Nadler says Mueller willing to do private testimony – NBC News: “Special counsel Robert Mueller has expressed interest in giving private testimony to Congress about his two-year investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election. Mueller has told House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler that he is willing to make a public opening statement, but leave his testimony behind closed doors, Nadler said on ‘The Rachel Maddow Show’ Thursday night. Nadler, D-N.Y., has made repeated efforts for Mueller to speak in front of Congress. If Mueller did proceed with private testimony on his report, the public would get a transcript, Nadler said.”

PLAY-BY-PLAY
Pelosi makes it to recess, doesn’t cave to impeachment pressures – Politico

UK PM Theresa May announces resignation amid fury over Brexit – Fox News

Trump unveils a second, $16 billion bailout for farmers hit by his trade war – WSJ

AUDIBLE: LET THE GAMES BEGIN 
“When he engages in the general, it will be like tagging Hulk Hogan into the ring.” –Rep. Eric Swalwell talking about what he expects when President Obama gets involved in the general election. 

ANY GIVEN SUNDAY
This weekend Mr. Sunday will sit down with presidential candidate Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. Watch “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.” Check local listings for broadcast times in your area.

#mediabuzz – Host Howard Kurtz has the latest take on the week’s media coverage. Watch #mediabuzz Sundays at 11 a.m. ET. 

FROM THE BLEACHERS
“Chris and Brianna, Thank you for sharing the story of ‘Crechale’s Cafe’s Highway Legacy’ by John Edge. This has to be more than serendipitous as my wife and I have a July trip planned to Jackson MS. We will be visiting to see our son umpire the MiLB series between Jackson Generals v Pensacola Blue Wahoos. I promise to email a review of both Crechale’s and the ballpark’s fare.” – Dan Burch, Turlock, Calif.

[Ed. note: Oh good! Ours is a world filled with delights for those willing to see them. But little could ever surpass a truly great onion ring.]

Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.

*AHEM* A CLEAN GETAWAY 
Boston Globe: “When Nate Roman came home from work on May 15, he could tell that a stranger had been in his house. Roman, 44, lives in a single-family home on a typical suburban tree-lined street in Marlborough. He said it’s possible that he forgot to lock his back door, because whoever entered his house didn’t break anything to gain entry. But here’s the strange part: whoever ventured into his home didn’t take anything. They just thoroughly cleaned his house. Roman looked around and saw that they neatly made the beds, vacuumed the rugs, and scrubbed the toilets. … Marlborough Police Sergeant Daniel Campbell said the department hasn’t heard of any other situations like this one. … Roman said he still doesn’t know who did it. The best theory he could come up with is that a housekeeping service mistakenly went to the wrong address and showed up at his house.”

AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“The premise of a free market is that people can withhold their labor if they find the conditions under which they work intolerable.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing for Time magazine on Jan. 31, 2003.

Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.

Source: Fox News Politics

The Trump administration proposed revoking Obama-era discrimination protections for transgender people in health care on Friday, a move LGBT groups fear will result in some Americans being denied needed medical treatment.

The Health and Human Services Department released a proposed regulation that in effect says “gender identity” is not protected under federal laws that prohibit sex discrimination in health care.

HUD SECRETARY CARSON WANTS TO ROLL BACK OBAMA MANDATE ON GENDER IDENTITY AT HOMELESS SHELTERS

It fits into a backdrop of administration actions to limit or move back some of the new recognition for LGBT people in areas ranging from military service to housing.

“The actions today are part and parcel of this administration’s efforts to erase LGBTQ people from federal regulations and to undermine nondiscrimination protections across the board,” said Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, a senior attorney on health care at Lambda Legal, a civil rights organization representing LGBT people.

But the HHS official overseeing the writing of the new regulation said transgender patients would continue to be protected by other federal laws that bar discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age and disability.

“Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect,” said Roger Severino, who heads the HHS Office for Civil Rights. “We intend to fully enforce federal laws that prohibit discrimination.”

Asked about the charge that the administration has opened the door to discrimination against transgender people seeking needed medical care of any type, Severino responded, “I don’t want to see that happen.”

The Trump administration’s proposed rule reverses the Obama administration, which concluded that the Affordable Care Act’s anti-discrimination section does indeed protect transgender people seeking health care services.

Friday’s action had been expected by activists on both sides of the nation’s social issues divide. Trump’s religious conservative base has argued that the Obama administration stretched the meaning of “sex discrimination” when it included gender identity as a protected class. Civil rights and LGBT groups say that view is logically and legally flawed.

The proposed rule change is unlikely to have immediate consequences beyond the realm of political and legal debate. It faces a 60-comment period and another layer of review before it can be finalized. Court challenges are expected.

“Despite the goals of this White House … courts have been clear for decades that prohibitions on sex discrimination encompass discrimination against transgender individuals,” said Louise Melling, deputy legal director with the American Civil Liberties Union. Her organization, she added, will challenge the proposal in court.

Melling said the potential impact of the proposed rule goes beyond transgender people and could also subject women to discrimination for seeking or having had an abortion. The proposal would remove “termination of pregnancy” as grounds for making a legal claim of sex discrimination in health care.

Abortion opponents had argued that the Obama regulation could be construed to make a legal argument for federal funding of abortions.

In a twist, the rule would also affect the notices that millions of patients get in multiple languages about their rights to translation services. Such notices often come with insurer “explanation of benefits” forms. The Trump administration says the notice requirement has become a needless burden on health care providers, requiring billions of paper notices to be mailed annually at an estimated five-year cost of $3.2 billion.

HHS official Severino said that the Trump administration is going back to the literal text of the ACA’s anti-discrimination law to correct what it sees as an overly broad interpretation.

The Obama rule dates to a time when LGBT people gained political and social recognition. But a federal judge in Texas said the rule went too far by concluding that discrimination on the basis of gender identity is a form of sex discrimination, which is forbidden by civil rights laws.

Under the original rule, a hospital could be required to perform gender-transition procedures such as hysterectomies if the facility provided that kind of treatment for other medical conditions. The rule was meant to carry out the anti-discrimination section of the ACA, which bars sex discrimination in health care but does not use the term “gender identity.”

In the Texas case, a Catholic hospital system, several states and a Christian medical association argued that the rule went beyond the law as written and would coerce providers to act against their medical judgment and religious beliefs.

Severino also said that the proposed rule does not come with a new definition of a person’s sex. Earlier, a leaked internal document suggested the administration was debating whether to issue an immutable definition of sex, as based on a person’s genital organs at birth.

Source: Fox News Politics

Democrats should embrace identity politics rather than running away from the issue, Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams said on Wednesday.

“I would argue that identity politics is exactly who we are, and it’s exactly how we won,” she told an audience at event held by the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C.

She pointed to efforts in Florida and Georgia where, she indicated, Democrats attracted new voters.

Her comments came as the party wrestled with how moderate it should appear before the general election in 2020. Conservatives have criticized identity politics as a way of fragmenting the electorate according to their skin color and other attributes.

But according to Abrams, identity politics helped her party connect with voters.

“When we refuse to engage in the conversation of identity politics, when we refuse to acknowledge that we see you and we understand you and we understand the barriers that you face, then what we are met with is a lack of trust,” she said.

HEMINGWAY ON GILLIBRAND’S ‘IDENTITY POLITICS’ PUSH: ‘COME UP WITH A BETTER GIMMICK THAN BEING YOUNG AND A WOMAN’

She also pushed back on criticism of the tactic, arguing that detractors used the term “identity politics” as a “dog whistle.”

“The notion of identity politics has been peddled for the last 10 years, and it’s been used as a dog whistle to say that we shouldn’t pay too much attention to the new voices coming into progress,” she said.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“We have to recognize that the internal threat we face is a fear of who we are,” she said.

Abrams caught scrutiny after she refused to concede her loss in the Georgia governor’s race in 2018, citing allegations of voter suppression.

She has been outspoken about voter suppression and indicated she might throw her hat in the ring for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Source: Fox News Politics

“Fox News Sunday” anchor Chris Wallace said Friday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was trying to get “under President Trump‘s skin” this week and “clearly succeeded to some degree” in her efforts.

Wallace reacted on “America’s Newsroom” to the ongoing feud between Pelosi, D-Calif., and Trump, which erupted this week after Pelosi accused Trump of engaging in a “cover-up” and the president cut short a meeting on infrastructure with Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

Tensions escalated further Thursday when Trump blasted Pelosi at a news conference, calling her a “mess,” prompting Pelosi to call for him to act “more presidential.”

PELOSI SCRAMBLES TO TAMP DOWN TRUMP IMPEACHMENT FRENZY IN CAUCUS

“I’m not sure who was trolling whom,” said Wallace, noting Trump’s reaction to Pelosi having said she was “praying” for the president and wishing his family would have an “intervention” for the good of the country.

“Clearly she succeeded to some degree in getting under his skin when yesterday at that press conference he called on about four or five members of his administration to confirm the fact that he didn’t have a temper tantrum when he ended the meeting on infrastructure,” said Wallace, adding that Trump “gives as good as he gets.”

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Wallace said the whole episode was “very entertaining” to political reporters, but it’s “concerning” to Americans because the government needs to function and many important issues must be handled.

He said beyond infrastructure spending, the debt limit must be raised this year, an agreement to fund the government must be reached before October 1st and Trump’s new trade deal must be passed.

“There’s a lot of business they need to get done and at this point, they’re not getting any of it done,” he said.

Source: Fox News Politics

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler had to receive medical attention Friday after a health care at an event in New York City.

Despite reports that the powerful New York Democrat appeared to pass out, his office said he merely felt ill but did not faint. A spokesman for Nadler told Fox News that the congressman is “okay” and “seems to have been dehydrated,” describing the room as “very warm.”

Nadler, 71, was speaking at a press conference on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, alongside 2020 Democratic hopeful New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, when the incident happened. De Blasio could be seen checking on him and patting him on the shoulder, as someone brought over a glass of water.

Fox News is told the congressman was being taken to a hospital in an ambulance.

“He is now responsive and receiving a check-up,” a spokesman told Fox News.

Nadler’s office noted that he was sitting down, so he “did not faint or anything.”

But local reporters on social media attending the event said that Nadler appeared to have briefly passed out.

Nadler’s committee is currently battling with the Trump administration over access to an unredacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report. Earlier this month, his panel voted to hold Attorney General Bill Barr in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena for the full report and its underlying documents and evidence.

Nadler, as judiciary committee chairman, would also oversee any impeachment proceedings should Democrats launch them — a question that has divided the party.

Fox News’ Chad Pergram contributed to this report. 

Source: Fox News Politics

President Trump has approved the Pentagon’s plan to send roughly 2,000 more troops to the Middle East amid rising tensions with Iran, U.S. officials told Fox News on Friday.

The plan is intended to bolster security for existing American and allied forces in the region and deter attacks from Iran, officials say.  Any additional destroyers or submarines sent to the region would be equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles, they said.

TRUMP TEAM BRIEFS CONGRESS ABOUT IRANIAN THREAT: ‘THIS IS ABOUT DETERRENCE, NOT ABOUT WAR’

“We’re going to be sending a relatively small number of troops,” the president told reporters outside the White House on Friday. “Mostly protective. Some very talented people are going to the Middle East right now. And we’ll see what happens.”

No large military units, such as U.S. Army brigade combat teams, are expected to deploy. Instead, senior military leaders want to deploy an additional Patriot anti-aircraft missile battery, a defensive weapon system. They also want to deploy another warship or submarine to the region, more surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft and potentially more Air Force fighter jets.

On Thursday, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan had rejected news reports saying 5,000 or 10,000 troops could be sent to the region, saying the number was “not accurate.” But he did acknowledge more forces could soon be heading to the region for force protection.

The U.S. began reinforcing its presence in the Persian Gulf region this month in response to what it said was a threat from Iran.

In early May, the U.S. accelerated the deployment of an aircraft carrier strike group to the Mideast and sent four B-52 bomber aircraft to the region. The Pentagon also decided to move a Patriot air-defense missile battery to an undisclosed country in the area.

GEN. JACK KEANE: SENDING THOUSANDS MORE TROOPS TO MIDDLE EAST AMID IRAN THREAT WOULD BE OFFENSIVE AND DEFENSIVE

On Friday, an anti-war Republican ally of the president urged him to reverse his decision.

“I strongly urge @realdonaldtrump to reconsider more troops to the Middle East,” tweeted Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. “This escalation doesn’t get us out of our decades long, seemingly endless wars Mr. President. Trust your instincts and follow what you ran on, not the neocons around who want to repeat past mistakes.”

On Tuesday, top officials in the Trump administration were dispatched to Capitol Hill to brief lawmakers about the escalating tensions with Iran, saying afterward they are focused on trying to deter attacks and avoid war.

“Our biggest focus at this point is to prevent Iranian miscalculation,” Shanahan told reporters after the briefing. “We do not want the situation to escalate. This is about deterrence, not about war.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said after the briefing: “Our efforts and our ultimate objective over the past days has been to deter Iran.”

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But some lawmakers, after the briefing, still expressed concern about war breaking out.

“We were lied to in terms of Iraq supposedly having weapons of mass destruction,” said Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. “A war with Iran would be an absolute disaster, far worse than the war with Iraq. I hope the people tell this administration that we will not go to war in Iran.”

Other lawmakers said the threats from Iran were specific, necessitating actions from the administration to prevent attacks.

“The action taken by the administration is totally appropriate,” Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney said after the Tuesday briefing, saying the actions are designed to deter attacks by Iran.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

President Trump is considering potential pardons for military members and contractors accused of war crimes as Memorial Day approaches — deliberations that have prompted warnings from critics that the move could undermine the rule of law but also raised the hopes of their families who say the servicemembers were wrongly prosecuted.

Jessica Slatten, in an interview Thursday, told Fox News she’s praying for Trump to pardon her brother, Nicholas Slatten, one of several Blackwater contractors charged in the shooting deaths of Iraqi civilians in September 2007.

CONRAD BLACK BLASTS PROSECUTORS, FBI IN FIRST US INTERVIEW SINCE PARDON FROM TRUMP

“Nick is innocent and our family is terrified that he will die in prison for a killing that someone else confessed to multiple times,” she said.

The Blackwater case, and the 2007 massacre at the heart of it, is one of the more controversial portfolios before the president. The New York Times first reported that Trump was weighing possible pardon decisions on an expedited basis going into the holiday weekend.

The report spurred harsh criticism from Democratic lawmakers as well as former top military officials, especially since not all of the accused have faced trial yet.

“Obviously, the president can pardon whoever he thinks it’s appropriate to pardon, but … you have to be careful as a senior commander about unduly influencing the process before the investigation has been adjudicated,” said retired Navy Adm. William McRaven, former head of Joint Special Operations Command.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said in a statement: “If he follows through, President Trump would undermine American treaty obligations and our military justice system, damage relations with foreign partners and give our enemies one more propaganda tool.”

The lawyers and family members of the accused, however, insist these cases are not as clear-cut as they’ve been portrayed — and, to the contrary, have been marred by legal problems.

The cases include those of former Green Beret Maj. Mathew Golsteyn, who admitted to killing a suspected Taliban bomb maker; Navy SEALS Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, whose own SEALS turned him in for allegedly shooting unarmed civilians and killing a 15-year-old ISIS suspect in his custody with a knife; four Marine snipers who were caught on video urinating on the corpses of suspected Taliban members; and Slatten.

Slatten is one whose case did go to trial. In fact, he faced three of them.

The first ended in a conviction, but it was later thrown out — as federal judges said he should have been tried separately from three other co-defendants, one of whom said he, and not Slatten, fired the first shots.

The second ended in a mistrial, and the third resulted in a guilty verdict. He faces a mandatory life sentence without parole, but his legal team is fighting to set him free.

“Prosecuting veterans for split-second decisions in war zone incidents is wrong,” Slatten’s attorney said in a letter to the White House counsel’s office obtained by Fox News. “Prosecuting ones for killings they did not commit is doubly so.”

The letter is dated Tuesday, three days after the Times reported on the possible pardons.

Slatten’s team argues that prosecutors have the facts of his case all wrong. The letter says that he was not the one who shot and killed Ahmed Haithem Ahmed Al Rubia’y, and that one of his teammates confessed to the shooting multiple times. Additionally, it claims that any shooting from their side was in self-defense. Further, the letter says Iraqi eyewitnesses changed their story about what happened after the fact.

Slatten and other Blackwater contractors were in the “Red Zone” in Baghdad on that day in 2007, trying to rescue a diplomat after a car bomb had gone off in the area, his defense says. They were told to watch out for a white Kia sedan and, when they saw a car matching that description coming toward them, Slatten’s teammate fired, killing the driver, the letter says. At that point, a firefight erupted, resulting in the Slatten’s team’s vehicle taking damage.

As it turned out, Al Rubia’y was a civilian, not a car-bomber.

Prosecutors said that Slatten was the one who killed Al Rubia’y and that the Blackwater team opened fire on a crowd of unarmed Iraqis, 14 of whom were killed. Even more were injured.

The jury foreperson explained the reasoning behind the guilty verdict to The Washington Post.

“There had been a lookout for a white Kia,” the foreperson said. “But there’s a million Kias in Iraq, you don’t just shoot every white Kia.”

Still, the foreperson questioned the charge of first-degree murder, without any lesser charges for the jury to consider: “I understand it, but there’s a bit of unjustness to it.”

File photos of former Blackwater Worldwide guards Paul Slough (Dec. 8, 2008), Nicholas Slatten (June 11, 2014), Evan Liberty (June 11, 2014) and Dustin Heard (Jan. 6, 2009).

File photos of former Blackwater Worldwide guards Paul Slough (Dec. 8, 2008), Nicholas Slatten (June 11, 2014), Evan Liberty (June 11, 2014) and Dustin Heard (Jan. 6, 2009). (AP)

Three of the other Blackwater contractors involved in the incident — Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard — were convicted of manslaughter, but the D.C. Court of Appeals ruled that their mandatory 30-year sentence was a violation of the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment.

The sentences had been so severe due to a charge related to the use of machine guns. The court noted that the charge was based on a statute meant to combat gang violence, not contractors in a war zone using government-issue weapons. Their cases were sent back down to a lower court, and they are awaiting new sentences.

It is unclear if Slough, Liberty or Heard are among those Trump is considering for pardons, but Slough’s wife Christin is hoping for the best.

“I think that we’re cautiously optimistic,” she told Fox News. She said that her husband is “more than well deserving” of a pardon and is hoping that Trump will come through where other administrations have not.

Legally, a pardon can be issued at any time, not just after a conviction. President Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon despite Nixon not facing formal charges. The acceptance of a pardon is technically an admission of wrongdoing, according to the Supreme Court’s 1915 decision in Burdick v. United States, which factored into Ford’s decision.

The case of the former Green Beret Golsteyn has a degree of mystery to it. He first drew attention when he admitted during a 2011 CIA job interview that he shot and killed a suspected bomb maker. The Army investigated, stripped him of awards and sent him a written reprimand, but did not charge him.

When Golsteyn appeared on Fox News in 2016, he told host Bret Baier that he shot the suspect. This sparked a second Army investigation, and Golsteyn was charged with murder in December 2018.

RELEASE OF ‘AMERICAN TALIBAN’ JOHN WALKER LINDH FROM PRISON IS UNCONSCIONABLE, SAYS POMPEO

According to The New York Times, Army documents showed that an Afghan tribal source expressed fear that they would be in danger if the suspect went free. Golsteyn and another American soldier also worried that U.S. troops would be in jeopardy, the documents said.

His wife Julie Golsteyn, in a recent interview with Fox News, blasted the prosecution in the case. “I am heartbroken as Matt’s wife, and a mother, and an American that this is how we treat somebody who put himself in such grave danger to make sure that his men came home,” she said.

Gallagher, meanwhile, is scheduled to go to trial on May 28 for allegedly stabbing a teen ISIS suspect to death. His defense maintains that he is innocent and that SEALS turned him in because he was demanding and they wanted to get rid of him.

His attorney, Timothy Parlatore, said his client would accept a pardon, but that he would like to have Gallagher acquitted.

“We want the opportunity to exonerate my client,” Parlatore told the Times. “At the same time, there is always a risk in going to trial. My primary objective is to get Chief Gallagher home to his family. To that end, Chief Gallagher would welcome any involvement by the president.”

Martin Dempsey, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned of the consequences that pardons could bring.

“Absent evidence of innocence of injustice the wholesale pardon of US servicemembers accused of warcrimes signals our troops and allies that we don’t take the Law of Armed Conflicts seriously,” Dempsey tweeted Tuesday. “Bad message. Bad precedent. Abdication of moral responsibility. Risk to us.”

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg also expressed concern. In a Washington Post interview, the Afghanistan War veteran described the potential pardons as “so dangerous and so insulting to people who’ve served.”

Trump’s decision could come in time for the Memorial Day holiday. Despite warnings that a pardon might not be appropriate for cases that have not concluded, Christin Slough noted Trump is not a “traditional president.”

She said he is “more interested in what’s right,” than how things are normally done.

Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

A lone Republican congressman single-handedly stalled a $19 billion disaster aid bill that lawmakers had expected to pass before the Memorial Day weekend.

Texas Rep. Chip Roy took to the House floor late Friday morning to object when lawmakers tried to approve the legislation using a fast-track tactic, with many members of Congress already gone for the holiday.

SENATE PASSES DISASTER AID BILL 

“If I do not object, Congress will have passed a bill with $19 billion without being here to vote on it,” Roy said.

Railing against the “swamp,” Roy objected to speeding the measure through a nearly-empty chamber, complained it wasn’t paid for and challenged a decision not to include President Trump’s $4.5 billion request for dealing with the migrant crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Under House rules, it only took one opposing member to derail the vote. The package likely will now be delayed at least until early June.

Democrats slammed Roy in response. Rep. Donna Shalala, D-Fla., called the turn of events “tragic.”

House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y., said in a statement it is “deeply disappointing that House Republicans are now making disaster victims wait even longer to get the help they need.”

The surprise development comes after the Senate overwhelmingly approved the legislation Thursday afternoon to help several states and Puerto Rico recover from hurricanes, floods and wildfires – this, after Trump himself backed off from his demand that border security money be added.

Senators had passed the measure on an 85-8 vote; eight Republicans opposed it. Trump then said he would sign the measure, tweeting: “The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!”

The legislation is crucial to states still reeling from devastating hurricanes over the past two years and epic flooding that drenched Iowa, Nebraska and Missouri. It would provide over $600 million in nutrition assistance and $304 million in aid for Puerto Rico, which was devastated by Hurricane Maria in 2017.

Fox News’ Louis Casiano contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

The American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood filed a federal lawsuit Friday in a bid to block Alabama’s strictest-in-the-nation abortion ban, touching off a legal battle that could eventually land before the Supreme Court.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of abortion providers, said the new law “directly conflicts” with the Roe v. Wade decision and “more than four decades of Supreme Court precedent affirming its central holding” on abortion rights.

ABORTION FOES EYE SCOTUS SHOWDOWN IN WAKE OF ALABAMA LAW

“For over 46 years — since the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade — U.S. law has recognized the fundamental constitutional right to make the profoundly important and personal decision whether or not to terminate a pregnancy,” the lawsuit reads.

The Alabama law would make performing an abortion at any stage of pregnancy a felony punishable by up to 99 years or life in prison for the abortion provider. The only exception would be when the woman’s health is at serious risk.

The law is set to take effect in November unless blocked by a judge. The suit, filed in federal court in Alabama, asks the court to block the law and declare it unconstitutional.

HUNDREDS PROTEST ALABAMA ABORTION BAN

The Alabama law was only the latest – albeit the strictest – anti-abortion measure to be passed at the state level in recent months. It comes as conservative lawmakers prepare for a possible battle on the issue before the Supreme Court – where a conservative majority has emerged during the Trump administration.

Even the Alabama bill’s sponsor has acknowledged the far-reaching legislation is aimed at sparking a new Supreme Court review of the landmark Roe v. Wade.

Governors in Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio and Georgia have approved bans on abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can happen as early as the sixth week of pregnancy. The Alabama law, meanwhile, would appear to shatter one of the few areas of consensus in the abortion debate — allowing exceptions in anti-abortion laws for rape and incest, which the Alabama legislation does not.

None of the laws has taken effect and all are expected to be blocked by the courts as the legal challenges play out with an ultimate eye on the Supreme Court.

“The American people want a fresh debate and a new direction, achieved by consensus and built on love for both mothers and babies. The time is coming for the Supreme Court to let that debate go forward,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of pro-life organization the Susan B. Anthony List, said in a statement after the Alabama law passed.

Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

President Trump’s decision to authorize the declassification of key documents from the Russia investigation is “long overdue,” former deputy independent counsel Sol Wisenberg argued Friday.

Trump on Thursday night issued a memo giving Attorney General William Barr the authority to declassify any documents related to surveillance of the Trump campaign in 2016.

Trump also ordered the intelligence community to cooperate with Barr.

The memo read: “The heads of elements of the intelligence community… and the heads of each department or agency that includes an element of the intelligence community shall promptly provide such assistance and information as the Attorney General may request in connection with that review.”

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

“Today, at the request and recommendation of the Attorney General of the United States, President Donald J. Trump directed the intelligence community to quickly and fully cooperate with the Attorney General’s investigation into surveillance activities during the 2016 Presidential election,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

“The Attorney General has also been delegated full and complete authority to declassify information pertaining to this investigation, in accordance with the long-established standards for handling classified information. Today’s action will help ensure that all Americans learn the truth about the events that occurred, and the actions that were taken, during the last Presidential election and will restore confidence in our public institutions.”

Responding on “America’s Newsroom,” Wisenberg said the memo essentially puts U.S. intelligence agencies “on notice” that they need to “cut the stonewalling out.”

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Wisenberg said the move is “obviously necessary” and he was “overjoyed” when he heard the news. He said new information about the origins of the FBI’s counterintelligence probe is still coming out to this day.

“People are tired of the stonewalling. Barr is the person who’s been given the authority to help get to the bottom of it. Unless you give that authority to someone with the power and gravitas of Bill Barr, people are gonna continue to stonewall,” he said.

Wisenberg, however, tamped down expectations from some that former officials could “go to jail” or be tried for crimes as a result of the Justice Department’s review of the Russia probe’s origins.

Fox News’ Talia Kaplan and Mike Arroyo contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Sen. Lindsey Graham said “not one Democrat will give a damn” about the documents that could be declassified in relation to the surveillance of the Trump campaign in 2016.

“You’re gonna find out the mentality of the people investigating the president. You’re gonna find out exactly what they did, you’re gonna find out [George] Papadopoulos was not working with the Russians. They knew early on he had no contacts with the Russians,” Graham said during a Friday appearance on “Fox and Friends”.

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

“The bottom line is there’s gonna be a lot of information about, they were warned about still this is a bad guy you can’t trust him. They blew through every stop sign,” he added.

The senator’s comments came after President Trump on Thursday night issued a memo giving Attorney General William Barr the authority to declassify any documents related to spying on the Trump campaign.

Trump also ordered the intelligence community to cooperate with Barr. The memo read: “The heads of elements of the intelligence community… and the heads of each department or agency that includes an element of the intelligence community shall promptly provide such assistance and information as the Attorney General may request in connection with that review.”

TRUMP GIVES AG BARR AUTHORITY TO DECLASSIFY DOCUMENTS RELATED TO 2016 CAMPAIGN SURVEILLANCE

But Graham believes that while some will find the declassified documents interesting, “not one Democrat will give a damn.” Still, he believes the disclosure will warrant an action to ensure no other presidential campaign gets spied on without a good reason.

“I’m gonna look at all of it to make sure it never happens again,” the senator said. “I want to make sure we have FISA laws that can detect when somebody is giving the court a bunch of garbage.

“I wanna make sure we have rules that you just can’t open up a counterintelligence investigation on a presidential candidate without having a good reason.”

Graham added that that FISA court is important “because the people are out to get us,” but “if you can take the law into your own hands for political purposes, it is not good for democracy.”

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During the same appearance, Graham also fired back at the New Yorker magazine over its portrayal of him – together with Barr and Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell – as someone shining the shoes of Trump.

“If I’m helping the president it is good for the country, because I think I got something to offer to him,” Graham said.

“He is doing a really good job. If you want a strong military you got one. If you want a humming economy you got one. If you want to take on the enemy differently than Obama did – that’s exactly what we are doing.”

Source: Fox News Politics

Former ICE acting director Tom Homan slammed Democratic Rep. Lauren Underwood for her “disgusting’ statement that the deaths of children in custody at the border was an “intentional” policy decision.

“It’s a disgusting comment,” Homan told “Fox and Friends” on Friday morning in response to Underwood’s remark during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing on Wednesday, which prompted the committee to vote to expunge her comments from the record.

“At this point, with five kids that have died, 5,000 separated from their families, I feel like, and the evidence is really clear, this is intentional,” Underwood said. “It’s a policy choice being made on purpose by this administration, and it’s cruel and inhumane.”

“At this point, with five kids that have died, 5,000 separated from their families, I feel like, and the evidence is really clear, this is intentional,” Underwood said. “It’s a policy choice being made on purpose by this administration, and it’s cruel and inhumane.”

— Democratic Rep. Lauren Underwood

DEM REBUKED AFTER CALLING CHILD DEATHS ‘INTENTIONAL’ IN FIERY EXCHANGE WITH DHS BOSS

Homan said the Illinois Democrat’s comments were disrespectful to the people of the Border Patrol and ignores the vital and good work the agency does.

“The men and women of border patrol, they didn’t talk about the 4,000 lives they saved last year. They have saved over 4,000 people that were in medical distress when they found them,” he said.

They have saved over 4,000 people that were in medical distress when they found them.”

— Tom Homan

“These men and women of the Border Patrol, they are fathers and mothers and sons and daughters, too. They don’t leave their love for life at the station when they start the shift. They do everything they can to protect these people, so to dishonor them in this way insulting.”

Homan went on to point out that what Underwood’s comments didn’t mention – the Democrats’ failure to address immigration and instead create incentives for migrants to make dangerous illegal crossings into the U.S.

ICE AGAIN SEEKS DETENTION OF MARYLAND TEENS ACCUSED IN MURDER OF 14-YEAR-OLD GIRL

“What she didn’t mention, let’s pull the curtain back on this, when [Fiscal Year 2019] appropriations bill was signed, that committee came together after the government shut down to come up with the budget,” he said, accusing Democrats of failing to take action against parents who use “smuggler organizations” to bring their children into the U.S.

“So she and her party leaders look in the mirror because of their intentional actions they opened the groundswell and now [Unaccompanied Alien Children] are at an all-time high like I said they would be. It was their actions that caused the UACs to come to begin,” he said.

Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., first allowed Underwood’s words to remain on the record, stating that “the language is appropriate and that it should not be taken down.”

The decision eventually led to a vote over whether to take down Underwood’s words from the record. After a 9-7 vote, Underwood’s words were taken down.

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Underwood later took to Twitter to comment on what happened: “For over a year, it’s been clear that policies at the border have harmed the physical and mental health of migrant children.”

“I believe, at this point, failure to change these broken policies based on that knowledge is intentional and unacceptable,” she added.

Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Former ICE acting director Tom Homan slammed Democratic Rep. Lauren Underwood for her “disgusting’ statement that the deaths of children in custody at the border was an “intentional” policy decision.

“It’s a disgusting comment,” Homan told “Fox and Friends” on Friday morning in response to Underwood’s remark during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing on Wednesday, which prompted the committee to vote to expunge her comments from the record.

“At this point, with five kids that have died, 5,000 separated from their families, I feel like, and the evidence is really clear, this is intentional,” Underwood said. “It’s a policy choice being made on purpose by this administration, and it’s cruel and inhumane.”

“At this point, with five kids that have died, 5,000 separated from their families, I feel like, and the evidence is really clear, this is intentional,” Underwood said. “It’s a policy choice being made on purpose by this administration, and it’s cruel and inhumane.”

— Democratic Rep. Lauren Underwood

DEM REBUKED AFTER CALLING CHILD DEATHS ‘INTENTIONAL’ IN FIERY EXCHANGE WITH DHS BOSS

Homan said the Illinois Democrat’s comments were disrespectful to the people of the Border Patrol and ignores the vital and good work the agency does.

“The men and women of border patrol, they didn’t talk about the 4,000 lives they saved last year. They have saved over 4,000 people that were in medical distress when they found them,” he said.

They have saved over 4,000 people that were in medical distress when they found them.”

— Tom Homan

“These men and women of the Border Patrol, they are fathers and mothers and sons and daughters, too. They don’t leave their love for life at the station when they start the shift. They do everything they can to protect these people, so to dishonor them in this way insulting.”

Homan went on to point out that what Underwood’s comments didn’t mention – the Democrats’ failure to address immigration and instead create incentives for migrants to make dangerous illegal crossings into the U.S.

ICE AGAIN SEEKS DETENTION OF MARYLAND TEENS ACCUSED IN MURDER OF 14-YEAR-OLD GIRL

“What she didn’t mention, let’s pull the curtain back on this, when [Fiscal Year 2019] appropriations bill was signed, that committee came together after the government shut down to come up with the budget,” he said, accusing Democrats of failing to take action against parents who use “smuggler organizations” to bring their children into the U.S.

“So she and her party leaders look in the mirror because of their intentional actions they opened the groundswell and now [Unaccompanied Alien Children] are at an all-time high like I said they would be. It was their actions that caused the UACs to come to begin,” he said.

Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., first allowed Underwood’s words to remain on the record, stating that “the language is appropriate and that it should not be taken down.”

The decision eventually led to a vote over whether to take down Underwood’s words from the record. After a 9-7 vote, Underwood’s words were taken down.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Underwood later took to Twitter to comment on what happened: “For over a year, it’s been clear that policies at the border have harmed the physical and mental health of migrant children.”

“I believe, at this point, failure to change these broken policies based on that knowledge is intentional and unacceptable,” she added.

Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics


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