Fox News Politics

Anthony Weiner released from prison as part of federal re-entry program

Disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner has been released from prison and is now part of the federal re-entry program in New York as he awaits his full release later this spring.

Weiner, who was convicted for sexting a 15-year-old girl from North Carolina and sentenced to 21 months behind bars, has been transferred from Federal Medical Center in Massachusetts into the care of New York’s Residential Re-entry Management program.

While a staff member at New York’s RRM in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood was unable to provide Fox News with Weiner’s exact whereabouts, it is believed that he is serving the remaining time of his sentence in a halfway house or in home confinement before his official release on May 14.

ANTHONY WEINER SENTENCED TO 21 MONTHS IN PRISON IN TEEN SEXTING CASE

Good conduct while in prison has shaved off about three months from his sentence. He will spend three years on supervised release and will have to pay a $10,000 fine as well as register as a sex offender.

Once a prominent star in the Democratic Party, Weiner’s political career began to unravel in 2011 when he resigned from Congress after admitting to sending an X-rated photo and engaging in inappropriate relationships with women online. While he attempted a comeback in 2013 when he ran for New York City mayor, that campaign went off the tracks when it was revealed that he had sexted with another woman under the pseudonym “Carlos Danger.”

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In 2017, he was busted for texting with a high school girl and eventually sentenced to time behind bars.

U.S. District Judge Denise L. Cote issued the sentence in federal court in New York.

“This is a serious crime that deserves serious punishment,” Cote said in a statement.

During his sentencing, Weiner wept openly and read from a prepared statement for several minutes, describing himself as “an addict” and calling his crime “rock bottom.” He said he has a “disease,” but it is not an “excuse.”

Source: Fox News Politics

Graham calls McCabe comments 'beyond stunning' as he threatens to subpoena former FBI chief

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., vowed Sunday to investigate alleged discussions at the Department of Justice about invoking the 25th Amendment as a way to oust President Trump from office and threatened to subpoena former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe if he refused to testify on the matter before the Senate.

"We’re going to find out what happened here and the only way I know to find out is to call the people in under oath and find out, through questioning, who’s telling the truth because the underlying accusation is beyond stunning," Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said on CBS’ "Face the Nation."

Graham added that he also plans to subpoena both McCabe and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein if they won’t voluntarily agree to testify before the committee.

"There is no organization beyond scrutiny," Graham said. "There is no organization that can’t withstand scrutiny. And the FBI will come out stronger."

ANDREW MCCARTHY: MCCABE, ROSENSTEIN AND THE REAL THRUTH ABOUT THE 25TH AMENDMENT COUP ATTEMPT

He said: "But we’ve got to get to the bottom of it. What are people to think after they watch "60 Minutes" when they hear this accusation by the acting deputy — acting FBI director that the deputy attorney general encouraged him to try to find ways to count votes to replace the president? That can’t go unaddressed."

Graham’s comments come on the heels of a Fox News story that reported that former FBI lawyer James Baker, in closed-door testimony to Congress, detailed alleged discussions among senior officials at the Justice Department about invoking the 25th Amendment.

The testimony was delivered last fall to the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees. Fox News has confirmed portions of the transcript. It provides additional insight into discussions that have returned to the spotlight in Washington as fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe revisits the matter during interviews promoting his forthcoming book.

Baker did not identify the two Cabinet officials. But in his testimony, the lawyer said McCabe and FBI lawyer Lisa Page came to him to relay their conversations with Rosenstein, including discussions of the 25th Amendment.

“I was being told by some combination of Andy McCabe and Lisa Page, that, in a conversation with the deputy attorney general, he had stated that he — this was what was related to me – that he had at least two members of the president’s Cabinet who were ready to support, I guess you would call it, an action under the 25th Amendment,” Baker told the committees.

CBS News reported on McCabe’s comments after he told “60 Minutes” that Justice Department officials discussed the possibility of removing Trump via the 25th Amendment and that Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein had offered to wear a wire around the president.

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The 25th Amendment provides a mechanism for removing a sitting president from office. One way that could happen is if a majority of the president’s Cabinet says the president is incapable of discharging his duties.

Since giving the interview to “60 Minutes,” McCabe has since made an about-face, with a spokesperson for the former FBI chief releasing a statement that says McCabe did not "participate in any extended discussions about the use of the 25th Amendment, nor is he aware of any such discussions."

The Justice Department issued a statement calling McCabe’s comments “inaccurate and factually incorrect."

Reports of the discussions of invoking the 25th Amendment and of Rosenstein wearing a wire were reported in The New York Times.

Source: Fox News Politics

New York City's de Blasio blames Amazon for caving on deal for new headquarters in city

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio laid the blame on Amazon deciding to pull up stakes on a new headquarters in the city squarely on the corporate behemoth, saying that the company just “took their ball and went home.”

Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” de Blasio defended progressive Democrats who argued against Amazon’s move to the country’s largest city, but did add that the deal could have been a way for progressive leaders to show a balance on economic issues.

“I have no problem with my fellow progressives critiquing a deal or wanting more from Amazon — I wanted more from Amazon, too,” de Blasio said. “The bottom line is, this was an example of an abuse of corporate power. They had an agreement with the people of New York City."

He added: "They said they wanted a partnership, but the minute there were criticisms, they walked away. What does that say to working people, that a company would leave them high and dry, simply because some people raised criticism?"

AMAZON BLASTS OCASIO-CORTEZ, SAYS ‘WE DON’T WANT TO WORK IN THIS ENVIRONMENT IN THE LONG TERM’

Amazon officials joined de Blasio and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo in November to announce plans to build a $2.5 billion headquarters in Queens.

De Blasio and Cuomo said the $2.8 billion in tax breaks and subsidies they were offering Amazon would result in $27 billion in tax revenue.

The company, however, announced on Thursday that it had dropped plans to build a new headquarters in Queens amid pressure from politicians and activists over the tax breaks it would receive.

“We are disappointed to have reached this conclusion — we love New York,” the online giant from Seattle said in a blog post announcing its withdrawal.

The stunning move was a serious blow to Cuomo and de Blasio, who had lobbied intensely to land the project, competing against more than 200 other metropolitan areas across the continent that were practically tripping over each other to offer incentives to Amazon in a bidding war the company stoked.

Cuomo lashed out at fellow New York politicians over Amazon’s change of heart, saying the project would have helped diversify the city’s economy, cement its status as an emerging tech hub and generate money for schools, housing and transit.

“A small group (of) politicians put their own narrow political interests above their community,” he said.

But Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York City’s new liberal firebrand, exulted over Amazon’s pullout.

“Today was the day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers and their neighbors defeated Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world,” she tweeted, referring to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

The swift unraveling of the project reflected growing antipathy toward large technology companies among liberals and populists who accuse big business of holding down wages and wielding too much political clout, analysts said.

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“This all of a sudden became a perfect test case for all those arguments,” said Joe Parilla, a fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program.

Amazon ultimately decided it did not want to be drawn into that battle.

Amazon announced in November that it had chosen the Long Island City section of Queens for one of two new headquarters, with the other in Arlington, Va. Both would get 25,000 jobs. A third site in Nashville, Tenn., would get 5,000.

The company planned to spend $2.5 billion building the New York office, choosing the area in part because of its large pool of tech talent. The governor and the mayor had argued that the project would spur economic growth that would pay for the $2.8 billion in state and city incentives many times over.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

California AG Becerra plans to sue Trump administration over national emergency declaration

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said Sunday that he will "definitely and imminently" file a lawsuit against the Trump administration for declaring a national emergency at the U.S.’ southern border.

"It’s clear that this isn’t an emergency, it’s clear that in the mind of Donald Trump he needs to do something to try to fulfill a campaign promise," Becerra said during an interview on ABC News’ "This Week." The construction of a border wall has been a central issue for Trump since he first announced he was running for president in 2015.

Becerra added: "That doesn’t constitute a national emergency that would require us to essentially stand down on all sorts of federal laws and also violate the U.S. Constitution.”

TRUMP DECLARES EMERGENCY ON BORDER, EYES $8B FOR WALL

Becerra, a former Democratic congressman for the state, has become one of the Trump administration’s biggest foils on a state level, especially in regards to the White House’s policies on immigration and border security.

"It’s become clear that this is not an emergency, not only because no one believes it is, but because Donald Trump himself has said it’s not," Becerra said. "Typically, our presidents have focused on issues where the national interests are clearly at stake. The national interests aren’t at stake here."

Trump declared the emergency Friday in an effort to go around Congress to fund his border wall. It would allow him to move federal dollars earmarked for military construction to the border — but is already facing legal and political challenges.

Democrats are planning to introduce a resolution disapproving of the declaration once Congress returns to session and it is likely to pass Congress. Several Republican senators are already indicating they would vote against Trump — though there are not yet enough votes to override a veto by the president.

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White House senior adviser Stephen Miller told "Fox News Sunday" that "the president is going to protect his national emergency declaration." Asked if that meant Trump was ready to veto, Miller added, "He’s going to protect his national emergency declaration, guaranteed."

Miller insisted that Congress granted the president wide berth under the National Emergencies Act to take action. But Trump’s declaration goes beyond previous emergencies in shifting money after Congress blocked his funding request for the wall, which will likely factor in legal challenges.

Source: Fox News Politics

Democrats reject push to alert ICE when illegal immigrants fail firearm background checks

Democrats this week approved legislation to require background checks for essentially all sales and transfers of firearms — but rejected GOP-led efforts to amend the legislation to alert law enforcement authorities when gun buyers, including illegal immigrants, fail those background checks.

The House Judiciary Committee voted in favor of the bill 23-15, in a strict party-line vote, sending it to the House floor. If approved by the full House, the bill would be the most significant gun-control legislation approved by either chamber of Congress in at least a decade — although it stands little chance of passage in the Senate, where Republicans command a slim majority.

Republicans in the House charged that H.R. 8, known as "The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019," should have included Florida Rep. Greg Steube’s proposed amendment to require that law enforcement be notified "when an individual attempting to purchase a firearm fails a federal background check." (H.R. 8 was numbered in honor of former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords, who was shot in Arizona on Jan. 8, 2011 by a mentally ill gunman.)

“Clearly, the Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee don’t care about preventing gun violence, they simply are playing politics with Americans’ Second Amendment rights,” Steube, a Republican, said after the vote. “The fact that Democrats do not want law enforcement notified if an individual attempting to purchase a firearm fails a background check is truly troubling.”

WATCH: FATHER OF PARKLAND SHOOTING VICTIM BLAMES ‘OBAMA-ERA’ POLICIES, REFLECTS ON 1-YEAR ANNIVERSARY

He continued: “In rejecting this amendment, the Democrats have shown their true colors. It is clear they are not interested in preventing gun violence or stopping the illegal purchase of firearms, but rather they are only interested in limiting the rights of law-abiding citizens to advance their own political agenda."

Wednesday’s vote came a day before the one-year anniversary of the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people. However, Steube dismissed arguments that the massacre necessitated the new legislation.

“As written now, H.R. 8 would not have prevented any of the mass shootings in Florida in recent years,” Steube’s office said in a press release. “The shooter in Parkland passed a background check before purchasing a firearm, the shooter at Pulse Nightclub passed a background check before purchasing a firearm, and the shooter just weeks ago that murdered five women in District 17 passed a background check before purchasing the handgun he used in the commission of that heinous crime."

Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz echoed Steube’s concerns.

"Democrats in the Judiciary Committee just voted against notifying ICE when an illegal alien fails a background check to buy a gun," Gaetz wrote on Twitter. "They hate ICE so much that they’d keep ICE in the dark when illegals try to get guns!"

The vote on the bill came after a contentious, daylong hearing in which Republicans offered a series of other amendments in addition to Steube’s proposal, all of which were blocked by Democrats. Among the rejected amendments were some seeking to address background check fees, which Republicans said could be unduly burdensome for family members trying to transfer guns to relatives.

Republicans said they were ready to offer additional amendments when Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., shut off debate around 8 p.m., 10 hours after the hearing began.

CONNECTICUT DEM INTRODUCES 50 PERCENT TAX ON AMMO

Nadler called the background checks bill long overdue to address a "national crisis of gun violence" that claimed nearly 40,000 lives in 2017.

"Our country is awash in guns, and we have the shameful death toll to show for it," he said.

Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, the panel’s senior Republican, called Nadler’s action "disturbing" and said it did not bode well for the two-year congressional session.

In this Feb. 8, 2019, photo, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., gestures during questioning of acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker on Capitol Hill in Washington. A key House committee has approved a bill to require background checks for all sales and transfers of firearms, a first by majority Democrats to tighten gun laws after eight years of Republican rule. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

In this Feb. 8, 2019, photo, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., gestures during questioning of acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker on Capitol Hill in Washington. A key House committee has approved a bill to require background checks for all sales and transfers of firearms, a first by majority Democrats to tighten gun laws after eight years of Republican rule. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

"If this is the way the chairman wants to begin this session of Congress, I really wonder where we go from here" and whether the two parties can work together, Collins said.

But Democrats said Republicans were delaying a vote on the bill because they oppose universal background checks for gun purchases.

"This isn’t a debate, it’s a show," said Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla. She called universal background checks for all gun sales common sense and said, "Let’s move forward."

At one point, Steube displayed a large cup that read, "The Second Amendment is my gun permit."

Democrats have pledged additional gun legislation, including restrictions on high-capacity magazines and a measure to allow temporary removal of guns from people deemed an imminent risk to themselves or others.

Meanwhile, fellow freshman Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa., said lawmakers "know background checks work, that they save lives, and yet we need to close loopholes" that allow some private purchases and transfers to be made without background checks.

"They hate ICE so much that they’d keep ICE in the dark when illegals try to get guns!"

— Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz

Instead of working with Democrats, "Republicans are adding more loopholes, which is shameful," Dean said.

BACKGROUND CHECK REQUIREMENTS ACTUALLY DO VERY LITTLE, STUDY SHOWS

However, earlier this month, gun violence experts from the Center for Gun Policy and Research and the Violence Prevention Research Program conducted a study in Washington state, Colorado and Delaware to analyze whether state laws requiring more background checks actually resulted in more checks.

The results, published in medical journal Injury Prevention, suggest the laws had little impact.

Delaware was the only state that saw apparent results, with an increase ranging from 22 to 34 percent based on the type of firearm. But according to the study, "no overall changes were observed in Washington and Colorado."

The study said data "external to the study" suggested Washington saw a “modest, but consistent” increase in background checks for private-party sales, and Colorado saw a similar increase in checks for non-gun show sales.

Separately, Republicans pushed to allow exceptions for victims of domestic violence and transfers among family members, but were dismissed by Democrats.

Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Ga., a freshman whose son was killed by gun violence, said she has been working on gun legislation since his death more than six years ago.

"As a survivor of gun violence myself, I refuse to let my colleagues stand here and devalue the importance that this bill has," she said.

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And Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., said that while the bill "can’t bring back" any of those killed in Parkland or other shootings, it will help reduce gun violence.

"If this legislation prevents one person wishing to do harm to others with a gun from doing that, it will be something we can be proud of," he said.

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

Source: Fox News Politics

Los Angeles City Council’s president suggests to deploy ‘army of cats’ to deal with rat situation

He thought it’d be a purrrr-fict idea.

Herb Wesson, the president of Los Angeles’ City Council, suggested deploying an “army of cats” to fight City Hall’s rodent problem but was told Friday that adding cats to the equation would likely only worsen the issue.

Anyone who’s ever seen Tom and Jerry knows that cats can be lethal to smaller prey, even though a recent study suggested otherwise. But the idea seems to have even less of a chance of implementation due to city health officials said cats would help spread fleas in the 91-year-old building and its City Hall East annex.

“The fleas from the rat would immediately jump onto the cat,” Dr. Dawn Terashita, an associate director at the city’s Department of Public Health, told The Los Angeles Times.

Downtown Los Angeles is in the midst of a typhus outbreak, according to health officials, with several homeless people who live near City Hall among those afflicted. It flourishes in unsanitary conditions and is often spread by infected fleas hitching rides on rats. It is rarely fatal when treated quickly with antibiotics but epidemics killed thousands in the Middle Ages.

The paper reported that at least two city employees say they were bitten by fleas. Eric Garcetti, the mayor, said the health risks are minimal.

“It’s been rats since I’ve been there,” Garcetti told the paper. “[There is] one case that may or may not have come from there, but that still is in the normal range of what we have each year.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Source: Fox News Politics

Former top FBI lawyer: 2 Trump Cabinet officials were ‘ready to support’ 25th Amendment effort

Former top FBI lawyer James Baker, in closed-door testimony to Congress, detailed alleged discussions among senior officials at the Justice Department about invoking the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office, claiming he was told Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said two Trump Cabinet officials were “ready to support” such an effort.

The testimony was delivered last fall to the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees. Fox News has confirmed portions of the transcript. It provides additional insight into discussions that have returned to the spotlight in Washington as fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe revisits the matter during interviews promoting his forthcoming book.

MCCABE DETAILS CENTRAL ROLE IN RUSSIA PROBES, DOJ MEETINGS ON WHETHER TO OUST PRESIDENT

Baker did not identify the two Cabinet officials. But in his testimony, the lawyer said McCabe and FBI lawyer Lisa Page came to him to relay their conversations with Rosenstein, including discussions of the 25th Amendment.

“I was being told by some combination of Andy McCabe and Lisa Page, that, in a conversation with the Deputy Attorney General, he had stated that he — this was what was related to me – that he had at least two members of the president’s Cabinet who were ready to support, I guess you would call it, an action under the 25th Amendment,” Baker told the committees.

The 25th Amendment provides a mechanism for removing a sitting president from office. One way that could happen is if a majority of the president’s Cabinet says the president is incapable of discharging his duties.

Rosenstein, who still works at the Justice Department but who is expected to exit in the near future, has denied the claims since they first surfaced in the media last year.

Fox News requested further comment from the parties involved. Lawyers for Baker and McCabe declined comment, as did an FBI spokesperson.

In his testimony, Baker said of McCabe’s state of mind: “At this point in time, Andy was unbelievably focused and unbelievably confident and squared away.  I don’t know how to describe it other than I was extremely proud to be around him at that point in time because I thought he was doing an excellent job at maintaining focus and dealing with a very uncertain and difficult situation.  So I think he was in a good state of mind at this point in time.”

The testimony, for which there are criminal penalties if the witness lies to congressional investigators, comes as McCabe, who was fired last year by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has discussed the alleged meetings as he promotes his forthcoming book.

FBI LAWYER’S TESTIMONY AT ODDS WITH ROSENSTEIN DENIAL ON ‘WIRE’ REPORT

On Thursday, the Justice Department issued a statement that said Rosenstein rejects McCabe’s recitation of these events “as inaccurate and factually incorrect.” It also denied that Rosenstein ever OK’d wearing a "wire" to tape Trump.

“The deputy attorney general never authorized any recording that Mr. McCabe references,” the statement said. “As the deputy attorney general previously has stated, based on his personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment, nor was the DAG in a position to consider invoking the 25th Amendment.”

During his testimony, Baker acknowledged he was not directly involved in the May 2017 discussions but testified over a two-day period in October that McCabe and Page came to him contemporaneously after meeting with Rosenstein for input in the days after Comey was fired by the president.

STRZOK-PAGE TEXTS CALLING TO ‘OPEN’ CASE IN ‘CHARGEABLE WAY’ UNDER FRESH SCRUTINY

As Fox News has previously reported, the eight days in May 2017 between Comey’s firing and appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller were seen as a major turning point in the Russia probe, which has also involved examining whether the president obstructed justice.

“I had the impression that the deputy attorney general had already discussed this with two members in the president’s Cabinet and that they were…onboard with this concept already,” Baker said.

During the closed-door hearing, the former FBI lawyer told lawmakers he could not say whether Rosenstein was taking the initiative to seek out Cabinet members:

Question: “Do you know what direction that went? Was it Mr. Rosenstein seeking out members of the Cabinet looking to pursue this 25th Amendment approach or was it the other way around?”

Baker: “What I recall being said was that the Deputy Attorney General had two members of the Cabinet.  So he – how they came to be had, I don’t know, but…”

Question: “So he had two members, almost like he was taking the initiative and getting the members?”

Baker: “That would be speculation on my part.”

Baker also said he did not know the names of the two Cabinet officials.

“Lisa and Andy did not tell me, and my impression was they didn’t know themselves,” he said.

But when the New York Times broke the story in September, it reported that Rosenstein told McCabe he might be able to persuade then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions and then-Secretary of Homeland Security and later White House chief of staff John Kelly to invoke the 25th Amendment.

FBI’S TOP BRASS RACED TO HANDLE FOX NEWS INQUIRY ON ALLEGED QUID PRO QUO OVER CLINTON EMAILS, NEW DOCUMENTS SHOW

On Thursday, the top Republicans on the House and Senate Judiciary Committees called for McCabe and Rosenstein to testify before their respective panels, following McCabe’s comments about these discussions. Rosenstein did not appear for Capitol Hill testimony to clarify these discussions, despite multiple requests from lawmakers, when Republicans held the majority last year.

On Friday, a spokeswoman for McCabe responded to media reports about his upcoming 60 minutes interview.

"Certain statements made by Mr. McCabe, in interviews associated with the release of his book, have been taken out of context and misrepresented,” the spokeswoman said. “To clarify, at no time did Mr. McCabe participate in any extended discussions about the use of the 25th Amendment, nor is he aware of any such discussions.”

NEW DETAILS ABOUT BASIS FOR ANDREW MCCABE’S FIRING FROM FBI REVEALED

Fox News has reported, based on a source who was in the meeting, that Rosenstein’s "wire" comments were viewed as "sarcastic." But Baker testified that it was taken seriously.

Baker testified in October that the alleged discussions took place during an uncertain and anxious time at the FBI and DOJ after Comey’s termination, and that the mood was “pretty dark":

Question: “Did people tell you that the DAG (Deputy Attorney General) was upset?”

Baker: “Yes.”

Question: “Did they tell you that he was making jokes?”

Baker: “No.”

Question: “Did they tell you that…”

Baker: “This was not a joking sort of time. This was pretty dark.”

In October, during a separate closed-door interview, another senior FBI lawyer Sally Moyer, who sometimes commuted to work with Page, described Page’s private reaction to the claim that Rosenstein’s comments were sarcastic.

“It was when the news hit about the wiretap and the department’s position and what they were saying happened, and she was indicating she did not believe that they were telling the truth,” Moyer said.

Also during the testimony, Moyer said the chances of securing a 2016 surveillance warrant for a Trump campaign aide were only “50/50” without the controversial anti-Trump “dossier,” according to transcripts confirmed by Fox News.

Moyer’s testimony appears to underscore how critical the dossier — funded by the Democratic Party and Clinton campaign — was in obtaining the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant, and appears to conflict with Democratic assertions that the dossier played a limited role in the process.

Asked whether the FBI would have been able to establish probable cause if the application “did not have the Christopher Steele information in it,” Moyer responded: "So I think it’s a close call, like 50/50, 51/49. I really think it’s a close call."

Source: Fox News Politics

Patrick Caddell, pollster who also contributed to Fox News, is dead at 68: report

Patrick Caddell, a former Fox News contributor, reportedly died Saturday at age 68.

The political pollster died as a result of complications of a stroke, his colleague Professor Kendra Stewart told The New York Times.

Caddell was born in South Carolina on May 19, 1950. He lived in Massachusetts and Florida during his childhood, among other places, as a result of his father’s role in the Coast Guard, the outlet said.

His launch into the world of polling came when he devised a “voter election model” for a class in high school, which he attended in Jacksonville, Florida, according to The Times.

“I set up at the courthouse and called all the elections early with great abandon, with no idea what I was doing,” he reportedly said. “And they all turned out right.”

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Among Caddell’s credits throughout his career in politics were his contributions to former President Jimmy Carter’s campaign, The Times said.

Caddell reportedly leaves behind two siblings, a daughter and three grandchildren.

Source: Fox News Politics

Heather Nauert withdraws from consideration for UN ambassador nomination, State Department says

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert withdrew her name from consideration for the U.N. ambassador nomination, the department said Saturday.

“I am grateful to President Trump and Secretary [Mike] Pompeo for the trust they placed in me for considering me for the position of U.S. ambassador to the United Nations," Nauer said in the statement. "However, the past two months have been grueling for my family and therefore it is in the best interest of my family that I withdraw my name from consideration.

She went on to describe her time working in the administration as being "one of the highest honors of my life."

A State Department source told Fox News that the process, on top of traveling around the world and between Washington D.C., and New York to see family, grew to be too much.

Trump — who picked Nauert to succeed Ambassador Nikki Haley in December — will make an announcement "soon" about a nominee for the position, the State Department said.

Before she worked at the State Department, Nauert worked as an anchor and correspondent at Fox News — including as a breaking news anchor on “Fox & Friends.” Before Fox, she was a reporter at ABC News. She moved to the State Department in April 2017.

Secretary of State Pompeo also addressed the decision in the statement, saying it was one he respected.

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"Heather Nauert has performed her duties as a senior member of my team with unequaled excellence," he said. "I wish Heather nothing but the best in all of her future endeavors and know that she will continue to be a great representative of this nation in whatever role she finds herself.”

When Trump tapped Nauert for the U.N. role last year, he said she was "very talented." His announcement came roughly two months after Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, abruptly resigned from the position.

Fox News’ Alexandra Pamias, Rich Edson, Adam Shaw and Kaitlyn Schallhorn contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Liberal activists planning day of protests against Trump’s national emergency declaration

Liberal activists are planning nationwide protests on Monday against President Trump’s national emergency declaration on the southern border, embracing the hashtag #FakeNationalEmergency.

The demonstrations are being organized for Presidents Day, the federal holiday on Monday that some workers have off. Many have been scheduled to take place at noon.

TRUMP DECLARES EMERGENCY ON BORDER, EYES $8B FOR WALL

“We’re mobilizing rapid-response events on Presidents Day—Monday, 2/18—against Trump’s fake crisis and racist deportation force and to stand with immigrant, Muslim, and Black and brown communities to stop Trump’s dangerous and illegal power grab,” the liberal MoveOn.org posted on its website.

Some local protests have been listed on the website Rallylist.com.

President Trump said Friday he is declaring a national emergency on the southern border, tapping into executive powers in a bid to divert billions toward construction of his long-promised wall.

“We’re going to confront the national security crisis on our southern border … one way or the other, we have to do it,” Trump said in the Rose Garden.

TRUMP’S BORDER WALL JOINS 31 OTHER NATIONAL EMERGENCIES CURRENTLY IN EFFECT

The move is expected to face a swift and forceful legal challenge that could stall the attempt in the courts for the near future. But the declaration and other money-moving plans allow Trump to continue to fight for border wall construction while also averting another partial government shutdown — which would have been triggered at midnight on Friday absent the new funding package.

Trump, in the Rose Garden, declared once again that "walls work" as he confirmed the emergency declaration would accompany the spending legislation.

"We’re talking about an invasion of our country," Trump said.

And in an almost-casual tone, the president predicted a legal fight that will wind up before the Supreme Court.

"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.”

A senior administration official told Fox News that the White House plans to move $8 billion in currently appropriated or available funds toward construction of the wall. Of that, $3 billion could be diverted with help from the emergency declaration.

Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Booker slams Trump over border emergency, says he won't push his vegan diet on Americans

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. – Sen. Cory Booker on Saturday took aim at President Trump over his declaration of a national border emergency and defended his credentials as a political fighter as he kicked off a three-day presidential campaign swing in the state that holds the first primary in the race for the White House.

“If there’s any emergency at the border, it’s the one he created, the crisis he created," the Democrat from New Jersey said during an interview with Fox News. "If there’s any crisis, you see it in humanitarian issues about separating families, caging children and more.”

On Friday, the president declared a national emergency along the southern border, with the hopes of diverting billions in Defense Department funding toward wall construction. “We’re going to confront the national security crisis on our southern border … one way or the other, we have to do it,” Trump said in the Rose Garden.

But Booker, making his first trip to New Hampshire since declaring his candidacy for president, argued that “we’ve been making progress and we still need to do more to secure our border but not with a wasteful wall.”

Booker on Thursday joined three other Democratic senators running for White House – Kamala Harris, of California; Kirsten Gillibrand; of New York, and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts – in voting against a bipartisan compromise that averted another federal government shutdown. The deal also gave the president $1.3 billion for the construction of barriers along the U.S.-Mexican border, far less than the more than $5 billion Trump demanded.

“This is outrageous,” Booker said of president’s actions in signing the compromise agreement from Congress and then declaring the border emergency. “I didn’t vote for that simply because of the way the president has his posture towards all this.”

TEAR DOWN THAT BORDER WALL: IS BETO’S BATTLECRY THE NEW DEM LITMUS TEST FOR 2020?

The senator was also noncommittal on a recent call by former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas to tear down existing parts of the border wall in his hometown of El Paso.

“I have no specific knowledge of that section,” Booker told Fox News.

O’Rourke, who’s seriously mulling a White House bid of his own, said Thursday in an interview with MSNBC that he’d “absolutely … take the wall down," referring to the barrier by El Paso, Texas.

O’Rourke, who came close to upsetting GOP Sen. Ted Cruz in last November’s Senate election in Texas, argued that the existing 600 miles of wall and fencing along the 2,000-mile border have “not in any demonstrable way made us safer.”

Republicans quickly criticized O’Rourke, charging that he embraces open borders.

Booker, if elected, would be the first vegan president in American history. In a recent interview with VegNews, he lamented that “the tragic reality is this planet simply can’t sustain billions of people consuming industrially produced animal agriculture because of environmental impact.”

Asked if he would advocate for Americans to eat a vegan diet, Booker said, “I think that whatever you eat is a very personal decision and everybody should what eat what they want to eat. That’s America. That’s freedom. Here it’s live free or die. The last thing we want is government telling us what to eat.”

CORY BOOKER SAYS MEAT-CENTRIC ‘STANDARD AMERICAN DIET’ NOT SUSTAINABLE

But he warned that massive corporate companies “are coming in here and polluting our water and creating unsustainable practices.”

During his speech to a jampacked crowd that his campaign estimated at nearly 500, Booker touted his credentials as a fighter. Pushing back against those who might term as “weak” his advocacy of a politics of love, he said “come on…love is the most powerful force,” adding it “can topple the strongest of leaders.”

And he touted his credentials a political fighting coming up through the ranks in Newark, New Jersey, where he served two terms as mayor before being elected to the Senate.

But Booker added that the 2020 election “cannot be just about who can beat the guy in the White House. … This has got to be not just about how to beat somebody but how to unite all of us.”

During a question and answer session with the audience, the conversation turned to health care.

New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker campaigns in New Hampshire on Saturday. (Paul Steinhauser/Fox News).

New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker campaigns in New Hampshire on Saturday. (Paul Steinhauser/Fox News).

Booker spotlighted that there are a “lot of pathways” to achieve universal coverage. But he warned that those who back the "Medicare for All" proposal will “have to find ways to advance the ball given the Congress we have.”

Ahead of his trip to New Hampshire, the Republican National Committee attacked Booker for his “support of out-of-the mainstream policies, to his over-the-top theatrical style.”

“Cory Booker is nothing but extreme – and so is his agenda. Booker’s Presidential platform would upend our way of life, cost taxpayers trillions of dollars and is more pie-in-the-sky than actual reality,” the RNC said.

Source: Fox News Politics

Tear down that border wall: Is Beto's battlecry the new Dem litmus test for 2020?

Beto O’Rourke may have inadvertently got the ball rolling this week on an emerging litmus test for Democrats eyeing the White House in 2020 when he said he “absolutely” supports tearing down the existing barriers along the southern border with Mexico.

Since then, the other Democrats eyeing the 2020 Democratic nomination are facing calls to say whether they agree. And some are now expressing an openness to it, as they work to appeal to a liberal base that argues the wall is immoral.

“Curious to know if @KamalaHarris, @CoryBooker, @ewarren, @JulianCastro, @gillibrandny and @amyklobuchar agree with @BetoORourke that we should tear down the wall that already exists at the border?” tweeted Brad Parscale, Trump’s re-election campaign manager.

O’Rourke, the former Texas Democratic congressman and potential presidential candidate, called for the destruction of the El Paso wall after the White House said President Trump would declare a national state of emergency to fund the remainder of his border wall project.

During an interview in his hometown on Thursday, MSNBC host Chris Hayes asked O’Rourke: "If you could, would you take the wall down here — knock it down?"

BETO SAYS HE ‘ABSOLUTELY’ SUPPORTS DESTROYING EXISTING WALLS ON SOUTHERN BORDER

"Yes, absolutely," answered O’Rourke, who is widely thought to be a potential candidate in 2020 but has not formally announced his intention to run. "I’d take the wall down."

And on Friday, at least one Democrat in the 2020 field signaled they are open to it.

GILLIBRAND ON CALL TO TEAR DOWN BORDER WALL: ‘IF IT MAKES SENSE, I COULD SUPPORT IT’

"I could look at it and see which part he means and why and if it makes sense I could support it,” New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand told Fox News in New Hampshire on Friday.

Meanwhile, Republicans expressed disbelief over O’Rourke’s comments, while signaling they believe they could use the issue to paint Democrats as extreme and pro-open borders.

“Correct me if I am wrong, but did Beto say he would tear down existing border fencing and walls?” tweeted Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who is up for re-election in 2020. Some Democrats have encouraged O’Rourke to challenge Cornyn if he doesn’t run for president.

“Give Beto O’Rourke points for honesty: he admits that he wants to tear down existing border walls & have totally open borders,” said Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton. “At least he’ll say what most Democrat politicians believe.”

RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel used O’Rourke’s comments to say it’s proof Democrats are “the party of open borders.”

While O’Rourke was the first likely 2020 presidential candidate to call for tearing down walls, other lesser-known Democrats in recent weeks have suggested they support the idea.

In an interview in January for example, Democratic Texas Rep. Veronica Escobar told CNN that "we know walls don’t work, that they don’t stop drugs, that they don’t stop migration." Escobar also suggested she was open to destroying existing walls, remarking that they are "really ugly" and "monuments to division."

HOYER SAYS BORDER WALLS ‘OBVIOUSLY’ WORK, REJECTS PELOSI’S SUGGESTION THAT BARRIER IS ‘IMMORALITY’

But not all Democrats have embraced the idea: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said during an interview on Fox News’ "Special Report with Bret Baier" last month that border walls "obviously" work in some areas, and he rejected suggestions that barriers should be removed where they already exist.

Fox News’ Gregg Re contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics


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