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Taliban say unable to attend Pakistan talks; blame blacklist

The Taliban has postponed an unscheduled round of peace talks with the United States set for Monday in Pakistan saying "most" members of their negotiating team are unable to travel because they’re on the U.S. and United Nations’ blacklists.

The statement Sunday offered no other details. It did not explain how several members previously were able to travel to meetings in the United Arab Emirates and Moscow.

The Taliban maintain a political office in Qatar, where members of the negotiating team reside. The Islamabad talks were seen as significant, coinciding with the visit of the Saudi crown prince to Pakistan.

The Taliban 14-member team includes five former inmates of the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, and Anas Haqqani, the jailed younger brother of the leader of the militant Haqqani network.

Source: Fox News World

Sex abuse survivors say Vatican summit must deliver action

Roman Catholics who were sexually abused by clergy are insisting that decisive actions to confront the decades-long problem of pedophile priests and church cover-ups must come out of an upcoming Vatican summit.

A founding member of the advocacy group Ending Clergy Abuse, Peter Isely, contended Sunday that Pope Francis is "facing resistance" from top Vatican officials as he prepares to convene bishops from around the world.

"Let me tell you what it was like to try and have to resist that priest when I was a boy who was sexually assaulting me," Isely said. "So whatever difficulty for him or discomfort this is for anybody in the papal palace, it is nothing compared to what survivors have had to undergo."

Isely offered his perspective in an interview with The Associated Press near St. Peter’s Square shortly before Francis spoke of the importance of the Feb. 21-24 event on protecting children and teenagers in the church,.

Addressing faithful in the square, Francis asked for prayers for the gathering of the heads of Catholic bishops’ conferences worldwide.

Francis said he wanted the summit, to be "an act of strong pastoral responsibility in the face of an urgent challenge of our time."

Revelations in many countries about priests raping and committing other kinds of sexual abuse against children and a pattern of bishops hiding the crimes have shaken the faith of many Catholics.

They also test the pontiff’s ability to ensure the safety of children and punishment for the abusers as well as any complicit superiors.

The Vatican announced Saturday that Francis approved the expulsion from the priesthood for a former American cardinal, Theodore McCarrick, for sexual abuse of minors and adults.

But survivor advocates also have demanded that Francis say what he and other top Vatican officials knew about the prelate’s sexual wrongdoing, which spanned decades.

"You abuse a child, you have to be removed from the priesthood," Isely said. "If you cover up for abusing a child, you have to be removed from the priesthood, and this is the only thing that is going to turn the corner on this global crisis."

Another founding member of the group, Denise Buchanan, a native of Jamaica, said a priest raped and assaulted her when she was 17.

"That rape actually resulted in a pregnancy, and the priest arranged for an abortion," Buchanan said.

Veteran Vatican watcher Marco Politi told the AP he also sees the pope facing inside resistance.

"There is a struggle going on between the pope and his supporters who want a change, and a lot of people among the bishops and among the clergy who don’t want transparency and applying law and order in the abuse issue in the world," Politi said.

Some of Francis’ critics contend that as a product of the Catholic Church’s hierarchical culture, he, too, has been slow to recognize the hierarchy’s role in perpetuating abuse by pedophile priests.

Francis has tried to temper expectations for the summit, saying in January the "problem of abuse will continue" because "it’s a human problem." Isely of Ending Clergy Abuse said the bar should be high and the participants "have to deliver for survivors."

Source: Fox News World

Saudi crown prince arrives in Pakistan for regional visit

Saudi Arabia’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman began his four-day regional visit on Sunday, arriving in Pakistan where Saudi officials signed agreements worth $20 billion to help the Islamic nation overcome its financial crisis.

Prime Minister Imran Khan and top government and military officials greeted him at Islamabad’s airport, where he received a 21-gun salute. Earlier, Pakistan Air Force jets escorted Prince Mohammad’s flight when he entered the country’s airspace.

At the airport, a young boy and girl in traditional Pakistani dress handed the prince flowers. He was greeted by a host of Pakistani Cabinet ministers and the country’s powerful army chief, Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Khan himself drove the prince to the prime minister’s residence, where he was met by an honor guard.

During his two-day stay in Pakistan, the crown prince will hold formal talks with Khan to find ways to enhance bilateral cooperation. Saudi Arabia will invest in the energy sector across the country, including setting up an oil refinery in the southwest near the border with Iran. The move will likely irk Tehran as Iran is Saudi Arabia’s regional foe.

Shortly after his arrival, Prince Mohammad, accompanied by a high-powered delegation including leading businessmen and Cabinet ministers, attended a signing ceremony for the investment agreements worth $20 billion.

"This is first phase," he said, at the ceremony, adding that he hoped the future would bring even more Saudi investment in Pakistan.

"Saudi Arabia has always been a fiend of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia has been a friend in need," Khan said.

Pakistan is in the grip of a major debt crisis and is seeking a $12 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund but has yet to sign the deal which comes with tough conditions.

Prince Mohammad will later travel to neighboring India amid heightened tensions between Islamabad and New Delhi over this week’s attack in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed 41 troops.

This week also saw an attack in Iran that killed 27 Revolutionary Guard soldiers that was claimed by the Pakistan-based militant Jaish al-Adl group.

Pakistan condemned the attacks, but India and Iran blame it for the violence.

Pakistan enjoys close ties with Saudi Arabia. It maintains a balancing act between Riyadh and Tehran.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday that the visit by the crown prince will take their countries’ bilateral relations "to new heights."

Pakistan voiced support for the prince during the international outcry after the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents. Khan attended an investment conference in Saudi Arabia in October that saw a wave of cancellations linked to the Khashoggi killing.

The crown prince has called the killing a "heinous crime that cannot be justified."

Khashoggi, who had written critically about the prince, went missing on Oct. 2 after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. After denying any knowledge of his death for weeks, Saudi authorities eventually said that he was killed in an operation aimed at forcibly bringing the writer back to the kingdom.

Saudi prosecutors say the plan was masterminded by two former advisers to the crown prince.

The kingdom denies the crown prince knew of the plot.

Source: Fox News World

Hunt under way for suspect in shooting of officer

Authorities say a Virginia police officer has been shot and seriously wounded after making a traffic stop.

State police say a Bluefield officer was shot after stopping a 2008 Toyota Yaris for an equipment violation on Route 460 shortly before midnight Saturday.

Authorities say a passenger in the vehicle began shooting at the officer.

The officer and another Bluefield officer, who had responded to assist with the traffic stop, returned fire. The Toyota’s driver surrendered but the passenger got into the driver’s seat and drove off.

The Toyota was found abandoned a few hours later in Bluefield, West Virginia. The search for the passenger continued Sunday.

The wounded officer was being treated for serious injuries that were not considered life threatening at Roanoke Memorial Hospital.

Source: Fox News National

Groups: ICE detainees in Boston jail go on hunger strike

Dozens of people detained by federal immigration officials are on a hunger strike at a Boston jail.

Rhode Island-based community groups Alliance to Mobilize Our Resistance and the Fighting Against Natural Gas Collective say they’ve been in contact with about 70 detainees at the Suffolk County House of Correction who are participating in a hunger strike that began Friday.

The organizations say the detainees are protesting abuse by jail officials and "inhumane conditions" such as bad food and broken bathroom fixtures. They also challenge the jail’s authority to detain people on behalf of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The organizations say the detainees sent jail officials a list of their grievances Feb. 10. Spokespersons for the jail and ICE didn’t immediately respond to emails seeking comment Sunday.

Source: Fox News National

New testing helps nab nurse, 44, in brutal Alaska killing from 25 years ago, authorities say

A relatively new type of genetic testing was credited Friday with helping authorities in Alaska solve a case in which a 20-year-old woman was found brutally murdered in the bathroom of a university dorm room more than 25 years ago.

On Friday, a 44-year-old man working as a nurse across the country in Auburn, Maine, was arrested in connection with the 1993 cold case killing of Sophie Sergie, who was found to have been sexually assaulted, stabbed multiple times and shot in her head, according to Alaska State Troopers.

Steven Downs, 44, of Auburn, Maine has been charged in connection with the murder of woman 25 years ago in Alaska, authorities say. (Androscoggin County Jail)

Steven Downs, 44, of Auburn, Maine has been charged in connection with the murder of woman 25 years ago in Alaska, authorities say. (Androscoggin County Jail)

The suspect, identified as Steven Downs, was 18 at the time of the slaying. He is charged with sexual assault and murder in the death of Sergie and is expected to be extradited to Alaska. No motive was given for the killing and it was unclear if Downs and Sergie knew each other prior to her death.

"For more than 20 years, AST continued to receive info about Sophie’s murder," said Col. Barry Wilson, director of the Alaska State Troopers. "Each tip generated a response by members of the cold case unit hoping to break the case."

AIRMAN FOUND DEAD IN PARKING LOT IN ALASKA, OFFICIALS SAY

Sergie was found dead April 26, 1993, in the dorm room on the campus of the University of Alaska at Fairbanks. She had been visiting friends while in town for an appointment, KTUU-TV of Anchorage reported.

Downs was a student who lived in the dorm, authorities said. In 2018, investigators submitted DNA from the crime scene to a Virginia-based lab to develop a likely suspect using genetic genealogy.

The new technique uses DNA to determine relationships between people. The method was used to capture California’s Golden State Killer, Joseph James DeAngelo, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

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The testing led police to Downs.

"Through their dogged persistence, advances in tech and spirit of cooperation exhibited by other agencies that touched this case," Wilson said, "justice for Sophie is finally within reach."

Source: Fox News National

Vatican defrocks former US cardinal McCarrick over sex abuse

Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has been found guilty by the Vatican of sex abuse and defrocked, as calls rose Saturday for Pope Francis to reveal what he knew about the once-powerful American prelate’s apparently decades-long predatory sexual behavior.

The announcement Saturday, delivered in uncharacteristically blunt language for the Vatican, meant that the 88-year-old McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, D.C., becomes the highest-ranking churchman and the first cardinal to be punished by dismissal from the clerical state, or laicization.

He was notified Friday of the decision, which was upheld upon his appeal and approved by Pope Francis.

The pontiff next week leads a summit of bishops from around the world who have been summoned to Rome help him grapple with the entrenched problems of clerical sex abuse and the systematic cover-ups by the Catholic church’s hierarchy.

Decades of revelations about priests who have sexually preyed on minors and their bosses who shuffled abusive clergy from parish to parish instead of removing them from access to children have shaken the faith of many Catholics. They also threaten the moral authority of Francis and even the survival of his papacy.

McCarrick, who in his prestigious red cardinal robes hobnobbed with presidents, other VIP politicians and pontiffs, is now barred from celebrating Mass or other sacraments including confession and from wearing clerical garb. He is to be referred to as Mr. McCarrick.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Holy See’s guardian of doctrinal purity, issued a decree on Jan. 11 finding McCarrick guilty of "solicitation in the sacrament of confession, and sins against the Sixth Commandment with minors and adults, with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power," the Vatican said. That commandment forbids adultery.

On Wednesday, Congregation officials considered his appeal and upheld the decree.

The pope "recognized the definitive nature of this decision made in accordance with (church) law, rendering it as ‘res iudicata,’" the Vatican said, using the Latin phrase for admitting no further recourse.

The McCarrick scandal was particularly damning to the church’s reputation because it apparently was an open secret in some ecclesial circles that he slept with adult seminarians. Francis yanked McCarrick’s rank as a cardinal in July after a U.S. church investigation found credible an allegation he fondled a teenage altar boy in the 1970s.

McCarrick’s civil lawyer, Barry Coburn, said Saturday that his client had no comment on the defrocking.

Coburn declined to say if McCarrick would stay at the residence in Kansas where he moved after Francis ordered him to live in penance and prayer while the investigation into his actions continued.

But the Salina, Kansas, diocese, said "Mr. McCarrick will continue to reside at the St. Fidelis Friary in Victoria until a decision of permanent residence is finalized."

Besides bishops arriving for the sex abuse summit, victims’ rights advocates are also converging on Rome. They are demanding that Francis, other Vatican officials and bishops elsewhere come clean about how McCarrick managed such a meteoric rise through church ranks despite reports about his sexual life.

"The pope has known from the earliest days of his papacy, or he should have known, that ex-cardinal McCarrick was a sexual predator," said Anne Barrett Doyle, an advocate at BishopAccountability.org.

"He has a resistance to removing bishops and he also has a tolerance for bishops who are sexual wrongdoers," Doyle told The Associated Press on Saturday near St. Peter’s Square.

Of the defrocking, Doyle said: "Let McCarrick be the first of many. I can think of 10 other bishops who are substantively, credibly accused of sexual abuse with minor and sexual misconduct with adults, who should be laicized."

A conservative lay group, The Catholic Association, said in a statement that much more must be done to hold accountable "those in the church hierarchy who looked the other way as McCarrick rose through their ranks" and to ensure that priestly celibacy is restored and youths are safeguarded from sexual abuse.

Walking with Doyle was Phil Saviano, a board member of BishopAccountability.org, and a survivor of sexual abuse by a priest. While calling McCarrick’s defrocking "ultimately a good thing," he said the punishment should have been meted out long ago.

He said he hoped Francis isn’t "throwing a bone to his dissenters in an attempt to quiet everybody down. And then McCarrick will be the one and only, because there are certainly many others who have allegations against them who should face some accountability."

His account of being abused helped the Boston Globe produce a Pulitzer-winning investigation into church cover-ups, which was chronicled in the movie "Spotlight."

When ordained a priest in his native New York City in 1958, McCarrick embraced a vocation that required celibacy. Later on in his career, McCarrick curried cachet at the Vatican as a stellar fundraiser. A globe-trotting powerbroker, McCarrick liked to be called "Uncle Ted" by the young seminarians he courted.

Despite apparent common knowledge in church circles of his sexual behavior, McCarrick rose up through the ranks, even serving as the spokesman for fellow U.S. bishops when they enacted a "zero tolerance" policy against sexually abusive priests in 2002.

One of his accusers, James Grein, the son of a family friend of McCarrick’s, testified to church officials that, among other abuses, McCarrick had repeatedly groped him during confession. He said the abuse, which went on for decades, began when he was 11.

"Today I am happy that the pope believed me," Grein said in a statement issued through his lawyer. He expressed hope that McCarrick "will no longer be able to use the power of Jesus’ church to manipulate families and sexually abuse children."

Grein said pressure must be put on U.S. state attorney generals and senators to change the statute of limitations for abuse cases.

"Hundreds of priests, bishops and cardinals are hiding behind man-made law," he said.

The current archdiocese of Washington, D.C., where McCarrick was posted at the pinnacle of his career from 2001-2006, said it hoped that the Vatican decision "serves to help the healing process for survivors of abuse, as well as those who have experienced disappointment or disillusionment because of what former Archbishop McCarrick has done."

Complaints were also made about McCarrick’s conduct in the New Jersey dioceses of Newark and Metuchen, where he previously served.

Francis himself became implicated in the decades-long McCarrick cover-up after a former Vatican ambassador to Washington accused the pope of rehabilitating the cardinal from sanctions imposed by Pope Benedict XVI despite being told of his penchant for young men.

Francis hasn’t responded to those claims but he ordered a limited Vatican investigation. The Vatican has acknowledged the outcome may produce evidence that mistakes were made and said Francis would "follow the path of truth, wherever it may lead."

Sexual abuse scandals have threatened to taint the legacy of past papacies, including that of John Paul II, who has since been made a saint.

The Rev. Marcial Maciel, a pedophile, enjoyed John Paul II’s admiration for his success in spurring vocations and for inspiring generous financial donations.

Maciel’s predatory crimes against children were ignored for decades by the Vatican bureaucracy.

___

Frances D’Emilio is on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/fdemilio

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News National

France: Syrian suspect accused of crimes against humanity

French authorities have filed preliminary charges of complicity in crimes against humanity against a Syrian suspected of involvement in a bloody secret police crackdown on opposition activists.

A judicial official said Saturday the man is being held in custody pending further investigation, after being detained Tuesday near Paris as part of an international probe. The official was not authorized to be publicly named discussing an ongoing investigation.

Two other suspects were detained in Germany on Tuesday, also suspected of carrying out or aiding crimes against humanity.

Human rights groups hailed the arrests. They mark the first major breakthroughs of international investigators who are trying to track down individuals they think are responsible for atrocities committed on behalf of the Syrian government during the country’s eight-year civil war.

Source: Fox News World

8 miners rescued in Zimbabwe; others remained trapped

Eight artisanal miners who were trapped underground for several days after heavy flooding in Zimbabwe have been rescued, though some of their co-workers are still missing and feared dead.

Rescuers on Saturday pulled the exhausted, muddied survivors from the ground and took them to a tent for medical treatment. Relatives waiting at the scene ululated, cheered and hugged each other.

Dozens of gold miners were caught underground Tuesday on the outskirts of Kadoma, west of the Zimbabwean capital of Harare.

It is unclear how many miners remain trapped. The government has said a total of between 60 and 70 people were working underground at the time of the accident.

Source: Fox News World

Iran: Sabotage may be behind failed satellite launches

Iran’s foreign minister says sabotage by the U.S. is a possible reason for Tehran’s failed attempts to launch two satellites in recent months.

Mohammad Javad Zarif said Friday in an interview with NBC News in Munich, Germany, that it’s possible there is a U.S. sabotage campaign against Iranian satellite launches. He confirmed that Iran suffered two failed attempts to launch satellites over the past two months.

"It’s quite possible. We don’t know yet," he said. "We need to look into it very carefully."

Both attempts took place despite U.S. criticism that Iran’s space program helps the country develop ballistic missiles. Iran denies the charge.

In January, the country launched a satellite, but authorities said it failed to reach the "necessary speed" in the third stage of its launch.

Source: Fox News World

Nigerians wake to find a delayed election, with some angry

Nigerians have awakened to find the presidential election delayed a week from Saturday until Feb. 23 because of what the electoral commission has called unspecified "challenges." The country’s top two political parties condemn the last-minute postponement.

Some bitter voters in the capital, Abuja, and elsewhere who traveled home to cast their ballots say they cannot afford to wait another seven days.

A spokesman for top opposition challenger Atiku Abubakar in Delta state said the electoral commission "has destroyed the soul of Nigeria with this act."

Abubakar is expected to speak to reporters later Saturday from his home in the north.

One ruling party campaign director said it is better to give the electoral commission time to conduct a credible vote.

The commission is to give more details in the afternoon.

Source: Fox News World

Iran threatens retaliation over car bombing that killed 27

The head of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard has threatened to retaliate against neighboring Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates over a suicide car bombing this week that killed 27 members of the elite organization.

Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari spoke late Friday at one of two funeral ceremonies for the victims of Wednesday’s attack in the central Iranian city of Isfahan. He claimed without providing evidence that the United States and Israel ordered Saudi Arabia and the Emirates to carry out the attack, which wounded 12.

"We definitely will retaliate," Jafari said in comments reported by the semi-official Tasnim news agency Saturday.

The bombing immediately raised the possibility of Iranian retaliation against the Jaish al-Adl Sunni militant group that claimed responsibility for the attack. It mainly operates near Iran-Pakistan border.

Source: Fox News World

Trump’s declaration of national emergency was unnecessarily ‘dramatic’: Victor Davis Hanson

The pending legal battle over the national emergency declared by President Trump may all center around “semantics,” Hoover Institution fellow Victor Davis Hanson argued Friday.

Earlier in the day, President Trump officially declared a national emergency in order to allocate funding for the border wall that wasn’t included in the compromise border security bill that Congress passed and that the president signed into law.

On Friday’s "Special Report" All-Star panel, Hanson — along with Townhall.com political editor Guy Benson and former Obama White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina — weighed in on the political fallout from the president’s decision.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE FULL SHOW

Hanson began by suggesting that President Trump should have echoed his predecessor President Barack Obama’s “I have a pen and I have a phone” remark and incrementally pulled funding from various departments instead of making his move so “dramatic.”

“I think that the news cycle is going to go on and it’s not going to be the big cycle drone that everybody thinks,” Hanson predicted.

The Hoover Institute fellow later added that it was “psycho-dramatic” to say that the Constitution is “in danger,” pointing to Obama’s actions on the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal and DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program for delaying deportation for adults who came to the U.S. illegally when they were children).

Messina pointed out that during his news conference, President Trump admitted that he “didn’t need” to declare a national emergency but that he did so to expedite funding for the wall, which Messina concluded made the event the “definition of not an emergency.”

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“This is a troubling move by a president. The framers put together a Constitution to make sure that there was separation of powers and not to have kings. And I think the president is right, he’s going to spend a lot of time in court,” Messina said.

Benson seemed to agree with the sentiment, calling Trump’s decision “politically questionable” and “legally dubious.”

“Frankly, as a conservative, I hope he loses in court on this because I do not want a precedent where presidents can get rejected or stymied by Congress and go ahead and do what they want anyhow."

Source: Fox News Politics

AP Explains: What are India's options after Kashmir attack

With India’s national elections barely months away, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is under heavy pressure from his supporters to punish nuclear-rival Pakistan for a suicide attack on an Indian paramilitary convoy that killed at least 41 soldiers in disputed Kashmir.

India placed the blame for Thursday’s bombing squarely on neighboring Pakistan, which India accuses of supporting rebels in Kashmir. Pakistan denies the charge. A look at some of the steps India is likely to consider:

DIPLOMATIC ISOLATION

India’s first public reaction to the attack was to withdraw the most-favored nation trade status given to Pakistan and take all possible diplomatic steps "to ensure the complete isolation from international community of Pakistan." New Delhi insists "incontrovertible evidence is available of (Pakistan) having a direct hand in this gruesome terrorist incident." The Greater Kashmir newspaper reported that a militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed, headquartered in Pakistan, claimed responsibility. India’s foreign ministry on Friday briefed New Delhi-based diplomats of key countries, including China, which has in the past blocked India’s proposal to list Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a designated terrorist by the United Nations. The ministry demanded Pakistan take "immediate and verifiable action against terrorists and terror groups operating from territories under its control to create conducive atmosphere in the region free of terror."

MILITARY STRIKES

After a 2016 attack on an Indian army base that killed 19 soldiers, India’s army said it carried out a campaign of "surgical strikes" against militants across the highly militarized frontier that divides the Kashmir region between India and Pakistan. Pakistan dismissed the reports that India’s military had targeted "terrorist launch pads" inside the Pakistan-controlled part of Kashmir. Islamabad said instead that two of its soldiers were killed in "unprovoked" firing by India across the border. Following the latest attack — the worst in Kashmir’s history — Modi warned that those behind it would pay a heavy price and that security forces have been given a free hand to act against terror. The Times of India newspaper reported Saturday that the military options — short of two nuclear-armed rivals going to war — could range from "shallow ground-based attacks and occupation of some heights along the Line of Control (cease-fire line) to restricted but precision airstrikes against non-state targets in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir." G.Parthasarthy, India’s former high commissioner to Pakistan, said a possible military response can’t be discussed in public. "We have said that Pakistan will pay a price. For obvious reasons we are not going to spell out how that cost would be imposed." Paul Staniland, a political science professor and South Asia expert at the University of Chicago, said that the Pakistan army is assuming it will be attacked and that Indian forces are preparing for a serious incursion of some sort.

DOMESTIC PRESSURE

Indian analysts say no political party could afford to neglect public opinion ahead of Indian elections. Already, protesters chanted "Attack Pakistan" and fiery debates on television channels demanded retaliation. "’I think the situation is extremely tense. The mood in the country is extremely angry at what has happened. And moreover there are elections in the offing. No party could afford to neglect public opinion,’" said Amitabh Mattoo, professor of international studies at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University. Staniland said the stakes were too high for India to do nothing at all. "Modi is in a tricky position. Indian forces are quite capable but it’s not obvious what kinds of strikes would accomplish the core goal. Kashmir and Pakistan are among the few foreign policy topics that have real electoral resonance." Elections are scheduled to be held before May.

US RESPONSE

The U.S. singled out Pakistan in a statement condemning the attack and said it strengthened U.S. resolve to bolster counterterrorism cooperation with India. To improve India’s military capabilities, the U.S. has offered to sell it unarmed Guardian surveillance drones, aircraft carrier technologies and F-18 and F-16 fighter aircraft. There are sticking points, however, including the purchase by India of Iranian oil and the Russian S-400 ground-to-air missile system, which could trigger U.S. sanctions on India.

THE HIMALAYAN PUZZLE

Indian-controlled Kashmir has remained a challenge for India’s policymakers ever since the Himalayan territory was split between India and Pakistan shortly after the two archrivals gained independence in 1947. The territory has been at the heart of India’s two wars out of four the country fought against Pakistan and China. Human rights groups say India has been responding to public protest with disproportionate force while treating the Kashmiri struggle for self-determination as Islamabad’s proxy war against New Delhi. New Delhi initially grappled with largely peaceful anti-India protests. However, a series of political blunders, broken promises and a crackdown on dissent led to Kashmir’s eruption into a full blown armed rebellion against India in 1989 for a united Kashmir, either under Pakistan rule or independent of both. The conflict has intensified since Modi came to power in 2014 amid rising attacks by Hindu hard-liners against minorities in India, further deepening frustration with New Delhi’s rule in the Muslim-majority Kashmir. Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharitya Janata Party-led government has toughened its stance both against Pakistan and Kashmiri separatists. Policy experts say such an approach is intended to project the party as strong and uncompromising. But Modi’s policies have also had the unintended consequence of strengthening the resolve of those fighting for an end to India’s rule in Kashmir.

VIEW FROM PAKISTAN

After Imran Khan took over as Pakistani prime minister last August, he promised to take two steps forward for India’s one step to forge friendly ties. He said Kashmir is at the core of their differences and they have to end the tit-for-tat accusations. But the peace initiative remained a non-starter with violence rising in the Indian portion of Kashmir and India asking Pakistan to stop supporting insurgents. Khan has now proposed to hold talks with India after the Indian elections. The former cricketer is very popular in India. He recently offered to open a Sikh religious shrine for Indian visitors on the Pakistani side of the border in Punjab province as a peace gesture. But in September, India pulled the plug on a rare meeting between its foreign minister and her Pakistani counterpart on the sidelines of a U.N. summit — a move that was termed "arrogant" by Khan and unleashed a barrage of insults from both sides. India says it has not seen any constructive approach from Pakistan.

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Associated Press writer Aijaz Hussain in Srinagar contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News World

Rahm Emanuel warns Dems not to 'mimic' Trump’s politics, says Virginia's Northam shouldn't resign

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel doesn’t agree with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that if President Trump can declare a national emergency to bypass Congress in order to secure funding for his long-promised border wall, a Democratic president can do the same for guns.

“The one thing you don’t want to mimic … their politics,” Emanuel said during a guest appearance Friday on HBO’s’ Real Time with Bill Maher. “He [Trump] wants you on certain cases to actually mimic what he’s doing because then there’s a difference of nothing. That’s not where you want to go against him.”

The conversation quickly moved on to other topics without a mention of Friday’s deadly workplace shooting in Aurora, Ill., that ended with six dead, including the gunman, and several wounded police officers.

RAHM EMANUEL LEAVES BEHIND TAINTED LEGACY AS CHICAGO MURDER RATE, CRIME AND CORRUPTION SURGE ON HIS WATCH

Emanuel — the former White House chief of staff under former President Barack Obama — believes Trump is using a national emergency declaration, not to enhance border security, but to deliver on his signature campaign promise.

“You have a faux constitutional crisis to basically cover a real campaign crisis,” he said “This is all about the campaign. Some pledge he made.”

The two-term mayor was then asked his thoughts on embattled Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia, who has resisted calls to resign over his 1984 medical school yearbook page that featured one person in Ku Klux Klan garb and another in blackface. Northam denies that he is in the photo.

“I don’t buy that that’s not his photo,” said Emanuel, before making his case that Northam shouldn’t leave office. He cited Obama’s initial opposition to gay marriage and Abraham Lincoln’s emancipation of slaves.

“Part of civil rights. Part of any change is maturity and evolution,” he said. “He is now going to be the greatest fighter for civil rights because he has something to prove. That fact is he has evolved.

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“There’s nothing like a convert. He is going to have a zealotry to prove something because he has the campaign of his reputation.”

A recent poll found that 58 percent of African-American residents in Virginia want Northam to remain in office.

Source: Fox News Politics

2nd arrest in robbery that led to NYPD friendly fire death

Police arrested a man Friday suspected of being the lookout during a robbery that led to the friendly fire death of a New York City police detective, an official briefed on the investigation told The Associated Press.

The man was taken into custody in Queens hours after NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill revealed on a radio show that police were looking for a second suspect in Tuesday night’s stick-up, the official said.

The official was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter and spoke on condition of anonymity. The suspect’s name wasn’t immediately available Friday night.

Detective Brian Simonsen was hit once in the chest by crossfire as he and six other officers fired 42 shots at robbery suspect Christopher Ransom, who police say charged at them from inside a T-Mobile store pointing a fake handgun.

Simonsen, 42, will be laid to rest next week.

Ransom, who was wounded eight times, was arraigned Friday by video from his hospital bed on murder, manslaughter and other charges.

A judge ordered him held without bail. His next court date is scheduled for Tuesday. Ransom faces up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted.

The Legal Aid Society, which represents Ransom, cautioned people not to "demonize" him.

"The loss of life and the serious injuries suffered by all are tragic," the an indigent defense organization said in a statement. "But we ask the public to respect Mr. Ransom’s right to due process and a presumption of innocence."

Ransom, 27, has a long rap sheet and a habit of bizarre stunts, styling himself on social media as a comedian and prankster in the vein of Sasha Baron Cohen of "Borat" fame.

Ransom has been arrested at least 11 times since 2012, records show, and he was wanted by police in connection with a Jan. 19 robbery at another cellphone store. After one arrest, court papers show, Ransom was taken to a psychiatric ward.

Ransom pleaded guilty to criminal trespass and was sentenced to 20 days in jail in 2016 after allegedly climbing over a gate and walking up to a desk at a Brooklyn police station while wearing a fake SWAT vest and police badge. Police records listed his alias as "Detective."

Four years earlier, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to jail time for pretending to be an intern to gain access to a judge’s chambers.

A funeral for Simonsen, a 19-year veteran of the NYPD, is scheduled for Wednesday in Hampton Bays on Long Island, with viewings on Monday and Tuesday.

Simonsen’s supervisor and partner, Sgt. Matthew Gorman, was wounded in the leg . He was discharged from the hospital on Thursday.

Simonsen, Gorman and six uniformed officers swarmed to the T-Mobile store at around 6:10 p.m. Tuesday after a 911 caller standing outside reported seeing a man take two employees to a back room at gunpoint, police said.

According to a criminal complaint, Ransom ordered the employees to remove iPhones and money from the cash registers and back room safes.

Simonsen and Gorman, who were both in plainclothes and not wearing bulletproof vests, were working on another case nearby when the call came and arrived around the same time as patrol officers, police said.

Gorman and two of the uniformed officers went into the store, but retreated when Ransom emerged from a back room and came at them, police said. The gunshots blew out the store’s doors, showering the sidewalk with glass.

Simonsen stayed outside as Gorman and the uniformed officers went in, police said. Simonsen fired two shots. Gorman fired 11 times. It’s not clear who fired the shots that struck them, police said.

__

Follow Michael Sisak at twitter.com/mikesisak

Source: Fox News National

Illinois man being fired from job fatally shoots 5 workers

The man who opened fire and killed five co-workers including the plant manager, human resources manager and an intern working his first day at a suburban Chicago manufacturing warehouse, took a gun he wasn’t supposed to have to a job he was about to lose.

Right after learning Friday that he was being fired from his job of 15 years at the Henry Pratt Co. in Aurora, Gary Martin pulled out a gun and began shooting, killing the three people in the room with him and two others just outside and wounding a sixth employee, police said Saturday.

Martin shot and wounded five of the first officers to get to the scene, including one who didn’t even make it inside the sprawling warehouse in Aurora, Illinois, a city of 200,000 about 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Chicago.

After that flurry of shots and with officers from throughout the region streaming in to help, he ran off and hid in the back of the building, where officers found him about an hour later and killed him during an exchange of gunfire, police said.

"He was probably waiting for us to get to him there," Aurora police Lt. Rick Robertson said. "It was just a very short gunfight and it was over, so he was basically in the back waiting for us and fired upon us and our officers fired."

Like in many of the country’s mass shootings, Friday’s attack was carried out by a man with a violent criminal history who was armed with a gun he wasn’t supposed to have.

Martin, 45, had six arrests over the years in Aurora, for what police Chief Kristen Ziman described as "traffic and domestic battery-related issues" and for violating an order of protection. He also had a 1995 felony conviction for aggravated assault in Mississippi that should have prevented him from buying his gun, Ziman said.

He was able to buy the Smith and Wesson .40-caliber handgun on March 11, 2014, because he was issued a firearm owner’s identification card two months earlier after passing an initial background check. It wasn’t until he applied for a concealed carry permit five days after buying the gun and went through a more rigorous background check using digital fingerprinting that his Mississippi conviction was flagged and his firearm owner’s ID car was revoked, Ziman said. Once his card was revoked, he could no longer legally have a gun.

"Absolutely, he was not supposed to be in possession of a firearm," she said.

But he was, and on Friday he took it and several magazines of ammunition to work.

Scott Hall, president and CEO of Mueller Water Products Inc., which owns Henry Pratt, said that Martin came to work for his normal shift Friday and was being fired when he started shooting.

"We can confirm that the individual was being terminated Friday for a culmination of a various workplace rules violations," he told a news conference Saturday. He gave no details of the violations by Martin at the plant that makes valves for industrial purposes.

A company background check of Martin when he joined Henry Pratt 15 years ago did not turn up a 1995 felony conviction for aggravated assault in Mississippi, Hall said.

The employee who survived being shot is recovering at a hospital, Ziman said Saturday. None of the officers who were shot received life-threatening wounds, she said.

Police identified the slain workers as human resources manager Clayton Parks of Elgin; plant manager Josh Pinkard of Oswego; mold operator Russell Beyer of Yorkville; stock room attendant and fork lift operator Vicente Juarez of Oswego; and human resources intern and Northern Illinois University student Trevor Wehner, who lived in DeKalb and grew up in Sheridan.

It was Wehner’s first day on the job, his uncle Jay Wehner told The Associated Press. Trevor Wehner, 21, was on the dean’s list at NIU’s business college and was on track to graduate in May with a degree in human resource management.

"He always, always was happy. I have no bad words for him. He was a wonderful person. You can’t say anything but nice things about him," Jay Wehner said of his nephew.

___

Associated Press writers Carrie Antlfinger and Amanda Seitz contributed to this report. Babwin and Rousseau reported from Chicago.

Source: Fox News National

Flamengo soccer club fire in Brazil: bad luck or negligence?

Within hours of a fire at soccer club Flamengo’s training facility that would kill 10 teenage players, the club’s president called it "the worst tragedy" in the team’s 123-year history.

Soccer greats around the world expressed condolences, Rio de Janeiro’s mayor declared three days of mourning and the club, Brazil’s most popular and one of the most recognizable in Latin America, commemorated the boys during its latest home game on Thursday. Club officials repeatedly said the fire was simply a question of bad luck.

"It was not because of lack of attention and care from Flamengo. These boys are our biggest asset," said Flamengo’s CEO Reinaldo Belotti a day after the Feb. 8 blaze. "It was all a succession of events after a catastrophic day for Rio."

But for at least four years before the blaze, the club flouted city and code regulations at the training facility, incurred numerous fines and was the target of a lawsuit by state prosecutors related to the treatment of its academy players and their living quarters, an Associated Press review of city documents and a lawsuit has found. What’s more, a material used in the construction of the dorms, polyurethane, could have fueled the fast-moving blaze that engulfed the players, according to fire experts.

The findings raise questions about whether negligence by the team and a collective failure of authorities to regulate the training grounds ultimately played the largest roles in the tragedy.

"This is an irregular construction," city hall spokesman Tiago Costa told The Associated Press when asked about the container-like structures where 26 players were sleeping when fire struck.

Officials have not given an official cause for the blaze, though they have said they are investigating the possibility that an air conditioning unit caught fire after a power surge.

For years, the club had its academy players, teens between the ages of 14 and 16 identified as potential future professionals, sleeping in quarters that were never approved by the city. In fact, the area that burned was licensed as a parking lot, not a dormitory.

The most recent city license for the club, from April of last year, had no mention of sleeping quarters anywhere on the sprawling complex known as Ninho de Urubu in western Rio de Janeiro.

Since the dormitory didn’t officially exist, firefighting officials said they did not inspect or certify it.

The burned area "was not part of the security plan against fire or panic presented by the club and approved by the Fire Department," state firefighters said in a statement to the AP.

Bernardo Monteiro, a Flamengo spokesman, told the AP that the team had used the containers since 2010. He said there was one exit and the structures had fire extinguishers and smoke detectors, though could not say how many.

The existence of the containers was well known by authorities.

In March 2015, Rio state prosecutors filed a suit against the club demanding the closure of the training facility unless several irregularities were rectified.

Prosecutors demanded the club "address all the inherent peculiarities in the care of children and adolescents, from the pedagogical, social, psychological and medical all the way to the adequacy of accommodation facilities," read the suit.

The suit also called for the facility to be closed until there was "proof of compliance with the conditions imposed by the Fire Department, Civil Defense and City Hall," and any infraction to be met with a $27,000 fine.

Nearly four years later, no decision was made on the case — until Wednesday, five days after the deadly fire.

In a blistering ruling, Judge Pedro Henrique Alves said that Flamengo hadn’t just failed to address the demands in the suit, but also "didn’t even inform the court" of other changes it had made since the suit was filed.

Flamengo "used as lodging for adolescents containers that, unfortunately, caught fire, taking the lives of 10 (players) and injuring three others," he wrote, adding that children and adolescents were barred from entering the facility until further notice. Any infraction would result in a US$2.8 million fine.

The club was also frequently in the crosshairs of city officials: it was fined 31 times over the last few years for licensing violations, and in October 2017 the training facility was temporarily closed.

"If you are fined 30 times, you can’t keep postponing and get 20 more. Something has to be done," Arthur Antunes Coimbra, one of the club’s most famous players known as "Zico," told Globo’s SporTV this week.

Police have opened an investigation and say that criminal charges are possible.

Meanwhile, the company that made the dormitory, NHJ do Brasil, told the AP in a statement that its structures were made in accordance with the latest international standards. It also said the structure that burned was made of a metallic shell and lined on the inside with galvanized thermal acoustic panels that had a polyurethane core that was "self-extinguishing."

"In other words, the modules are made of metal and filled in with anti-inflammable material," said the company, which declined to answer whether the structures came with fire extinguishers, smoke detectors or air-conditioning units.

Polyurethane is an expanded plastic, or plastic injected with air, that is widely used in construction. While it can be treated with retardant, it can also burn very quickly if it catches fire from another source, three fire experts not involved in the investigation told the AP.

"Polyurethane foam used in this way is a cheap technology and dangerous from a fire protection perspective," said David Howitt, an emeritus professor at the University of California at Davis and expert in combustion. "These so-called ‘fire retardant’ foams are not retardants to the degree that the manufacturers suggest and are frequently grossly overstated."

Robert Solomon, a fire engineer with the Quincy, Massachusetts-based National Fire Protection Association, reviewed security camera video of the blaze and pictures of the aftermath. The images show drooping metallic roofs, mangled black panels and many objects so badly charred that they are indistinguishable.

Solomon said he found at least three red flags: only one exit, bars on some of the windows and an apparent lack of basic protective tools like smoke alarms. And the video footage appeared to show "flashover," when every combustible thing in an area is burning, he said. Flashover temperatures, upward of 1,900 Fahrenheit (1,037 Celsius), are so high that a person can become paralyzed, even if the flames are not touching them.

"At that point, it’s like being trapped in a prison with no way to escape," said Solomon.

After the fire, the Rio state prosecutor’s office formed a task force focused on financial compensation of the victims’ families. Many families whose children stay at academies are low income, and sometimes live far from the team.

Some family members and friends of victims have quietly questioned the safety measures the team had in place.

"There should have been an emergency door. There wasn’t," said Severino Fausto Santana, while attending the funeral of 15-year-old nephew Samuel Thomas de Souza Rosa. "That’s why the 10 (boys) died."

But for the most part, families have remained quiet, either declining to speak about Flamengo or lauded the club’s effort at a time of great grief.

"Flamengo is very useful and helping with everything," said Sergio Morikawa, who was not the biological father but was helping to raise 15-year-old Vitor Isaias, one of the kids who died. "I don’t want to judge, work myself up or blame anyone."

____

Follow Diane Jeantet: twitter.com/dianejeantet

Follow Peter Prengaman: twitter.com/peterprengaman

Source: Fox News World

Saudi crown prince delays visit to Pakistan by a day

Pakistani officials say the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been delayed by a day.

Without giving any explanation for the delay, the Foreign Ministry says Prince Mohammad will now arrive in Islamabad on a two-day visit on Sunday and that his program remains unchanged.

The crown prince is expected to sign investment agreements worth billions of dollars. He will also travel to neighboring India amid heightened tension between Islamabad and New Delhi over this week’s attack on a paramilitary convoy in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed 41 people.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi blamed Pakistan for Thursday’s bombing.

Pakistan rejected the allegation and has lodged a protest over the Indian accusations.

Source: Fox News World

Border declaration protesters arrested at NYC Trump hotel

Some people have been arrested while protesting President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration outside a New York City hotel that bears his name.

The NYPD wasn’t immediately able to say how many people were taken into custody Friday night outside the Trump International Hotel & Tower in Manhattan.

Video shows protesters going peacefully with their hands zip-tied behind their backs as officers lead them to police vans. They’ll likely be charged with disorderly conduct and blocking traffic.

Trump declared a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border on Friday in a move to secure more money for his long-promised wall.

Protesters outside the Columbus Circle hotel held signs with slogans such as "Abolish I.C.E." and ‘Trump Is The Emergency."

Trump developed the 44-story hotel, but it is owned by other investors.

Source: Fox News National

Aurora workplace shooter was set to be fired by company, police chief says

The gunman in a deadly shooting spree at a manufacturing warehouse in Aurora, Ill., where five employees were killed and five officers were wounded Friday, was set to be fired by the company, Police Chief Kristen Ziman told reporters at a news conference Friday night.

The suspect, identified as Gary Martin, 45, of Aurora, used a handgun and had worked for the Henry Pratt Co. — one of the largest makers of industrial water valves — for 15 years, she said. He was killed at the scene. The attack lasted 90 minutes.

“We don’t whether he had the gun on him at the time or if he went to retrieve it,” Ziman said, adding that authorities were not sure if Martin planned the shooting. “We can only surmise with a gentleman who was being terminated that this was something he intended to do, I’m not sure.”

MOTIVE UNKNOWN IN FLORIDA BANK SHOOTING, GUNMAN NO CONNECTION TO VICTIMS: POLICE

It was not immediately known if the victims were the managers who were firing Martin. The company employs around 200 people, but authorities were not sure how many were in the 29,000-square-foot warehouse at the time of the shooting.

A woman claiming to be Martin’s mother told the Chicago Sun-Times her son was "stressed out" before the shooting.

“He was way too stressed out,” she said. She declined to tell the paper her name and did not specify why he was stressed. Court records show Martin had a conviction for stabbing a woman in Mississippi in 1994, according to the paper.

In a statement Friday night, Mueller Water Products  – the parent company of Henry Pratt – said it "is shocked and deeply saddened by the horrific tragedy that occurred today at our Henry Pratt Facility."

"Our hearts are with the victims and their loved ones, the first responders, the Aurora community and the entire Mueller family during this extremely difficult time. Our entire focus in the health and wellbeing of our colleagues, and we are committed to providing any and all support to them and their families. We continue to work closely with law enforcement, with whom we share our deepest gratitude for their support," the statement continued.

Police conducted a search on Martin’s home, but no weapons were found inside, Ziman said.

Law enforcement officers gather outside the Henry Pratt Co. manufacturing plant Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, in Aurora, Ill. Police say a gunman killed several people and injured police officers before he was fatally shot. (Associated Press)

Law enforcement officers gather outside the Henry Pratt Co. manufacturing plant Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, in Aurora, Ill. Police say a gunman killed several people and injured police officers before he was fatally shot. (Associated Press)

Several calls of an active shooter were reported around 1:24 p.m. local time at the manufacturing warehouse and officers arrived roughly four minutes later "and were fired upon immediately," Ziman said.

"Two of the initial four officers entering the building were shot. Additional officers began to arrive and were also fired upon," she said. "A total of five officers were struck by gunfire."

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All of the officers were taken to nearby hospitals and two were later airlifted to trauma centers in the Chicago area, Ziman said, adding that "a sixth officer is being treated for a knee injury."

Five Aurora police officers suffered non-life-threatening injuries, Ziman said. One employee suffered a non-life threatening gunshot wound.

Multiple law enforcement agencies responded to the scene, including the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

John Probst, a Henry Pratt employee who escaped the building, told WLS-TV in Chicago that he saw a man holding a pistol with a laser sight. He said he recognized the shooter as a co-worker who was firing indiscriminately.

"One of the guys was up in the office, he said this person was shootin’, and, he come running down and he was bleeding pretty bad, and the next thing you know he was walking back and forth, I heard more shots, and we just left the building," he told the station.

Ziman did not know whether Martin was targeting specific employees or if his actions were part of a "classic workplace shooting."

"I hate that we have to use the term classic workplace shooting," she told reporters. "That pains me to do so."

Police were still working Friday to identify those killed.

Several public figures offered their thoughts on Friday’s attacks on Twitter. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said his "heart breaks for Aurora."

President Trump offered his condolences over Twitter as well: "Great job by law enforcement in Aurora, Illinois. Heartfelt condolences to all of the victims and their families. America is with you!"

The Illinois Fraternal Order of Police praised the actions of Aurora police in a statement Friday.

"Every police officer dreads days like this one, yet these four courageous Aurora officers and their colleagues did not hesitate to literally put their lives on the line today to stop further bloodshed. These four heroes willingly ran into harm’s way to protect their fellow citizens and very nearly paid the ultimate price. We Illinoisans should be humbly grateful for their sacrifice, and we ask that you join us in praying that the injured civilians and police officers make a full and speedy recovery."

Source: Fox News National

‘New evidence’ prompts release of two men questioned in Jussie Smollett case, Chicago PD says

Citing “new evidence,” the Chicago Police Department announced Friday night that two men held for questioning in connection with an alleged attack on “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett have been released, with no charges filed against them.

The news came shortly after 10 p.m. ET in a Twitter message from Tom Ahern, deputy director of news affairs and communications for the police department.

“Due to new evidence as a result of today’s interrogations, the individuals questioned by police in the #Empire case have now been released without charging and detectives have additional investigative work to complete,” Ahern wrote.

JUSSIE SMOLLETT SAYS HE’S ‘PISSED OFF’ AFTER ALLEGED ATTACK IN CHICAGO

No description of the evidence was disclosed.

The two men — whom police have identified only as Nigerian brothers — were picked up at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on Wednesday and taken into custody after returning from Nigeria after police learned that at least one of the men worked on "Empire," according to police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. He said he did not know what the man’s job was on the television drama.

Guglielmi’s comments followed a furious 24 hours that included local media reports that the attack was a hoax. Police say those reports are unconfirmed. Producers of the television drama also disputed media reports that Smollett’s character, Jamal Lyon, was being written off the show, calling the idea "patently ridiculous."

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Smollett, who is black and openly gay, told the Chicago Police Department that he was attacked by two men on Jan. 29 while walking home to his apartment. He alleged the men hurled racial and homophobic slurs at him, beat him and poured an "unknown chemical substance" on him.

Responding officers, according to a police report, found Smollett with a rope hanging from his neck. Chicago police told Fox News it was a “small white rope, like the type you’d buy in a hardware store.”

Fox News’ Matt Finn and Sasha Savitsky and the Associated Press contributed to this story.

Source: Fox News National

2020 Dems hit early voting states; Weld explores GOP bid

Several Democratic presidential candidates are spending the long holiday weekend on the campaign trail, while a Republican has announced he’s creating an exploratory committee for a possible 2020 run.

Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Kamala Harris of California are visiting early voting states on Friday that will be critical to securing the Democratic nomination next year.

Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, who ran for vice president on the Libertarian Party ticket in 2016, said Friday that he was considering challenging President Donald Trump in a 2020 Republican primary.

A look at midterm campaign activities ahead of Presidents Day weekend:

___

GILLIBRAND

Gillibrand, in New Hampshire, participated in a walking tour of downtown Concord before visiting businesses in Dover and meeting members of the LGBT community in Somersworth.

On Friday, she called Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency to construct a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border "inappropriate" and said Trump manufactured a crisis to justify the move.

The only national emergency, she said, "is the humanitarian crisis that President Trump has created at our border from separating family from children and treating people who need our help inhumanely."

Gillibrand visited a coffee shop in downtown Concord before stopping to listen to a homeless man, Kevin Clark, play a song by Cat Stevens called "Father and Son." She praised his singing and gave him a hug before heading off to a consignment shop, where she bought a vase and a small plate.

Later Friday, Gillibrand spoke at Teatotaller, a cafe in Somersworth that refers to itself as an "oasis of queer, hipster, tea, coffee and pastry goodness."

She told the crowd that she would advocate for the rights of the LGBTQ community and called it "an outrage" for Trump to tell transgender people what bathrooms they can use or whether they are qualified to serve in the military. She said she would support the addition of a non-binary or third gender classification.

Gillibrand also spoke out in favor of the Green Neal Deal, a set of proposed programs that aim to address climate change.

___

HARRIS

Harris, who is campaigning in South Carolina, visited Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the site of the 2015 shooting that killed nine African-American churchgoers.

Speaking to reporters after a lunchtime stop, Harris said she’d visited the church, known as Mother Emanuel, earlier Friday and called it a "very tragic symbol of failure of people, in particular in the United States Congress, to pass smart gun safety laws."

Mother Emanuel is one of the oldest black churches in the South. During her visit, Harris paid her respects and left flowers. The church has been a pillar of African-American and spiritual life in South Carolina.

At a town hall in North Charleston later Friday, the scoreboard overhead in the gymnasium was changed to reflect the date of South Carolina’s Democratic primary: Feb. 29, 2020. The crowd swelled, and some attendees climbed on top of folded bleachers for makeshift seating.

Harris talked about the bill that the Senate passed this week that would explicitly make lynching a federal crime. Harris, one of three black members of the Senate, introduced the bill with Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina. Booker is also running for president.

Harris says lynchings are "a stain on America’s history."

While in South Carolina, she received an endorsement for president from California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who said on MSNBC: "I think the American people could not do better" than Harris.

___

WELD

Weld, who is little-known on the national stage but well-respected among veterans in the GOP established, announced the creation of an exploratory committee for president on Friday.

The move makes Trump the first incumbent president since Republican George H.W. Bush in 1992 to face a notable primary challenge.

Weld served as Massachusetts governor from 1991 to 1997 and was popular despite being a Republican in a heavily Democratic state. He held the line on spending and taxes but embraced liberal positions on abortion and gay rights.

Trump remains very popular with Republicans so he faces little risk of losing the GOP nomination.

But primary challenges often foreshadow trouble ahead for incumbent presidents. Bush and Democrat Jimmy Carter lost their bids for a second term after facing challenges from inside their own party.

Source: Fox News National

Explosive device found, disarmed in Mexican mall

Authorities on the outskirts of Mexico’s capital are investigating a homemade explosive device found in a shopping mall bathroom.

The Mexico state security secretary said in a statement Friday that the device discovered inside a mall in Tlalnepantla included a battery detonator and analog clock, as well as nuts and screws. It was housed in a small wooden box.

State police disarmed the device and turned it over to federal prosecutors.

Local press reported that the device was found inside a bathroom and was housed in a cigar box. Janitors allegedly found it about an hour before it was set to detonate.

Source: Fox News World

Mueller claims to have evidence Roger Stone communicated with WikiLeaks

Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Friday claimed in a new court filing that prosecutors have evidence that former Trump adviser Roger Stone communicated with WikiLeaks, the organization that released hacked Democratic emails during the 2016 campaign.

Stone – who was indicted last month on charges of obstruction, making false statements and witness tampering – denied to Fox News that evidence of such communications exists.

JUDGE IMPOSES PARTIAL GAG ORDER IN ROGER STONE CASE

“There is no such evidence,” Stone said in a text message.

In a Friday motion, Mueller’s team said that “search warrants were executed on accounts that contained Stone’s communications” with an organization widely believed to be WikiLeaks.

Last month’s indictment does not charge Stone with conspiring with WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy website that published the emails, or with the Russian officers Mueller says hacked them. Instead, it accuses him of witness tampering, obstruction and false statements about his interactions related to WikiLeaks’ release.

The indictment says Stone spoke to Trump campaign officials during the summer of 2016 about WikiLeaks and information the organization had that might be damaging to the Clinton campaign. It also says Stone was contacted by “senior Trump campaign officials” to inquire about future WikiLeaks releases of hacked Democratic emails.

ROGER STONE VOWS TO FIGHT CHARGES IN MUELLER PROBE, CALLS INDICTMENT ‘POLITICALLY MOTIVATED’

Stone has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Earlier Friday, Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the federal court for the District of Columbia instituted a partial gag order, ordering that Stone “refrain from making statements to the media or in public settings that pose a substantial likelihood of material prejudice to this case.”

Jackson further ordered that any participants in the case, including witnesses and counsel, “refrain” from making any statements to the media or public when they are near the courthouse that could “influence any juror, potential juror, judge, witness or court officer or interfere with the administration of justice.”

Fox News’ Eben Brown, Brooke Singman and Bill Mears and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Graham: US should be stronger on Canadians detained in China

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham says the response by the United States to China detaining two Canadians in apparent retaliation for the arrest of a Chinese Huawei executive has not been strong enough.

Graham also told Munich Security Conference delegates Friday the international reaction to China’s arrest of ex-diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor hasn’t been enough to persuade China that its apparent use of hostage diplomacy won’t be tolerated.

Graham says President Donald Trump "has been tough on China but this is one area where I think we need to make a more definitive statement, because the two people arrested in China had nothing to do with the rule of law. It was just grabbing two Canadians."

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland mouthed the words "thank you" to Graham.

Source: Fox News World

Graham: US should be stronger on Canadians detained in China

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham says the response by the United States to China detaining two Canadians in apparent retaliation for the arrest of a Chinese Huawei executive has not been strong enough.

Graham also told Munich Security Conference delegates Friday the international reaction to China’s arrest of ex-diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor hasn’t been enough to persuade China that its apparent use of hostage diplomacy won’t be tolerated.

Graham says President Donald Trump "has been tough on China but this is one area where I think we need to make a more definitive statement, because the two people arrested in China had nothing to do with the rule of law. It was just grabbing two Canadians."

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland mouthed the words "thank you" to Graham.

Source: Fox News World

DHS official: Border security bill does not contain ‘amnesty’ poison pills

Immigration hawks slammed the border security compromise President Trump signed into law Friday for containing last-minute provisions that they argued give "amnesty" to many – but a Department of Homeland Security official insisted to Fox News that’s a misunderstanding of the bill.

The amnesty claim was made by lawmakers and conservative commentators.

TRUMP DECLARES EMERGENCY ON BORDER, EYES $8B FOR WALL AS HE SIGNS SPENDING PACKAGE

"This ‘deal’ provides de facto amnesty for anyone claiming to be even in the household of a potential sponsor of an unaccompanied alien minor," Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, wrote on Twitter Thursday.

That ‘amnesty’ claim is based on section 224 of the budget — which appears, on first glance, to block the deportation of many people who are illegally in the U.S.

That’s because it states that no funds may be used to detain or deport any "sponsor" or "potential sponsor" of an "unaccompanied alien child." It adds that even any "member of a household" of a "potential sponsor" is now immune from deportation.

But a DHS official told Fox News that terms like "potential sponsor" have precise meanings in Department of Homeland Security regulations – meanings that severely limit the number of people the budget keeps safe from deportation.

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

For example, to be a "potential sponsor" according to the DHS regulations, one must file significant paperwork — such as showing ID (U.S. or foreign) and proof of residency. The adult applying must also submit documents about the child.

Further, because the bill only applies to kids who are unaccompanied, it does not provide protection for those bringing kids into the US.

That would significantly limit the number of people to whom the no-deportation provision applies.

The section was added to ensure that people coming to pick up kids in custody did not find themselves deported for showing up to pick up the kid.

Chris Chmielenski, the deputy director of NumbersUSA, which fights for lower immigration levels and which urged President Trump to veto the budget, told Fox News that the provision is still problematic despite DHS’s clarifications.

“We still have some serious concerns about the provision,” Chmielenski told Fox News. “It still protects these sponsors and/or relatives who make it into the US. That’s not a precedent we should be setting.”

He noted that, despite the paperwork DHS demands of someone to become a “potential sponsor,” some might still try to game the system and that it could still encourage “unaccompanied” kids to be sent over the border.

TRUMP’S NATIONAL EMERGENCY DECLARATION OVER BORDER WALL SPARKS REACTIONS FROM LAWMAKERS

“We would prefer this wasn’t in there. We would also hope this is something that expires at the end of fiscal year,” he said.

The provision in the budget will be replaced by whatever the next budget says.

Another major alleged “poison pill” that may be misunderstood is a clause requiring the federal government to "confer and seek to reach mutual agreement" with local governments before building any wall.

The Center for Immigration Studies, which favors lower immigration levels, tweeted that “the spending bill would give local governments in the Rio Grande (all of which are *heavily* Democratic) the ability to veto the fence. If those blue municipalities don’t agree with DHS, the fence can’t get built.”

But the DHS official told Fox News on background that the exact language in the budget — "confer and seek to reach mutual agreement" – nowhere requires the federal government to actually reach an agreement before building fences.

Rather, it just requires DHS to consult with local governments – something DHS already generally does, the official noted.

Mark Krikorian, the director of the Center for Immigration Studies, says he remains skeptical.

“I hope DHS is right, I just think it’s wishful thinking,” he told Fox News. “Do you really want to bet that a judge won’t read that differently?”

But Trump allies say that the information from DHS shines light on why Trump ultimately signed the bill after reviewing it. Some warned about “disinformation” on Thursday.

“Just spoke with the White House. There will be NO Amnesty and NO path to citizenship,” Sebastian Gorka, a former deputy assistant to President Trump and a Fox News contributor, tweeted Thursday.

Other criticisms of the budget Trump signed include that it allows the Department of Homeland Security to more than double the number of guest worker visas, from 65,000 to 135,000. However, the law merely allows the Secretary of Homeland Security to make such an increase; it would only happen if the secretary authorizes it.

Another matter of contention is that the budget authorizes 45,000 ICE detention beds; an increase from the past budget which paid for 40,520 beds, but less than the number of detention beds ICE actually has.

However, the number of beds authorized by Congress does not actually force ICE to reduce its number of beds, as they can use money from other parts of the budget.

Gorka says the claims of the sky falling are overblown, and also told Fox News that it was silly to call anything in the budget “amnesty” because it’s just an annual budget.

“How is a funding bill that expires before the end of the fiscal year able to create conditions for a lasting ‘amnesty?’” Gorka said.

Maxim Lott is Executive Producer of Stossel TV and creator of ElectionBettingOdds.com. He can be reached on Twitter at @MaximLott.

Source: Fox News Politics

Kentucky House passes bill banning abortions if Roe v. Wade overturned

Lawmakers in Kentucky’s House of Representatives on Friday overwhelmingly passed a bill that would ban most abortions in the state – if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

The bill passed 69-20 in the House, and now heads to the state’s Senate. It would ban abortions except for cases when it is necessary to save the life of the mother.

The legislation would take effect if Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion across the country, is reversed and states have the authority to outlaw abortion.

Lawmakers staked out their views on abortion during the emotionally charged debate.

"Not one of us, man or woman, has the moral authority to take the life of an unborn," said Republican Rep. James Tipton. "There is no other medical procedure that I know of that the goal is to intentionally take the life of an unborn child."

OUTRAGE AS VIDEO SHOWS VIRGINIA ABORTION BILL SPONSOR SAYING PLAN WOULD ALLOW TERMINATION UP UNTIL BIRTH

Democratic Rep. Mary Lou Marzian said if the bill were to take effect, it would amount to government intrusion into the private medical decisions of women.

"It’s none of our business," she said. "If you want to go have a colonoscopy, should we get ourselves involved in that? If you want to take Viagra, should we get ourselves involved in that?"

Kentucky is among states enacting strict abortion laws in hopes of triggering a legal challenge to the high court. Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota and South Dakota have similar laws on the books triggering abortion bans if the Roe v. Wade decision is struck down.

Anti-abortion legislators and activists around the country believe President Trump has strengthened the push to topple the Roe v. Wade ruling with his appointments of conservatives Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, liberal states, including New Mexico, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington, have been making efforts to pass bills that loosen restrictions on abortion.

VIRGINIA GOV. NORTHAM FACES BACKLASH FOR COMMENTS ON 3RD-TRIMESTER ABORTION BILL

Controversy has erupted in Virginia, where the Democratic sponsor of a Virginia abortion proposal acknowledged it could allow women to terminate a pregnancy up until the moment before birth, for reasons including mental health.

Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam came under after he waded into the fight, with critics saying Northam indicated a child could be killed after birth.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Sarah Sanders says she ‘voluntarily’ agreed to Mueller interview

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders acknowledged Friday she was interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team as part of their probe into whether anyone on the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign.

“The president urged me, like he has everyone in the administration, to fully cooperate with the special counsel. I was happy to voluntarily sit down with them,” Sanders said in a statement.

MUELLER’S RUSSIA INVESTIGATION: WHAT TO KNOW

She did not elaborate on when the interview took place, or what was discussed. But others involved in the campaign who later took White House jobs have been interviewed by Mueller’s team, including former chief of staff Reince Priebus and former press secretary Sean Spicer.

Sanders worked on the presidential campaign of her father, Mike Huckabee, before joining Trump’s campaign in 2016. She later took a press job in the White House, before being promoted to White House press secretary.

WILLIAM BARR SWORN IN AS ATTORNEY GENERAL, FOLLOWING SENATE CONFIRMATION

CNN first reported Friday that Sanders had been interviewed by Mueller’s team.

Mueller’s investigation, which was initially ordered to look into the 2016 election, has gone on for more than a year and half. It has expanded to probe financial crimes of Trump associates before the election, conversations Trump’s national security adviser had with the Russians during the transition, and whether Trump obstructed justice with his comments and actions related to the probe.

Sanders, as Trump’s top spokesperson, has repeatedly denied any collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians.

"It’s very clear that Russia meddled in the election, it’s also very clear that it didn’t have an impact on the election, and it’s also very clear that the Trump campaign didn’t collude with the Russians in any ways for this process to take place," Sanders said during a briefing last year.

Several weeks ago, then-Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said during congressional testimony that he’s been “fully briefed, and I look forward to Mueller delivering the final report. Right now, the investigation is, I think, close to being completed.”

Fox News’ John Roberts and Gregg Re contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Judge imposes partial gag order in Roger Stone case

A federal judge on Friday issued a partial gag order in the criminal case of former Trump political adviser Roger Stone as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the federal court for the District of Columbia on Friday ordered that Stone “refrain from making statements to the media or in public settings that pose a substantial likelihood of material prejudice to this case,” according to the court filing.

ROGER STONE PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO MUELLER CHARGES IN FEDERAL COURT

Jackson further ordered that any participants in the case, including witnesses and counsel, “refrain” from making any statements to the media or public when they are near the courthouse that could “influence any juror, potential juror, judge, witness or court officer or interfere with the administration of justice.”

"There will be no additional restrictions imposed on the defendant’s public statements or appearances at this time, although this order may be amended in the future…if necessary," Jackson said in a court order. "This order should not be interpreted as modifying or superseding the condition of the defendant’s release that absolutely prohibits him from communicating with any witness in the case, either directly or indirectly. Nor does this order permit the defendant to intimidate or threaten any witness, or to engage or attempt to engage in any conduct in violation of [U.S. Code.]"

She added: "Finally, while it is not up to the Court to advise the defendant as to whether a succession of public statements would be in his best interest at this time, it notes that one factor that will be considered in the evaluation of any future request for relief based on pretrial publicity will be the extent to which the publicity was engendered by the defendant himself."

Stone, who last month pleaded not guilty to obstruction of justice, witness tampering, and making false statements to Congress after being indicted last month as part of Mueller’s probe, was also ordered not to travel anywhere other than Washington, the Eastern District of New York, and the Southern District of Florida while the case is pending.  Stone is not permitted to have a passport in his possession or apply for any new passport. Stone was also ordered to return to court “whenever required.”

Stone, 66, was taken into custody last month after being indicted by a federal grand jury a day earlier as part of Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian meddling and potential collusion with Trump campaign associates in the 2016 presidential election. More than a dozen FBI agents arrived in tactical gear outside of Stone’s home.

Following his arrest, Stone made several media appearances and comments about the case on his social media accounts.

The 24-page indictment released last month alleges that Stone worked to obstruct the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election by making false statements to the committee, denying he had records sought by the committee and persuading a witness to provide false testimony.

The indictment does not charge Stone with conspiring with WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy website that published the emails, or with Russian officers Mueller says hacked them. Instead, it accuses him of witness tampering, obstruction, and false statements about his interactions related to WikiLeaks.

Stone served as an adviser to Trump for years before Trump ran for president. He left Trump’s campaign in August 2015, but maintained regular contact with and publicly supported the Trump campaign throughout the 2016 presidential election.

FBI’S SHOW OF FORCE IN ROGER STONE ARREST SPURS CRITICISM OF MUELLER TACTICS 

Jackson, who presided over the case of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, also imposed a gag order in that criminal case as part of Mueller’s probe.

Mueller’s investigation, which was initially ordered to look into the 2016 election, has gone on for more than a year and a half. It has expanded to probe financial crimes of Trump associates before the election, conversations Trump’s national security adviser had with the Russians during the transition and whether Trump obstructed justice with his comments and actions related to the probe.

Twenty-six Russian nationals and three Russian companies have been charged with interfering in the 2016 presidential election. But none of the Trump associates have been charged with crimes related to collusion.

Other convictions include former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, who both pleaded guilty to making false statements in 2017. Former campaign adviser Rick Gates in 2018 pleaded guilty and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was convicted and later pleaded guilty in a separate financial crimes case dating back before the 2016 election.

Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to making false statements in a case brought by Mueller in November. Alex van der Zwaan, a London-based lawyer, pleaded guilty to making false statements this year, and Richard Pinedo, a California man, pleaded guilty to identity fraud in 2018.

Source: Fox News Politics

Gillibrand on call to tear down border wall: 'If it makes sense, I could support it'

CONCORD, N.H. — Democratic presidential contender Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand says she could possibly support a call by former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas to tear down parts of the existing U.S.-Mexico border wall.

“I’d have to ask folks in that part of the country to see whether the fencing that exists today is helpful or unhelpful,” the senator from New York told Fox News on Friday, as she was campaigning in the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state of New Hampshire.

“I could look at it and see which part he means and why, and if it makes sense, I could support it,” Gillibrand added.

O’ROURKE CALLS FOR TEARING DOWN WALL

O’Rourke, who’s seriously mulling a White House bid of his own, said Thursday in an interview with NBC News 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.

Gillibrand, kicking off a two-day campaign swing in New Hampshire, stressed that “Democrats are not afraid of national security or border security. Democrats have funded border security for decades.”

“What President Trump wants to do is build a medieval-style wall,” she charged. “It is a hateful message.”

TRUMP DECLARES BORDER EMERGENCY

Gillibrand arrived in New Hampshire as the president declared a national emergency along the southern border, potentially allowing him to divert 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.

Gillibrand targeted the president’s move, saying, “I think the only national emergency is the humanitarian crisis that President Trump has created at our border by separating families from children and treating people who need our help inhumanely. I think this is manufactured, I think this [is] inappropriate.”

She highlighted that congressional Democrats will sue the Trump administration and called the president’s move “not only reckless but it’s unwise.”

Source: Fox News Politics

Gillibrand on call to tear down border wall: 'If it makes sense, I could support it'

CONCORD, N.H. — Democratic presidential contender Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand says she could possibly support a call by former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas to tear down parts of the existing U.S.-Mexico border wall.

“I’d have to ask folks in that part of the country to see whether the fencing that exists today is helpful or unhelpful,” the senator from New York told Fox News on Friday, as she was campaigning in the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state of New Hampshire.

“I could look at it and see which part he means and why, and if it makes sense, I could support it,” Gillibrand added.

O’ROURKE CALLS FOR TEARING DOWN WALL

O’Rourke, who’s seriously mulling a White House bid of his own, said Thursday in an interview with NBC News 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.

Gillibrand, kicking off a two-day campaign swing in New Hampshire, stressed that “Democrats are not afraid of national security or border security. Democrats have funded border security for decades.”

“What President Trump wants to do is build a medieval-style wall,” she charged. “It is a hateful message.”

TRUMP DECLARES BORDER EMERGENCY

Gillibrand arrived in New Hampshire as the president declared a national emergency along the southern border, potentially allowing him to divert 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.

Gillibrand targeted the president’s move, saying, “I think the only national emergency is the humanitarian crisis that President Trump has created at our border by separating families from children and treating people who need our help inhumanely. I think this is manufactured, I think this [is] inappropriate.”

She highlighted that congressional Democrats will sue the Trump administration and called the president’s move “not only reckless but it’s unwise.”

Source: Fox News Politics

Trump declares national emergency, avoids shutdown

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On the roster: Trump declares national emergency, avoids shutdown – Time Out: Teddy’s bears – Fox Poll: Majority thinks Dems can unseat Trump in 2020 – Schultz won’t run if Dems nominate a centrist – Something special turnip-ed eventually

TRUMP DECLARES NATIONAL EMERGENCY, AVOIDS SHUTDOWN
NYT:President Trump declared a national emergency at the border on Friday to access billions of dollars to build a border wall that Congress refused to give him, transforming a highly charged policy dispute into a fundamental confrontation over separation of powers. In a televised announcement in the Rose Garden, Mr. Trump said he would sign the declaration to protect the country from the flow of drugs, criminals and illegal immigrants coming across the border from Mexico, which he characterized as a profound threat to national security. ‘We’re going to confront the national security crisis on our southern border and we’re going to do it one way or the other,’ he said. … The declaration will enable Mr. Trump to divert $3.6 billion budgeted for military construction projects to the border wall, White House officials said. Mr. Trump will also use more traditional presidential budgetary discretion to tap $2.5 billion from counternarcotics programs and $600 million from a Treasury Department asset forfeiture fund.”

Will a legal war be next? – Politico: “President Donald Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency … is set to unleash a furious legal war that could bog down the project for months or years. Immigrant rights advocates, property rights activists, environmentalists, Democratic lawmakers and state officials are all loudly signaling plans for a hail of legal writs aimed at blocking the president from what they have denounced as an unconstitutional end-run around the usual budget process. … [H]istorically it has been almost unthinkable for judges to interfere with or second-guess a president’s declaration of a military or national security emergency. However, legal experts said Trump’s history of erratic and inflammatory statements, his frequent rhetorical disconnects with senior officials in his administration and his tendency to see crises that others view as completely contrived mean that challengers stand a strong chance of finding a judge willing to throw a monkey wrench into the president’s plans.”

Fox Poll: Most voters favor immigration deal – Fox News: “A sizable majority of voters favors a broad immigration deal that includes a border barrier, non-barrier security measures, and humanitarian aid. At the same time, support for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border stands its highest since 2015. The number favoring the wall inched up for the second time in two months to 46 percent, according to the latest Fox News Poll. It was 43 percent last month during the government shutdown and 39 percent in September. The high mark was 50 percent in November 2015. Currently, 50 percent oppose the wall, down one point since January. A bipartisan 66 percent majority favors a budget deal that includes funding for some form of a border barrier, plus other security measures and humanitarian relief.”

THE RULEBOOK: STAY IN YOUR LANE
“In the first place it is to be remembered that the general government is not to be charged with the whole power of making and administering laws. Its jurisdiction is limited to certain enumerated objects, which concern all the members of the republic, but which are not to be attained by the separate provisions of any.” – James Madison, Federalist No. 14

TIME OUT: TEDDY’S BEARS
History: “On this day in 1903, toy store owner and inventor Morris Michtom places two stuffed bears in his shop window, advertising them as Teddy bears. Michtom had earlier petitioned President Theodore Roosevelt for permission to use his nickname, Teddy. The president agreed and, before long, other toy manufacturers began turning out copies of Michtom’s stuffed bears, which soon became a national childhood institution. One of Theodore Roosevelt’s hunting expeditions provided the inspiration for the Teddy bear. … Reports differ as to the exact details of the inspiration behind the teddy bear, but it is thought that while hunting in Mississippi in 1902, Roosevelt came upon an old injured black bear that his guides had tied to a tree. (The age, sex and state of health of the bear remain contested.) While some reports claim Roosevelt shot the bear out of pity for his suffering, others insist he set the bear free. Political cartoonists later portrayed the bear as a cub, implying that under the tough, outdoorsy and macho image of Roosevelt lay a much softer, more sensitive interior.”

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

SCOREBOARD
Trump job performance 
Average approval: 
41.8 percent
Average disapproval: 54.4 percent
Net Score: -12.6 points
Change from one week ago: up 3.6 points 
[Average includes: Fox News: 46% approve – 52% disapprove; Gallup: 44% approve – 52% unapproved; CNN: 42% approve – 54% disapproval; IBD: 39% approve – 57% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 38% approve – 57% disapprove.]

FOX POLL: MAJORITY THINKS DEMS CAN UNSEAT TRUMP IN 2020
Fox News: “After President Donald Trump took office, many voters doubted he would finish his term, much less stand for re-election. But, as the 2020 race heats up, voters are increasingly confident the eventual Democratic nominee will indeed face off against the current occupant of the White House. In August 2017, 58 percent thought Trump would finish his term. Now 70 percent do, according to the latest Fox News Poll released Thursday. The poll also found, paradoxically, an even higher number — 80 percent — think Trump will run for re-election. Fourteen percent do not. … So what are the odds the Democrats defeat Trump? A 55-percent majority say either excellent (19 percent) or good (36 percent) while 39 percent think they have either no chance (13 percent) or not much of one (26 percent). Most Democrats (84 percent) and a plurality of independents (48 percent) think the Democratic Party’s chances are excellent or good…”

Iowa Poll: Voters think a ‘seasoned’ politician can defeat Trump – Des Moines Register:Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders top the list of potential presidential candidates preferred by Iowa’s likely Democratic caucus-goers, reflecting their belief that it will take political experience to defeat President Donald Trump in 2020. The results are part of a new Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa Poll, setting the stage for the contest that will sweep across Iowa in the next 14 months. … Nearly half of poll respondents in the first-in-the-nation presidential caucus state — 49 percent — say the right person to defeat Trump should be a ‘seasoned political hand’ rather than a ‘newcomer.’ … Thirty-six percent of poll respondents say a political ‘newcomer’ is best suited to defeat the president. In that role, Iowans currently favor Beto O’Rourke…”

Ex-Massachusetts Gov. Weld announces exploratory committee – ABC News: “Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, little-known on the national stage but well-respected among veterans in the GOP establishment, announced an exploratory committee for president on Friday, becoming the first Republican to move toward a serious primary challenge against President Donald Trump. There are new signs he won’t be the last. In the immediate aftermath of the 73-year-old Weld’s announcement at a breakfast event in New Hampshire, a senior aide for former Ohio Gov. John Kasich indicated Kasich is likely to launch a primary challenge as well. … Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, meanwhile, met privately last week with conservative leader Bill Kristol, who’s driving an effort to recruit a top-tier Trump primary challenger and operatives on the ground in key states. … Weld’s move makes Trump the first incumbent president since George H.W. Bush in 1992 to face a notable primary challenge.”

Team Trump keeping close eye on Harris, Warren and Booker – Politico: “Donald Trump’s political advisers are homing in on three declared Democratic candidates who they believe are the most viable at this early stage of the campaign. The reelection campaign has begun compiling opposition research on Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker and is eyeing opportunities to attack them. … Trump’s advisers are certain the list of announced Democratic candidates will grow exponentially before the first primary debate in June, and that their targets are certain to fluctuate over time. … Interviews with more than two dozen of the president’s closest advisers reveal that the Trump operation is watching the opening days of the Democratic primary with a mix of relief over the field’s sprint to the left, surprise over Harris’ impressive launch, and trepidation over the prospect of Joe Biden and Sherrod Brown threatening Trump’s Midwest stranglehold.”

SCHULTZ WON’T RUN IF DEMS NOMINATE A CENTRIST
WaPo: “Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said Thursday that he would be willing to abandon his presidential ambitions midstream if Democrats nominate a centrist who makes it too difficult for him to win as an independent candidate. Schultz, who made the comments while visiting The Washington Post, has premised his exploration of a presidential campaign on the assumption that Democrats are likely to nominate a candidate that embraces what he calls ‘far-left’ ideas that will turn off enough moderate voters to open space for an independent candidate. He has paid for internal polling that he says suggest he would be competitive in a three-way race against President Trump and a liberal Democratic candidate such as Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) or Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). A more moderate Democratic nominee, such as former vice president Joe Biden or former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, could complicate Schultz’s perceived path to victory.”

Beto heads to the Midwest – Politico: “Beto O’Rourke is hitting the road again, this time for the Midwest. Following a massive rally in his hometown of El Paso, Texas, on Monday, the former Texas congressman and potential presidential candidate will visit with students at University of Wisconsin, Madison on Friday. He will then travel to Chicago, where he will address a national conference of the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute on Saturday. Julián Castro, who has already declared for president, is also scheduled to speak at that event. O’Rourke’s meeting with students is closed to the media, a spokesman confirmed. … The events mark O’Rourke’s first public steps outside of Texas since a solo road trip that drew widespread attention throughout the Southwest. The visits come as O’Rourke edges closer to a presidential campaign. He has said he will make a decision about entering the race by the end of the month.”

Poll: New Jersey voters aren’t feeling Booker’s presidential bid – Monmouth University: “Sen. Cory Booker’s nascent presidential bid may get mixed reviews in his home state, but he starts off on much better footing than New Jersey’s last major contender, former governor Chris Christie. The Monmouth University Poll finds that Booker continues to earn a net positive job rating from Garden State residents, although his disapproval numbers have climbed. Most feel he will not be able to keep up with his senatorial duties while he is running for president but don’t think he needs to resign. However, if Booker is able to win the Democratic nomination, most New Jerseyans say he should forego a simultaneous run to retain his U.S. Senate seat in 2020. Booker earns a 48% approve to 36% disapprove rating from Garden State residents for his performance as the state’s junior U.S. senator. … [Booker’s] disapproval rating is the highest it has been since he took office in 2013.”

Dems announce first debate details – NYT: “The Democratic National Committee on Thursday unveiled the criteria for participation in the first two presidential primary debates, splitting the debates across two consecutive nights to accommodate an already sprawling field of candidates. … To qualify, a candidate must either reach 1 percent in three approved polls or raise at least $65,000 from 200 donors in 20 different states. Each candidate’s slot will be selected by a random drawing. The criteria will apply only to the first two debates, scheduled for back-to-back weeknights in June and July, allowing the committee to update its requirements as the field shifts. NBC News, MSNBC and Telemundo are sponsoring the first debate, and CNN will host the second, with specific dates and locations to be announced in the coming weeks.”

PLAY-BY-PLAY
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg returns to work NBC News

Pergram: ‘Trump needs a transfer, may have to rob Peter to pay Paul’ Fox News

Interesting read: ‘The most important new woman in Congress is not who you think’Politico

SupCo to decide whether citizenship question can be included in 2020 census Fox News

McCabe rep downplays DOJ discussions on using 25th Amendment to oust TrumpFox News

AUDIBLE: TIME WILL TELL
“We’re nicer people. I mean look who they produced.” – Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said of Republicans and Trump to Politico. Brown added that Democrats will continue to remain nice to one another through primary season.  

ANY GIVEN SUNDAY
This weekend Mr. Sunday will sit down with Rush Limbaugh. 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.

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

SOMETHING SPECIAL TURNIP-ED EVENTUALLY
WEHT: “Valentine’s Day is a chance to get your significant other something special. Sometimes, people will let you in on what they’re looking for, but one Ohio County man’s Valentine’s mix-up caused some big laughs on Thursday. Allan and Nina Harris, of Hartford, [Kentucky] have been married since 2006. For Valentine’s Day this year, Nina wanted something that would last so she told Allan that if he got her flowers, she’d like some tulips that she could plant outside. Tulips are an annual, which means they will come back every year. However, Nina did not know how to react when Allan showed up with turnips for Valentine’s Day on Thursday. Allan had apparently misunderstood what Nina wanted. Once the couple worked through what had happened, Allan did eventually go and get some tulips as well.”

AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“One price of demystifying the universe is that science, unlike religion, asks only how, not why. As to the purpose of things, science is silent. But if science cannot talk about meaning, it can talk about harmony. And Halley’s [Comet] is at once a symbol and a proof of a deep harmony of the spheres.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on Dec. 13, 1985. 

Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.

Source: Fox News Politics

Trump declares national emergency, avoids shutdown

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

On the roster: Trump declares national emergency, avoids shutdown – Time Out: Teddy’s bears – Fox Poll: Majority thinks Dems can unseat Trump in 2020 – Schultz won’t run if Dems nominate a centrist – Something special turnip-ed eventually

TRUMP DECLARES NATIONAL EMERGENCY, AVOIDS SHUTDOWN
NYT:President Trump declared a national emergency at the border on Friday to access billions of dollars to build a border wall that Congress refused to give him, transforming a highly charged policy dispute into a fundamental confrontation over separation of powers. In a televised announcement in the Rose Garden, Mr. Trump said he would sign the declaration to protect the country from the flow of drugs, criminals and illegal immigrants coming across the border from Mexico, which he characterized as a profound threat to national security. ‘We’re going to confront the national security crisis on our southern border and we’re going to do it one way or the other,’ he said. … The declaration will enable Mr. Trump to divert $3.6 billion budgeted for military construction projects to the border wall, White House officials said. Mr. Trump will also use more traditional presidential budgetary discretion to tap $2.5 billion from counternarcotics programs and $600 million from a Treasury Department asset forfeiture fund.”

Will a legal war be next? – Politico: “President Donald Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency … is set to unleash a furious legal war that could bog down the project for months or years. Immigrant rights advocates, property rights activists, environmentalists, Democratic lawmakers and state officials are all loudly signaling plans for a hail of legal writs aimed at blocking the president from what they have denounced as an unconstitutional end-run around the usual budget process. … [H]istorically it has been almost unthinkable for judges to interfere with or second-guess a president’s declaration of a military or national security emergency. However, legal experts said Trump’s history of erratic and inflammatory statements, his frequent rhetorical disconnects with senior officials in his administration and his tendency to see crises that others view as completely contrived mean that challengers stand a strong chance of finding a judge willing to throw a monkey wrench into the president’s plans.”

Fox Poll: Most voters favor immigration deal – Fox News: “A sizable majority of voters favors a broad immigration deal that includes a border barrier, non-barrier security measures, and humanitarian aid. At the same time, support for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border stands its highest since 2015. The number favoring the wall inched up for the second time in two months to 46 percent, according to the latest Fox News Poll. It was 43 percent last month during the government shutdown and 39 percent in September. The high mark was 50 percent in November 2015. Currently, 50 percent oppose the wall, down one point since January. A bipartisan 66 percent majority favors a budget deal that includes funding for some form of a border barrier, plus other security measures and humanitarian relief.”

THE RULEBOOK: STAY IN YOUR LANE
“In the first place it is to be remembered that the general government is not to be charged with the whole power of making and administering laws. Its jurisdiction is limited to certain enumerated objects, which concern all the members of the republic, but which are not to be attained by the separate provisions of any.” – James Madison, Federalist No. 14

TIME OUT: TEDDY’S BEARS
History: “On this day in 1903, toy store owner and inventor Morris Michtom places two stuffed bears in his shop window, advertising them as Teddy bears. Michtom had earlier petitioned President Theodore Roosevelt for permission to use his nickname, Teddy. The president agreed and, before long, other toy manufacturers began turning out copies of Michtom’s stuffed bears, which soon became a national childhood institution. One of Theodore Roosevelt’s hunting expeditions provided the inspiration for the Teddy bear. … Reports differ as to the exact details of the inspiration behind the teddy bear, but it is thought that while hunting in Mississippi in 1902, Roosevelt came upon an old injured black bear that his guides had tied to a tree. (The age, sex and state of health of the bear remain contested.) While some reports claim Roosevelt shot the bear out of pity for his suffering, others insist he set the bear free. Political cartoonists later portrayed the bear as a cub, implying that under the tough, outdoorsy and macho image of Roosevelt lay a much softer, more sensitive interior.”

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SCOREBOARD
Trump job performance 
Average approval: 
41.8 percent
Average disapproval: 54.4 percent
Net Score: -12.6 points
Change from one week ago: up 3.6 points 
[Average includes: Fox News: 46% approve – 52% disapprove; Gallup: 44% approve – 52% unapproved; CNN: 42% approve – 54% disapproval; IBD: 39% approve – 57% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 38% approve – 57% disapprove.]

FOX POLL: MAJORITY THINKS DEMS CAN UNSEAT TRUMP IN 2020
Fox News: “After President Donald Trump took office, many voters doubted he would finish his term, much less stand for re-election. But, as the 2020 race heats up, voters are increasingly confident the eventual Democratic nominee will indeed face off against the current occupant of the White House. In August 2017, 58 percent thought Trump would finish his term. Now 70 percent do, according to the latest Fox News Poll released Thursday. The poll also found, paradoxically, an even higher number — 80 percent — think Trump will run for re-election. Fourteen percent do not. … So what are the odds the Democrats defeat Trump? A 55-percent majority say either excellent (19 percent) or good (36 percent) while 39 percent think they have either no chance (13 percent) or not much of one (26 percent). Most Democrats (84 percent) and a plurality of independents (48 percent) think the Democratic Party’s chances are excellent or good…”

Iowa Poll: Voters think a ‘seasoned’ politician can defeat Trump – Des Moines Register:Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders top the list of potential presidential candidates preferred by Iowa’s likely Democratic caucus-goers, reflecting their belief that it will take political experience to defeat President Donald Trump in 2020. The results are part of a new Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa Poll, setting the stage for the contest that will sweep across Iowa in the next 14 months. … Nearly half of poll respondents in the first-in-the-nation presidential caucus state — 49 percent — say the right person to defeat Trump should be a ‘seasoned political hand’ rather than a ‘newcomer.’ … Thirty-six percent of poll respondents say a political ‘newcomer’ is best suited to defeat the president. In that role, Iowans currently favor Beto O’Rourke…”

Ex-Massachusetts Gov. Weld announces exploratory committee – ABC News: “Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, little-known on the national stage but well-respected among veterans in the GOP establishment, announced an exploratory committee for president on Friday, becoming the first Republican to move toward a serious primary challenge against President Donald Trump. There are new signs he won’t be the last. In the immediate aftermath of the 73-year-old Weld’s announcement at a breakfast event in New Hampshire, a senior aide for former Ohio Gov. John Kasich indicated Kasich is likely to launch a primary challenge as well. … Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, meanwhile, met privately last week with conservative leader Bill Kristol, who’s driving an effort to recruit a top-tier Trump primary challenger and operatives on the ground in key states. … Weld’s move makes Trump the first incumbent president since George H.W. Bush in 1992 to face a notable primary challenge.”

Team Trump keeping close eye on Harris, Warren and Booker – Politico: “Donald Trump’s political advisers are homing in on three declared Democratic candidates who they believe are the most viable at this early stage of the campaign. The reelection campaign has begun compiling opposition research on Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker and is eyeing opportunities to attack them. … Trump’s advisers are certain the list of announced Democratic candidates will grow exponentially before the first primary debate in June, and that their targets are certain to fluctuate over time. … Interviews with more than two dozen of the president’s closest advisers reveal that the Trump operation is watching the opening days of the Democratic primary with a mix of relief over the field’s sprint to the left, surprise over Harris’ impressive launch, and trepidation over the prospect of Joe Biden and Sherrod Brown threatening Trump’s Midwest stranglehold.”

SCHULTZ WON’T RUN IF DEMS NOMINATE A CENTRIST
WaPo: “Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said Thursday that he would be willing to abandon his presidential ambitions midstream if Democrats nominate a centrist who makes it too difficult for him to win as an independent candidate. Schultz, who made the comments while visiting The Washington Post, has premised his exploration of a presidential campaign on the assumption that Democrats are likely to nominate a candidate that embraces what he calls ‘far-left’ ideas that will turn off enough moderate voters to open space for an independent candidate. He has paid for internal polling that he says suggest he would be competitive in a three-way race against President Trump and a liberal Democratic candidate such as Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) or Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). A more moderate Democratic nominee, such as former vice president Joe Biden or former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, could complicate Schultz’s perceived path to victory.”

Beto heads to the Midwest – Politico: “Beto O’Rourke is hitting the road again, this time for the Midwest. Following a massive rally in his hometown of El Paso, Texas, on Monday, the former Texas congressman and potential presidential candidate will visit with students at University of Wisconsin, Madison on Friday. He will then travel to Chicago, where he will address a national conference of the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute on Saturday. Julián Castro, who has already declared for president, is also scheduled to speak at that event. O’Rourke’s meeting with students is closed to the media, a spokesman confirmed. … The events mark O’Rourke’s first public steps outside of Texas since a solo road trip that drew widespread attention throughout the Southwest. The visits come as O’Rourke edges closer to a presidential campaign. He has said he will make a decision about entering the race by the end of the month.”

Poll: New Jersey voters aren’t feeling Booker’s presidential bid – Monmouth University: “Sen. Cory Booker’s nascent presidential bid may get mixed reviews in his home state, but he starts off on much better footing than New Jersey’s last major contender, former governor Chris Christie. The Monmouth University Poll finds that Booker continues to earn a net positive job rating from Garden State residents, although his disapproval numbers have climbed. Most feel he will not be able to keep up with his senatorial duties while he is running for president but don’t think he needs to resign. However, if Booker is able to win the Democratic nomination, most New Jerseyans say he should forego a simultaneous run to retain his U.S. Senate seat in 2020. Booker earns a 48% approve to 36% disapprove rating from Garden State residents for his performance as the state’s junior U.S. senator. … [Booker’s] disapproval rating is the highest it has been since he took office in 2013.”

Dems announce first debate details – NYT: “The Democratic National Committee on Thursday unveiled the criteria for participation in the first two presidential primary debates, splitting the debates across two consecutive nights to accommodate an already sprawling field of candidates. … To qualify, a candidate must either reach 1 percent in three approved polls or raise at least $65,000 from 200 donors in 20 different states. Each candidate’s slot will be selected by a random drawing. The criteria will apply only to the first two debates, scheduled for back-to-back weeknights in June and July, allowing the committee to update its requirements as the field shifts. NBC News, MSNBC and Telemundo are sponsoring the first debate, and CNN will host the second, with specific dates and locations to be announced in the coming weeks.”

PLAY-BY-PLAY
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg returns to work NBC News

Pergram: ‘Trump needs a transfer, may have to rob Peter to pay Paul’ Fox News

Interesting read: ‘The most important new woman in Congress is not who you think’Politico

SupCo to decide whether citizenship question can be included in 2020 census Fox News

McCabe rep downplays DOJ discussions on using 25th Amendment to oust TrumpFox News

AUDIBLE: TIME WILL TELL
“We’re nicer people. I mean look who they produced.” – Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said of Republicans and Trump to Politico. Brown added that Democrats will continue to remain nice to one another through primary season.  

ANY GIVEN SUNDAY
This weekend Mr. Sunday will sit down with Rush Limbaugh. 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.

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

SOMETHING SPECIAL TURNIP-ED EVENTUALLY
WEHT: “Valentine’s Day is a chance to get your significant other something special. Sometimes, people will let you in on what they’re looking for, but one Ohio County man’s Valentine’s mix-up caused some big laughs on Thursday. Allan and Nina Harris, of Hartford, [Kentucky] have been married since 2006. For Valentine’s Day this year, Nina wanted something that would last so she told Allan that if he got her flowers, she’d like some tulips that she could plant outside. Tulips are an annual, which means they will come back every year. However, Nina did not know how to react when Allan showed up with turnips for Valentine’s Day on Thursday. Allan had apparently misunderstood what Nina wanted. Once the couple worked through what had happened, Allan did eventually go and get some tulips as well.”

AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“One price of demystifying the universe is that science, unlike religion, asks only how, not why. As to the purpose of things, science is silent. But if science cannot talk about meaning, it can talk about harmony. And Halley’s [Comet] is at once a symbol and a proof of a deep harmony of the spheres.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in the Washington Post on Dec. 13, 1985. 

Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.

Source: Fox News Politics

Jimmy Carter smooches wife Rosalynn on kiss cam at Atlanta Hawks game

Former President Jimmy Carter gave his wife Rosalynn the presidential pucker up treatment when the two were featured on the kiss cam.

The Carters celebrated Valentine’s Day with a game of basketball at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. The couple was cheering on the Atlanta Hawks, who were playing the New York Knicks when it was time for the kiss cam.

“Hey! The first presidential kiss cam!” the announcer was heard saying after the camera panned to Carter, 94, and Rosalynn, 91.

JIMMY CARTER SAYS TRUMP’S A ‘DISASTER IN HUMAN RIGHTS,’ ‘TREATING PEOPLE EQUAL’

“President Carter and Rosalynn, can we get a kiss?” the announcer said as Carter smooched his wife.

“Yeah! Oh yeah! We’re going viral with that one,” the announcer said as the couple smiled.

Despite the luck of the president’s presence, the Hawks fell to the Knicks with a final score of 106-91. The Carters were honored by the Atlanta Hawks for their humanitarian efforts, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

JIMMY CARTER WINS THIRD GRAMMY AWARD FOR AUDIOBOOK ON HIS FAITH

This is not the first time the couple has appeared on the kiss cam. In 2015, while at an Atlanta Braves game, the former president and first lady were captured kissing.

The couple have been married since July 1946. Carter served as the 39th president of the U.S. from 1977 to 1981. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 and is the founder of the Carter Center. He won his third Grammy award on Sunday. He won the award under the “Best Spoken Word Album” category for his audiobook, “Faith: A Journey For All.”

Fox News’ Nicole Darrah contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Jimmy Carter smooches wife Rosalynn on kiss cam at Atlanta Hawks game

Former President Jimmy Carter gave his wife Rosalynn the presidential pucker up treatment when the two were featured on the kiss cam.

The Carters celebrated Valentine’s Day with a game of basketball at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. The couple was cheering on the Atlanta Hawks, who were playing the New York Knicks when it was time for the kiss cam.

“Hey! The first presidential kiss cam!” the announcer was heard saying after the camera panned to Carter, 94, and Rosalynn, 91.

JIMMY CARTER SAYS TRUMP’S A ‘DISASTER IN HUMAN RIGHTS,’ ‘TREATING PEOPLE EQUAL’

“President Carter and Rosalynn, can we get a kiss?” the announcer said as Carter smooched his wife.

“Yeah! Oh yeah! We’re going viral with that one,” the announcer said as the couple smiled.

Despite the luck of the president’s presence, the Hawks fell to the Knicks with a final score of 106-91. The Carters were honored by the Atlanta Hawks for their humanitarian efforts, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

JIMMY CARTER WINS THIRD GRAMMY AWARD FOR AUDIOBOOK ON HIS FAITH

This is not the first time the couple has appeared on the kiss cam. In 2015, while at an Atlanta Braves game, the former president and first lady were captured kissing.

The couple have been married since July 1946. Carter served as the 39th president of the U.S. from 1977 to 1981. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 and is the founder of the Carter Center. He won his third Grammy award on Sunday. He won the award under the “Best Spoken Word Album” category for his audiobook, “Faith: A Journey For All.”

Fox News’ Nicole Darrah contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

From Lenin to Chavez these are the 5 Top Socialist Promises… wonder how they worked out? Politicians of all stripes make big promises to get into office – but some of the most extravagant promises of the last century have come from socialist politicians pledging to reshape society as a utopia for all.   Hugo […]

“DARK MONEY” by Liberal Groups vs Conservative Groups : Guess who outspent who Liberal groups outspent Conservative ones in so-called “dark money” during the 2018 midterm election, for the first time since 2010. A report from Issue One, a bipartisan advocacy group, shows that liberal groups spent over half of the $150 million of dark […]


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