NEW YORK

.@AOC ain’t nothing but s Hounddog just crying/lying all the time.. do you think the news covers her way too much?

Ocasio-Cortez continues to compare border conditions to ‘concentration camps,’ critics accuse her of misinformation campaign
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., has sparked controversy in recent weeks with arguably increasingly inflammatory rhetoric in her conversations about the conditions at the U.S.-Mexico border. Despite coming under fire last month for See More saying the U.S.government is “running concentration camps on our southern border,” Ocasio-Cortez once again made the same comparison on Twitter on Tuesday. On Monday, after traveling to a border detention center in El Paso, Texas, with almost a dozen members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, she blasted border officials as “violent” and “inhumane” while claiming agents forced detained migrant women and children to drink toilet water.

Current and former immigration officials rejected the congresswoman’s allegations and accused her of pulling a political stunt. Hispanic pastors who toured the same facility Ocasio-Cortez visited said the conditions at the detention center were “drastically different” than what she described. They said they were “shocked at the misinformation of the crisis at the border.” The controversy over AOC’s latest comments come as afederal judge ruled Tuesday that the Trump administration cannot categorically detain asylum seekers while they pursue their cases.

Navy SEAL rejoices in not guilty verdict
Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher said he feels thankful and vindicatedafter a jury on Tuesday found him not guilty on almost all charges he was facing, including murder and attempted murder, in the 2017 killing of a teenage ISIS war prisoner in Iraq. “I’m happy and I’m thankful,” Gallagher told reporters after the verdict, as he joked with his legal team that “it’s Independence Day,” his freedom coming days before the Fourth of July. Jurors did find him guilty of the seventh charge, posing for a photo with a corpse, considered the least egregious of the crimes, which carries a maximum prison sentence of four months. Having already served seven months in confinement ahead of the trial, Gallagher, a Bronze Star recipient, is expected to go home a free man after his sentencing, his defense lawyers said.

Trump detractors sound the alarm as military vehicles roll in for July 4 celebrations
Appearing on “Deadline: White House,” MSNBC’s Joy Reid insisted on Tuesday that President Trump is using the upcoming Fourth of July “Salute to America” celebration as a “threat” to Americans who oppose him. Trump has longed talked about showing off America’s military capabilities in celebration of Independence Day, and now his vision is coming to fruition as tanks arrive in Washington, D.C., ahead of Thursday’s festivities. Reid claimed that Trump aspires to be a “mini” North Korean leader Kim Jong Un or Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera, these kind of complaints are the ramblings of Trump haters.

Still, as preparations were underway Trump’s July 4 celebration, a few problems emerged along the way as military vehicles were hauled into the capital city. On Tuesday, a flatbed carrying the tanks was apparently unable to clear an underpass, according to photos tweeted by a Politico reporter. A crane was later employed to resolve the issue. Retired U.S. Army Gen. Thomas Spoehr, director of the Heritage Foundation’s Center for National Defense, told the Daily Reporter that some local roads are ill-equipped to handle the weight of the tanks.

Missing Connecticut woman’s estranged husband maintains innocence
Fotis Dulos, a Connecticut real-estate developer charged in connection with the disappearance of his estranged wife Jennifer Dulos, maintained his innocence Tuesday during his first sit-down interview about the case, claiming he’s “worried” about his wife and never wished her “ill in any way.” “I know what I’ve done, I know what I haven’t done,” the 51-year-old Greek immigrant told New York City’s WNBC-TV. “I have to stand and fight and hope that the truth is going to come out.” Jennifer Dulos, 50, hasn’t been seen since dropping her children off at school in New Canaan, Conn., on May 24.

Remembering Lee Iacocca
Lee Iacocca, the father of the Ford Mustang and former chairman of Chrysler, has died of natural causes at his home in Bel Air, Calif., his family said Tuesday. He was 94. Iacocca, born in Allentown, Pa., on Oct. 15, 1924 as the child of Italian immigrants, started working at Ford Motor Co. in 1946 and is heralded as the leader of the team that created the first Mustang in 1964. He ascended to CEO of the company in 1970 but was fired by Henry Ford Jr. in 1978. He moved on to Chrysler Corp. in 1978 and became the CEO a year later, pulling the company out of bankruptcy after taking it over. Iacocca successfully persuaded the federal government to provide the company a $1.2 billion loan in 1979 and made major cuts to the workforce, slashing wages — including his own, which he shrunk to $1 a year — and closing plants. He also introduced fuel-efficient cars and the minivan. His effortswere successful and Chrysler made a comeback, profiting $20 million. The turnaround made Iacocca a media star. Later, he was a key figure in the restoration of the Statue of Liberty and creation of the Ellis Island museum.

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DOJ says citizenship question being dropped from 2020 Census.
Former Google exec ran ‘sex ring,’ estranged wife claims in civil complaint.
Vatican to open two tombs in decades-old disappearance of teen.

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Charlie Ergen presents significant obstacle in T-Mobile-Sprint negotiations with DOJ.
WATCH: Facebook, YouTube tweaking algorithms to fight misinformation: Report.
These are the highest paid White House employees.

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With Peace In North Korea And China Trade Deals, Don’t You Think It’s Time Trump Got A Nobel Peace Prize?

Fox News Exclusive: Trump tells Tucker Carlson he’s optimistic about trade deal with China, slams Big Tech bias
President Trump expressed optimism about a possible trade deal between his administration and Chinese President Xi Jinping,during an interview with Tucker Carlson set to air Monday night on Fox News. Trump had met with Xi during the G20 summit in Osaka and See More described the meeting as “excellent” before saying the two countries were “back on track.” “We had a very good meeting,” thepresident said. “He wants to make a deal. I want to make a deal. Very big deal, probably, I guess you’d say the largest deal ever made of any kind, not only trade.”

Trump sat down with Carlson during the president’s trip, which included stops in Osaka, Japan, for the G20 summit, and a first-of-its kind visit by a U.S. president to North Korea, meeting with dictator Kim Jong Un at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), which Carlson witnessed. During the interview, the president also ripped alleged biases from Big Tech, which includes Facebook, Google and Twitter, saying, ” They were totally against me. I won … They fought me very hard. I mean, I heard that and they’re fighting me hard right now.” 

TUNE IN: Don’t miss Tucker Carlson’s exclusive interview with President Trump tonight on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” at 8 p.m. ET

Trump and Kim agree to revive talks on nuke problem in historic visit, but what’s next?
President Trump made history this weekend by becoming first sitting U.S. president to set foot in North Korea when he took 20 steps into the Hermit Kingdom. The event in the Demilitarized Zone also included a roughly 50-minute meeting behind closed doors, the first face-to-face sit-down between the two since their failed summit in Hanoi in February. The two leaders have agreed to revive talks on North Korea’s nuclear program, with Trump saying “speed is not the object” and “we’re looking to get it right.”

The president’s critics, especially Democrats looking to run against him in 2020, are skeptical and have called the latest meeting between Trump and Kim another elaborate photo-op and accused the president of “coddling” dictators. Other critics have wondered whether Trump will ever reach an actual deal with Kim, noting that nothing of substance was achieved in their previous two meetings. Still, Harry J. Kazianis, director of Korean Studies at the Center for the National Interest,wonders whether Trump’s unconventional diplomatic approach to North Korea is worthy of a Nobel Prize. Stay tuned.

Kudlow: No ‘amnesty’ for Huawei
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Sunday tamped down expectations of a quick resolution of the U.S.-China trade dispute, adding that President Trump’s decision to let Chinese telecom giant Huawei buy some additional U.S. products is “not a general amnesty.” Trump announced Saturday that U.S. suppliers will be allowed to sell components to Chinese telecom giant Huawei following talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping. In an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Kudlow said Trump’s move does not mean the administration no longer regards Huawei as a surveillance agency of the Chinese Communist Party. Still, U.S. stock futures jumped ahead of Monday’s open as investors reacted to the progress between the U.S. and China at the G20 Summit.

Fox News Exclusive: Friends of Utah student say suspected killer was ‘hunting for women’
In a Fox News exclusive interview, friends of the University of Utah student Mackenzie Lueck said Sunday they believe the suspect arrested in her disappearance and murder was “hunting for women.” Lueck, 23, disappeared after police said she met with the suspectidentified as 31-year-old Ayoola Ajayi, who was arrested and charged with aggravated murder Friday. The student met with Ajayi around 3 a.m. on June 17 near a park in Salt Lake City after she had been dropped off by a Lyft driver, according to police. “There’s a lot of people that say she deserved this because she put herself in this situation and we don’t officially know that,” Kennedy Stoner, a sorority sister and friend of Lueck’s, told Fox News in an exclusive interview on Sunday. Follow the latest developments on this story on FoxNews.com.

Many 2020 Dems on the chopping block
The Democratic Party’s crowded field of 2020 presidential candidates could quickly shrink as more than half of the contenders are in real danger of failing to meet tougher requirements to participate in the fall round of debates. Short on support and money and bound by tough party rules, once soaring politicians may soon be seen as also-rans. They include: Julian Castro, the former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama who is trying to capitalize on his strong debate performance last week; Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, one of her party’s most outspoken feminists; and Sen. Cory Booker, who first rose to stardom as the energetic mayor of Newark, N.J. Of the 20 candidates who qualified for the first round of debates in June and July, just six right now are sure to appear in the September-October round, when the Democratic National Committee requires participants to hit 2 percent in multiple polls and 130,000 individual donors. – Associated Press

TODAY’S MUST-READS
Sanders hits back at AOC after Ivanka Trump dig.
Kentucky farmers say federally-protected vultures are terrorizing livestock: report.
UFC president confirms talks to promote Justin Bieber, Tom Cruise match.

MINDING YOUR BUSINESS
At G20 summit in Japan, these were the five biggest moments you missed.
Billionaire Bernie Marcus to donate majority of fortune, support Trump for re-election.
‘Avengers: Endgame’ narrows gapto break highest-grossing film record following re-release.

Source

With Peace In North Korea And China Trade Deals, Don’t You Think It’s Time Trump Got A Nobel Peace Prize?

Fox News Exclusive: Trump tells Tucker Carlson he’s optimistic about trade deal with China, slams Big Tech bias
President Trump expressed optimism about a possible trade deal between his administration and Chinese President Xi Jinping,during an interview with Tucker Carlson set to air Monday night on Fox News. Trump had met with Xi during the G20 summit in Osaka and See More described the meeting as “excellent” before saying the two countries were “back on track.” “We had a very good meeting,” thepresident said. “He wants to make a deal. I want to make a deal. Very big deal, probably, I guess you’d say the largest deal ever made of any kind, not only trade.”

Trump sat down with Carlson during the president’s trip, which included stops in Osaka, Japan, for the G20 summit, and a first-of-its kind visit by a U.S. president to North Korea, meeting with dictator Kim Jong Un at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), which Carlson witnessed. During the interview, the president also ripped alleged biases from Big Tech, which includes Facebook, Google and Twitter, saying, ” They were totally against me. I won … They fought me very hard. I mean, I heard that and they’re fighting me hard right now.” 

TUNE IN: Don’t miss Tucker Carlson’s exclusive interview with President Trump tonight on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” at 8 p.m. ET

Trump and Kim agree to revive talks on nuke problem in historic visit, but what’s next?
President Trump made history this weekend by becoming first sitting U.S. president to set foot in North Korea when he took 20 steps into the Hermit Kingdom. The event in the Demilitarized Zone also included a roughly 50-minute meeting behind closed doors, the first face-to-face sit-down between the two since their failed summit in Hanoi in February. The two leaders have agreed to revive talks on North Korea’s nuclear program, with Trump saying “speed is not the object” and “we’re looking to get it right.”

The president’s critics, especially Democrats looking to run against him in 2020, are skeptical and have called the latest meeting between Trump and Kim another elaborate photo-op and accused the president of “coddling” dictators. Other critics have wondered whether Trump will ever reach an actual deal with Kim, noting that nothing of substance was achieved in their previous two meetings. Still, Harry J. Kazianis, director of Korean Studies at the Center for the National Interest,wonders whether Trump’s unconventional diplomatic approach to North Korea is worthy of a Nobel Prize. Stay tuned.

Kudlow: No ‘amnesty’ for Huawei
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Sunday tamped down expectations of a quick resolution of the U.S.-China trade dispute, adding that President Trump’s decision to let Chinese telecom giant Huawei buy some additional U.S. products is “not a general amnesty.” Trump announced Saturday that U.S. suppliers will be allowed to sell components to Chinese telecom giant Huawei following talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping. In an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Kudlow said Trump’s move does not mean the administration no longer regards Huawei as a surveillance agency of the Chinese Communist Party. Still, U.S. stock futures jumped ahead of Monday’s open as investors reacted to the progress between the U.S. and China at the G20 Summit.

Fox News Exclusive: Friends of Utah student say suspected killer was ‘hunting for women’
In a Fox News exclusive interview, friends of the University of Utah student Mackenzie Lueck said Sunday they believe the suspect arrested in her disappearance and murder was “hunting for women.” Lueck, 23, disappeared after police said she met with the suspectidentified as 31-year-old Ayoola Ajayi, who was arrested and charged with aggravated murder Friday. The student met with Ajayi around 3 a.m. on June 17 near a park in Salt Lake City after she had been dropped off by a Lyft driver, according to police. “There’s a lot of people that say she deserved this because she put herself in this situation and we don’t officially know that,” Kennedy Stoner, a sorority sister and friend of Lueck’s, told Fox News in an exclusive interview on Sunday. Follow the latest developments on this story on FoxNews.com.

Many 2020 Dems on the chopping block
The Democratic Party’s crowded field of 2020 presidential candidates could quickly shrink as more than half of the contenders are in real danger of failing to meet tougher requirements to participate in the fall round of debates. Short on support and money and bound by tough party rules, once soaring politicians may soon be seen as also-rans. They include: Julian Castro, the former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama who is trying to capitalize on his strong debate performance last week; Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, one of her party’s most outspoken feminists; and Sen. Cory Booker, who first rose to stardom as the energetic mayor of Newark, N.J. Of the 20 candidates who qualified for the first round of debates in June and July, just six right now are sure to appear in the September-October round, when the Democratic National Committee requires participants to hit 2 percent in multiple polls and 130,000 individual donors. – Associated Press

TODAY’S MUST-READS
Sanders hits back at AOC after Ivanka Trump dig.
Kentucky farmers say federally-protected vultures are terrorizing livestock: report.
UFC president confirms talks to promote Justin Bieber, Tom Cruise match.

MINDING YOUR BUSINESS
At G20 summit in Japan, these were the five biggest moments you missed.
Billionaire Bernie Marcus to donate majority of fortune, support Trump for re-election.
‘Avengers: Endgame’ narrows gapto break highest-grossing film record following re-release.

Source

With Peace In North Korea And China Trade Deals, Don’t You Think It’s Time Trump Got A Nobel Peace Prize?

Fox News Exclusive: Trump tells Tucker Carlson he’s optimistic about trade deal with China, slams Big Tech bias
President Trump expressed optimism about a possible trade deal between his administration and Chinese President Xi Jinping,during an interview with Tucker Carlson set to air Monday night on Fox News. Trump had met with Xi during the G20 summit in Osaka and See More described the meeting as “excellent” before saying the two countries were “back on track.” “We had a very good meeting,” thepresident said. “He wants to make a deal. I want to make a deal. Very big deal, probably, I guess you’d say the largest deal ever made of any kind, not only trade.”

Trump sat down with Carlson during the president’s trip, which included stops in Osaka, Japan, for the G20 summit, and a first-of-its kind visit by a U.S. president to North Korea, meeting with dictator Kim Jong Un at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), which Carlson witnessed. During the interview, the president also ripped alleged biases from Big Tech, which includes Facebook, Google and Twitter, saying, ” They were totally against me. I won … They fought me very hard. I mean, I heard that and they’re fighting me hard right now.” 

TUNE IN: Don’t miss Tucker Carlson’s exclusive interview with President Trump tonight on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” at 8 p.m. ET

Trump and Kim agree to revive talks on nuke problem in historic visit, but what’s next?
President Trump made history this weekend by becoming first sitting U.S. president to set foot in North Korea when he took 20 steps into the Hermit Kingdom. The event in the Demilitarized Zone also included a roughly 50-minute meeting behind closed doors, the first face-to-face sit-down between the two since their failed summit in Hanoi in February. The two leaders have agreed to revive talks on North Korea’s nuclear program, with Trump saying “speed is not the object” and “we’re looking to get it right.”

The president’s critics, especially Democrats looking to run against him in 2020, are skeptical and have called the latest meeting between Trump and Kim another elaborate photo-op and accused the president of “coddling” dictators. Other critics have wondered whether Trump will ever reach an actual deal with Kim, noting that nothing of substance was achieved in their previous two meetings. Still, Harry J. Kazianis, director of Korean Studies at the Center for the National Interest,wonders whether Trump’s unconventional diplomatic approach to North Korea is worthy of a Nobel Prize. Stay tuned.

Kudlow: No ‘amnesty’ for Huawei
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Sunday tamped down expectations of a quick resolution of the U.S.-China trade dispute, adding that President Trump’s decision to let Chinese telecom giant Huawei buy some additional U.S. products is “not a general amnesty.” Trump announced Saturday that U.S. suppliers will be allowed to sell components to Chinese telecom giant Huawei following talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping. In an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Kudlow said Trump’s move does not mean the administration no longer regards Huawei as a surveillance agency of the Chinese Communist Party. Still, U.S. stock futures jumped ahead of Monday’s open as investors reacted to the progress between the U.S. and China at the G20 Summit.

Fox News Exclusive: Friends of Utah student say suspected killer was ‘hunting for women’
In a Fox News exclusive interview, friends of the University of Utah student Mackenzie Lueck said Sunday they believe the suspect arrested in her disappearance and murder was “hunting for women.” Lueck, 23, disappeared after police said she met with the suspectidentified as 31-year-old Ayoola Ajayi, who was arrested and charged with aggravated murder Friday. The student met with Ajayi around 3 a.m. on June 17 near a park in Salt Lake City after she had been dropped off by a Lyft driver, according to police. “There’s a lot of people that say she deserved this because she put herself in this situation and we don’t officially know that,” Kennedy Stoner, a sorority sister and friend of Lueck’s, told Fox News in an exclusive interview on Sunday. Follow the latest developments on this story on FoxNews.com.

Many 2020 Dems on the chopping block
The Democratic Party’s crowded field of 2020 presidential candidates could quickly shrink as more than half of the contenders are in real danger of failing to meet tougher requirements to participate in the fall round of debates. Short on support and money and bound by tough party rules, once soaring politicians may soon be seen as also-rans. They include: Julian Castro, the former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama who is trying to capitalize on his strong debate performance last week; Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, one of her party’s most outspoken feminists; and Sen. Cory Booker, who first rose to stardom as the energetic mayor of Newark, N.J. Of the 20 candidates who qualified for the first round of debates in June and July, just six right now are sure to appear in the September-October round, when the Democratic National Committee requires participants to hit 2 percent in multiple polls and 130,000 individual donors. – Associated Press

TODAY’S MUST-READS
Sanders hits back at AOC after Ivanka Trump dig.
Kentucky farmers say federally-protected vultures are terrorizing livestock: report.
UFC president confirms talks to promote Justin Bieber, Tom Cruise match.

MINDING YOUR BUSINESS
At G20 summit in Japan, these were the five biggest moments you missed.
Billionaire Bernie Marcus to donate majority of fortune, support Trump for re-election.
‘Avengers: Endgame’ narrows gapto break highest-grossing film record following re-release.

Source

With Peace In North Korea And China Trade Deals, Don’t You Think It’s Time Trump Got A Nobel Peace Prize?

Fox News Exclusive: Trump tells Tucker Carlson he’s optimistic about trade deal with China, slams Big Tech bias
President Trump expressed optimism about a possible trade deal between his administration and Chinese President Xi Jinping,during an interview with Tucker Carlson set to air Monday night on Fox News. Trump had met with Xi during the G20 summit in Osaka and See More described the meeting as “excellent” before saying the two countries were “back on track.” “We had a very good meeting,” thepresident said. “He wants to make a deal. I want to make a deal. Very big deal, probably, I guess you’d say the largest deal ever made of any kind, not only trade.”

Trump sat down with Carlson during the president’s trip, which included stops in Osaka, Japan, for the G20 summit, and a first-of-its kind visit by a U.S. president to North Korea, meeting with dictator Kim Jong Un at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), which Carlson witnessed. During the interview, the president also ripped alleged biases from Big Tech, which includes Facebook, Google and Twitter, saying, ” They were totally against me. I won … They fought me very hard. I mean, I heard that and they’re fighting me hard right now.” 

TUNE IN: Don’t miss Tucker Carlson’s exclusive interview with President Trump tonight on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” at 8 p.m. ET

Trump and Kim agree to revive talks on nuke problem in historic visit, but what’s next?
President Trump made history this weekend by becoming first sitting U.S. president to set foot in North Korea when he took 20 steps into the Hermit Kingdom. The event in the Demilitarized Zone also included a roughly 50-minute meeting behind closed doors, the first face-to-face sit-down between the two since their failed summit in Hanoi in February. The two leaders have agreed to revive talks on North Korea’s nuclear program, with Trump saying “speed is not the object” and “we’re looking to get it right.”

The president’s critics, especially Democrats looking to run against him in 2020, are skeptical and have called the latest meeting between Trump and Kim another elaborate photo-op and accused the president of “coddling” dictators. Other critics have wondered whether Trump will ever reach an actual deal with Kim, noting that nothing of substance was achieved in their previous two meetings. Still, Harry J. Kazianis, director of Korean Studies at the Center for the National Interest,wonders whether Trump’s unconventional diplomatic approach to North Korea is worthy of a Nobel Prize. Stay tuned.

Kudlow: No ‘amnesty’ for Huawei
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Sunday tamped down expectations of a quick resolution of the U.S.-China trade dispute, adding that President Trump’s decision to let Chinese telecom giant Huawei buy some additional U.S. products is “not a general amnesty.” Trump announced Saturday that U.S. suppliers will be allowed to sell components to Chinese telecom giant Huawei following talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping. In an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Kudlow said Trump’s move does not mean the administration no longer regards Huawei as a surveillance agency of the Chinese Communist Party. Still, U.S. stock futures jumped ahead of Monday’s open as investors reacted to the progress between the U.S. and China at the G20 Summit.

Fox News Exclusive: Friends of Utah student say suspected killer was ‘hunting for women’
In a Fox News exclusive interview, friends of the University of Utah student Mackenzie Lueck said Sunday they believe the suspect arrested in her disappearance and murder was “hunting for women.” Lueck, 23, disappeared after police said she met with the suspectidentified as 31-year-old Ayoola Ajayi, who was arrested and charged with aggravated murder Friday. The student met with Ajayi around 3 a.m. on June 17 near a park in Salt Lake City after she had been dropped off by a Lyft driver, according to police. “There’s a lot of people that say she deserved this because she put herself in this situation and we don’t officially know that,” Kennedy Stoner, a sorority sister and friend of Lueck’s, told Fox News in an exclusive interview on Sunday. Follow the latest developments on this story on FoxNews.com.

Many 2020 Dems on the chopping block
The Democratic Party’s crowded field of 2020 presidential candidates could quickly shrink as more than half of the contenders are in real danger of failing to meet tougher requirements to participate in the fall round of debates. Short on support and money and bound by tough party rules, once soaring politicians may soon be seen as also-rans. They include: Julian Castro, the former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama who is trying to capitalize on his strong debate performance last week; Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, one of her party’s most outspoken feminists; and Sen. Cory Booker, who first rose to stardom as the energetic mayor of Newark, N.J. Of the 20 candidates who qualified for the first round of debates in June and July, just six right now are sure to appear in the September-October round, when the Democratic National Committee requires participants to hit 2 percent in multiple polls and 130,000 individual donors. – Associated Press

TODAY’S MUST-READS
Sanders hits back at AOC after Ivanka Trump dig.
Kentucky farmers say federally-protected vultures are terrorizing livestock: report.
UFC president confirms talks to promote Justin Bieber, Tom Cruise match.

MINDING YOUR BUSINESS
At G20 summit in Japan, these were the five biggest moments you missed.
Billionaire Bernie Marcus to donate majority of fortune, support Trump for re-election.
‘Avengers: Endgame’ narrows gapto break highest-grossing film record following re-release.

Source

With Peace In North Korea And China Trade Deals, Don’t You Think It’s Time Trump Got A Nobel Peace Prize?

Fox News Exclusive: Trump tells Tucker Carlson he’s optimistic about trade deal with China, slams Big Tech bias
President Trump expressed optimism about a possible trade deal between his administration and Chinese President Xi Jinping,during an interview with Tucker Carlson set to air Monday night on Fox News. Trump had met with Xi during the G20 summit in Osaka and See More described the meeting as “excellent” before saying the two countries were “back on track.” “We had a very good meeting,” thepresident said. “He wants to make a deal. I want to make a deal. Very big deal, probably, I guess you’d say the largest deal ever made of any kind, not only trade.”

Trump sat down with Carlson during the president’s trip, which included stops in Osaka, Japan, for the G20 summit, and a first-of-its kind visit by a U.S. president to North Korea, meeting with dictator Kim Jong Un at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), which Carlson witnessed. During the interview, the president also ripped alleged biases from Big Tech, which includes Facebook, Google and Twitter, saying, ” They were totally against me. I won … They fought me very hard. I mean, I heard that and they’re fighting me hard right now.” 

TUNE IN: Don’t miss Tucker Carlson’s exclusive interview with President Trump tonight on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” at 8 p.m. ET

Trump and Kim agree to revive talks on nuke problem in historic visit, but what’s next?
President Trump made history this weekend by becoming first sitting U.S. president to set foot in North Korea when he took 20 steps into the Hermit Kingdom. The event in the Demilitarized Zone also included a roughly 50-minute meeting behind closed doors, the first face-to-face sit-down between the two since their failed summit in Hanoi in February. The two leaders have agreed to revive talks on North Korea’s nuclear program, with Trump saying “speed is not the object” and “we’re looking to get it right.”

The president’s critics, especially Democrats looking to run against him in 2020, are skeptical and have called the latest meeting between Trump and Kim another elaborate photo-op and accused the president of “coddling” dictators. Other critics have wondered whether Trump will ever reach an actual deal with Kim, noting that nothing of substance was achieved in their previous two meetings. Still, Harry J. Kazianis, director of Korean Studies at the Center for the National Interest,wonders whether Trump’s unconventional diplomatic approach to North Korea is worthy of a Nobel Prize. Stay tuned.

Kudlow: No ‘amnesty’ for Huawei
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Sunday tamped down expectations of a quick resolution of the U.S.-China trade dispute, adding that President Trump’s decision to let Chinese telecom giant Huawei buy some additional U.S. products is “not a general amnesty.” Trump announced Saturday that U.S. suppliers will be allowed to sell components to Chinese telecom giant Huawei following talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping. In an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Kudlow said Trump’s move does not mean the administration no longer regards Huawei as a surveillance agency of the Chinese Communist Party. Still, U.S. stock futures jumped ahead of Monday’s open as investors reacted to the progress between the U.S. and China at the G20 Summit.

Fox News Exclusive: Friends of Utah student say suspected killer was ‘hunting for women’
In a Fox News exclusive interview, friends of the University of Utah student Mackenzie Lueck said Sunday they believe the suspect arrested in her disappearance and murder was “hunting for women.” Lueck, 23, disappeared after police said she met with the suspectidentified as 31-year-old Ayoola Ajayi, who was arrested and charged with aggravated murder Friday. The student met with Ajayi around 3 a.m. on June 17 near a park in Salt Lake City after she had been dropped off by a Lyft driver, according to police. “There’s a lot of people that say she deserved this because she put herself in this situation and we don’t officially know that,” Kennedy Stoner, a sorority sister and friend of Lueck’s, told Fox News in an exclusive interview on Sunday. Follow the latest developments on this story on FoxNews.com.

Many 2020 Dems on the chopping block
The Democratic Party’s crowded field of 2020 presidential candidates could quickly shrink as more than half of the contenders are in real danger of failing to meet tougher requirements to participate in the fall round of debates. Short on support and money and bound by tough party rules, once soaring politicians may soon be seen as also-rans. They include: Julian Castro, the former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama who is trying to capitalize on his strong debate performance last week; Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, one of her party’s most outspoken feminists; and Sen. Cory Booker, who first rose to stardom as the energetic mayor of Newark, N.J. Of the 20 candidates who qualified for the first round of debates in June and July, just six right now are sure to appear in the September-October round, when the Democratic National Committee requires participants to hit 2 percent in multiple polls and 130,000 individual donors. – Associated Press

TODAY’S MUST-READS
Sanders hits back at AOC after Ivanka Trump dig.
Kentucky farmers say federally-protected vultures are terrorizing livestock: report.
UFC president confirms talks to promote Justin Bieber, Tom Cruise match.

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At G20 summit in Japan, these were the five biggest moments you missed.
Billionaire Bernie Marcus to donate majority of fortune, support Trump for re-election.
‘Avengers: Endgame’ narrows gapto break highest-grossing film record following re-release.

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2020 Dems take shots at Trump And They Are All Blank! Ready For A Reload?

2020 Dems take shots at Trump, clash over policy proposals during Round 1 

The first primary debate of the 2020 presidential election season saw cracks of daylight emerge in a Democratic field that has largely played to the progressive base,with the candidates clashing sharply over controversial policies like “Medicare-for-all” and calls to decriminalize illegal border crossings — while taking ample shots at See More President Trump in the process. Staking out the left flank of the party Wednesday night in Miami were Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. — the highest-polling candidate in the first debate batch — and long-shot Bill de Blasio, the New York City mayor. They were the only candidates to raise their hands when asked who’s willing to give up their private health insurance for a government option. Warren went on to staunchly defend 2020 rival Sen. Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare-for-all” plan.

Beto O’Rourke, the one-time media darling in the crowded Democratic field who has watched his poll numbers wilt in recent months, looked to regain much of his lost momentum on Wednesday night. While he was among a handful of candidates who gave some responses in Spanish, he repeatedly found himself on the receiving end of swipes from rivals, especially former Housing Secretary Julian Castro.

Among the candidates looking for breakout moments, Castro may have come the closest with his controversial call for the decriminalization of illegal border crossings, challenging his fellow presidential hopefuls to agree to repeal the section of the Immigration and Nationality Act that applies. He called out O’Rourke by name for not supporting his proposal, saying, “I think you should do your homework on this issue. If you did your homework on this issue you would know that we should repeal this section.” Discussing the heartbreaking photo that emerged this week of a migrant father and toddler daughter who drowned trying to cross the Rio Grande, Castro said it “should piss us all off.”

President Trump, who was on his way to Osaka, Japan, for the G-20 Summit, watched at least the first half-hour of Wednesday’s debate, tweeting a one-word verdict of the event: “BORING!” He later swiped at NBC News and MSNBC for technical difficulties that marred part of the telecast.

Despite their differences on major issues, the candidates – especially Warren — rallied to downplay economic successes and growth under the Trump administration. “It’s doing great for a thinner and thinner slice at the top,” Warren said of the economy.The Trump campaign and Republican National Committee rapid response team, though, sent email blasts and tweets “fact-checking” and defending the president’s economic record and the creation of “6 million jobs” since Election Day 2016.

Biden, Sanders to share the stage, more fireworks expected in Round 2

The second round of the first Democratic primary debate will take place in Miami on Thursday and will feature the current frontrunner, former Vice President Joe Biden, and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., on the same stage. The debate will also include these eight candidates: U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado; South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg;U.S. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Kamala Harris of California; Colo. Gov. John Hickenlooper; U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell of California; author Marianne Williamson; and businessman Andrew Yang

Ahead of G-20 Summit, Trump vows more tariffs on China if no deal is reached
Before leaving for the G-20 Summit, President Trump, in an exclusive interview with Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo on Wednesday, vowed to impose additional tariffs on China if a trade deal is not reached. “When tariffs go on in China, we are taking in billions and billions of dollars,” Trump said. “We never took in 10 cents — now you have another $325 billion that I haven’t taxed yet. It’s ripe for taxing — for putting tariffs on.” Trump is expected to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday to discuss trade between the world’s two largest economies. The result could have broad implications for the markets and the global economy.

Although it’s “possible” to reach a good deal, Trump said his “plan B” may include a 10 percent tariff on the remaining “$600 billion” worth of Chinese goods. Besides Xi, Trump’s agenda in Osaka includes sit-downs with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkey’s Recep Teyyip Erdogan, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Germany’s Angela Merkel and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Woman recalls falling ill in Dominican Republic, says doctor flagged possible poisoning

A Canadian woman who stayed at a Bahia Principe resort in the Dominican Republic in 2016alleges that she fell critically ill after being exposed to a strong chemical odor in her room, and that she has battled multiple health problems ever since. Tina Hammell told CNN that the smell in her room at the Grand Bahia Principe Punta Cana resort woke her and her husband from a nap. Hammell is one of several people who have come forward to tell reporters about having fallen ill — sometimes requiring hospitalization — while at a resort in the Dominican Republic. After she and her husband returnedhome to Ontario, doctors told her that she may have been poisoned by something in the Dominican Republic.

Possible new clue is search for missing Utah college student

Salt Lake City police reportedly served a search warrant Wednesday at a home connected to the disappearance of a missing Utah college student, reports said. Mackenzie Lueck, 23, was last seen June 17 near a Salt Lake City park after she was dropped off by a Lyft driver. The University of Utah student was returning from her grandmother’s funeral in California. Assistant Chief Tim Doubt said there is a “nexus” between the home and Lueck’s disappearance, but he did not say if anyone has been arrested, the Salt Lake Tribune reported. The Lyft driver, who was cleared as a suspect, told police he dropped off Lueck around 3 a.m. at Hatch Park, where another car was waiting for her.

TODAY’S MUST-READS

Sen. Lindsey Graham: Nancy Pelosi is ‘biggest loser’ now that Mueller will testify.
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Wayfair walkout: How furniture retailer can avoid ‘slippery slope’of political pressure.
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2020 Dems take shots at Trump And They Are All Blank! Ready For A Reload?

2020 Dems take shots at Trump, clash over policy proposals during Round 1 

The first primary debate of the 2020 presidential election season saw cracks of daylight emerge in a Democratic field that has largely played to the progressive base,with the candidates clashing sharply over controversial policies like “Medicare-for-all” and calls to decriminalize illegal border crossings — while taking ample shots at See More President Trump in the process. Staking out the left flank of the party Wednesday night in Miami were Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. — the highest-polling candidate in the first debate batch — and long-shot Bill de Blasio, the New York City mayor. They were the only candidates to raise their hands when asked who’s willing to give up their private health insurance for a government option. Warren went on to staunchly defend 2020 rival Sen. Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare-for-all” plan.

Beto O’Rourke, the one-time media darling in the crowded Democratic field who has watched his poll numbers wilt in recent months, looked to regain much of his lost momentum on Wednesday night. While he was among a handful of candidates who gave some responses in Spanish, he repeatedly found himself on the receiving end of swipes from rivals, especially former Housing Secretary Julian Castro.

Among the candidates looking for breakout moments, Castro may have come the closest with his controversial call for the decriminalization of illegal border crossings, challenging his fellow presidential hopefuls to agree to repeal the section of the Immigration and Nationality Act that applies. He called out O’Rourke by name for not supporting his proposal, saying, “I think you should do your homework on this issue. If you did your homework on this issue you would know that we should repeal this section.” Discussing the heartbreaking photo that emerged this week of a migrant father and toddler daughter who drowned trying to cross the Rio Grande, Castro said it “should piss us all off.”

President Trump, who was on his way to Osaka, Japan, for the G-20 Summit, watched at least the first half-hour of Wednesday’s debate, tweeting a one-word verdict of the event: “BORING!” He later swiped at NBC News and MSNBC for technical difficulties that marred part of the telecast.

Despite their differences on major issues, the candidates – especially Warren — rallied to downplay economic successes and growth under the Trump administration. “It’s doing great for a thinner and thinner slice at the top,” Warren said of the economy.The Trump campaign and Republican National Committee rapid response team, though, sent email blasts and tweets “fact-checking” and defending the president’s economic record and the creation of “6 million jobs” since Election Day 2016.

Biden, Sanders to share the stage, more fireworks expected in Round 2

The second round of the first Democratic primary debate will take place in Miami on Thursday and will feature the current frontrunner, former Vice President Joe Biden, and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., on the same stage. The debate will also include these eight candidates: U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado; South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg;U.S. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Kamala Harris of California; Colo. Gov. John Hickenlooper; U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell of California; author Marianne Williamson; and businessman Andrew Yang

Ahead of G-20 Summit, Trump vows more tariffs on China if no deal is reached
Before leaving for the G-20 Summit, President Trump, in an exclusive interview with Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo on Wednesday, vowed to impose additional tariffs on China if a trade deal is not reached. “When tariffs go on in China, we are taking in billions and billions of dollars,” Trump said. “We never took in 10 cents — now you have another $325 billion that I haven’t taxed yet. It’s ripe for taxing — for putting tariffs on.” Trump is expected to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday to discuss trade between the world’s two largest economies. The result could have broad implications for the markets and the global economy.

Although it’s “possible” to reach a good deal, Trump said his “plan B” may include a 10 percent tariff on the remaining “$600 billion” worth of Chinese goods. Besides Xi, Trump’s agenda in Osaka includes sit-downs with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkey’s Recep Teyyip Erdogan, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Germany’s Angela Merkel and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Woman recalls falling ill in Dominican Republic, says doctor flagged possible poisoning

A Canadian woman who stayed at a Bahia Principe resort in the Dominican Republic in 2016alleges that she fell critically ill after being exposed to a strong chemical odor in her room, and that she has battled multiple health problems ever since. Tina Hammell told CNN that the smell in her room at the Grand Bahia Principe Punta Cana resort woke her and her husband from a nap. Hammell is one of several people who have come forward to tell reporters about having fallen ill — sometimes requiring hospitalization — while at a resort in the Dominican Republic. After she and her husband returnedhome to Ontario, doctors told her that she may have been poisoned by something in the Dominican Republic.

Possible new clue is search for missing Utah college student

Salt Lake City police reportedly served a search warrant Wednesday at a home connected to the disappearance of a missing Utah college student, reports said. Mackenzie Lueck, 23, was last seen June 17 near a Salt Lake City park after she was dropped off by a Lyft driver. The University of Utah student was returning from her grandmother’s funeral in California. Assistant Chief Tim Doubt said there is a “nexus” between the home and Lueck’s disappearance, but he did not say if anyone has been arrested, the Salt Lake Tribune reported. The Lyft driver, who was cleared as a suspect, told police he dropped off Lueck around 3 a.m. at Hatch Park, where another car was waiting for her.

TODAY’S MUST-READS

Sen. Lindsey Graham: Nancy Pelosi is ‘biggest loser’ now that Mueller will testify.
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Lawmakers seek to rescind Medals of Honor from soldiers at Wounded Knee massacre.

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Wayfair walkout: How furniture retailer can avoid ‘slippery slope’of political pressure.
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A Theory On Just Why IRAN Decided To Foolishly Attack Us… What Do You Think?

Director of Defense Intelligence Agency gives theory behind Iran’s recent attacks
Iran’s recent attacks on tankers and the downing of a U.S. surveillance drone appear to be part of an effort to change “the status quo,” the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) told Fox News exclusively. “I’d say that they’re probably at an inflection point right now,” the director, See More Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley Jr., explained in his first national TV interview as the leader of the nearly 17-thousand strong agency. Director Ashley said, based on their activity over the last several years, the Iranians would probably say they were in a “favorable” position with their influence over the Iraqi government and the likelihood their longtime regional ally — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad — will remain in power. But, Director Ashley said the United States’ withdrawal from the Iran deal and subsequent sanctions made a major impact on the regime.

His comments come as President Trump has promised to impose new sanctions against Iran on Monday on top of what has already been a crippling campaign for the Islamic nation’s economy. In an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” he said he does not wish to go to war with Iran but warned an armed conflict would bring “obliteration like you’ve never seen before.” An Iranian military official warned Monday that Tehran is capable of shooting down more American spy drones. Tune in to “Special Report” on Fox News today at 6 p.m. ET to see Catherine Herridge’s exclusive interview with DIA Director  Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley Jr.

2020 Dems jockey for position before first debate
Days before the first Democratic primary presidential debate on Wednesday, it appears the various potential challengers to President Trump in 2020 are battling to set the tone and stand. Some critics may argue that some of the 2020 Dems are trying to out-radicalize each other. Sen. Bernie Sanders is set to announce on Monday a policy proposal that would eliminate all $1.6 trillion of American student debt, according to a report.

Some 2020 candidates may seek to regain some of the momentum they lost to upstart Pete Buttigieg. The South Bend, Ind. mayor faced criticism at a town hall on Sunday from residents angered over a white police officer’s fatal shooting of a black man on June 16. Meanwhile, former Vice President Joe Biden, the 2020 Democratic frontrunner plans to introduce his immigration policy as the debate over the border wall and how to deal with illegal immigration rages on in Washington.

Lawmakers doubtful about reaching solutions to asylum loophole problems
President Trump over the weekend delayed a planned mass roundup of illegal immigrants by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for two weeks, in the hope that a bipartisan solution to the “asylum and loophole problems at the southern border” can be reached. However, lawmakers have their doubts. Democrats reportedly would rather focus on a comprehensive immigration overhaul or measures to fund the asylum process at the border. Republicans, would rather focus on legislation limiting asylum options and on building Trump’s proposed border wall.

Utah student last seen getting a Lyft ride remains missing
A University of Utah student who disappeared after ordering a Lyft in Utah was still missing Sunday — nearly a week after she was last seen. Mackenzie Lueck, 23, was flying to Salt Lake City from Los Angeles after attending a funeral last weekend. The Salt Lake City Police Department said Lueck arrived at the airport on June 17 and ordered a Lyft ride-share to an address in North Salt Lake. Investigators said she was last seen “in the early morning hours of Monday.”

Aerialist Lijana Wallenda walks on a high wire above Times Square, Sunday, June 23, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason Szenes)

Flying Wallendas stop traffic at New York City’s Times Square
The Flying Wallendas conquered the Big Apple on Sunday night. Nik Wallenda, a seventh-generation acrobat, and his sister, Lijana Wallenda, coming back after a near-fatal accident in 2017, when she broke nearly every bone in her face, crossed Times Square in New York City on a high wire between skyscrapers, 25 stories above the pavement. “Thank you, Jesus, glory to you, Holy God,” Lijana said on air as she crossed on the wire. The siblings walked from opposite ends of the 1,300-foot wire suspended between the towers, crossing each other in the middle as she sat on the wire. They were listening to Christian Gospel music as they crossed, and they were wearing tethered safety harnesses mandated by the city in case they fell.

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What is #Trump going to do about IRAN? The world is watching..

The world awaits a ‘measured’ US response to Iran
After weeks of mounting tension and a war of words, both the United States and Iran have refrained so far from further escalating their conflict after aU.S. drone was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missileWednesday evening. According to multiple reports, the U.S. military made preparations for limited strikes on Iran but approval was withdrawn before the attacks See More were launched. The New York Timesreported that President Trump had approved the strikes, but then called them off.

Earlier Thursday, Trump told reporters that Iran made a “very big mistake” but also said he had the feeling that it might have been the result of someone being “loose and stupid,” rather than a deliberate provocation by Iran. Top administration officials and lawmakers had a classified briefing at the White House and suggested a “measured” U.S. response is likely coming soon. Fred Fleitz, who also served as chief of staff to current National Security Adviser John Bolton, told “Tucker Carlson Tonight” that thepresident has acted responsibly and with restraint but that the use of force against Iran “is on the table.”

US citizen death total in Dominican Republic rises to 11
The families of two U.S. citizens have told Fox News that the pair died suddenly while visiting the Dominican Republic. They were identified as Chris Palmer, a 41-year-old Army veteran from Kansas who died April 18, 2018, and Barbara Diane Maser-Mitchell, a 69-year-old retired nurse fromPennsylvania who died Sept. 17, 2016, after falling critically ill at a resort. The State Department confirmed their deaths to Fox News on Thursday.

The two would bring the total of U.S. citizens known to have died while visiting the Dominican Republic to 11. Most of those deaths that have become matters of public record occurred in 2018 and 2019. Maser-Mitchell’s death is the earliest one reported so far.

Bombshell testimony in Navy SEAL’s trial
Navy prosecutors are still pursuing murder charges against Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher even after bombshell testimony Thursday by a Navy colleague who confessed that he was the one to kill a teenage Islamic State fighter. Special Operator 1st Class Corey Scott, a SEAL Team Seven medic, testifying for the prosecution under an immunity agreement,told the court that he held the teen’s “thumb over his TT tube until he quit breathing,” admitting that he asphyxiated the captive, despite saying that he saw Gallagher stab the boy in his neck.

When cross-examined by the defense, Scott said he killed the fighter because he knew “he was going to die anyways.” “I wanted to save him from what was going to happen to him next,” Scott said, referring to alleged torture by Iraqi captors.

Scandal-ridden Roy Moore announces new Senate bid, despite opposition from Trump, conservatives
Roy Moore, the scandal-scarred Republican who lost a 2017 bid for the U.S. Senate in Alabama,announced Thursday he will run again for Senate next year, despite President Trump and other conservatives in Washington insisting he can’t win. “Yes, I will run for the United States Senate in 2020,” Moore said during a defiant announcement in Montgomery,after railing against the Republicans who have said they oppose his candidacy. “Can I win?” Moore said. “Yes, I can win. Not only can I, they know I can. That’s why there’s such opposition.”Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son, mocked Moore, specifically a report that Moore said he would improve on his previous run by engaging in “more personal contact with people.”

US women’s soccer team dominates Sweden
The United States is showing just how fiercely it is prepared to defend its Women’s World Cup title. The Americans faced their toughest test of the tournament on Thursday night and dominated in a 2-0 victory over Sweden, the rivals that stunned them at the2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil. The U.S. went undefeated in the group stage, posting wins against Thailand and Chile before beating the Swedes, all without conceding a goal. It is the first time the Americans have shut out all their group opponents in the World Cup. They’ve also scored a group-stage record 18 goals. – Associated Press

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Report: Bernie Sanders Records Campaign Announcement Video

Bernie Sanders has recorded a campaign video in which he says he’s running for president in 2020, Politico reports, citing two people familiar. It’s unclear when, or whether, the video will be released, Politico says.

Sanders, 77, an independent senator from Vermont who caucuses with Democrats, said earlier this week he would introduce a Medicare for All bill “fairly soon.” In the event of a campaign announcement, he would be joining a widening group of presidential hopefuls including Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, Senator Kamala Harris of California, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey

Sanders spokeswoman Sarah Ford didn’t respond to a request for comment from Politico. In January, Politico reported that the Sanders team was in talks with film-making company Means of Production, which created New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign video in the 2018 midterm election.

Source: NewsMax Politics

Pete King: NY Dems Must Stop Leftists After Amazon Loss

Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y., on Saturday urged Democratic leaders in New York to fight far-left members of the party who succeeded in forcing Amazon to pull out of a plan to bring thousands of jobs to Long Island City.

"Amazon's decision to leave Long Island City was a disaster for the entire New York-Long Island Metropolitan region and it was caused entirely by the radical progressive wing of the Democratic Party," King wrote in an email sent to constituents. "It is now absolutely necessary for New York Democrats to take a strong, unequivocal stand against these left wing progressives."

The Republican congressman noted he has long worked with members of both parties for the good of his state and the city, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, both of whom worked with Amazon to bring the headquarters to the city.

Freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was among the leaders of the movement to push Amazon out, citing, among other things, $3 billion in tax breaks offered by the state and local governments.

"Democratic political and governmental leaders must make it clear that radical progressives will not have a veto power over the economic future of New York and Long Island," King warned in his Saturday message. "Not only did Amazon’s decision cost New York tens of thousands of jobs and as much $100 billion in revenues, it sent a signal to the rest of the country that New York is not open for business. And this came at a time when business people and billions of tax dollars were already leaving New York.

"The undoing of their deal was brought about by radical progressives and elected Democrats," King said. "The irresponsible policies and agendas of these radical Democrats can no longer be ignored or romanticized. Too much is at stake. Too many working people are being hurt and their futures put at risk. Democratic leaders must step and speak out."

Source: NewsMax Politics

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

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

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.”

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

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

House Democrats attempt to block president’s National Emergency declaration

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 11:20 AM PT — Friday, February 15, 2019

Two Democrat representatives said they are co-sponsoring a bill to stop President Trump’s National Emergency declaration. The proposal by New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Texas congressman Joaqin Castro is an attempt to block the president’s move to secure additional border funding.

On Thursday, Castro called the declaration a “fake emergency,” saying he would be filing a joint-resolution under the National Emergency Act to terminate the declaration.

“There have been very critical comments that have been made by senators, including Republican senators, about the president’s ability and wisdom of declaring a National Emergency for this purpose,” he stated.

U.S. Rep. Joaquín Castro. 9Photo/TOM WILLIAMS/AP)

In a recent tweet, Ocasio-Cortez said she and Castro aren’t going to let the president declare an emergency without a fight.

The House would have to vote on the resolution before it headed to the Senate.

When the bill would be introduced is still unknown as Congress has already adjourned, and will be out next week for the President’s Day holiday.

Source: OANN Top News

House Democrats attempt to block president’s National Emergency declaration

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 11:20 AM PT — Friday, February 15, 2019

Two Democrat representatives said they are co-sponsoring a bill to stop President Trump’s National Emergency declaration. The proposal by New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Texas congressman Joaqin Castro is an attempt to block the president’s move to secure additional border funding.

On Thursday, Castro called the declaration a “fake emergency,” saying he would be filing a joint-resolution under the National Emergency Act to terminate the declaration.

“There have been very critical comments that have been made by senators, including Republican senators, about the president’s ability and wisdom of declaring a National Emergency for this purpose,” he stated.

U.S. Rep. Joaquín Castro. 9Photo/TOM WILLIAMS/AP)

In a recent tweet, Ocasio-Cortez said she and Castro aren’t going to let the president declare an emergency without a fight.

The House would have to vote on the resolution before it headed to the Senate.

When the bill would be introduced is still unknown as Congress has already adjourned, and will be out next week for the President’s Day holiday.

Source: OANN Top News

House Democrats attempt to block president’s National Emergency declaration

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 11:20 AM PT — Friday, February 15, 2019

Two Democrat representatives said they are co-sponsoring a bill to stop President Trump’s National Emergency declaration. The proposal by New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Texas congressman Joaqin Castro is an attempt to block the president’s move to secure additional border funding.

On Thursday, Castro called the declaration a “fake emergency,” saying he would be filing a joint-resolution under the National Emergency Act to terminate the declaration.

“There have been very critical comments that have been made by senators, including Republican senators, about the president’s ability and wisdom of declaring a National Emergency for this purpose,” he stated.

U.S. Rep. Joaquín Castro. 9Photo/TOM WILLIAMS/AP)

In a recent tweet, Ocasio-Cortez said she and Castro aren’t going to let the president declare an emergency without a fight.

The House would have to vote on the resolution before it headed to the Senate.

When the bill would be introduced is still unknown as Congress has already adjourned, and will be out next week for the President’s Day holiday.

Source: OANN Top News

Maduro alleges secret meetings with U.S. special envoy, invites him to Venezuela

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 6:31 AM PT — Friday, February 15, 2019

Embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is inviting a U.S. special envoy to the country, following alleged “secret talks” with the U.S.

During an interview Thursday, Maduro claimed US. Special Envoy Elliott Abrams privately met with Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza in two separate meetings. He went on to allege the U.S. threatened military action and severe sanctions during the talks, however, his claims have not been confirmed.

Maduro said he would gladly meet with Abrams, and even said he hopes to meet with President Trump in the near future to discuss America’s recognition of Juan Guiado as Venezuela’s leader.

“I can tell you that we have had two meetings already with Mr. Elliott Abrams in New York, our Chancellor has met twice with Elliott Abrams — the first meeting lasted two hours, the second three hours, a few days ago,” claimed Maduro. “I invited Elliott Abrams to come to Venezuela in private, in public, in secret or if he wants to meet, let him say when, how, where, and I will be there.”

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro speaks during an interview with The Associated Press at Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

The embattled Venezuelan president continued by reaffirming he would not step down from power despite increasing pressure from across the globe.

Meanwhile, opposition leader Juan Guaido has said humanitarian aid will enter the country despite Maduro’s efforts to block it. At a rally this week, Guaido”said he will organize relief so supplies can be brought into the country next week.

Truck loads full of food and medicine arrived last week, but Maduro has continued to resist foreign efforts to help the country’s people who are suffering from rising hunger. More than two million people have fled Venezuela over the past two years due to soaring hyperinflation and severe food and medical shortages.

“Because the humanitarian crisis, the humanitarian aid…it’s not a box, it’s not a blister. It is a mother in Anzoategui who lost her baby boy to dehydration. It is a grandfather who can’t get his medicine. It is a mother who doesn’t have anything to give her son for lunch, and we say enough already, enough already.”

— Juan Guaido, self-proclaimed interim President – Venezuela

Venezuelans living in Colombia protest the government of Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, and its blocking the entry of humanitarian aid in Cucuta, Colombia, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019, on the border with Venezuela. The sign reads in Spanish “Urgent. The entry of humanitarian help is needed now. There are Venezuelans at risk of dying.” (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

Source: OANN Top News

Trump Org Scraps Plans for 2 Hotel Chains, Blaming Politics

President Donald Trump's company is scrapping plans for two new hotel chains announced two years ago, casting blame in part on a hostile political environment.

The Trump Organization said Thursday that it will no longer try to open hotels under its Scion and American Idea brands catering to budget and mid-priced travelers, a departure from its focus on luxury hotels. The announcement comes as the company has posted losses at a few of its golf properties and brand experts say it has lost some of its appeal.

"We live in a climate where everything will be used against us, whether by the fake news or by Democrats who are only interested in presidential harassment and wasting everyone's time, barraging us with nonsense letters," the president's son, Eric Trump, said in an emailed statement. "We already have the greatest properties in the world and if we have to slow down our growth for the time being, we are happy to do it."

The rollout began with promises of fast success. The company said in March 2017 that nearly two dozen developers had already signed letters of intent to open mid-priced Scion hotels, and was enthusiastic about the future prospects.

"It's full steam ahead," said Eric Danziger, who oversees the hotel business for the family. "It's in our DNA."

But the avalanche of deals never materialized, as was the case for its budget-priced American Idea, which was launched a few months later at a party at the Trump Tower in New York.

The only developer willing to strike a deal was Chawla Hotels of Mississippi. It planned to open as many as four hotels in the state — but now that is off, too.

"In today's politically charged environment," hotel consultant Lee Hunter told The Associated Press recently, "everyone is cautious."

The company is also struggling with some self-imposed restraints on expanding its business.

When Trump became president, he handed day-to-day control of the company to Eric and his other adult son, Donald Jr. He also agreed his company would not pursue new deals abroad and that domestic deals would be vetted by a lawyer hired to make sure they posed no conflicts with Trump's presidency.

"We walked away from billions of dollars' worth of deals and ceased virtually all expansion," said Eric Trump in his statement. "We continue to make tremendous sacrifices and understand the bigger picture more than anyone — our father has the most important and powerful job in the world."

The Trump Organization did not dismiss the possibility that it could revive the new brands someday, perhaps when Trump leaves the presidency.

The end of the rollout follows bad news for the company in other areas.

Charities have canceled events at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, his Scottish clubs lose millions of dollars each year and several buildings have stripped the Trump names off their facades.

The Trump Organization owns or has licensed its name to 17 golf clubs and more than two dozen hotels and residential buildings around the world.

The Trump Organization has also drawn scrutiny in federal probes into Russian interference in the 2016 election and Michael Cohen's campaign finance violations. More recently, it is facing blowback from Democrats in Congress for firing long-time workers at several of its U.S. golf clubs for being in the country illegally, raising doubts about its hiring practices amid the president's vow to crack down on such workers and build a wall to keep more from coming in.

The company has said it had no choice but to fire workers once it discovered they were in the country illegally.

Source: NewsMax America

Trump Org Scraps Plans for 2 Hotel Chains, Blaming Politics

President Donald Trump's company is scrapping plans for two new hotel chains announced two years ago, casting blame in part on a hostile political environment.

The Trump Organization said Thursday that it will no longer try to open hotels under its Scion and American Idea brands catering to budget and mid-priced travelers, a departure from its focus on luxury hotels. The announcement comes as the company has posted losses at a few of its golf properties and brand experts say it has lost some of its appeal.

"We live in a climate where everything will be used against us, whether by the fake news or by Democrats who are only interested in presidential harassment and wasting everyone's time, barraging us with nonsense letters," the president's son, Eric Trump, said in an emailed statement. "We already have the greatest properties in the world and if we have to slow down our growth for the time being, we are happy to do it."

The rollout began with promises of fast success. The company said in March 2017 that nearly two dozen developers had already signed letters of intent to open mid-priced Scion hotels, and was enthusiastic about the future prospects.

"It's full steam ahead," said Eric Danziger, who oversees the hotel business for the family. "It's in our DNA."

But the avalanche of deals never materialized, as was the case for its budget-priced American Idea, which was launched a few months later at a party at the Trump Tower in New York.

The only developer willing to strike a deal was Chawla Hotels of Mississippi. It planned to open as many as four hotels in the state — but now that is off, too.

"In today's politically charged environment," hotel consultant Lee Hunter told The Associated Press recently, "everyone is cautious."

The company is also struggling with some self-imposed restraints on expanding its business.

When Trump became president, he handed day-to-day control of the company to Eric and his other adult son, Donald Jr. He also agreed his company would not pursue new deals abroad and that domestic deals would be vetted by a lawyer hired to make sure they posed no conflicts with Trump's presidency.

"We walked away from billions of dollars' worth of deals and ceased virtually all expansion," said Eric Trump in his statement. "We continue to make tremendous sacrifices and understand the bigger picture more than anyone — our father has the most important and powerful job in the world."

The Trump Organization did not dismiss the possibility that it could revive the new brands someday, perhaps when Trump leaves the presidency.

The end of the rollout follows bad news for the company in other areas.

Charities have canceled events at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, his Scottish clubs lose millions of dollars each year and several buildings have stripped the Trump names off their facades.

The Trump Organization owns or has licensed its name to 17 golf clubs and more than two dozen hotels and residential buildings around the world.

The Trump Organization has also drawn scrutiny in federal probes into Russian interference in the 2016 election and Michael Cohen's campaign finance violations. More recently, it is facing blowback from Democrats in Congress for firing long-time workers at several of its U.S. golf clubs for being in the country illegally, raising doubts about its hiring practices amid the president's vow to crack down on such workers and build a wall to keep more from coming in.

The company has said it had no choice but to fire workers once it discovered they were in the country illegally.

Source: NewsMax America

Blue 'Mexican Oxy' Pills Devastating US Southwest

Aaron Francisco Chavez swallowed at least one of the sky blue pills at a Halloween party before falling asleep forever. He became yet another victim killed by a flood of illicit fentanyl smuggled from Mexico into the Southwest — a profitable new business for drug gangs that has pushed the synthetic opioid to the top spot for fatal U.S. overdoses.

Three others at the party in Tucson also took the pills nicknamed "Mexican oxy" and police flagged down by partygoers saved them by administering naloxone overdose reversal medication. But the treatment came too late for Chavez, who died at age 19.

The four thought they were taking oxycodone, a much less powerful opioid, investigators believe. The death of Chavez and many others, officials said, illustrate how Arizona and other southwestern states bordering Mexico have become a hot spot in the nation's fentanyl crisis. Fentanyl deaths tripled in Arizona alone from 2015 through 2017.

"It's the worst I've seen in 30 years, this toll that it's taken on families," said Doug Coleman, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration special agent in charge of Arizona. "The crack (cocaine) crisis was not as bad."

With plenty of pills and powder sold locally out of the arriving fentanyl shipments that are also distributed around the U.S., the drug that has surpassed heroin for overdose deaths has touched all Arizona demographic groups. Chavez' family says he was working at a restaurant as a prep cook with dreams of becoming a chef and trying to turn his life around after serving prison time for a robbery conviction.

Also killed in the state over the last year by the pills that go for $9 to $30 each were a 17-year-old star high school baseball pitcher from a Phoenix suburb and a pair of 19-year-old best friends and prominent former high school athletes from the mountain town of Prescott Valley. The parents of one, Gunner Bundrick, said their son's death left "a hole in our hearts."

Popping the pills at parties "is a lot more widespread than we know," said Yavapai County Sheriff's Lt. Nate Auvenshine. "There's less stigma to taking a pill than putting a needle in your arm, but one of these pills can have enough fentanyl for three people."

Stamped with "M''on one side and "30" on the other to make them look like legitimate oxycodone, the pills started showing up in Arizona in recent years as the Sinaloa cartel's newest drug product, said Tucson Police Lt. Christian Wildblood.

The fentanyl that killed Chavez was among 1,000 pills sneaked across the border crossing last year in Nogales, Arizona by a woman who was paid $200 to tote them and gave two to Chavez at the party, according to court documents. It's unknown if he took one or both.

At the same crossing last month, U.S. officials announced their biggest fentanyl bust ever — nearly 254 pounds (115 kilograms) found in a truckload of cucumbers, enough to potentially kill millions. Valued at $3.5 million, most was in powder form and over 2 pounds (1 kilogram) was made up of pills.

The tablets in most cases are manufactured in primitive conditions with pill presses purchased online and the amount of fentanyl in each pill can vary widely, Wildblood said.

"There is no quality control," he said.

While Chinese shipments were long blamed for illegal fentanyl entering the U.S., Mexico's Army in November 2017 discovered a rustic fentanyl lab in a remote part of Sinaloa state and seized precursors, finished fentanyl and production equipment — suggesting some of it is now being synthesized across the U.S. border.

Most fentanyl smuggled from Mexico is about 10 percent pure and enters hidden in vehicles at official border crossings around Nogales and San Diego, Customs and Border Protection data show. A decreasing number of smaller shipments with purity of up to 90 percent still enter the U.S. in packages sent from China.

Although 85 percent of the fentanyl from Mexico is seized at San Diego area border crossings, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's 2018 National Drug Threat Assessment said seizures have surged at Arizona's border and elsewhere around the state.

DEA statistics show Arizona fentanyl seizures rose to 445 pounds (202 kilograms), including 379,557 pills, in the fiscal year ending in October 2018, up from 172 pounds (78 kilograms), including 54,984 pills, during the previous 12-month period.

The Sinaloa cartel's ability to ramp up its own production of fentanyl and label it oxycodone shows the group's business acumen and why it remains among the world's top criminal organizations, despite the conviction in New York this week of cartel kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera, Coleman said.

"If they see a market for their stuff, they'll make it and bring it up," he said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says fentanyl is now the drug involved in the most fatal overdoses in the U.S., with fatalities from synthetic opioids including fentanyl jumping more than 45 percent from 2016 to 2017, when they accounted for some 28,000 of about 70,000 overdose deaths of all kinds.

Fentanyl was also involved more than any other drug in the majority of overdose deaths in 2016, the year the pop artist Prince died after taking fake Vicodin laced with fentanyl. Heroin was responsible for the most drug overdose deaths each of the four years before that.

CDC figures for Arizona show the statewide deaths involving synthetic opioids excluding methadone, largely from fentanyl, rose from 72 in 2015 to 123 in 2016 and then skyrocketed to 267 in 2017.

In the first federal conviction of its kind in Arizona that linked a death to distribution of any drug, a woman from a Phoenix suburb last year got 12 years in prison for selling fentanyl tablets that killed a 38-year-old Arizona man.

And in Tucson, Chavez' relatives wonder why the woman accused of smuggling the pills across the border allegedly decided to hand them out at the party, saying they were Percocet, which contains oxycodone and acetaminophen, and "something else," according to court documents.

The woman, Jocelyn Sanchez, denied describing them that way and was charged with transporting and transferring narcotics. Her lawyer, Joel Chorny, declined to discuss the case.

Nicknamed "Sonny Boy, Chavez was the third of 10 children born to Leslie Chavez, who was brought to the U.S. as an infant and deported back to Mexico last year, two months before he died. In a phone interview, she said Mexican officials arranged to have her son's body brought across the border so she could say goodbye.

She said she had "heard about how these pills were killing people" but never thought it would happen to one of her children.

Chavez had a 2-year-old daughter and despite his robbery conviction "was trying to get his life together, he was trying to be good" for the toddler, said his sister, Seanna Leilani Chavez.

The dealers, she said, are only interested in profits.

"They will sell you poison, take your money, and not think twice about how they could possibly be killing someone's son, father, brother or grandson," she said.

Source: NewsMax America


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