WALL

How Many Times Do We Have To Warn Iran? Trump Says If He Is Forced To Do Something It’s Going To Be A Large Response.

After showing military restraint, Trump warns Iran in ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ interview
President Trump, after calling off a military strike on Iran following the downing of an American drone last month, delivered a stern warning to the regime during an interview with Fox News. Speaking exclusively with Tucker Carlson, Trump said he “built up a lot of See More great capital” after his decision — but said that means “if something should happen, we’re in a positionto do far worse by not doing it.” He quickly added, “But, hopefully, we don’t have to do anything.” The president’s comments on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” were made before it was reported on Monday that Iran has exceeded the threshold for the Islamic Republic’s low-enriched uranium stockpile agreed upon in the 2015 nuclear deal. But at a White House event on Monday, he said Iran was “playing with fire.”

During the “Tucker” interview, President Trump also shared his plans to combat rising homelessness and mental illness in America.

Cory Booker unveils plan to ‘virtually eliminate immigrant detention’
Sen. Cory Booker, trying to jolt his 2020 presidential campaign, is unveiling a comprehensive plan to “virtually eliminate immigrant detention” and expand protections for illegal immigrants through executive order — bypassing Congress entirely — “on day one of his presidency.” The aggressive proposal comes as polls consistently have shown Booker trailing many fellow Democrats in the White House race, including Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Although several of his rivals already have announced similar proposals and even endorsed decriminalizing border crossing entirely, Booker’s plan was unique in focusing on the immigrant detention facilities that have attracted national attention in recent weeks.

Booker’s plan comes as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is facing a lingering political backlash from liberal House Democrats over his role in the passage of a bipartisan border bill last week, which saw House Speaker Nancy Pelosi forced to back down from a push to include restrictions on immigration enforcement. It also comes amidoutrage over claims made by U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., that women at a southern border facility are being forced to drink “out of toilets.” U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officials have strongly denied AOC’s allegations.

Report: Nike dropped Betsy Ross-themed Fourth of July sneaker after Colin Kaepernick complained
Just don’t do it. That was the message ex-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick delivered to Nikeover the planned release of a USA-themed sneaker, which featured a Betsy Ross flag on the heel, according to a report. Nike nixed the released of the Air Max 1 USA after having already sent the sneakers to retailers because the protesting quarterback said he felt the use of the Betsy Ross flag was offensive and carried slavery connotations, sources told The Wall Street Journal.

Accused Navy SEAL’s fate in jury’s hands
Jurors will begin their first full day of deliberations in the court-martial of a decorated Navy SEAL accused of murdering a wounded ISIS war prisoner in Iraq. Jury deliberations started Monday following closing argumentswhere military prosecutors said Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher’s words and actions proved he murdered a member of the Islamic State terror network in May 2017. The defense argued the prosecution’s case had “huge gaping holes” and that Gallagher was a subject of “fixation” by military prosecutors. “They started with a conclusion … [and] … ignored everything that didn’t fit,” Timothy Parlatore told the jury of five Marines and two sailors during his closing argument.

Charlie Kirk launches GOTV campaign to enlist 1 million ‘Students for Trump’ in 2020
Conservative activist Charlie Kirk is launching a massive get-out-the-vote campaign Tuesday aimed at identifying and enlisting 1 million student supporters of President Trump ahead of the 2020 election. The “Students for Trump” campaign will look to target students on more than 300 campuses, in what Kirk describes as the biggest operation of its kind. “This is the most aggressivevoter identification GOTV program targeting students on college campuses for a Republican president ever,” Kirk told Fox News.

TUNE IN: Charlie Kirk will appear on “Fox & Friends” today at 6:30 a.m. ET

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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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Trump Emergency Declaration Faces Fights in the Courts

President Donald Trump declared a national emergency along the southern border and predicted his administration would end up defending it all the way to the Supreme Court.

That might have been the only thing Trump said Friday that produced near-universal agreement.

The American Civil Liberties Union announced its intention to sue less than an hour after the White House released the text of Trump's declaration that the "current situation at the southern border presents a border security and humanitarian crisis that threatens core national security interests and constitutes a national emergency."

Nonprofit watchdog group Public Citizen filed suit later, urging the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to "bar Trump and the U.S. Department of Defense from using the declaration and funds appropriated for other purposes to build a border wall."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and several Democratic state attorneys general already have said they might go to court.

The coming legal fight seems likely to hinge on two main issues: Can the president declare a national emergency to build a border wall in the face of Congress' refusal to give him all the money he wanted and, under the federal law Trump invoked in his declaration, can the Defense Department take money from some congressionally approved military construction projects to pay for wall construction?

The Pentagon has so far not said which projects might be affected.

But after weeks of publicly ruminating whether to act, Trump's signature on the declaration set in motion a quick march to the courthouse.

Trump relied on the National Emergencies Act of 1976, which Congress adopted as a way to put some limits on presidential use of national emergencies. The act requires a president to notify Congress publicly of the national emergency and to report every six months. The law also says the president must renew the emergency every year, simply by notifying Congress. The House and Senate also can revoke a declaration by majority vote, though it would take a two-thirds vote by each house to override an expected presidential veto.

Beyond that, though, the law doesn't say what constitutes a national emergency or impose any other limits on the president.

The broad grant of discretion to the president could make it hard to persuade courts to rule that Trump exceeded his authority in declaring a border emergency. "He's the one who gets to make the call. We can't second-guess it," said John Eastman, a professor of constitutional law at the Chapman University School of Law.

Courts often are reluctant to look beyond the justifications the president included in his proclamation, Ohio State University law professor Peter Shane said on a call organized by the liberal American Constitution Society.

But other legal experts said the facts are powerfully arrayed against the president. They include government statistics showing a decades-long decline in illegal border crossings as well as Trump's rejection of a deal last year that would have provided more than the nearly $1.4 billion he got for border security in the budget agreement he signed Thursday. Opponents of the declaration also are certain to use Trump's own words at his Rose Garden news conference Friday to argue that there is no emergency on the border.

"I could do the wall over a longer period of time," Trump said. "I didn't need to do this, but I'd rather do it much faster."

Republican Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan said Congress made a conscious choice not to give Trump what he wanted. "A prerequisite for declaring an emergency is that the situation requires immediate action and Congress does not have an opportunity to act," Amash said on Twitter.

ACLU executive director Anthony Romero said Trump's remarks are an admission that there is no national emergency. "He just grew impatient and frustrated with Congress," Romero said in a statement that also said the rights group would file a lawsuit next week.

Trying to turn the president's words against him failed in the challenge to Trump's ban on travel to the United States by citizens of several mostly Muslim countries. The ban's opponents argued that Trump's comments as a candidate and as president showed the ban was motivated by anti-Muslim bias, not concern about national security. Lower courts struck down the ban, but the Supreme Court upheld it in a 5-4 vote last year.

Trump said he expected to lose in lower courts that he claims have been unfair to him, particularly if lawsuits are filed in California. "Hopefully, we'll get a fair shake and we'll win in the Supreme Court, just like the ban," he said.

Beyond the challenge to Trump's authority to declare an emergency, lawsuits also are expected to focus on the military construction project law that allows the re-allocation of money in a national emergency.

Eastman said he doubts that the Supreme Court would try to interfere with Trump's decision to send the military to the border and then authorize the use of money from other Defense Department construction projects to build miles of a border wall. "The president is authorized to make those judgments, not some judge in San Francisco," Eastman said.

But the ACLU's suit will argue that Congress allowed for flexibility in using money it appropriated for projects needed to support the emergency use of the military forces, like overseas military airfields in wartime.

Several legal experts said claims that the building of the wall is not the kind of project contemplated in the military construction law could be more difficult to rebut because border security is more like a law enforcement issue than a military emergency.

But Shane, the Ohio State professor, said, "It's hard to know how exactly this is going to unfold politically or judicially."

Source: NewsMax Politics

Trump Emergency Declaration Faces Fights in the Courts

President Donald Trump declared a national emergency along the southern border and predicted his administration would end up defending it all the way to the Supreme Court.

That might have been the only thing Trump said Friday that produced near-universal agreement.

The American Civil Liberties Union announced its intention to sue less than an hour after the White House released the text of Trump's declaration that the "current situation at the southern border presents a border security and humanitarian crisis that threatens core national security interests and constitutes a national emergency."

Nonprofit watchdog group Public Citizen filed suit later, urging the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to "bar Trump and the U.S. Department of Defense from using the declaration and funds appropriated for other purposes to build a border wall."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and several Democratic state attorneys general already have said they might go to court.

The coming legal fight seems likely to hinge on two main issues: Can the president declare a national emergency to build a border wall in the face of Congress' refusal to give him all the money he wanted and, under the federal law Trump invoked in his declaration, can the Defense Department take money from some congressionally approved military construction projects to pay for wall construction?

The Pentagon has so far not said which projects might be affected.

But after weeks of publicly ruminating whether to act, Trump's signature on the declaration set in motion a quick march to the courthouse.

Trump relied on the National Emergencies Act of 1976, which Congress adopted as a way to put some limits on presidential use of national emergencies. The act requires a president to notify Congress publicly of the national emergency and to report every six months. The law also says the president must renew the emergency every year, simply by notifying Congress. The House and Senate also can revoke a declaration by majority vote, though it would take a two-thirds vote by each house to override an expected presidential veto.

Beyond that, though, the law doesn't say what constitutes a national emergency or impose any other limits on the president.

The broad grant of discretion to the president could make it hard to persuade courts to rule that Trump exceeded his authority in declaring a border emergency. "He's the one who gets to make the call. We can't second-guess it," said John Eastman, a professor of constitutional law at the Chapman University School of Law.

Courts often are reluctant to look beyond the justifications the president included in his proclamation, Ohio State University law professor Peter Shane said on a call organized by the liberal American Constitution Society.

But other legal experts said the facts are powerfully arrayed against the president. They include government statistics showing a decades-long decline in illegal border crossings as well as Trump's rejection of a deal last year that would have provided more than the nearly $1.4 billion he got for border security in the budget agreement he signed Thursday. Opponents of the declaration also are certain to use Trump's own words at his Rose Garden news conference Friday to argue that there is no emergency on the border.

"I could do the wall over a longer period of time," Trump said. "I didn't need to do this, but I'd rather do it much faster."

Republican Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan said Congress made a conscious choice not to give Trump what he wanted. "A prerequisite for declaring an emergency is that the situation requires immediate action and Congress does not have an opportunity to act," Amash said on Twitter.

ACLU executive director Anthony Romero said Trump's remarks are an admission that there is no national emergency. "He just grew impatient and frustrated with Congress," Romero said in a statement that also said the rights group would file a lawsuit next week.

Trying to turn the president's words against him failed in the challenge to Trump's ban on travel to the United States by citizens of several mostly Muslim countries. The ban's opponents argued that Trump's comments as a candidate and as president showed the ban was motivated by anti-Muslim bias, not concern about national security. Lower courts struck down the ban, but the Supreme Court upheld it in a 5-4 vote last year.

Trump said he expected to lose in lower courts that he claims have been unfair to him, particularly if lawsuits are filed in California. "Hopefully, we'll get a fair shake and we'll win in the Supreme Court, just like the ban," he said.

Beyond the challenge to Trump's authority to declare an emergency, lawsuits also are expected to focus on the military construction project law that allows the re-allocation of money in a national emergency.

Eastman said he doubts that the Supreme Court would try to interfere with Trump's decision to send the military to the border and then authorize the use of money from other Defense Department construction projects to build miles of a border wall. "The president is authorized to make those judgments, not some judge in San Francisco," Eastman said.

But the ACLU's suit will argue that Congress allowed for flexibility in using money it appropriated for projects needed to support the emergency use of the military forces, like overseas military airfields in wartime.

Several legal experts said claims that the building of the wall is not the kind of project contemplated in the military construction law could be more difficult to rebut because border security is more like a law enforcement issue than a military emergency.

But Shane, the Ohio State professor, said, "It's hard to know how exactly this is going to unfold politically or judicially."

Source: NewsMax Politics

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

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

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

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

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE FULL SHOW

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Fox News Politics

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.

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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

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

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

The amnesty claim was made by lawmakers and conservative commentators.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Fox News Politics

Trump Declares Emergency for Border Wall, First Lawsuit Filed

President Donald Trump on Friday declared a national emergency in a bid to fund his promised wall at the U.S.-Mexico border without congressional approval, an action Democrats vowed to challenge as a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

The Republican president's move to circumvent Congress represented an escalation in his efforts to make good on a 2016 presidential campaign pledge to build a wall to halt the flow into the country of illegal immigrants, who Trump says bring crime and drugs.

Three Texas landowners and an environmental group filed the first lawsuit on Friday challenging the declaration aimed at freeing up billions of dollars to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen said.

The lawsuit, brought in federal court in the District of Columbia, claims the south Texas landowners were told by the U.S. government that it would seek to build a border wall on their properties if money for the project were available in 2019, Public Citizen said in a statement.

Earlier in the day, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives' Judiciary Committee said it had launched an investigation into the emergency declaration.

In a letter to Trump, committee Democrats asked him to make available for a hearing White House and Justice Department officials involved in the action. They also requested legal documents on the decision that led to the declaration, setting a deadline of next Friday.

"We believe your declaration of an emergency shows a reckless disregard for the separation of powers and your own responsibilities under our constitutional system," said the letter signed by Chairman Jerrold Nadler and other top Democrats on the panel.

Trump on Friday also signed a bipartisan government spending bill that would prevent another partial government shutdown by funding several agencies that otherwise would have closed on Saturday.

The funding bill represented a legislative defeat for him since it contains no money for his proposed wall – the focus of weeks of conflict between him and Democrats in Congress.

Trump made no mention of the bill in comments to reporters in the White House's Rose Garden.

He had demanded that Congress provide him with $5.7 billion in wall funding as part of legislation to fund the agencies. That triggered a historic, 35-day December-January government shutdown that hurt the U.S. economy and his opinion poll numbers.

By reorienting his quest for wall funding toward a legally uncertain strategy based on declaring a national emergency, Trump risks plunging into a lengthy legislative and legal battle with Democrats and dividing his fellow Republicans – many of whom expressed grave reservations on Friday about the president's action.

Fifteen Democrats in the Republican-controlled Senate introduced legislation on Thursday to prevent Trump from invoking emergency powers to transfer funds to his wall from accounts Congress has already committed to other projects.

'EXCLUSIVE POWER'

Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the House, and top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer swiftly responded to Trump's declaration.

"The president's actions clearly violate the Congress’s exclusive power of the purse, which our Founders enshrined in the Constitution," they said in a statement. "The Congress will defend our constitutional authorities in the Congress, in the courts, and in the public, using every remedy available.”

New York state's attorney general, Letitia James, said her office would also challenge Trump in court. California's governor, Gavin Newsom, also pledged to file suit.

"We won't stand for this abuse of power & will fight back with every legal tool at our disposal," James wrote on Twitter.

The president acknowledged his order would face a lengthy court fight.

"I expect to be sued. I shouldn't be sued … We'll win in the Supreme Court," Trump predicted.

Trump may have also undermined his administration's argument about the urgency of the situation when he told reporters, "I didn't need to do this. But I'd rather do it much faster."

In their letter to Trump, House Judiciary Democrats said that language had left them "troubled."

Both the House and the Senate could pass a resolution terminating the emergency by majority vote. However, that measure would then go to Trump, who would likely veto it. Overriding the veto would require a two-thirds vote in both chambers.

Trump says a wall is needed to curb illegal immigrants and illicit drugs coming across the border. But statistics show illegal immigration via the border is at a 20-year low and that many drug shipments come through legal ports of entry.

Confronted with those statistics by reporters at the Rose Garden event, Trump said they were "wrong."

Also present were a half-dozen women holding poster-sized pictures of family members killed by illegal immigrants. Trump noted their presence in announcing the emergency declaration.

He estimated his emergency declaration could free up as much as $8 billion to pay for part of the wall. Estimates of its total cost run as high as $23 billion.

As a candidate, Trump repeatedly promised Mexico would pay for the wall. It was one of his biggest applause lines at his campaign rallies. Mexico firmly refused to pay, and now Trump wants U.S. taxpayers to cover the costs.

REPUBLICANS CONCERNED

Some congressional Republicans expressed dismay following Trump's announcement.

Greg Walden, a senior House Republican, said on Twitter he was "deeply concerned about the precedent that this action sets."

Republican Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina said in a statement that Trump' declaration was not a solution.

"It wouldn't provide enough funding to adequately secure our borders, it would likely get tied up in litigation, and most concerning is that it would create a new precedent that a left-wing president would undoubtedly utilize to implement their radical policy agenda while bypassing the authority of Congress," Tillis said.

Other Republicans, such as Senator Lindsey Graham, were supportive.

With an emergency formally declared, Trump left Washington to travel to his Mar-a-Lago golf resort in Florida for a holiday break.

Source: NewsMax Politics

Trump Declares Emergency for Border Wall, First Lawsuit Filed

President Donald Trump on Friday declared a national emergency in a bid to fund his promised wall at the U.S.-Mexico border without congressional approval, an action Democrats vowed to challenge as a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

The Republican president's move to circumvent Congress represented an escalation in his efforts to make good on a 2016 presidential campaign pledge to build a wall to halt the flow into the country of illegal immigrants, who Trump says bring crime and drugs.

Three Texas landowners and an environmental group filed the first lawsuit on Friday challenging the declaration aimed at freeing up billions of dollars to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen said.

The lawsuit, brought in federal court in the District of Columbia, claims the south Texas landowners were told by the U.S. government that it would seek to build a border wall on their properties if money for the project were available in 2019, Public Citizen said in a statement.

Earlier in the day, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives' Judiciary Committee said it had launched an investigation into the emergency declaration.

In a letter to Trump, committee Democrats asked him to make available for a hearing White House and Justice Department officials involved in the action. They also requested legal documents on the decision that led to the declaration, setting a deadline of next Friday.

"We believe your declaration of an emergency shows a reckless disregard for the separation of powers and your own responsibilities under our constitutional system," said the letter signed by Chairman Jerrold Nadler and other top Democrats on the panel.

Trump on Friday also signed a bipartisan government spending bill that would prevent another partial government shutdown by funding several agencies that otherwise would have closed on Saturday.

The funding bill represented a legislative defeat for him since it contains no money for his proposed wall – the focus of weeks of conflict between him and Democrats in Congress.

Trump made no mention of the bill in comments to reporters in the White House's Rose Garden.

He had demanded that Congress provide him with $5.7 billion in wall funding as part of legislation to fund the agencies. That triggered a historic, 35-day December-January government shutdown that hurt the U.S. economy and his opinion poll numbers.

By reorienting his quest for wall funding toward a legally uncertain strategy based on declaring a national emergency, Trump risks plunging into a lengthy legislative and legal battle with Democrats and dividing his fellow Republicans – many of whom expressed grave reservations on Friday about the president's action.

Fifteen Democrats in the Republican-controlled Senate introduced legislation on Thursday to prevent Trump from invoking emergency powers to transfer funds to his wall from accounts Congress has already committed to other projects.

'EXCLUSIVE POWER'

Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the House, and top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer swiftly responded to Trump's declaration.

"The president's actions clearly violate the Congress’s exclusive power of the purse, which our Founders enshrined in the Constitution," they said in a statement. "The Congress will defend our constitutional authorities in the Congress, in the courts, and in the public, using every remedy available.”

New York state's attorney general, Letitia James, said her office would also challenge Trump in court. California's governor, Gavin Newsom, also pledged to file suit.

"We won't stand for this abuse of power & will fight back with every legal tool at our disposal," James wrote on Twitter.

The president acknowledged his order would face a lengthy court fight.

"I expect to be sued. I shouldn't be sued … We'll win in the Supreme Court," Trump predicted.

Trump may have also undermined his administration's argument about the urgency of the situation when he told reporters, "I didn't need to do this. But I'd rather do it much faster."

In their letter to Trump, House Judiciary Democrats said that language had left them "troubled."

Both the House and the Senate could pass a resolution terminating the emergency by majority vote. However, that measure would then go to Trump, who would likely veto it. Overriding the veto would require a two-thirds vote in both chambers.

Trump says a wall is needed to curb illegal immigrants and illicit drugs coming across the border. But statistics show illegal immigration via the border is at a 20-year low and that many drug shipments come through legal ports of entry.

Confronted with those statistics by reporters at the Rose Garden event, Trump said they were "wrong."

Also present were a half-dozen women holding poster-sized pictures of family members killed by illegal immigrants. Trump noted their presence in announcing the emergency declaration.

He estimated his emergency declaration could free up as much as $8 billion to pay for part of the wall. Estimates of its total cost run as high as $23 billion.

As a candidate, Trump repeatedly promised Mexico would pay for the wall. It was one of his biggest applause lines at his campaign rallies. Mexico firmly refused to pay, and now Trump wants U.S. taxpayers to cover the costs.

REPUBLICANS CONCERNED

Some congressional Republicans expressed dismay following Trump's announcement.

Greg Walden, a senior House Republican, said on Twitter he was "deeply concerned about the precedent that this action sets."

Republican Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina said in a statement that Trump' declaration was not a solution.

"It wouldn't provide enough funding to adequately secure our borders, it would likely get tied up in litigation, and most concerning is that it would create a new precedent that a left-wing president would undoubtedly utilize to implement their radical policy agenda while bypassing the authority of Congress," Tillis said.

Other Republicans, such as Senator Lindsey Graham, were supportive.

With an emergency formally declared, Trump left Washington to travel to his Mar-a-Lago golf resort in Florida for a holiday break.

Source: NewsMax Politics

House Panel Announces Probe of Trump's Emergency Declaration

A key committee in the U.S. House of Representatives announced on Friday it was launching an immediate investigation into President Donald Trump's national emergency declaration, saying his move to fund his promised wall at the U.S.-Mexico border raised constitutional and statutory issues.

In a letter to Trump, Democrats who control the House Judiciary Committee asked the Republican president to make available for a hearing White House and Justice Department officials involved in the action. They also requested legal documents on the decision that led to the declaration, setting a deadline of next Friday.

"We believe your declaration of an emergency shows a reckless disregard for the separation of powers and your own responsibilities under our constitutional system," said the letter signed by committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler and other top Democrats on the panel. (Reporting by David Morgan; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

Source: NewsMax Politics

House Panel Announces Probe of Trump's Emergency Declaration

A key committee in the U.S. House of Representatives announced on Friday it was launching an immediate investigation into President Donald Trump's national emergency declaration, saying his move to fund his promised wall at the U.S.-Mexico border raised constitutional and statutory issues.

In a letter to Trump, Democrats who control the House Judiciary Committee asked the Republican president to make available for a hearing White House and Justice Department officials involved in the action. They also requested legal documents on the decision that led to the declaration, setting a deadline of next Friday.

"We believe your declaration of an emergency shows a reckless disregard for the separation of powers and your own responsibilities under our constitutional system," said the letter signed by committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler and other top Democrats on the panel. (Reporting by David Morgan; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

Source: NewsMax Politics

National Emergencies not unprecedented

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 1:32 PM PT — Friday, February 15, 2019

The first declaration under the National Emergencies Act of 1974 came during the Iran hostage crisis, which is a national emergency that is still active today. Former President Jimmy Carter blocked Iranian government property from entering the country, a move which has been renewed each year by all presidents since then.

“The steps I’ve taken today are those that are necessary now, other action may become necessary if these steps don’t produce the prompt release of the hostages,” President Carter stated the day he declared it.

President Trump has already issued three national emergency declarations during his tenure. The most prominent one is meant to punish foreign actors who interfere in U.S. elections. He’s also invoked his emergency powers to slap sanctions of human rights abusers around the world as well as on members of the Nicaraguan government amid corruption charges.

In his eight years office, former President Barack Obama declared 12 states of national emergency. These declarations touched on subjects from the H1N1 virus and blocking property transfers to people with connections to certain countries. Nearly all of his national emergencies are still active today.

Before that, former President George W. Bush declared 13 emergencies and former President Clinton declared 17 national emergencies, most of which are still active today.

President Donald Trump speaks during an event in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, to declare a national emergency in order to build a wall along the southern border. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

In President Trump’s case, there’s two statutes that come to mind which allow the redirection of military construction funds. Questions remain as to whether building a border wall is actually a military construction project or whether the president can declare eminent domain over private property. However, even Democrat lawmakers have said he does, indeed, have the power to do so.

“Well unfortunately, the short answer is yeah, there is a provision in law that says the president can declare an emergency, its been done a number of times, but primarily its been done to build facilities in Afghanistan and Iraq,” stated Representative Adam Smith.

The problem for Democrats is many legal scholars aren’t sure who, if anyone, would have the legal standing to challenge such a declaration with a lawsuit.

Source: OANN Top News

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

President Trump declares a National Emergency at the southern border because of “invasion”

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 8:56 AM PT — Friday, February 15, 2019

President Trump said the U.S. is confronting a crisis at home, while declaring a national emergency over the issues at the border.

During a speech at the White House Friday, the president said the U.S. must handle what he described as the national security crisis at our southern border. He said he isn’t taking the action to fulfill a campaign promise, but rather because the country needs it.

The president said there’s an invasion of drugs, gangs and people coming into our country, and by signing the national emergency he is doing his part to try and stop it.

President Donald Trump speaks during an event in the Rose Garden at the White House to declare a national emergency in order to build a wall along the southern border, Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

“We’re talking about an invasion of our country, with drugs, with human traffickers, with all types of criminals and gangs,” explained President Trump.

Democrat leadership responded to the declaration by calling it unlawful. The president indicated it’ll likely get challenged in court, but he said he’s dealt with that before.

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

Even Romney Who is a #NeverTrumper backs Trump on the #Shutdown Agreeing with Trump’s stance on the partial government closure, Romney backed Trump’s call for a wall on the southern boundary and also states he doesn’t comprehend the Democrats’ placing on the problem. ” You (Pelosi) and also your fellow Democrats have voted for over […]

President Trump on Thursday denied armed forces aircraft to Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi for an international trip just mins before the legislative delegation was readied to leave. Dear Madame Speaker, Due to the Shutdown, I am sorry to inform you that your trip to Brussels, Egypt and Afghanistan has been postponed. We will reschedule this […]

Don’t Worry Civil Servants: Those On Shutdown NOT working Consider it a Long Paid Vacation, Those of you working with No Pay Now: SUCKS to be YOU President Trump has actually authorized the process to assure that furloughed government employees  or those required to function without pay throughout the partial federal government closure get back […]

Trump: We need to protect the border, we need to stop drugs from coming across the border Jan. 03, 2019 – 8:04 – President Trump, border patrol experts address the press in the White House briefing room. Watch the latest video at foxnews.com I want a wall on our southern border and so does the […]


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