American Samoans should be recognized as US citizens, federal judge decides

closeFox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 12Video

Fox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 12

Fox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 12 are here. Check out what's clicking on

People born in the U.S. territory of American Samoa should be recognized as U.S. citizens, a federal judge in Utah ruled Thursday, in a hard-fought legal battle spanning decades.

U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups also ruled that American Samoans should be issued new passports reflecting his ruling. The disclaimer on their passports currently reads: "The bearer is a United States national and not a United States citizen."

"This court is not imposing 'citizenship by judicial fiat,'" Waddoups said in his decision. "The action is required by the mandate of the Fourteenth Amendment as construed and applied by Supreme Court precedent."

American citizens are defined as people "born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside."

In this undated file image provided by nonprofit advocacy and legal group Equally American, John Fitisemanu, an American Samoan and the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against the United States seeking full U.S. citizenship. People born in the territory of American Samoa should be recognized as U.S. citizens, a federal judge in Utah decided Thursday in a case filed amid more than a century of legal limbo but whose eventual impact remains to be seen. (Katrina Keil Youd/Equally American via AP)

In this undated file image provided by nonprofit advocacy and legal group Equally American, John Fitisemanu, an American Samoan and the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against the United States seeking full U.S. citizenship. People born in the territory of American Samoa should be recognized as U.S. citizens, a federal judge in Utah decided Thursday in a case filed amid more than a century of legal limbo but whose eventual impact remains to be seen. (Katrina Keil Youd/Equally American via AP)

American Samoa became a U.S. territory in 1900, but those born there are only recognized as U.S. nationals, preventing them from being able to vote, run for public office or sponsor family members for immigration to the U.S.

Its status separates itself from other U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Marianas and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In 2016, the Supreme Court declined to hear a case from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that ruled the Constitution doesn't confer citizenship to those born in American Samoa.

The lawsuit was brought last year by three people — John Fitisemanu, Pale Tuli and Rosavita Tuli — who were born on the cluster of islands southeast of Hawaii and currently reside in Utah. They claimed they faced restrictions from traveling abroad and were subject to fees that don't apply to American citizens.

It was not clear if Thursday's ruling applies outside of Utah. The Justice Department and State Department didn't immediately return Fox News requests for comment.

“The takeaway from the ruling is that people born in American Samoa living in Utah are now U.S. citizens, and they have all the same rights as other Americans, including the right to vote,” said Neil Weare, president of Equally American and one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs. “These individuals can now go and register to vote and participate in state, federal and local elections.”

Camel Rock near the village of Lauli'i in Pago Pago, American Samoa. A federal judge in Utah ruled Thursday that people born in American Samoa should be granted birthright citizenship.

Camel Rock near the village of Lauli'i in Pago Pago, American Samoa. A federal judge in Utah ruled Thursday that people born in American Samoa should be granted birthright citizenship.

American Samoans can apply for U.S. citizenship but have to pay the $725 application fee, in addition to any legal fees they incur to help them navigate the process.

Fitisemanu said his employment prospects have been diminished because of his rejection from jobs that specify U.S. citizenship as a requirement. In an interview with The Associated Press last year, he said he avoided political conversations because he couldn't vote.


After the ruling, Fitisemanu said he plans to register to vote. The American Samoan government claims automatic U.S. citizenship would undermine local traditions and practices.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

Trump administration sanctions Nicaraguan president’s son for alleged corruption, money laundering

closeFox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 12Video

Fox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 12

Fox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 12 are here. Check out what's clicking on

The son of Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega faced financial sanctions from the White House on Thursday, after the Trump administration reprimanded him for alleged corruption and money laundering.

Rafael Ortega incurred the wrath of the U.S. government officials after committing human rights violations and acts of financial deception, according to a statement from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

"This new action furthers the United States’ unwavering commitment to use all economic and diplomatic tools to hold the government of Daniel Ortega accountable for acts of corruption and unconscionable human rights violations, and to support the Nicaraguan people’s struggle for a return to democracy," Pompeo said in a statement.

Pompeo cited an executive order from President Trump as the foundation for freezing Rafael Ortega's assets and accused him of working in secret to launder ill-gotten gains through seemingly legitimate enterprises.

"Rafael Ortega is a key money manager for the Ortega family, working alongside the previously sanctioned Vice President of Nicaragua and First Lady Rosario Murillo," Pompeo continued.


"Rafael Ortega uses at least two companies under his control, Inversiones Zanzibar, S.A and Servicio De Proteccion Y Vigilancia, S.A., to generate profits, launder money, and gain preferential access to markets for the Ortega regime. He uses Inversiones Zanzibar to obscure the transfer of profits from Distribuidor Nicaraguense de Petroleo, also designated today, and as a front company to procure fuel stations in an attempt to obscure DNP’s ownership of such fuel stations," he said.

The State Department also alleged that Ortega granted non-competitive government contracts to his cronies in an effort to reward political allies and stifle healthy competition.

"The United States urges the Ortega regime to resume dialogue with the opposition and restore democracy in the country, thereby fulfilling its obligations under the Inter-American Democratic Charter," Pompeo said.

"Nicaragua’s painful political crisis can only be resolved through free and fair elections that credibly reflect the will of the Nicaraguan people and with full respect for their human rights and fundamental freedoms," he added.


In July 2018, Daniel Ortega rejected calls for an early election in response to the country's political unrest. His tenure has been rocked by protests and accusations of dictatorial corruption. His current term is up in 2021.

Original Article

Rep. Veronica Escobar accuses GOP of being ‘enablers’ of Trump at this ‘dark moment in American history’

closeRep. Veronica Escobar slams GOP 'enablers' of Trump at this 'dark moment in American history'Video

Rep. Veronica Escobar slams GOP 'enablers' of Trump at this 'dark moment in American history'

Rep. Veronica Escobar slams GOP 'enablers' of Trump at this 'dark moment in American history'

House Judiciary Committee member Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, claimed Thursday that some Republicans are "enabling" President Trump to obstruct Congress' impeachment inquiry.

Escobar said during a committee hearing that the entire situation marks a "dark moment in American history," and agreed with Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa., that those executive branch officials who testified during earlier House proceedings are American "heroes."

She began her remarks by criticizing statements made by Republican members, including Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., who had claimed earlier that Trump has "consistently cooperated with Congress to fulfill its oversight and investigatory responsibility."

Escobar — who succeeded former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, after he gave up his El Paso seat to unsuccessfully challenge Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in 2018 — called such claims "stunning."


Eric Trump: Pelosi has no control over impeachment fightVideo

"There's a thread that runs through all of those hearings, especially those hearings where we are trying to provide proper oversight over the president of the United States," she said. "We have heard our heard colleagues argue obstruction of Congress has not happened, one of our colleagues called the charge ridiculous. Another colleague said, 'The president has consistently cooperated with Democrats.' A stunning statement."

"This idea that the president has cooperated — that is the claim that is actually absurd," she added.

Escobar accused Trump of baselessly claiming "absolute immunity" from congressional oversight while simultaneously failing to provide or list documentation that would bear out such a privilege.

She said that, in that regard, the president was less responsive to oversight and subpoenas than fellow Republican President Richard Nixon during his impeachment investigation.

"This president has achieved a new low, and has lowered the bar significantly," she remarked.


Heated partisan rhetoric flies as House Judiciary Committee debates articles of impeachmentVideo

Turning to Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., Escobar asked her colleague to lay out how Trump has allegedly obstructed Congress' investigation.

"Representative Swalwell, how many documents did [the House Intelligence Committee] request during this investigation?" she asked.

"Seventy-one documents from the White House," Swalwell, who serves on that committee, replied. "[in addition to] 12 witnesses we asked to show up, whom the president directed not to show up."

Escobar thanked Swalwell for the information and asked aloud why Trump is trying to "hide" information from the public.


"It really is a very, very tragic moment in American history — a very dark moment in American history," she said, adding that the situation has been made "even more tragic by enablers who seek to make sure they protect one man at any cost."

She continued, claiming that Trump "not for America" but acting in favor of his own selfish ends.

"This is a reckoning for us and this is a moment when we should be standing with the patriots," Escobar added before yielding back to Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y.

Original Article

AOC-allied climate group announces ‘insurgent’ House primary challenges against ‘establishment candidates’

closeFox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 12Video

Fox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 12

Fox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 12 are here. Check out what's clicking on

The Democratic Party can expect to face even more progressive pushback in the 2020 primaries as a prominent climate group on Thursday advanced "insurgent" candidates in order to garner future congressional support for the Green New Deal.

The group, known as the Sunrise Movement, has worked with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., to promote her signature legislation and even joined her in protesting at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office in 2018.

In a press release, Sunrise offered support for candidates they said were running on the climate plan, which has received the cold shoulder from Democrats like Pelosi. The candidates included Robbert Emmons Jr. for Illinois' first district, Morgan Harper for Ohio's third, Mike Siegel for Texas' 10th, and Marie Newman from Illinois' third.

Sunrise Political Director Evan Weber called out "establishment politicians of both parties" for being complacent on the issue of climate change and indicated voters were looking for a "new way of doing things" in D.C.


“These insurgent campaigns are a clear indicator of the appetite for an entire new way of doing things, and a restructuring of our society under a populist agenda that guarantees things like living wage jobs, affordable and safe housing, universal clean air and water, and Medicare for All — all policies which we see bundled into the Green New Deal framework," he said.

Emmons Jr. and Harper are looking respectively to target Reps. Joyce Beatty, D-Ill., and Bobby Rush, D-Ill., whom the group says both opposed the Green New Deal.

Ocasio-Cortez previously provoked Rep. Dan Lipinski's ire in September when she endorsed Newman as his successor. Lipinski, D-Ill., is considered a moderate and refused to co-sponsor Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal resolution in the House.


"Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's endorsement of Marie Newman makes crystal clear that Ms.Newman is an extreme candidate," Lipinski said as part of a longer statement. Ocasio-Cortez seemed flabbergasted, suggesting that Lipinski was able to make such strong remarks due to his "corporate" ties.

Earlier this year, Lipinski threw his weight behind a bipartisan carbon tax that came under scrutiny for resembling a plan backed by the Climate Leadership Council, whose founding members included ExxonMobil.


"Lipinski and his dwindling circle of fossil-fuel funded Democrats are a threat to the Democratic Party truly being a party of the people," Newman said in Sunrise's press release.

The endorsements will likely add to the tension over climate change between Democrats and members of the progressive left. Pelosi herself has already staged what appeared to be an insurrection of her own. At a United Nations meeting earlier this month, she seemed to flout the president's decision to leave the controversial Paris Climate Agreement.


Last month, nearly 260 groups sent a letter requesting that Pelosi and Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., pursue policies like the Green New Deal instead of "incremental or isolated policy tweaks."

According to The Washington Post, the group Extinction Rebellion held a hunger strike in an attempt to force the speaker into a video-recorded meeting. When they realized she was planning to leave D.C., the protesters attempted to storm past her office's entrance and into a broader room where her chief of staff sat.

Original Article

Senate passes resolution formally recognizing Armenian genocide

closeFox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 12Video

Fox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 12

Fox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 12 are here. Check out what's clicking on

The Senate on Thursday unanimously passed a resolution recognizing the Ottoman Empire’s mass killing of Armenians a century ago as genocide, a move that aggravated already-tense relations between Turkey and the U.S.

Sen. Bob Menendez, D.-N.J., passed the resolution, which provides “official recognition and remembrance” of the genocide, according to The Hill.

The House of Representatives passed the resolution by a 405-to-11 vote in October. President Trump’s fellow Republican senators blocked a vote repeatedly amid the president’s meeting with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

In November, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., blocked the resolution that formally recognized the Ottoman Empire — centered in present-day Turkey — as having slaughtered more than a million Armenians between 1915 and 1923.


Three GOP senators in total blocked the resolution amid pressure from the White House, which argued it could undercut relations between Washington and Ankara.

“This is a tribute to the memory of 1.5 million victims of the first #Genocide of the 20th century and bold step in promotion of the prevention agenda. #NeverAgain,” Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan tweeted.

Turkey has long-disputed the term "genocide," calling the death toll inflated and considering those killed to be victims of war. Similar resolutions have been introduced in recent presidential administrations but none ever reached the floor.


Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called the decision a “political show” while presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Ankara strongly condemned and rejected the measure, according to Reuters.

Relations between the U.S. and Turkey, two NATO allies, have become tense in recent months after Turkey bought a Russian defense missile system and launched a military offensive in northern Syria, threatening the United States' Kurdish partners there as Trump pulled back American forces from the region. Lawmakers voted in October on a bipartisan bill to sanction Turkey and condemn its incursion into Syria.


Trump met face-to-face with Erdogan in November to smooth over relations. Trump cast the Nov. 13 meeting as “wonderful” but there was no concrete breakthrough.

Original Article

House panel to hold key impeachment vote, after day of all-out sparring and intrigue

closeHouse Judiciary Committee holds hearing on articles of impeachment against TrumpVideo

House Judiciary Committee holds hearing on articles of impeachment against Trump

House Judiciary Committee Democrats were set to hold a key vote to adopt the two articles of impeachment against President Trump, following an ongoing all-day marathon hearing in which seemingly no topic — from Hunter Biden's drug use to a Republican congressman's past drunken-driving arrest — was off-limits.

In a striking moment, Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., claimed that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky looked "as if his daughter was downstairs in the basement, duct-taped" when he publicly undermined Democrats' case by sitting across from Trump at the United Nations in September and declaring that he felt no undue pressure from the president to conduct any political investigations.

"There's an imbalance of power in that relationship," Johnson said, as some attendees laughed.

There was even some intrigue during breaks in the proceedings when a member of the media was caught on camera furtively taking a photograph of Democrats' private documents. He was later escorted out of the Capitol building. ("Media spy games," House Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., wrote on Twitter.)

It remained unclear how long the markup would last. “Look, we’re gonna be here a long time tonight," Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Doug Collins, R-Ga., told reporters when asked whether the White House Congressional Ball in the evening might affect the schedule. "Don’t let anybody worry. There are plenty of balls we can go to, so if anybody thinks that’s in our midst, don’t worry about it.”

Fox News expects that, once the articles are adopted by the Judiciary Committee, likely on a party-line vote, they will find their way to the House Rules Committee, which controls access to the House floor. The Rules Committee is expected to craft a rule next week to set parameters for the impeachment debate. Then, sometime next week, the full House will debate and vote formally on the articles of impeachment of the president — which, if successful, would send the matter to the GOP-controlled Senate for a trial and virtually certain acquittal.

All eyes have been on the 31 moderate House Democrats from districts Trump won in 2016, most of whom have remained mum on how they'll vote, as support for impeachment has flatlined in several battleground-state polls.


During the day's markup, as members debated the language of the impeachment resolutions, Republicans repeatedly pointed out that Trump was not accused of any offense actually defined anywhere by law: neither "abuse of power" nor "obstruction of Congress" was a recognized federal or state crime.

Early in the hearing, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., supported Ohio GOP Rep. Jim Jordan's amendment to strike Democrats' "abuse of power" article of impeachment entirely, arguing, "There was no impeachable offense here."

But, Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., responded that impeachment articles did not necessarily have to include statutory crimes — and that Trump’s actions would satisfy criminal statutes such as bribery anyway.

This led Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, to retort, "Well then, why aren't they in this impeachment document?"


Democrats had floated the idea of formally accusing Trump of bribery, after focus groups suggested voters would like that term more. But, the idea fell out of favor after news of the focus group leaked, and analysts pointed out that Trump's conduct didn't seem to constitute bribery.

Later in the day, Gohmert observed that the Trump administration ultimately provided lethal aid to Ukraine, unlike former President Barack Obama, who also withheld military aid to Ukraine and "just let people die over there" by providing only nonlethal assistance.

Gohmert went on to object to the "obstruction of Congress" article of impeachment as "tyrannical," saying it violated separation-of-powers principles for Congress to impeach the president whenever he failed to cooperate fully with their investigations.

Under Obama, the White House repeatedly refused Republicans' document requests concerning the "Fast and Furious" gunrunning scandal, leading Congress to hold then-Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt. No impeachment proceedings were commenced.


Democrats countered that it simply was not "credible" that Trump was withholding aid to Ukraine for legitimate anticorruption evidence, even though he also withheld $100 million in assistance to Lebanon this year.

"The president has been talking about foreign corruption and the misuse of American taxpayers' [funds]" since before the 2016 election, Louisiana GOP Rep. Mike Johnson said, emphasizing that it was in-character for the president to rein in excess spending for NATO and elsewhere.

"Everybody knows the president s concerned about the misuse of taxpayer dollars overseas. It's one of his primary driving forces. It's one of his main talking points… Oh, Ukraine, the third-most corrupt nation in the world, is the only one he wasn't concerned about? It just doesn't make sense. Let's stop with the games."

At a particularly heated moment in the hearing, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., brought up Hunter Biden's admitted past substance abuse issues — and Johnson, D-Ga., shot back by alluding to Gaetz's own past arrest for drunken driving.

Gaetz was arguing that Biden was incompetent and corrupt, citing his lucrative job on the board of the Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings while his father was overseeing Ukraine policy as vice president. The impeachment inquiry began after Trump suggested the Ukrainians look into Joe Biden's successful effort to pressure Ukraine to fire its top prosecutor by withholding $1 billion in critical U.S. aid — at a time when Burisma was under criminal scrutiny.

Gaetz on Hunter Biden: 'Hard to believe guy buying crack was worth $86,000 a month to Burisma'Video

The Florida lawmaker referenced an article in The New Yorker, which included interviews with Hunter Biden and reported on a 2016 car crash in which the younger Biden was involved. According to that story, employees at a rental car agency claimed they found a crack pipe inside the vehicle. It also quoted Hunter Biden describing his attempts to buy crack cocaine in a Los Angeles homeless encampment.


"The pot calling the kettle black is not something we should do," Johnson said. "I don’t know what members, if any, have had any problems with substance abuse, been busted in DUI. I don't know, but if I did, I wouldn't raise it against anyone on this committee." Johnson added: "I don't think it’s proper."

Separately, Gaetz introduced a December 2017 article in The New York Times discussing House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler's contemplation about impeaching the president years ago. Democrats, Gaetz and other Republicans said, have been trying to impeach and remove the president ever since he stunned the world by defeating Hillary Clinton, first by peddling discredited allegations that his campaign criminally conspired with Russians.

Impeachment, Republicans argued, was politically motivated theater, long in the works and foreshadowed openly by Democrats for months, if not years.

The markup began late Wednesday and saw Republicans lambasting Democrats and the media for pushing discredited claims about the Trump campaign's Russia ties. The rapid pace of the markup and vote came as numerous polls showed declining support for impeachment in key swing states. For example, impeachment and removal was opposed by 50.8 percent of voters in Michigan, 52.2 percent of voters in Pennsylvania, and 57.9 percent of voters in Wisconsin, according to the Firehouse/Optimus December Battleground State Poll.

Trump didn't get caught, Schiff got caught with the whistleblower: RatcliffeVideo

Two other polls released Wednesday showed that most Americans did not want Trump impeached and removed.

Politico reported earlier this week that the numbers were making a "small group" of moderate Democrats, who have held seats in districts where Trump won in 2016, nervous about how to vote. They instead have suggested Trump be censured instead, which would prevent the GOP from holding a potentially damaging Senate trial and give them political cover in the upcoming election.

As the members debated Wednesday night, the White House Office of Management and Budget released a lengthy legal justification for the withholding of aid to Ukraine, which was obtained by Fox News. OMB classified the temporary pause in providing the aid to Ukraine as a "programmatic delay" that was necessary and proper under the law to "ensure that funds were not obligated prematurely in a manner that could conflict with the President's foreign policy."

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., accused OMB of an "after-the-fact coverup" by writing its justification — prompting Collins to respond, stunned, by noting that a Senate Democrat had requested the letter.

"It is amazing that this is an after-the fact coverup since it was asked by a Democratic senator. So, that's an after-the-fact coverup? … This is exactly what I thought would happen when we came back from lunch."

Collins went on to point out that Zelensky repeatedly has said that he did not feel that Trump pressured him in any way, and that Democrats have taken to "belittling" Zelensky by calling him an "actor" and "weak" only because he undermined their case.

Hardline Democrats in safe districts haven't budged on impeachment. California Rep. Karen Bass, for example, said earlier this week she's open to impeaching Trump again even if he were to win the 2020 election.

The House is comprised of 431 members, meaning Democrats would need 217 yeas to impeach Trump. There currently have been 233 Democrats, so they could lose only 16 of their own and still impeach the president. Among the House Democrats, 31 have represented more moderate districts that Trump carried in 2016.

"This is the other side of it being political — you’ve got about 30 House Democrats who are in districts won by Donald Trump and they realize that they are going to pay a political price if they go along with impeachment," Fox News contributor Charles Hurt, the opinion editor of The Washington Times, told "Fox & Friends" Wednesday.


Freshman Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich. — who flipped a GOP district in 2018 that Trump won by 7 points in 2016 — told Fox News last month that she was tentatively weighing all the evidence. On Wednesday, she confirmed she's still undecided.

"The phones are ringing off the hook," she told CNN. "We literally can't pick up the phones fast enough — and it's people on both sides of it."

In the meantime, Gaetz offered some advice to swing-district Democrats who vote to impeach the president: "For the upcoming year, rent, don't buy, here in Washington, D.C."

Fox News' Chad Pergram, Ronn Blitzer, Julia Musto, Marisa Schultz and Andrew O'Reilly contributed to this report.

Original Article

US, China reach phase one trade deal, source says

closeIs Trump leveraging his own impeachment to get a trade deal over the finish line?Video

Is Trump leveraging his own impeachment to get a trade deal over the finish line?

Media reporter for The Hill Joe Concha explains the optics of the impeachment inquiry.

The United States and China have agreed to the terms of a phase one trade deal with China, though the details are still being finalized, a source told FOX Business.

Earlier Thursday, President Trump tweeted about the ongoing trade war with China, saying “Getting VERY close to a BIG DEAL with China. They want it, and so do we!”

It came as Trump and U.S. trade negotiators met at the White House on Thursday, as another U.S. tariff hike on $160 billion of Chinese imports is due to take effect Sunday.

The two sides have increased tariffs on billions of dollars of each other's imports in a fight over Beijing's technology ambitions and trade surplus.

The conflict has disrupted global trade and threatened to chill economic growth.

The planned weekend U.S. tariff hike would extend punitive duties to almost everything the U.S. would buy from China. Imports last year totaled more than $500 billion.


China has retaliated by raising duties on $160 billion of American goods but has been running out of imports for retaliation due to the lopsided trade balance. Beijing also has tried to limit losses to its own economy by avoiding imposing tariffs on high-tech components and other goods required by Chinese manufacturers.

In a conciliatory gesture, China's Ministry of Commerce announced Friday it was waiving punitive duties on U.S. soybeans and pork.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

Holding back no more, Warren slams top rivals Biden and Buttigieg

closeQuestions mount as Elizabeth Warren slips in national pollsVideo

Questions mount as Elizabeth Warren slips in national polls

Did Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren's gamble on Medicare for all fail? Reaction and analysis from former Republican Congressman Connie Mack and Fox News contributor Jessica Tarlov.

MANCHESTER, N.H. – In some of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s most pointed remarks in her nearly year-long bid for the White House, the Democratic presidential candidate — who in recent weeks has seen her poll numbers slip — fired away on Thursday at two of her top-tier rivals for her party’s nomination.

And while she didn’t name names, it was crystal clear the progressive senator was taking aim at the two leading center-left candidates — former Vice President Joe Biden and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.


“No other candidate has put out anything close to my sweeping plan to root out Washington corruption," the Massachusetts Democrat touted as she gave a major address on the issue in New Hampshire, the state that holds the first primary in the race for the White House.

“Unlike some candidates for the Democratic nomination, I'm not counting on Republican politicians having an epiphany and suddenly supporting the kinds of tax increases on the rich or big business accountability that they have opposed under Democratic presidents for a generation,” Warren said in her speech.

The comment was an indirect jab at Biden, who has repeatedly highlighted on the campaign trail that if elected, he can work with Republicans to reach compromise.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts gives an address at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College, on Dec. 12, 2019

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts gives an address at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College, on Dec. 12, 2019

Warren also took aim at Biden and Buttigieg over their repeated attacks on her push for a government-run "Medicare-for-all" health care system, as well as other progressive policies the populist senator has pushed as she runs for the White House.

“Unlike some candidates for the Democratic nomination, I'm not betting my agenda on the naive hope that if Democrats adopt Republican critiques of progressive policies or make vague calls for unity that somehow the wealthy and well-connected will stand down,” Warren said during her address at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College.


Warren — who has eschewed fundraisers with top-dollar donors during her presidential bid as she instead focuses nearly entirely on small-dollar grassroots contributions — once again criticized Biden and Buttigieg for mingling with wealthy donors.

"They are spending their time in fundraisers with high-dollar donors, selling access to their time for money. Some of them have spent months blocking reporters from entering those fancy, closed-door affairs,” she said.


And pointing to Buttigieg without naming him, she said the candidate “calls the people who raise a quarter-million dollars for him his ‘National Investors Circle,’ and he offers them regular phone calls and special access. When a candidate brags about how beholden he feels to a group of wealthy investors, our democracy is in serious trouble.”

Asked after her speech if she’s the only Democratic White House hopeful who can fix what she says is a broken system of government, the senator — again pointing to her rivals — told reporters: "We know how bad the problems are right now. No one is proposing the kinds of solutions that address those problems."

The increased aggressiveness in going after her top-tier rivals appears to be part of Warren’s shaking up of her routine, which also includes altering her format on the campaign trail to include more interaction with voters. The moves come as the one-time co-front-runner in the Democratic nomination race has seen her poll numbers deteriorate the past month in national surveys and, more importantly, in polls in New Hampshire and Iowa, the state that kicks off the primary and caucus presidential nominating calendar.

Thanks to repeated pressure from Warren in recent days, Buttigieg announced on Sunday that he would open up his closed-door fundraisers to media coverage, similar to what the Biden campaign has done this election cycle.


Following Warren’s address, the Buttigieg campaign returned fire.

“Senator Warren's idea of how to defeat Donald Trump is to tell people who don’t support her that they are unwelcome in the fight and that those who disagree with her belong in the other party. We need to move beyond the politics and divisiveness that is tearing this country apart and holding us back,” Buttigieg senior advisor Lis Smith said in a statement.

Fox News reached out to Biden’s campaign, but they declined to respond to Warren’s criticisms.

Original Article

Bloomberg releases letter from doctor saying he’s in ‘outstanding health’

closeBloomberg on 2020 Democrats: Trump would eat them upVideo

Bloomberg on 2020 Democrats: Trump would eat them up

Bloomberg takes swipe at fellow Democratic candidates; Republican political strategist Ashlee Strong and Democratic strategist Kevin Chavous react.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, one of the oldest candidates in the 2020 presidential race, released a letter from his doctor Thursday that stated he is in "outstanding health."

"Mr. Bloomberg is a 77-year-old man in outstanding health," Dr. Stephen D. Sisson of Johns Hopkins wrote in a medical report. "There are no medical concerns, present or looming, that would prevent him from serving as president of the United States."


Sisson disclosed that Bloomberg is treated for arthritis and heartburn but says both are "well-controlled." The letter added that Bloomberg takes a blood thinner to treat atrial fibrillation and another medication to control his cholesterol.

"On an annual basis, Mr. Bloomberg undergoes thorough health examination and testing at Johns Hopkins, most recently in July 2019," wrote Sisson, who has been providing Bloomberg medical care for "decades."

The release of Bloomberg's medical records comes less than three weeks after he announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination.


Fellow candidates Joe Biden, 77, and Bernie Sanders, 78, have not yet released their medical records. Biden has promised to release his "before there's a first vote." Sanders, who had a heart attack this year, says his health records will be released by the end of the year.

Original Article

Biden campaign acknowledges ‘pain’ caused by Obama-era deportations

closeCould Biden take 2020 if he promised to only serve one term?Video

Could Biden take 2020 if he promised to only serve one term?

'The Daily Briefing' host Dana Perino reacts to the Biden campaign's bold strategy.

Former Vice President Joe Biden's presidential campaign attempted to respond to other Democrats' criticisms of former President Obama's deportations when rolling out Biden's immigration plan on Wednesday.

“Joe Biden understands the pain felt by every family across the U.S. that has had a loved one removed from the country, including under the Obama-Biden administration,” his campaign wrote.

It added that the country "must do better to uphold our laws humanely and preserve the dignity of immigrant families, refugees, and asylum-seekers."

Biden's fellow Democratic candidates have used his former boss's deportation record as an attack line in an attempt to knock the frontrunner down a peg. Last month, Biden was confronted by a protester who cited Obama's massive number of deportations.


“You should vote for Trump. You should vote for Trump,” Biden told the protester at the time. He also refused to apologize following a similar confrontation in June.

Biden's campaign has positioned his immigration plan as a stark contrast to President Trump, with priorities that include ending family separations at the border, rolling back Trump’s travel limits on citizens from certain Muslim-majority countries and providing a path to citizenship for about 11 million people in the U.S. illegally, including immediately shielding immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as children from deportation.


While speaking in Las Vegas, Biden promised to spend "literally, a billion dollars a year" on stabilizing Central American governments and economies, a reference to his proposal to spend $4 billion in four years to help those nations.

The former vice president also pledged to enforce existing asylum law by reversing the Trump administration’s moves that have made claiming asylum extremely difficult and end the national emergency that Trump has declared to divert Pentagon funding to the construction of a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.


Biden joins progressive senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, along with South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg, as Democratic White House hopefuls promising to close for-profit detention centers. The U.S. government contracted for such facilities under Obama, drawing criticism from civil rights groups at the time. But the practice has gained new scrutiny under Trump’s hard-line approach to immigration, especially his administration’s practice of separating families in the facilities.

Fox News' Danielle Wallace, Nick Givas, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

Under-siege Dems in Trump districts keep impeachment decision close to the vest

closeVulnerable moderate Democrats call for censure instead of impeachmentVideo

Vulnerable moderate Democrats call for censure instead of impeachment

Will the voices of moderate Democrats be heard or squashed by the extreme left? Fox News contributor Charles Hurt weighs in.

WASHINGTON — An all but inevitable House floor vote to impeach President Trump is poised to come down to a few dozen moderate Democrats who, under heavy and sustained pressure from both sides of the debate, are staying steadfastly mum on how they'll vote.

“I will not operate on anyone’s timeline,” said freshman Rep. Max Rose, D-N.Y., who is a prime target of GOP efforts to either kill impeachment or at least encourage Democratic defections. “I will not operate on pressure from anyone.”


Rose is among the 31 House Democrats from districts where Trump won in 2016. Those swing districts were critical to Democrats' winning control of the House last year, and now a majority of those members are needed by the party leadership if Trump is to become the third president ever impeached.

Rose announced he was against impeachment in the wake of the Russia report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller, but then supported the inquiry over Trump’s request for Ukraine to investigate Democrats.

Democrats say impeachment hearings needed in order convince American peopleVideo

“We have to give this the level of thought and analysis and judicious consideration that it is deserving of,” Rose told reporters Tuesday.

Fellow freshman Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., also hasn’t said how she’ll vote. Slotkin, who penned an op-ed with six other freshman Democrats to help launch the impeachment inquiry, said her constituents expect her to make an objective decision.

“I’m not waking up in the morning looking for a golden poll,” she said Wednesday.

The House is expected to vote next week on two articles of impeachment against Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Democrats narrowly crafted the charges against Trump to focus on his pressure on Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. In a July 25 phone call with the Ukrainian president, Trump asked for investigations that could have influenced his 2020 reelection chances while the White House had a freeze on nearly $400 million in aid. Trump and his allies deny any quid pro quo tied to aid, and insist the discussions with Ukraine were "perfect."

A few Trump-district Democrats have been outspoken in their support of impeachment, including Reps. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York and Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania. Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-N.J., said he speaks regularly to other swing-district Democrats and believes most will be joining him in voting for impeachment — even if they’ve stayed quiet.

“Not all of them have come out publicly. I think many of them would prefer to announce any decision in their districts,” Malinowski said.

“I think it's the right way to go,” he said of the narrowly crafted articles. “It's very easy for all of us … to point to what President Trump did in extorting a foreign country to help him in the next election as symbolic of what he did in inviting a foreign country (Russia) to help him in 2016. So it's a great opportunity to talk about the full range of his abuses of power.”

The House has 233 Democrats, 197 Republicans and one independent. If all members are present and voting, Democrats would need 216 votes for impeachment and could afford about 17 defectors, assuming all Republicans will side with Trump.

Already two Democrats voted against launching the initial inquiry – Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey and Collin Peterson of Minnesota, while independent Rep. Justin Amash joined with Democrats to secure 232 votes on Halloween to kick off impeachment proceedings.

Republicans are smelling blood. Right-leaning groups continue to target moderate Democrats and inundate them with advertising.

A leading spender in the effort, American Action Network, launched an $8.5 million TV impeachment ad blitz targeting Democratic members including Jared Golden of Maine, Susie Lee of Nevada, Slotkin of Michigan, Xochitl Torres Small of New Mexico, Anthony Brindisi of New York, Kendra Horn of Oklahoma, Joe Cunningham of South Carolina and Elaine Luria of Virginia.

“Impeachment is going to be a political death sentence for every vulnerable Democrat — no matter how they vote,” NRCC spokesman Michael McAdams told Fox News. “Either they are going to alienate the independent voters they need or alienate their Democratic Trump-hating base, which they also need to win.”

Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., got an earful at a recent town hall in her district, when some voters shouted at her for saying the allegations against Trump are “incredibly, incredibly serious.”

“It’s a lie. It’s all a lie,” one man shouted at the freshman pol.



Help is on the way for these Democrats — namely from one very rich Democrat. Billionaire Michael Bloomberg announced this week he’d spend $10 million to protect vulnerable Democrats under attack from the GOP. The White House hopeful already spent $100 million to help Democrats win the majority and his latest donation was cheered by Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Long Island Rep. Tom Suozzi, a member of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus that seeks centrist legislation, also declined to say whether he’s supporting the articles of impeachment.

“I have no comment on that right now,” said Suozzi, who is facing a progressive challenger in a district that is considered safely Democratic.

A fellow Problem Solvers caucus ally Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., didn’t say how he’d vote on impeachment after failing in his long-shot effort to censure Trump instead.

Politico reported that Gottheimer on Monday tried to revive an idea of censuring Trump instead of filing articles of impeachment along with about 10 other vulnerable Democrats. Others seeking a lighter option were Reps. Kurt Schrader of Oregon, Anthony Brindisi of New York and Ben McAdams of Utah.

“I need to see all the facts. I’m not going to prejudge anything until we get every bit of information in and then I’ll make a decision,” Gottheimer said Wednesday.

Pelosi claimed Thursday she’s not pressuring moderate Democrats for votes.

“We are not whipping something like this. … People need to come to their own conclusions,” Pelosi said.

Pressed again by reporters she said: "I'm not asking anyone what their vote is. This is a vote that people will have to come to their own conclusion on and the facts are clear — irrefutable,” she said.


“The fact is that we take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States … this has nothing to do with my concern about votes. People will vote the way they vote."

Fox News' Chad Pergram and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

Original Article

Judge rules South Carolina GOP can cancel its presidential primary in 2020

closeFox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 12Video

Fox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 12

Fox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 12 are here. Check out what's clicking on

A county judge in South Carolina dismissed on Wednesday a lawsuit against the Palmetto State’s Republican Party over its decision to cancel a presidential primary next year.

Richland County Circuit Judge Jocelyn Newman’s ruling effectively seals the near unanimous vote earlier this year by the state GOP’s executive committee to forgo its “First in the South” primary status in 2020 — since President Trump is the Republican incumbent.

In her opinion, Newman wrote, the law “does not give Plaintiffs a legal right to a presidential preference primary, and the Court will not substitute its own judgment for that of the General Assembly or the SCGOP."


Earlier this year, former South Carolina congressman Bob Inglis sued state Republicans, saying the party’s decision to skip a primary deprives him and others “of the ability to vote for the candidate of their choice in South Carolina’s famous (and particularly influential) ‘First in the South’ primary.”

South Carolina is among several states that have canceled Republican primaries and caucuses next year, an effort that helps Trump consolidate his support as Democrats work to winnow their large candidate field.

William Weld talks 2020 Republican bid against Trump amid attacks on Never-TrumpersVideo

The move, taken September in South Carolina by the state party’s executive committee, is not unusual for the party of the White House incumbent seeking reelection.

Challengers have emerged to Trump, including former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld and former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh. Mark Sanford, a former congressman and governor from South Carolina, entered the race but left after two months.


In years past, both Republicans and Democrats have cut state nominating contests when an incumbent president from their party sought a second term. In 1984, South Carolina GOP leaders opted to call off their primary as President Ronald Reagan sought reelection. In 2004, the GOP again canceled the state’s primary, with leaders deciding instead to endorse President George W. Bush’s reelection.

President Trump swipes at FBI's Russia probe, House Judiciary CommitteeVideo

The South Carolina Democratic Party didn’t hold presidential primaries in 1996 or in 2012, when Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were the incumbents.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

Tensions flare as GOP Rep. Gaetz brings Hunter Biden’s drug past into impeachment debate

closeGaetz: Hard to believe Burisma hired Hunter Biden with his drug problemsVideo

Gaetz: Hard to believe Burisma hired Hunter Biden with his drug problems

Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz targets Joe Biden's son during the House Judiciary Committee markup hearing on impeachment articles, questioning why Burisma hired Hunter Biden considering his issues with substance abuse.

The House Judiciary Committee's impeachment proceedings turned deeply personal and acrimonious on Thursday as Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., brought up Hunter Biden’s admitted past substance abuse issues and Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., shot back by alluding to Gaetz’s own past arrest for drunk driving.

The verbal scuffle between the two lawmakers came after Gaetz introduced an amendment to the articles of impeachment against President Trump to add a reference to former Vice President Joe Biden’s son and his work with Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings.

Speaking during the all-day committee session, Gaetz specifically called out Hunter Biden for his past run-ins with the law and for his struggles with drugs and alcohol.

The Florida lawmaker referenced an article in The New Yorker, which included interviews with Hunter Biden and reported on a 2016 car accident the younger Biden was involved in. According to that story, employees at a rental car agency claimed they found a crack pipe inside the vehicle. It also quoted Hunter Biden describing his attempts to buy crack cocaine in a Los Angeles homeless encampment.


“I found this very extensive profile in The New Yorker,” Gaetz said before detailing some of the article’s more sordid details on Biden. “I don’t want to make light of anybody’s substance abuse issues, I know the president is working real hard to solve those throughout the country, but it’s a little hard to believe that Burisma hired Hunter Biden to resolve their international disputes when he could not resolve his own dispute with Hertz rental car over leaving cocaine and a crack pipe in the car.”

Republicans during the impeachment inquiry have questioned why Hunter Biden was being paid upwards of $50,000 a month by the Ukrainian company at the same time his father was leading the Obama administration's diplomatic dealings with Kiev. Though the timing raised concerns among anti-corruption advocates, neither the former vice president nor his son has been accused of breaking the law.

Hunter Biden breaks silence on Ukraine business dealingsVideo

Gaetz’s comments about Hunter Biden didn’t sit well with Johnson, who took the opportunity Thursday to remind Gaetz of his own past dealings with driving under the influence.

“The pot calling the kettle black is not something we should do,” Johnson said. “I don’t know what members, if any, have had any problems with substance abuse, been busted in DUI. I don’t know, but if I did I wouldn’t raise it against anyone on this committee.”

Johnson added: “I don’t think it’s proper.”

In 2008, Gaetz was arrested for driving under the influence while driving back from a nightclub on Okaloosa Island, Fla. Charges against him were ultimately dismissed amid a controversy over whether the then-lawyer refused to take a breathalyzer test.

The tussle between Gaetz and Johnson comes as the House Judiciary Committee debates the articles of impeachment leveled against the president.


In the formal articles announced this week, the Democrats said Trump enlisted a foreign power in corrupting the U.S. election process and endangered national security by asking Ukraine to investigate his rivals while withholding U.S. military aid. That benefited Russia over the U.S. as America's ally fought Russian aggression, the Democrats said.

Nadler: Zelensky has a 'gun to his head'Video

Trump then obstructed Congress by ordering current and former officials to defy House subpoenas for testimony and by blocking access to documents, the charges say.

The House is expected to vote on the articles next week, in the days before Christmas. That would send them to the Senate for a 2020 trial.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

Eyeing 2020, House empowers Medicare to negotiate drug costs

closeHow the media covered confrontations involving Nancy Pelosi and Joe BidenVideo

How the media covered confrontations involving Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden

Tempers growing short for two high-profile Democrats; reaction and analysis from Fox News media analyst Howard Kurtz, host of 'Media Buzz.'

Sharpening their 2020 election message, House Democrats on Thursday pushed through legislation that would empower Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices and offer new benefits for seniors.

The vote along party lines was 230-192.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi's bill would cap Medicare recipients'out-of-pocket costs for medicines at $2,000 a year. It would use about $360 billion of its projected 10-year savings from lower drug costs to establish Medicare coverage for dental care, hearing, and vision, filling major gaps for seniors.

But the legislation has no chance of passing the Republican-controlled Senate, and the White House has issued a veto threat. Still, Democrats saw a victory in the message their bill sends to voters.

"I think that it is going to be too hot to handle for the Republicans," said Pelosi, D-Calif.

She is claiming bragging rights because her bill would deliver on the promise that Donald Trump made as a candidate in 2016, when he said he would "negotiate like crazy" to lower prescription drug prices for Medicare recipients. It's a pledge that Trump has backed away from as president.

For months, Pelosi's office and the White House had talked privately about Medicare negotiations. But the sides went their own ways partly because administration officials concluded her approach could never win support among congressional Republicans. Trump now favors a bipartisan compromise in the Senate that would limit drug price increases and cap what seniors pay out-of-pocket, but would not authorize Medicare negotiations.

Negotiations are "the heart of the matter," Pelosi insisted.

High prescription drug prices consistently register as the public's top health care concern. But it's unclear in a capital divided over Trump's impeachment that any major legislation will pass before next year's elections.

Pelosi's bill "is a serious proposal but everyone knows that the Senate isn't going to go for it," said John Rother, CEO of the National Coalition on Health.

"It is about legislating, but even more it's about establishing a platform that Democrats can run on going into the next election cycle and lays the groundwork for legislative activity in 2021," Rother said. His organization is an umbrella group that represents health care industry groups and consumers.

The pharmaceutical industry is strongly opposed to the bill. Among the groups backing it is AARP.

Medicare's popular prescription drug benefit is delivered through private insurers. Republicans say the government has no business setting prices for medicines. They argue that the hit on the pharmaceutical industry's bottom line will stifle innovation, discouraging investment in the hunt for cures for Alzheimer's and other intractable illnesses.

"Drugs that save lives will not be around," said Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore. "Innovation goes on the rocks; lives will be lost."

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy of California accused Democrats of putting politics over solutions, "catering to their progressive base by opening the door to a government takeover of our prescription drug market."

Republicans point to a major concern about the legislation: that it would result in fewer drugs coming to market. But there's debate about the extent of the expected impact.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates about 3% to 10% fewer new drugs. The White House Council of Economic Advisers says it could be much higher, up to one-third of new medications.

Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., who helped write the Pelosi bill, said Republicans predicting the drug pipeline will dry up are using scare tactics.

"Any drug that's out there, we're going to have access to," he said. "The U.S. would still be the biggest market."

The bipartisan Senate bill the White House is now backing steers clear of negotiations. It would cap seniors' out-of-pocket costs, at $3,100 a year, and require drugmakers to pay Medicare rebates if companies raise prices above inflation. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., hasn't said if or when he'll bring it to the floor.

Inflation rebates are included in Pelosi's bill as well, so there's considerable overlap. But Pelosi's measure goes further with several unique features, including:

— Medicare would be authorized to negotiate prices for costly medications, using a formula based on lower prices paid in other economically advanced countries.

— Drugmakers that refuse to negotiate would be hit with steep sales taxes for the medication at issue. Republicans say proposed taxes as high as 95% are unconstitutional. The budget office projects that most pharmaceutical companies would opt to accept lower prices from Medicare.

— Private health insurance plans would be able to receive Medicare's discounted prices.

Congressional budget experts estimate the price negotiations provisions of Pelosi's bill would save $456 billion over 10 years. After subtracting for new Medicare benefits, that still leaves money for medical research, community health centers, and countering the opioid epidemic.

Democrats have named the drug legislation after the late Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., who early on sought a dialogue with Trump on drug prices. Cummings, as chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, was a target of Trump outbursts on Twitter.

Original Article

Democrats announce packed debate schedule in early voting states

closeOnly 7 candidates have qualified for next Democratic debateVideo

Only 7 candidates have qualified for next Democratic debate

Who stands the best chance? Democratic strategist Malia Fisher and GOP strategist Lauren Claffey debate.

The Democratic National Committee announced on Thursday that it plans to sponsor four more presidential nomination debates in January and February in the first four states to vote in the primary and caucus calendar.

The first of the early voting state debates will take place on Jan. 14 at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. CNN and the Des Moines Register will serve as media partners. Iowa’s Feb. 3 caucuses kick off the nominating calendar.


The next debate will be held Feb. 7 at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., with ABC News, local TV station WMUR, and Apple News as media partners. New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary will be held on Feb. 11.

Twelve days later, the DNC will hold a debate in Las Vegas, Nevada, in partnership with NBC News, MSNBC, and the Nevada Independent. The Feb. 19 debate will be held three days before the state’s presidential caucuses.

The final early voting state debate will be held on Feb. 25, in Charleston, S.C., four days before the state’s primary. CBS News and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute are partnering with the DNC for the debate.

The DNC acknowledged that the timing of the Iowa debate could be in flux.

With a likely Senate trial in the impeachment of President Trump to be held in January – with the chamber possibly in session six days a week during the duration of the trial — the five Democratic senators running for the White House could be sidelined.

DNC spokesperson Xochitl Hinojosa tweeted that “if a conflict with an impeachment trial is unavoidable, the DNC will evaluate its options and work with all the candidates to accommodate them."

In its announcement, the DNC did not spell out how candidates could qualify for the upcoming debates. Candidates needed to hit 4 percent in at least four polls recognized by the DNC, or 6 percent in at least two polls conducted in early voting states, and receive contributions from at least 200,000 individual donors to make the stage at next week’s sixth round debate, which is being held in Los Angeles.


Only seven candidates in the field of roughly 15 remaining Democratic presidential candidates qualified for next week’s showdown.

They are former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, billionaire environmental and progressive advocate and organizer Tom Steyer, and tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang. Sen. Kamala Harris of California had qualified for the debate, but she dropped out of the presidential race last week.

Original Article

Biden denies one-term promise

closeOne-term plan? Biden denies talking to aides about re-electionVideo

One-term plan? Biden denies talking to aides about re-election

Former Vice President Joe Biden denies planning for one-term presidency; Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy reports.

**Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**
On the roster: Biden denies one-term promise – I’ll Tell You What: Do you G what I.G. – House Judiciary fracas as impeachment vote looms – Brits vote – ‘These f—ing birds have hats on, bro!’

NBC News: “Joe Biden denied Wednesday that he’s discussed making a pledge to serve only one term if elected president, rejecting a published report that it remained a consideration. ‘I don't have plans on one term,’ Biden told reporters between campaign stops in Nevada. ‘I'm not even there yet.’ Politico, citing ‘four people who regularly talk to Biden,’ reported that the campaign had revived discussions about whether the 77-year-old should publicly make such a pledge, and that Biden himself had signaled to aides he would not seek re-election. The Biden campaign had earlier pushed back on the speculation. ‘Lots of chatter out there on this so just want to be crystal clear: this is not a conversation our campaign is having and not something VP Biden is thinking about,’ deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield tweeted.”
Bloomy butters up House Dems with fat checks – WaPo: “Presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg will donate $10 million Thursday to defend vulnerable Democratic House members against paid Republican attacks on their support for impeachment proceedings against President Trump. The money, which is meant to even an arms race on the 2020 congressional battlefield, was cheered by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who has been fielding concerns from some of her members over a costly Republican advertising offensive as the House moves toward an impeachment vote next week. ‘In 2018, Mayor Bloomberg was a critical ally in helping House Democrats regain the majority,’ Pelosi said in a statement. ‘Now, the stakes are even higher as we work to make health care more affordable by reducing the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs, increase wages and root out corruption. We welcome and thank Mayor Bloomberg for his support.’”
Burn rate approaches $4 million per day – Fox Business: “Michael Bloomberg has outspent almost every other Democratic presidential candidate on TV and digital ads since he entered the 2020 race less than one month ago. In the weeks since the former New York City mayor announced his presidential campaign launch on Nov. 24, he’s poured more than $100 million into advertising, according to new figures published by Advertising Analytics. That's an average of $3.72 million per day. Fellow 2020 billionaire Tom Steyer, the Silicon Valley hedge fund manager, had spent an estimated $60 million on ads as of Dec. 2, according to separate data published by the ad-tracking firm. Although Bloomberg is not participating in the Iowa caucuses and won't be on the ballots of other early-voting states, including New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, data shows he's pouring millions into local ads focused on New York and Los Angeles, as well as Texas.”
Four debates for January and February announced – ABC News: “Democrats will kick off 2020 with four Democratic primary debates in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, the Democratic National Committee announced Thursday. The debates will take place in January and February. ABC News, in partnership with ABC's New Hampshire affiliate WMUR-TV and Apple News, will hold the first debate after voting begins on Friday, Feb. 7, at St. Anselm College in Manchester. … CNN and The Des Moines Register will host a debate on Jan. 14 at Drake University ahead of Iowa’s caucuses. NBC News and MSNBC, in partnership with The Nevada Independent, hosts a Feb. 19 debate in Las Vegas prior to Nevada's caucuses. CBS News and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute co-host the debate before South Carolina's primary on Feb. 25 at The Gaillard Center in Charleston, South Carolina and Twitter will be a debate partner.”
California knotty – CNN: “Likely Democratic primary voters in California are about evenly split among the top three candidates — Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren — in the race for the Democratic nomination, while Texas Democrats tend to favor Biden, the nationwide frontrunner, according to new CNN polls conducted by SSRS in two of the largest early states to cast ballots next year. California and Texas are the most delegate-rich states out of the 15 to hold primaries or caucuses on March 3, meaning they will play an outsize role in determining who will win the Democratic nomination. In California, former vice president Biden (21%), Vermont Sen. Sanders (20%), and Massachusetts Sen. Warren (17%) are closely bunched at the top of the field with no other candidate reaching double digits. South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg holds 9%, followed by businessman Andrew Yang at 6% and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg at 5%. In Texas, Biden tops Sanders by 20 points, 35% to 15%, with Warren almost even with Sanders at 13%. Buttigieg follows at 9% and Bloomberg at 5%.”
The unbearable whiteness of being… in the Nevada caucus – Politico: “Nevada has for months functioned as something of a hedge in the primary calendar, the first nominating contest where the Democratic presidential field’s diversity would be measured by a state with a sizable non-white voting population. Now it’s looking like a reminder of the monochromatic nature of the party’s leading candidates. With Sen. Kamala Harris exiting the contest last week and Sen. Cory Booker and Julián Castro failing to qualify for next week’s presidential debate, the landscape has shifted in Nevada. The chances of a breakthrough here by a candidate of color are fading. And the front-runners are mounting an increasingly urgent effort to piece together pockets of the electorate in the first test of their appeal before a diverse electorate. Appearing at the influential Culinary Workers Union on Wednesday — after Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders visited on Monday and Tuesday — former Vice President Joe Biden touted the immigration plan he released that day promising to reverse many of President Donald Trump’s policies.”
Judge rules S.C. GOP can rig primary for Trump – AP: “A judge on Wednesday upheld the South Carolina Republican Party’s decision not to hold a 2020 presidential primary, a move taken by several states in erecting hurdles for the long-shot candidates challenging President Donald Trump. In her order, Circuit Judge Jocelyn Newman wrote the law ‘does not give Plaintiffs a legal right to a presidential preference primary, and the Court will not substitute its own judgment for that of the General Assembly or the SCGOP.’ Earlier this year, former South Carolina congressman Bob Inglis sued state Republicans, saying the party’s decision to skip a primary deprives him and others ‘of the ability to vote for the candidate of their choice in South Carolina’s famous (and particularly influential) ‘First in the South’ primary.’”
“No axiom is more clearly established in law, or in reason, than that wherever the end is required, the means are authorized; wherever a general power to do a thing is given, every particular power necessary for doing it is included.” – James Madison, Federalist No. 44
Writer Julia Cho looks at what else we lost when America cut the cord. The Atlantic: “My tween will never know the sound of me calling her name from another room after the phone rings. She'll never sit on our kitchen floor, refrigerator humming in the background, twisting a cord around her finger while talking to her best friend. I'll get it, He's not here right now, and It's for you are all phrases that are on their way out of the modern domestic vernacular. According to the federal government, the majority of American homes now use cellphones exclusively. ‘We don't even have a landline anymore,’ people began to say proudly as the new millennium progressed. But this came with a quieter, secondary loss—the loss of the shared social space of the family landline. … With smartphones [Professor Luke Fernandez] says, ‘we have gained mobility and privacy. But the value of the home has been diminished, as has its capacity to guide and monitor family behavior and perhaps bind families more closely together.’”
Flag on the play? – Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.
Biden: 27.6 points (↑ 1.6 points from last wk.)
Warren: 18.4 points (↓ 1 point from last wk.)
Sanders: 18.2 points (↑ 1 point from last wk.)
Buttigieg: 8.6 points (↓ 1.6 points from last wk.)
[Averages include: Quinnipiac University, Monmouth University, CNN, NBC News/WSJ and ABC News/WaPo.]
Average approval: 43.4 percent
Average disapproval: 53 percent
Net Score: -9.6 percent
Change from one week ago: ↑ 0.2 points
[Average includes: Quinnipiac University: 41% approve – 55% disapprove; Monmouth University: 46% approve – 52% disapprove; CNN: 43% approve – 53% disapprove; NPR/PBS/Marist: 44% approve – 51% disapprove; Gallup: 43% approve – 54% disapprove.]
You can join Chris and Brianna every day on Fox Nation. Go behind-the-scenes of your favorite political note as they go through the must-read headlines of the day right from their office – with plenty of personality. Click here to sign up and watch!
This week Dana Perino and Chris Stirewalt discuss Inspector General Horowitz's report, analyze recent changes in the 2020 Democratic front-runners and the differences between New Joe Biden and Old Joe Biden. Plus, see how Chris does this week in trivia. LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE HERE
AP: “The House Judiciary Committee launched a lively, marathon session Thursday ahead of voting on articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. A historic step as the deeply partisan panel prepares to send the charges to the full House. Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., immediately asked for a full reading of the nine-page resolution, airing the two articles against the president introduced by Democrats for the live TV cameras. They charge Trump with abuse of power for asking Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden while withholding aid as leverage and with obstruction of Congress for stonewalling the House’s investigation. … Thursday’s hearing picked up where Wednesday’s late-night session left off. Into the night, Democrats and Republicans delivered sharp, poignant and, at times, personal arguments for and against impeachment. Both sides appealed to Americans’ sense of history — Democrats describing a strong sense of duty to stop what one called the president’s ‘constitutional crime spree’ and Republicans decrying the ‘hot garbage’ impeachment and what it means for the future of the country.”
Suit against Pompeo over Russia records may continue, judge rules – McClatchy: “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is being sued over allegedly failing to preserve official notes about President Donald Trump’s meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and a court ruled on Wednesday that the case could move forward. That means Pompeo must either provide evidence he complied with the Federal Records Act, which requires the State Department to collect and preserve interpreter notes, or else argue that he is not obligated to do so. Democracy Forward and American Oversight, two progressive watchdog organizations, filed the lawsuit in June after public reporting emerged claiming that Trump had collected notes from interpreters and directed them not to discuss the contents of the meetings. The court filing called it ‘unusual, and in some cases extreme, measures to conceal the details of these meetings.’”
The Judge’s Ruling: FISA is unconstitutional – This week Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano explains why he believes the problem with FISA is it’s secrecy and standards that conflict with the Constitution: “FISA established probable cause of foreign agency as the standard that government lawyers must meet. That morphed into probable cause of foreign personhood. That morphed into probable cause of speaking to a foreign person. And that morphed into probable cause of speaking to any person who has ever spoken to a foreign person. All of this happened in secret. This slow but persistent destruction of the right to be left alone, which is ostensibly guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment, came about not only by secrecy and the absence of adversaries but also by judicial gullibility and constitutional infidelity.”More here.
WaPo: “The United Kingdom goes to the polls Thursday to decide the fate of vexatious, divisive, gridlocked Brexit. … This snap election was called because Britain is broken over Brexit. If Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Conservatives achieve a solid majority in Parliament, they will assuredly plow forward with Brexit. Dreams of a second referendum — of remaining in the E.U. — will be dashed. And by January, one of the dominant partners in the long, lucrative, peaceful, postwar order, manifested by Europe’s political and trade bloc, will go off on its own. A Conservative majority has been widely anticipated, as opinion polls through much of the six-week campaign have showed the party with a lead of 10 points or more. But that advantage may be diminishing.”
House passes big spending plan, goodies for federal workers AP
Lawsuits linger for Trump NPR
Former N.C. Gov McCrory may try for comebackThe Charlotte Observer
A look back at 2019 in photosWaPo
“Today’s outrage culture insists that everyone who holds a view that’s different from our own is not just mistaken. They must be evil and shunned. That’s wrong. … The tragedy of all of this is that it makes compromise far less possible.” – Nikki Haley, in an op-ed published in the Washington Post, discussing the removal of the Confederate flag in South Carolina in today’s political climate.
Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
The Guardian: “Two pigeons have been spotted in Las Vegas wearing tiny cowboy hats. While many have been amused by the sight of the birds, with social media users excitedly reporting sightings since a video was first posted to Facebook in early December, there are concerns for the welfare of the animals. The birds have been seen between McCarran international airport and the University of Nevada. Mariah Hillman, who works with the local animal rescue charity Lofty Hopes, said the hats were glued on to the pigeons. ‘When we saw them today, you could see some loose feathers in the glue around the hat. It’s definitely a concern,’ she said. Opening with the exclamation: ‘These f—ing birds have hats on, bro!,’ a repost of Bobby Lee’s Facebook video of the pair has already garnered 2m views on Twitter. Observers have named the two birds Cluck Norris and Coo-lamity Jane.”
“The oddest thing about the current national crusade against tobacco is not its frenzy – our culture lives from one frenzy to the next –but its selectivity. Of course tobacco is a great national killer. It deserves all the pummeling it gets. But alcohol is a great national killer too, and it has enjoyed an amazingly free ride amid the fury of the New Prohibitionism.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in Time magazine on Oct. 6, 1997.
Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.

Original Article

Trump envoy explains White House’s next steps in fight against anti-Semitism

closeExclusive interview with Special Envoy Elan Carr on anti-SemitismVideo

Exclusive interview with Special Envoy Elan Carr on anti-Semitism

In an exclusive interview with Fox News at the Israeli American Council (IAC) summit in Hollywood, Florida, U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat anti-Semitism Elan Carr outlined what the Trump administration is doing to curb the problem. Fox News' Talia Kaplan reports.

EXCLUSIVE — U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Elan Carr told Fox News in an interview that the U.S. needs to fight the scourge of anti-Semitism not only inside its borders, but around the world.

Speaking last Friday at the Israeli American Council (IAC) summit in Hollywood, Fla., Carr said, “Anti-Semitism truly is history’s greatest barometer of suffering and it starts with the Jews, but it leaves a trail of human wreckage, so in fighting this fight we are really fighting for a better world for our children and grandchildren.”

The next night, standing with President Trump as he addressed 4,000 Israeli Americans at the summit, Carr added, “At the president’s direction, we are simultaneously confronting far-right ethnic supremacy, radical left Israel hatred and militant Islam.”

He said all three groups were contributing to a global rise in anti-Semitism.


Carr told Fox News the Trump administration, with the help of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, has been confronting anti-Semitism in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and beyond.

“I’m hopeful that with the leadership of President Trump and Secretary Pompeo, we’re going to see a rollback of this rise in anti-Semitism both here at home and abroad,” he told Fox News in an exclusive interview.

In an exclusive interview with Fox News at the Israeli American Council summit in Hollywood, Florida, U.S. Special envoy to Monitor and Combat anti-Semitism Elan Carr outlined what the Trump administration is doing to curb the problem.

In an exclusive interview with Fox News at the Israeli American Council summit in Hollywood, Florida, U.S. Special envoy to Monitor and Combat anti-Semitism Elan Carr outlined what the Trump administration is doing to curb the problem.

When asked if he was already seeing a “rollback” with the measures the president has implemented, Carr answered, “I’m very excited by the things the president has already done and I think we’re going to see tangible effects from this, and I am very encouraged that we are on the right track.”


This past September, the United Nations released an “unprecedented” report on anti-Semitism, which pointed out that the frequency of incidents appeared to be increasing.

The U.N. Human Rights Council's special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Ahmed Shaheed, released the September report on anti-Semitism.

The U.N. Human Rights Council's special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Ahmed Shaheed, released the September report on anti-Semitism. (Bahtiyar Abdukerimov/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images, File)

The report noted, “anti-Semitic hate speech is particularly prevalent online.”

It also made mention of several exceptionally violent incidents that “have had an outsized impact on Jewish individuals’ sense of security in recent years.”

Specifically, the report mentioned the 2018 attack at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, where a gunman opened fire and killed 11 congregants “in the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history.” The report noted that the gunman’s “comments during the attack and social media activity on the days preceding it revealed a belief in a host of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories rooted in a far-right, white supremacist ideology.”

Police tape is viewed around the area on October 28, 2018 outside the Tree of Life Synagogue after a shooting there left 11 people dead in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh on October 27, 2018. 

Police tape is viewed around the area on October 28, 2018 outside the Tree of Life Synagogue after a shooting there left 11 people dead in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh on October 27, 2018. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

It also pointed out that about six months later, "a gunman similarly motivated by white supremacist ideology killed one congregant and wounded three others at a synagogue in the Poway California community."


Meanwhile, the U.N. Human Rights Council's Special Rapporteur Ahmed Shaheed said he “received numerous accounts concerning vandalism and desecration of Jewish synagogues and cemeteries, as well as other recognizably Jewish sites.”

Responding to the U.N. report, Carr told Fox News, “It’s a model on the condition on the state of anti-Semitism in the world today, and here’s an example of the U.N., not known to be a friendly neighborhood necessarily on this issue and for Israel, and yet this was a thorough, comprehensive report. We’ve got to give credit where credit is due.”

On Saturday's summit, Trump said his administration was committed to fighting what he called a “vile poison.” He continued, “My administration is committed to aggressively challenging and confronting anti-Semitic bigotry in every resource and using every single weapon at our disposal.”

Trump also spoke about the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which has called for a boycott of all Israeli products.

Report reveals alarming uptick of anti-Semitic incidentsVideo


“As president I want to be very clear, my administration condemns the BDS campaign against Israel. But, sadly, BDS has made disturbing headway on American college campuses.”

Most of the college students who spoke to Fox News at the summit said they’ve experienced anti-Semitism on their campuses.

Student Micah Bresler, who is Jewish, described an incident at the University of Cincinnati, which he said took place last semester.

“There is a main street on campus that everyone walks down to get to their classroom and to the side of the street, there were multiple students on the ground laying there with other students holding up signs that were derogatory towards Jewish people and towards Israel,” Bresler told Fox News. “Walking by this with one of my friends who is in my fraternity with me, we felt very uneasy and we felt that it wasn’t safe.”

Wayne State University senior Stefanie Mihoc, who is Christian, told Fox News she’s involved with the group Students for Israel on campus.


“Before coming into college I didn’t have any Jewish friends,” Mihoc said. “I didn’t know any Jewish people, but I knew that I liked Israel based on what I knew from the Bible.”

Mihoc said she was inspired to learn more about Jewish people and get involved with groups that support Israel. She also said she witnessed ant-Semitism at her university in Detroit.

“We had this big ‘Israelpalooza’ is what we called it, where we had music and dancing and snacks and ice cream, and we brought in the organization Artists for Israel,” Mihoc told Fox News. “They were spray-painting a canvas of coexistence and peace and then we had a separate canvas for students to spray-paint whatever message they wanted.”

She went on to say, “At one point, a student stopped by and wrote something in Arabic and then left and we didn’t know what it meant, but we actually had a Muslim student who was a part of our group and he translated it for us and it said, ‘death to Israel.’”

Neither Wayne State nor the University of Cincinnati responded to Fox News’ requests for comment.


When asked what the Trump administration has been doing to curb anti-Semitism on college campuses Carr answered, “College campuses is a focus for our administration and in addition to all kinds of exciting initiatives that are being worked on as we speak, a year ago, a little more than a year ago, a groundbreaking decision by the Department of Education was issued that defines the Jewish people as an ethnic group.”

President Trump signs executive order targeting anti-SemitismVideo

He added, “That’s significant because it triggers Title VI civil rights protections for Jewish communities on campus.”

Carr continued, “Sadly, what’s happening on campuses, not only in the United States, but I was just in France and the U.K. and we’re seeing this around the world… Jews are being forced to make a choice between safety on one hand and connection to Zionism and the state of Israel on the other. And, it’s absolute anti-Semitism to tell a Jewish kid on a campus, ‘You want to be safe here, you have to absolutely divorce yourself from Zionism and from a connection to the state of Israel.’”


On Wednesday, Trump signed an executive order targeting anti-Semitism on college campuses. The order broadened the federal government’s definition of anti-Semitism and instructed it to be used in enforcing laws against discrimination on college campuses under Title VI. Under the order, the Department of Education could withhold funding from schools that it finds in violation of Title VI.

Carr also outlined other measures that have been implemented to curtail anti-Semitism across the country.

“The Department of Homeland Security has allocated a budget, a substantial budget, for augmenting security at Jewish facilities because of course security is job one,” Carr told Fox News, adding that multiple states have appropriated their own funds to augment security for Jewish facilities.

He said education has been key and needed to focus on highlighting the contributions of the Jewish people throughout history as a way “to get at the heart of this problem and cut anti-Semitism off at its evil source.”


Carr told Fox News targeting the Internet also was critical.

“We’ve got to work with Internet platforms to make sure young kids aren’t necessarily dragged into vile anti-Semitic chat rooms when they type ‘Holocaust’ into Google,” he said. “These are all things that we are focused on doing and that we desperately need to do.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. The video for this story was shot and edited by Talia Kaplan. Alexis Baker contributed to the filming of this piece. Fox News’ photo editor Carlos Bedoya provided the photos featured in the video.

Original Article

Dems plow ahead with impeachment articles as initial vote looms

closeChairman Nadler and Ranking Member Collins deliver their opening statements at impeachment markup meetingVideo

Chairman Nadler and Ranking Member Collins deliver their opening statements at impeachment markup meeting

Representatives Nadler and Collins deliver opening remarks.

The House Judiciary Committee is poised to be the scene of another major partisan clash Thursday as lawmakers press ahead with two articles of impeachment against President Trump, ahead of an initial vote expected by day's end likely to advance the measures to the floor.

The final "markup" process began Wednesday evening, immediately breaking out into fiery disagreement. Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., argued that it would be unsafe to wait until the 2020 election to remove Trump from office.


"We cannot rely on an election to solve our problems when the president threatens the very integrity of that election," Nadler claimed during Wednesday's session.

Democrats from districts that supported Trump in 2016, however, have been less enthusiastic. Recent polls have shown declining support for impeachment in key swing states, with two polls released Wednesday indicating that most Americans did not want Trump removed.

Politico reported earlier this week that the numbers were making a "small group" of moderate Democrats, who have held seats in districts where Trump won in 2016, nervous about how to vote. They instead have suggested Trump be censured, which would prevent the GOP from holding a potentially damaging Senate trial and give them political cover in the upcoming election.

The House is now composed of 431 current members, meaning Democrats would need 217 yeas to impeach Trump. There are currently 233 Democrats, so Democrats could lose only 16 of their own and still impeach the president. Among the House Democrats, 31 represent more moderate districts that Trump carried in 2016.

Freshman Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich. – who flipped a GOP district in 2018 that Trump won by seven points in 2016 – told Fox News last month that she was tentatively weighing all the evidence. On Wednesday, she confirmed that she's still undecided.

"The phones are ringing off the hook," she told CNN. "We literally can't pick up the phones fast enough — and it's people on both sides of it."

Republicans, meanwhile, have vociferously opposed the impeachment effort. The committee's ranking member, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, stated that Democrats have been trying to impeach Trump since he took office. He echoed the White House's argument that the impeachment was politically motivated theater, long in the works and foreshadowed openly by Democrats for months, if not years.


He and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., each argued that unlike previous presidents who have faced impeachment, Trump was not accused of an offense actually defined by law: neither "abuse of power" nor "obstruction of Congress" is a recognized federal or state crime. Those are the two offenses outlined in the articles of impeachment before the committee. (The separate charge of contempt of Congress, according to the DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel, exempts the president for separation-of-powers reasons.)

The markup is expected to go until Thursday afternoon. If the committee votes to approve the articles of impeachment, as expected, there will likely be an impeachment vote on the House floor in the middle of next week.

The articles center on Trump's efforts to pressure Ukraine to launch an investigation into his political rivals – namely, former vice president Joe Biden – while withholding aid. Democrats argue Trump wrongly used U.S. aid and the prospect of a White House meeting as leverage, but Trump denies doing so.

Fox News' Chad Pergram and Mike Emanuel contributed to this report.

Original Article

Eric Holder, once Obama’s ‘wingman,’ now calling out Barr for loyalty to Trump

closeChris Wallace on IG report 'whiplash': Democrats are embracing it, Republicans are attacking itVideo

Chris Wallace on IG report 'whiplash': Democrats are embracing it, Republicans are attacking it

'Fox News Sunday' host Chris Wallace reacts to Attorney General Bill Barr going to bat on the conclusions of the DOJ inspector general report.

Eric Holder, who headed the U.S. Justice Department under former President Barack Obama, penned a column late Wednesday in which he calls Attorney General William Barr an unfit successor due to "nakedly partisan" actions and loyalty to President Trump.

Barr has been a favorite target of Trump critics since becoming attormey general in February following the departure of Jeff Sessions. Barr's detractors see him as a high-ranking enabler of the president who may use the department to serve Trump's personal and political interests.

In an interview with Fox News earlier this year, Barr said he was ready for the criticism.

His supporters, however, see Barr as a major player in determining the origins of what became the Russia investigation. The White House and Republicans in Congress say they want to know more about why the FBI decided to investigate the Trump's 2016 campaign's possible ties to Moscow — what Trump has often called a partisan “witch hunt.”


Writing in The Washington Post, Holder's criticism of Barr is wide-ranging. He points to a comment Barr made last month at a Federalist Society event, asserting that Barr made the "outlandish suggestion that Congress cannot entrust anyone but the president himself to execute the law."

Eric Trump: Pelosi has no control over impeachment fightVideo

"This is a stunning declaration not merely of ideology but of loyalty: to the president and his interests," Holder writes. "It is also revealing of Barr's own intent: to serve not at a careful remove from politics, as his office demands, but as an instrument of politics — under the direct 'control' of President Trump."

Attorneys general and their relationship with presidents have long been closely watched. Kris Olson, a former U.S. attorney in Oregon, wrote about the close relationships that usually hang in the balance. A president can remove his attorney general at will, but the person is "also intrinsically tied with the politics of the administration."

Holder, in 2013, did not hide his closeness with Obama. During a radio interview, he called himself Obama’s “wingman.”

"I’m still enjoying what I’m doing, there’s still work to be done. I’m still the president’s wingman, so I’m there with my boy. So we’ll see," Holder told Tom Joyner's radio show, according to Politico.

Critics quickly seized upon Holder's term "wingman" because the attorney general is traditionally considered a role independent of the president — even though the job holder is appointed by the president.

Continuing in the Post, Holder writes about his initial reluctance to go public with his criticism of Barrr but adds he is in a unique position where his voice is needed. He says Barr's actions "demand a response from someone who held the same office.”


Holder also writes that he was infuriated as he watched Barr comment on the ongoing John Durham criminal investigation into the origins of the FBI probe into Trump’s 2016 campaign. Barr, at the time, said he thought "spying occurred" by the government into the Trump campaign and then, according to The New York Times, clarified that he was "concerned" it occurred.

Holder warns that Durham could see his good reputation meet the same fate as Barr’s — becoming "irrevocably lost."

Original Article

Lisa Page slams Trump after he suggests she got restraining order against Peter Strzok

closeFormer FBI attorney Lisa Page sues DOJ, FBI for publishing her text messagesVideo

Former FBI attorney Lisa Page sues DOJ, FBI for publishing her text messages

Page says leaking her messages to the press was 'not only wrong, it was illegal'; David Spunt reports from the Justice Department.

Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page slammed President Trump Wednesday after he suggested– without evidence– that she had to get a restraining order against ex-FBI investigator Peter Strzok.

“This is a lie,” Page tweeted in response to his claim. "Nothing like this ever happened. I wish we had a president who knew how to act like one. SAD!”

At a rally in Hershey, Pa., Tuesday evening, Trump spoke at length about Page and Strzok.


“This poor guy, did I hear that he needed a restraining order after this whole thing to keep him away from Lisa?” he asked the cheering audience. “That’s what I heard. I don’t know if it’s true. The fake news will never report it, but it could be true.”

Page and Strzok are frequent targets of the president because of their anti-Trump texts while having an affair as FBI colleagues before Stzrok was released from the Mueller investigation and eventually fired from the FBI.

Their texts also brought scrutiny to their motives with communications like “we'll stop it,” referring to Trump’s candidacy and writing that they have an “insurance policy” for the election.

On Tuesday, Page filed a lawsuit against the FBI and Justice Department for leaking her private texts, claiming it was a breach of the Federal Privacy Act.

Page broke her silence earlier this month, saying in an interview that Trump's personal attacks are like "being punched in the gut."

"My heart drops to my stomach when I realize he has tweeted about me again," she said. "The president of the United States is calling me names to the entire world. He’s demeaning me and my career. It’s sickening.”


It’s not clear where Trump got his information about the restraining order.

Original Article