Pastors, worship leaders pray for Trump in Oval Office amid impeachment fight

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Polls see President Trump surging in battleground states

Reaction from Fox News political analyst Gianno Caldwell.

Prominent Christian pastors and worship leaders prayed over President Trump in the Oval Office last week, as he told them he needs prayer now more than ever amid the intensifying impeachment probe on Capitol Hill.

About 50 worship leaders from across America gathered for a faith briefing Friday organized by Paula White-Cain, the president's personal pastor and special adviser to the Faith and Opportunity Initiative in the White House.


"All 50 of us crammed into the Oval Office. He sat at his desk and he said pray for me," Sean Feucht, a Bethel Music worship leader who is running for Congress in California's Third Congressional District, told Fox News.

President Trump surrounded by a large group of worship leaders from across the country whom he invited to pray for him in the Oval Office Friday.

President Trump surrounded by a large group of worship leaders from across the country whom he invited to pray for him in the Oval Office Friday. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)

"We just laid our hands on him and prayed for him. It was like a real intense, hardcore prayer. It was so wild," Feucht said. "I could not believe he invited us in. That he carved out time to meet with us."


The worship leader, who has traveled as a missionary to countries where Christianity is most persecuted, called it "historic" having that many worship leaders invited by the president into the Oval Office.

Trump surprised the group in the Cabinet Room, where Brian Houston, the global senior pastor of Hillsong Church, shared about the faith-based meeting.

"When America is strong, the world is a better place," the Christian leader from Australia said. "What a great opportunity it's been to see some of the initiatives that are happening to help freedom of religion."


Kari Jobe and Cody Carnes, worship leaders from Nashville, also shared a message about how encouraged they were by the briefing and prayer.

"The thing that moved me the most was just how everyone is so for making sure we're changing people's lives and not leaving those that are marginalized and those that have been trafficked…they're working to end these things and change these things," Jobe shared. "I've just been in tears all day….God is moving!"


Vice President Pence opened up the faith briefing discussing the administration's work regarding religious freedom and the First Amendment.

Vice President Mike Pence and Sean Feucht, a worship leader who is running for Congress in California, participate in a faith briefing at the White House complex Friday.

Vice President Mike Pence and Sean Feucht, a worship leader who is running for Congress in California, participate in a faith briefing at the White House complex Friday. (Courtesy of Sean Feucht)

"Wonderful stopping by a worship leaders briefing today at the White House!" Pence wrote on Twitter. "America is a proud Nation of believers and our Administration will always defend the freedom of religion of every American, of every faith!"


The group worshipped, led by Carnes and Jobe, Bethel Music co-founders Brian and Jenn Johnson, Brit Nicole, and others. They prayed for an hour in the Eisenhower building.

Ivanka Trump discussed women's rights, prison reform, maternity leave and the economy. Sam Brownback, Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, addressed the group and answered questions about what America is doing for religious liberty around the world.


When Trump surprised them in Cabinet Room, he welcomed them and joked about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi praying for him.

"Nancy Pelosi says that she prays for me, but she doesn't tell anyone what she prays for," he said. "But I know you guys have come to pray for me and I know you care about what's happening in this administration."

Feucht said: "I shook his hand and said 'Mr. President, I'm from California and I just want to let you know there's people out in California that support you."


But not everyone was on board. On Monday, the Freedom From Religion Foundation announced they are "investigating" the faith-based event.

“Welcoming a group of Christian Nationalists to carry out a governmental ‘takeover’ is deeply disturbing, since it shows a contempt for the foundational American principle of state-church separation,” Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president, said in a statement. “It should alarm every citizen.”

Original Article

IG Horowitz rips ‘failure’ of entire ‘chain of command’ in FBI’s Trump-Russia probe

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What questions should Inspector General Horowitz be asked about his report?

Reaction from former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz on Wednesday decried what he called “failure” by the entire “chain of command” involved in the FBI’s initial Trump-Russia investigation, saying in prepared testimony that they made “so many basic and fundamental errors” on “one of the most sensitive FBI investigations.”

Horowitz is slated to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday to testify on his report on the origins of the FBI’s Russia investigation and alleged misconduct related to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). He plans to criticize FBI leadership for the “inaccuracies” and “omissions” in their FISA applications for former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, among other things.


“We are deeply concerned that so many basic and fundamental errors were made by three separate, hand-picked investigative teams; on one of the most sensitive FBI investigations; after the matter had been briefed to the highest levels within the FBI; even though the information sought through the use of FISA authority related so closely to an ongoing presidential campaign; and even though those involved with the investigation knew that their actions were likely to be subjected to close scrutiny,” Horowitz is expected to say in his opening statement before the committee.

“We believe this circumstance reflects a failure not just by those who prepared the FISA applications, but also by the managers and supervisors in the Crossfire Hurricane chain of command, including FBI senior officials who were briefed as the investigation progressed,” he wrote.

Horowitz’s long-awaited report determined that the FBI complied with policies in launching the Trump-Russia investigation, but also flagged “significant concerns with how certain aspects of the investigation were conducted and supervised.” The inspector general said his team has “reviewed over 1 million records and conducted over 100 interviews, including several witnesses who only recently agreed to be interviewed" as part of the nearly two-year-long investigation.


The 476-page report released Monday stated that Horowitz found no intentional misconduct or political bias surrounding the FBI’s launch of the probe, which was called “Crossfire Hurricane” inside the FBI, and efforts to seek a FISA warrant to monitor Carter Page. He extended a similar judgment to the launch of investigations into four Trump associates: Page, former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

However, the report faulted the FBI for numerous errors in the FISA application process, identifying at least 17 “significant inaccuracies and omissions” in the application and renewals for Page’s FISA warrant. The report said that Page’s FISA application omitted information that the FBI had obtained from another U.S. government agency detailing its prior relationship with Page, including that he had been “approved as an ‘operational contact’ for the other agency from 2008 to 2013.”


The Crossfire Hurricane team also left out Page’s “consensually monitored statements to an FBI” confidential human source saying that he “literally never met” Manafort, as well as Papadopoulos’ monitored statement to the FBI “denying that anyone associated with the Trump campaign was collaborating with Russia or with outside groups like WikiLeaks in the release of emails.”

The report also revealed that the FBI did not have specific information corroborating allegations against Page from the now-infamous dossier authored by ex-British intelligence agent Christopher Steele. The inspector general found that the FBI was unable to “corroborate any of the specific substantive allegations against Carter Page contained in the election reporting and relied on in the FISA applications,” and that they found “as early as January 2017” that there were “potentially serious problems” identified in Steele’s reporting, but that the team continued using his information as a basis for Page’s FISA warrant.

"FBI leadership supported relying on Steele's reporting to seek a FISA order targeting Page after being advised of, and giving consideration to, concerns expressed by a Department attorney that Steele may have been hired by someone associated with a rival candidate or campaign," Horowitz is expected to say in his opening statement. The work was funded by Democrats and the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Horowitz’s report also found that the Crossfire Hurricane investigation was not properly sharing information with the Justice Department or other key figures who should have been privy to updated information. Horowitz revealed that the team failed to inform DOJ officials of information that was available to them at the time of the FISA applications. Much of that information was “inconsistent with, or undercut, the assertions contained in the FISA applications” and ultimately “resulted in inaccurate information being included” in Page’s FISA applications.

Original Article

Farm bill panned as mass ‘amnesty’ for illegal immigrants heads to vote in House

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Trump administration proposes changes to visa program for foreign workers on farms

The H-2A visa program has tripled in size over the last decade, with a quarter million temporary farm workers coming in this year; Dan Springer reports from Snohomish County, Washington.

As all eyes are on the House impeachment inquiry, elsewhere an agricultural bill that would provide a path to legal status for millions of illegal immigrants is rumbling through the chamber — leading immigration hawks to accuse lawmakers of trying to sneak in an amnesty while the nation is distracted.

The Farm Workforce Modernization Act, passed in the House Judiciary Committee last month, is scheduled for a vote on the House floor Wednesday. The bill provides a process for illegal immigrant farmworkers to seek a temporary five-and-a-half-year “Certified Agricultural Worker” status if they have worked for approximately six months in the industry in the last two years.


That status can either be renewed indefinitely, or workers (along with their spouses and children) can begin a path to permanent legal status in the form of a green card. That path, according to the legislation, includes background checks and $1,000 fine.

To secure the green card, those who have worked in agriculture for 10 years or more must work for four more years, while those who've spent less than a decade in the sector would have to work eight more years. Once workers receive a green card, they are then free to pursue work in fields outside of agriculture.

The bill also streamlines the H-2A agriculture visa program, cutting processing time and costs for visa petitions. And it calls for the Department of Homeland Security to set up a pilot program that would give H-2A workers the ability to change jobs within the sector if they find work within two months.

“The men and women who work America’s farms feed the nation. But, farmworkers across the country are living and working with uncertainty and fear, contributing to the destabilization of farms across the nation,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., said in a statement. “Our bill offers stability for American farms by providing a path to legal status for farmworkers. In addition, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act addresses the nation’s future labor needs by modernizing an outdated system for temporary workers, while ensuring fair wages and workplace conditions.”

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It’s also strongly backed by a number of farm groups. The United Fresh Produce Association said it brings “much-needed reforms to secure a stable and legal workforce in agriculture, allowing current farmworkers to attain legal status and reforming the H-2A guest worker program to ensure a future source of workers on American farms.”

The bill has the support of at least 23 Republicans, a number of whom are co-sponsoring the legislation — likely assuring its passage in the House and raising the possibility that a form of such a bill could have a shot in the Republican-controlled Senate.

But immigration hawks have dismissed the claim that it is a modernization bill, instead calling it a thin cloak for yet another amnesty measure in the agricultural sector — similar to one in the 1980s that saw more than 1 million workers seek protection from deportation, and one that was seen as rife with fraud.

“A true Farm Workforce Modernization Act would encourage mechanization and automation through subsidies, not amnesty illegal aliens and guarantee a steady flow of cheap foreign labor,” RJ Hauman, head of government relations at the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), told Fox News.


Such groups say that automation, not amnesty, is what the agricultural sector needs.

“Cracking down on cheap foreign labor would save the federal government and states billions, help American Workers, and prevent future illegal immigration,” Hauman said. “Agricultural automation is the future of the industry – another amnesty and massive expansion of a guest worker program isn’t. When will lawmakers understand this?”

The Heritage Foundation, meanwhile, described the bill as a “clear cut example of amnesty,” warning that it "threatens the legal immigration system’s legitimacy and incentivizes aliens and farmers to ignore the legal immigration system in the future if it best serves their needs."

While the bill has bipartisan support, it has also faced criticism from other Republicans lawmakers. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., cited estimates from liberal groups that as many as 2.7 million illegal immigrants could get legal status if the bill passes.

“While the 224 pages of H.R. 5038 make many more changes to the H-2A program — some good and some bad — one need look no further than the first few pages to figure out the real point of this bill: a path to citizenship for an unknown number of illegal immigrants who do some work in agriculture, along with their families,” he said at the Judiciary Committee markup last month.

He also said the bill’s document standards are low and could allow illegal immigrants with multiple DUI convictions and a history of Social Security fraud to get legal status.

As with most bills that include a path to legalization for those in the country illegally, there are some enforcement parts of the bill as well, but they are particularly flaccid in this instance.

While the bill would establish mandatory E-Verify (a DHS-run verification system for employers that has been seen as the holy grail for employment enforcement) for all agricultural employment, Lofgren’s office notes that that would be “phased in" and only "after all legalization and H-2A reforms have been implemented and included necessary due process protections for authorized workers who are incorrectly rejected by the system.”


This aspect is fueling concerns from immigration hawks that this bill goes the path of past “immigration reform” measures that pursue “amnesty first, enforcement later.”

Mark Krikorian, of the Center for Immigration Studies, argued in a recent op-ed that E-Verify would no longer be needed if the bill passes, “because with this kind of sweet deal, who’d bother to hire new illegals?”

Other conservatives warned that lawmakers were trying to push the bill through while attention was on impeachment. Conservative commentator Michelle Malkin accused lawmakers and groups in favor of open borders of “trying to ram this abomination through while [the] nation is distracted with bread and circuses.”

Should the bill pass and find support in the Senate, it is far from clear how President Trump would respond. He has pledged support for American farmers but has also promised to protect American workers from the flood of cheap labor from abroad.

If a version of the bill finds its way to the White House, that latter promise would face a high-profile test, possibly in an election year. So far the White House has not indicated whether or not it would veto the bill.

Original Article

Mexican cartels subject to terrorist-level sanctions under new GOP-sponsored bill

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21 killed in gunfight between Mexican drug cartel, police near Texas border

At least 21 people killed in a gunbattle near Texas border between suspected members of the drug cartel and police; Fox News contributor Tom Homan weighs in.

The Mexican cartels are coming under increased pressure from U.S. lawmakers.

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., is expected to introduce on Wednesday a bill to subject certain foreign criminal organizations – namely the cartels – to the same level of sanctions as terror groups. It comes after President Trump last month announced that plans were in motion to designate the drug-trafficking enterprises south of the border as foreign terrorist organizations, or FTOs.


“Criminal organizations and drug cartels like the one responsible for last month’s attack in Mexico ought to be treated just like terrorist groups in the eyes of the U.S. government,” Cotton told Fox News in a statement, referring to the early November slaying of nine U.S. citizens from the Mormon community in the northern state of Sonora.

“This bill would help stop cartel violence by ensuring these groups, and anyone who helps them, face dire consequences for their actions,” he added.

Referred to as the Significant Transnational Criminal Organization Designation Act, the legislation – an amendment to the Immigration and Nationality Act – enables the federal government to impose on the most significant Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs) the same sanctions that apply to FTOs.

The sanctions include prohibiting organization members and their immediate families admission to the United States, freezing assets, and seeking civil and criminal penalties against individuals providing material assistance or resources to the organization.

Moreover, the bill mandates that the president submit a report to Congress with the government’s findings on the Nov. 4, 2019 attack on U.S. citizens in northern Mexico once the investigation is completed, including whether the organization responsible should be designated a significant TCO.

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., participates in a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, on Jan. 25, 2018 in Washington, D.C.

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., participates in a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, on Jan. 25, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The bill is sponsored by GOP Sens. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, John Cornyn of Texas, Ted Cruz of Texas, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Josh Hawley of Missouri, David Perdue of Georgia, Mitt Romney of Utah and Ben Sasse of Nebraska.

The act defines “membership in a significant transnational criminal organization” as direct members and/or their spouse and child. But it carves out an exemption for those “who did not know, or should not reasonably have known, that his or her spouse or parent was a member of a significant transnational criminal organization or whom the Attorney General has reasonable grounds to believe has renounced” to such membership.

Mexican national guardsmen patrol near Bavispe, at the Sonora-Chihuahua border, Mexico, Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019. 

Mexican national guardsmen patrol near Bavispe, at the Sonora-Chihuahua border, Mexico, Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019. (AP)

The bill comes at a time when cartel violence is spiking and the U.S. is battling unprecedented levels of drug-related deaths and overdoses. New Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf has also vowed to go after cartels and other gangs fueling chaos at the border.

Meanwhile, it remains to be seen if and when Trump's FTO designation on the cartels will come to fruition, a move that has generated both praise and criticism. Terrorist designations are handled by the U.S. State Department. Once a group has been slapped with such a designation, known members are prohibited from entering the country, and it is then illegal for those in the U.S. to intentionally provide support to them. Financial institutions are also barred from doing any type of business with the organization or its members.

“The FTO designation is an important step in a positive direction for U.S. national security. Too many Americans have died as the ruthless cartels have made billions by terrorizing communities and killing at unprecedented levels. It's clear President Trump always places the safety of Americans first,” noted Derek Maltz, a former special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration Special Operations Division in New York. “Designating the cartels as terrorists and implementing a focused operational plan will save a tremendous amount of lives.”


The FTO tag could also mean that an American in an inner-city gang selling street drugs that originated from south of the border could be prosecuted under anti-terrorism laws – possibly being given a life sentence.

A boy pauses as he speaks next to the coffins of Dawna Ray Langford, 43, and her sons Trevor, 11, and Rogan, 2, who were killed by drug cartel gunmen, during the funeral at a family cemetery in La Mora, Sonora state, Mexico, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019.(AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

A boy pauses as he speaks next to the coffins of Dawna Ray Langford, 43, and her sons Trevor, 11, and Rogan, 2, who were killed by drug cartel gunmen, during the funeral at a family cemetery in La Mora, Sonora state, Mexico, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019.(AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)


According to the latest annual assessment from the DEA, Mexican drug trafficking organizations pose the greatest crime threat to the U.S. and are continuing to “expand their control of the opioids market” in conjunction with the deadly spike in overdoses in recent years. However, officials have also lamented that “the scope of violence generated by Mexican crime groups has been difficult to measure due to restricted reporting by the government and attempts by groups to mislead the public.”

Moreover, Mexico’s homicide rate – routinely driven by cartel-connected violence – is on the path to reaching record levels this year, even higher than the record numbers set in 2018 when more than 30,000 people were killed.

Original Article

Tom Ridge says Trump’s Ukraine call left him ‘disappointed and troubled,’ says he won’t back president in 2020

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President Trump abused the power of his office by asking the leader of Ukraine to investigate Democrat Joe Biden, the nation’s first homeland security secretary said Tuesday.

Tom Ridge, who led the Department of Homeland Security from its creation in 2003 until February 2005, made the remarks in Harrisburg, the Pennsylvania capital, just a short distance from where Trump addressed a rally in Hershey later in the day.


“I am disappointed and troubled by the very fact that my president – and he is my president – would ask a foreign leader of a troubled country who’s been besieged by an enemy of the United States, to do him a political favor,” Ridge said at a renewable energy event sponsored by the Pennsylvania Conservative Energy Forum, reported. “As far as I’m concerned, it is abuse of power.”

Ridge, now 74, was a Republican governor of Pennsylvania from 1995 until 2001, when he resigned soon after taking the job of homeland security adviser to former President George W. Bush soon after the terror attacks of Sept. 11. The adviser job eventually evolved into the Cabinet-level position it remains today.

Tom Ridge was the inaugural secretary of Homeland Security under former President George W. Bush. (Associated Press)

Tom Ridge was the inaugural secretary of Homeland Security under former President George W. Bush. (Associated Press)

He made it clear that he won’t support Trump in 2020 and has said previously that he didn’t support Trump in 2016. He said his 2020 choice will be whichever candidate can bring “experience and demeanor and global perspective” to the job, when Republican or Democrat.

But he won’t publicly endorse a Democrat, he added.

“I’m going to wait and see what the Democrats do before I make my final decision,” he told PennLive. “People know how I feel about Trump so obviously I will be looking for an alternative. If not, as I’ve said to folks before, I wrote in the names of two Republican governors before because I love govs.”

Ridge added that he thinks Trump’s handling of foreign policy has allowed other countries to assert their own agendas, particularly Russia.


Russian President Vladimir Putin “has got to be one of the happiest world leaders,” Ridge said.

“Even in his wildest imagination he never imagined when he played in our election in 2016, and he’s playing with it in 2019 and 2020, that he would have four years of incredible political destabilization because of what he did and he’ll keep doing it.”

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Tulsi Gabbard accuses White House of defending Saudi kingdom after NAS Pensacola shooting: ‘Saudi Arabia is not our ally’

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Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, on Tuesday slammed the Trump administration, claiming it defended the Saudi kingdom in the wake of last week’s deadly shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida.

She also accused President Trump of failing to speak up for “for those families who just lost their loved ones.”


”This was a terrorist attack that took the lives of three American service members and injured eight others,” Gabbard said in an interview on Hill.TV's “Rising.” “We need to call it for what it is instead of what President Trump has done with his own remarks, with Secretary Pompeo basically putting out messages as though they are the spokespersons for the Saudi kingdom rather than standing up for our country’s national security and what’s in the best interest of our country.”

“Saudi Arabia is not our ally. As president, I will state that very clearly and they will continue to not be our ally as long as they are both directly and indirectly supporting terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda and others,” Gabbard said.

Also Tuesday, the Pentagon suspended all 852 Saudi military students at NAS Pensacola after a gunman opened fire there last week, killing three military members and injuring eight others before being shot dead by police. The FBI later identified the shooter as 21-year-old Saudi Royal Air Force Second Lt. Mohammed Alshamrani. The attack has prompted a broader Defense Department review of all international training on U.S. military bases.

After the attack, President Trump tweeted that he had spoken with Saudi Arabia's King Salman.

“King Salman of Saudi Arabia just called to express his sincere condolences and give his sympathies to the families and friends of the warriors who were killed and wounded in the attack that took place in Pensacola, Florida….” Trump tweeted Friday. “The King said that the Saudi people are greatly angered by the barbaric actions of the shooter, and that this person in no way shape or form represents the feelings of the Saudi people who love the American people.”
In his initial reaction to the shooting, Trump said: “Just received a full briefing on the tragic shooting at NAS Pensacola in Florida, and spoke to @GovRonDeSantis. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families during this difficult time. We are continuing to monitor the situation as the investigation is ongoing.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also tweeted last week.

“I just spoke with Foreign Minister Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia who expressed his condolences and sadness at the loss of life in the horrific attack in Pensacola, Florida yesterday. The families and friends of those killed, and those wounded, will be in our thoughts and prayers,” Pompeo wrote.

Trump has faced backlash in the past over his support for the Saudi royal family in the wake of the slaying of Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi, who was allegedly killed and dismembered by Saudi operatives inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul last year.


On Monday, Gabbard – a vocal critic of the Saudi kingdom in the past — announced she won’t be attending the Democrats’ next debate “regardless” of whether she qualifies for the Dec. 19 event in Los Angeles. She had met the donor requirement to qualify for the debate but had yet to meet a requirement that she earn 4-percent support in at least four national or early-state polls approved by the Democratic National Committee [DNC] — or hit 6 percent in two approved early-state polls. The cutoff date is Wednesday.

Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson, Bradford Betz and Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.

Original Article

CNN’s Don Lemon blasts Trump-Thanos edit as ‘juvenile meme game’

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CNN host Don Lemon blasted the Trump campaign Tuesday for playing what he described as a “stupid, juvenile meme game” and effectively undermining the “seriousness of what is happening” after House Democrats announced they're filing two articles of impeachment against the president.


Lemon reacted to a doctored video posted by Trump War Room, an account managed by Trump 2020 campaign, depicting the president’s head edited on top of the body of Thanos, the extraterrestrial menace in the Avengers films from Disney and Marvel Studios. In the clip, Trump-Thanos says “I am inevitable,” before snapping its fingers and causing Nancy Pelosi and key Democrat committee leaders at a press conference to disintegrate into dust.

“House Democrats can push their sham impeachment all they want,” the Trump War Room account tweeted. “President Trump's re-election is inevitable.”

“What are we, in junior high school? Like what the hell? What is this?” Lemon asked on "CNN Tonight." “Like what — What?! I cannot believe that I’m even having to report this on the news. This is — this is crazy. This is literally crazy. Are you people insane? Are you insane?”

“Go ahead, troll the Democrats on Twitter. Do this stupid, silly you-know-what. Play this stupid, juvenile meme game,” Lemon continued. “History won’t record this meme stupid crap, but history will record this. The seriousness of what is happening, that today is the day that the House of Representatives in the United States of America introduced articles of impeachment against President Donald J. Trump, the President of the United States of America, for committing high crimes and misdemeanors. A big deal.”

At the same press conference depicted in the video, House Democrats introduced two articles of impeachment against Trump alleging abuse of power and obstruction of Congress regarding his interactions with Ukraine. They outlined their impeachment plans in a brief and pointed statement to the media early Tuesday morning, and left without taking questions.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., later posted text of the articles, which declare Trump's actions warrant impeachment, trial and removal from office. In response, the White House accused Democrats of using the Ukraine issue as an excuse for "this partisan, gratuitous, and pathetic attempt to overthrow the Trump Administration and the results of the 2016 election."


In the Marvel movie "Avengers: Infinity Game," the character Thanos used his Gauntlet to defeat the heroes before celebrating his victory by snapping his fingers, wiping out half of all life forms in the universe. Thanos was ultimately beaten by Tony Stark, also known as Iron Man, in a rematch seen in this year’s "Avengers: Endgame."

Fox News’ Brooke Singman and Fox Business' Ken Martin contributed to this report.

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez plans to vote against Pelosi drug pricing bill without changes

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D. N.Y., said Tuesday she plans to vote against a bill put forward by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that would allow the government to negotiate lower prices on prescription drugs.

Ocasio-Cortez and other liberal lawmakers have been urging Pelosi for months to make the bill more progressive and have threatened to delay the bill without the changes, including making negotiated drug prices available to those without insurance, Politico reported.


“As the bill stands, she plans on voting no,” an Ocasio-Cortez spokesperson said, according to CNBC.

The House is expected to vote on the bill this week.

“Make my day,” moderate Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., said over the potential delay, according to Politico. “I think the speaker understands the politics better than some of our progressive colleagues.”

House leaders have resisted the changes over fears of losing moderates, especially in vulnerable districts critical to keeping a Democratic majority, Politico reported.

Mitch McConnell likely won’t take up the bill in the Senate and President Trump has planned to veto it if it passes through Congress.

In a statement, Trump said the bill would “likely undermine access to lifesaving medicines.”


The Congressional Budget Office said the bill likely would save Medicare $345 billion over a decade, CNBC reported.

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After Trump’s 9th Circuit pick confirmed, Biden warns of 2nd term ‘death grip’ on federal courts: report

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While Democrats in Congress have been conducting impeachment hearings in recent weeks, President Trump has been filling judicial vacancies in the federal court system at a rapid clip – and that appears to have potential 2020 opponent Joe Biden worried.

“Look at how the federal court system is changing,” Biden told a group in Las Vegas on Tuesday night, according to a reporter for ABC News. “Four more years of the same kind of appointments, you’re going to see a court system that is fundamentally, for two generations, locked in a way that’s a death grip that does not make any sense.

“It’s as if Robert Bork would be the chief justice, God rest his soul,” Biden added, referring to the Ronald Reagan Supreme Court nominee whose appointment Democrats blocked in 1987. Bork died in 2012 at age 85.


In a 53-40 vote Tuesday, the U.S. Senate confirmed Trump appointee Patrick Bumatay, a San Diego federal prosecutor, to a seat on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, making him the 49th circuit appointee to be confirmed under the Trump administration, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Trump was able to get Bumatay confirmed to the San Francisco-based court despite opposition to the nomination from California’s two Democratic U.S. senators, Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris.

Bumatay, 41, a son of Filipino immigrants, is openly gay and is raising twin daughters with his husband, the newspaper reported.

The Senate is expected to vote on another 9th Circuit nominee — Lawrence Van Dyke, a former solicitor general for Nevada – on Wednesday, potentially giving Trump another appointee on the traditionally liberal-leaning court, the Union-Tribune reported.


When the Senate confirmed a Trump pick for the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in late November, that court became the third to shift to a Republican-appointed majority since the president took office in January 2017.

In an 80-15 vote, the Senate confirmed Barbara Lagoa to the 11th Circuit seat previously held by Judge Stanley Marcus, a Clinton appointee who sat on the appeals court that handles cases from Florida, Georgia and Alabama since 1997.

Trump administration secures another judicial victoryVideo

Lagoa, the first Cuban-American woman confirmed to the 11th Circuit, tilted that court, which was previously split between six Republican appointees and six Democratic appointees, to a GOP-appointed majority.

Trump's nominees alone now hold five of the 12 seats on the 11th Circuit.

During the previous week, confirmation of Steven Menashi, Trump’s pick for the 2nd Circuit, flipped that court to a Republican majority.


Trump has also flipped the 3rd Circuit.

Lagoa was Trump's 48th nominee confirmed to a circuit court seat, giving the president double the number of circuit judges then-President Barack Obama had gotten through by the same point in his presidency, according to a count by the Heritage Foundation.

Fox News’ Tyler Olson contributed to this story.

Original Article

Russia’s Sergey Lavrov meets with Trump, Pompeo, dismisses election-interference worries

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Fox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 10

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After meeting with President Trump at the White House in the Oval Office on Tuesday, Russia's foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said there was no talk of election interference and brushed off the notion that it was a topic of importance.

Lavrov did, however, acknowledge that he discussed election interference with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, but said it has yet to come up in his talks with Trump, according to The Associated Press.

“We haven’t exactly even discussed elections,” Lavrov said at a news conference at the Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Lavrov downplayed a question about whether or not Trump had shared any classified information with him during their meeting and told reporters, "If you find any secrets, the scoop is yours." He also lamented the "wave of suspicion that has overcome Washington" with regard to election interference.


"All speculation about our alleged interference in domestic processes of the United States is baseless," Lavrov added.

In addition to discussing arms control, Pompeo and Lavrov reportedly highlighted Russian aggression against Ukraine, as well. Pompeo reiterated the United States' position that Crimea belongs to Ukraine, and should not be subject to Russian control. The peninsula was annexed by Russia in 2014.

Lavrov's arrival came after a meeting in Paris on Monday between Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin.


The meeting was considered an attempt to de-escalate tensions between the two nations amid a five-year separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine. Both leaders agreed to exchange all prisoners and implement a cease-fire by the end of the year, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Fox News' Louis Casiano and The Associated Press contributed to this report

Original Article

Pentagon to evaluate legality of putting troops at US-Mexico border

closeBorder apprehensions drop for 6th consecutive monthVideo

Border apprehensions drop for 6th consecutive month

November marks sixth consecutive month of reduced border apprehensions.

The Pentagon's independent investigations office announced Tuesday that it will evaluate the legality of the Trump administration’s use of the military at the U.S. border with Mexico.

Glenn Fine, the acting inspector general (IG) of the Defense Department who had served as the Justice Department IG for 11 years, said his probe will assess several aspects of the military’s border mission, which some in Congress call a misuse of the military.

Under federal law, the military may not be used for domestic law enforcement purposes. The Trump administration’s view is that the troops are in a national security role at the southern border.

Glenn Fine, the acting inspector general, announced Tuesday that his probe will assess several aspects of the military’s border mission, which some in Congress call a misuse of the military. Fine said he will look at what the troops are doing at the border, what training they received for the mission, and whether their use at the border is legal. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Glenn Fine, the acting inspector general, announced Tuesday that his probe will assess several aspects of the military’s border mission, which some in Congress call a misuse of the military. Fine said he will look at what the troops are doing at the border, what training they received for the mission, and whether their use at the border is legal. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)


In a letter to Fine in September, 33 House members urged an investigation into what they called the “misuse and politicization” of the military at the border.

Fine said he will look at what the troops are doing at the border, what training they received for the mission, and whether their use at the border is legal.

For more than a year, several thousand active-duty troops have been stationed along the border to perform various missions.

The troops have erected wire barriers, assisted with border surveillance and performed other functions in support of the Department of Homeland Security.

Border apprehensions dropped in November for sixth straight monthVideo


Also Tuesday, a federal judge in Texas blocked the Trump administration from using $3.6 billion earmarked for the military to fund border wall construction.

The Trump administration is expected to appeal Tuesday's decision.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

Ronny Jackson, former White House doctor and VA nominee, running for Congress in Texas

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A former chief White House physician and one-time troubled nominee to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is running for a congressional seat in Texas.

Retired Navy Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson filed candidate paperwork in Austin to replace outgoing Rep. Mac Thornberry hours before the Monday deadline, The Texas Tribune reported. He will face 13 other candidates for the Republican nomination.

Thornberry's 13th Congressional District in the Texas Panhandle overwhelmingly voted for President Trump in 2016. The Republican Party of Texas did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News.


In this April 2, 2018, file photo, then-White House physician and nominee for Veterans Affairs Secretary Dr. Ronny Jackson arrives at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. Jackson is running as a Republican in 2020 for a rural congressional seat in Texas. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

In this April 2, 2018, file photo, then-White House physician and nominee for Veterans Affairs Secretary Dr. Ronny Jackson arrives at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. Jackson is running as a Republican in 2020 for a rural congressional seat in Texas. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

Jackson, a Texas native, had worked as a White House physician since 2006 and was Trump's surprise choice last year to head the VA. He retired from the Navy last week.

His nomination ran into trouble when allegations of drinking on the job, creating a hostile work environment and overprescribing medications surfaced. He denied any wrongdoing and eventually withdrew his name from consideration.

Trump re-nominated Jackson earlier this year for a second star amid a Pentagon investigation into his conduct.

Dr. Ronny Jackson withdraws nomination for VA SecretaryVideo

Trump called him "one of the finest men I've ever met," noting that he received good evaluations from his predecessor, former President Barack Obama. The promotion was not approved by the Senate.


In January 2018, Jackson gave Trump a glowing report on his physical and mental well-being in his first medical checkup since taking office, saying Trump was "in excellent health" at the time.

Original Article

Buttigieg releases list of clients from 2007-2010 consulting work

closePete Buttigieg struggles to find support from black votersVideo

Pete Buttigieg struggles to find support from black voters

Buttigieg's difficulties with police and the black community started early in his first term as mayor of South Bend; senior correspondent Mike Tobin reports.

Pete Buttigieg on Tuesday released a list of the corporations he worked for while employed as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company, amid a growing demand for transparency.

For the first two and a half years after his education, Buttigieg took a job with the consulting firm in its Chicago office. The mayor of South Bend, Ind., released the client list one day after McKinsey announced it would release Buttigieg from a non-disclosure agreement due to the “the unique circumstances presented by a presidential campaign,” a spokesperson with the company told Fox News.

His work from 2007 to 2010 consisted of brief stints with different clients doing “mostly research and analysis,” Buttigieg said in a press release. His clients included Michigan Blue Cross Blue Shield, Canadian grocery store and retail chain Loblaw’s, Best Buy; the NRDC, EPA and Department of Energy together for an energy project; environmental nonprofit the Energy Foundation, the Department of Defense working on building the economies of Irag and Afghanistan, and the U.S. Postal Service.


“Now, voters can see for themselves that my work amounted to mostly research and analysis. They can also see that I value both transparency and keeping my word. Neither of these qualities are something we see coming out of Washington, especially from this White House. It's time for that to change,” Buttigieg said.

Democrats voiced frustrations at the lack of transparency given what some see as a controversial record from the company. In November, it was reported that McKinsey and Company was under a federal criminal investigation over the way it advises bankrupt companies. Prosecutors are looking into whether the company put profits over its clients’ best interests. McKinsey has also been named in cases against opioid distributors and has worked to help the Trump administration with implementing immigration policies.

In an interview with The Atlantic, Buttigieg said he valued his time working in the private sector.

“Most Americans work in the private sector. And I think the experience I got there served me well. If you’re going to manage the largest economy in the world, it’s probably a good idea that you’ve had a little bit of professional experience looking at a balance sheet or knowing what an income statement is,” he said.

The client list could, if anything, come under fire for Buttigieg’s time with Blue Cross Blue Shield.

“When health insurers bring in consultants for things like ‘assessments’ and ‘cost cutting,’ those are code words for laying off workers, denying customers medical coverage and raising their rates,” Wendell Potter, a former insurance industry executive, told The New York Times.


Buttigieg insisted that none of his work could have led to anyone’s insurance changing or being taken away. The health care firm work was one of his first assignments, which Buttigieg said rendered him far removed from any real decision making.

Blue Cross Blue Shield concurred.

“He was not involved as a leader on that team, but rather as part of the larger consultant group,” spokesperson Helen Stojic told Fox News.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, running against Buttigieg for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, called on Buttigieg to release a full client list from his time at McKinsey after he called on her to release a full list of corporate clients she represented. Warren disclosed a new round of clients Sunday night.


Ironically, in 1999, Warren — while chairing a committee at Harvard Law looking to improve student experience — hired McKinsey for a contract worth almost $1 million, creating backlash among students at the time.

Original Article

Federal judge blocks Trump plan to spend millions in military funds on border wall construction

closeDemocrats call out Trump for lack of progress on border wallVideo

Democrats call out Trump for lack of progress on border wall

National Border Patrol Council Brandon Judd on President Trump's border wall progress.

A federal judge in Texas has blocked the Trump administration from using $3.6 billion earmarked for the military to fund border wall construction.

District Court Judge David Briones, a Bill Clinton appointee, ruled in an El Paso court Tuesday that the money cannot be diverted to build 175 miles of steel barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The El Paso County and Border Network for Human Rights sued the administration in October, claiming President Trump overstepped his authority when he issued a national emergency declaration to get additional funds for the wall — his signature 2016 campaign promise.


Acting CBP commissioner says new border wall gives Border Patrol a 'fighting chance'Video

Congress had already given him $1.375 billion for wall construction.

Briones ruled in October to temporarily halt the president's plan to use the Pentagon funds. His Tuesday ruling only applies to the $3.6 billion, not other money available to the administration, including funds from counter-drug operations.

In September, Defense Secretary Mark Esper signed off on spending the $3.6 billion, provoking outcry from Democrats and immigration-rights advocates.

Kristy Parker, an attorney with the nonprofit group Protect Democracy who represented the plaintiffs, described Trump's declaration as a power grab.

Supreme Court clears way for Trump administration to use Pentagon funds for border wall constructionVideo

"Today’s order affirms that the president is not a king and that our courts are willing to check him when he oversteps his bounds," Parker said in a statement. "This is a huge win for democracy and the rule of law.”


Earlier this year, the Supreme Court paved the way for the administration to use $2.5 billion in Pentagon funds to replace existing fencing in California, Arizona and New Mexico.

The Trump administration is expected to appeal Tuesday's decision.

Original Article

McConnell bashed by Dems for delaying USMCA vote until after impeachment trial

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Nancy Pelosi: 'No question' USMCA 'much better than NAFTA'

Speaker Nancy Pelosi discusses the USMCA negotiations

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., took fire from House Democrats on Tuesday after saying he will wait until after President Trump's impeachment trial is over before bringing the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) to the Senate floor for a vote.

USMCA would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which went into effect in 1994 under former President Bill Clinton. Trump has been an outspoken advocate of the new pact and has publicly pushed for House Democrats to hold a final vote.

McConnell announced his decision shortly after House Democrats said they'd reached an agreement with the White House on how to proceed.

"We will not be doing USMCA in the Senate between now and next week," McConnell said at a Capitol Hill news conference. "That will happen… right after the [impeachment] trial is finished in the Senate."


A spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., criticized McConnell's stance and said he has no legitimate reason for delaying the Senate vote, claiming each chamber could approve the measure simultaneously.

“The House and Senate passed Korea, Panama and Colombia trade agreements on the same day. Senator McConnell has no excuse not to bring up the USMCA," the spokesman said.

Fox News reached out to McConnell's office for comment and was told that the Majority Leader does not view his decision as a delay. His office referred Fox News to the rules under the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which state that the Senate can take up to 30 days to consider the House bill.

"The Senate Finance Committee must report the bill no later than 15 session days after the House passes the bill," the Senate Republican Policy Committee website states. "If the Finance Committee fails to report the bill, it is automatically placed on the Senate calendar for a vote. The full Senate vote must take place within 15 session days after report or discharge to the floor."


McConnell's office also pointed to a September op-ed co-authored by the majority leader in support of USMCA and said it was ironic for House Democrats to accuse the GOP of delaying the legislation.

"The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement is unambiguously a win for America. It would create new jobs, expand export markets, strengthen protections for workers and generate billions of dollars in new prosperity," McConnell wrote at the time. "The USMCA would also help keep North American partners close while the U.S. hangs tough with China."

Trump addressed the drama during a campaign rally in the swing state of Pennsylvania on Tuesday and claimed Democrats are only supporting USMCA to take the focus off their failed impeachment attempt.

"The silver lining of impeachment and this witch hunt, that's the reason they approved USMCA," he said. “They were very embarrassed by it."


House Democrats are reportedly planning to hold a vote on USMCA sometime next week.

Original Article

Trump, at Pennsylvania rally, says ‘stupid’ impeachment indirectly led to USMCA deal

closeTrump, Pence speak at Keep America Great RallyVideo

Trump, Pence speak at Keep America Great Rally

President Trump was headlining a rally in the key swing state of Pennsylvania on a momentous day in his presidency after House Democrats unveiled two articles of impeachment against him, even as they also handed him a breakthrough political victory by finally approving his new trade deal to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

"Congress will soon vote on my new trade deal," Trump announced at the rally. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "did it on the same day they announced they are going to impeach the 45th president of the United States and your favorite president. And the reason they announced it on the same day, one hour later, they announced impeachment … you know why? It plays down the impeachment, because they're embarrassed by impeachment, and our poll numbers have gone through the roof because of her stupid impeachment."

Trump added: "The silver lining of impeachment and this witch hunt, that's the reason they approved USMCA," a reference to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

Tuesday night's rally gave Trump an opportunity to deliver his response to thousands of die-hard supporters in person. He spent much of the day blasting Democrats on Twitter, saying that impeaching a president “who has done NOTHING wrong, is sheer Political Madness!"

Before leaving the White House, Trump said Democrats were “embarrassed” by the introduction of articles of impeachment against him, and cited polls showing declining support for impeachment in key swing states. Trump argued that's why Democrats finally announced earlier Tuesday they supported USMCA, the modernization of NAFTA that the president made the top legislative priority of the year.

“They were very embarrassed by it,” Trump claimed to reporters. “That’s why they brought up USMCA an hour after.”

“They wanted to muffle down impeachment,” Trump added. He then tweeted that he was on his way to Hershey in south-central Pennsylvania, adding, "I love Hershey chocolate!" At the rally, Trump emphasized that he likes Hershey chocolate.

The event was being held in a Republican-leaning congressional district, and thousands lined up early for seats. Former state Sen. Scott Wagner reportedly offered to pay up to $20,000 in security costs for the event on behalf of the local government.

Trump eked out a 2016 win in Pennsylvania by piling up support with rural and working-class white voters. He'd need to hold that support to counter any energy from Democrats in the suburbs of Philadelphia.

Congressional passage of USMCA "will be a significant win for farmers, workers and all Americans," said Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Iowa Republican chairing the chamber's Finance Committee. "Renegotiating NAFTA was a central campaign promise made by President Trump. He kept his word and Americans will enjoy the many benefits of this upgraded trade deal as a result."

Approving the agreement gave House Democrats, particularly those from more conservative districts, a useful talking point when they head home for the holidays. Many had been reluctant to face voters with few legislative achievements beyond impeaching the president, and Pelosi emphasized the deal's importance to American workers.

USMCA "will be the best and most important trade deal ever made by the USA," President Trump tweeted earlier Tuesday. Vice President Mike Pence said the Democrats' move was a victory for Trump's policy and showed Pelosi and her caucus acquiescing "to the voice of the American people."

President Trump walking from the Oval Office as he headed to speak with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House before departing for the Pennsylvania rally Tuesday. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

President Trump walking from the Oval Office as he headed to speak with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House before departing for the Pennsylvania rally Tuesday. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)


The USMCA, which would overhaul Clinton-era NAFTA, would require that 75 percent of automobile components be manufactured in the United States, Canada and Mexico in order to avoid tariffs, and that 40 to 45 percent of automobile parts be made by workers earning at least $16 an hour by 2023.

"More than 12 million American jobs depend on our $1.4 trillion trading relationship with Canada and Mexico, and USMCA will strengthen this trade relationship," said Tom Linebarger, the CEO of engine-maker Cummins Inc. and chairman of the Business Roundtable's trade and international committee. The Roundtable has represented the CEOs of the 200 largest U.S. companies.

Fox Business Network's Jonathan Garber, Fox News' Charles Creitz and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

AOC compares dog breeding to paid family leave in attack on free market

closeAlexandria Ocasio-Cortez called out for claiming Trump food stamp changes might have left her family 'starved'Video

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called out for claiming Trump food stamp changes might have left her family 'starved'

Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is receiving pushback after claiming her family 'might've just starved' had the Trump administration's tightened requirements for food stamp recipients been in place when her father died in 2008.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., made a puzzling argument on Tuesday in order to counter a conservative nonprofit's argument about free markets providing paid family leave.

"Do we know how long puppies are allowed to stay with their mothers after a dog has given birth?" she asked during a House Oversight Committee hearing on paid leave.

"Uh, eight weeks. So, the market has decided that women and people who give birth deserve less time with their children than a dog," she added.

Ocasio-Cortez seemed to be referring to the practice of breeders keeping puppies until they reach 8 weeks of age, at which point they're sold and likely never see their parents again.

Paid family leave generally refers to a limited period of time in which human parents can leave work to take care of a new child. The parent is still able to live with the child after that paid period ends.


She made those comments in an apparent attempt to dispute Heritage Foundation scholar Rachel Greszler, who had advocated businesses and workers negotiating their own terms for wages and paid leave. Greszler, in a statement provided to Fox News, criticized Ocasio-Cortez's comments.

“As a woman who has given birth to six children, I find being compared to a breeding dog with puppies incredibly offensive. What AOC failed to point out is the reason many states require puppies to spend at least eight weeks with their mothers is in the context of them being sold to people after that period," she said.

Ocasio-Cortez's use of the word "allowed" indicated some kind of legal prohibition — meaning that by definition, the government interfered rather than allowing the free market to act. A long list of states has instituted regulations surrounding that point in development.


Ocasio-Cortez's office did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment. The congresswoman stood by her argument on Twitter.


After serving up several questions to Greszler, Ocasio-Cortez made her dog breeder analogy and pushed for more government intervention in paid leave policies.

"And I think that that, at its core, has shown that the market has failed to treat people with dignity and with basic respect — and so when that happens, I think it's our job as the public to redefine the rules of society," she added.

Original Article

Trump calls articles of impeachment ‘weak’ and only reason Dems agreed to USMCA

closeRep. Jim Banks: 'Shame on Speaker Pelosi' for politicizing impeachment and USMCAVideo

Rep. Jim Banks: 'Shame on Speaker Pelosi' for politicizing impeachment and USMCA

Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) shares his reaction to the House Judiciary Committee issuing two articles of impeachment against President Trump for Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress. He also weighs in on the GOP's biggest takeaways from the impeachment inquiry.

In his first public remarks since Democrats formally announced articles of impeachment against him, President Trump called the two charges leveled against him “weak” and said the only reason Democrats agreed to a modified North American trade deal was because of impeachment.

Speaking on the White House lawn before departing for a campaign rally in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, Trump called it a “disgrace” to “make impeachment out of nothing,” while touting both the strength of the economy and recent polling that showed him ahead of his Democratic rivals in the 2020 presidential race.

Trump’s comments came hours after House Democrats announced two articles of impeachment against the president on Tuesday morning, saying that his actions toward Ukraine “betrayed the nation.” The specific charges: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.


Earlier, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., at the Capitol, said they were upholding their solemn oath to defend the Constitution. Trump responded angrily on Twitter: “WITCH HUNT!”

Voting is expected in a matter of days by the Judiciary Committee and by Christmas in the full House. The charges, if approved, would then be sent to the Senate, where the Republican majority would be unlikely to convict Trump, but not without a potentially bitter trial just as voters in Iowa and other early presidential primary states begin making their choices.

Rep. Karen Bass: I think we are ‘rock solid’ on impeachment vote in the houseVideo

In the formal articles announced Tuesday, 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 political rivals, including Democrat Joe Biden, while withholding U.S. military aid as leverage. That benefited Russia over the U.S. as America's ally fought Russian aggression, the Democrats said.

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.


Shortly after Democrats introduced the articles of impeachment, the White House and Democrats announced reached an agreement on the revamped U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

“There is no question of course that this trade agreement is much better than [the North American Free Trade Agreement]," Pelosi said when announcing the agreement, saying the pact is “infinitely better than what was initially proposed by the administration."

Trump said the revamped trade pact will “be great" for the United States.

Rep. Liz Cheney says no self-respecting elected official would support articles of impeachment against TrumpVideo

“It will be the best and most important trade deal ever made by the USA. Good for everybody – Farmers, Manufacturers, Energy, Unions — tremendous support. Importantly, we will finally end our Country’s worst Trade Deal, NAFTA!,” the president said in a tweet.

A U.S. House vote is likely before Congress adjourns for the year, and the Senate is likely to vote in January or February. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the vote on the trade deal will likely occur after an expected impeachment trial in the Senate.

Fox News' Kelly Chernenkoff and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

Pelosi, progressive caucus clash over drug pricing legislation

closePresident Trump says his new transparency plan will bring down health care costsVideo

President Trump says his new transparency plan will bring down health care costs

The Trump administration says forcing hospitals and insurance companies to disclose, up front, the full cost of all medical treatment will bring prices down by helping people shop for better deals; critics say studies show most Americans will skip or delay medical treatment if they know it's going to cost them a lot of money.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is facing intraparty opposition ahead of a vote on drug pricing legislation that progressives have complained doesn't go far enough in regulating costs for Americans.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) — along with progressive Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. — pushed for more aggressive cost control.

According to Politico, CPC co-chairs Pramila Jayapal, D-Wa., and Mark Pocan, D-Wis., have privately said they had enough votes to reject the bill.


While the bill likely won't gain traction in the GOP-led Senate, it could serve as an opportunity for Democrats to advance a drug pricing plan as the administration advocated its own.

The Democrats' legislation would focus on allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prices on the most expensive drugs. The Congressional Budget Office estimated the plan would save the agency $345 billion over a decade.

But according to the White House, it would block 100 drugs from reaching the market by threatening a 95 percent excise tax on sales of drugs that don't abide by Health and Human Services' pricing. Pelosi's plan would presumably have a more wide-reaching impact in that it would make negotiated drug prices available to everyone — not just those with Medicare.

If progressives shoot down the legislation, it would likely feed the White House's narrative that progressives are thwarting the will of the leadership. "Is anyone surprised their socialist 2020 candidates want to drive their party even further left?" Republican National Committee (RNC) spokesman Michael Joyce told Fox News.


On Monday, Pelosi reportedly called the potential insurrection a "bad idea." She's currently leading her caucus in what appears to be a united front in impeaching President Trump. A progressive revolt could disrupt that unified image as Democrats head into the 2020 primary season. Leading candidates have promised bold reform like "Medicare-for-all," a prospect that could look even less likely if House Democrats are unable to compromise on drug pricing.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., an icon of the House's progressive wing, will likely oppose the legislation. “They stripped out everything that looked like progress,” spokesperson Corbin Trent said, according to The Intercept. Jayapal, in particular, has pushed for cost controls that would block price hikes beyond the rate of inflation.

Ocasio-Cortez previously clashed with leadership over a bipartisan bill funding immigration enforcement agencies during the migrant crisis. Pelosi has also indicated that the New York congresswoman wouldn't get leadership's support while pushing her signature Green New Deal. She's also said she's "not a big fan of Medicare-for-all," a policy favored by Jayapal, Warren, Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez.

Pelosi's office has described the bill — titled the "Lower Drug Costs Now Act" — as "bold action to level the playing field for American patients and taxpayers."

But according to the right-leaning Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), the plan would result in shortages and hurt new research and development.


"Exorbitant healthcare costs are a direct product of decades of increasing government interference in the marketplace," CEI research fellow Patrick Hedger said in a statement to Fox News. "Ratcheting-up this interference, particularly with simplistic price controls, has predictable and undesirable results.”

On Monday, House Republicans introduced an alternative for drug pricing — the "Lower Costs, More Cures Act" — that would limit annual out-of-pocket costs for Medicare beneficiaries, among other things.

Original Article

Trump paid more than $2M to charities to end Trump Foundation lawsuit, officials say

closeJudge orders President Trump to pay $2 million settlementVideo

Judge orders President Trump to pay $2 million settlement

Lawsuit claims Trump misused the Trump Foundation for business, political reasons; chief White House correspondent John Roberts reports from the North Lawn.

President Trump paid more than $2 million in a court-ordered settlement to end a lawsuit in which he was accused of misusing funds at his charitable foundation for political gain.

The payment and the remaining $1.8 million in the Trump Foundation's bank account were distributed among eight charities, New York Attorney General (AG) Letitia James announced Tuesday.

Those charities are Army Emergency Relief, the Children’s Aid Society, Citymeals on Wheels, Give an Hour, Martha’s Table, the United Negro College Fund, the United Way of National Capital Area and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Each received $476,140, James said.


Trump Foundation to dissolve under court supervisionVideo

“Not only has the Trump Foundation shut down for its misconduct, but the president has been forced to pay $2 million for misusing charitable funds for his own political gain," James said in a statement.

The lawsuit filed in June 2018 accused Trump and his three eldest children of using the Donald J. Trump Foundation to boost Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, settle legal disputes and for the purchase of sports paraphernalia, among other items.


Last month, a judge ordered Trump to pay $2 million in damages. James' office had originally pushed for $2.8 million in restitution and a $5.6 million penalty. As part of the settlement, Trump admitted to misusing Trump Foundation funds and agreed to limitations and restrictions on future charitable work.

"Charities are not a means to an end, which is why these damages speak to the president’s abuse of power and represent a victory for not-for-profits that follow the law," James said. "My office will continue to fight for accountability because no one is above the law — not a businessman, not a candidate for office, and not even the president of the United States.”

The settlement also called for mandatory training requirements for Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump, which all three have completed, James said.

Donald J. Trump foundation says it wanted to dissolve before it was made into a lawsuit, but wasn’t allowed toVideo

Attorneys for the Trump Foundation accused James of timing her announcement to deflect attention from her office's Tuesday loss against Exxon Mobil in a climate change lawsuit.

“The AG’s office doesn’t want the media to focus on the massive trial they lost today," attorneys Marc Mukasey and Alan Futerfas told Fox News in an emailed statement. "Our case was amicably resolved weeks ago. The judge commended both parties for the resolution. The legacy of the Trump Foundation — which gave away many millions to those most in need at virtually no cost — is secure.”


The three-decades-old foundation reached a deal with the New York Attorney General to shut down in December 2018 amid the lawsuit. Authorities claimed Trump ran the foundation as an extension of his business empire and presidential campaign.

Last month, Trump said James had deliberately mischaracterized the settlement for political purposes. The foundation's attorney argued that the lawsuit was politically motivated, which a judge rejected.

Original Article