Esper: Delay of Ukraine aid did not have ‘any impact on U.S. national security’

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Defense Secretary Mark Esper on challenges to US national security

'Fox News Sunday' exclusive: Defense Secretary Mark Esper joins Chris Wallace for a wide-ranging interview at the Reagan National Defense Forum.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper was reluctant to discuss details behind the withholding and release of military aid to Ukraine, but he did reject the notion that the delay had any negative effect on national security.

Over the course of the House impeachment inquiry of President Trump, Democrats have been accusing the president of using the aid and a White House visit with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as leverage to get them to investigate his political opponents. Democrats claim that by putting political interests ahead of national interest, Trump put national security at risk. Esper was quick to deny such a claim.

MIKE PENCE: NOT A 'FOREGONE CONCLUSION' DEMS WILL SECURE IMPEACHMENT VOTES

"At the end of the day, the bottom line is most of that aid got out on time and at no time did it have any impact on United States national security," Esper said.

Esper said there were three factors that were considered regarding the aid.

"When I came onto the scene, the three things we were looking at were this: one, was the aid necessary and vital to the Ukrainians in terms of defending against Russia; No. 2, had the Ukrainians addressed corruption, and that was a congressional concern; and No. 3, were other countries in the region, other allies and partners assisting them. And given those three things we decided to support the provision of Ukrainian aid."

Esper would not address whether there were any political factors involved in the delay of the aid's delivery, citing the ongoing impeachment inquiry.

"I'll leave that process unto itself," he said.

Esper also discussed a number of other issues related to national security. He addressed the shooting at the naval air station in Pensacola, Fla., where Americans were killed before the suspect, a Saudi Air Force officer, was shot and killed. The defense secretary would not definitively state whether the incident should be classified as terrorism.

"I don't know yet. I think that's why it's important to allow the investigation to proceed, to understand exactly what he was doing and why."

MISSING SAUDI SERVICEMEN LINKED TO NAS PENSACOLA SHOOTING SOUGHT; GUNMAN MADE PRIOR REPORTED TRIP TO NYC

Esper did say he called on officials to "begin review of what our screening procedures are with regard to foreign nationals coming into the United States." At the same time, he emphasized the need to maintain programs where foreign individuals come to train with U.S. forces.

"The ability to bring foreign students here to train with us, to understand American culture, is very important to us in building those long-term relationships that keep us safer."

Esper also addressed how the U.S. was prepared to respond to potential "bad behavior" on the part of Iran.

"We've reached a point, I think, that we've deterred Iranian bad behavior," Esper said, pointing to an end in recent Iranian aggression that included attacks against ships in the Strait of Hormuz and shooting down of a U.S. drone.

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But when asked about Iran's latest military efforts, including shipping missiles to other countries in the region and the testing of a ballistic missile that has the capability of delivering a nuclear weapon, Esper said that the U.S. is ready to act, if need be.

"We are prepared to respond, depending on what Iran does," he said. "And they need to understand that our restraint should not be interpreted as weakness."

Original Article

Ann Coulter counts Mitt Romney among ‘feckless old ladies’ in GOP who may vote to convict Trump

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Fox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 8

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Conservative writer Ann Coulter took a shot Saturday night at three Senate Republicans who reportedly were the only remaining members of the GOP who hadn’t signed a Senate colleague’s resolution condemning the House impeachment inquiry against President Trump.

A story in The Hill on Friday had identified the trio as Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah — lawmakers who’ve each opposed Trump from time to time from within the GOP tent.

DONALD TRUMP JR. REVEALS WHO HIS 'FAVORITE DEMOCRAT' IS

Coulter offered her reaction to the story in a Twitter message.

“BREAKING: The Hill newspaper names 3 GOP senators as possible votes to convict Trump,” Coulter wrote. “Turns out they’re all legendarily feckless old ladies: Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, & Mitt Romney.”

Within a few hours the tweet had gained more than 16,000 likes and 4,000 retweets.

“The RINO’s want Trump impeached? I’m shocked!!,” one Twitter user commented.

“Disappointed; but not surprised about Romney,” another wrote.

“I have faith in Susan Collins after standing up for Brett Kavanaugh,” another commenter wrote. “I have no faith in Lisa Murkowski or Mitt Romney for this [if nothing] else [requires] integrity.”

The resolution defending President Trump was introduced Thursday by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and had been signed by every Senate Republican except the trio, Graham told The Hill on Friday.

U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, was on the receiving end Saturday night of one of the latest Twitter barbs from conservative writer Ann Coulter.

U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, was on the receiving end Saturday night of one of the latest Twitter barbs from conservative writer Ann Coulter.

Graham’s resolution calls on House Democrats to allow Trump to “confront his accusers” and to allow Republicans to issue subpoenas to witnesses of their choosing, according to The Hill.

Neither Murkowski, nor Collins, nor Romney has endorsed the impeachment inquiry or the removal of Trump from the presidency, the story noted, adding that all three have simply refrained from taking a position on the matter so far.

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Murkowski said Thursday that she hadn’t read Graham’s resolution, while Romney said he hadn’t read it but planned to do so, The Hill reported, adding that it hadn’t heard back yet from Collins’ office.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has backed Graham’s resolution but hasn’t stated whether he will call for a Senate vote on the matter, The Hill reported.

Coulter, meanwhile, has been a frequent critic of Trump as well. For example, she has repeatedly chided the president over delays in getting construction of a U.S.-Mexico border wall underway, and last February referred to the president's State of the Union address as “the lamest, sappiest, most intentionally tear-jerking SOTU ever.”

The president has often opted not to return fire — but last March referred to Coulter as a "Wacky Nut Job," insisting he was "winning on the Border" despite having "an entire Democrat Party of Far Left Radicals against me (not to mention certain Republicans who are sadly unwilling to fight)."

Original Article

Trump to 4,000 Israeli Americans in Florida: US-Israel relationship is ‘stronger now than ever before’

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Trump: The bond between the United States and Israel is unbreakable

President Trump speaks at the Israeli American Council National Summit.

President Trump addressed a crowd of more than 4,000 people at the Israeli American Council (IAC) National Summit in Florida on Saturday night, saying Israel and America have an "unbreakable bond."

Trump delivered the keynote address at the summit, which took place in Hollywood, Fla., and was welcomed by the crowd chanting "four more years." The Israeli American Council is financially backed by one of Trump's top supporters, billionaire Sheldon Adelson.

In the first address by a sitting U.S. president at the IAC Summit, Trump said America and Israel's relationship is "stronger now than ever before."

"I have stood firmly and proudly with the state of Israel," Trump said. He said he kept his promises and that Israel "never had a greater friend in the White House than your president Donald Trump."

HALEY SUGGESTS CANADA MADE 'DEAL WITH THE DEVIL' BY BACKING ANTI-ISRAEL UN RESOLUTION

The president spoke about the latest move by his administration to strengthen Israel's position and undermine Palestinian claims regarding land sought for a future state. Last month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the U.S. government is easing its stance on Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Pompeo essentially rejected a 1978 State Department legal opinion holding that civilian settlements in the occupied territories are “inconsistent with international law.”

He also said the White House was reversing an Obama administration directive that allowed the U.N. Security Council to pass a resolution declaring the settlements a “flagrant violation” of international law.

While the announcement received praise from Israeli officials — including Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who called it “historic” — the international community, which overwhelmingly considers the settlements illegal, did not take the news favorably.

In a statement sent to Fox News, Federica Mogherini, vice president of the European Union, said: “The European Union's position on Israeli settlement policy in the occupied Palestinian territory is clear and remains unchanged: all settlement activity is illegal under international law and it erodes the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace.”

ISRAEL SHOOTS DOWN ROCKET FIRED FROM GAZA IN SECOND ATTACK IN ONE WEEK, RATTLING SHAKY CEASE-FIRE

Trump already broke with his predecessors by deciding to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, moving the U.S. Embassy to that city and supporting Israeli sovereignty over the contested Golan Heights region. In Hollywood on Saturday, Trump mentioned all those decisions.

He said recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is a "great, great thing."

Trump talked about Israeli security and said, "My administration made clear Israel's absolute right to self-defense," as he referenced the latest round of fighting between Gaza and Israel.

Last month, two days of violence left at least 32 Palestinians dead. During the fighting, the Israel Defense Forces said it was “raining rockets” across the country, with Islamic Jihads firing one projectile every seven minutes. Since then, a senior commander of the terror group was killed by the Israeli military in a targeted airstrike.

Trump also told the crowd of Israeli Americans, “Today the ISIS caliphate has been 100 percent obliterated."

He noted that a few weeks ago, U.S. special forces killed the founder and leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Trump held a rally in Sunrise, Fla., last week where he also mentioned his unprecedented moves in strengthening U.S.- Israeli relations, which included supporting Israeli sovereignty over the contested Golan Heights region.

It’s a message the president seems to be pushing in his reelection campaign.

UN RELEASES FIRST-EVER REPORT ON ANTI-SEMITISM HIGHLIGHTING UPTICK

As Trump addressed the crowd at the IAC Summit on Saturday night, Trump also spoke about anti-Semitism and said his administration is committed to curbing the problem.

He said "we must not ignore the vile poison" and said his administration is "using every single weapon at our disposal."

He brought up former New York University (NYU) student Adela Cojab to the stage. She said she experienced anti-Semitism on her college campus, including witnessing a student who was a member of a pro-Palestinian group on campus, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), burn an Israeli flag.

Her lawyers filed charges of anti-Semitism and a hostile environment for Jewish students at New York University, and they were notified last month that the Department of Education had opened a full-scale investigation into their allegations.

The complaint sent to the Department of Education said: “SJP is a radical organization affiliated with terror groups, bent on adopting a policy of anti-normalization of Jewish groups, and on isolating, demonizing and ultimately destroying the Jewish state.”

Cojab, who was the president of an Israel advocacy group at NYU and was a representative for Jewish students in student government, graduated in May and filed the complaint one month before.

EDUCATION DEPT. PROBING ALLEGED ANTI-SEMITISM AT NYU

NYU spokesman John Beckman told Fox News Saturday that the university "has not received any direct notice from the Department of Education indicating that there is an OCR investigation."

"If there is, we know that any allegations that the University has been anything less than highly supportive of or deeply concerned about its Jewish community are untrue and unfair, and ignore the real record," Beckman said, continuing: "That those involved in disrupting the pro-Israel rave in Washington Square Park in 2018 were referred to the University's student conduct office; that NYU and its president rejected and criticized attempts to ostracize pro-Israel groups; that the University has publicly, repeatedly, and vigorously repudiated BDS proposals both at NYU and elsewhere … and … that NYU is the only U.S. [university] to have opened its own dedicated academic campus in Israel, has flatly rejected any and all calls to close it, and continues to be committed to it."

National Students for Justice in Palestine (NSJP) did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment. However, in a statement sent to Fox News, NYU’s SJP chapter said: “NYU Students for Justice in Palestine and NYU Jewish Voice for Peace believe Palestinian liberation and Jewish liberation go hand in hand. We work tirelessly against anti-racism, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism. The fact that around half of SJP is Jewish, along with our interfaith work where an Israeli Jewish woman and a Palestinian Muslim woman crafted a BDS resolution on human rights, is evidence of just that.”

On Saturday night, Cojab thanked President Trump for his work on anti-Semitism.

Trump also brought up U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Elan Carr to the stage.

Trump spoke at the 6th annual IAC Summit. Vice President Mike Pence was the keynote speaker at the conference the year before.

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President Trump's trip to Florida on Saturday also featured a separate address to members of Florida's Republican Party at the Statesman's Dinner in Aventura. The Florida GOP did not allow news media coverage of the event.

The trip came hours after Trump celebrated Iran's decision to free a Chinese-American scholar from Princeton University who had been held since 2016. The U.S., in turn, released an Iranian scientist in its custody.

"We are also working to free hostages unjustly detained around the world including in Iran," Trump told the crowd on Saturday night.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

Saudi Arabia ‘will be involved in taking care’ of Pensacola shooting victims’ families, Trump says

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Mark Esper discusses the challenges to US national security following Florida Navy base shooting

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper sits down exclusively with 'Fox News Sunday' anchor Chris Wallace.

The leaders of Saudi Arabia are devastated by the deadly attack at the Pensacola naval base in Florida and intend to “help out” the families of those murdered, President Trump announced Saturday.

“The king will be involved in taking care of families and loved ones,” Trump said after speaking to Saudi Arabia’s King Salman by phone. “He feels very strongly. He’s very, very devastated by what happened and what took place. Likewise the Crown Prince (Mohammed bin Salman).”

The suspected shooter is a Saudi Air Force aviation officer who was training at Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola.

SAUDI STUDENT WATCHED MASS SHOOTING VIDEOS DURING DINNER PARTY BEFORE FLORIDA NAVAL BASE ATTACK: REPORT

Trump said the Saudi leaders “are devastated by what took place in Pensacola. I think they are going to help out the families very greatly.”

The announcement of potential assistance comes after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Saudi Arabia owed a debt to the families.

“Obviously, the government … needs to make things better for these victims. I think they’re going to owe a debt here, given that this was one of their individuals,” DeSantis said at a news conference Friday.

The attack unfolded Friday morning at the waterfront base when the shooter opened fire with a handgun in a training classroom. The attack prompted a massive law enforcement response and put the base on lockdown.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper confirmed to Fox News that three of the victims were Americans. Family members identified one of them as Joshua Watson, a 23-year-old recent graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy who is credited with taking life-saving actions in his final moments of life after being shot five times by the Saudi national.

HERO NAVAL ACADEMY GRAD SHOT 5 TIMES AT NAVAL AIR STATION RELAYED CRUCIAL INFORMATION BEFORE SUCCUMBING TO INJURIES

Both Esper and Trump have declined to call the attack an act of terror.

“I can’t say it’s terrorism at this time,” Esper told Fox News’ Bret Baier on Saturday, saying that the FBI and investigators must do their work.

The suspected shooter, who was killed by a sheriff’s deputy, was in the United States for military training. The U.S. has a long-standing program to teach foreign nationals how to operate American-made military equipment purchased by their governments.

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Trump said the U.S. would “immediately” conduct a review of the training procedures and pledged to “get to the bottom” of what happened.

He signaled that investigators are trying to determine whether the shooter acted alone or planned the attack with others.

“We are finding out what took place,” Trump said, “whether it’s one person or a number of people.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

Trump will ‘temporarily hold off’ designating Mexican cartels as terror groups

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President Trump announced Friday that he will hold off on officially designating Mexican cartels as terrorist organizations while he works with the Mexican president "to deal decisively" with the issue.

"All necessary work has been completed to declare Mexican Cartels terrorist organizations," Trump tweeted Friday. "Statutorily we are ready to do so. However, at the request of a man who I like and respect, and has worked so well with us, President Andres Manuel @lopezobrador_ we will temporarily hold off this designation and step up our joint efforts to deal decisively with these vicious and ever-growing organizations!"

Mexico's foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard thanked Trump on Twitter for his decision.

"I appreciate President Donald Trump's decision to postpone the designation of organizations as terrorists at the request of President López Obrador, who also respects and appreciates him," Ebrard said.

Obrador praised Trump's decision at an event Friday in his home state of Tabasco.

“I celebrate that he has taken our opinion into account,” the Mexican president said, according to The New York Times. “There has to be cooperation with respect for our sovereignties, cooperation without interventionism. And I think it was a very good decision that he took today."

Designating cartels as foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs) could lead to tougher financial penalties and legal ramifications for those involved who are tried in the U.S. Once a group is designated a terrorist organization, known members are prohibited from entering the country and it is illegal for those in the U.S. to intentionally provide support. Financial institutions are barred from doing any type of business with the organization or its members. This could mean that an American selling drugs that originated south of the border could be prosecuted under anti-terrorism laws, and could possibly be given a life sentence.

THE IMPACT OF DESIGNATING MEXICAN CARTELS A 'FOREIGN TERRORIST ORGANIZATION'

Dozens of cartels are known to be operating across Mexico, but it's unclear which ones will receive the FTO label.

Mexican drug cartels are currently classified as drug trafficking organizations, but their criminal activity spans far beyond illegal drug trade, involving everything from murder, fraud, gun trafficking, bribery, money laundering and counterfeit smuggling, to human trafficking and extortion.

ALLEGED DOMINICAN DRUG KINGPIN LINKED TO DAVID ORTIZ SHOOTING ARRESTED IN COLUMBIA

Amb. David Johnson, vice president of the International Narcotics Control Board, said the key difference between drug cartels and terror groups such as the Islamic State (ISIS) is a profit motive versus a political motive.

“Terrorists use violence to expand a political goal. These criminals are interested in money, not politics. They don’t want the responsibility and headaches that come with political control since it could interfere with their profit-maximizing goals,” he explained. “The key reason for not labeling them terrorists is because that is not what they are. They are in it for the money. Period.”

Critics said the move could shake up bilateral relations between the U.S. and Mexico and hurt trade.

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Clamping down on illegal migrants flowing across the U.S. southern border with Mexico, which Trump claims has contributed to an influx of drugs and violent crime in border states, has been a part of his agenda since the beginning of his administration. Efforts have been ramped up after the brutal killings of six children and three women with dual Mexican and American citizenship in the Mormon community of La Mora on Nov. 4. At the time, Trump called on Mexico to "wage war" on the cartels.

Fox News' Hollie McKay contributed to this report.

Original Article

Pelosi campaign selling ‘Don’t Mess with Nancy’ shirts after tussle with reporter

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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.'

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is trying to use a testy exchange with a reporter to her advantage.

Nancy Pelosi for Congress is selling "Don't Mess with Nancy" crewneck sweatshirts in an apparent attempt to fundraise off the media attention she received after Thursday's press briefing. The Speaker caused an uproar after she told a reporter not to "mess with" her, pushing back on a question about whether she hated the president.

"As a Catholic, I resent your using the word 'hate' in a sentence that addresses me. I don't hate anyone," she told Sinclair reporter James Rosen.

"I was raised in a way that is a heart full of love and always pray for the president. And I still pray for the president. And I pray for the president all the time, so don't mess with me when it comes to words like that."

NANCY PELOSI SNAPS AT REPORTER AFTER QUESTION ABOUT HATING TRUMP: 'DON'T MESS WITH ME'

Rosen, who previously worked for Fox News, denied accusing her of hating the president.

Their exchange was just the latest instance in which Pelosi appeared to try and tell off a reporter. She previously knocked Rosen in November, describing him as "Mr. Republican talking points" after he asked a question about Trump getting the right to confront his accuser in the Ukraine controversy.

The Speaker similarly tried to leverage a viral moment for her benefit. She previously made her Twitter cover photo that of one President Trump tweeted as evidence that she had an "unhinged meltdown" during a meeting in October.

Not everyone was fan of her viral moment. President Trump tweeted that Pelosi looked like she "just had a nervous fit."

NANCY PELOSI REFERS TO REPORTER AS 'MR. REPUBLICAN TALKING POINTS' AFTER WHISTLEBLOWER QUESTION

"She says she 'prays for the President.' I don’t believe her, not even close. Help the homeless in your district, Nancy," he said shortly after Thursday's press briefing.

"Rosen asked best Q which exposed her," Fox News host Laura Ingraham tweeted. "This IS based on hate. Everyone knows it. Pelosi answer was basically 'we don’t hate anyone,' but then called Trump 'a coward.'"

But the Speaker won praise from "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," which tweeted a video arguing that Trump would do better to call Pelosi "boss."

Ingraham also took issue with Pelosi calling herself a Catholic. The California congresswoman has described herself as a "devout practicing Catholic," identifying with what is perhaps the largest pro-life organization in the world.

But Pelosi has defended congressional funding for Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider, and vowed to defend the landmark abortion legalization case Roe v. Wade with "every tool in our disposal."

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Catholic clergy have repeatedly condemned both the act itself and pro-choice political advocacy. Vatican officials have reportedly said Pelosi should be denied the sacrament of Holy Communion. The Archbishop of San Francisco — where Pelosi's district is located — also reportedly said "no Catholic can dissent in good conscience" from the Church's position on abortion.

Original Article

Trump names Secret Service official Anthony Ornato as new deputy chief of staff for operations

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Fox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 7

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President Trump named U.S. Secret Service Deputy Assistant Director Anthony Ornato as his new Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations on Saturday.

“I have worked with Tony for 3 years – he will do a fantastic job!,” the president tweeted. “Thank you to Dan Walsh for his great service, and congratulations to Tony!”

While serving as Special Agent in Charge, Ornato accompanied the president to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in North Korea to meet with the country’s leader Kim Jong Un in June. False reports had circulated that Trump walked into North Korea without Secret Service protection.

RUTH BADER GINSBURG TEMPORARILY BLOCKS RELEASE OF TRUMP'S FINANCIAL RECORDS

The White House said last month that Walsh would leave the office of operations, which plans foreign trips for the Trump administration and allocates resources for White House aides.

The role is one of three White House Deputy Chief of Staff positions and serves just under the White House Chief of Staff. The other two positions are Principal Deputy Chief of Staff, a role filled by Emma Doyle, and Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Coordination, currently Chris Liddell.

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Walsh was one of the few current White House officials who had served the Trump administration since its inception; he had been a government employee for nearly three decades. Walsh has now accepted a job in the private sector, according to The Washington Post.

Original Article

House Judiciary Committee releases report outlining grounds for impeachment ahead of hearing

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Rep. Nadler under fire for hypocritical stance on Trump impeachment

Reaction and analysis from Republican congressmen Andy Biggs, Lee Zeldin and Steve Scalise on 'The Ingraham Angle.'

Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee on Saturday released a report outlining the constitutional grounds for impeachment, the latest sign of the committee gearing up for impeaching President Trump ahead of a key hearing on Monday.

“The Framers' worst nightmare is what we are facing in this very moment. President Trump abused his power, betrayed our national security, and corrupted our elections, all for personal gain. The Constitution details only one remedy for this misconduct: impeachment,” Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said in a statement.

“The safety and security of our nation, our democracy, and future generations hang in the balance if we do not address this misconduct. In America, no one is above the law, not even the President,” he said.

GOP SENATORS SEEK RECORDS ON 'CONNECTION' BETWEEN DEM OPERATIVES, UKRAINIAN OFFICIALS IN 2016

The report goes into detail about the history behind the impeachment clause in the Constitution. A report was first produced during the Nixon impeachment inquiry and updated during the Clinton impeachment inquiry in the 1990s. Democrats say that those reports no longer reflect “the best available learning” on impeachment and so have been updated.

The updated report appears to be an attempt to challenge what Democrats say are “inaccurate” narratives about the process.

According to the committee: “Since the House began its impeachment inquiry, a number of inaccurate claims have circulated about how impeachment works under the Constitution. To assist the Committee in its deliberations, we address six issues of potential relevance: (1) the law that governs House procedures for impeachment; (2) the law that governs the evaluation of evidence, including where the President orders defiance of House subpoenas; (3) whether the President can be impeached for abuse of his executive powers; (4) whether the President’s claims regarding his motives must be accepted at face value; (5) whether the President is immune from impeachment if he attempts an impeachable offense but is caught before he completes it; and (6) whether it is preferable to await the next election when a President has sought to corrupt that very same election.”

LEGAL SCHOLARS CLASH IN HEARING OVER WHETHER TRUMP COMMITTED IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE

The committee was meeting over the weekend in preparation for Monday's hearing. Democrats say Trump sought a political investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden in his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in exchange for military aid that was being withheld and a White House meeting. Trump has denied the charges and has accused Democrats of engaging in a politically motivated witch hunt against him.

Trump touts economic success amid impeachment pushVideo

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced this week that she had requested the Judiciary Committee to proceed with articles of impeachment against the president. Those articles are likely to encompass two major themes: abuse of office and obstruction.

The new report hints at those charges when it outlines how a president who "perverts his role as chief diplomat to serve private rather than public ends" has met the standard of high crimes and misdemeanors laid out in the Constitution. That is true "especially" if he invited rather than opposed foreign interference, the report says.

It comes as part of dueling narratives from Democrats and Republicans as they try to sway public opinion to their side of the debate.

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Republicans have indicated they intend to change the focus of the hearings should the House impeach and send articles to the Republican-controlled Senate for a trial. Trump on Thursday urged Democrats in the House to impeach him “fast, so we can have a fair trial in the Senate and so that our country can get back to business.”

He indicated that Republicans would seek testimony from top Democrats including House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, former Biden and his son Hunter, as well as Speaker Pelosi.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

Pete Buttigieg releases summary of consultancy work, calls on company to release him from NDA

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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.

Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg is calling on a consulting firm he used to work for to release a list of clients he was assigned, and to release him from his nondisclosure agreement — while releasing a summary of his work there, amid concerns about potential conflicts of interest if he were elected president.

“I believe transparency is particularly important under the present circumstances in our country, which is one of the reasons why I have released all tax returns from my time in the private sector and since,” the South Bend, Ind. mayor said in a statement. “I am today reiterating my request that McKinsey release me from this agreement, and I again make clear that I authorize them to release the full list of clients I was assigned to serve."

BUTTIGIEG DISMISSES BIDEN'S 'ESTABLISHMENT' ENDORSEMENT FROM KERRY

“This company must recognize the importance of transparency in the exceptional case of a former employee becoming a competitive candidate for the U.S. presidency,” he said.

Buttigieg worked for McKinsey & Company between 2007 and 2010, but many of the details of his time there have not been revealed, with Buttigieg citing an NDA he signed. But questions have only increased as Buttigieg has entered the presidential race and moved up the polls — with some showing him in second place behind former Vice President Joe Biden.

The campaign says it inquired about the confidentiality agreement in both June and November — and asked for Buttigieg to be released from it, but says that so far it has not been agreed to by the company.

“The bulk of my work on these teams consisted of doing mathematical analysis, conducting research, and preparing presentations. I never worked on a project inconsistent with my values, and if asked to do so, I would have left the firm rather than participate,” he said.

Tracking Pete Buttigieg's rise from relatively unknown Midwestern mayor to Democratic presidential contenderVideo

The 37-year-old said in his statement that while some are calling on him to break the agreement, it is important to keep his commitment.

“Now more than ever, however, I also understand the American people deserve to know these kinds of details about their president's background in order to gain and hold that trust. So, I am asking McKinsey to do the right thing in the name of transparency,” he said.

BUTTIGIEG GRABS BACKING OF THREE LEADING OBAMA ERA OFFICIALS

In a press release, the campaign has provided a timeline of his work at the company, without getting into specifics barred by the NDA.

According to that timeline, Buttigieg worked in places ranging from Michigan, where he worked with a non-profit insurance provider in 2007, to California — where he worked with an environmental nonprofit group in 2009.

From 2008-2009, he worked in Connecticut on a project co-sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, the Natural Resources Defense Council, other environmental groups and several utility companies.

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The pressure is likely to remain on Buttigieg as he remains a top tier candidate. During a presidential forum in Waterloo Friday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot suggested to Buttigieg, “You should break the NDA,” to distinguish himself from President Trump.

“It's not like I was the CEO,” he replied.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

Ruth Bader Ginsburg temporarily blocks release of Trump’s financial records

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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg released from hospital

Ginsburg spent two nights at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore where she received an IV with antibiotics and fluids; Kristin Fisher reports.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg came to the rescue of President Trump Friday and allowed his financial records to remain secret from House Democrats – for now.

The liberal Supreme Court Justice granted an emergency request from Trump’s lawyers to delay enforcement of subpoenas House Democrats issued to Deutsche Bank and Capital One for Trump’s bank records.

A lower court Tuesday ordered the banks to cooperate with Congress in handing over a treasure trove of Trump’s financial dealings in the midst of the House’s impeachment inquiry. But Ginsburg stayed the ruling until 5 pm on Dec. 13.

APPEALS COURT RULES BANKS MUST COMPLY WITH SUBPOENA FOR TRUMP FINANCIAL RECORDS

That’s when the Supreme Court is expected to vote on whether to take up at least one of the two pending cases involving Trump’s financial records.

The latest dispute is over three subpoenas issued by the Democratic-led House Intelligence Committee and House Financial Services Committee for bank records for Trump and three of his children, Don Jr, Ivanka and Eric Trump.

Trump’s lawyers argued the sweeping requests for records exceed the committee’s legal authority. But the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York ruled Dec. 3 the committees had legitimate legislative purposes for issuing the subpoenas and ordered the banks to promptly begin transmitting the documents in daily batches starting next week.

WHITE HOUSE PRESS SEX. STEPHANIE GRISHAM AT NANCY PELOSI: IT'S VERY PERSONAL

Ginsburg signed the order because she’s in charge of deciding emergency appeals out of New York. Her decision in favor of Trump’s lawyers for a one-week delay isn’t considered an indication of how she’d rule on the merits of the broader records dispute between Trump and Congress.

Ginsburg – affectionately known as RBG – was nominated to the high court by President Bill Clinton in 1993. The 86-year-old has become an icon for the liberal left and for the Trump resistance.

Before he won the election, Ginsburg called Trump a “faker” in a July 2016 CNN interview and faulted him for failing to disclose his tax returns — as is custom for presidential candidates.

"He has no consistency about him. He says whatever comes into his head at the moment. He really has an ego. … How has he gotten away with not turning over his tax returns? The press seems to be very gentle with him on that,” Ginsburg said.

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Trump punched back by tweeting Ginsburg’s “mind is shot” and urging her to resign.

Fox News' Shannon Bream contributed to this report.

Original Article

Haley suggests Canada made ‘deal with the devil’ by backing anti-Israel UN resolution

closeNikki Haley discusses future political aspirations, urges 'Anonymous' author to come forwardVideo

Nikki Haley discusses future political aspirations, urges 'Anonymous' author to come forward

Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, author of the new book 'With All Due Respect: Defending America with Grit and Grace,' joins Dana Briefing on 'The Daily Briefing.'

Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley suggested this week that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government had made a “deal with the devil” in a recent decision to back an anti-Israel resolution at the U.N.

“I speak from experience when I say the United Nations presents many such opportunities to strike a deal with the devil,” she said at a U.N. Watch gala in New York on Thursday.

VENEZUELA WINS SEAT ON UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL; US BRANDS IT AN EMBARRASSMENT

She was telling the audience about how it is often “easier not to rock the boat” instead of standing up to “the mob” and cited the Canadian vote as an example of “this cultural corruption playing out in real time.”

“Canada has been, for a long time, balanced and fair-minded towards Israel at the United Nations. It has opposed the pull of the anti-Israel culture,” she said.

But that changed last month when the Trudeau government chose to vote for a resolution called “The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination” — sponsored by North Korea, Egypt, Nicaragua, Zimbabwe and the “State of Palestine.” That resolution calls for an end “to the Israeli occupation” and refers to the U.S. ally as “the occupying Power.”

Haley noted that Canada had voted against the resolution for years, and said the resolution “challenges the legitimacy of Israel.” She said the move had "surprised Israel's friends."

AMERICA 'ISOLATED' AT UN? GENERAL ASSEMBLY BREAKS WITH US ON MOST VOTES, REPORT FINDS

The former South Carolina governor suggested the Canadian stance had shifted now it was seeking one of the rotating two-year seats on the Security Council — a pick that requires a vote in the bloc’s notoriously anti-Israel General Assembly.

“One observer said Canada is making a ‘Faustian bargain,’ trading its integrity for a seat on the Security Council,” she said.

It’s the latest sign of tension between the Trump administration, from which Haley departed at the end of 2018, and the Trudeau government.

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President Trump called Trudeau “two-faced” earlier this week after video surfaced of the Canadian premier appearing to laugh at Trump’s expense at a NATO summit in London.

That came a day after Trump had grilled Trudeau in person about whether his country was meeting its commitment to spend two percent of GDP on defense spending — something Trudeau admitted his country was still falling short on meeting.

Original Article

Supreme Court temporarily blocks Trump administration request to resume federal executions

closeFox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 6Video

Fox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 6

Fox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 6 are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com

The Supreme Court on Friday blocked the Trump administration from resuming federal executions in an attempt to put to death four convicted murderers. The executions were slated to begin next week.

The justices upheld a lower court ruling imposed last month after inmates claimed executions by lethal injection would violate federal law.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan in Washington, D.C., had imposed a temporary injunction on executions, saying they would conflict with federal law. That ruling was upheld Monday by a three-judge federal appeals court.

SUPREME COURT CONSIDERS FIRSR GUN CASE IN NEARLY A DECADE

In this Jan. 24, 2019, file photo, the Supreme Court is seen at sunset in Washington. The Supreme Court is preventing the Trump administration from re-starting federal executions next week after a 16-year break. The court on Friday denied the administration's plea to undo a lower court ruling in favor of inmates who have been given execution dates. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

In this Jan. 24, 2019, file photo, the Supreme Court is seen at sunset in Washington. The Supreme Court is preventing the Trump administration from re-starting federal executions next week after a 16-year break. The court on Friday denied the administration's plea to undo a lower court ruling in favor of inmates who have been given execution dates. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Attorney General William Barr announced in July that the federal government would resume executions after a 16-year break, using a single drug — pentobarbital — to put inmates to death. A legal battle has drawn out over that time over the drugs used for lethal injections.

Federal executions were all but halted after the government found it difficult to obtain the three-drug cocktail needed for such injections.

Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said the legal battle would continue.

"While we are disappointed with the ruling, we will argue the case on its merits in the D.C. Circuit and, if necessary, the Supreme Court,” she said in a statement.

In a two-page statement, three justices — Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch — wrote they expected the Trump administration to prevail in court.

"The Court has expressed the hope that the Court of Appeals will proceed with 'appropriate dispatch,' and I see no reason why the Court of Appeals should not be able to decide this case, one way or the other, within the next 60 days," Alito said.

Federal government to resume capital punishment for first time since 2003Video

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The government had scheduled the execution of Danny Lee, who was convicted of killing a family of three — including an 8-year-old — on Monday. Wesley Ira Purkey had been scheduled to be put to death Dec. 13 for the murder and dismemberment of a 16-year-old girl and the slaying of an 80-year-old woman who suffered from polio.

Executions for Alfred Bourgeois, who beat, tortured and molested his 2-year-old daughter, and Dustin Lee Honken, who killed five people — including two children, were scheduled for January.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

Trump says Saudi king called him about NAS Pensacola shooting, said Saudis are ‘greatly angered’

closePensacola shooting suspect was Saudi aviation studentVideo

Pensacola shooting suspect was Saudi aviation student

US official says the Florida Naval station shooting suspect was a Saudi national and authorities are investigating if the shooting was terrorism-related; Phil Keating reports.

President Trump said Friday that King Salman of Saudi Arabia had called him to “express sincere condolences” and said Saudis are “greatly angered by the barbaric actions of the shooter.”

A gunman from Saudi Arabia opened fire Friday morning at Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola in Florida, killing three people. The gunman was an aviation student there. He was then fatally shot by officers.

“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 said.

“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,” he added.

His remarks came after Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron Desantis said the Saudis "owe a debt" following the shooting.

NAVAL AIR STATION PENSACOLA SHOOTER WAS SAUDI AVIATION STUDENT, INVESTIGATORS EYE POTENTIAL TERROR LINK

“The government of Saudi Arabia needs to make things better for these victims," DeSantis, who said he had spoken to President Trump about the shooting, told reporters during a news conference Friday afternoon. "They are going to owe a debt here given that this is one of their individuals.”

“Anyone who serves in the Navy knows that this is a special place, Naval Air Station Pensacola," DeSantis added. "All these brave warriors who wear the wings, they come through here for flight training. And so this is a dark day for a very great place."

The Pensacola Naval station is home to Naval Education and Training Security Assistance Field Activity's International Training Center, which trains international officers and enlisted students from allied nations.

SAILOR AT PEARL HARBOR NAVAL SHIPYARD KILLS 2 CIVILIANS BEFORE TURNING GUN ON HIMSELF, REPORT SAYS

"Immersing international students in our U.S. Navy training and culture helps build partnership capacity for both the present and for the years ahead," Cmdr. Bill Gibson, the center’s officer in charge, said in 2017. "These relationships are truly a win-win for everyone involved."

The majority of the hundreds of students who have participated in the program are of Saudi origin, according to the Navy.

The Saudi shooter wielded a handgun — even though firearms are not permitted at the base — before he was taken out by a pair of officers. Two were killed at the scene and one died while being rushed to the hospital. Seven others, including the two officers, suffered injuries and are being treated at a local hospital. One of the officers was shot in the arm and the other in the knee, but both are expected to survive.

Sources told Fox News that the Saudi student was "early" in his training and in the classroom phase at the beginning of what is a three-month program.

Saudis have received training at the Pensacola site since the 1970s. There are usually around 20 at a time in any given class, often from the royal family, which has created some tension over the years, putting pressure on officials to pass pilots through the training program in an attempt to preserve diplomacy with the U.S. ally. Many US military pilots have complained that some of the Saudi pilots are not safe.

Security was tightened at the base four or five years ago: the front gate is closed to civilians; it would take them about 45 minutes to get through security. However, not every car is always checked.

Officials have not confirmed the name of the shooter.

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The tragedy came just two days after a sailor shot two people and injured another at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard before turning the gun on himself.

Fox News' Greg Norman, Jennifer Griffin and Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this report.

Original Article

GOP senators seek records on ‘connection’ between Dem operatives, Ukrainian officials in 2016

closePresident Trump demands 'fast' impeachment in House so there can be a 'fair trial' in the SenateVideo

President Trump demands 'fast' impeachment in House so there can be a 'fair trial' in the Senate

House Democrats move to draft articles of impeachment; reaction and analysis from Fox News contributors Richard Fowler and Rachel Campos-Duffy.

The GOP chairmen of the Senate committees that would be involved in an impeachment trial are seeking records and interviews related to allegations that a Democratic National Committee consultant solicited derogatory information about the Trump campaign from Ukrainian embassy officials ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

In a news release Friday, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said they are looking to obtain records and transcribed staff interviews with two individuals reportedly involved in an effort by Ukrainian embassy officials to “undermine” the Trump campaign in the 2016 election.

IN TRUMP IMPEACHMENT TRIAL, SENATE REPUBLICANS COULD TURN TABLES ON DEMS

“To believe that the mainstream media will investigate all things Russia or Ukraine is to hope against hope,” Graham said in a statement Friday. “The hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s emails was done by the Russians and no one else. Whether there’s a connection between Democratic operatives and Ukrainian officials during the 2016 election has yet to be determined.”

He added: “It will only be found by looking. We intend to look.”

The requests from Grassley, Graham and Johnson come as House Democrats are entering what may be the final phase of their impeachment inquiry ahead of introducing articles of impeachment for a vote. Should the House approve impeachment articles and trigger a trial in the Senate, Republicans plan to turn the tables on Democrats, by looking more closely at issues that House Democrats glossed over during their hearings.

Friday’s requests are a continuation of an inquiry that Grassley launched in 2017 when he was chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Grassley, at the time, was questioning the actions of then-DNC consultant Alexandra Chalupa, which he said seemed to show that she was “simultaneously working on behalf of a foreign government, Ukraine, and on behalf of the DNC and Clinton campaign, in an effort to influence not only the U.S. voting population but U.S. government officials.”

Chalupa has denied the accusations: “For the record: I have never worked for a foreign government. I have never been to Ukraine. I was not an opposition researcher. In 2008, I knew Manafort worked for Putin’s interests in Ukraine. I reported my concerns about him to the NSC in 2014 & sounded the alarm bells in 2016,” Chalupa tweeted last month.

In addition to the interview and records requests, Johnson, Grassley and Graham are requesting “staff-led transcribed interviews” with Chalupa, and Andrii Telizhenko, a political officer within the Ukrainian embassy at the time. Telizhenko reportedly was ordered to assist in an off-the-books investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, which included then-Trump campaign advisor Paul Manafort’s prior business dealings in the region.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Friday blasted the latest GOP efforts, saying it "undermines our democracy."

“Putin and his intelligence services disinformation campaign team in Moscow couldn't have cooked up a more useful tool for spreading conjured and baseless conspiracy theories than the one Chairmen Graham, Grassley and Johnson announced today," Schumer said in a statement.

Last month, Johnson and Grassley also requested information from the National Archives and Records Administration regarding meetings that took place in 2016 involving Obama administration officials, Ukrainian government representatives, and Democratic National Committee officials. They also requested Justice Department records related to the FBI’s interactions with Chalupa.

The Republicans emphasized Friday that their interest in Ukraine does not mean they deny Russia's meddling in 2016.

“The senators’ inquiries are unrelated to an uncorroborated theory that Ukraine was also behind the hack of the DNC servers,” the statement from the senators said. “U.S. intelligence officials and Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation found that Russia was responsible for the DNC hack.”

The three senators have also recently requested information related to potential conflicts of interest and political influence by Ukraine, including the natural gas firm Burisma Holdings, which employed former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, on the board. At the time, the elder Biden was running U.S.-Ukraine relations and policy for the Obama administration.

And Graham, last month, alone, wrote a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo requesting the release of any documents related to contacts between Biden and former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, and to a meeting between son Hunter Biden’s business partner and former Secretary of State John Kerry.

This pertains to questions surrounding the elder Biden’s role in pressing for the ouster of a Ukrainian prosecutor who had been investigating the founder of Burisma. Biden denies any wrongdoing, but Republicans have pressed for details throughout the impeachment process, in a bid to show that even though President Trump’s pressure campaign on Kiev triggered the impeachment inquiry, his concern was legitimate.

At the center of the impeachment inquiry, which began in September, is Trump’s July 25 phone call with Kiev. That call prompted the whistleblower complaint to the intelligence community inspector general, and in turn, the impeachment inquiry in the House. Trump challenged the accuracy of the complaint, though the transcript released by the White House did support the core allegations that he pressed for politically related investigations.

The president’s request came after millions in U.S. military aid to Ukraine had been frozen, which Democrats and witnesses have claimed shows a "quid pro quo" arrangement. Trump denies any wrongdoing.

TRUMP THREATENS TO HAVE SCHIFF, BIDENS, PELOSI TESTIFY IN SENATE TRIAL AS HE DARES HOUSE TO IMPEACH

Meanwhile, Trump challenged House Democrats this week to impeach him "fast" so that he can have a "fair trial" in the Senate. He also threatened to seek testimony from the Bidens, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi, D-Calif., then dramatically called for the House to proceed with drafting articles of impeachment.

"The facts are uncontested. The president abused his power," Pelosi said.

But despite his threats, the president does not, alone, have the power to call witnesses to testify in those proceedings. In the Senate trial, three separate parties have input to how it will play out: Senate Republicans, Senate Democrats and the White House.

A senior Senate Republican aide told Fox News last month that once they receive articles of impeachment, they will begin working on two resolutions — one that governs the timeline of the trial, and the other that sets up witnesses for closed-door depositions, as well as which witnesses will be required to testify on the stand.

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The aide suggested that Republican senators – like Graham, Johnson, and Grassley – could be attempting to help “shape” the witness list and the trial in their recent attempts to obtain documents and information from the administration and companies related to Hunter Biden.

Original Article

White House won’t participate in impeachment hearings, tells Nadler to ‘end this inquiry now’

closeTrump administration faces deadline to decide whether to cooperate with impeachment probeVideo

Trump administration faces deadline to decide whether to cooperate with impeachment probe

Reaction and analysis from Fox News contributor Guy Benson, host of 'The Guy Benson Show,' and Brett Bruen, former director of global engagement in the Obama White House.

The White House said Friday it will not participate in House Judiciary Committee impeachment proceedings, blasting the inquiry as "completely baseless" in a curt response to Democrats ahead of Monday's scheduled hearing.

“House Democrats have wasted enough of America’s time with this charade," White House counsel Pat Cipollone said in a scathing one-page letter to Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., obtained by Fox News. "You should end this inquiry now and not waste even more time with additional hearings."

PELOSI CALLS FOR ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT AGAINST TRUMP: 'NO CHOICE BUT TO ACT'

Friday was the deadline for Trump to respond to Nadler's request for participation in committee proceedings.

But instead of giving House Democrats a direct "no" answer, Cipollone penned a two-paragraph letter derailing the entire process.

"As you know, your impeachment inquiry is completely baseless and has violated basic principles of due process and fundamental fairness," he wrote. "Nevertheless, the Speaker of the House yesterday ordered House Democrats to proceed with articles of impeachment before your Committee has heard a single shred of evidence.”

A senior administration official, though, made it clear they won't be participating, telling Fox News: "We don’t see any reason to participate because the process is unfair. Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi has already announced the predetermined result. They will not give us the ability to call any witnesses.”

Letter to Nadler by Fox News on Scribd

Nadler is set to continue hearings in the committee on Monday.

The decision by the administration likely accelerates the pace of impeachment.

In 1998, the Clinton Administration took 30 hours to present its side of things to the Judiciary Committee. That means there may not be another hearing after Monday’s session.

Trump telegraphed Thursday he wanted to sidestep the House impeachment process and move quickly to the Senate where he believes he'll be acquitted by the GOP-led upper chamber.

“Therefore I say, if you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast, so we can have a fair trial in the Senate and so that our Country can get back to business,” Trump tweeted. “We will have Schiff, the Bidens, Pelosi and many more testify, and will reveal, for the first time, how corrupt our system really is.”

Cipollone repeated Trump's comments in the letter and said the House Democrats would be making a historically unjust mistake by plowing forward.

"Adopting articles of impeachment would be a reckless abuse of power by House Democrats, and would constitute the most injust, highly partisan and unconstitutional attempt at impeachment in our Nation’s history," he said.

Trump and his allies in Congress have dismissed the impeachment as a “sham” partisan exercise aimed at undoing the results of the 2016 presidential election. Trump says his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was “perfect” when he asked the newly elected foreign leader to investigate the Bidens and the Democratic National Committee server.

Pelosi, however, said the facts of Trump’s wrongdoing involving Ukraine are “uncontested” and announced Thursday Democrats are plowing forward with drafting articles of impeachment against Trump.

“The president abused his power for his own personal political benefit at the expense of our national security,” Pelosi said.

WHITE HOUSE, IN FIERY LETTER, DECLARES TRUMP WON’T PARTICIPATE IN HOUSE JUDICIARY IMPEACHMENT HEARING

Trump declined to have his lawyers participate in the House Judiciary Committee’s first impeachment hearing Wednesday when four legal scholars debated whether Trump’s conduct was impeachable.

Cipollone blasted the “baseless and highly partisan inquiry” in a letter Sunday declining to attend. The White House also accused the Judiciary Committee of “purposely” scheduling its first impeachment hearing when Trump would be meeting with NATO leaders in London and couldn’t attend.

At Wednesday’s hearing, the three lawyers the Democrats invited made the case that Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine for personal political purposes and his stonewalling of Congress are impeachable. The lone GOP witness, George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley, said Trump’s call was “anything but perfect” but said Democrats haven’t made the case.

“One can oppose President Trump’s policies or actions but still conclude that the current legal case for impeachment is not just woefully inadequate, but in some respects, dangerous, as the basis for the impeachment of an American president,” Turley said.

Nadler, D-NY, had set a deadline of 5 p.m Friday in a letter he penned to the president a week ago.

“I am writing to determine if your counsel will seek to exercise the specific privileges set forth in the Judiciary Committee’s Impeachment Procedures … and participate in the upcoming impeachment proceedings,” Nadler wrote in the Nov. 29 letter.

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Nadler scheduled the next impeachment hearing for 9 a.m. on Monday, where lawyers for Democrats and Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee will present their evidence.

Fox News’ Chad Pergram contributed to this report.

Original Article

Impeachment witness who invoked Barron Trump floated by liberal group for Supreme Court

closePushback after Pamela Karlan's 'tone-deaf' remarkVideo

Pushback after Pamela Karlan's 'tone-deaf' remark

Ford O'Connell weighs in on professor Pamela Karlan's controversial remark after she invoked President Trump's 13-year-old son in her testimony

A former Hillary Clinton aide's organization has promoted Pamela Karlan — the Stanford professor who referenced the president's son during an impeachment hearing this week — as a possible Democratic choice for the Supreme Court nominee, raising more questions about Karlan's impartiality while testifying during the on-going impeachment inquiry.

Karlan is included in the list compiled by Demand Justice, a progressive group behind recent attack ads surrounding Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The group's leader, Brian Fallon, previously served as press secretary for former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and has called Trump's SCOTUS confirmations illegitimate.

Fallon's group has been pushing Democrats to release their list of nominees and demanded that the next SCOTUS picks include representatives of academia and other fields, rather than corporate law firms.

“It’s no surprise that radical liberal Pamela Karlan is on the Demand Justice shortlist for the Supreme Court," Judicial Crisis Network Chief Counsel Carrie Severino said in a statement to Fox News.

PAMELA KARLAN SAYS SHE ONCE CROSSED THE STREET TO AVOID A TRUMP HOTEL IN DC

"Her particular brand of hateful, there-are-no-innocents political warfare defines the liberal elite today," she said. "Sadly, she is also representative of the alarming nominees the left would put forward if they had the chance. America, take note.”

Severino, who helped push Kavanaugh's confirmation, previously derided the list as a reflection of progressives' "radical policy agenda." "For every specific policy goal that the extreme left wants to implement, Demand Justice has provided a name — or two or three — of an ultra-liberal lawyer who has made that cause a focus of his or her activism," she wrote in October.

Released that month, the list offered a glimpse into who progressive activists favored for the next Democratic president's nomination.

Demand Justice did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment. In addition to teaching at Stanford, Karlan has an impressive background in the judicial system.

PAMELA KARLAN ISSUES APOLOGY FOR BARRON TRUMP REFERENCE DURING IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY

She previously served in the Obama administration as the U.S. Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Voting Rights in the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. Demand Justice's website lists her previous roles as clerking for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun, as well as Judge Abraham Sofaer. She received her law degree from Yale.

Conservatives like Severino have long decried the allegedly secretive nature of Democrats' picks for the court. Earlier in the summer, the group Alliance for Justice pushed an initiative called "Building the Bench," aimed at identifying progressive candidates for the next president's nomination.

'THE VIEW' HOSTS CLASH OVER LAW PROFESSOR'S BARRON TRUMP JOKE DURING IMPEACHMENT HEARING: 'SO ILL-ADVISED'

It's unclear how long Karlan has been considered by progressive groups, but her recent comments are sure to cast a negative light on any future nomination.

Karlan received widespread condemnation from those at the White House, including first lady Melania Trump, who blasted Karlan for mentioning her son.

"The Constitution says there can be no titles of nobility, so while the president can name his son Barron, he can’t make him a baron," Karlan said during Wednesday's hearing.

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Karlan eventually apologized but she appeared to harbor anti-Trump bias. Besides speaking as a witness for Democrats, Karlan also said she crossed a street in Washington, D.C. in order to avoid Trump's hotel.

“I came in from the airport yesterday and I got off the bus from Dulles down at L’Enfant Plaza and I walked up to the hotel and as I was walking past what used to be the old post office building and is now Trump hotel," Karlan told an audience in 2017. “I had to cross the street, of course.”

Original Article

2020 Democratic long-shot Bennet goes all in on NH, jabs at Buttigieg

closeSen. Michael Bennet on impeachment inquiry, size of Democratic presidential fieldVideo

Sen. Michael Bennet on impeachment inquiry, size of Democratic presidential field

Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bennet joins Dana Perino on 'The Daily Briefing.'

SALEM, N.H. – Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado faces a challenging uphill climb to win the Democratic presidential nomination. But regardless, he said he's going all-in on the state that holds the first primary in the race for the White House.

And the long-shot contender is taking aim again at one of the top tier candidates: South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

THE LATEST FROM FOX NEWS ON THE 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN

Campaigning in New Hampshire Friday, Bennet highlighted in an interview with Fox News that, “I think I’m far more experienced than he is.”

Bennet, who served as superintendent of the Denver public school system before heading to the Senate in 2009, added that, “like Pete, I got my start at the local level. But my school district had a budget three times the size of his city and since that time I’ve spent 10 years in the Senate, which is enough time to learn how to get some things done but why the biggest things don’t get done in Washington. I think it’s just a very different set of experiences."

Bennet spoke after holding the first of what he pledges are 50 town halls between now and the state’s February 11 presidential primary.

“I think a lot of my time is now going to be devoted to New Hampshire,” he told Fox News.

Asked why he’s emphasizing New Hampshire instead of Iowa, which kicks off the presidential primary and caucus nominating calendar eight days before the Granite State votes, Bennet pointed to New Hampshire’s smaller size and similarities to his home state.

“It’s a little less crowded. It reminds me a lot of Colorado," he said. "It’s a third Republican, a third Democratic, a third independent, which is what Colorado is like. And I think I can get to one end of it to another over and over again, which is why I’ve committed to do 50 town halls between now and the primary.”

Asked where he needs to finish in the primary, the senator would only say “I’ve got to do well here and I hope to do well here.”

Campaign officials told Fox News that they're currently adding to the roughly 10 staffers they have in New Hampshire, and they intend to open two more campaign offices, bringing to three the number they have in the state.

But the campaign added that it's not abandoning Iowa – where it has about 20 staffers.

“Our team in Iowa is intact. It’s a great group of people,” Bennet noted.

Bennet jumped into the race on May 2. His campaign launch was delayed after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and underwent surgery. But after announcing a clean bill of health in mid-April, Bennet moved forward with his White House bid.

He qualified for the first two Democratic presidential debates, held in June and July, but has failed to make the stage since those early showdowns – as he’s fallen short of the polling and fundraising thresholds.

But speaking at a café in Salem, New Hampshire – a large town along with state’s southern border with Massachusetts – Bennet argued that “the debates I don’t think have done very much for the Democratic Party. I think they’ve sort of played into Donald Trump’s hands. I can see why it’s entertaining and part of what we do but it shouldn’t be the central way we conduct this election.”

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado campaigns at a cafe in Salem, NH, on Dec. 6, 2019

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado campaigns at a cafe in Salem, NH, on Dec. 6, 2019

And he took aim at the top tier contenders for the nomination, saying “we’ve got a problem on our hands because I think people are deeply unconvinced that the leading candidates in this race can beat Donald Trump. And that’s the No. 1 issue for people.”

Asked by the crowd how he can compete with the candidates with bigger name identification and bigger campaign cash war chests, Bennet pointed to New Hampshire’s tradition of late-deciding voters.

“Look, you guys are just starting to make up your minds here, in New Hampshire, to say nothing of the rest of the country,” he noted.

That tradition is reflected in the latest polls in the state’s Democratic presidential primary, with a high percentage of undecided voters – or voters who are backing a candidate but saying they could change their minds by primary day in February.

Original Article

Former top attorney for Obama suggests Dems should impeach Trump again if Senate acquits

closeHogan Gidley says President Trump welcomes an impeachment trial in the SenateVideo

Hogan Gidley says President Trump welcomes an impeachment trial in the Senate

White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley joins Melissa Francis on 'Outnumbered Overtime.'

An impeachment trial in the Republican-led Senate is largely expected to fail but that may not stop some Democrats from pushing for another impeachment after President Trump's would-be reelection in 2020.

"If the Senate doesn’t vote to convict Trump, or tries to monkey w his trial, he could of course be retried in the new Senate should he win re-election," tweeted Neal Katyal, who served as acting solicitor general under former President Obama.

"Double jeopardy protections do not apply," he added, referring to the principle that suspects can't be tried twice for the same crime. "And Senators voting on impeachment in the next months know this."

Katyal went on to promote his book pushing impeachment on Twitter. He was one of the lawyers who fought President Trump's travel ban in court.

DOES PELOSI HAVE THE VOTES FOR IMPEACHMENT?

Katyal's tweet served as another indication that Democrats would continue investigating President Trump's conduct regardless of the outcome of the current impeachment inquiry.

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Republicans have argued that Democrats always intended to impeach Trump and overturn the results of the 2016 election. Prior to the current inquiry, some Democrats called for Trump's impeachment after the Justice Department released former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's findings on the Russia investigation.

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., held back on impeachment proceedings until details surfaced surrounding President Trump's July call with Ukraine.

On Thursday, the speaker urged Democrats to proceed with articles of impeachment, which could include charges related to the Russia investigation and other complaints House Democrats have lodged against the president.

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Booker ‘taken aback’ after Bloomberg calls him ‘very well spoken’

closeIs Bloomberg better off skipping the primary debates as viewership drops?Video

Is Bloomberg better off skipping the primary debates as viewership drops?

The 2020 Democrat primary debates are declining in the ratings and being hit with criticism over the format.

Presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker said Friday he was “taken aback” by 2020 Democratic nomination rival Mike Blomberg’s "problematic" description of the New Jersey senator as “well-spoken,” saying it plays into "tired tropes" about African Americans.

And Bloomberg – who’s supported Booker during his tenure as Newark, N.J., mayor and later in the Senate – later acknowledged Friday, “I probably shouldn’t have used the word.”

BLOOMBERG ON HIS 2020 DEM RIVALS: 'TRUMP WOULD JUST EAT THEM UP'

Booker – one of only two remaining black candidates left in the still large field of Democratic White House hopefuls – said Friday in an interview on SiriusXM that “it’s sort of stunning at times that we are still revisiting these sort of tired tropes." He added: "The fact that they don’t understand is problematic.”

Booker spoke soon after Bloomberg said in an interview that aired hours earlier on "CBS This Morning" that Booker is “very well-spoken.”

Presidential candidate<a data-cke-saved-href="https://www.foxnews.com/category/person/cory-booker" href="https://www.foxnews.com/category/person/cory-booker"> Sen. Cory Booker </a>says he was taken aback by <a data-cke-saved-href="https://www.foxnews.com/category/politics/2020-presidential-election" href="https://www.foxnews.com/category/politics/2020-presidential-election">2020 Democratic nomination </a>rival<a data-cke-saved-href="https://www.foxnews.com/category/person/michael-bloomberg" href="https://www.foxnews.com/category/person/michael-bloomberg"> Mike </a><a data-cke-saved-href="https://www.foxnews.com/category/person/michael-bloomberg" href="https://www.foxnews.com/category/person/michael-bloomberg">Blomberg’s</a> description of the <a data-cke-saved-href="https://www.foxnews.com/category/person/cory-booker" href="https://www.foxnews.com/category/person/cory-booker">New Jersey senator</a> as well-spoken. (AP).

Presidential candidate<a data-cke-saved-href="https://www.foxnews.com/category/person/cory-booker" href="https://www.foxnews.com/category/person/cory-booker"> Sen. Cory Booker </a>says he was taken aback by <a data-cke-saved-href="https://www.foxnews.com/category/politics/2020-presidential-election" href="https://www.foxnews.com/category/politics/2020-presidential-election">2020 Democratic nomination </a>rival<a data-cke-saved-href="https://www.foxnews.com/category/person/michael-bloomberg" href="https://www.foxnews.com/category/person/michael-bloomberg"> Mike </a><a data-cke-saved-href="https://www.foxnews.com/category/person/michael-bloomberg" href="https://www.foxnews.com/category/person/michael-bloomberg">Blomberg’s</a> description of the <a data-cke-saved-href="https://www.foxnews.com/category/person/cory-booker" href="https://www.foxnews.com/category/person/cory-booker">New Jersey senator</a> as well-spoken. (AP).

The former New York City mayor and multi-billionaire business and media mogul — who’s already spent more than $50 million to run TV campaign commercials in the two weeks since launching his White House bid — was asked in the interview about recent criticism by Booker, who was visibility upset earlier this week after his good friend Sen. Kamala Harris of California ended her White House bid. Booker said "there’s more billionaires in the 2020 race than there are black people."

With Harris out of the race, Booker and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick are the two remaining black candidates. Besides Bloomberg, billionaire environmental and progressive advocate Tom Steyer is also running for the nomination.

BOOKER, BIDEN, COULD GAIN GROUND FROM HARRIS' DROPPING OUT, STRATEGISTS SAY

Asked about Booker’s criticism, Bloomberg said in the CBS interview that "Cory Booker endorsed me a number of times, and I endorsed Cory Booker a number of times."

"He's very well-spoken. He's got some good ideas. It would be better the more diverse any group is, but the public is out there picking and choosing, and narrowing down this field,” he added.

Bloomberg’s “very well-spoken” description of Booker quickly received criticism on social media.

Booker – in his interview – said that “this is part of the campaign and lots of people say things that they wish they could take back and I’m sure people, if Mike gets it now and I hope people around him are talking to him about why that plays into what is for the black community in particular just, these are signs of frustration that we continue to deal with.”

Booker pointed to the numerous blackface controversies this year and added “I don’t think folks understand with Kamala dropping out of the race, why so many people, friends of mine and family members of mine who weren’t even supporting her, found insulting, not being in this race with her qualifications, her experience, her talent and her gifts and other people are — who frankly are, very bluntly, do not have her same record.”

The senator emphasized that “I think that what we as a party have to understand is that we can’t win without the, not just African-American vote, but we can’t win without the enthusiastic support of black voters.”

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Booker also spotlighted his long working relationship with Bloomberg, saying, “Mike and I have known each other for a long time. When I was first becoming the mayor of the city of Newark, he gave me a tremendous amount of practical support and so I just have a great deal of regard for him as somebody who helped me help the city of Newark.”

Bloomberg, speaking with reporters after a campaign event in Augusta, Ga., later on Friday, highlighted that Booker “was on the board of my foundation. Cory Booker endorsed me three times. I endorsed him three times. We campaigned. We have stayed friends.”

But he added that “I probably shouldn’t have used the word. I can tell you he is a friend of mine. He is a Rhodes scholar. I envy him and he certainly can speak for himself.”

The news brought back memories of a campaign controversy from the 2008 presidential election cycle, when then-Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware described rival candidate Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois as the “first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.”

The comment created a firestorm of criticism, and Biden later apologized, saying "I deeply regret any offense my remark in the New York Observer might have caused anyone. That was not my intent and I expressed that to Sen. Obama."

Regardless of that controversy, the following year after he captured the Democratic presidential nomination – Obama named Biden as his running mate. And Biden went on to serve as vice president under Obama for eight years.

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Schiff: Trump ‘doesn’t give a s–t about what’s good for our country’

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'The Schiff treatment': Controversy of phone log legitimacy

Dagen McDowell and Marie Harf debate the legality of Adam Schiff obtaining phone logs of political rivals

In reflecting on the impeachment hearings, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., reportedly pointed to a particular exchange that confirmed for him that President Trump "doesn't give a s–t" about what's good for the United States.

Those comments came during an interview with the New Yorker magazine on Thursday, the same day House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., urged Democrats to proceed with articles of impeachment, following multiple public hearings on Trump's conduct with Ukraine.

According to Schiff, David Holmes, a U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, shed light on Trump's selfishness when he revealed that the president told Ambassador Gordon Sondland that the president only cared about a potential investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden — not other Ukraine-related issues, like a potential war with Russia.

“That says it all,” Schiff reportedly said. “The President doesn’t give a s–t about what’s good for our country, what’s good for Ukraine. It’s all about what’s in it for him personally and for his reelection campaign.”

EMBASSY OFFICIAL GIVES COLORFUL ACCOUNT OF OVERHEARD TRUMP CALL: 'LOUD AND RECOGNIZABLE'

Schiff's comments were just the latest salvo in an ongoing feud between him and the president, as both accused the other of egregious abuses of power. Trump has even requested that Schiff himself testify in the ongoing impeachment inquiry hearings.

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"There are members of Congress who may be fact witnesses. I’m not one of them,” Schiff said during Thursday's interview.

He also seemed to dismiss attacks from the president, claiming that “the president’s strategy with everything is basically the same: don’t defend his misconduct, attack whoever stands up to him."

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It's unclear whether Pelosi will have enough votes to make Trump the third president impeached in U.S. history. But if she did, Schiff indicated that obstruction of justice would easily make it into the articles of impeachment.

“You could not have a more open-and-shut case of obstruction of Congress,” he said, referring to the administration's refusal to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry.

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