Tulsi Gabbard: ‘Present’ vote on impeachment ‘an active protest’ against 2-party gridlock

closeMeghan McCain praises Tulsi Gabbard for voting 'present' on impeachmentVideo

Meghan McCain praises Tulsi Gabbard for voting 'present' on impeachment

'The View' co-host praises Democrat Tulsi Gabbard for her vote in Trump impeachment.

Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard doubled down Thursday on her decision to vote “present” on two articles of impeachment against President Trump that cleared the House on Wednesday.

The House voted 230 to 197 to impeach Trump for abuse of power, and 229 to 198 for obstruction of Congress. Votes fell mostly along party lines but Gabbard, a 2020 presidential hopeful, cast the only “present” vote on each article of impeachment.

Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii speaks to Democrats gathered at the Spratt Issues Conference in Greenville, S.C., Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard)

Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii speaks to Democrats gathered at the Spratt Issues Conference in Greenville, S.C., Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard)

After the vote, the Hawaii congresswoman issued a lengthy statement saying Trump “violated public trust,” but that voters would be able to hold him accountable in the 2020 election.

“I could not in good conscience vote against impeachment because I believe President Trump is guilty of wrongdoing,” she explained. “I also could not in good conscience vote for impeachment because removal of a sitting president must not be the culmination of a partisan process, fueled by tribal animosities that have so gravely divided our country.”

MEGHAN MCCAIN: TULSI GABBARD HAS ‘BALLS OF STEEL’ FOR VOTING ‘PRESENT’ ON IMPEACHMENT

Her decision was widely criticized as being non-committal. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., said that “to not take a stand one way or another, on a day of such great consequence to this country, I think is quite difficult.”

Gabbard took to Twitter to elaborate on her “present” vote as an “active protest” against the “zero-sum” game that Democrats and Republicans "have trapped America in."

“Politics should not be a zero-sum game but tragically, that’s exactly what it’s become, and it’s polluted the whole nature of our politics,” she said in a video. “The point of politics should be about doing maximum damage to your opponents just to win.”

She went on to say that her vote was “opting out of this zero-sum game mindset and back into one of negotiation and compromise.”

2020 DEM CANDIDATES REACT TO IMPEACHMENT VOTES: ‘A SAD MOMENT’

Gabbard has risen to prominence as an outsider in her party. A military veteran still serving as an Army National Guard officer, she has blasted U.S. foreign policy while also sporadically defending Trump. She has used the Democratic presidential debate stage to attack California Sen. Kamala Harris, who has since dropped out of the race.

She also got into a caustic public back-and-forth with Hillary Clinton, after the 2016 nominee suggested — without evidence — that Russia is using Gabbard in the 2020 campaign.

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Gabbard retorted by calling Clinton “the queen of warmongers … and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long.”

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

Original Article

AG Barr warns against ‘political’ impeachment, hits back at Comey in Fox News interview

closeAttorney General William Barr slams FBI's handling of Russia probeVideo

Attorney General William Barr slams FBI's handling of Russia probe

Barr takes issue with several findings in DOJ inspector general Michael Horowitz's report on alleged FISA abuse; David Spunt reports from the Justice Department.

Attorney General Bill Barr, in an interview Wednesday with Fox News, warned that impeachment could be "trivialized" by Democrats' efforts to remove President Trump, while also firing back at ex-FBI Director James Comey's reaction to the Justice Department inspector general's report on the Russia investigation.

Barr sat down with Martha MacCallum as the House of Representatives was debating two articles of impeachment ahead of an expected floor vote. The top law enforcement officer noted that the Constitution specifically includes a high standard for impeachment, and said he does not believe the allegations against President Trump meet that standard.

COMEY ACCUSES BARR OF 'IRRESPONSIBLE STATEMENT' ON FBI CONDUCT

"As a general matter, I think we have to be careful about trivializing the process and they put in a hurdle of high crimes — of treason, bribery and other high crimes," Barr told "The Story with Martha MacCallum" in an interview scheduled to air Wednesday night. "The articles of impeachment here do not allege a violation of law, and it looks as if it’s going to be along partisan lines — I think — you know, I’m concerned about it being trivialized and used as a political tool."

WATCH ATTORNEY GENERAL BARR ON FOX NEWS' 'THE STORY' WEDNESDAY AT 7 PM ET

House Republicans made similar arguments as members of both parties took to the House floor throughout the day Wednesday. They clashed over articles of impeachment against Trump alleging abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, in connection with his efforts to pressure Ukraine to launch investigations of Democrats as his administration withheld aid. GOP members have claimed that abuse of power is not a statutory crime, and that if Democrats had a problem with Trump asserting privilege when he instructed witnesses not to comply with requests to testify, they should have gone to the courts.

Barr also addressed comments made by Comey in the wake of Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz's report and subsequent testimony regarding the FBI's conduct during the Russia probe. Horowitz found that FBI officials misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) through inaccuracies and omissions in warrant applications for the surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

WATCH BILL BARR'S INTERVIEW ON 'THE STORY WITH MARTHA MACCALLUM WEDNESDAY NIGHT

Comey was defensive of the FBI during an interview on "Fox News Sunday," insisting that the report did not show that agents engaged in any intentional misconduct. Horowitz did say that the investigation was launched properly and that he did not see evidence of political bias. Still, he has also said that the motivation behind the FBI's actions remains unknown.

Comey: 'I was wrong' to say FISA process was 'followed'Video

"There are so many errors, we couldn’t reach a conclusion or make a determination on what motivated those failures other than we did not credit what we lay out here were the explanations we got," Horowitz told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee during a Wednesday hearing.

This is similar to what Barr said during an NBC News interview after the report's release.

"These irregularities, these misstatements, these omissions were not satisfactorily explained, and I think that leaves open the possibility to infer bad faith," he said.

Yet Comey called this "an irresponsible statement," telling Fox News' Chris Wallace that Barr "does not have a factual basis as the Attorney General of the United States to be speculating that agents acted in bad faith."

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Barr said he does not view the situation the same way as the former FBI director.

"One of the things that I object to is the tack being taken by Comey, which is to suggest that people who are criticizing or trying to get to the bottom of the misconduct are somehow attacking the FBI. I think that is nonsense," Barr said. "We’re criticizing and concerned about misconduct by a few actors at the top of the FBI, and they should be criticized if they engaged in serious misconduct."

Original Article

House to vote on articles of impeachment against President Trump: live updates

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Fox News Go

The House of Representatives on Wednesday will vote on two articles of impeachment against President Trump in what is expected to be a mostly party-line vote on charges of obstruction of Congress and abuse of power. The debate will begin at 9 a.m. ET.

Follow our live blog below. Mobile users click here.

Original Article

Schiff defends Democrats’ impeachment case against Trump

closeRep. Adam Schiff defends Democrats' impeachment case against President TrumpVideo

Rep. Adam Schiff defends Democrats' impeachment case against President Trump

House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff joins Chris Wallace on 'Fox News Sunday.'

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., defended the Democrats' case for impeaching President Trump and slammed his Republican colleagues for allowing the White House to ignore congressional subpoenas.

In an interview that aired on “Fox News Sunday,” Schiff said that of the two articles of impeachment brought last week against Trump, he considers obstruction of Congress to be the most serious. The other article brought against the president is abuse of power.

CHRIS WALLACE INTERVIEWS FORMER FBI DIRECTOR JAMES COMEY AND HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIR ADAM SCHIFF ON 'FOX NEWS SUNDAY'

“I would just say to my Republican colleagues – who appear to be on the verge of shirking their constitutional duty — if they're prepared to say a president can simply say no to any congressional subpoena and tie up the Congress for years in litigation, it is going to have to accept corruption, malfeasance, negligence, misconduct in any future president – Republican or Democrat,” Schiff told Fox News anchor Chris Wallace. “Are we really prepared to go down that road?”

Chris Wallace addresses importance of a free press at Newseum's final public eventVideo

Schiff added: “In many respects I consider this to be the most serious of the articles because it would fundamentally alter the balance of power and allow for much greater misconduct in the chief executive of the country.”

Schiff – who has become arguably the most visible Democratic face in the impeachment process – also balked at the assertion that he was a fact witness and should have been called to testify before the House Judiciary Committee last week. Republicans have consistently called for Schiff to testify amid reports that he, or his staff, had contact with the whistleblower who first reported concerns about Trump’s July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

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“This isn’t about fact witness,” he said. “There are, in fact, members of Congress who are witnesses.

James Comey on findings from DOJ inspector general's report on alleged FISA abuseVideo

He continued: Senator [Ron] Johnson [a Wisconsin Republican] had a discussion with the president. Senator [Lindsey] Graham [a Republican from South Carolinia] had discussions with the president about the withholding of aid. They may be fact witnesses. We didn’t seek to call them. We’re not seeking to make a circus out of this.”

A full U.S. House vote is likely to come this upcoming week before Congress adjourns for the year, and the Senate is likely to vote in January or February.

Original Article

Pennsylvania veteran who lost leg in Afghanistan running for Congress against incumbent Dem

closeSoldiers’ Angels giving back to veteransVideo

Soldiers’ Angels giving back to veterans

CEO Amy Palmer discusses how the nonprofit provides aid to servicemen and servicewomen.

Earl Granville is a Pennsylvania Army National Guard veteran who lost his leg while serving in Afghanistan. He now says he wants to give back to the people who helped him heal by representing their interests in Congress.

"I want to give back to the people here and continue to serve them, just like they served me," he told Fox News. "It's just so important for me to understand what these people need here. I want to be a good voice and representative for them."

Granville, a Republican, announced his candidacy on Tuesday for the seat in Pennsylvania's 8th Congressional District, currently held by Rep. Matt Cartwright, a Democrat.

Given that President Trump carried the district by nearly 10 points in 2016, it's set to be one of the more notable congressional races nationwide. Cartwright, who has held the seat since 2013, still enjoyed strong support in his district, however.

"You look at the divide in Washington, D.C., and it's caused a huge division among the people in the United States," Granville, 36, said.

"I would like to get my foot in the door and get people to just do their jobs and be leaders to work together," he continued. "I think when they start working together, no matter what their political differences are, you're going to start seeing the people come together."

IS PELOSI WILLING TO SACRIFICE DEMOCRAT SEATS TO IMPEACH PRESIDENT TRUMP

Earl Granville fought in Iraq during Operation Enduring Freedom in 2002. He is pictured with his brother Joe. (Courtesy of Earl Granville)

Earl Granville fought in Iraq during Operation Enduring Freedom in 2002. He is pictured with his brother Joe. (Courtesy of Earl Granville)

The former staff sergeant was on the final day of a five-day mission in the Paktia province, on his way to help build a school, when an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded, wounding him and destroying his vehicle. Granville said he only remembered "seeing black" before realizing his feet had been turned "completely backward" and were "full of blood."

Granville's left leg was quickly amputated; he had to endure months of surgeries, rehab and recovery to save his right leg. He said he doesn't think much about the injury anymore and is thankful just to be alive.

"What I would like to show the people here is, you don't need a uniform to serve," the Pennsylvania native said. "You need to get out there and find that purpose in your life… I think we as a society need to understand that."

In outlining his preliminary policy goals, Granville, who served nine years in the National Guard, highlighted his inroads with the local community and said all he wanted to do was carry out the will of the people.

"What I would like to find out first is, the people in this district and Northeastern Pennsylvania — what is it exactly that I can do for them," Granville said. "What issues are here in this area that we can fix before I dive into policy."

"We need the economy moving forward in this area," he added. "It's important to have jobs in Northeastern Pennsylvania."

OPPONENT BLASTS SCHIFF FOR FAILING HIS CALIFORNIA CONSTITUENTS

Granville recovered at Walter Reed Hospital with his family in 2008 following the loss of his leg. (Courtesy of Earl Granville)

Granville recovered at Walter Reed Hospital with his family in 2008 following the loss of his leg. (Courtesy of Earl Granville)

Granville also sided with the president in the ongoing House push for impeachment.

"I look at this impeachment as a waste of time and a waste of tax dollars," he said. "For the past few years, this has been the approach of the other side — trying to take the current commander in chief out of office, and it seems like all it's doing is costing us money."

Granville said that if Cartwright votes to impeach Trump, "I think a lot of people in this area are going to be upset over that."

He said that, unlike Cartwright, he's originally from the district and personally experienced its ups and downs.

"An organization called Homes For Our Troops helped build my house," he said. "They had a big volunteer day and the whole community came in to help build the house."

Granville also showed support for the fossil fuel industry and said Congress must start thinking outside the box on issues — including veterans' health care.

REP. PETER KING, R-NY, WILL NOT SEEK REELECTION IN 2020

Granville ran in the Boston Marathon in 2017. (Courtesy of Earl Granville)

Granville ran in the Boston Marathon in 2017. (Courtesy of Earl Granville)

"Coal is the blood of where we're from here in Northeastern Pennsylvania," he said. "Keeping that tradition here is important."

"We've seen the disaster that is the VA [Department of Veterans Affairs], the bad rep they get," Granville continued. "I would like to work to make sure the rest of the veterans continue to get the same opportunities that I get, and if we have to look beyond the VA to find a solution, then so be it."

"There are things that must be fixed within our VA system and we need to move forward and fix those," he added.

Granville ended by stressing a need for a cap on how many times a representative can serve in office, and "new blood" in Congress. He said electing the same person over and over would simply perpetuate the ongoing gridlock and discourage new ideas.

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"Just like the presidency, we need new blood. Keep that wheel turning and bring in new people," he said. "Sometimes with some of these people who have been in their districts for over 20 years — do they still know the people? You look at someone who has been in politics for so long, generations change. People's mindsets go a different way."

"If we keep sending the same people over and over, we're going to get nowhere," he added.

Cartwright's congressional office did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment.

Original Article

Judiciary Committee approves articles of impeachment against Trump, as GOP slams ‘kangaroo court’

closeThe House Judiciary Committee begins process of voting on articles of impeachmentVideo

The House Judiciary Committee begins process of voting on articles of impeachment

The House Judiciary Committee on Friday voted to adopt two articles of impeachment against President Trump – capping a contentious three-day session that Republicans panned as a “kangaroo court.”

The committee adopted both articles, alleging abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, on a party-line vote of 23-17. A final vote in the full House is expected next week, which could tee up a Senate trial in the new year just before presidential primaries are set to get underway.

REPUBLICANS ERUPT AS NADLER SUDDENLY POSTPONES IMPEACHMENT VOTE NEAR MIDNIGHT

But the committee vote was preceded by fireworks on Thursday night, when Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., infuriated Republicans by wrapping up the hearing just before midnight and postponing the votes until the morning.

"It is now very late at night," Nadler said. "I want the members on both sides of the aisle to think about what has happened over these last two days, and to search their consciences before we cast their final votes.”

That led to Republicans decrying what they called a “bush-league stunt” by Nadler to make sure the vote would be carried on daytime television.

"Mr. Chairman, there was no consulting with the ranking member on your schedule for tomorrow — you just blew up schedules for everyone?" Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., said. "You chose not to consult the ranking member on a scheduling issue of this magnitude? This is the kangaroo court we're talking about.”

DEMS PLOW AHEAD WITH IMPEACHMENT ARTICLES IN HEATED ALL-DAY SESSION

Impeachment vote postponement a 'bush league stunt': Doug CollinsVideo

Republicans have repeatedly and loudly objected to the impeachment inquiry, which focuses on President Trump’s July 25 conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which he pressed Zelensky to “look into” supposed Ukraine interference in the 2016 election and the conduct of former Vice President Joe Biden (a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate) in the country.

Democrats have alleged that the conversation was part of a quid pro quo in which Ukraine would conduct politically related investigations into Trump’s political rivals in exchange for then-withheld military aid and a White House meeting. Trump has strongly denied those claims and decried the probe as a “witch hunt.”

The articles of impeachment being considered accuse Trump of “obstruction of Congress” and “abuse of power.”

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They are likely to pass in the House, although questions have been raised about moderate Democrats in districts that voted for Trump in 2016 — many of whom have not said whether they will vote for impeachment.

Should the articles pass the full House, the debate will shift to the Senate for an impeachment trial — where the Republican-controlled chamber would be expected to easily acquit the president.

Fox News' Gregg Re and Chad Pergram contributed to this report.

Original Article

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LISA PAGE SUES FBI AND DOJ, CITING 'COST OF THERAPY' AFTER TRUMP MOCKED HER SALACIOUS TEXT MESSAGES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Original Article

Trump targets anti-Semitism, boycotts against Israel on college campuses

closeTrump says US-Israel relationship is stronger now than ever beforeVideo

Trump says US-Israel relationship is stronger now than ever before

President Trump speaks to crowd of over 4,000 people at the Israeli American Council National Summit. Talia Kaplan reports from Hollywood, Florida.

President Trump is threatening to cut federal funds to college campuses that don't curb anti-Semitism against Jewish students, with an executive order set to be signed later Wednesday, according to a senior administration official.

Trump's new order will hit the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement head-on and will invoke Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to fight anti-Semitic rhetoric on college campuses, labeling Judaism as a nationality as well as a religion, and calling on federally funded agencies to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism in cases of discrimination.

TRUMP TO 4,000 ISRAELI AMERICANS IN FLORIDA: US-ISRAEL RELATIONSHIP IS 'STRONGER NOW THAN EVER BEFORE'

“My administration is committed to aggressively challenging and confronting anti-Semitic bigotry in every resource and using every single weapon at our disposal,” Trump told a crowd of over 4,000 people at the Israeli American Council National summit over the weekend.

"We began to focus on this issue in the late winter/spring of this year when we were alarmed frankly at a rise in anti-Semitic rhetoric, including unfortunately from leading political figures," a senior administration official told The Jerusalem Post. "We looked at the data, and we saw that there'd been a rise in anti-Semitic incidents, and we began a policy process to figure out physically what we could do on the subject."

JERSEY CITY SHOOTER PUBLISHED ANTI-SEMITIC POSTS ONLINE, REPORT CLAIMS

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

David Krone, who was chief of staff to former Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., praised Trump for the move: "I know people are going to criticize me for saying this, but I have to give credit where credit is due."

The Trump administration has received praise from both sides of the aisle but also has critics saying the new executive order violates free speech rights.

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

Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of J Street, a left-leaning group, blasted the measure as having "a chilling effect on free speech" and a "crackdown on campus critics of Israel."

A pro-Palestinian organization accused Trump of trying to "silence Palestinian-rights activism" by equating opposition to Israeli treatment of Palestinians with anti-Semitism.

“Israeli apartheid is a very hard product to sell in America, especially in progressive spaces,” Munayyer said in a statement published by The New York Times. “And realizing this, many Israeli apartheid apologists, Trump included, are looking to silence a debate they know they can’t win.”

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

Jewish Coalition national chairman Norm Coleman, a former Republican senator from Minnesota, said the executive order will have a real and positive impact in protecting Jewish college students from anti-Semitism.

"Sadly, every day, Jewish students on college campuses face outrageous attacks on their Jewish identity and beliefs," he said. "The rapid increase in such incidents in recent years is of great concern."

Christians United for Israel, the largest pro-Israel organization in the nation, thanked Trump and Jared Kushner for doing what Congress could not as they failed to pass the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act.

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"It is astonishing to me that Congress dithered with meaningless resolutions while violent anti-Semitic incidents were surging across the country, but it is precisely because of such Congressional paralysis that President Trump’s executive order is the right and necessary path to adopting the IHRA’s definition," CUFI Action Fund Chairwoman Sandra Parker said in a statement.

In July, Congress passed a bipartisan condemnation of BDS as a movement that "promotes principles of collective guilt, mass punishment and group isolation, which are destructive of prospects for progress towards peace."

Original Article

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

closeFox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 11Video

Fox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 11

Fox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 11 are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com

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.

AOC INVOKES DOG BREEDING PRACTICES IN DEBATE ABOUT PAID FAMILY LEAVE

“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.”

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

Original Article

Hillary Clinton cheers impeachment, says Trump ‘waging war’ against democracy

closePoll: Hillary Clinton top 2020 Democrat pick without having entered raceVideo

Poll: Hillary Clinton top 2020 Democrat pick without having entered race

Fox & Trends with Carley Shimkus.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who famously lost the 2016 election to now-President Trump, swiftly gave her public support to articles of impeachment against her political rival after they were announced by House Democrats Tuesday morning.

Clinton called the impeachment push necessary for defending democracy.

DEMOCRATS UNVEIL IMPEACHMENT ARTICLES, AS WHITE HOUSE SLAMS 'BASELESS AND PARTISAN' EFFORT

"We must defend our democracy, and the painful truth is that the occupant of the Oval Office is waging war against it," Clinton tweeted.

Clinton posted the comment along with a video of House Democrats discussing plans to move forward with impeachment articles alleging abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

The former secretary of state and first lady has been the subject of increasing speculation over whether she might make a stunning late entry into the 2020 presidential race, as the crowded field starts to thin.

During a BBC interview in November, Clinton said she is not planning on running, but that she thinks about what it would be like to be president "all the time." When pressed on the issue, she said, "never, never, never say never," and that she's under "enormous pressure" to do so.

Since 2016, Clinton has repeatedly blamed her defeat on a number of factors, including misogyny, Russian hackers and WikiLeaks, and James Comey's public comments about the FBI's investigation of her private email server.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

"If the election had been on October 27, I would be your president," she told CNN's Christiane Amanpour at a 2017 Women for Women International event.

During an October PBS Newshour interview, Clinton teased that "maybe there does need to be a rematch," and that "obviously I can beat him again," referring her securing a majority of the overall popular vote, while Trump won with a significant majority of the electoral votes needed to win.

Original Article

Dems expected to announce at least 2 articles of impeachment against Trump on Tuesday

closeSecond Judiciary Committee hearing on impeachment marked by partisan rancorVideo

Second Judiciary Committee hearing on impeachment marked by partisan rancor

Open political warfare on display as House Judiciary Committee hears from Intelligence Committee lawyers; chief congressional correspondent Mike Emanuel reports from Capitol Hill.

House Democrats are preparing to announce at least two articles of impeachment against President Trump on Tuesday, Fox News has learned.

The articles of impeachment will focus on obstruction of Congress and abuse of power, but all details aren’t settled yet, Fox News is told. A markup session by the Judiciary Committee to prepare the articles would come either Wednesday or Thursday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., convened the House chairmen leading the impeachment inquiry in her office after a daylong Judiciary Committee hearing that laid out the case against Trump as Democrats warned of the risk his actions toward Ukraine have posed to U.S. elections and national security

ALL EYES NOW ON DURHAM PROBE, AS US ATTORNEY SAYS HIS INVESTIGATION HAS BROADER SCOPE AND AUTHORITY

The chairmen left the meeting late Monday at the Capitol with some saying an announcement would come in the morning.

President Trump seizes on FBI errors uncovered by Michael Horowitz's reportVideo

“I think there's a lot of agreement,” Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, told reporters. "You’ll hear about some of it tomorrow.”

What remained uncertain was whether Pelosi would reach beyond the Ukraine probe to former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's findings of Trump's actions in his report on Russian interference in the 2016 election.

WHY DOES CNN'S ASHA RANGAPPA STYLE HERSELF AS LAW ENFORCEMENT EXPERT?

“A lot of us believe that what happened with Ukraine especially is not something we can just close our eyes to,” Engel said. “'This is not a happy day. I don’t get any glee at this, but I think we’re doing what we have to do. We’re doing what the Constitution mandates that we do.”

In drafting the articles of impeachment, Pelosi is facing a legal and political challenge of balancing the views of her majority while hitting the Constitution's ostensibly high bar of "treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors."

Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said Democrats are racing to jam impeachment through on a “clock and a calendar” ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

“They can't get over the fact that Donald Trump is the president of the United States, and they don’t have a candidate that can beat him," Collins said.

Republicans also revived criticism of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff's decision to expose phone records of members of Congress. The inquiry showed that Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani was in frequent contact with California Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee.

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Collins accused Democrats of engaging in a “smear” campaign against lawmakers by disclosing phone records.

As the House pushes ahead toward votes, Giuliani said Monday he'll soon be releasing findings from his own recent visit to Ukraine.

Fox News' Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

House Dem continues to rail against impeachment push: ‘Everything our country doesn’t stand for’

closeDemocratic lawmaker explains his opposition to impeachmentVideo

Democratic lawmaker explains his opposition to impeachment

Rep. Jeff Van Drew weighs in on 'Fox & Friends.'

Rep. Jeff Van Drew, D-N.J., took on his party's leadership in a new interview, criticizing House Democrats' decision to have a "small, elite group" of lawmakers pursue an impeachment inquiry just before the 2020 presidential election.

“To some folks, that’s reminiscent of what was done to kings and queens many years ago," he said during an interview with USA Today. "Everything our country doesn’t stand for."

The interview, published on Sunday, came as House Democrats ramped up their impeachment inquiry surrounding President Trump's July 25 call with Ukraine. On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee is expected to begin the second round of public hearings in the inquiry, which Trump has described as a "hoax."

Although Van Drew called Trump's conduct "unsavory," he said he didn't see any evidence that would justify removing the president from office. He also warned that an acquittal could give Trump the ability to claim exoneration during the election cycle.

DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSMAN BLASTS IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS, SAYS PROCESS REMINDS HIM OF 'THIRD-WORLD NATIONS'

House Republicans release a 123-page report debunking impeachment 'evidence'Video

Van Drew was one of just two House Democrats to oppose the chamber's November vote on setting rules for the impeachment inquiry.

The New Jersey congressman also commented that his job wasn't to "like or dislike" the president.

"My job is to exact as much goodwill and help for my district and for this nation and for this world that I possibly can while he’s president," he said.

During an interview with Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo, Van Drew similarly blasted the inquiry by comparing it to "something you would see in Europe or third-world nations."

"You know, De Tocqueville in 1853 wrote that if a nation was more and more often using…impeachment as a way of actually removing its leaders, it would show the deterioration of the nation," he said, referring to historian Alexis De Tocqueville.

DEMOCRATIC LAWMAKER WARNS AGAINST IMPEACHMENT, CALLS FOR VOTERS TO JUDGE TRUMP IN 2020 INSTEAD

Trump previously tweeted out Van Drew's criticism of the inquiry. which included its expense and effect on national unity.

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On Tuesday, the president, who is in London attending leaders’ conference marking NATO's 70th anniversary, continued attacking House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who has helped spearhead the inquiry.

“I think Adam Schiff is a deranged human being. I think he grew up with a complex for lots of reasons that are obvious. I think he’s a very sick man, and he lies," he said.

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Top Republican urges against speculation after early leaks on FISA report findings

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Eric Shawn: The impending IG report on alleged FISA abuses

John Bussey of the Wall Street Journal on what we can expect.

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., on Monday downplayed leaked reports that said the Justice Department’s inspector general's probe into the start of the FBI's Russia investigation determined that there was enough information to justify the agency's probe into members of the Trump campaign.

Meadows was asked about a report in the Washington Post that said Inspector General Michael Horowitz's report justified the FBI's action at the time. The New York Times, citing two unnamed sources, reported that the findings are expected to contradict some of the theories that President Trump has mentioned.

JASON CHAFFETZ: FBI DEEP STATE CLEAR– WILL FISA REPORT LEAD TO ACTION?

The former chairman of the House's Freedom Caucus said that all the reports are "based on speculation on information which has been leaked."

"There is little doubt in my mind that it will not be one the FBI’s finest days when the report is released," he said. "No one other than Horowitz and his team knows what’s in the report and they have left no stone unturned."

The reports, if true, would be seen as a potential setback for President Trump, who has insisted that the FBI's investigation was a witch hunt from the beginning and a blatant attempt by Democrats to overthrow his presidency.

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Horowitz, who has not commented on the over year-and-a-half investigation, told Congress in a letter last month that he intended to make as much of the report public as possible, with minimal redactions. The report is due next week.

A key question examined by Horowitz has been the FBI’s application for a secret warrant to monitor Carter Page, a former Trump campaign aide.

The Justice Department and the FBI obtained warrants in 2016 to monitor Page. Page told Fox News earlier this month he was "frustrated" he had not been interviewed in Horowitz's probe.

The warrant was renewed multiple times by judges, but Republican critics have decried the fact that the FBI relied in part in its application on uncorroborated information obtained by Christopher Steele, a former British spy who had been paid by Hillary Clinton’s campaign to conduct opposition research.

The government did disclose to the court the political loyalties of the people who hired Steele, according to Democrats on the House intelligence committee who released their own memo last year aimed at countering Republican allegations of law enforcement misconduct.

Horowitz provided a draft copy to Attorney General William Barr in September, and the Justice Department has since been conducting a classification review.

The Post, citing unnamed sources, reported that Barr disagrees with the report’s conclusion. He reportedly questioned whether or not the CIA, or other agencies hold information that could change the inspector general’s conclusion.

Barr has praised Horowitz in the past and called him “fiercely independent.”

"Inspector General Horowitz is a fiercely independent investigator, a superb investigator who I think has conducted this particular investigation in the most professional way, and I think his work, when it does come out, will be a credit to the department," Barr said earlier this month.

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The Justice Department told Fox News in a statement that "uncovered significant information that the American people will soon be able to read for themselves. Rather than speculating, people should read the report for themselves next week, watch the Inspector General’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and draw their own conclusions about these important matters."

Trump has tweeted about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and told “Fox & Friends” earlier this month that "what they have coming out is historic."

Fox News' Brooke Singman, Jake Gibson and the Associated Press contributed to this report

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Adam Schiff claims case against Trump is ‘ironclad’ but won’t say if he’ll be impeached

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President Trump wants Rep. Adam Schiff, Ukraine whistleblower to testify in Senate impeachment trial

The whistleblower's attorneys say protecting their client's identity is critical to prevent a chilling effect on future whistleblowers; Kristin Fisher reports from the White House.

Despite claiming to have an "ironclad" case for impeachment against President Trump, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., refused to say if the commander in chief will be impeached, when asked point-blank during a Sunday television interview.

"This president has now twice sought foreign interference in our election… when [Trump] invited the Russians to hack Hillary’s emails and later that day they attempted to do exactly that. There is a sense of urgency when you have a president who's threatening the integrity of our elections," he said on CNN's "State of the Union"

"We need to act now if we're going to act, and we can’t allow this obstruction to succeed," Schiff continued. "The other point I would make is, the case in terms of the Ukraine misconduct is ironclad, but so is the case of the president’s obstruction of the Congress."

Despite displaying supreme confidence in Trump's guilt, the California Democrat was unable to answer host Jake Tapper when asked if Trump would eventually be impeached, earlier in the interview.

ADAM SCHIFF: SONDLAND TESTIMONY PROVES 'BRIBERY' WAS THE 'HEART OF THE ISSUE' BETWEEN TRUMP AND UKRAINE

"If the facts aren’t contested and your committee is writing up the report and you don't, at least as of now, have any scheduled witnesses or depositions — do you think President Trump should be impeached?" Tapper asked.

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Schiff said he still had to confer with his congressional colleagues and home state constitutes before rendering a final verdict.

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"I want to discuss this with my constituents and my colleagues before I make a final judgment on it," he replied. "But there are a couple of really important things we need to think about.

"And one is, are we prepared to say that soliciting foreign interference, conditioning official acts like $400 million of taxpayer money, White House meetings to get political favors is somehow now compatible with the office? Because if we do, it's basically carte blanche for this president and anyone who comes after him. But are we also prepared to say that Congress will tolerate the complete stonewalling of an impeachment inquiry or our oversight? Because if we do, it'll mean that the impeachment clause is a complete nullity and… our oversight ability, is really an ability in name only."

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AOC rails against Dems making late entries into 2020 race

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., appeared to take a shot at billionaire Michael Bloomberg and former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick for their late entries to the Democratic presidential primary, with less than three months until the Iowa caucuses.

Patrick, who led Massachusetts from 2007-2015, announced Thursday morning in a video on social media and an email to supporters that he would jump into the race. He later officially filed for the New Hampshire primary, one day before the deadline to do so. Bloomberg, who has not made an official campaign announcement yet, has filed to have his name on the Democratic primary ballot in Alabama and Arkansas. Sources close to Bloomberg tell Fox News that it’s unlikely the former New York City mayor would make any 2020 presidential announcement this week.

"Call me radical, but maybe instead of setting ablaze hundreds of millions of dollars on multiple plutocratic, long-shot, very-late presidential bids, we instead invest hundreds of millions into winning majorities of state legislatures across the United States?" Ocasio-Cortez tweeted Thursday afternoon. "Just a thought!"

DEVAL PATRICK JUMPS INTO DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION RACE

Patrick and Bloomberg would both face similar obstacles to gaining traction in the presidential race. Their late starts mean their opponents will have an advantage in organization for key states as well as a significant head start on fundraising. Patrick, specifically, will have to overcome the fact he does not have national name recognition.

Additionally, due to the size of the 2020 field, the Democratic Party has set benchmarks in polling and fundraising for candidates to qualify for a spot in the party's nationally-televised debates. To make it on the stage for the December debate, Bloomberg and Patrick would have to garner 4 percent in at least four qualifying national or single-state polls or get 6 percent support in two single-state polls while also attracting at least 200,000 unique donors with a minimum of 800 in 20 separate states.

Meanwhile, Democrats will now completely control the Virginia state government for the first time in over two decades after a successful election day last week, lending credence to Ocasio-Cortez's assertion that there is some ground to be gained for Democrats in the 2020 state elections. Currently, Republicans control 29 state legislatures while Democrats control just 19, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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Republicans also ridiculed Patrick's move to enter the 2020 race.

"There’s already one Massachusetts elitist liberal running in the Democrat field, yet Deval Patrick must think she, nor any of the other candidates aren’t good enough. Reminder: Patrick doesn’t stand a chance against President Trump either,” Republican National Committee spokesman Steve Guest said in a statement.

A late entry to the race does not mean a candidate can't make waves. Bloomberg's fellow billionaire Tom Steyer didn't commit to joining the presidential field until July, and he's qualified for the November debate. It remains to be seen if Patrick or Bloomberg can create as much traction as the longtime progressive booster in a significantly shorter period of time.

Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

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Trump calls for ‘war’ against Mexican drug cartel ‘monsters’ after Americans murdered in shootout

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Americans killed in cartel shootout in Mexico

At least nine American citizens including children have been killed by a Mexican drug cartel after being ambushed on the road.

President Trump on Tuesday offered U.S. assistance as he called on Mexico to “wage war” against the country's murderous drug cartel “monsters” in response to the killing of multiple Americans in a shootout.

“If Mexico needs or requests help in cleaning out these monsters, the United States stands ready, willing & able to get involved and do the job quickly and effectively,” Trump tweeted. “The great new President of Mexico has made this a big issue, but the cartels have become so large and powerful that you sometimes need an army to defeat an army!”

US CITIZENS KILLED, KIDNAPPED IN CARTEL SHOOTING IN MEXICO

At least six children and three women living in a community of U.S. citizens in Mexico were gunned down, and several others were reportedly kidnapped after their convoy came under fire during a daylight ambush Monday.

Those attacked were members of the LeBaron family, a well-known American clan who has lived in the community in the northern part of the country for decades, according to The New York Times. The attack targeted citizens who live in a community founded as part of an offshoot of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"This is the time for Mexico, with the help of the United States, to wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth," Trump tweeted. "We merely await a call from your great new president!"

Trump has repeatedly raised concerns about levels of gang violence and drug-related crime in Mexico, particularly as it relates to securing the U.S.-Mexico border. The two countries have stepped up cooperation on that front over the summer, with asylum seekers being returned to Mexico to await hearings, while Mexico has also increased its troop presence on both its northern and southern borders.

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Early reports indicated the tragedy could have been a case of mistaken identity, but recent history also raises the possibility the LeBaron family was the intended target: only a decade ago, two members of the family opposed to local drug trafficking groups were kidnapped and murdered, according to the New York Times.

Mexico's federal Department of Security and Citizens' Protection said security forces were reinforced with National Guard, army and state police troops in the area following "the reports about disappearance and aggression against several people." The troops were searching for the missing community members, believed to include 11 children or more.

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, whose own father was born in a Mormon settlement in Mexico, also extended his condolences for the victims and called for the U.S. to get involved.

“Our prayers are with their families who have suffered such an unspeakable tragedy. The U.S. must work with Mexican officials to hold accountable those responsible for this senseless violence,” he tweeted.

Fox News’ Danielle Wallace and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Committee reviews campaign funding allegation against Democratic Rep. Trahan

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The House Ethics Committee on Monday announced it’s extending an inquiry into Rep. Lori Trahan, D-Mass., following allegations the freshman Democratic failed to properly disclose the source of more than $300,000 in personal funds she loaned to her campaign before the 2018 midterm elections.

The Office of Congressional Ethics, which is an independent ethics watchdog, first referred Trahan’s case to the Democrat-led House Ethics Committee on Sept. 18 after receiving complaints from conservative groups who alleged the Massachusetts Democrat lacked transparency by waiting to fully disclose her finance records until after the November election, Politico reported.

"This review involves the same issues raised by a right-wing group formerly headed by Donald Trump's Acting Attorney General with a long history of attacking Democrats," Trahan’s spokesman Mark McDevitt said in a statement Monday. "A candidate may make unlimited contributions to her campaign from her ‘personal funds.’ In cases involving Jane Fonda and Bob Dole, the FEC has treated spouses’ funds as the candidates’ ‘personal funds,’ when the candidates had the right to manage and dispose of those same funds under state law."

Her office did not immediately respond to an after-hours email from Fox News.

Trahan, a 46-year-old businesswoman, donated $300,000 to her own campaign during the final two weeks of a 10-candidate Democratic primary, the report said. Her husband initially moved $300,000 of his own income into the joint account between them. She then went on to secure her party’s nomination by a narrow 145-vote margin before winning the seat.

Trahan has repeatedly denied that what she did violated federal campaign finance law. In a detailed story published on Medium last month, she defended her campaign finance spending but admitted that she made several errors in the paperwork. She wrote that she hired a firm after the election to make the proper corrections in her Federal Election Commission filings and House Financial Disclosure reports. Her initial filings did not list the joint account as a source of campaign funding.

“I now know that the way I contributed those funds constitute a gray area in campaign finance law. I also know that the Federal Election Commission’s past rulings suggest what I did was not a violation…” Trahan wrote. “Last year, I discovered that my campaign made several errors in our personal financial disclosure statements and federal election reports. For many first time candidates like myself, this is common. I regret that there were inadvertent omissions and errors in my initial filings.”

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Trahan argued, citing precedent established by the Federal Election Commission, that because she and her husband shared finances equally, she did not violate federal campaign finance laws which allow for candidates to make personal donations to their own campaigns.

The House Ethics Committee must decide whether it will dismiss Trahan’s case or extend to inquiry further before Dec. 17, Roll Call reported.

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Trump reverses Obama-era policy against faith-based adoption agencies

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Crackdown on faith-based adoption centers to end

A newly proposed regulation from the Trump administration will end the Obama-era policies restricting federal funds from flowing to some faith-based adoption organizations.

Rolling back a last-minute regulation put in place under former President Obama, the President Trump administration is being praised by Christian conservatives for defending religious freedom with a newly proposed rule from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that would allow faith-based foster care and adoption services to receive federal funding even if they turn away couples because of their religious beliefs.

The new rule, proposed Thursday, reverses regulations under the Obama administration that required religious organizations to get a waiver in order to apply for an HHS grant, unless they include sexual orientation as a protected trait under anti-discrimination protections.

EVANGELICAL LEADERS GATHER TO PRAY FOR TRUMP AT WHITE HOUSE, BLASTING IMPEACHMENT EFFORT

The move angered LGBTQ activists and progressives, who argue it will decrease the number of available homes — something that actually happened as local government and states enacted the Obama-era rule largely targeting Roman Catholic and evangelical Protestant organizations, according to The Wall Street Journal.

In an op-ed for WSJ Monday, Russell Moore said the Trump administration "took a major step toward addressing the problem" of religious organizations that hold a biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman being punished in "proxy culture wars" that don't focus on the "welfare of children."

FEDERAL JUDGE RULES IN FAVOR OF CATHOLIC ADOPTION AGENCY IN RELIGIOUS LIBERTY CASE AGAINST MICHIGAN

Moore points to the city of Philadelphia barring Catholic Social Services from placing children in homes in March 2018 because of the Catholic Church's teaching on marriage, and Michigan's Attorney General Dana Nessel citing the rule when attempting to cancel a state-approved foster care and adoption services contract with St. Vincent Catholic Charities.

"Charities shouldn't have to choose between their religious views and beliefs, in putting that before helping the needy," Stephanie Hamill, Daily Caller video columnist, told Shannon Bream on "Fox News @ Night."

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Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said the "need for this action is unfortunately evident as various state and local governments have trampled upon religious freedom protections and the First Amendment, forcing the shutdown of faith-based adoption providers that decline to leave their faith at the door."

The Catholic Association told Fox News the rollback helps "free" religious organizations to help "needy kids" without having to violate their belief that children do best in a home with a married mom and dad.

PAULA WHITE ON HOW SHE BECAME TRUMP'S SPIRITUAL ADVISER AND WHY HE'LL CARRY EVANGELICAL VOTE IN 2020

"Agencies that find loving foster and adoptive homes shouldn’t be subject to ideological shakedowns by the government,” said Andrea Picciotti-Bayer, a legal adviser for The Catholic Association Foundation.

Left-wing activists, however, argue the administration's plan will reduce the number of qualified parents who want to adopt or foster a child.

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"You really need to be the needs of needy in front of religious beliefs when it comes to these issues," Cathy Areu, Catalina Magazine founder, a Catholic herself, told Bream.

"Religious liberty is not a license to discriminate," the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said in a tweet. "The needs of children in our foster care system must come first."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Dems may pursue perjury charges against Sondland: Welch

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A Democratic congressman involved in the House impeachment investigation said Tuesday that Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, may be at risk of perjury charges as a result of his closed-door deposition last week before three House committees investigating impeachment.

Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vermont, who serves on the House intelligence committee, told MSNBC’s “The Last Word” Tuesday that new evidence shows that Sondland worked more closely with President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani on foreign policy directives than he has previously let on during his 10-hour testimony before Congress last week.

GORDON SONDLAND, AMBASSADOR INVOLVED IN UKRAINE CONTROVERSY, TO TESTIFY TRUMP TOLD HIM 'NO QUID PRO QUO'

MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell asked Welch: "Is Gordon Sondland in danger of perjury charges for his testimony to your committee?"

“I think he is," Welch responded. "When he presented himself, he was a rich guy that bought an ambassadorship and he pretended it was a good day for him. He got a job he wanted but he was pretty naïve he didn’t know the real meeting was going on in the room next door.”

“But the evidence is now coming out that he was a very active instrument to try to assist Giuliani in the effort to have this rogue foreign policy,” Welch continued.

Sondland testified last week that Trump told him there was no quid pro quo when it came to Trump’s controversial July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskiy. He also said he was concerned that the president delegated to Giuliani foreign policy responsibilities that he thought belonged to the State Department but followed Trump's instructions anyway.

"We were also disappointed by the president's direction that we involve Mr. Giuliani," Sondland said in the remarks. "Our view was that the men and women of the State Department, not the President's personal lawyer, should take responsibility for all aspects of U.S. foreign policy towards Ukraine."

Congress on Tuesday heard from William Taylor, who exchanged text messages with Sondland this summer and fall. Taylor testified that he was told via text messages that Trump wanted military aid to Ukraine connected to the country’s willingness to investigate the 2016 U.S. presidential election and Joe Biden’s family’s business dealings in the country, The Washington Post reported. He was the last official expected to give a deposition from behind closed doors.

Last week, Democrats asked Sondland, whose name surfaced in a whistleblower complaint in August that helped spur the impeachment inquiry, about text messages that were provided to the committees earlier this month by former Ukrainian envoy Kurt Volker. The messages show Sondland, Volker and Taylor discussing an arrangement in which Zelenskiy would be offered a White House visit in exchange for a public statement by Ukraine committing to undertake investigations into the 2016 U.S. presidential election and into Burisma, the gas company linked to Hunter Biden.

One text exchange that has attracted attention involves Taylor telling Sondland he thought it was "crazy" to withhold military aid from Ukraine "for help with a political campaign." Sondland replied that Trump had been clear about his intentions and that there was no quid pro quo.

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Sondland told lawmakers that Trump told him by phone before he sent the text that there was no quid pro quo and that he was simply parroting those reassurances to Taylor.

"I asked the president: 'What do you want from Ukraine?'" Sondland said. "The president responded, 'Nothing. There is no quid pro quo.' The president repeated: 'no quid pro quo' multiple times. This was a very short call. And I recall the President was in a bad mood."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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