AOC rips Trump, defends socialism in Spanish-language interview: ‘If president thinks I’m crazy, that’s a good thing’

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Fox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 24

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If President Trump thinks she's crazy, "I think that's a good thing," U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., said Sunday in an interview for Spanish-language television.

Speaking with "Noticias Telemundo” in Las Vegas, where the freshman congresswoman hosted a Spanish-language town hall for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez also claimed Trump is "afraid of women" — most notably "strong" and "Latina" women.

“If the president thinks that I’m crazy, I think that’s a good thing because I think it would be a problem if he said he agrees with my ideas because he has many problems,” Ocasio-Cortez told Noticias Telemundo’s Correspondent Guadalupe Venegas. “He’s racist, he’s anti-immigrant, but more than just that — his administration is corrupt. I think he’s afraid of women – of strong women, of Latina women. The values of the president are very backward.”

“If the president thinks that I’m crazy, I think that’s a good thing because I think it would be a problem if he said he agrees with my ideas because he has many problems.”

— U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.


In October, Trump called Ocasio-Cortez a “Wack Job” on Twitter, to which she retorted "Better than being a criminal who betrays our country.” The social media spat came as the White House refused to comply with the impeachment inquiry by the Democrat-led House.

Ocasio-Cortez admitted Trump never explicitly told her he fears Latina women, but she claimed he’s demonstrated his fears in Twitter messages and in his State of the Union address back in February.

When asked about concerns that she and Sanders endorse socialism, Ocasio-Cortez sought to make a distinction between what’s viewed as socialism in the United States and in other countries. Venegas referenced Venezuela – where socialist policies, implemented by dictators Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro, have forced more than 4 million people to flee an economic and humanitarian crisis in the country since the end of 2015, according to figures released by the UN Refugee Agency.

“When the president or other people want to say this, the first I say is look at the politics, the proposals because we’re not advocating for complete control of the economy. We’re talking about basic human economic rights – education, health care, a worthy salary,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “Here in the United States, those values are called 'socialism.' And for me, that’s a commentary on the present moment in the United States. Things that are human rights are called socialism. It’s very different what we’re seeing here and in other countries.”

Ocasio-Cortez said she supports Sanders because “he understands that this isn’t a campaign about a person. It’s a campaign about our movement for working families in the United States.” She said she’ll ultimately support whichever candidate receives the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination because “we have to get this president out of office.”

“It’s not good for a country as diverse as the United States to have such an intolerant president,” she added.


Ocasio-Cortez hosted an event in Las Vegas called “Unidos Con Bernie Reunión Política con Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez” on Sunday. Nevada will host the third Democratic nominating contest in February following a primary in New Hampshire and a caucus in Iowa early next year. Sanders is dispatching Ocasio-Cortez, who endorsed him for the White House in October, to appeal to Nevada’s large Latino electorate and position himself ahead of his progressive rival, Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Original Article

Christianity Today editor defends editorial calling for Trump’s removal

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Trump blasts evangelical magazine calling for his removal from office

Reaction from Family Research Council president Tony Perkins.

A top evangelical Christian writer defended on Sunday a recent scathing editorial he wrote that called for President Trump to be removed from office.

Mark Galli, the editor-in-chief of Christianity Today, said in an interview with CBS’ “Face The Nation” that Trump’s support of causes important to the evangelical community can no longer excuse his actions in other areas and said the president is “morally unfit” to occupy the Oval Office.

“I am making a moral judgment that he is morally unfit or, even more precisely, it's his public morality that makes him unfit," Galli said.


While Galli admitted that “none of us are perfect,” he added that the president "has certain responsibilities as a public figure to display a certain level of public character and public morality."

“He gives us what we need on 'pro-life' but you've got this bad character,” Galli said. “And the fundamental argument I'm making is we crossed a line somewhere in the impeachment hearings, at least in my mind, that that balance no longer works."

Can President Trump continue to count on support from evangelicals?Video

Galli has drawn criticism for the editorial he published last Thursday, but has refused to back from his criticism of Trump.

In his piece, which was published one day after the House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, argued that while Democrats “have had it out for [Trump] from Day One" the facts against Trump are “unambiguous.”


“The facts in this instance are unambiguous: The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents,” Galli wrote. “That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral.”

Friday Lightning Round: Evangelical magazine calls for Trump's removal from officeVideo

He added: "The reason many are not shocked about this is that this president has dumbed down the idea of morality in his administration. He has hired and fired a number of people who are now convicted criminals. He himself has admitted to immoral actions in business and his relationship with women, about which he remains proud. His Twitter feed alone — with its habitual string of mischaracterizations, lies and slanders — is a near-perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused."

Despite Galli's criticism, Trump still enjoys solid support among white envangelical voters, with a recent Fox News poll finding that 67 percent of them still approve of his job performance, compared to the overall 53 percent of Americans who disapprove of the president. The poll also found that while 50 percent of voters believe the president should be impeached and removed from office, 67 percent of white evangelicals believe Trump should not even have been impeached.

Fox News’ Joseph Wulfsohn contributed to this report.

Original Article

Van Drew defends switch to GOP, calls impeachment of Trump ‘weak, thin’

closeRep. Jeff Van Drew speaks out for first time since switching partiesVideo

Rep. Jeff Van Drew speaks out for first time since switching parties

Republican Rep. Jeff Van Drew speaks exclusively to 'Sunday Morning Futures' after leaving the Democrat Party.

Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J., defended on Sunday his exit from the Democratic Party after he voted against both articles of impeachment – calling the Democrats' arguments for impeaching President Trump “weak” and "thin.”

Van Drew, who last week met with Trump following the congressman's announcement that he was joining the Republican Party, said during an interview on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures” that he has been mulling over a switch to the GOP for a while, but impeachment was the tipping point for the former Democrat.

"There has always been something in my career that let me know it’s time for a change,” Van Drew said. “I feel good…I feel I did the honorable thing.”


Rumblings of a possible party switch in the midst of Democrat-led impeachment proceedings against Trump caused members of Van Drew's caucus to accuse him of clamoring to cross the aisle in an attempt to save his bid for reelection and led to the resignations of five aides from his office.

A recent internal poll conducted for the Democrats found that 58 percent of primary voters in Van Drew's 2nd Congressional District wanted to nominate another candidate, while only 28 percent said he should be renominated.

Rep. Jeff Van Drew announces he's switched from Democrat to Republican during Oval Office meeting with TrumpVideo

"The final sign for me was, oddly enough, when one of the county chairmen said ‘you have to vote for impeachment,’” Van Drew said. “And that ‘If you don’t, you won’t be able to run in my county.’ It’s not his county, it’s everybody’s county.”

Van Drew went on to call charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress that were leveled against Trump “weak” and “thin” and lambasted his former fellow Democrats for bringing them against the president.

“This impeachment is a weak, thin impeachment,” he said. “It’s been a long, dark shadow on our country.”

“We are supposed to be there for the American people and not for political bickering,” Van Drew said. “It harms our country and it fractures us more.”

RNC to Rep. Jeff Van Drew: Welcome to the party that's getting results for the American peopleVideo

It remains to be seen how Van Drew will vote on legislation now that he is officially a Republican. Out of 659 votes in the 116th Congress, Van Drew and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., have agreed only 300 times.


As a Democrat, Van Drew voted to override Trump's veto of a bill that overturned his emergency declaration for border wall funding and voted to block Trump from withdrawing from the Paris Climate Change Accord.

He has also voted to block the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia and disapproved of the Trump administration's plan to lift sanctions on three Russian companies.

In addition, Van Drew has condemned comments Trump made about four congresswomen that the president dubbed "The Squad," calling the remarks racist and has pushed back on Trump's attempts to direct courts to invalidate the Affordable Care Act.

“I want to bring people together,” Van Drew said. “I always push for what I believe is right and what is best.”

Fox News Vandana Rambaran contributed to this report.

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.


“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.


“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

White House defends Melania Trump’s public silence on president’s tweet mocking Greta Thunberg

closeTime names Greta Thunberg its 2019 Person of the YearVideo

Time names Greta Thunberg its 2019 Person of the Year

Magazine pushes climate change narrative by honoring teen activist; reaction and analysis on 'The Five.'

The White House is pushing back against claims that First Lady Melania Trump is being hypocritical for criticizing attacks on her teenage son Barron, but not her husband's attack on 16-year-old Greta Thunberg

White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said Friday that Barron was in a different category from Thunberg because she's a climate activist "who travels the world giving speeches."

Grisham's statement came one day after President Trump attacked TIME Magazine's decision to dub Thunberg "Person of the Year."

"So ridiculous," Trump tweeted. "Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!"


After Trump's attack, some accused Melania Trump of hypocrisy given that she had just defended her son Barron against a Stanford University law professor who mentioned him during a House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing.

"A minor child deserves privacy and should be kept out of politics. Pamela Karlan, you should be ashamed of your very angry and obviously biased public pandering, and using a child to do it," the first lady said in response to a quip by Pamela Karlan.


The first lady frequently receives criticism over the apparent irony in her fronting the "Be Best" anti-cyber-bullying campaign given her husband's habit of mocking political opponents and others on Twitter.

“It is no secret that the president and first lady often communicate differently — as most married couples do,” Grisham said.

Former first lady Michelle Obama encouraged Thunberg while traveling in Vietnam this week, saying, “don’t let anyone dim your light,”


Mrs. Obama added: “Like the girls I’ve met in Vietnam and all over the world, you have so much to offer us all. Ignore the doubters and know that millions of people are cheering you on.”

Thunberg responded to Trump's attack by changing her Twitter profile description to describe herself as a "teenager working on her anger management problem."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

Massachusetts governor defends ‘integrity’ of EBT system following report of abuse

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Fox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 4

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Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker defended the state’s Electronic Benefits Transfer system on Tuesday after a report published earlier in the week suggested some participants in the tax-funded welfare program committed fraud to pay for vacations in Hawaii, Las Vegas and Alaska.


The Republican governor responded to a Monday report in the Boston Herald that said a review of more than 2 million EBT expenditures in the 2019 fiscal year revealed thousands of out-of-state transactions. EBT cards were swiped on 18 different occasions in Hawaii, including one that was used twice at a posh island resort where rooms fetch $800 a night, the paper reported. In one instance, an EBT card was also used to buy a $700 round-trip ticket from the state to Hawaii.

The state’s Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA), which operates welfare programs including the EBT system, bars cardholders from using the EBT cards for vacation services — but hotels are not banned. Baker's administration sent a response to the Herald Tuesday, saying that the governor has invested $1 million into “program integrity” at the DTA to bolster protocol already in place that detects forms of fraud.

The statement said the DTA conducted a “residency verification check” after two transactions mentioned in the report: a $400 EBT transaction in November 2018 at the Hanalei Bay Princeville Resort on the island of Kauai, in addition to a $140 transaction in January at the Sheraton Waikiki in Honolulu. Under current DTA rules, “if an EBT card is exclusively used out of state for 45 days, a household must provide proof of current Massachusetts residence.”

The household whose card was swiped at the Princeville resort “was asked to verify residency and did not, so the case was closed and benefits expunged from the card,” according to the DTA. The second household who used their EBT card at the Sheraton “was able to prove that their travel was temporary,” but their account was later closed “because they began receiving (Social Security), which makes them ineligible for cash benefits, and system controls closed the case.”


The DTA’s response failed to address the EBT transactions recorded in Las Vegas and Alaska. The agency added that it “will continue to focus on identifying potential areas of fraud and abuse and strengthening internal controls so that benefits are administered to eligible households and used for permitted purposes.”

Fox News' Edmund DeMarche contributed to this report.

Original Article

Trump defends move to block impeachment testimony, says he is protecting ‘future presidents’

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State Department officials defy Pompeo, testify before Congress

State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus on officials testifying in House impeachment inquiry.

President Trump on Tuesday defended blocking top officials from testifying as part of the House impeachment inquiry, arguing the decision was made to protect the office of the presidency and “future presidents” — even as he claimed he'd otherwise support the testimony.

“The D.C. Wolves and Fake News Media are reading far too much into people being forced by Courts to testify before Congress. I am fighting for future Presidents and the Office of the President,” Trump tweeted Tuesday.


“Other than that, I would actually like people to testify,” he continued.

He claimed that former national security adviser John Bolton, whom Democrats have sought for testimony due to his involvement in discussions central to the impeachment inquiry, could actually back his claims. While Democrats allege Trump delayed aid to Ukraine in order to seek the launch of politically advantageous investigations, Trump said Bolton “may know that I held back the money from Ukraine because it is considered a corrupt country, & I wanted to know why nearby European countries weren’t putting up money also” — an argument Trump allies have made.

He added: “Likewise, I would love to have Mike Pompeo, Rick Perry, Mick Mulvaney and many others testify about the phony Impeachment Hoax. It is a Democrat Scam that is going nowhere but, future Presidents should in no way be compromised. What has happened to me should never happen to another President!”

The president’s tweet comes as the House is winding down its impeachment inquiry. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who was largely leading the inquiry, said Monday that the panel would be working on its report to transmit to the House Judiciary Committee, which could prepare potential articles of impeachment, after Thanksgiving.

Democrats have subpoenaed top administration officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney for records or testimony — but the administration has blocked them.

When asked Tuesday about the president's tweet on testimony, Pompeo said cryptically, "When the time is right, all good things happen.”

Top current and former administration officials who testified last week as part of public impeachment hearings suggested that officials like Pompeo, Mulvaney and Perry were involved in efforts to pressure Ukraine to launch investigations of Democrats.

The plot thickened as a federal judge on Monday ordered former White House counsel Don McGhan to comply with a congressional subpoena issued earlier this year in a separate matter.

The White House and McGhan have argued his testimony was protected by executive privilege, and therefore he was not able to testify as part of any congressional probes.

But U.S. District Court Judge Ketanki Brown Jackson ruled on Monday that if he wanted to assert executive privilege to avoid testifying, he would need to appear before Congress and do it himself, on a question-by-question basis.

A senior Justice Department official told Fox News the department would appeal Jackson's decision and seek a stay pending that appeal. The order stirred immediate speculation about the implications for impeachment proceedings.

Should a higher court uphold the ruling, it could set a binding precedent affecting future disputes between Congress and the White House involving executive privilege, which generally allows the president and high-level officials to refuse to answer certain questions that might impair deliberative processes or compromise presidential communications and the separation of powers.

House Democrats, meanwhile, withdrew a subpoena earlier this month for former White House Deputy National Security Adviser Charles Kupperman, less than two weeks after Kupperman asked a federal court whether he should comply with the order. Kupperman, who left the administration when Bolton exited in September, was slated to appear before the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight Committees as part of their impeachment investigation.

On Tuesday, his attorney said in a statement that the McGahn ruling does not affect his situation, and he continues to seek a ruling "resolving the question whether he is constitutionally obliged to obey the House’s demand that he testify or the President’s conflicting demand that he decline to do so."

At the center of the impeachment inquiry, which began in September, is Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukraine's president. That call prompted a whistleblower complaint to the intelligence community inspector general, and in turn, the impeachment inquiry in the House.


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.

Fox News’ Gillian Turner and Gregg Re contributed to this report.

Original Article

Swalwell defends speed of impeachment hearings, says US is ‘on the clock’ to make sure elections are protected

closeRep. Eric Swalwell on whether House Democrats are rushing their impeachment inquiryVideo

Rep. Eric Swalwell on whether House Democrats are rushing their impeachment inquiry

California Congressman Eric Swalwell, Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, joins Chris Wallace on 'Fox News Sunday.'

Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., defended on Sunday the hasty pace of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump – arguing that with the 2020 presidential election less than a year away, and the start of Democratic primaries only a few months ahead, it is pertinent to discover whether Trump asked a foreign government to interfere in the country’s election process.

“Most importantly the president invoked an upcoming election – there’s an urgency to make sure the election and the ballot box have integrity, and if he’s asking a foreign government to interfere, we are on the clock to make sure that election is protected,” Swalwell said during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.”

Swalwell, a member of the House Intelligence Committee that is holding the hearings in the impeachment inquiry, said that if lawmakers let the issue go to the courts “we could lose everything we value in our democracy” by waiting for the process to play out. He added that the witnesses who have come before the committee over the past two weeks have already laid out damning evidence against Trump.


“This court process is a 9-to-12-month process; we could lose everything we value in our democracy waiting on the courts,” he said.

Bannon: Pelosi is risking her speaker position by pushing for impeachmentVideo

Anchor Chris Wallace brought up the Watergate scandal, arguing that no witnesses with first-hand knowledge have come forward to testify that there was a quid pro quo between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The panel is working to determine whether Trump threatened withholding military aid and a one-on-one meeting if Kiev didn’t publicly announce an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter’s business dealings in Ukraine.

“We don’t have as many courageous men in the White House, but we do have a lot of the president’s appointees who have come forward,” Swalwell said.


Next steps in House Democrats' impeachment inquiryVideo

Wallace also asked Swalwell if he was concerned about the recent polls that show overall support for impeachment has dropped significantly since the hearings began.

“I’m not focused on the polls, I know my colleagues aren’t either,” Swalwell said. “This president used his great vast power to ask a foreign government to help him cheat an election.”

Original Article

DHS defends policy keeping asylum-seeking migrants at Mexico border

closeNew immigration rule by Trump administration allows longer detention of migrant familiesVideo

New immigration rule by Trump administration allows longer detention of migrant families

Heritage Foundation national security and foreign policy Vice President James Carafano says the number one responsibility of the U.S. government to ensure the safety of the migrant children.

Although many migrants who made it to the United States to ask for asylum have been kept in limbo at the border of Mexico, the U.S. Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) have remained “one of the most effective tools the United States has to address the crisis at the southwest border,” a Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman told Fox News on Monday.

“The Government of Mexico has publicly stated on multiple occasions that they will provide humanitarian and security protections to aliens who are part of MPP,” she said.

The spokeswoman added: “The Government of Mexico has provided shelter and other support for those in MPP. However, many MPP migrants are choosing not to avail themselves of these offers. MPP migrants should seek out government or NGO-run shelters and avoid informal ‘camps’ near the border.”

The Associated Press reported that gangs had a new type of prey with the migrants, ramping up kidnapping, extortion, and illegal crossings to extract money fueling their empires.

A Cuban man leaving a migrant shelter in Reynosa, Mexico. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano, File)

A Cuban man leaving a migrant shelter in Reynosa, Mexico. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano, File)

“They say ‘give me 10, 15, 25.’ They tell them they are going to take them to a safer place, and they give them to the highest bidder,” Edith Garrido, a nun working at the Casa del Migrante shelter in Reynosa, explained. “A migrant is money for them, not a person.”

The DHS spokeswoman told Fox News that migrants were safer working with American forces. “These aliens illegally transited multiple countries to reach the U.S. border, and have not chosen to avail themselves of other opportunities for relief in the region, including in Mexico—which is partnering with (The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) and has a recognized asylum reception capacity. These aliens chose to traverse this particular area of Mexico and were returned in the same area they were apprehended.”

In Mexico, Tamaulipas has been both the location of most illegal crossings and the state where the United States has returned the most asylum seekers — 20,700 as of early October. Migrants have remained there at the crossroads of Tamaulipas for weeks and sometimes months awaiting their U.S. court dates.

Volunteers giving migrants free haircuts at a camp near a legal port of entry bridge in Matamoros, Mexico, last month. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano, File)

Volunteers giving migrants free haircuts at a camp near a legal port of entry bridge in Matamoros, Mexico, last month. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano, File)

Thousands of migrants returned to Mexico under the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy have given up their asylum claims, with many of them returning home, according to statistics included in an assessment of the policy by the Department of Homeland Security.

The policy has sent migrants seeking asylum at the southern border back to Mexico for the duration of immigration proceedings. It’s been a cornerstone of the administration’s efforts to end “catch and release,” by which migrants were released into the U.S. while their cases were heard.

“The International Organization for Migration is providing for free trips home for aliens in Mexico who wish to return to their home countries, including those in MPP,” the DHS spokeswoman told Fox News.

A U.S. border patrol officer directing a Nicaraguan migrant family over International Bridge 1 from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, into Laredo, Texas, for an interview with immigration officials this pas September. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano, File)

A U.S. border patrol officer directing a Nicaraguan migrant family over International Bridge 1 from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, into Laredo, Texas, for an interview with immigration officials this pas September. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano, File)

The effort has expanded amid increased cooperation with Mexico since summer.


Homeland Security said the migrant crisis peaked in May, and the number of illegal immigrants encountered at and between the ports of entry has decreased by 64 percent overall – and approximately 80 percent for Central American families.

So far, the Trump administration has returned over 55,000 migrants to Mexico.

Fox News' Adam Shaw and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

Trump defends tweeting about Yovanovitch during her testimony: ‘I have the right to speak’

closePresident Trump insists he wasn't trying to intimidate Marie YovanovitchVideo

President Trump insists he wasn't trying to intimidate Marie Yovanovitch

Citing 'freedom of speech,' President Trump says he has 'right to speak'; chief White House correspondent John Roberts reports.

President Trump defended his First Amendment rights over a disparaging tweet he wrote about former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch while she was testifying to Congress as part of the House's impeachment inquiry Friday.

"I have the right to speak. I have freedom of speech just like other people do," Trump told reporters at the White House later in the day.

"I have the right to speak. I have freedom of speech just like other people do."

— President Trump

In the middle of Yovanovitch's testimony Friday morning, Trump tweeted, “Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him. It is a U.S. President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors.”

Democrats have accused Trump of “witness intimidation” with his tweet, and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff read the tweet to Yovanovitch during her testimony and asked her to respond.


Left accuses Trump of witness intimidation during impeachment hearingsVideo

“The president in real-time is attacking you," Schiff said. "What effect do you think that has on other witnesses' willingness to come forward and expose wrongdoing?”

“It’s very intimidating,” Yovanovitch answered.

Asked by a reporter if Trump thought his tweets could be intimidating, he answered, “I don’t think so at all.”


Trump recalled Yovanovitch last May in what she testified was a smear campaign to remove her from her post in Ukraine.

Original Article

Giuliani defends ‘innocent’ phone call between Trump and Ukrainian president in WSJ op-ed

closeWhat to expect as impeachment inquiry moves into public phaseVideo

What to expect as impeachment inquiry moves into public phase

Washington awaits high-stakes public hearings in impeachment inquiry; reaction and analysis from the 'Special Report' All-Stars.

Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal Tuesday defending the president against allegations of wrongdoing in a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that led to an impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives.


Giuliani wrote that Trump’s call with Zelensky was “innocent” and “proper,” and Trump was simply asking him to investigate “allegations of corruption at the highest levels of both governments” when he suggested Zelensky to look into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden's activities in the country.


He said the push for Zelensky to investigate was simply an “exercise of Mr. Trump’s responsibility as U.S. president.”

Giuliani wrote that Trump and Zelensky discussed alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election, including documents related to Paul Manafort released by a Ukrainian lawmaker and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau that were purportedly meant to hurt Trump’s candidacy.

He added that Trump “briefly” brought up the Bidens’ conduct regarding the Ukrainian oil company Burisma, where Hunter Biden served on the board, and said he thinks the former vice president should be investigated for bribery over allegations of a $900,000 transfer from Burisma to a lobbying firm owned by Hunter Biden “and at the very least both Bidens’ behavior deserves serious scrutiny.”

Giuliani said Trump’s words during the phone call were free of “threat or coercion” and noted that Zelensky said publicly that he didn’t feel any pressure to investigate the Bidens.

“[O]ut of a five-page transcript Mr. Trump spent only six lines on Joe Biden,” Giuliani added.

He wrote that the left’s inability to accept Trump's 2016 win and "fear" of his policies have pushed Democrats into a “frenzy” and the "double standard" of the impeachment inquiry.


“[I]f the allegations against Joe and Hunter Biden aren’t fully investigated, we won’t have equal justice under the law,” Giuliani concluded.

The first public impeachment hearings will begin Wednesday morning.

Original Article

McCarthy defends decision to swap Jordan onto Intel Committee ahead of impeachment hearings

closeRep. McCarthy: This is a calculated coup orchestrated by Adam SchiffVideo

Rep. McCarthy: This is a calculated coup orchestrated by Adam Schiff

GOP releases impeachment probe witness list; House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy weighs in.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said his decision to add Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, to the House Intelligence Committee ahead of the upcoming impeachment hearings was to add a foil to the committee’s Democratic chairman, Rep. Adam Schiff of California.

“Jim Jordan has been in all these depositions and been part of it,” McCarthy said during an interview on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.” “But [Adam Schiff] is trying to control everything.”

McCarthy announced on Friday that Jordan, the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee and a staunch defender of President Trump, would temporarily replace Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Ark., for the duration of the hearings.


“Jim Jordan has been on the front lines in the fight for fairness and truth. His addition will ensure more accountability and transparency in this sham process," McCarthy said in a statement on Friday.

Under current terms, Jordan, as the top Republican on the Oversight Committee, has been in the room for most closed-door depositions. Because he is not a member of the Intelligence Committee, though, the Ohio Republican cannot ask questions.

Sen. Graham: I think we will learn the whistleblower is from the deep stateVideo

A senior House Democratic aide tells Fox News that Democrats allowed the personnel shift because “it is customary that whoever the minority proposes is accepted.”

Jordan would not have been on the dais during open hearings this week to counterpunch. Republican leadership all week had been weighing the Jordan move, and considering adding Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., and Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., as well. But in order to position Jordan on the panel, Republican leadership is required to remove one of the current Republicans on the panel. Removing three, to also include Meadows and Zeldin, would be somewhat of a feat.

The assignment comes just days before the first open hearings as part of the impeachment inquiry.


On Wednesday, Schiff announced that the first public hearings as part of the inquiry would be held next Wednesday and Friday, featuring current and former officials with knowledge of the Ukraine controversy.

The first public hearing will feature Taylor, the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, who already testified behind closed doors before congressional investigators that the president pushed Ukraine to investigate election interference, former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, and their Ukrainian dealings — and that he was told U.S. military aid and a White House meeting were used as leverage to get a public announcement from Kiev that the probes were underway.

Kent, the deputy assistant Secretary of State, also will appear with Taylor. Kent testified behind closed doors last month, and told the committees that he had concerns about Hunter Biden’s role on the board of Ukrainian natural gas firm, Burisma Holdings, in 2015, but was rebuffed by the former vice president’s staff, which said the office was preoccupied with Beau Biden’s cancer battle.

Rep. McCarthy: Schiff is a fact witness and cannot be a prosecutorVideo

Meanwhile, next Friday, Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, will appear in a public setting. She testified last month behind closed doors as well, telling lawmakers that Ukraine told her about Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s campaign to oust her from her post in the administration. Yovanovitch was pushed out of her job in May on Trump’s orders.

Yovanovitch said she learned from Ukrainian officials last November or December that Giuliani was in touch with Ukraine’s former top prosecutor, Yuri Lutsenko, “and that they had plans, and that they were going to, you know, do things, including to me.”

The impeachment inquiry was opened after a whistleblower complaint alleged that Trump, during a July phone call, pushed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter as military aid to the country was being withheld.


A transcript released by the White House shows Trump making that request, but he and his allies deny that military aid was clearly linked to the request or that there was any quid pro quo. Some witnesses coming before House committees as part of the impeachment proceedings have challenged that assertion.

Democrats unveil questions to guide public impeachment hearingsVideo

The White House, though, has maintained the president did nothing wrong.

The House of Representatives, last week, passed a measure largely along party lines, formalizing the process and setting “ground rules” for the impeachment inquiry, including for public witness testimony.

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

Original Article

Whistleblower attorney defends ‘coup’ tweet, as Trump calls for impeachment probe shutdown

closeWhistleblower’s attorney called for impeachment in 2017 on TwitterVideo

Whistleblower’s attorney called for impeachment in 2017 on Twitter

Fox News correspondent Todd Piro on what to expect next week from the public impeachment hearings.

Mark Zaid, the attorney for the Ukraine call whistleblower, on Thursday defended a series of tweets from 2017 in which he predicted a "coup" against President Trump and promised to “get rid of him” — saying in a statement the tweets referred to “a completely lawful process.”

Shortly after the publication of a Fox News article Wednesday highlighting the stream of anti-Trump tweets, Trump himself lambasted Zaid during a rally in Louisiana, calling the attorney “disgraceful.”


After tweeting lightheartedly about the controversy Wednesday night, Zaid sent Fox News a formal statement Thursday in which he said the social media posts were written with the belief that Trump would likely be “stepping over the line” at some point during his presidency.

“Those tweets were reflective and repeated the sentiments of millions of people,” Zaid said. “I was referring to a completely lawful process of what President Trump would likely face as a result of stepping over the line, and that particularly whatever would happen would come about as a result of lawyers. The coup comment referred to those working inside the Administration who were already, just a week into office, standing up to him to enforce recognized rules of law.“

The statement comes as Trump pointed to those 2017 statements in arguing the impeachment inquiry touched off by the whistleblower's complaint should be ended.

“Based on the information released last night about the Fake Whistleblowers attorney, the Impeachment Hoax should be ended IMMEDIATELY!” Trump tweeted. “There is no case, except against the other side!”

The anonymous whistleblower filed the complaint earlier this year about Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which he asked for Zelensky to assist in the investigations of alleged Democratic activities during the 2016 election, as well as former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter, particularly Hunter Biden's business dealings with Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings. The related impeachment inquiry has focused on whether Trump tried to pressure Zelensky into taking part in the investigations, and if military aid or a White House visit were used as leverage.

Zaid has been critical of Trump since the start of the administration.


As Fox News reported Wednesday, Zaid tweeted less than two weeks into Trump’s presidency that a “#coup has started” and that “#impeachment will follow ultimately.”

On Feb. 5, 2017, still less than a month into Trump’s term, Zaid said, “Every day that goes by brings us closer to impeachment.”

The following week, in response to an accusation that Zaid had taken sides against the president, the attorney was completely transparent in his animus.

“100%. I'm not hiding anything,” he tweeted. “Anti-Trump. Worst presidential choice in modern history. Not a repub or dem issue.”

Then, in July 2017, Zaid remarked, "I predict @CNN will play a key role in @realDonaldTrump not finishing out his full term as president." Also that month, Zaid tweeted, "We will get rid of him, and this country is strong enough to survive even him and his supporters."

"I'm not a Trump fan," Zaid said on a podcast last year. "I go out of my way on Twitter to say '#Resistance.' It's not a resistance against the GOP or a Republican — I don't think [Trump] is a Republican, quite frankly." (Zaid also boasted that he has sued "every" president since 1993, and pursues "them all," regardless of party affiliation.)


Trump first responded to learning about Zaid's tweets at a campaign rally in Louisiana Wednesday night, quoting extensively from the Fox News article from earlier in the day.

"Democrats must be accountable for their hoaxes and their crimes," Trump said, holding a printout of the Fox News piece.

Fox News’ Gregg Re, David Spunt and Cody Derespina contributed to this report.

Original Article

Warren defends ‘Medicare-for-all’ math, as funding plan faces bipartisan fire

closeElizabeth Warren defends $52 trillion price tag for her Medicare for all planVideo

Elizabeth Warren defends $52 trillion price tag for her Medicare for all plan

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren would levy a new tax on ultra-millionaires, add new fees to financial transactions and cut back defense spending; Peter Doocy reports from Washington.

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren defended her "Medicare-for-all" proposal Friday in the face of deep bipartisan skepticism, after her campaign released a detailed plan that claimed middle-class taxes would not have to rise in order to pay for the nearly $52 trillion plan.

That plan includes roughly $20 trillion in new federal spending over the next decade but claims the money can come largely from taxes on employers, financial transactions, the ultra-wealthy and large corporations.

“It’s all fully paid for by asking the top 1 percent and giant corporations to pay a fair share,” Warren told reporters while campaigning in Des Moines, Iowa, on Friday. “I believe in an America where we can have a government that isn’t just working better and better for those at the top, but a government that’s working for all of us. And 'Medicare-for-all' is a part of that.”


Fox News on Friday first published details of the Warren campaign’s health care plan. The campaign insists it would not lead to higher taxes for middle-class families, but rather would be funded through a host of new tax increases.

The $52 trillion figure includes existing health care spending as well as new federal spending.

But Democratic and Republican rivals pounced, expressing doubt over the math.

"The mathematical gymnastics in this plan are all geared towards hiding a simple truth from voters: it's impossible to pay for 'Medicare-for-All' without middle-class tax increases," Democratic presidential primary rival Joe Biden’s deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said in a statement.

Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh blasted Warren's plan Friday as a "total disaster."

“There are 52 trillion reasons why this plan is a total disaster," Murtaugh told Fox News. "Best of luck to the fact checkers who now have to clean up the mess.”

Nebraska Republican Sen. Ben Sasse released a two-sentence statement in response to the plan: “Hahaha,” Sasse said. “This make-believe math is bonkers.”

Elizabeth Warren defends $52 trillion price tag for her Medicare for all planVideo

Former Iowa Democratic Gov. Tom Vilsack said Friday Warren's increase in taxes on wealthy Americans to finance her health care proposal is unrealistic, saying, "One sliver of society isn't going to pay for the rest of us."

Vilsack, who has not endorsed a candidate, also says it's unlikely there will be sufficient support in the Senate to pass such a measure, even if Democrats take control of the GOP-controlled Senate after the 2020 elections.

Warren's campaign says they will pay for it, in part, by bringing in nearly $9 trillion in new Medicare taxes on employers over the next 10 years, arguing this would essentially replace what they’re already paying for employee health insurance. Further, Warren’s campaign says if they are at risk of falling short of the revenue target, they could impose a “Supplemental Employer Medicare Contribution” for big companies with “extremely high executive compensation and stock buyback rates.”

Whether some of those costs, however, still could be passed on to middle-class employees – as economists argue payroll tax costs often are – remains to be seen. As the Tax Policy Center has noted, it is assumed the "employee bears the burden of both the employer and employee portions of payroll taxes."

Fox News’ Tara Prindiville, Brooke Singman and Judson Berger and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

Trump defends embattled Alaska governor facing recall push

closeAlaska Governor Dunleavy faces recall efforts over budget cutsVideo

Alaska Governor Dunleavy faces recall efforts over budget cuts

Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy says he was elected to come up with a sustainable budget for the state of Alaska.

President Trump on Wednesday threw his support behind embattled Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy as a recall effort against the Republican intensifies.

“My friend Mike [Dunleavy] of the Great State of Alaska, is being treated very unfairly by the Democrats because he is doing an unbelievable job and fulfilling every one of his promises,” Trump tweeted.

He added: “Now they are trying to Recall him because his agenda is the Economy, Jobs, and protecting, our Military, 2nd Amendment, Energy, and so many other things that the Democrats don’t care about. Please stop the Dems from hurting a very good and hard-working man!”

After months of budgeting discord in Alaska, a group called "Recall Dunleavy" launched an effort back in August to obtain the necessary number of signatures needed for the recall vote to move forward. The group accuses Dunleavy of refusing to appoint a judge, misusing state funds, violating separation of powers and incompetently vetoing state funds.

The group needs to collect signatures from 10 percent of the people who voted in the general election for a recall to go ahead. Dunleavy took office last December.


Both Dunleavy and his opponents have gone on the offensive in an attempt to sway public opinion – both locally and nationally – toward their cause

“These folks started to talk about a recall a mere two months into my term and its more about the agenda I was elected on and the agenda I am implementing that some of the folks on the left don’t agree with,” Dunleavy said earlier this month in an interview with Fox News’ Neil Cavuto.

He added: “No governor or no president wants to have a tumultuous term, but sometimes when you’re trying to change the course of a state or a country to get in back on track, sometimes it’s difficult and you will have people and groups who are sometimes opposed to that.”


Supporters of the "Recall Dunleavy" movement are currently awaiting a decision from the Alaska Division of Elections to see whether their effort gets certified. The Division of Elections is currently making a decision on the validity of the signatures and grounds for recall submitted by Recall Dunleavy, and is supposed to make a ruling by Nov. 4.

“If it’s certified, we print booklets and gather for phase two,” Recall Dunleavy Chair Meda DeWitt told local media. “If they don’t certify, then we go to court, but we know that our grounds are solid.”

Original Article

Barr defends Durham probe, rips Comey FBI for ‘failure of leadership’

closeAttorney General William Barr says John Durham is making progress in Russia-probe inquiryVideo

Attorney General William Barr says John Durham is making progress in Russia-probe inquiry

Durham now has the ability impanel a grand jury, issue subpoenas and file criminal charges; David Spunt reports from Chicago.

EXCLUSIVE — Attorney General Bill Barr, in an interview with Fox News, defended the independence and integrity of the politically contentious probe being led by U.S. Attorney John Durham into the handling of the Russia investigation – while taking a swipe at James Comey’s past leadership of the FBI.

Fox News reported last week that the probe into the 2016 origins of the Russia meddling case has escalated from a review to a criminal investigation, a development that spurred Democratic claims that the department was becoming a tool for President Trump’s “political revenge.”


Barr, speaking to Fox News on the sidelines of a law enforcement event in Chicago, rejected Democrats’ claims he is acting as Trump’s personal lawyer.

"That's completely wrong and there is no basis for it, and I act on behalf of the United States," Barr said. The attorney general said that while he’s assisting in connecting Durham with countries that could have valuable information, Durham is running the show.

“He is in charge of the investigation, I’m not doing the investigation,” Barr said, while describing Durham, the U.S. attorney for Connecticut, as “thorough and fair” and saying he’s making progress.

Further, Durham took an implicit swipe at Comey as he maintained current FBI Director Christopher Wray is cooperating.

“I do want to say that one of the reasons Mr. Durham is able to make the kind of progress he’s making is because Director Wray and his team at the FBI have just been outstanding in support and responsiveness given to Mr. Durham,” Barr said. “As you know, I’ve said previously that I felt there was a failure of leadership at the bureau in 2016 and part of 2017, but since Director Wray and his team have taken over there’s been a world of change. I think that he is restoring the steady professionalism that’s been a hallmark of the FBI. I really appreciate his leadership there.”

When it was first reported that Durham’s investigation has evolved into a criminal probe, Democrats claimed the DOJ was essentially being weaponized against Trump’s political opponents.

US Attorney John Durham now conducting a criminal investigation into Russia probe originsVideo

“These reports, if true, raise profound new concerns that the Department of Justice under AG Barr has lost its independence and become a vehicle for President Trump’s political revenge,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said in a joint statement last Thursday. “If the Department of Justice may be used as a tool of political retribution, or to help the President with a political narrative for the next election, the rule of law will suffer new and irreparable damage.”

Democratic Sen. Mark Warner also spoke out against Durham’s probe, saying Friday that the Senate Intelligence Committee “is wrapping up a three-year bipartisan investigation, and we’ve found nothing remotely justifying this.”

He called on Barr to testify before Congress.

In response to such criticism, Barr said, "It wouldn't be appropriate at this stage for me to discuss the Durham investigation." He said he'd "certainly inform the public and Congress" when possible.

As for the direction of the investigation, he said: "We’ll let the chips fall where they may.”


He also responded to questions about a recent trip to Italy he took in relation to Durham’s investigation, explaining that they visited to help Durham establish ties with countries that might have helpful information.

“Well, some of the countries that John Durham thought might have some information that would be helpful to the investigation wanted preliminarily to talk to me about the scope of the investigation, the nature of the investigation, and how I intended to handle confidential information, and so forth,” Barr said. “So I initially discussed these matters with those countries and introduced them to John Durham and established a channel by which Mr. Durham can obtain assistance from those countries.”

Original Article

Biden defends son, downplays lack of Obama endorsement in tough ’60 Minutes’ interview

closeBiden drops opposition to super PAC fundraisingVideo

Biden drops opposition to super PAC fundraising

Sanders rips Biden for changing position; Peter Doocy has the details.

Joe Biden insisted he’s still the front-runner in the Democratic presidential nomination race, downplayed the lack of an endorsement by former President Barack Obama, defended his son’s actions in Ukraine, and called President Trump an “idiot,” as he faced tough questions during an interview broadcast Sunday night on "60 Minutes."

The former vice president – who was the unrivaled front-runner from even before he announced his candidacy in late April – is now tied with Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts at the top of many national and early voting state polls.


Biden said he still considers himself the leader in the race for the nomination, emphasizing, “I know I'm the front-runner. Find me a national poll with a notable — a couple exceptions (sic). But look, this is a marathon."

Yet Biden has been underperforming when it comes to another key metric — fundraising. He raised just $15.2 million during the July-September quarter, far behind top-tier rivals Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. And as of Oct. 1, he had just $9 million cash-on-hand, far behind Sanders – who had nearly $34 million in the bank – and Warren, who had $26 million in her campaign coffers.

Asked by CBS' Nora O’Donnell how he can compete against that, the former vice president answered, "I just flat beat them,” as he laughed.

“We're on a course to do extremely well,” he insisted. “I’m not worried about being able to fund this campaign. I really am not, truly."

Biden was also pressed on the lack of endorsement from Obama, his boss for eight years in the White House.

"I want to earn this on my own," he stressed.

But asked if the former president offered to back him, Biden said, “No, we didn't even get there. I asked him not to. He said, ‘OK.’”

Biden added: “I think it's better — I think he thinks it's better for me. I have no doubt when I'm the nominee he'll be out on the campaign trail for me."


The former vice president took aim at Trump over the president’s repeated comments that Russian interference in U.S. elections is a hoax.

"He's an idiot, in terms of sayin' that. Everybody knows this. Everybody knows it. Nobody doubts it,” Biden highlighted.

And asked how he would respond to Trump’s accusation that “Joe Biden and his son are stone-cold corrupt,” Biden said, “Let's see how straight you are, OK old buddy? I put out 21 years of mine. So show us your tax returns … what are you hidin'? You want to deal with corruption? Start to act like it. Release your tax returns or shut up."

As the president faces an impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives and as support for impeaching and removing the president increases, Trump and his allies have repeatedly tried to put the spotlight on the Bidens. Hunter Biden served on the board of a Ukrainian energy company while his father was vice president. Trump and fellow Republicans have questioned how Biden pushed in 2016 for the dismissal of a Ukrainian prosecutor who was looking into corruption at the company. The prosecutor – who had been widely accused by both Democrats and Republicans of overlooking corruption in his own office – was later dismissed.

Pressed by O’Donnell on whether he considered the optics of his son working for the Ukrainian company during his years in the White House, Biden contended that Hunter was already on the board when he took office.

Biden has said repeatedly that the only thing he asked his son about regarding sitting on the board of the company was, "I hope you know what you're doing."

Asked what he meant by that, Biden answered, “What I meant by that is I hope you've thought this through.”

"I hope you know exactly what you're doing here. That's all I meant. Nothing more than that, because I've never discussed my business or their business, my sons' or daughter's. And I've never discussed them because they know where I have to do my job and that's it and they have to make their own judgments,” he explained.

And Biden took aim at Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, who serve as top advisers in the administration.

Biden vowed that he if gets “elected president, my children are not going to have offices in the White House. My children are not going to sit in on Cabinet meetings. … It's just simply improper because you should make it clear to the American public that everything you're doing is for them. For them. And the idea that you’re going to have his children his — son-in-law, et cetera, engaged in the day-to-day operation of things they know nothing about.”


Trump’s reelection campaign defended Ivanka and Jared and took aim at Hunter Biden, saying, “Hunter Biden would never have an office in the White House because he’s proven that his only qualification is being the son of Joe Biden.”

Original Article

Trump defends keeping ‘leaker’ Schiff, Pelosi out of the loop on al-Baghdadi raid

closeTrump considering releasing footage of al-Baghdadi raidVideo

Trump considering releasing footage of al-Baghdadi raid

President Trump tells the press that certain parts of the U.S. military raid in Syria that resulted in the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may be released.

President Trump on Monday defended his decision not to give Democratic congressional leaders advance notice of the raid that resulted in the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, saying once again that he was concerned the details would leak out.

When Trump first announced al-Baghdadi's death Sunday morning, he said he decided not to tell officials, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, because he was afraid leaks could compromise the mission. Speaking to reporters Monday morning, he singled out House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., as the focus of those concerns.


"The only thing is they were talking about why didn't I give the information to Adam Schiff and his committee, and the answer is because I think Adam Schiff is the biggest leaker in Washington," Trump said. "You know that, I know that, we all know that. I've watched Adam Schiff leak. He's a corrupt politician. He's a leaker like nobody has ever seen before."

Trump, meanwhile, also indicated Monday that he may release some video footage of the raid, which he described in great detail a day earlier.

"We’re thinking about it. … We may take certain parts of it and release it, yes," Trump said.

Mike Pompeo goes inside the mission that killed al-BaghdadiVideo

Trump went on to blast Schiff for his handling of the impeachment investigation, including when he recited an embellished version of Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which Schiff later described as "parody." Trump accused Schiff of committing a "criminal act" by putting the inaccurate version of the call on the record.

Trump's decision not to notify senior members of Congress about the raid was controversial, even as he drew praise for overseeing the successful mission.


"The House must be briefed on this raid, which the Russians but not top Congressional Leadership were notified of in advance, and on the administration’s overall strategy in the region," Pelosi said Sunday. "Our military and allies deserve strong, smart and strategic leadership from Washington."

When asked Sunday if he had told Pelosi about the raid beforehand, he said he did not because he did not want any members of the U.S. forces to die.

"No, I didn’t. I didn’t do that. I wanted to make sure this kept secret,” Trump said. “I don’t want to have people lost.”

Vice President Pence downplayed Trump’s decision to keep Pelosi in the dark during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday" immediately following Trump’s address. The vice president claimed that Trump did not mean to say he did not trust the House speaker.

“I don’t think that was the implication at all,” Pence said. When pressed on the issue, the vice president said, “We maintain the tightest possible security here,” and focused on Trump’s goal, which was to bring al-Baghdadi to justice.


The president on Sunday described how U.S. forces including military dogs chased down al-Baghdadi in a tunnel in Syria, with the ISIS leader "whimpering and crying" before detonating a suicide vest, blowing up himself and three children.

"He died like a coward," Trump said.

Original Article

Buttigieg says he’s used marijuana ‘handful’ of times, defends call for nationwide decriminalization

closeButtigieg says he has tried marijuana a 'handful' of timesVideo

Buttigieg says he has tried marijuana a 'handful' of times

The 2020 presidential nominee talked drug policy reform while visiting a marijuana dispensary in Las Vegas.

LAS VEGAS – Many Democrats seeking to unseat President Trump in 2020 are calling for decriminalizing marijuana possession on the federal level — including South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who told reporters Wednesday he’s tried the drug a “handful” of times in the past.

“I have, a handful of times, a long time ago, and I’ve also encountered a lot of people whose lives have really been shaken by the old war on drugs approach,” Buttigieg told Fox News in Las Vegas.

Nevada legalized marijuana for recreational use in 2017. Several other states have made similar moves, although the drug is still considered illegal on the federal level.

Buttigieg's ambitious proposal has been to “decriminalize all drug possession” while expanding access to addiction treatments and improving drug-abuse and mental-health treatment.

Buttigieg also said legalizing pot would carry numerous business advantages.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg on challenging Democratic presidential frontrunnersVideo

“First of all, without legalization, you’re going to continue to see a patchwork of different state laws that create a lot of problems for legitimate businesses like this one,” Buttigieg said outside the Top Notch dispensary in Vegas on a campaign stop.

He added, “We not only need to legalize but we also need to pursue experiments, knowing the racial disparity and lives that have been ruined by sentences over marijuana possession.”

Other 2020 Democrats seemed to be on the same page.

Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke toured an Oakland, Calif., dispensary last month, and called for allocating monthly stipends to people who were previously locked up for low-level marijuana offenses as a form of recompense.

Meantime, other candidates have admitted to using the drug before. California Sen. Kamala Harris, in a radio interview earlier this year, said, “I have, and I inhaled — I did inhale. It was a long time ago, but yes.”


Sen. Bernie Sanders, when running in the 2016 primaries, also acknowledged he tried it a couple of times.

Pot legalization movement spreadsVideo

“I smoked marijuana twice — didn’t quite work for me,” he told Yahoo! News.

Candidates have split over how they would legalize marijuana federally. Buttigieg said it would need to be done through the proper legislative channels, while Sanders has expressed that he would use an executive order to carry it out.

Buttigieg agreed that the stigma surrounding marijuana use should diminish.


He also made a pitch specifically to veterans. “Yeah, so I've met a lot of veterans who rely on cannabis for the treatment of diagnosed or undiagnosed issues, often service-connected issues like post-traumatic stress. And, another benefit of decriminalization is, it could pave the way for this to be supported with” the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Asked by another reporter if he had bought any items in the dispensary, which he compared to an Apple Store in appearance, he said: “I will not. I’m on the clock and it’s gonna be a long day.”

Original Article

Trump defends Gabbard from Clinton ‘Russian agent’ claims

closePresident Trump discusses Syria strategy, Democrats' impeachment pushVideo

President Trump discusses Syria strategy, Democrats' impeachment push

Trump holds Cabinet meeting at the White House.

President Trump defended 2020 presidential contender Tulsi Gabbard against comments made by Hillary Clinton suggesting the Hawaii congresswoman and Democrat was an agent for Russia.

"She's accusing everyone of being a Russian agent," Trump told reporters. "She's not a Russian agent. These people are sick. There’s something wrong with them."

Clinton strongly suggested Gabbard was "the favorite of the Russians" during an interview on a podcast with former Obama adviser David Plouffe last week.


Tulsi Gabbard delivers stunning rebuke of Hillary ClintonVideo

She went on to say that she wasn't "making any predictions, but [thinks Russians] have got their eye on somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate."

Gabbard responded on Twitter, saying the former secretary of state and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee was the "queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long."


On Monday, Trump said Clinton and Democrats claimed everyone opposed to them were Russian agents. He said Clinton's attack may boost Gabbard's and his political chances.

Many fellow Democrats seeking the White House also dismissed Clinton's claims. No evidence yet has gone public to back up such claims.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article