Trump accuses Pelosi of ‘crying for fairness’ in Senate trial after ‘unfair’ House impeachment

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Sen. Mitch McConnell calls Nancy Pelosi's decision to withhold articles of impeachment an 'absurd position'

Speaker Pelosi seems to think she can dictate the rules of a Senate impeachment trial, says Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

President Trump slammed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday for making demands of the Senate regarding his upcoming trial as she sits on two impeachment articles, accusing her of "crying for fairness" after leading an "unfair" process in the House.

Throughout the House Democrats' impeachment inquiry, Trump and fellow Republicans criticized elements of the process — including the initial closed-door sessions with witnesses, an invitation for him to participate in a hearing while he was overseas, and the decision to cite the president's assertion of executive privilege as evidence of obstruction as opposed to battling it out in court.

MCCONNELL RIPS PELOSI FOR IMPEACHMENT DELAY, SAYS DEMS 'AFRAID' TO TRANSMIT 'SHODDY' ARTICLES

"Pelosi gives us the most unfair trial in the history of the U.S. Congress, and now she is crying for fairness in the Senate, and breaking all rules while doing so," Trump tweeted Monday morning. "She lost Congress once, she will do it again!"

Both chambers of Congress are engaged in an unusual battle over the next steps in the historic process after the House accused Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress for his actions concerning Ukraine, in the third-ever impeachment of an American president.

Pelosi is now indicating she will not turn over the articles of impeachment to the Senate or name impeachment managers until the upper chamber announces the process of how the trial will be conducted.

Coinciding with that position, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has demanded that the Senate be allowed to subpoena documents and witnesses who did not appear before the House. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., responded by saying that the Senate's role is not to do what the House failed to do during what he has called "the most rushed, least thorough, and most unfair impeachment inquiry in modern history."

PELOSI STANDS BY DELAY IN SENDING IMPEACHMENT ARTICLES TO SENATE, CALLS MCCONNELL A 'ROGUE LEADER'

Pelosi fired back Monday morning, tweeting: "The House cannot choose our impeachment managers until we know what sort of trial the Senate will conduct. President Trump blocked his own witnesses and documents from the House, and from the American people, on phony complaints about the House process. What is his excuse now?"

Pelosi has also faced criticism for pushing House Democrats to pursue articles of impeachment on a tight timetable, only to drop that sense of urgency after the final vote. McConnell has accused her and fellow Democrats of getting "cold feet."

Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., defended Pelosi on "Fox News Sunday," noting that President Bill Clinton was impeached in mid-December and managers were not appointed until Jan. 6 of the following year after the House returned from the holiday break. She suggested that the current process would not move any faster, even if Pelosi took swift action.

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Earlier on the show, Marc Short, chief of staff for Vice President Pence, claimed that Pelosi would ultimately move forward and allow the Senate to conduct a trial.

"She will yield, there's no way she can hold this position," he predicted.

Original Article

Jeff Flake claims Senate Republicans, not just Trump, are on trial

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President Trump takes aim at House Speaker Pelosi for not sending articles of impeachment to the Senate

Trump accuses Nancy Pelosi of 'playing games' with impeachment; chief White House correspondent John Roberts reports.

Former Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., is warning his former colleagues in the Senate that they, along with President Trump, will be on trial when the articles of impeachment eventually move from the House to the upper chamber.

“President Trump is on trial. But in a very real sense, so are you. And so is the political party to which we belong,” Flake writes in an op-ed for The Washington Post Friday.

JEFF FLAKE SAYS 'AT LEAST 35' REPUBLICAN SENATORS WOULD PRIVATELY VOTE TO IMPEACH TRUMP

Flake, who left the Senate this year after having staked out a vocally anti-Trump stance, wrote after the House voted for two articles of impeachment — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

The articles are expected to soon go to the Senate for a trial, although there are indications House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., may delay the articles being transmitted. In the Senate, Trump is almost certain of acquittal unless there is a sudden and dramatic shift of Republicans in favor of impeachment.

Flake urges Republicans to consider the evidence, but at the same time not to repeat House Republican assertions the president hasn’t done anything wrong: “He has.”

“The willingness of House Republicans to bend to the president’s will by attempting to shift blame with the promotion of bizarre and debunked conspiracy theories has been an appalling spectacle,” Flake argues. “It will have long-term ramifications for the country and the party, to say nothing of individual reputations.”

TOP DEMS IN CONTENTION TO PROSECUTE TRUMP IMPEACHMENT CASE — IF IT GOES TO TRIAL

He asks what Republicans would have done if President Barack Obama had engaged in the same behavior, in regards to Ukraine.

Breaking down media coverage of impeachment voteVideo

“I know the answer to that question with certainty, and so do you. You would have understood with striking clarity the threat it posed, and you would have known exactly what to do,” he says.

While Flake says he does not envy Republican senators’ task, he urges them to avoid “an alternate reality that would have us believe in things that obviously are not true, in the service of executive behavior that we never would have encouraged and a theory of executive power that we have always found abhorrent.”

“If there ever was a time to put country over party, it is now,” he writes. “And by putting country over party, you might just save the Grand Old Party before it’s too late.”

There have been no public signs so far of any mass defection against Trump by GOP senators. Despite rumors that a number of Republicans in the House may break off, no GOP members in the lower chamber voted for impeachment — while a few Democrats voted against.

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It isn’t the first time Flake has indicated he believes that a Senate conviction of Trump is in the realm of possibility. He claimed in September that close to three dozen Republican senators would back ousting the president if the vote was held in private.

"I heard someone say if there were a private vote there would be 30 Republican votes. That's not true," Flake said on Slate's "What Next" podcast. "There would be at least 35."

Fox News’ Joseph Wulfsohn contributed to this report.

Original Article

Senate OKs spending bills to avoid government shutdown, sending them to Trump’s desk

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The Senate on Thursday passed a $1.4 trillion spending package, avoiding a shutdown and funding the government through the rest of the fiscal year.

The first bill in the two-bill package, covering domestic programs, passed 71 to 23. The second spending bill passed 81 to 11, and the pair will now head to President Trump's desk Friday night — the deadline to fund the government for the rest of fiscal year 2020, or through Sept. 30. The White House said Tuesday that the president will sign the bill.

The legislation gives Trump a victory on his U.S.-Mexico border fence and gives Democrats domestic spending increases and an expensive repeal of Obama-era taxes on high-cost health plans. It provides health care and pension benefits for retired coal miners and increases the nationwide legal age to buy tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, from 18 to 21.

The tobacco measure was pushed by Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R.-Ky.

HOUSE APPROVES $1.4 TRILLION SPENDING BILL, REPEALING OBAMACARE TAXES

The deficit tab for the package grew, as well, with the addition of $428 billion in tax cuts over 10 years to repeal the three so-called ObamaCare taxes.

The split-their-differences legislation was carrying a large number of unrelated provisions into law, drawing protests from fiscal conservatives. It would put in place an earlier spending deal that reversed unpopular and unworkable automatic spending cuts to defense and domestic programs — at a $2.2 trillion cost over the coming decade.

“These spending bills are a fiscal dumpster fire,” said Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah. “This is embarrassing.”

The legislation is laced with provisions reflecting divided power in Washington. Republicans maintained the status quo on several abortion-related battles and on funding for Trump's border wall.

CONGRESS RAISES NATIONAL TOBACCO AGE TO 21 AS PART OF SPENDING PACKAGE

Democrats controlling the House succeeded in winning a 3.1 percent raise for federal civilian employees and the first installment of funding on gun violence research after more than two decades of gun lobby opposition.

The bill provides $25 million for gun violence research, divided between the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The bill exceeds Trump’s budget requests in every domestic category, except for his $8 billion-plus for the U.S.-Mexico wall, which was cut back to $1.4 billion — the same as last year’s appropriation. However, Trump may use his budget powers to tap other accounts for several times that amount. Though it may anger liberal opponents to the wall, it was a trade-off for Democrats who wanted to gain $27 billion in increases for domestic programs.

Popular programs such as health research, veterans' medical care, NASA, sewer and water projects, and law enforcement grants to state and local governments would also get increases under the package. The Pentagon would receive $738 billion, a record amount, to buy expensive weapons systems such as the F-35 fighter.

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Democrats won $425 million for states to upgrade their election systems, and in turn, they boosted the U.S. Census budget $1.4 billion above Trump’s request.

Fox News' Chad Pergram and Alex Pappas contributed to this report, as well as The Associated Press.

Original Article

Pelosi stands by delay in sending impeachment articles to Senate, calls McConnell a ‘rogue leader’

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday defended her decision to hold off on sending impeachment articles to the Senate, calling Mitch McConnell a "rogue leader" in an unusual press conference where she repeatedly tried to shut down questions about the impeachment process.

Pelosi spoke to reporters after Democrats passed two articles of impeachment against President Trump in a Wednesday evening vote. She indicated the House would eventually send the articles over to the upper chamber, but insisted it is up to the Senate to determine how the process develops going forward.

“The next thing for us will be when we see the process that is set forth in the Senate, then we’ll know the number of managers that we may have to go forward, and who we would choose,” Pelosi said during a Thursday morning press conference.

After an impeachment in the House, the articles are normally sent over to the upper chamber for an impeachment trial, but Pelosi signaled earlier that the House is waiting for the Senate to set out how Trump's trial will be conducted before they determine their next steps, such as designating impeachment managers who will represent them.

Earlier Thursday morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Democrats may be “too afraid” to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate after the House speaker abruptly held off on transmitting them.

"Looks like the prosecutors are getting cold feet," the Senate GOP leader mused.

McConnell also criticized the impeachment in remarks on the Senate floor, calling it “a rushed and rigged inquiry.”

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On Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., had requested that the Senate issue subpoenas for documents and witnesses who had not testified during the House's impeachment inquiry. McConnell responded by stating that the House should have been more thorough, and it was not the Senate's role to do the House's "homework" for them.

Fox News' Adam Shaw contributed to this report.

Original Article

McConnell says he’ll address Senate floor Thursday morning, day after House impeachment vote

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is expected to address the Senate floor at 9 a.m. ET Thursday — the day after the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives voted to impeach President Trump for "abuse of power" and "obstruction of Congress" related to his dealings with Ukraine.

“At 9:30am tomorrow morning, on the Senate floor, I will speak about House Democrats’ precedent-breaking impeachment of the President of the United States,” McConnell tweeted Thursday night.

MCCONNELL: 'WE'VE HEARD ENOUGH' ON IMPEACHMENT, PROLONGED SENATE TRIAL COULD BE 'EMBARRASSING SCENE'

Article one, abuse of power, passed on a 230-197 vote, with two Democrats joining Republicans in voting nay. The obstruction-of-Congress vote was 229-197, with three Democrats voting nay. No Republicans supported either article. 2020 presidential hopeful Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, voted “present,” indicating she did not support impeachment. Trump became the third U.S. president to be impeached after the historic vote.

In a news conference following the House impeachment vote Wednesday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., suggested Democrats may wait to send their articles of impeachment against Trump to the GOP-controlled Senate until they’re assured Republicans are capable of holding a fair trial.

McConnell told Fox News’ Sean Hannity last week that he would coordinate with the White House counsel when setting the procedure for the Senate trial, adding that “There will be no difference from the president’s position and our position.”

Waiting to send the articles to the Senate could prove to be a tactical play for Democrats – as leaving Trump in limbo would mean he’s an impeached president – and would prevent him from an almost certain acquittal in a trial in the GOP-controlled upper chamber of Congress. That would leave the president open to claim he was exonerated as he campaigns for re-election in 2020.

Under the rules of impeachment, the Senate has no option but to turn to impeachment once the articles are handed over from the House. Because the Republicans have the majority, McConnell will have the authority to decide on the procedures of the trial.

On Wednesday morning, McConnell rejected a request from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to subpoena new documents and call witnesses who had been blocked by the White House during the impeachment inquiry on the House side.

"The Senate is meant to act as judge and jury, to hear a trial, not to re-run the entire fact-finding investigation because angry partisans rushed sloppily through it,” McConnell told the Senate floor.

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In a letter on Sunday, Schumer suggested dates for the trial, a presentation of the articles by impeachment managers, a list of witnesses including acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton, how to handle the witnesses, and ideas on how much time the Senate should devote to debate in the trial.

McConnell stressed the fact-finding mission should have been completed during the impeachment inquiry led by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. He accused the House of doing a rush job, and said Schumer is now looking "to make Chairman Schiff's sloppy work more persuasive."

Fox News' Ronn Blitzer and Julia Musto contributed to this report.

Original Article

Reporter’s Notebook: Senate impeachment trial could be biggest reality TV show of all time

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Fitton on impeachment: Trump being abused, Constitution being attacked

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton reacts to House vote on impeachment articles.

The Senate has a specific set of 25 rules which dictate operations for a Senate impeachment trial. But the Senate’s only conducted 17 impeachment trials in history. No one knows how President Trump’s prospective Senate trial may look. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., have wrestled for days about the possibilities of a Senate trial. So far, neither side is giving any quarter.

Senate impeachment trial rules are vague. They only say the Senate holds the trial six days a week, starting at 1 in the afternoon, Saturdays included.

There are only a few things the Senate has to do with the trial. One of them is present the House’s impeachment articles to the Senate out loud. Former Senate Sergeant at Arms James Ziglar announced that the House was “exhibiting to the Senate of the United States, articles of impeachment against William Jefferson Clinton, President of the United States” on January 7, 1999. On January 14, 1999, the late House Judiciary Committee Chairman Henry Hyde, R-Ill., laid out the House’s case to the Senate.

“We the managers of the House are here to set forth the evidence in support of two articles of impeachment against President William Jefferson Clinton,” said Hyde.

And after the managers speak to the Senate, pretty much anything can happen.

Clinton’s Senate trial ran about five weeks in January and February 1999 before the Senate voted to acquit. But no one is quite sure how long Trump’s trial could run. After the Senate verbally announces the charges and receives the House managers, anything can happen.

“Impeachment trials of the president of the United States are extremely rare. We really do not have a great deal of precedent on which to rely,” said former Senate Parliamentarian Alan Frumin, the body’s head referee. “The potential playing field is as yet defined. The lines are not on the field yet. I don't know if it's going to be 100 yards or 200 yards field and whether you can get a first down or a series of first downs and keep going.”

U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts will preside over any Senate trial. But no one will have more influence over a Senate trial than McConnell.

“We don’t create impeachments. We judge them,” said McConnell.

But the Kentucky Republican says he’s coordinated with the White House about what the administration wants in a Senate trial.

THE LATEST FROM FOX NEWS ON THE TRUMP IMPEACHMENT

Nancy Pelosi speaks after House votes to impeach President TrumpVideo

Trump says he’s open to either a short or long trial. There’s been talk of the president appearing himself in a trial. Maybe calling the Bidens, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as witnesses.

Schumer tried to preempt GOP messaging on a Senate trial by making requests for when a trial should start, how much debate the Senate should allocate for closing arguments which witnesses the Democrats would like to see testify.

Schumer is executing an interesting gambit. Schumer and Democrats have long portrayed McConnell as keeper of the legislative “graveyard,” capitalizing on his self-assigned nickname as the “Grim Reaper.” Schumer essentially dared McConnell to say no to Democratic demands. The New York Democrat suspects McConnell would:

  1. Fail to implement any of the Democrats requests.
  2. Rush the Senate trial to the point that Democrats think senators never gave the House charges a fair hearing and abused the impeachment process.
  3. Conducts a trial which favors the president, since McConnell says he’s working with the administration to implement about what Trump wants from the GOP-controlled Senate.

Schumer then will attempt to add to the narrative that McConnell is indeed “the Grim Reaper.” Moreover, Democrats will weaponize such the Senate’s handling of a trial (and perhaps actual roll call votes in a Senate trial) against vulnerable Republicans facing challenging reelection bids in 2020: Sens. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz.

Schumer wants Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and former National Security Adviser John Bolton to testify – among others.

McConnell is cool to the idea.

“If the Senate volunteers ourselves to do House Democrats’ homework for them, we will only incentivize an endless stream of dubious partisan impeachments in the future,” said the majority leader.

A Senate trial with witnesses could produce one of the most surreal spectacles in American history.

That’s why even some key Republicans are leery of an unorthodox scene, and what it could mean for the integrity of the Senate.

Graham: Pelosi would lose her job if she didn't move toward impeachmentVideo

“I'm getting a lot of pushback from the right on this,” said Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. “You know everybody's dying to hear from Joe Biden and Hunter Biden and prove that there was corruption on their part, and to get Schiff. Shifty Schiff and all that good stuff. I'm really worried about where this could take the country.”

Like Graham, senators who served more than two decades ago also fretted about Clinton’s impeachment trial. Then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss. says there were concerns about publicly airing salacious details about Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky.

“There were some that wanted to have witnesses on the floor of the Senate in the well. Bill Clinton. Monica Lewinsky. And I said, no. We're not going to demean this institution to that degree,” said Lott.

That’s why Lott and then-Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., forged a pact. The leaders convened a conclave of all 100 senators in the Old Senate chamber. Lott and Daschle forged a pact on how to conduct Clinton’s trial. It’s unclear if senators can form a bipartisan accord for Trump’s trial in today’s toxic political climate.

“If they don’t do this in the right way and they have witnesses on the floor, I think it takes on a context that could be harmful,” observed Lott. “It's bad enough and if this turns into an absolutely mudslinging process, it'll make things even worse.”

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A Senate trial isn’t expected to begin until January. And, Lott and Daschle didn’t reach their agreement until just before Clinton’s trial started two decades ago. And if there’s no pact on a Senate trial, Trump could find himself in a familiar spot: the star in a Senate trial.

Perhaps the biggest political reality TV show of all time.

Original Article

Pelosi suggests she may wait to send impeachment articles to Senate: ‘We’ll make a decision … as we go along’

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Democrats may wait to send their articles of impeachment against President Trump to the GOP-controlled Senate, for fear that they are incapable of holding a fair trial.

Pelosi held a press conference on Wednesday following the House impeachment vote and was asked what would qualify as a "fair trial."

"We'll make a decision as a group, as we always have, as we go along," she replied.

Pelosi was then asked about possibly withholding the articles of impeachment from the Senate until they get certain reassurances, and the Speaker refused to give a direct answer.

"Again, we'll decide what that dynamic is, but we hope that the resolution of that process will be soon in the Senate," she said.

GOHMERT SHOUTS AT NADLER ON HOUSE FLOOR AFTER 'RUSSIAN PROPAGANDA' ACCUSATION

Pelosi proceeded to read a statement from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., about impeachment procedure and used it as an example of what she considers to be an unfair process.

"Let me tell you what I don't consider a fair trial," she told the crowd of reporters. "This is what I don't consider a fair trial — that Leader McConnell has stated that he's not an impartial juror, that he's going to take his cues, in quotes, from the White House, and he is working in total coordination with the White House counsel's office."

She finally deferred to the Senate as the final arbiter of Trump's fate and accused the president of withholding vital documents from Congress.

"It's up to the senators to make their own decision working together, hopefully in recognition of their witnesses that the president withheld from us, their documents that the president withheld from us and we would hope that that information would be available in a trial to go to the next step. Because that's another level in terms of conviction, in terms of this," Pelosi said. "But right now the president is impeached."

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The Speaker then repeatedly fended off questions about withholding the articles, before saying it would ultimately be a joint decision between the House and Senate.

"We will make our decision as to when we're going to send — when we see what they're doing on the Senate side, but that's a decision that we will make jointly," she said.

The impeachment vote total on the abuse-of-power count was 230–197, with Hawaii Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard voting present. The obstruction vote total was 229–198, with Gabbard also voting present on that count too.

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Kellyanne Conway weighs in on looming Senate impeachment trial

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Top White House adviser Kellyanne Conway wouldn't confirm if the White House is hoping for a shorter Senate trial after the House of Representatives passed two articles of impeachment against President Trump on Wednesday night, instead likening the charges to those "on a Post-it note."

Conway said at a presser before the vote that the Senate could "breeze through" the charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress lodged against Trump, "as opposed to meaty ones that actually appear in the Constitution like treason and bribery, high crimes and misdemeanor," which he was not charged with.

HOUSE IMPEACHES TRUMP OVER UKRAINE DEALINGS, AS PELOSI FLOATS HOLDING UP SENATE TRIAL

Still, Conway said she doesn't "have an endorsement for [a] short," trial, adding: "I have an endorsement for full and fair."

Conway met with members of the Senate ahead of the House vote to go over various aspects of the upcoming trial including judges, strategy, messaging, public opinion and precedent, she told reporters.

Although she declined to offer specific names of those on Trump's legal team who would be defending him, she reiterated that White House Counsel Pat Cipollone would be leading the charge.

Conway insisted that Hunter Biden, 2020 Democratic contender Joe Biden's son — whom Trump allegedly asked the leader of Ukraine to look into and which is the crux of the impeachment investigation — should testify in the Senate.

"He's definitely a fact witness here," she said.

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A staunch defender of Trump, Conway attempted to downplay the impact the impeachment vote was having on the president, saying he was "doing fine" and instead pivoted to the Democratic debates slated to take place on Thusrday night.

"If I were a 2020 Democrat, I'd be hopping mad," she added. "They're having a debate tomorrow, does anybody notice or care?"

Original Article

Horowitz testifies before Senate committee after FISA court rebukes FBI

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Horowitz: Report 'doesn't vindicate anyone'

Horowitz faces questions on IG report; Anna Kooiman has the details.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz will testify before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Wednesday, in the aftermath of his report examining the origins of the FBI’s Russia probe and problems with the process used to obtain a warrant to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Horowitz previously testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, but Wednesday’s hearing comes a day after the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) rebuked the FBI in a rare public order that referenced his report. Horowitz had revealed that there were 17 inaccuracies and omissions in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant applications for Page, which included a doctored email and the failure to include exculpatory information about Page that may have impacted the FISC’s decision to grant the warrants.

FISA REPORT DROPS: 7 TAKEAWAYS FROM DOJ WATCHDOG'S RUSSIA PROBE REVIEW

“The FBI's handling of the Carter Page applications, as portrayed in the [Office of Inspector General] report, was antithetical to the heightened duty of candor described above," Judge Rosemary Collyer wrote in her four-page order. "The frequency with which representations made by FBI personnel turned out to be unsupported or contradicted by information in their possession, and with which they withheld information detrimental to their case, calls into question whether information contained in other FBI applications is reliable."

Horowitz’s report also described how the FBI relied on information gathered by former British spy Christopher Steele as part of opposition research for Fusion GPS on behalf of the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee. Steele’s information helped lead officials to approve seeking a FISA warrant for Page, even though the information had not been vetted as required by FBI policy.

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The report said that while there were clear problems with the FBI’s FISA process, Horowitz did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that the Russia probe itself was launched due to political bias, although he noted that the threshold to start the probe was low. Additionally, when asked by the Senate Judiciary Committee, the inspector general made it clear that the question of possible bias “gets murkier” when discussing the FISA process.

Former FBI Director James Comey, who led the bureau at the time, insisted he was unaware of any impropriety at the time, but told “Fox News Sunday” he “was wrong” when he defended the FBI’s FISA process in the past. Still, he defended his former subordinates by claiming that no one committed any intentional misconduct, despite Horowitz calling for accountability and making referrals for further investigation. At the same time, Comey admitted that there was “real sloppiness,” and that as director, he was ultimately responsible.

Fox News' Andrew O'Reilly and Bill Mears contributed to this report.

Original Article

Dem Senate candidate’s ad depicts apocalyptic climate future with 127 degree temperatures

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Bloomberg calls for closing all coal-fired power plants to combat climate change

Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg releases climate change plan to slash greenhouse emissions by fifty percent in a decade; USEA Executive Director Barry Worthington reacts.

A new campaign ad from Colorado Democrat Andrew Romanoff shows a little girl complaining about climate change in a "not so distant future" where her family has to block out the sun and hide from extreme temperatures.

"What I miss most is the sunshine," a young girl says in the ad. The video, released on Monday, shows a man in a hazmat suit blocking out the sunlight in what appears to be an underground shelter for the girl and her family. It's part of Romanoff's Senate bid, which he portrayed as a challenge to establishment Democrats who weren't tough enough on climate change.

The fictional scene involves a radio broadcast reporting that the temperature is 127 degrees Fahrenheit and the air quality index is 420 — well within the hazardous range for pollution.

"This place makes me sad," the girl adds, before adding that her baby brother will be born into a world that's "not safe for him." "Anybody out there … do not go outside," the radio broadcast adds. The ad appears to suggest the girl's parents "fight a lot" because of climate change — an apparent reference to claims that the atmospheric phenomenon increases the chance of domestic violence.

AOC-ALLIED CLIMATE GROUP ANNOUNCES 'INSURGENT' HOUSE PRIMARY CHALLENGES AGAINST INCUMBENT DEMS

At the end of the scene, Romanoff warns: "This is not the stuff of fiction or some far off threat." During an interview about the ad, Romanoff suggested some people were already living in a "hellscape" from climate change.

AOC NARRATES VIDEO FROM THE FUTURE IN WHICH HER 'GREEN NEW DEAL' SAVES US FROM ENVIRONMENTAL CATASTROPHE

Romanoff, who previously served as Colorado's House Speaker, appeared to pan media coverage of his ad, pointing to an article that asked if his portrayal was "good politics."

He also took a shot at former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper who ran for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, urging moderation among a wave of more progressive candidates.

"The press (like Hickenlooper) has ignored most of the #cosen debates, preferring the horse race & the money chase to the content of this campaign. You won’t find our platform in the news," he tweeted.

Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., who Romanoff is trying to unseat, mocked the ad on Monday.

"This ad is insane. Can someone check on Andrew Romanoff?" he tweeted.

Monday's ad was just the latest of heated rhetoric surrounding climate change as the nation approaches the 2020 elections. Climate activists have been demanding bolder reforms as leading Democrats express skepticism over the political viability of plans like the Green New Deal pushed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.

Both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., have put the kibosh on something that ambitious — provoking criticism from activists like Romanoff. Romanoff's ad specifically shows Feinstein dismissing a request to consider the Green New Deal, saying it wouldn't pass the Senate. When the Senate voted on a Green New Deal resolution in 2019, it failed in what many Democrats described as a sham vote.

The 2020 elections, Romanoff says, are perhaps the "last-in-a-lifetime chance rescue the world we know and the hopes of billions not yet born."

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"We can squander that chance on business as usual," he said, before showing clips of Hickenlooper, President Trump, and Gardner. The potential race between Gardner and Romanoff would likely be just one of many that highlight climate change in 2020.

The Sunrise Movement, allied with Ocasio-Cortez, recently released a list of insurgent candidates it sought to have challenge incumbent Democrats who were purportedly too moderate on the issue.

Original Article

John Bolton, Mick Mulvaney included in Senate Dems’ wish list for impeachment trial

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Eric Shawn: President Trump's impeachment edge

Judy Miller on the unexpected political impact of the proceedings.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Sunday sent Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., a letter outlining the parameters for a weekslong Senate impeachment trial, including the proposal that former National Security Adviser John Bolton and acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney be subpoenaed to testify.

Bolton and Mulvaney were among four new witnesses whose testimonies Democrats were seeking for the impeachment trial over President Trump's actions toward Ukraine.

In the letter, Schumer proposed the structure for a "fair and honest'' trial, in an attempt to launch negotiations ahead of House voting this week.

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y., laid out his requests for an impeachment trial in a letter Sunday.

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y., laid out his requests for an impeachment trial in a letter Sunday. (AP, File)

Trump is accused of abusing his presidential power by asking Ukraine to investigate his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, while holding American military aid as leverage, and obstructing Congress by blocking the House's efforts to investigate his actions. Trump and the White House repeatedly have denied he did anything wrong.

An impeachment vote is widely expected in the Democrat-controlled House, but likely will be quashed in the Senate, where Republicans have held the majority. McConnell has signaled his preference for a speedy trial.

Schumer wrote in his letter that the trial must "be one that not only hears all of the evidence and adjudicates the case fairly; it must also pass the fairness test with the American people."

Schumer also proposed a detailed structure and timeline for a trial to begin Jan. 7, with the swearing-in of Chief Justice John Roberts to oversee the proceedings and stretching for several weeks as Democrats subpoena witnesses and testimony.

John Bolton returns to Twitter, asks whether White House is afraid of what he may have to sayVideo

A recent book claimed that Bolton labeled the alternative foreign policy being run by Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and others as a "drug deal," and he wanted no part of it. He left his post in September.

TRUMP TAKES NASTY DIG AT PELOSI IN LATEST SLAM OF HOUSE DEMS

In addition to Bolton and Mulvaney, Schumer said Democrats also wanted testimony from two other White House officials: Robert Blair, a top Mulvaney aide, and Michael Duffey, a budget official who was tasked with handling the Ukraine issue.

Should Mick Mulvaney remain Trump's chief of staff amid impeachment probe?Video

Schumer additionally set out a specific schedule that would allow for 24 hours of opening arguments by the House Democrats' impeachment managers and then 24 hours for the White House lawyers to present their arguments, followed by days of witness testimony.

A spokesman for McConnell told Fox News that the Senate majority leader “has made it clear he plans to meet with Leader Schumer to discuss the contours of a trial soon. That timeline has not changed.”

McConnell has made clear in recent days his preference for a speedy trial without calling witnesses, as other Republicans said they feared it could become a spectacle.

Appearing on CBS News' “Face the Nation'' Sunday, top ally Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said he also preferred a swift trial.

"I'd tell the president, if somebody is ready to acquit you, I'd sort of get out of the way," Graham said. He warned that calling witnesses could mean that Trump administration officials such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, whom the White House previously blocked from appearing before investigators, could be forced to testify.

"I understand the president's frustration, but I think what's best for the country is to get this thing over with," Graham said. "I clearly made up my mind. I'm not trying to hide the fact that I have disdain for the accusations in the process, so I don't need any witnesses."

Trump has lashed out repeatedly against impeachment and has told confidants that even if he's acquitted in the Senate as expected, it will mark a stain on his legacy.

"The Impeachment Hoax is just a continuation of the Witch Hunt which has been going on for 3 years. We will win!" Trump tweeted Sunday.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said Sunday on ABC News' “This Week” that Trump should be able to call witnesses, including Biden's son Hunter and the whistleblower who reported Trump's July telephone conversation with Ukraine's president.

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Hunter Biden was on the board of a Ukrainian energy company while his father was vice president, and Trump has alleged that Joe Biden got a Ukrainian prosecutor fired because the prosecutor was looking into the energy company. The U.S. and many other Western governments had pushed for the prosecutor's ouster, saying he was soft on crime.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

Senate passes resolution formally recognizing Armenian genocide

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

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

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

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

HOUSE PANEL TO HOLD KEY IMPEACHMENT VOTE, AFTER DAY OF ALL-OUT SPARRING AND INTRIGUE

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

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

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

US, CHINA REACH PHASE ONE TRADE DEAL, SOURCE SAYS

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

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

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

Original Article

Trump threatens to have Schiff, Bidens, Pelosi testify in Senate trial as he dares House to impeach

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

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

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

President Trump on Thursday challenged House Democrats to impeach him “fast” and ship the process over to the Senate, where he threatened to seek testimony from top Democrats including House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“The Do Nothing Democrats had a historically bad day yesterday in the House. They have no Impeachment case and are demeaning our Country. But nothing matters to them, they have gone crazy,” Trump tweeted early Thursday, just before Pelosi announced that she wants the Judiciary Committee to proceed with articles of impeachment.

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

He added: “I was elected to ‘Clean the Swamp,’ and that’s what I am doing!”

The president’s tweets follow an hourslong hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, in what set the stage for the next phase of the Democratic-led House impeachment inquiry, with majority-invited law professors making the case that the president did abuse the office of the presidency. But the sole witness called by Republicans argued the contrary — he said the legal case to impeach Trump was “woefully inadequate” and even “dangerous."

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

Pelosi, D-Calif., on Thursday morning, just after the president's tweets, called for the House to proceed with drafting articles of impeachment.

"The facts are uncontested. The president abused his power," Pelosi said on Thursday morning. "The president's actions have seriously violated the Constitution."

"Our president leaves us no chance but to act," she continued. "Sadly, but with confidence and humility, today, I am asking our chairman to proceed with articles of impeachment."

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., in concurrence with the other chairs of committees involved – Schiff, D-Calif., and Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y. – will now draft articles of impeachment. Should the House pass those articles, the impeachment inquiry would transform into a full-fledged Senate trial.

"@SpeakerPelosi & the Democrats should be ashamed. @realDonaldTrump has done nothing but lead our country – resulting in a booming economy, more jobs & a stronger military, to name just a few of his major accomplishments. We look forward to a fair trial in the Senate," White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham tweeted after Pelosi's announcement.

Republicans hold the majority in the Senate and Trump allies hold chairmanships on key committees, with many of them signaling their interest in exploring issues that House Democrats glossed over during their hearings — such as the Bidens’ business dealings in Ukraine and alleged Ukraine interference in the 2016 presidential election.

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

Rep Ratcliffe: Pelosi's impeachment vote good for RepublicansVideo

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

The aide suggested that Republican senators – like Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Senate Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis. – could be attempting to help “shape” the witness list and the trial in their recent attempts to obtain documents and information from the administration and companies related to Hunter Biden.

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

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

Does Adam Schiff's report show a case for impeachment?Video

Also last month, Johnson and Grassley penned a letter to the head of the National Archives and Records Administration to request records of multiple White House meetings that took place in 2016 involving Obama administration officials, Ukrainian government representatives, and Democratic National Committee officials

While Trump has sought to press an unsupported theory that Ukraine was tied to Democratic National Committee hacking, GOP lawmakers have sought details on other issues that are more grounded in published reports — like whether former DNC consultant Alexandra Chalupa was improperly digging up dirt on Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and others with Ukraine’s help at the time.

Democrats did not grant GOP requests to call Biden's son Hunter, Chalupa and others on the House side, and it’s unclear if Senate Republicans will at least attempt to call these and other witnesses, high-ranking members are showing their early interest in exploring the issues.

LEGAL SCHOLARS CLASH IN HEARING OVER WHETHER TRUMP COMMITTED IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE

But Thursday was not the first time the president has threatened to have Rep. Schiff appear as a witness. Last month, during an exclusive interview with “Fox & Friends,” the president said there was “only one person” he wanted to testify more than Hunter Biden.

“And that is Adam Schiff,” Trump said during that interview, also calling for the still-anonymous whistleblower to come forward to testify as well.

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

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

Original Article

Georgia Gov. Kemp appoints Kelly Loeffler to US Senate

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Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp appointed businesswoman Kelly Loeffler to the U.S. Senate on Wednesday to succeed the retiring Johnny Isakson, who is leaving office at the end of the year due to health issues.

Kemp's decision came despite intense criticism from conservative allies of President Trump who wanted Kemp to appoint Rep. Doug Collins, one of Trump’s staunchest defenders in Congress. Loeffler, a co-owner of the Atlanta Dream professional woman’s basketball team, on Wednesday attempted to assuage the concerns of those who were against the political outsider.

GEORGIA GOP SEN. ISAKSON TO RESIGN AT END OF YEAR, AMID BATTLE WITH PARKINSON'S

Georgia Gov. <a data-cke-saved-href="https://www.foxnews.com/politics/georgia-gov-brian-kemp-signs-controversial-heartbeat-bill-into-law" href="https://www.foxnews.com/politics/georgia-gov-brian-kemp-signs-controversial-heartbeat-bill-into-law">Brian Kemp</a> appointed businesswoman Kelly Loeffler to the U.S. Senate on Wednesday to succeed the retiring Johnny Isakson, who is leaving office at the end of the year due to health issues.

Georgia Gov. <a data-cke-saved-href="https://www.foxnews.com/politics/georgia-gov-brian-kemp-signs-controversial-heartbeat-bill-into-law" href="https://www.foxnews.com/politics/georgia-gov-brian-kemp-signs-controversial-heartbeat-bill-into-law">Brian Kemp</a> appointed businesswoman Kelly Loeffler to the U.S. Senate on Wednesday to succeed the retiring Johnny Isakson, who is leaving office at the end of the year due to health issues.

"I haven’t spent my life trying to get to Washington. But here’s what folks are going to find out about me: I’m a lifelong conservative. Pro-Second Amendment. Pro-military. Pro-wall. And pro-Trump," she said.

Collins, the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, delivered an impassioned statement against impeaching Trump during a hearing Wednesday morning. He has publicly left open the door to challenging Loeffler for the seat, which is up for reelection in November 2020, despite Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., expressing support for Loeffler.

"She will be an incumbent Republican Senator,” McConnell said in stating that both he and the National Republican Senatorial Committee would back her.

At the center of the debate over Loeffler’s appointment was a question of who can best help the GOP position itself for success in next year’s elections, as Republicans battle to maintain control of the Senate and White House.

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Loeffler’s supporters believe she can widen the Republican tent and appeal to women and suburban Atlanta voters, who have fled the party since Trump’s election. Her critics counter that an experienced campaigner with conservative credentials is needed to bring out the Republican base.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

Senate confirms Trump’s pick to replace Rick Perry as energy secretary

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Preview: Rick Perry sit down with Fox News' Ed Henry

Outgoing Energy Secretary Rick Perry gives his thoughts on the impeachment inquiry hearings during a sit-down with Ed Henry on 'America's News HQ.'

President Donald Trump's pick to succeed Rick Perry as energy secretary won easy Senate confirmation Monday, despite a Democratic senator's objections that the nominee hadn't fully answered questions related to the Trump impeachment investigation.

Several other Democrats joined Republicans in approving Deputy Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette's promotion, 70-15.

Confirmation of Brouillette, who'd been responsible for day-to-day operations at the Energy Department for two years under Perry, came a day after Perry's resignation became effective.

FILE: Secretary of Energy nominee Dan Brouillette smiles during a Senate hearing on his nomination.

FILE: Secretary of Energy nominee Dan Brouillette smiles during a Senate hearing on his nomination. (AP )

Perry has said his departure had nothing to do with his energy work in Ukraine for the Trump administration and that he was focused on longstanding U.S. policy to lessen that country's dependence on Russia for fuel. A House impeachment panel is scrutinizing Trump's push for Ukraine to investigate a company employing a son of rival Joe Biden.

Perry has refused to testify before the panel. Some other administration officials who have appeared before impeachment investigators described Perry as one of what the Trump White House allegedly called the "three amigos" — administration figures who consulted with Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, one of the main focuses of the impeachment probe, on Ukraine issues.

Brouillette, a veteran in state and federal energy regulatory matters, easily won bipartisan support since Trump nominated him Nov. 7. He told a Senate committee hearing last month he knew nothing about any of the Ukraine conversations under scrutiny.

RICK PERRY, OTHER OFFICIALS CALLED TO TESTIFY IN IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY BEHIND CLOSED DOORS

However, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., accused Brouillette of failing to detail what he knows about Perry's meetings with natural gas officials and others in Ukraine. Wyden told the Senate on Monday that Brouillette was waging a "full-court stonewall."

Another Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, took the floor to call Brouillette a "good man."

"He has been forthcoming. He has not held anything back," Manchin said.

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Perry, a former Texas governor, used his job in part to promote U.S. oil and gas overseas, while also stressing the value of the national research labs and other cutting-edge work overseen by the Energy Department. Republican senators in Brouillette's committee confirmation hearing made clear they expected him to keep using the agency to advocate for U.S. fossil fuels, although Brouillette's first remarks at the hearing stressed the department's research on supercomputers and other scientific efforts.

Original Article

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock drops out of 2020 race, no Senate run expected

closeDemocratic presidential candidate Steve Bullock rejects notion of 'obscurity gap' in 2020 fieldVideo

Democratic presidential candidate Steve Bullock rejects notion of 'obscurity gap' in 2020 field

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock joins Gillian Turner from the New Hampshire Democratic Party Convention, says primary voters will make the right decision, not the fast decision.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock on Monday announced he was suspending his campaign for president and made clear he has no plans to run for U.S. Senate.

The 53-year-old Democrat, who has served as governor since 2013, said it has become clear he won't have a shot at the party's nomination to beat President Trump in the 2020 presidential race.

JOE SESTAK ENDS CAMPAIGN FOR DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION

“While there were many obstacles we could not have anticipated when entering this race, it has become clear that in this moment, I won’t be able to break through to the top tier of this still-crowded field of candidates,” Bullock said in a statement.

Moderate Democrats surge in 2020 polls over progressive candidates

Moderate Democrats surge in 2020 polls over progressive candidates

The campaign of the two-term governor, who is also former state attorney general, got a late start, as Bullock only announced his candidacy in May, trailing along dozens of other Democratic candidates vying for the nomination. He tried to make the case that he was the best option to beat Trump because he was the only Democratic candidate to win in a state that Trump won in 2016.

Bullock struggled to raise money and register in the polls, managing to meet qualification thresholds for only one Democratic National Committee debate in July. He said he was running for president to win back places Democrats have lost and end the influence of “dark money” in politics — concerns, he said, that have not changed.

MARY ANNE MARSH: DEMOCRATS' TOP TWO CONTENDERS AS IOWA AND NH VOTES DRAW NEAR

The governor said he is leaving the crowded 2020 race “filled with gratitude and optimism, inspired and energized by the good people I’ve had the privilege of meeting over the course of the campaign.”

On Sunday night, Joe Sestak, a retired Navy admiral and former Pennsylvania congressman, dropped his bid for the presidential nomination, as well.

Democrat Steve Bullock enters 2020 race; Joe Biden defends his climate change stanceVideo

Bullock is the third Western governor or former governor to drop out of the 2020 race after struggling to build a national profile and donor base against well-known alternatives like former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper dropped out in August to run for the Senate. His departure was followed quickly by that of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who is seeking reelection.

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Bullock's spokesperson, Galia Slayen, said Monday that Bullock "plans to work hard to elect Democrats in the state and across the country in 2020 [but] it will be in his capacity as a governor and a senior voice in the Democratic Party — not as a candidate for U.S. Senate."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

Senate impeachment trial is the wildest wild card

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What should we expect from House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearings?

Reaction and analysis from Fox News contributors Ari Fleischer and Jessica Tarlov.

A potential impeachment Senate trial for President Trump is the wildest wild card of all.

The fact is, no one really knows what a Senate trial might look like. And anyone who thinks they know how this could be a boon to one side or the other is truly kidding themselves. Sure, there might not be 67 votes to convict President Trump. That could be the one thing we do know. Everything else is way up in the air.

Conventional wisdom holds that a Senate trial would mimic the 1999 trial of President Bill Clinton. That’s hardly established. That trial featured no witnesses and a memorable closing argument delivered by the late Sen. Dale Bumpers, D-Ark., on behalf of the president. But during the lead-up to the trial, speculation was rife on Capitol Hill that senators may attempt to call Clinton to testify and even Monica Lewinsky as witnesses on the floor.

HOUSE INTEL COMMITTEE TO REVIEW DRAFT UKRAINE REPORT THIS WEEK

That never happened. That’s because then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., and Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., forged a pact for the structure of the trial. Lott and Daschle then presented the arrangement to the other 98 senators. All 100 senators agreed to the Lott/Daschle accord which limited the potential for salacious and tawdry testimony in President Clinton’s trial.

Reporters have peppered Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., for weeks if they might meet to establish parameters for President Trump’s prospective trial. But no dice. No meeting yet. No agreement. And, even if McConnell and Schumer were to huddle, one wonders if they could even set an arrangement for a potential trial.

Has impeachment story stalled?Video

The Senate conducts much of its business via a parliamentary construct known as “unanimous consent.” In other words, if all 100 senators unanimously agree, the Senate can do just about anything. The Senate forges unanimous consent agreements to decide when to meet, when to vote and even to pass some bills. But, if one senator objects then that torches the proposal. That’s not unanimous consent.

In this environment, it’s hard to see how all 100 senators could agree to anything – especially establishing special ground rules for a Senate trial. That means that the Senate’s special rules for an impeachment trial would prevail. And that could be a free-for-all.

JUDICIARY COMMITTEE ANNOUNCES DECEMBER IMPEACHMENT HEARING, INVITES TRUMP TO PARTICIPATE

Let’s consider the possibilities for witnesses.

It’s customary in a Senate trial for the House to send to the Senate impeachment “managers.” These are House members who essentially serve as prosecutors and present the impeachment case to the Senate. One could certainly imagine where House Democratic impeachment managers would want to summon acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, acting White House Budget Director Russ Vought; Energy Secretary Rick Perry; former National Security Adviser John Bolton; attorney Rudy Giuliani; U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and perhaps even President Trump himself.

Wow.

For their part, Republicans may want the president to take the stand to defend himself against the House charges. And, GOPers would probably be all too hopeful to secure testimony of former Vice President Joe Biden, his son Hunter Biden, DNC operative Alexandra Chalupa (whom Republicans assert worked with Ukraine to dig up dirt on Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort), House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and even the whistleblower.

Double wow.

Is 2020 election President Trump's to lose?Video

There’s a term for such proceedings in Washington. The first word begins with “s” and the second word is “show.”

If senators can’t work out an agreement on how to conduct a Senate trial, then it’s up to U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts to decide who’s in and who’s out. The Chief Justice presides over such a trial. Late Chief Justice William Rehnquist had a rather passive role in President Clinton’s 1999 trial because Messrs. Lott and Daschle worked out things in advance. Here, it’s anybody’s ballgame.

In the 1999 trial, the Senate subpoenaed Lewinsky, Clinton confidant Vernon Jordan and White House aide Sidney Blumenthal. They provided videotaped testimony.

NEWT GINGRICH: PLOT AGAINST PRESIDENT IS REAL – AND BIGGER THAN MANY THINK

Forty witnesses testified at the Senate impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson in 1868.

Rep. Andy Biggs expects 'feisty' impeachment hearings in House Judiciary CommitteeVideo

No one has any sense of the political consequences of such a scene. But a trial like this could lay bare some of the deepest divisions in American politics in a fashion never before witnessed. Democrats may relish the opportunity to query President Trump and Mulvaney. Republicans would be ecstatic to hear from the Bidens. But such a tableau is so extraordinary no one can gauge what this means for either party – especially in an election year.

And, imagine the impact such a scenario could have on Biden. And we haven’t even discussed the Democratic senators running for president and what this means for them – especially if the trial plays out in January and February. That’s primetime for these senators to be barnstorming through Iowa and sipping cups of joe at diners in New Hampshire. A trial will tether these presidential hopefuls to their desks in the Senate chamber. It’s unclear how Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., will handle such a bizarre campaign challenge. But watch for one factor: if one of these senators bolts the Senate to campaign, it’s likely they all bolt.

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That said, their votes could be needed before a final judgment. Roberts doesn’t have to rule on every motion and question. Senate impeachment rules give the chief justice the option to “submit any such question to a vote of the members of the Senate.”

Republicans think a drawn-out process helps the president because it ties up the Senate and keeps Democrats off the campaign trial. A few GOPers also think that stretching things out shows the public what a political misstep it was for House Democrats to even impeach the president, triggering a Senate trial. Meantime, some Democrats believe an elongated process boosts their case – revealing alleged deep corruption in the Trump administration.

Also remember, we are operating in the era of Trump. That tells us two things: First, whatever conventions held before are out the door. Secondly, President Trump typically benefits from chaos. The crazier things are, the better it is for President Trump.

Trump always craves the spotlight. He did so on “The Apprentice.” In the defunct USFL. With New Jersey casinos. Golf courses in Scotland. His run for the Oval Office.

A Senate trial will be the biggest stage yet – and the most unpredictable.

Original Article

Matt Gaetz backs Trump pick for Georgia Senate seat, warns governor to do same: ‘Maybe you need a primary in 2022’

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U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz suggested to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Friday that there could be political consequences if Kemp decides not to choose President Trump’s reported favorite for the state’s expected U.S. Senate vacancy.

In a series of Twitter messages on the day after Thanksgiving, Gaetz, a Florida Republican, called on Kemp to choose U.S. Rep. Doug Collins for the seat, when Sen. Johnny Isakson steps down at the end of the year.

Collins, 53, is a Republican who has represented Georgia in Congress since January 2013 and is the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, which is scheduled to hold impeachment hearings this week. Like Gaetz, who also serves on the Judiciary Committee, Collins is considered a staunch defender of President Trump.

GEORGIA GOP SEN. ISAKSON TO RESIGN AT END OF YEAR, AMID BATTLE WITH PARKINSON'S

Kemp, a Republican, has been leaning instead toward appointing financial executive Kelly Loeffler to the Senate, according to the Washington Times.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, left, has been feeling some pressure from U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., right, over Georgia's upcoming U.S. Senate vacancy.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, left, has been feeling some pressure from U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., right, over Georgia's upcoming U.S. Senate vacancy.

“You are ignoring his request because you THINK you know better than @POTUS,” Gaetz wrote in one Twitter message. “If you substitute your judgement [sic] for the President’s, maybe you need a primary in 2022. Let’s see if you can win one w/o Trump.”

“You are hurting President Trump,” Gaetz wrote in another tweet. “You know this because he told you.”

Kemp had fired off a Twitter message of his own.

“The idea that I would appoint someone to the U.S. Senate that is NOT pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment, pro-freedom, and 100% supportive of our President (and his plan to Keep America Great) is ridiculous,” Kemp wrote. “The attacks and games are absolutely absurd. Frankly, I could care less what the political establishment thinks.”

Kemp had previously faced backlash from pro-life advocates over Loeffler’s reported ties to organizations favoring abortion.

The Senate vacancy arose in August when Isakson, the 74-year-old chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, announced plans to retire amid his battle with Parkinson’s disease.

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“I am leaving a job I love because my health challenges are taking their toll on me, my family and my staff," Isakson said at the time.

Meanwhile, Kemp and Loeffler met with Trump at the White House last Sunday – with the meeting quickly becoming tense and ending abruptly, The Wall Street Journal reported last week.

Sources told the Journal that Kemp said he remained open to the president’s preference for the Senate seat as well, and Kemp and Trump reportedly spoke by phone on Monday, although the outcome of their discussion was unknown, the report said.

Original Article

Pro-life groups clash with Georgia’s Kemp over potential Senate pick

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Pro-life advocates are calling out Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp amid speculation that he could replace retiring Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., with a financial executive with alleged ties to abortion providers.

Leaders from a slew of pro-life organizations all pointed to potential replacement Kelly Loefller's position on the board of Grady Health — a network of facilities that purportedly performs elective abortions — as well as her part ownership of the Atlanta Dream, a WNBA team that has promoted Planned Parenthood.

The controversy comes following a report that Kemp tried to convince President Trump that Loeffler was a good choice for the seat. Isakson announced in August that he would retire at the end of the year, citing health problems. A special election has been set for 2020 to decide who will serve the final two year's of Isakson's term.

PRO-LIFE ACTIVIST FINED OVER UNDERCOVER PLANNED PARENTHOOD VIDEOS: 'IT'S REALLY AN ATTACK ON THE FIRST AMENDMENT'

Penny Young Nance, the head of the pro-life Concerned Women for America, blasted Kemp's reported choice of Loefller on Wednesday.

"There are better choices for Gov.Kemp 4 the next U.S. Senator from GA. He has a list of fantastic pro-life candidates. We hope he doesn’t pick the one the pro-life community will oppose,' she tweeted on Wednesday.

GEORGIA GOP SEN. ISAKSON TO RESIGN AT END OF YEAR, AMID BATTLE WITH PARKINSON'S

"Kelly Loeffler should be disqualified as a GA Senate appointment," Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser tweeted. "She’s on the board of Grady Memorial Hospital, largest abortion provider in the state. Grady is an abortionist training hub. Its doctors are leading advocates AGAINST @BrianKempGA pro-life laws."

Trump reportedly preferred that Kemp pick Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., whom the Susan B. Anthony List has publicly backed and, in 2016, described as having a "pristine pro-life voting record." The group helps fundraise for pro-life candidates around the country.

PENNSYLVANIA GOVERNOR NIXES DOWN SYNDROME ABORTION BILL

The March for Life and Tea Party Patriots similarly condemned the reported decision. Kemp responded on Wednesday by dismissing as absurd the idea that he would nominate someone who was pro-choice.

"I stand with hardworking Georgians and @POTUS. The idea that I would appoint someone to the U.S. Senate that is NOT pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment, pro-freedom, and 100% supportive of our President (and his plan to Keep America Great) is ridiculous," he said.

FLORIDA STUDENT SAYS HIGH SCHOOL REJECTED PRO-LIFE CLUB FOR 'CONTROVERSIAL' VIEWS

Kemp previously received pro-life groups' praise when he signed a controversial measure, known as "heartbeat" legislation, that blocks abortions after the point when a doctor can detect a heartbeat.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the hospital cited by pro-lifers — Grady Memorial Hospital — doesn't provide elective abortions and "hasn’t for at least a decade." The hospital did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment.

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Dannenfelser also pointed to Grady Health's connection to Emory Medical School, which she said has "the largest training program for abortionists in Georgia."

"Emory's pro-abortion credentials are well-established," she tweeted. "They provided a hospitable home to CDC's top abortion advocate, Willard Cates, and to Peter and Judith Bourne, whose campaign against Georgia's pro-life law led to the Doe v. Bolton companion ruling to Roe in 1973."

Original Article

In Trump impeachment trial, Senate Republicans could turn tables on Dems

closeTrump, supporters in Congress may be coming to terms with Senate impeachment trialVideo

Trump, supporters in Congress may be coming to terms with Senate impeachment trial

With impeachment all but a certainty in the House, leading Republicans agree with White House officials that there should be a full trial and not a motion to dismiss; Kevin Corke reports from the White House.

House Democrats are entering what may be the final phase of their impeachment inquiry, after wrapping up a spree of hearings where witnesses tied top officials — including President Trump — to efforts to pressure Ukraine on political investigations while military aid was being withheld.

But the tables could turn, should the House approve impeachment articles and trigger a trial in the Republican-controlled Senate. There, Trump’s allies are already indicating they will look more closely at allegations involving Democrats.

"Frankly, I want a trial," Trump declared Friday on “Fox & Friends.”

TRUMP CALLS FOR SENATE TRIAL, SEEKS WHISTLEBLOWER AND SCHIFF AS IMPEACHMENT WITNESSES

There’s a reason for that.

Democrats have controlled everything during marathon proceedings in the House, frustrating GOP attempts to call witnesses pertaining to the matters Trump wanted Ukraine to investigate — specifically, the Bidens’ business dealings in that country and Kiev’s alleged interference in the 2016 election.

But that changes on the Senate side, where Republicans have the majority and Trump allies chair key committees. Already, they’ve signaled their interest in exploring issues that House Democrats glossed over during their hearings.

On Thursday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., penned a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo requesting the release of any documents related to contacts between former Vice President Joe Biden and former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, and to a meeting between son Hunter Biden’s business partner and former Secretary of State John Kerry.

Public opinion shifts further from favoring impeachment amid public hearingsVideo

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

On the House side, Republicans likewise encountered challenges digging into allegations of Ukraine interference in the 2016 election. While Trump has sought to press an unsupported theory that Ukraine was tied to Democratic National Committee hacking, GOP lawmakers have sought details on other issues that are more grounded in published reports — like whether former DNC consultant Alexandra Chalupa was improperly digging up dirt on Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and others with Ukraine’s help at the time.

Democrats did not grant GOP requests to call Biden's son Hunter, Chalupa and others on the House side.

But while it’s unclear if Senate Republicans will at least attempt to call these and other witnesses, high-ranking members are showing their early interest in exploring the issues.

Aside from the Graham letter, Senate Oversight Committee Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., and Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, have penned a letter to the head of the National Archives and Records Administration to request records of multiple White House meetings that took place in 2016 involving Obama administration officials, Ukrainian government representatives and Democratic National Committee officials.

GRAHAM DEMANDS DOCUMENTS ON UKRAINE, BIDENS, OBAMA ADMINISTRATION FROM 2016

Johnson and Grassley wrote that during a meeting in 2016, officials “brought up investigations relating to Burisma Holdings.” The senators added that a Ukrainian political officer working in the Ukraine Embassy in Washington said U.S. officials in that meeting asked that "Kiev drop the Burisma probe and allow the FBI to take it over.”

They added that White House records revealed that Chalupa had attended “numerous meetings at the White House, including one event with President Obama.”

The new requests from Senate Republicans come as the House ended its series of scheduled hearings on Thursday. The Intelligence Committee could announce additional hearings and depositions, but at this time, nothing has been scheduled.

The committee may now write and transmit its report to the House Judiciary Committee, which could begin writing articles of impeachment ahead of a floor vote.

“What the House ends up passing will drive a lot of what we end up doing over here,” a senior Republican aide familiar with the ongoing discussions told Fox News Friday.

The aide told Fox News that the White House made a “positive” and “significant” development this week, as officials indicated “what they want” for the trial.

In the Senate trial, three separate parties have input to how it will play out: Senate Republicans, Senate Democrats and the White House.

“It is impossible for us to come up with contours for impeachment without input from the White House,” the aide said. “Their input is a very positive step so we can try to control this as much as possible.”

The White House, on Thursday, signaled that they would like a Senate trial to last no longer than two weeks. The impeachment of former President Bill Clinton lasted for six weeks.

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

“We all want speedy,” the aide said. “This is the first indication the White House has given and that’s a positive — before it was radio silence from them, and now they’re starting to indicate what they want this thing to look like.”

The aide explained that the Senate, once they receive articles of impeachment, will begin working on two resolutions — one that governs the timeline of the trial, and the other that sets up witnesses for closed-door depositions, as well as which witness will be required to testify on the stand.

The aide explained that the resolutions are “significant,” noting that they will “be the main avenue that evidence is admitted.”

The aide suggested that Republican senators like Graham, Grassley and Johnson could be attempting to help “shape” the witness list and the trial.

Graham: I will insist Senate calls on whistleblower to testifyVideo

A senior administration official, though, claimed Friday there’s “ample reasons” for the Senate to simply dismiss the case – though GOP senators have indicated that’s unlikely to happen.

Yet the official still maintained it’s “100 percent to our advantage to have [a] full trial” in the Senate.

Meanwhile, Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, said sending articles of impeachment to the Senate was "good news."

“Everyone knows what they’re going to do next. They’re going to impeach the president and send it onto the Senate, but that is the good news. That’s good news,” Stewart said. “In the U.S. Senate, there won’t be any secret testimony or dishonest leadership … or to deny a defense.”

He added: “So we’ll finally be able to get to the truth.”

Stewart went on to list several witnesses he hoped the Senate would call to testify, including the whistleblower, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, Hunter Biden, Burisma board member Devon Archer, Chalupa, and Fusion GPS researcher Nellie Ohr.

And the president, himself, seems to be welcoming the trial as well.

“There’s nothing there,” Trump said Friday during an interview with “Fox & Friends,” saying “there should never be an impeachment,” and echoing GOP requests for the whistleblower, Schiff and Hunter Biden to appear as witnesses.

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

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

Original Article