Reaction and analysis from Kira Davis, Tomi Lahren, and Rep. Matt Gaetz.
In a rare public order Tuesday, the chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court strongly criticized the FBI over its surveillance-application process, giving the bureau until Jan. 10 to come up with solutions, in the wake of findings from Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz.
The order, from the court's presiding judge Rosemary M. Collyer, came just a week after the release of Horowitz's withering report about the wiretapping of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, as part of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
"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," 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 said he did not find significant evidence that FBI agents were involved in a political conspiracy to undermine Trump's candidacy in 2016. However, the report did find numerous errors and inaccuracies used by FBI agents to obtain permission to monitor Page's phone calls and emails.
While Collyer's order did not specify exactly what reforms the FBI needed to implement to its policies for obtaining permission to wiretap people under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, the order did say that the FISA court will weigh in on whether the reforms are deemed sufficient.
"The [FISA court] expects the government to provide complete and accurate information in every filing with the court," Collyer wrote. "Without it, the [FISA court] cannot properly ensure that the government conducts electronic surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes only when there is a sufficient factual basis."
This is a developing story; check back for updates.
Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell accuses Democrat Sen. Chuck Schumer's letter of misquoting the Constitution and misunderstanding the impeachment process.
**Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.** On the roster: McConnell slams door on impeachment trial witnesses –Congress readies rush vote on porky spending plan – Dems settle union hash to save debate – House GOP stalwart Walker quits after redistricting – Next time, stick with the little trees MCCONNELL SLAMS DOOR ON IMPEACHMENT TRIAL WITNESSES WaPo: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday rejected calls from his Democratic counterpart to subpoena new witnesses in a Senate trial of President Trump, calling it ‘a strange request at this juncture.’ McConnell was responding to a letter from Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) seeking testimony from senior administration officials, including acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, who declined to appear in House impeachment proceedings. The House, meanwhile, was expected to move one step closer to impeaching Trump on Tuesday, as the Rules Committee prepared to meet to set the parameters for the historic debate on Wednesday over Trump’s conduct toward Ukraine. … Two Democratic aides said Tuesday that a procedural measure setting up debate on the articles will empower House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to name managers ‘at any point’ after the House votes to impeach Trump.” Swing district Dems fall in, setting up Wednesday vote – WSJ: “More Democrats from competitive House districts said they will back the impeachment of President Trump, putting the effort on track to pass this week despite some fears that their position could put their seats at risk. The House plans to vote on Wednesday. With Mr. Trump’s impeachment looking likely, Democratic leaders are also to soon announce which members had been suggested as impeachment managers – essentially prosecutors – during the Senate trial, which is expected to kick off in January. Democrats have largely united behind impeachment. By Monday afternoon, at least 17 from the 31 Democratic-held districts that Mr. Trump won in the 2016 presidential race had announced they would support the abuse-of-power and obstruction of Congress charges, according to a Wall Street Journal survey, with two saying they are opposed.” Voters not budging – WaPo: “As the House prepares to vote on two articles of impeachment against President Trump, Americans remain both deeply divided and locked into their positions over which course lawmakers should pursue, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll. … Despite the stalemate, most Democrats and Republicans alike expect that a likely Senate impeachment trial will give Trump a fair hearing. Bipartisan majorities, including almost 2 in 3 Republicans, also say he should allow his top aides to testify, something he blocked during the House inquiry. On the eve of the House vote, 49 percent of Americans say Trump should be impeached and removed from office, while 46 percent say he should not. Those are essentially identical to findings at the end of October, when 49 percent favored impeachment and removal and 47 percent opposed.” Q Poll: Independents oppose impeachment – Quinnipiac University: “Republicans say President Trump should not be impeached from office 95 – 5 percent, independents say the president should not be impeached and removed from office 58 – 36 percent, while Democrats say President Trump should be impeached and removed from office 86 – 11 percent. Nearly 9 out of 10 voters who have an opinion, 87 percent, say their mind is made up about impeachment, while 12 percent say they might change their mind.” CONGRESS READIES RUSH VOTE ON PORKY SPENDING PLAN AP: “House leaders on Monday unveiled a $1.4 trillion government-wide spending package that’s carrying an unusually large load of unrelated provisions catching a ride on the last train out of Congress this year. A House vote is slated for Tuesday on the sprawling package, some 2,313 pages long, as lawmakers wrap up reams of unfinished work — and vote on impeaching President Donald Trump. The legislation would forestall a government shutdown this weekend and give Trump steady funding for his U.S.-Mexico border fence. The year-end package is anchored by a $1.4 trillion spending measure that caps a difficult, months-long battle over spending priorities. … The bill would also increase the age nationwide for purchasing tobacco products from 18 to 21, and offers business-friendly provisions on export financing, flood insurance and immigrant workers.” THE RULEBOOK: PEN OR SWORD? “It is a singular instance of the capriciousness of the human mind, that after all the admonitions we have had from experience on this head, there should still be found men who object to the new Constitution, for deviating from a principle which has been found the bane of the old, and which is in itself evidently incompatible with the idea of GOVERNMENT; a principle, in short, which, if it is to be executed at all, must substitute the violent and sanguinary agency of the sword to the mild influence of the magistracy.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 15 TIME OUT: DNA FROM ABC GUM Smithsonian: “Some of the first chewing gums, made of birch tar and other natural substances, have been preserved for thousands of years, including a 5,700-year-old piece of Stone Age gum unearthed in Denmark. For archaeologists, the sticky stuff’s longevity can help piece together the lives of ancient peoples who masticated on the chewy tar. The ancient birch gum in Scandinavia preserved enough DNA to reconstruct the full human genome of its ancient chewer, identify the microbes that lived in her mouth, and even reveal the menu of a prehistoric meal. … Birch pitch, made by heating the tree’s bark, was commonly used across Scandinavia as a prehistoric glue for attaching stone tools to handles. When found, it commonly contains tooth marks. Scientists suspect several reasons why people would have chewed it: to make it malleable once again after it cooled, to ease toothaches because it’s mildly antiseptic, to clean teeth, to ease hunger pains, or simply because they enjoyed it.” Flag on the play? – Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions. SCOREBOARD DEMOCRATIC 2020 POWER RANKING Biden: 26.6 points (no change in points from last wk.) Sanders: 18 points (↑ 0.6 points from last wk.) Warren: 14.8 points (↓ 3.4 points from last wk.) Buttigieg: 9.2 points (↓ 0.8 points from last wk.) Bloomberg: 5.4 points (first listing) [Averages include: Quinnipiac University, USA Today/Suffolk University, NPR/PBS/Marist, Fox News and IBD.] TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE Average approval: 44.4 percent Average disapproval: 51.8 percent Net Score: -7.4 percent Change from one week ago: ↑ 2.2 points [Average includes: CNN: 44% approve – 52% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 43% approve – 52% disapprove; USA Today/Suffolk University: 48% approve – 50% disapprove; NPR/PBS/Marist: 43% approve – 53% disapprove; IBD: 44% approve – 52% disapprove.] WANT MORE HALFTIME REPORT? You can join Chris and Brianna every day on Fox Nation. Go behind-the-scenes of your favorite political note as they go through the must-read headlines of the day right from their office – with plenty of personality. Click here to sign up and watch! DEMS SETTLE UNION HASH TO SAVE DEBATE Fox News: “A tentative agreement has been struck in a labor dispute between food service workers and their employer at Loyola Marymount University that threatened to derail Thursday’s Democratic presidential debate. The food services company Sodexo negotiated late into Monday evening with their employees at Loyola Marymount University to secure a tentative contract agreement. A formal vote is expected to take place on Tuesday. Unite Here Local 11 – the labor union representing the workers – said last Friday that they would picket the debate at the Los Angeles-area school if no agreement was reached with Sodexo. All seven Democratic presidential candidates who qualified for the debate said they wouldn’t cross a picket line to take the stage, which threw the debate into limbo. The three-year tentative agreement includes a 25 percent increase in salary, a 50 percent drop in health care costs, and increases in workers’ job security. All sides are expected to release more details at a Tuesday afternoon news conference in Los Angeles.” Biden still rising in Q Poll – Quinnipiac University: “In the Democratic primary race for president, former Vice President Joe Biden leads the field with 30 percent of the vote among Democratic voters and independent voters who lean Democratic. Biden is followed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren with 17 percent, Sen. Bernie Sanders with 16 percent, and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg with 9 percent. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has 7 percent, while businessman Andrew Yang and Sen. Amy Klobuchar get 3 percent each. No other candidate tops 2 percent. There is still a lot of room for movement in the Democratic primary as 61 percent say they might change their mind, while 38 percent say their mind is made up.” New scrutiny for old harassment claims against Bloomberg – ABC News: “Mike Bloomberg has on repeated occasions faced and fought allegations that he directed crude and sexist comments to women in his office, including a claim in the 1990s that he told an employee who had just announced she was pregnant to ‘kill it.’ …[O]ver the years a number of women have alleged in legal filings that Bloomberg’s use of lewd comments around co-workers fostered a frat-like culture at the company he founded and still owns. … Quotes attributed to him in court filings include, ‘I’d like to do that piece of meat,’ and ‘I would DO you in a second.’ Court records reviewed by ABC News indicate that at least 17 women have taken legal action against the company over the past three decades, with three of the cases specifically naming Bloomberg for his role in the company’s culture. None of the cases made it to trial…” Can Warren and Sanders stay friendly? –NYT: “For center-left Democrats, that’s exactly their hope — that [Warren and Sanders] divide votes in so many contests that neither is able to capture the nomination. Moderates in the party fear that if Ms. Warren or Mr. Sanders pull away — or if they ultimately join forces — the ticket would unnerve independent voters and go down in defeat against President Trump. Interviews with aides from both camps — who spoke on the condition they not be named because they warn their own surrogates not to criticize the other — produce a common refrain. The two candidates are loath to attack each other because they fear negativity would merely antagonize the other’s supporters. The only way to eventually poach the other’s voters, each campaign believes, is by winning considerably more votes in the first caucuses and primaries.” HOUSE GOP STALWART WALKER QUITS AFTER REDISTRICTING Politico: “Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) won't seek public office next year, backing off after threatening to primary GOP Sen. Thom Tillis and two members of his own delegation. He announced his decision Monday, a stunning outcome for the ambitious politician just weeks after court-prompted redistricting turned his reliably Republican seat in north-central North Carolina into safe Democratic territory. Walker, a member of House GOP leadership and former chairman of the Republican Study Committee, was first elected to an open seat in 2014. In the statement, Walker said he would seriously consider running for Senate in 2022, when GOP Sen. Richard Burr is expected to retire after finishing his current term. Walker initially seemed desperate to remain on the ballot in 2020.” Dems play favorites in Texas Senate primary –Texas Tribune: “The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is endorsing MJ Hegar in the crowded primary to challenge U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. The move by the DSCC, the political arm of Senate Democrats, is one of the biggest developments yet in the nominating contest, which has drawn a dozen candidates — some more serious than others but no decisive frontrunners. The endorsement drew pushback from at least four of Hegar's competitors, two of whom accused national Democrats of snubbing more diverse candidates for Hegar, who is white.” PLAY-BY-PLAY Walter Russell Mead: A Burkean landslide in Britain – WSJ GOP push to reform FISA gains momentum in wake of Horowitz report– Fox News AUDIBLE: ICONOGRAPHY “Obviously his hair, obviously just how big he is, and just his eyes. I mean just everything about him.” – NYT photographer Doug Mills in an interview with CBS News explaining why President Trump is the most iconic president he’s photographed. FROM THE BLEACHERS “I saw you on [Special Report with] Bret Baier discussing the upcoming Democratic debate, and the qualification rules that are preventing some minority candidates from appearing on the debate stage. Aren’t Cory Booker and Julian Castro just asking the Democratic Party for a little affirmative action? It seems hypocritical to me for the Democrats to push affirmative action for everyone else, but not themselves. Your thoughts?” – Kevin Cook, Farmers Branch, Texas [Ed. note: I don’t know about that, but I do know that the main purpose of political parties is choosing candidates to compete in and, they hope, win elections. It’s reasonable to argue that Democrats would be ill-served in the election to have a white, male nominee in his late 70s when mobilizing younger, female and minority voters is a party. It’s equally reasonable to argue, though, that it’s important for Democrats to have a candidate who can connect with working-class, older white voters who shunned the party in 2016. But those are debates between candidates and campaigns, not for the party itself. I also think the DNC is getting a raw deal here. Their debate thresholds have been, if anything, far too permissive, as evinced by the fact that we’re only seeing fewer than 10 candidates on stage for the first time in December.] Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown. NEXT TIME, STICK WITH THE LITTLE TREES Fox News: “A driver in England accidentally blew up his car when he lit a cigarette after spraying air freshener inside, officials said. The unidentified man sprayed an ‘excessive’ amount of aerosol spray in his car, which was parked in Halifax, West Yorkshire, on Saturday when he decided to grab a cigarette. Witnesses told the Manchester Evening News they heard an ‘enormous bang’ — and saw the car's windows shatter and nearby buildings shake. The driver reportedly made it out of the car with minor injuries and was treated by first responders, but West Yorkshire Police said in a statement the situation ‘could have been worse.’ ‘The owner of a car parked on that street and had used an air freshener can but not ventilated his car before lighting his cigarette,’ West Yorkshire Police said in a statement. ‘The fumes exploded and blew out his windscreen, along with some windows at nearby business premises.’” AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES… “A standardized math test was given to 13-year-olds in six countries last year. Koreans did the best. Americans did the worst, coming in behind Spain, Britain, Ireland and Canada. Now the bad news. Besides being shown triangles and equations, the kids were shown the statement ‘I am good at mathematics.’ Koreans came last in this category. Only 23% answered yes. Americans were No. 1, with an impressive 68% in agreement. American students may not know their math, but they have evidently absorbed the lessons of the newly fashionable self-esteem curriculum wherein kids are taught to feel good about themselves.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in Time magazine on Feb. 5, 1990. Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.
President Trump points out Nancy Pelosi slipped up when she admitted democrats started impeachment two-years before the Ukraine phone call
President Trump called Speaker Nancy Pelosi a "liar" and accused Democrats of trivializing an impeachment process that should only be used "in an emergency," in his first comments after House Democrats advanced articles of impeachment against him.
"It's a scam. It's something that shouldn't be allowed," Trump said in the Oval Office Friday. "And it's a very bad thing for our country and you're trivializing impeachment. And I tell you what, someday there will be a Democrat president, and there will be a Republican House."
"And I suspect they're going to remember it," he said. "Because [that's what happens] when you use impeachment for absolutely nothing other than to try and get political gain."
Trump’s comments come shortly after the House Judiciary Committee approved two articles of impeachment against him for abuse of power and obstructing Congress in a party-line vote. The full House will vote as early as Wednesday on whether to impeach the president.
Democrats allege that Trump violated his oath of office by pressuring the president of Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election when he requested investigations into his political rival Joe Biden and son, Hunter. Trump asked Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky for the investigations in a phone call on July 25 – as the White House put a hold on nearly $400 million in aid.
Trump insists the call was “perfect” and House Republicans have slammed Democrats for trying to overturn the results of the 2016 election for conduct that doesn’t warrant impeachment.
The House Rules Committee will meet on Tuesday to set up the terms of the impeachment floor debate likely for the following day. Pelosi needs 216 votes — assuming all members are present and voting — to impeach Trump. That would set up a trial in the Senate, where Trump is expected to be acquitted.
Long before the Ukraine controversy came to light, Pelosi said she wasn’t in favor of impeaching Trump because it would be too rancorous for the country.
“Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country,” Pelosi told The Washington Post Magazine in March. “And he’s just not worth it.”
But those remarks were in reference to allegations Trump colluded with Russia in the 2016 presidential race. Pelosi got on board with impeachment on the narrower issue of Ukraine.
Trump made his impeachment remarks during an Oval Office meeting with Paraguay President Mario Abdo Benítez, just as he was finishing up a trade deal with China.
'The Daily Briefing' host Dana Perino reacts to the Biden campaign's bold strategy.
Former Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday that Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., would take the unorthodox approach of ruling “by executive order,” if elected president after she scoffed at the idea of working together with Republicans to unite the country on a slew of her progressive policy proposals.
Top-tier Democratic rivals have begun swiping at each other amid tightening polls ahead of February's presidential primary and caucus in New Hampshire and Iowa, respectively, when the 2020 election season — and the battle to take on President Trump next November — gets underway in earnest.
Biden, who trailed Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in a University of California at Berkeley poll released this week, made the remarks about Warren at a fundraiser in the San Francisco Bay Area — one of three such events he had scheduled for the day in one of the Democratic Party's stronghold regions. He took aim at Warren without mentioning her by name.
“I read a speech by one of my — good person — one of my opponents, saying that, you know, 'Biden says we’re going to have to work with Republicans to get stuff passed,’” Biden said in Palo Alto. “I thought, ‘Well, OK — how are you going to do it, by executive order?’”
“This particular person said, ‘He thinks he can actually unify the country. You can’t unify the country.’ Well, guys, if we can’t unify the country you all ought to go home now, because nothing’s going to happen except by executive order,” Biden continued.
“And last time I knew it, a president is not allowed to say, ‘This is how I’m changing the tax structure; this is how I’m changing the environment.’ … You need to actually get a consensus in the constitutional process,” Biden said. “And we can unify the country.”
"Last time I knew it, a president is not allowed to say, ‘This is how I’m changing the tax structure; this is how I’m changing the environment.’ … You need to actually get a consensus in the constitutional process.”
— Joe Biden
Biden seemed to react to a comment made earlier in the day in New Hampshire by Warren who — also without naming her targets – took aim at Biden before refocusing her remarks on an opponent they have in common, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
“We know that one Democratic candidate walked into a room of wealthy donors this year to promise that ‘nothing would fundamentally change’ if he’s elected president,” Warren said of Biden during her address at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College.
Referring to Buttigieg, she continued: “Unlike some candidates for the Democratic nomination, I’m not betting my agenda on the naive hope that if Democrats adopt Republican critiques of progressive policies or make vague calls for unity, that somehow the wealthy and well-connected will stand down.”
Warren — who has eschewed fundraisers with top-dollar donors during her presidential bid as she instead focuses nearly entirely on small-dollar grassroots contributions — once again criticized Biden and Buttigieg for mingling with wealthy donors.
Though ranking third in California, Biden remains the narrow Democratic front-runner in national polls, according to the Mercury News of San Jose. Biden also is capitalizing on big-money donors in Silicon Valley after their home-state Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., dropped out of the primary race, according to a report in Politico this week.
On Thursday, Biden appeared at an event at the home of Sarah and Greg Sands, founder of the venture capital firm Costanoa Ventures. He then attended a fundraiser in San Francisco hosted by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and her husband, financier Richard Blum, before heading to a third event across the city hosted by attorney Joe Cotchett, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Biden took heat from Warren and Sanders in October for forming a super PAC to accept unlimited donations from billionaires and corporate elites to cure his fundraising woes. He had previously promised not to accept super PAC donations when he first announced his candidacy in April.
According to the Federal Election Commission, Biden raised $38 million from April through September. That figure means Biden falls in fifth place when it comes to fundraising dollars among Democratic presidential candidates. He has only raised about half as much as Sanders, who does not accept super PAC donations.
Biden’s campaign also has struggled with shortcomings in available cash on hand. The most recent federal fundraising report said he has just $8 million in cash on hand compared to Sanders’ $33 million, Warren’s $25 million and Buttigieg’s $23 million.
Democrats are also now contending with the seemingly limitless potential funding of campaign newcomer Michael Bloomberg, a multibillionaire who joined the race in late November — though the former New York City mayor has struggled in the polls.
Fox News' Paul Steinhauser and Tara Prindiville contributed to this report.
Did Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren's gamble on Medicare for all fail? Reaction and analysis from former Republican Congressman Connie Mack and Fox News contributor Jessica Tarlov.
MANCHESTER, N.H. – In some of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s most pointed remarks in her nearly year-long bid for the White House, the Democratic presidential candidate — who in recent weeks has seen her poll numbers slip — fired away on Thursday at two of her top-tier rivals for her party’s nomination.
And while she didn’t name names, it was crystal clear the progressive senator was taking aim at the two leading center-left candidates — former Vice President Joe Biden and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
“No other candidate has put out anything close to my sweeping plan to root out Washington corruption," the Massachusetts Democrat touted as she gave a major address on the issue in New Hampshire, the state that holds the first primary in the race for the White House.
“Unlike some candidates for the Democratic nomination, I'm not counting on Republican politicians having an epiphany and suddenly supporting the kinds of tax increases on the rich or big business accountability that they have opposed under Democratic presidents for a generation,” Warren said in her speech.
The comment was an indirect jab at Biden, who has repeatedly highlighted on the campaign trail that if elected, he can work with Republicans to reach compromise.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts gives an address at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College, on Dec. 12, 2019
Warren also took aim at Biden and Buttigieg over their repeated attacks on her push for a government-run "Medicare-for-all" health care system, as well as other progressive policies the populist senator has pushed as she runs for the White House.
“Unlike some candidates for the Democratic nomination, I'm not betting my agenda on the naive hope that if Democrats adopt Republican critiques of progressive policies or make vague calls for unity that somehow the wealthy and well-connected will stand down,” Warren said during her address at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College.
Warren — who has eschewed fundraisers with top-dollar donors during her presidential bid as she instead focuses nearly entirely on small-dollar grassroots contributions — once again criticized Biden and Buttigieg for mingling with wealthy donors.
"They are spending their time in fundraisers with high-dollar donors, selling access to their time for money. Some of them have spent months blocking reporters from entering those fancy, closed-door affairs,” she said.
And pointing to Buttigieg without naming him, she said the candidate “calls the people who raise a quarter-million dollars for him his ‘National Investors Circle,’ and he offers them regular phone calls and special access. When a candidate brags about how beholden he feels to a group of wealthy investors, our democracy is in serious trouble.”
Asked after her speech if she’s the only Democratic White House hopeful who can fix what she says is a broken system of government, the senator — again pointing to her rivals — told reporters: "We know how bad the problems are right now. No one is proposing the kinds of solutions that address those problems."
The increased aggressiveness in going after her top-tier rivals appears to be part of Warren’s shaking up of her routine, which also includes altering her format on the campaign trail to include more interaction with voters. The moves come as the one-time co-front-runner in the Democratic nomination race has seen her poll numbers deteriorate the past month in national surveys and, more importantly, in polls in New Hampshire and Iowa, the state that kicks off the primary and caucus presidential nominating calendar.
Thanks to repeated pressure from Warren in recent days, Buttigieg announced on Sunday that he would open up his closed-door fundraisers to media coverage, similar to what the Biden campaign has done this election cycle.
Following Warren’s address, the Buttigieg campaign returned fire.
“Senator Warren's idea of how to defeat Donald Trump is to tell people who don’t support her that they are unwelcome in the fight and that those who disagree with her belong in the other party. We need to move beyond the politics and divisiveness that is tearing this country apart and holding us back,” Buttigieg senior advisor Lis Smith said in a statement.
Fox News reached out to Biden’s campaign, but they declined to respond to Warren’s criticisms.
“This poor guy, did I hear that he needed a restraining order after this whole thing to keep him away from Lisa?” he asked the cheering audience. “That’s what I heard. I don’t know if it’s true. The fake news will never report it, but it could be true.”
Page and Strzok are frequent targets of the president because of their anti-Trump texts while having an affair as FBI colleagues before Stzrok was released from the Mueller investigation and eventually fired from the FBI.
Their texts also brought scrutiny to their motives with communications like “we'll stop it,” referring to Trump’s candidacy and writing that they have an “insurance policy” for the election.
On Tuesday, Page filed a lawsuit against the FBI and Justice Department for leaking her private texts, claiming it was a breach of the Federal Privacy Act.
Page broke her silence earlier this month, saying in an interview that Trump's personal attacks are like "being punched in the gut."
"My heart drops to my stomach when I realize he has tweeted about me again," she said. "The president of the United States is calling me names to the entire world. He’s demeaning me and my career. It’s sickening.”
After the release of the DOJ inspector general report, Judge Andrew Napolitano says the real problem is with FISA's secrecy and standards that conflict with the Constitution.
President Trump blasted FBI Director Christopher Wray on Tuesday morning over his response to the Justice Department inspector general's report on the origins of the FBI's Russia investigation and use of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
The IG report found that while there were a significant number of concerns regarding the FBI's practices in obtaining the FISA warrant and other aspects of the probe, there was no evidence of political bias or impropriety regarding their motives in the investigation. Wray has accepted these findings, but Trump signaled Tuesday he doesn't think Wray is taking the concerns seriously enough.
"I don’t know what report current Director of the FBI Christopher Wray was reading, but it sure wasn’t the one given to me. With that kind of attitude, he will never be able to fix the FBI, which is badly broken despite having some of the greatest men & women working there!" he tweeted.
In an ABC interview, Wray highlighted the IG report's conclusion that there was no political bias or improper motive behind the FBI's launching of the Russia probe, stating, "I think it's important that the inspector general found that in this particular instance the investigation was opened with appropriate predication and authorization."
When asked if he had any evidence that the FBI unfairly targeted Trump's campaign, Wray said, "I don't," and appeared to take offense to the notion that the FBI is part of a "deep state."
"I think that's the kind of label that is a disservice to the 37,000 men and women who work at the FBI who I think tackle their jobs with professionalism, with rigor, with objectivity, with courage … so that's not a term I would ever use to describe our workforce and I think it's an affront to them,” he said.
At the same time, Wray acknowledged the bureau errors cited in the IG report.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Wray said the report identified problems that are "unacceptable and unrepresentative of who we are as an institution." He said the FBI would make changes to how it handles confidential informants, how it applies for warrants from the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, how it conducts briefings on foreign influence for presidential nominees and how it structures sensitive investigations like the 2016 Russia probe. He said he has also reinstated ethics training.
"I am very committed to the FBI being agile in its tackling of foreign threats," Wray said. "But I believe you can be agile and still scrupulously follow our rules, policies and processes."
This followed a letter to Inspector General Michael Horowitz, in which Wray said, "the FBI accepts the Report’s findings and embraces the need for thoughtful, meaningful remedial action."
While the IG report went into great detail regarding the FBI's failures during the Russia probe, the conclusion that there was no political bias runs contrary to Trump's theory that Obama administration officials were unfairly targeting his campaign.
Attorney General Bill Barr, meanwhile, issued a lengthy statement in which he heavily criticized the FBI's conduct during the investigation, but made a point to note that "most of the misconduct identified by the Inspector General was committed in 2016 and 2017 by a small group of now-former FBI officials."
Barr specifically praised Wray for his cooperation with the IG investigation, and said he has "full confidence in Director Wray and his team at the FBI, as well as the thousands of dedicated line agents who work tirelessly to protect our country."
Graham delivered his remarks during a news conference in which he reacted to the long-awaited review concerning the origins of the Trump-Russia probe.
“Let’s assume for a moment it started out okay. It sure as he– didn’t end okay,” Graham said referring to investigators' efforts to seek a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in the early months of the Russia investigation.
“I believe there will be no debate among reasonably minded people, particularly lawyers, about how the system got off the rails, but in my view became a criminal enterprise to defraud the FISA court, to deny American citizen Carter Page his constitutional rights, and to continue an operation against President Trump as president of the United States,” he said.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., giving his take on the FISA report during an earlier news conference, said the report put to rest any notion that the FBI’s investigation of Trump’s 2016 campaign was politically motivated.
“This report conclusively debunks the baseless conspiracy that the investigation into Mr. Trump’s campaign and its ties to Russia originated with political bias.”
Schumer again reiterated that the FBI investigation was “valid and without political bias.”
Anticipating that his Republican colleagues will do their “level best to reject the report’s conclusions,” Schumer pointed out that FBI Director Christopher Wray – a Trump appointee – has “already embraced the central findings.”
The report listed multiple errors by the FBI in its efforts to obtain a FISA warrant. The IG probe identified at least 17 “significant inaccuracies and omissions” in the Page applications and said a new audit into the FISA process would take place.
Horowitz and his investigators were at times critical of the bureau’s handling of the cast, including for failing to share information that would have undercut claims in those warrants.
Fox News' Ronn Blitzer and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.
Fox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 5 are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com
A Texas congressman slammed his fellow Democrats Wednesday after “not one person of color” was called as an expert to testify during the first day of impeachment hearings conducted by the House Judiciary Committee.
Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, rebuked his colleagues in a speech on the House floor before the committee hearing began. Three legal scholars later testified at the request of Democrats in the first Judiciary Committee impeachment inquiry hearing. Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington University Law School, was the sole witness called by the GOP.
“I rise because I love my country, but I also rise today with heartfelt regrets. It hurts my heart, Mr. Speaker, to see the Judiciary Committee hearing experts on the topic of impeachment — one of the seminal issues of this Congress — hearing experts… and not one person of color among the experts,” Green told the House floor.
“What subliminal message are we sending to the world when we have experts but not one person of color? Are we saying that there are no people of color who are experts on this topic of impeachment?” Green continued. He claimed the House committee was taking advantage of black voters without affording them equal representation in the impeachment process.
“I refuse to be ignored and taken for granted. I came here to represent the people who are ignored and taken for granted. Not one person of color among the constitutional scholars,” he said. “It seems that there’s a desire among some to have the output of people of color without input from the people of color.”
“I rise today to say that this is not about Democrats. It’s not about Republicans. It’s about fairness,” Green said. “It’s about whether or not we have matured to the point in this country where we’re going to treat all people equally.”
Turley argued against impeaching President Trump. Stanford Law professor Pamela Karlan, Harvard Law professor and Bloomberg columnist Noah Feldman and University of North Carolina Law professor Michael Gerhardt were called by Democrats on the committee, and they said Trump's actions were impeachable.
Green’s speech comes a day after a leading progressive activist lamented that only white candidates will grace the upcoming Democratic presidential debate stage following Sen. Kamala Harris’s departure from the 2020 race.
"It's a sad state of affairs to have six white candidates on stage, many of whom don't necessarily speak with black women, who are the powerhouse voters — and we're at this moment where we went from the most diverse set of candidates in the history — certainly in my lifetime — to an all-white stage," Aimee Allison told MSNBC on Tuesday.
Matt Gaetz grills impeachment witnesses over Democratic donations, dig at Barron Trump
House Judiciary Committee member Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., grilled three of the four impeachment panel witnesses for their past support for Democratic candidates, including Hillary Clinton, and admonished one for making a joke at the expense of the teenage son of President Trump.
Gaetz began his allotted five minutes of question time by responding to the previous questioner, House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem S. Jeffries, D-N.Y., who noted that Americans had elected a Democrat majority in the House to serve as a check on Trump.
"The will of the American people also elected Donald Trump to be president of the United States in the 2016 election, and there's one party that can't seem to get over it," Gaetz said, adding that unlike Jeffries' caucus, Republicans haven't focused all of their resources on attempting to remove the top official in the opposing party, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
"Frankly, we'd love to govern with you," he added.
Gaetz further pressed Feldman, asking him: "Do you believe you're outside of the political mainstream on the question of impeachment?"
Responding to Gaetz, Feldman said impeachment is warranted whenever a president abuses their power for personal gain or when they "corrupt the democratic process." The professor added he was an "impeachment skeptic" until the July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky.
After the exchange, Gaetz turned to Stanford Law Professor Pamela Karlan and challenged her on reported four-figure donations to Clinton, Obama and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.
"Why so much more for Hillary than the other two?" he added, smiling.
The Florida lawmaker went on to criticize Karlan for a remark she made while answering an earlier question by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas.
Karlan had told Jackson Lee that there is a difference between what Trump can do as president and the powers of a medieval king.
"The Constitution says there can be no titles of nobility, so while the president can name his son 'Barron', he can't make him a baron."
Gaetz fumed at the remark, saying it does not lend "credibility" to her argument.
"When you invoke the president's son's name here, when you try to make a little joke out of referencing Barron Trump… it makes you look mean, it makes you look like you are attacking someone's family: the minor child of the president of the United States."
In London at a bilateral meeting alongside NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, Trump reacted to Macron telling The Economist magazine in early November that recent U.S. troop movements in Syria are contributing to the “brain death” of the NATO military alliance. Macron’s remarks came weeks after Turkey – a member of NATO – invaded northern Syria.
Trump said Macron made a “very, very nasty statement” which was “very disrespectful” to the 28 countries who are members of the alliance.
“Nobody needs NATO more than France,” Trump said, alluding to France being invaded twice during both World Wars. “It’s a very dangerous statement for them to make,” Trump continued. “Frankly, the one that benefits the least is the United States. We are helping Europe unite and go against a common foe — may not be a foe — I can't tell you.
“It is a very tough statement to make when you have such difficulty in France when you look at what is going on," Trump continued. "They have had a very rough year. You just can't go around making statements like that about NATO. It is very disrespectful."
Trump also suggested he could see France “breaking off” from NATO but did not elaborate further.
"It is a very, very nasty statement. I think they have a very high unemployment rate in France. France is not doing well economically at all," Trump continued. He pointed to the yellow vest movement in which demonstrators took to the streets to protest government tax reforms burdening the middle class.
Trump also slammed Macron’s recent decision to impose a French digital services tax on American companies, including Facebook, Google and Twitter. The White House this week announced that the tax, which it claims “discriminates” against U.S. companies, will be met with tariffs of up to 100 percent on $2.4 billion worth of French products such as cheese, yogurt, sparkling wine and makeup, The Washington Post reported.
“I’m not so in love with Facebook, Google, or Twitter—well, I do well on Twitter from the other side,” Trump said. “But I don’t want France taxing American companies.”
Trump said if anyone is going to be “taking advantage” of American companies, it’s going to be the United States. “Before me, the United States was a sucker,” Trump added.
This comes as Trump is set to meet with NATO members during a two-day summit in London. Trump would not confirm if he'll meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Turkish media in late November quoted Erdogan's adviser saying the country was considering dropping out of NATO. Turkey withdrew some 40 troops from a NATO drill in Norway after the country's founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, and Erdogan himself were depicted as enemies.
Fox News' Greg Norman and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
Bullock repeatedly touted his success in three statewide elections and pushed a progressive agenda in a solidly red state that Donald Trump won overwhelmingly in the 2016 presidential election.
“I entered this race as a voice to win back the places we lost,” he noted in his announcement Monday.
Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado files to place his name on New Hampshire's primary ballot last month in Concord.
Bennet, the senior senator from Colorado, is like Bullock in that he also hasn't made a debate stage since July. Bennet emphasized in a statement that “the fight to win back voters who abandoned our party for Donald Trump isn’t hopeless. It runs through battle-tested candidates from swing states, who know how to meet Americans where they are — not where the loudest voices on social media think they ought to be. It’s unfortunate that the DNC couldn’t make room for a perspective like that.”
Both Bennet and Bullock have been critical of the DNC’s debate-qualification rules for months.
Bennet, who, also like Bullock, is considered a long-shot contender for the nomination – argued: “I have a lot more faith in Democratic voters than I do in the people making up the debate rules at the DNC. The nomination won’t be won with Facebook ads or pithy tweets. It will be won by the person with the experience to defeat Donald Trump and an agenda best aligned with the priorities of the American people.”
And he pledged “that’s what I’m offering, and that’s how I’ll win.”
Louisiana Senator John Kennedy, Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, joins Chris Wallace on 'Fox News Sunday.'
Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., on Sunday slammed the House’s impeachment inquiry into President Trump for chasing after a "red herring" when trying to determine whether the president tied foreign aid to Ukraine to an investigation into his political rivals, and he attacked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., for making impeachment proceedings a “political weapon.”
Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” Kennedy dodged a question by Chris Wallace on whether Trump was asking Ukraine to investigate corruption or to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, and instead called out Pelosi for politicizing the impeachment process.
“Speaker Pelosi is acting in a manner that is insincere, even by the standards of Congress,” Kennedy said. “She is turning impeachment into a routine political weapon.”
Kennedy went on to criticize House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff’s move to bar Republicans from calling witnesses in the impeachment inquiry and “not allowing the president to defend himself.”
A number of Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee have commented that the president is welcome to testify before the committee during the impeachment hearings.
On the issue of if there was quid pro quo between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky when the president asked his Eastern European counterpart to look into the Ukraine business dealings of Biden and his son Hunter, Kennedy made his feelings clear.
“The quid pro quo is a red herring,” he said. “President Trump asked for an investigation of possible corruption by someone who happens to be a political rival. The matter, if proven, would be in the national interest.”
The impeachment inquiry into Trump began when a whistleblower reported that Trump had pushed Zelensky to launch a public investigation into the Biden family’s dealings in Ukraine — specifically, why the former vice president pressured former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to fire a top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, who was investigating Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings.
Hunter Biden worked for a Ukrainian gas company at the same time his father was leading the Obama administration's diplomatic dealings with Kiev. Though the timing raised concerns among anti-corruption advocates, there has been no evidence of wrongdoing by the former vice president or his son.
Kennedy’s comments come two days after his fellow Republican senator, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, sent a letter Thursday to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo requesting the release of any documents related to contacts between Biden, his son and Poroshenko.
Graham’s letter, which was released as the final day of public hearings in the House impeachment inquiry into President Trump wrapped up, asked Pompeo to release a series of documents and transcripts of conversations in 2016 between Biden and Poroshenko in relation to an investigation into Burisma Holdings.
Nunes compared the proceedings against President Trump to "three-card monte" and the medieval Inquisition.
Democrats like committee Chairman Adam Schiff, Nunes claimed, promised a fair hearing, but have not yet delivered.
"What have they delivered? The impeachment version of three-card monte, the notorious short-con card trick where the mark — in this case President Trump and the American public — stands no chance of winning," he said.
Nunes then offered three statements he considered popular legal axioms: "If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. And, if both are against you, pound the table and yell like hell."
He claimed the Democrats are using a fourth "tactic" — "If the facts and the law are against you, simply rig the game and hope your audience is too stupid to catch your duplicity."
Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan questions Ambassador Gordon Sondland during public impeachment hearing.
Republican Rep. Jim Jordan blasted Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland for omitting President Trump’s apparent claim that he wanted “no quid pro quo” with Ukraine from his opening statement, during his testimony at Wednesday's impeachment hearing.
The story of the Trump-Sondland exchange emerged as a key moment for Republicans defending Trump's role in the Ukraine issue. While not mentioning it in his opening statement, Sondland eventually said under questioning that Trump told him "I want nothing, I want no quid pro quo" — apparently concerning whether military aid and more was tied to his requests for politically advantageous investigations from Ukraine.
Jordan came out firing at Sondland for not including that key quote in his lengthy opening statement, as he read it back to the witness.
"You can't find the time to fit that in a 23-page opening statement," Jordan fumed.
Sondland said he did not mean to omit it from his opener and that he had limited space.
The Ohio Republican went on to press Sondland about a proposed White House meeting between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that was allegedly tied to Ukraine announcing an investigation related to a natural gas company where former Vice President Joe Biden’s son was on the board.
“When the chairman asked you about security assistance dollars, you said there had to be a public announcement from Zelensky,” Jordan said. “So I’m asking you a simple question, when did that happen?”
“Never did,” Sondland replied.
“They got the call on July 25th,” Jordan continued, referencing the infamous phone call between Trump and Zelensky that sparked a whistleblower complaint. “They got the meeting, not at the White House but in New York on September 25th, they got the money on September 11th.”
Sondland’s comment that Trump said “no quid pro quo” has been seized upon by both the president and GOP lawmakers as proof of his innocence in the House impeachment inquiry.
Earlier on Wednesday, Trump argued Sondland’s testimony should exonerate him of any claims of wrongdoing in the ongoing impeachment inquiry into him.
Speaking to reporters before departing on a scheduled trip to Texas, Trump claimed that Sondland’s testimony means “it’s all over” for the proceedings and that the House inquiry into Trump should come to a halt.
“I just noticed one thing and that would mean it’s all over,” Trump said on the White House lawn before reading from handwritten notes taken during Sondland’s testimony.
Sondland testified about a conversation with Trump where he asked the president what he wanted from Ukraine.
“And it was a very short, abrupt conversation,” the ambassador said. “He was not in a good mood. And he just said, ‘I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelensky to do the right thing.’ Something to that effect.”
Sondland, though, said he understood that the aid was in fact linked to the investigations.
Conaway made a "personal request" that Schiff clearly state the legal reasoning for keeping the Ukraine phone call whistleblower "immune" from testifying, even in a secure, closed-door environment that would protect his identity.
"[I want] you and/or one of the members of the committee that are lawyers to put into the record the federal statute that provides for the absolute immunity or right to immunity that you've exerted over and over and over," Conaway told Schiff. "I don't think its there," he said.
"And before you get mad and accuse me of wanting to out the whistleblower, you get upset every time somebody accuses you personally of knowing who the whistleblower is," Conaway, who is also the top Republican on the House Agriculture Committee, continued.
As Conaway spoke, Schiff sat largely emotionless in his chair, with his arms crossed and staring straight ahead.
"I get upset every time you… accuse me of — simply because I want to know the whistleblower or we want to know what's going on — that [Republicans] want to 'out' that individual," the Republican added.
Conaway told Schiff that he should either prove the whistleblower has the so-called "immunity" the Texas Republican characterized or "level the playing field."
"I know that you've overruled my request for a closed-door subpoena [of the whistleblower]," he said. "I do think it's important you put in to record the basis on which you continue to assert this absolute right to anonymity of the whistleblower."
The Republican went on to claim House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., had penned a Sept. 23 "Dear Colleague" letter to all 435 elected representatives that asserted whistleblowers are "required by law to testify to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees."
Therefore, Conaway claimed, Schiff is either "defying" Pelosi, and thereby federal law, or Pelosi has the legal standard incorrect.
"At least set the record straight," he added. "Is the whistleblower required by law, as the speaker said, to testify to us or not, and what is this absolute right to anonymity?"
After Conaway yielded back to Schiff, the chairman referenced the federal whistleblower statute, and then asked Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala., to begin her questioning.
Fox News Flash top headlines for Nov. 19 are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com
President Trump on Tuesday upbraided House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., for allowing House lawmakers to focus on the ongoing impeachment inquiry instead of voting on a revamped North American free trade deal that was brokered by the White House last year.
Speaking during a Cabinet meeting at the White House – and as House lawmakers heard testimony from two government officials who listened in on the phone call between Trump and the Ukrainian president that is at the heart of the impeachment inquiry – the president called Pelosi “highly overrated” and "incompetent” for not passing the so-called U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA.
“The woman is highly overrated,” Trump said. “We can’t get USMCA approved because Nancy Pelosi is grossly incompetent.”
Trump blamed the delay on the impeachment hearings, accusing Democrats of running a “kangaroo court.”
Pelosi said last week during a news conference that an agreement on USMCA is “imminent” and that she wants Congress to vote on the deal by the end of the year.
The United States, Mexico and Canada last year agreed to replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement with a new version designed to encourage more investment in factories and jobs in the U.S.
But the USMCA needs congressional approval. Democratic lawmakers have demanded changes designed to do more to protect workers and the environment and to make sure the deal’s provisions can be enforced.
Pelosi’s comments suggested progress in negotiations between congressional Democrats and Trump administration officials at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, but Trump’s remarks – and a major push for the deal from the White House – seem to suggest otherwise.
The president went on to praise Republicans on the Intelligence committee, saying they were “absolutely killing it” because the impeachment hearings are “a big scam.”
House lawmakers on Tuesday were hearing from Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a National Security Council official, and Jennifer Williams, a State Department employee detailed to Vice President Pence’s office. Both listened in on Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that sparked the whistleblower complaint.
During the Tuesday Cabinet meeting Trump also went after the media for reporting on the skepticism surrounding his recent visit to the hospital.
“These people are sick,” Trump said. “The press in this country is really dangerous…We have a very corrupt media.”
Trump’s unscheduled weekend visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center raised questions about his health, despite White House officials’ insistence that the president was merely getting a head start on his annual physical.
The president’s medical appointment wasn’t listed on his Saturday public schedule, and his last physical was nine months ago. Press secretary Stephanie Grisham said the 73-year-old president was “anticipating a very busy 2020” and wanted to take advantage of “a free weekend” in Washington to begin portions of his routine checkup.
Grisham followed up Monday night tweeting a memorandum from the president’s physician, U.S. Navy Cmdr. Sean Conley, who described Saturday’s visit as a “routine, planned interim checkup as part of the regular, primary preventative care he received throughout the year.”
Conley said that due to scheduling uncertainties, the trip was kept off the record. He said after a little more than an hour of examination, labs and discussion, the president visited with medical staff and the family of a soldier undergoing surgery.
“Despite some of the speculation, the President has not had any chest pain, nor was he evaluated or treated for any urgent or acute issues,” Conley wrote.
House Intelligence Committee ranking member Rep. Devin Nunes delivers an opening statement to the public impeachment hearing featuring testimony from Jennifer Williams and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman.
Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, panned the way the press covered last week's impeachment hearings in an opening salvo defending President Trump on Tuesday before nine more witnesses publicly testify this week.
Nunes called stories about allegations of Trump colluding with Russia for assistance in the 2016 election and more recent stories about allegations he attempted to arrange a quid pro quo with Ukraine — American military aid for investigations that would benefit Trump — "preposterous" and labeled the press "puppets" for the Democratic Party.
"If you watched the impeachment hearings last week you may have noticed a disconnect between what you actually saw and the mainstream media accounts describing it," Nunes said in his opening statement before testimony got underway Tuesday. "You saw three diplomats who disliked President Trump's Ukraine policy discussing secondhand and thirdhand conversations about their objections with the Trump policy."
House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Rep. Devon Nunes, R-Calif., gives a opening statement before Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
"But what you read in the press were accounts of shocking, damning and explosive testimony that fully supports the Democrats accusations," Nunes continued.
Nunes went on to list several stories about alleged Russian collusion that were debunked before returning to his attacks on the press.
"With their biased misreporting on the Russia hoax, the media lost the confidence of millions of Americans, and because they refuse to acknowledge how badly they botched the story, they've learned no lessons and simply expect Americans will believe them as they try to stoke yet another partisan frenzy," he said.
What the press and Democrats are ignoring, Nunes said, were "crucial questions" Republicans have pushed to have answered.
Nunes asked to what extent the whistleblower whose complaint triggered the impeachment inquiry coordinated with Democrats and Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and what the whistleblower's political beliefs are, among other things.
In contrast, Schiff gave a subdued opening statement rehashing the testimony of the first week's witnesses before giving committee members a directive for how to handle the day's hearings.
"If [Trump] sought to condition, coerce, extort or bribe an ally into conducting investigations to aid his reelection campaign and did so by withholding official acts — a White House meeting or hundreds of millions of dollars of military aid — it will be up to us to decide whether those acts are compatible with the office of the presidency," he said.
Tuesday’s sessions at the House Intelligence Committee started with Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, an Army officer at the National Security Council, and Jennifer Williams, an adviser with Vice President Pence’s office.
The witnesses, both foreign policy experts, previously said they listened with concern as Trump spoke on July 25 with the newly elected Ukraine president. The government whistleblower’s complaint about that call led House Democrats to launch the impeachment inquiry.
Democrats allege that Trump withheld almost $400 million in military aid and a meeting in the Oval Office from Ukraine in hopes of leveraging Ukrainian President Voldomyr Zelensky to investigate Burisma Holdings and alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election. 2020 contender Joe Biden's son, Hunter, worked for Burisma despite having few qualifications pertaining to Ukraine or energy. The election interference theory has been largely discredited.
Republicans and Trump have used multiple lines of defense against the impeachment inquiry, arguing that Democrats are not affording Trump proper due process, that the aid was eventually delivered even without any investigations and that Democrats have been searching for an issue to impeach Trump on since he was elected. Specifically, Republicans have pointed out that the Ukraine whistleblower's lawyer openly called for a "coup" and impeachment around Trump's inauguration.
Nunes' statement Tuesday also touched on another GOP defense of Trump — that the president controls foreign policy and the diplomats testifying under subpoena in Democrats' impeachment hearings simply "disliked" his Ukraine policy.
Fox News' Gregg Re and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Fox News Flash top headlines for Nov. 14 are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., launched a petition this week calling for senior White House adviser Stephen Miller’s resignation, claiming that a recent report proves he is a “white nationalist” and the “architect” of what she described as President Trump’s “mass human rights abuses at the border.”
Fellow "Squad" member Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., previously criticized Miller’s influence on federal immigration policy when she called him a “white nationalist” on Twitter in April.
Critics of Omar pointed out that Miller is Jewish and condemned her remarks as anti-Semitic. The president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., also weighed in, calling Omar the “head of the Farrakhan Fan Club” and saying she “apparently has no shame.”
President Trump defended Miller by retweeting a quote attributed to media executive Jeff Ballabon, CEO of B2 Strategic.
“What’s completely unacceptable is for Congesswoman Omar to target Jews, in this case Stephen Miller," Ballabon reportedly said.
But Ocasio-Cortez claimed this week that a recent report from Southern Poverty Law Center proved Omar’s point. The report references purported leaked emails reviewed by Hatewatch, a branch of the liberal non-profit that says it is dedicated to monitoring America’s “radical right.”
“Stephen Miller, Trump’s architect of mass human rights abuses at the border (including child separation & detention camps w/ child fatalities) has been exposed as a bonafide white nationalist,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. “He’s still at the White House shaping US immigration policy. Miller must resign. Now.”
On Wednesday, she retweeted a link to her online petition calling for Miller’s resignation.
“Each day we allow a white nationalist to be in charge of US immigration policy is a day where thousands of children & families lives are in danger,” the New York Democrat said. “This year alone, under Miller’s direction, the US has put almost 70,000 children in custody.” She did not cite her source for that figure.
Hillary Clinton also retweeted the report.
The Southern Poverty Law Center report claimed Miller emailed Breitbart, a conservative news platform, more than 900 times between 2015 and 2016. The non-profit claims the emails showed Miller “promoted white nationalist literature, pushed racist immigration stories and obsessed over the loss of Confederate symbols” following the 2015 Charleston, S.C., church shooting. (The gunman in that attack was a white supremacist and killed nine African-Americans.)
It also claimed that Miller shared white nationalist websites, a “white genocide”-themed novel, xenophobic conspiracy theories and eugenics-era immigration laws that Adolf Hitler lauded in “Mein Kampf.” The report concludes the emails show that Miller used these ideologies to “as an architect” for Trump administration immigration policies, included the travel ban, zero-tolerance police, which resulted in the separation of children at the border, and undocumented immigrant arrest quotas.
Miller has been known for having a major influence over President Donald Trump’s immigration policy and was reportedly instrumental in the ousting of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
Fox News' Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.
Trump defends Ukraine call as Democrats ramp up efforts; reaction and analysis from the 'Special Report' All-Stars.
A Democratic lawmaker from New Jersey told Fox News on Wednesday that despite an impending vote on a House impeachment resolution, he doubts that formalizing the investigation into President Trump will do little more than result in a failed process.
“At the end of the day we’ll have the same president and same candidate and a failed impeachment process, and the only difference would be that the president will have been exonerated of charges," Van Drew said in a statement to Fox News.
House committees have held nearly a dozen depositions of witnesses who have testified behind closed doors about their knowledge of a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. It's been alleged, by an anonymous whistleblower, among others, that Trump sought to persuade the foreign leader to open an investigation into former vice president and 2020 candidate Joe Biden, his son Hunter and Biden business dealings in Ukraine in exchange for military aid to that nation.
Van Drew said that although he "feels concerned with many of the allegations related to the president," he doesn't think it's enough to warrant Trump's removal from office.
The House resolution marks an attempt by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to silence protests from Republicans who have criticized the impeachment inquiry, likening it to a sham because it has been conducted largely outside the view of the public.
The resolution would set parameters to formalize the impeachment proceedings and states that Democrats plan to hold public hearings in the future, will allow for staff questioning of witnesses going forward and will release transcripts of the already completed depositions that have been taken in the basement of the Capitol.
The vote will move to the House floor for consideration on Thursday and will likely pass the House on a party-line vote.
Van Drew told Fox News that he "believes as most others do as well, [Trump] will be charged but not convicted" by the Senate, and fears that the investigation will endanger vulnerable Democrats in the House come 2020.
"The presidential primary season is amongst us and we have a general election coming up within a year. Let the people decide and let’s get issues such as lowering prescription drug prices, infrastructure, access to healthcare, veterans’ benefits, and small business accomplished. Instead, this will only split the country further apart at the seams and create an even more toxic and partisan political environment that brings any progress to a halt.”