Bloomberg warns ‘Medicare-for-all’ would reelect Trump, pitches plan to build on ObamaCare

closeMichael Bloomberg, Joe Biden warn Democrats over UK election resultsVideo

Michael Bloomberg, Joe Biden warn Democrats over UK election results

Moderate Democratic presidential candidates sound the alarm over Conservative Party's landslide victory in U.K.'s general election.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg slammed his Democratic presidential primary rivals on Thursday for their “Medicare-for-all” proposals, claiming their plans are “more likely to reelect Donald Trump” than they are to bring health insurance to more Americans.

Bloomberg, who was speaking at a library in Memphis, Tenn., was announcing his own health care proposal when he tore into the “Medicare-for-all” plans being pushed by fellow candidates such as Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

“We don’t need Medicare-for-all proposals that are more likely to reelect Donald Trump than expand coverage,” Bloomberg said.


Bloomberg instead proposed a “Medicare-like public option” that would be administered by the federal government but paid for by customer premiums. The plan would first target uninsured, low-income residents in states that haven’t expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

The billionaire businessman also wants Medicare to include an optional policy covering dental, hearing and vision care, and to require all states to cover oral health services for adults in Medicaid, along with capping out-of-network charges at 200 percent of Medicare rates.

“My proposal will build on what works, President Obama’s Affordable Care Act [ACA],” Bloomberg said. “We'll make sure that people who like their private insurance can keep private insurance, while also providing coverage to the uninsured.”

Bloomberg on 2020 Democrats: Trump would eat them upVideo

Additionally, Bloomberg’s own proposal calls for lengthening the sign-up period for buying health insurance through the ACA, which has been shortened under President Trump from 90 days to 45 days. If elected president, he would defend ObamaCare as it faces a lawsuit brought by Texas and other states threatening to overturn the health care law, the candidate added.

“During his first two years in office, the number of uninsured people in America increased by two million,” Bloomberg said of President Trump. “Today thanks to Donald Trump, more Americans do not have insurance, more Americans have to decide between going to the doctors or putting food on the table.”


He added: “The president has never proposed a plan to cover the 20 million people who would lose coverage” by scrapping ObamaCare.

The former New York City mayor’s health care plan also would require all insurance plans to meet the standards set under the ACA such as covering maternal care and preexisting conditions.

2020 hopeful Michael Bloomberg slams Trump for immigration policiesVideo

To pay for the plan, Bloomberg said that the proposal would cost approximately $1.5 trillion over 10 years and would be offset by policies that lower costs, including capping provider payments, ending surprise medical bills, negotiating drug prices and reforming Part D. He said some of the funding would also come from the existing federal budget.

His campaign said that more details on how he plans to pay for the plan will be released in the coming weeks.

Bloomberg’s plan is similar to ones proposed by some of the more moderate Democratic presidential hopefuls such as former Vice President Joe Biden and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg.


Biden’s plan calls for expanding the ACA — the signature health care law created during then-President Barack Obama’s administration in which Biden served as vice president — along with pushing to add a “public option” that would allow people to select a government health insurance plan, while others could continue using their private insurance.

Majority of voters now support option to buy into MedicareVideo

“I understand the appeal to Medicare-for-All. But folks supporting it should be clear that it means getting rid of Obamacare. And I’m not for that,” Biden said over the summer. “I was very proud the day I stood there with Barack Obama and he signed that legislation.”

Buttigieg's health plan would offer a public option that includes automatic and retroactive enrollment for anyone without a private plan.

Original Article

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Original Article

After Trump’s 9th Circuit pick confirmed, Biden warns of 2nd term ‘death grip’ on federal courts: report

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While Democrats in Congress have been conducting impeachment hearings in recent weeks, President Trump has been filling judicial vacancies in the federal court system at a rapid clip – and that appears to have potential 2020 opponent Joe Biden worried.

“Look at how the federal court system is changing,” Biden told a group in Las Vegas on Tuesday night, according to a reporter for ABC News. “Four more years of the same kind of appointments, you’re going to see a court system that is fundamentally, for two generations, locked in a way that’s a death grip that does not make any sense.

“It’s as if Robert Bork would be the chief justice, God rest his soul,” Biden added, referring to the Ronald Reagan Supreme Court nominee whose appointment Democrats blocked in 1987. Bork died in 2012 at age 85.


In a 53-40 vote Tuesday, the U.S. Senate confirmed Trump appointee Patrick Bumatay, a San Diego federal prosecutor, to a seat on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, making him the 49th circuit appointee to be confirmed under the Trump administration, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Trump was able to get Bumatay confirmed to the San Francisco-based court despite opposition to the nomination from California’s two Democratic U.S. senators, Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris.

Bumatay, 41, a son of Filipino immigrants, is openly gay and is raising twin daughters with his husband, the newspaper reported.

The Senate is expected to vote on another 9th Circuit nominee — Lawrence Van Dyke, a former solicitor general for Nevada – on Wednesday, potentially giving Trump another appointee on the traditionally liberal-leaning court, the Union-Tribune reported.


When the Senate confirmed a Trump pick for the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in late November, that court became the third to shift to a Republican-appointed majority since the president took office in January 2017.

In an 80-15 vote, the Senate confirmed Barbara Lagoa to the 11th Circuit seat previously held by Judge Stanley Marcus, a Clinton appointee who sat on the appeals court that handles cases from Florida, Georgia and Alabama since 1997.

Trump administration secures another judicial victoryVideo

Lagoa, the first Cuban-American woman confirmed to the 11th Circuit, tilted that court, which was previously split between six Republican appointees and six Democratic appointees, to a GOP-appointed majority.

Trump's nominees alone now hold five of the 12 seats on the 11th Circuit.

During the previous week, confirmation of Steven Menashi, Trump’s pick for the 2nd Circuit, flipped that court to a Republican majority.


Trump has also flipped the 3rd Circuit.

Lagoa was Trump's 48th nominee confirmed to a circuit court seat, giving the president double the number of circuit judges then-President Barack Obama had gotten through by the same point in his presidency, according to a count by the Heritage Foundation.

Fox News’ Tyler Olson contributed to this story.

Original Article

Ethics Committee warns Rep. Duncan Hunter not to vote on House floor after corruption conviction

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Wife of Congressman Duncan Hunter takes plea deal, agrees to testify against her husband

Federal prosecutors accuse the Republican lawmaker and his wife of illegally spending more than $250,000 in campaign money on family vacations, school tuition, dental work and other personal things; Jonathan Hunt reports from Los Angeles.

The House Ethics Committee wrote a letter to California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter on Thursday notifying him that his guilty plea to campaign finance violations means that, under House rules, he may not vote on the House floor.

House Rule XXIII, Clause 10(a) bars members "convicted by a court of record for the commission of a crime for which a sentence of two or more years’ imprisonment" from "participation in the business of each committee of which such individual is a member, and a Member should refrain from voting on any question at a meeting of the House or of the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union."

The ban is lifted if "judicial or executive proceedings result[s] in reinstatement of the presumption of the innocence of such Member" or if the "Member is reelected to the House after the date of such conviction."


The Ethics committee said the rule “was promulgated to preserve public confidence in the legislative process.” The panel noted that if Hunter violates the rule, “you risk subjecting yourself to action by this Committee, and by the House, in addition to any other disciplinary action that may be initiated in connection with your criminal conviction.”

Hunter did not vote on Thursday during the four roll call tallies taken on the House floor. He has already indicated he's on his way out of office, in a break for California's beleaguered GOP that increases the chances of the party keeping one of its few remaining House seats in the heavily Democratic state.

In this July 1, 2019, file photo, U.S. Rep. Duncan D. Hunter, R-Calif., leaves federal court after a hearing in San Diego. Hunter has indicated he's on his way out of office. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy, File)

In this July 1, 2019, file photo, U.S. Rep. Duncan D. Hunter, R-Calif., leaves federal court after a hearing in San Diego. Hunter has indicated he's on his way out of office. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy, File)

But Hunter's pending departure also comes with a measure of uncertainty. There is no clear Republican favorite to succeed him in the San Diego County district, setting the stage for several months of party infighting in a race that could turn on local political loyalties or the potential involvement of President Trump.

After months of professing his innocence, the 42-year-old Hunter pleaded guilty Tuesday to a single charge of conspiring with his wife to illegally use at least $150,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses. Among the improper spending were a birthday gathering for his young daughter at a posh hotel and a social outing with friends at a French bistro in Washington.

In announcing his plan to plead guilty, the former combat Marine talked about the need for a smooth transition in his district but didn't say when he will depart Congress, leaving unclear whether or not a special election will be scheduled to fill the vacancy.

Hunter is scheduled to be sentenced on March 17, two weeks after California's primary election.

Holding the 50th Congressional District, which has an 11-point Republican registration edge, will be critical if the party hopes to reclaim control of the House after losing it to Democrats in 2018.


Hunter had been actively running for reelection while under indictment. After his guilty plea, San Diego County Republican Chairman Tony Krvaric said the party “is not worried about losing this seat.”

The field of GOP contenders who earlier lined up to challenge Hunter includes Carl DeMaio, a former San Diego city councilman who now is a local political commentator and radio host; former Congressman Darrell Issa, who built a national reputation when he headed the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and was a foil to President Barack Obama; and state Sen. Brian Jones, who highlights that he's the only major Republican candidate who lives in the district east of San Diego.

California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter, center right, walks out of federal court Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019, in San Diego. Hunter gave up his year-long fight against federal corruption charges and pleaded guilty Tuesday to misusing his campaign funds, paving the way for the six-term Republican to step down. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter, center right, walks out of federal court Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019, in San Diego. Hunter gave up his year-long fight against federal corruption charges and pleaded guilty Tuesday to misusing his campaign funds, paving the way for the six-term Republican to step down. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar, a 30-year-old former Obama administration official who nearly defeated Hunter in 2018 after the congressman was indicted, is widely expected to be one of two candidates who emerges from the March primary for a November showdown.

Under California election rules, the top two vote-getters in the primary advance to the general election, regardless of party affiliation.

Part of the challenge for candidates will be introducing themselves to voters who have seen the Hunter name on the ballot for decades. Hunter has held the seat for 11 years after being elected to succeed his father, Duncan L. Hunter, who was in office nearly three decades before him.

"This is Trump country," said Thad Kousser, a political science professor at the University of California, San Diego. “The conventional wisdom is that only an indicted or convicted Duncan Hunter could lose this seat for Republicans, and now he won't have that chance.”

Kousser said Campa-Najjar's job has become tougher with Hunter's pending exit, noting that the Democrat exceeded expectations in 2018 and showed himself a skilled campaigner and fundraiser.


"It's too early to count him out," Kousser said.

Campa-Najjar said voters in the district don’t want “coastal elites and career politicians,” a reference to his GOP rivals. “I think it’s time we have a congressman who has integrity.”

Fox News' Chad Pergram and Andrew O'Reilly contributed to this report, as well as The Associated Press.

Original Article

Dem congressman warns removing Trump is ‘bad politics,’ predicts Nikki Haley as GOP nominee in 2020

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Next phase of impeachment inquiry set to begin during Trump's NATO visit

President Trump blasts Democrats for launching the next phase in their impeachment inquiry as he was scheduled to be overseas at a NATO meeting; reaction and analysis from the 'Special Report' All-Stars.

A Democratic congressman warned his colleagues on Monday that removing President Trump may be "bad politics" and predicted that Republicans would nominate former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley in 2020.

Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., was asked on "CNN Newsroom" about remarks he made last month in which he said: "It's probably not a good thing to get rid of him [Trump]" despite his strong belief that the president should be impeached and removed.

"I do think that it's the right thing to do to remove him from office. I believe he is an imminent danger to this country and to our democracy, but I was saying that the political consequences may not be very good for the Democrats," Yarmuth explained.

Yarmuth then made a bold prediction that the GOP would not proceed with Vice President Mike Pence as the presumptive nominee if the Senate did take the unlikely step of voting to remove Trump from office.


"If we remove him from office, I will guarantee you the Republican Party would not nominate Mike Pence to succeed him," Yarmuth continued. "They would nominate somebody like Nikki Haley who would be much more difficult for a Democrat to defeat.”


“I don’t think this is about politics and I don’t think we should consider politics," Yarmuth said. "I just think it could be bad politics.”

Haley has repeatedly denied speculation that she was eyeing Pence's slot as Trump's running mate in 2020.

Original Article

House GOP report says no evidence for Trump impeachment, warns of ‘dangerous precedent’

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Nunes: Nadler starting phase 2 of the Democrat impeachment 'circus'

Republican Rep. Devin Nunes speaks out on 'Justice' on the upcoming public impeachment hearings in the House Judiciary Committee.

House Republicans delivered a point-by-point rebuttal Monday to Democrats’ impeachment efforts, claiming in their own report that the evidence collected in the inquiry to date does not support the accusations leveled against President Trump — or rise to the level of removal from office.

“The evidence presented does not prove any of these Democrat allegations, and none of the Democrats’ witnesses testified to having evidence of bribery, extortion, or any high crime or misdemeanor,” Republicans said in a 123-page report, timed to be made public ahead of the majority Democrats’ impeachment report.


The dueling narratives are emerging following two weeks of House Intelligence Committee hearings, where witnesses detailed their own knowledge of efforts to pressure Ukraine to launch political probes as U.S. aid was withheld over the summer. The committee is set to vote on Democrats’ final report Tuesday – likely to be another party-line moment – before transmitting that document to the Judiciary Committee, which holds its first public hearing Wednesday.

House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes, R-Calif.; Oversight Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan, R-Ohio; and Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Michael McCaul, R-Texas, penned the minority report, which has been reviewed by Fox News. In it, they broadly defend the president’s actions in the face of accusations he withheld military aid and a White House meeting as leverage to pressure Ukraine to launch a probe involving the Bidens.

“The Democrats’ impeachment inquiry is not the organic outgrowth of serious misconduct; it is an orchestrated campaign to upend our political system,” the Republicans wrote.

They added: “This impeachment inquiry and the manner in which the Democrats are pursuing it sets a dangerous precedent.”

At the center of the impeachment inquiry, which began in September, is Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which he asked for an investigation into Joe Biden’s efforts to oust a prosecutor who had been looking into Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings, where son Hunter Biden served on the board. That call prompted a whistleblower complaint, and, in turn, the impeachment inquiry.

Media facing credibility crisis as Trump continues to prove pundits wrongVideo

The president’s request to Zelensky 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 has denied any wrongdoing, and Republicans have defended his position.

In their report, Republicans argued the evidence found throughout the impeachment inquiry “does not establish that President Trump pressured Ukraine” to investigate the Bidens “for the purpose of benefiting him in the 2020 election.”

Nunes, Jordan and McCaul argued that a July 25 call summary released by the White House “does not reflect any improper pressure of conditionality to pressure Ukraine to investigate” Joe Biden, noting that “President Zelensky has publicly and repeatedly said he felt no pressure to investigate” the president’s “political rival.”


Republicans specifically claimed that there was no evidence to support the accusation that Trump withheld a meeting with Zelensky to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens for his 2020 re-election benefit. They noted that the president “extended an invitation to the White House to President Zelensky on three occasions without conditions,” and that the two eventually met in the U.S. during the United Nations General Assembly in September “without any Ukrainian action to investigate” the Bidens.

Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, however, described the initial withholding of a Trump meeting as a clear “quid pro quo” in his testimony last month.

Sondland also testified that the linkage to the aid was as obvious as “two plus two equals four” – while acknowledging he never heard either condition from Trump himself.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and fellow Democrats argue the evidence of wrongdoing is overwhelming.

Rep. Jim Jordan: Impeachment inquiry is not good for our nationVideo

“The fact that Republicans may be derelict in their duty does not relieve us of our obligation to uphold and defend the Constitution,” Schiff tweeted last week.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., also ripped Trump for not fully cooperating with Congress.

"If the President thinks the call was 'perfect' and there is nothing to hide then he would turn over the thousands of pages of documents requested by Congress, allow witnesses to testify instead of blocking testimony with baseless privilege claims, and provide any exculpatory information that refutes the overwhelming evidence of his abuse of power," he said in a statement.

Democrats have argued that the aid was only delivered because the administration got caught withholding it.

Still, Republicans have repeatedly pointed to the fact that the Ukrainians eventually got the aid – and a meeting – to counter any bribery accusations. Nunes, Jordan and McCaul wrote that the evidence “does not establish” that Trump withheld military aid to extract a probe regarding the Bidens, noting that the president “has been skeptical about U.S. taxpayer-funded foreign assistance,” and has been “clear and consistent” in his view that Europe should “pay its fair share for regional defense.”

“Although security assistance to Ukraine was paused in July 2019, several witnesses testified that U.S. security assistance was not linked to any Ukrainian action on investigations,” they wrote, adding that “the security assistance was ultimately disbursed to Ukraine in September 2019 without any Ukrainian action to investigate the President’s political rival.”

The GOP report also defended Trump’s decision to remove then-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch from her post, noting he had the “constitutional authority” to do so. And the report defended Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, stating he “did not violate the law or harm national security.”

Meanwhile, Nunes, Jordan and McCaul went on to defend the president’s interest in Hunter Biden’s role, saying that “there are legitimate concerns” surrounding his position on the board during Joe Biden’s role in leading Ukraine policy during the Obama administration. They also said Trump’s concerns are “valid,” and recalled previous witness testimony revealing that “the Obama State Department noted concerns about Hunter Biden’s relationship with Burisma in 2015 and 2016.”


As for Democrats’ allegations of an attempted “cover-up” and obstruction by the president – allegations that could relate to potential articles of impeachment — Nunes, Jordan and McCaul noted that Trump “declassified and released publicly” the summary of his July 25 phone call with Zelensky and released a redacted version of the whistleblower complaint.

Democrats, they charged, “have engaged in an abusive process toward a pre-determined outcome.”

“The impeachment of a president is one of the gravest and most solemn duties of the House of Representatives,” they wrote. “For Democrats, impeachment is a tool for settling political scores and re-litigating election results with which they disagreed.”

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.


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.


“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

Bloomberg warns that Trump is positioned to win reelection, in first presidential campaign appearance

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Bloomberg News says it will not investigate Michael Bloomberg's family or foundation

Will extend policy to 2020 Democrats; reaction from Fox News media analyst Howard Kurtz, host of 'Media Buzz.'

At his first public appearance since announcing his presidential run, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters Monday that President Trump has an even better chance of being reelected now than he did before.

The 77-year-old billionaire added that he “looked in the mirror and said, ‘I just cannot let this happen.’"

Calling himself a problem-solver who can rebuild America and beat the “existential threat" posed by the president, Bloomberg was chatting with people at a diner in Norfolk, Va. The state is part of his strategy of focusing on states with primaries on Super Tuesday.

Bloomberg's remarks echoed those of his campaign manager, Kevin Sheeky, earlier in the day. "Right now, Donald Trump is winning," Sheekey said. "It’s very tough for people who don’t live in New York or California to understand that, but that is what’s happening."

Polls have shown that independents are souring on the idea of impeaching and removing Trump from office, including in critical battleground states like Wisconsin, even after House Democrats aggressively presented their case over the past two weeks.

The centrist Bloomberg is joining an already-crowded group of Democrats, who wasted no time in unloading on the former Big Apple mayor. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, for example, said voters don't want "another wealthy person" in the White House. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders slammed Bloomberg's $30 million advertising buy, saying he was “disgusted by the idea that Michael Bloomberg or any other billionaire thinks they can circumvent the political process and spend tens of millions of dollars to buy our elections."

Sanders, for his part, has already committed to spending $30 million on his own advertising, although the money was raised from supporters.

Democratic Presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg talks with patrons at the D'egg Diner during his campaign stop in Norfolk, Va., Monday, Nov. 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Bill Tiernan)

Democratic Presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg talks with patrons at the D'egg Diner during his campaign stop in Norfolk, Va., Monday, Nov. 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Bill Tiernan)

As for Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, on Monday she spoke at a community meeting in Ankeny, Iowa: "Michael Bloomberg is making a bet about democracy in 2020. He doesn't need people, he only needs bags and bags of money. I think Michael Bloomberg is wrong and that's what we need to prove in this election."

Bloomberg said his campaign would focus on issues including gun control, the environment and education. But already, his campaign has been shrouded in ethics concerns and dogged by his past policies. For example, the news service that bears Bloomberg's name said Sunday it will not “investigate” him or any of his Democratic rivals, and Bloomberg Opinion will no longer run unsigned editorials.

Bloomberg News' announcement led the organization’s former Washington bureau chief to blast the decision as “staggering” and “not journalism.”

And last month, during remarks where he looked to the future before a majority-black church in Brooklyn, Bloomberg suddenly apologized for his unprecedented “stop and frisk” policy that sowed distrust of police in black and Latino communities during his administration.

That policy, which was later repealed, allowed police to stop individuals on the street and briefly question and frisk them if they had reasonable suspicion that the person may be committing, had committed or is about to commit a crime. During his speech, Bloomberg recognized that the policy, which has been credited for cutting down on violent crime, led to “far too many innocent people” being stopped, many of them black or Latino.

“Over time I’ve come to understand something that I’ve long struggled to admit to myself,” Bloomberg told congregants at the Christian Cultural Center in the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn. “I got something important wrong. I got something important really wrong. … The erosion of that trust bothered me. And I want to earn it back."

But, the city's top police union hit back within hours, while commentators noted that Bloomberg had defended "stop and frisk" even after a judge ruled it was unconstitutional as enforced in 2013. ("This is a dangerous decision made by a judge who I think does not understand how policing works and what is compliant with the U.S. Constitution as determined by the Supreme Court,” Bloomberg told the media at the time. “I worry for my kids, and I worry for your kids. I worry for you and I worry for me. Crime can come back any time the criminals think they can get away with things. We just cannot let that happen.”)

“Mayor Bloomberg could have saved himself this apology if he had just listened to the police officers on the street," Police Benevolent Association President Patrick J. Lynch said.


"We said in the early 2000s that the quota-driven emphasis on street stops was polluting the relationship between cops and our communities," Lynch continued. "His administration’s misguided policy inspired an anti-police movement that has made cops the target of hatred and violence, and stripped away many of the tools we had used to keep New Yorkers safe. The apology is too little, too late."

Fox News' Brian Flood and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

MSNBC contributor warns about liberal candidates, says ‘sociopath’ beats a ‘socialist’

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Republican strategist and MSNBC commentator Steve Schmidt Wednesday evening warned that Democratic presidential candidates that lean to the extreme left may not be able to beat President Trump in 2020.

“I do think there is a danger when you look at some of the ideology that we’ve seen front and center in this field,” Schmidt said during the network’s coverage before the Democratic presidential debate in Atlanta. “In America, a sociopath will beat a socialist seven days a week and twice on Sunday.”


MSNBC contributor Steve Schmidt

MSNBC contributor Steve Schmidt (MSNBC)

He said to win the presidency a nominee would need to "assemble the broadest, widest possible political coalition" with Democrats, Independents and Republicans.

Schmidt added that impeachment followed by acquittal in the Senate was likely, meaning voters would decide Trump's fate.

“Nobody should underestimate Donald Trump’s ability to frame an argument, to demagogue an opponent,” he said.

He said if Trump is re-elected in 2020 he would be a "completely lawless and unchecked president who would know that he would be able to survive basically any level of wrongdoing."


Schmidt added that he thinks 2020 will be one of the most “consequential” elections in decades, Mediaite reported.

Original Article

Sanders warns ‘we will lose this election’ if Dems focus solely on Trump

closeNew poll finds Joe Biden leading in New Hampshire, Bernie Sanders has most enthusiastic baseVideo

New poll finds Joe Biden leading in New Hampshire, Bernie Sanders has most enthusiastic base

Jose Aristimuno, former DNC deputy press secretary, breaks down what the new Quinnipiac poll in New Hampshire say about the state of the Democratic presidential race.

ATLANTA — In the opening minutes of Wednesday night's Democratic presidential primary debate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., issued a warning to his party: Focus too much on President Trump and you'll lose the White House again in 2020.

Sanders was quick to criticize the president using harsh language, but made it clear that there are other important issues that require attention.


"We can deal with Trump’s corruption but we also have to stand up for the working families of this country," Sanders said. The Democratic socialist also pointed to climate change, health care and the outside influence of money in politics as examples of issues that deserve attention.


Sanders did initially join other candidates who kicked off the debate by lambasting Trump, calling him a "pathological liar" and "likely the most corrupt president in the modern history of America," but the senator, making his second run for the presidency, made sure to add that his attention is primarily on the issues.

Original Article

Pelosi warns Trump not to intimidate whistleblower: ‘You’re in my wheelhouse’

closeSchiff accuses Trump of witness intimidationVideo

Schiff accuses Trump of witness intimidation

President Trump tweeted about the ex-ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, during her testimony on Friday; Jon Decker reports from the White House.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., gave strict orders to President Trump not to “intimidate” the whistleblower who sparked the House impeachment inquiry into the president – telling Trump that he was in her “wheelhouse” if he attempted to go after the anonymous source.

"I will make sure he does not intimidate the whistleblower," Pelosi said during an interview on CBS' "Face The Nation.” "I told the president you're in my wheelhouse when you come after the whistleblower."

Pelosi’s words come as the House Intelligence Committee is in the midst of public hearings with officials about Trump’s now infamous July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky where he asked him to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, over their business dealings in the eastern European nation.


Democrats argue that there is evidence of “quid pro quo” during the phone call and that Trump made the release of military aid to Ukraine contingent on Kiev investigating Biden – one of the president’s main 2020 political challengers – and his son. Hunter Biden was on the board of Ukrainian natural gas firm, Burisma Holdings, which in 2015 was subject to an investigation by Ukrainian officials.

The whistleblower complaint, which concerned the purported “quid pro quo” Trump laid out in the phone call, sparked the impeachment inquiry and the president has since been highly critical of the unnamed person – questioning the whistleblower’s credibility and asking for the disclosure of the person’s name.

President Trump calls out 'fake whistleblower'Video

Earlier this month, Trump also called on the media to find out and disseminate the name of the whistleblower – prompting the person’s lawyers to send a cease-and-desist letter to the White House.

Pelosi said it was of utmost importance to protect the whistleblower’s identity given Trump’s attacks.

"This is really important, especially when it comes to intelligence, that someone who would be courageous enough to point out truth to power and then through the filter of a Trump-appointed inspector general who found it of urgent concern and then took it to the next steps," she said.

Pelosi added that if Trump wanted to present his case, he should come before House lawmakers.

"The president could come right before the committee and talk, speak all the truth that he wants if he wants. He has every opportunity to present his case."

Schiff claims he does not know identity of whistleblowerVideo

Pelosi’s comments also come just days after Trump was accused by critics of intimidating former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch during her testimony on Friday when he sent out a disparaging tweet.

“Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go?” Trump tweeted.

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


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

“It’s very intimidating,” Yovanovitch answered.


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

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

Fox News’ Brie Stimson contributed to this report.

Original Article

Obama takes veiled shot at Warren and Sanders, warns 2020 Dems Americans don’t want to ‘tear down the system’

closeObama lays into 'politically woke' call-out cultureVideo

Obama lays into 'politically woke' call-out culture

Former President Barack Obama offers words of wisdom to activists and candidates; Peter Doocy reports from Concord, New Hampshire.

Former President Barack Obama on Friday warned 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls to pay attention to what voters actually think — warning that most of them don’t want to “tear down the system.”

“The average American doesn't think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it. And I think it's important for us not to lose sight of that,” Obama said.


“There are a lot of persuadable voters and there are a lot of Democrats out there who just want to see things make sense. They just don't want to see crazy stuff," he said. "They want to see things a little more fair, they want to see things a little more just. And how we approach that I think will be important.”

The two-term Democratic president made the remarks at a gathering of the Democracy Alliance, a group of wealthy Democratic donors. He was interviewed by Stacey Abrams, who lost Georgia’s gubernatorial race last year.

Obama has largely stayed on the sidelines on the 2020 Democratic primary, and has not yet backed a candidate — even as former Vice President Joe Biden has invoked his name on numerous occasions. But Obama has made remarks indicating he is nervous about the drift to the extreme left on a number of issues by parts of the Democratic Party.

On Friday, he did not mention any candidates by name, but did cite immigration and health care reform as examples of where Democrats may be out of sync with the broader electorate.

Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who have both released plans on immigration and “Medicare-for-all” respectively in recent weeks. Warren’s government-led overhaul of the health care system would eventually abolish private insurance and cost $52 trillion, while Sanders’ immigration plan includes radical policies including welfare for illegal immigrants and a moratorium on all deportations.


Bernie Sanders vows to dismantle Trump's immigration agenda if electedVideo

“Even as we push the envelope and we are bold in our vision, we also have to be rooted in reality and the fact that voters, including the Democratic voters and certainly persuadable independents or even moderate Republicans, are not driven by the same views that are reflected on certain, you know, left-leaning Twitter feeds,” Obama said.

The comment about Twitter feeds echoes remarks he made last month, when the former president took a swipe at “woke” virtue signalling and cancel culture, telling a Chicago audience to “get over” their obsessions with ideological purity tests.


“This idea of purity and you're never compromised and you're always politically woke, and all that stuff, you should get over that quickly," Obama said. “The world is messy. There are ambiguities. People who do really good stuff have flaws. People who you are fighting may love their kids, and share certain things with you.”

Fox News' Ronn Blitzer and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

House Ethics Committee warns lawmakers about access to secure areas after GOP members’ intrusion

closePentagon official's impeachment inquiry deposition delayed as House Republicans refuse to leave secure facilityVideo

Pentagon official's impeachment inquiry deposition delayed as House Republicans refuse to leave secure facility

Lawmakers were set to question Laura Cooper, the Pentagon official who oversees U.S. policy on Ukraine; Chad Pergram reports from Capitol Hill.

The House Ethics Committee has sent a memo to members of Congress and their staffers about how to conduct themselves in secure areas, weeks after around two dozen Republican lawmakers barged into a closed-door deposition in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

The memo, signed by Ethics Committee Chairman Ted Deutch, D-Fla., and Ranking Member Kenny Marchant, R-Texas, reminds members that they are given access to classified rooms "on a 'need to know' basis" and warns that "breaches of security protocols or unauthorized disclosures could result in the decertification of these facilities[, which would] significantly impair the House's ability to conduct its business."

"Inadvertent breaches of security protocols or unauthorized disclosures may be handled as a matter of security by the committees of jurisdiction over the relevant classified information or controlled areas," the memo continued. "However, attempts to gain unauthorized access to classified areas or purposeful breaches of basic security protocols may cause classified information to be improperly disclosed, and may reflect discreditably on the House as a legislative body."

On Oct. 23, about 30 House Republicans, led by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., flooded the secure room where Laura Cooper, who oversees Ukraine policy at the Department of Defense, was set to testify. Because there was no agreement that non-members of the Intelligence, Oversight or Foreign Affairs Committees could be present, Cooper's deposition was delayed for approximately hours after Intelligence committee chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., suspended the proceedings.

Some of the Republican members brought in phones and other electronic devices into the secure area, despite agreeing to an oath that they would not do so. Members of the House GOP had repeatedly accused Democrats of a lack of transparency in the early stages of the inquiry.


In Friday's memo, Deutch and Marchat reminded members that "portable electronic devices [PEDs] should generally not be taken into any controlled area. PEDs include, but are not limited to, cell phones, laptops, smartwatches, tablets, or any other devices capable of transmitting or receiving an electronic signal."

The Republicans eventually left the secure room and Cooper completed her deposition.

Following the incident, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., sent a letter to House Sergeant at Arms Irving, raising “serious concerns” about the security of SCIF’s. He asked Irving to “take action with respect to the Members involved in the breach.”

Original Article

Deval Patrick swipes at Biden after joining 2020 race, warns his campaign ‘misses the moment’

closeDeval Patrick in race to make Democrat debate stage in DecemberVideo

Deval Patrick in race to make Democrat debate stage in December

Newly-announced 2020 candidate Deval Patrick needs 200,000 individual donors and at least four percent support in the polls to make the Democrat debate stage in December; Peter Doocy reports.

CONCORD, N.H. — Moments after filing to place his name on New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary ballot on Thursday, newly declared candidate Deval Patrick took aim at two front-runners in the race for the Democratic nomination.

Patrick, the former two-term governor of neighboring Massachusetts, said that he’s “a big, big fan of Joe Biden.”

But he noted that the former vice president’s “deep, deep, public empathy doesn’t always come through in this campaign.”


And he took another dig at Biden’s emphasis on ousting President Trump and returning to the normalcy of his eight years as President Barack Obama’s vice president.

"The instinct that his campaign seems to have to say, to project in effect ‘if we just get rid, if you will, of the incumbent, we can just go back to doing what we used to do,’ misses the moment," Patrick argued.

The late entry into the race by Patrick could present a threat to the former vice president. It appears Patrick will run a center-left campaign, fighting for the same voters that Biden and South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg have been successfully courting. And he could give Biden a fight in the former vice president’s early voting state stronghold of South Carolina, where black voters make up a majority of the Democratic primary electorate.

Patrick could also pose problems for fellow Bay Stater Elizabeth Warren. The senator from Massachusetts is now a co-front-runner in the polls alongside Biden, with Buttigieg and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., also part of the top tier of candidates in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

"I want to acknowledge my friendship and my enormous respect, in particular with Senator Warren," Patrick told Fox News. "I talked to her last night and I think it was a kind of hard conversation for both of us frankly.”

Asked about the government-run programs that Warren and Sanders are proposing, such as "Medicare-for-all," Patrick praised both of the populist Democratic standard-bearers but added: “I think that if we want solutions that last, they can’t be solutions that feel to the voting public as if they are just Democratic solutions.”

Despite his criticisms of Warren and Biden, Patrick insisted he didn’t want to play the role of a political pundit and emphasized: “Let me be clear about a ground rule for me going forward. I am not trying to climb up by trying to pull anyone else down.”

Patrick also told reporters that he wouldn’t object to an outside group – such as a super PAC that can accept unlimited contributions – assisting his campaign.

“It would be hard for me to see how we put all the resources together for an effective campaign without a PAC of some kind,” he said. “I wish it weren’t so. I wish campaigns weren’t as expensive and I wish that the influence of money that we’ve seen in Washington wasn’t as great as it is.”

Biden has been criticized by many of his rivals for not speaking out against a newly formed super PAC that’s hoping to raise millions of dollars on behalf of the former vice president’s White House bid.

Newly announced Democratic presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick speaks with New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner as he files to place his name on the first-in-the-nation presidential primary ballot, in Concord, NH on Nov. 14, 2019

Newly announced Democratic presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick speaks with New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner as he files to place his name on the first-in-the-nation presidential primary ballot, in Concord, NH on Nov. 14, 2019

Patrick acknowledged that joining the race late – Iowa kicks off the nominating calendar on Feb. 3, followed eight days later by New Hampshire – presents high hurdles.

“It’s a big and talented field," he said. "It’s hard to break through not just because it’s this stage in the elections, in the campaigns, but it’s hard to break through without being a celebrity or sensational and I’m neither of those things.”


But he highlighted that “voters all across the country in some cases are just tuning in and in many cases haven’t made their decisions.”

And Patrick – a long-shot who went on to win the Massachusetts governorship in the 2006 election – emphasized that “I understand what we have to do but you know what, I’ve lived a political life and I would say as a black man, a whole life dealing with skepticism.”

Original Article

CBP chief warns Mexican ‘super labs’ flooding US with meth, as seizures nearly double

closeMark Morgan: Mexico is doing exactly what they promised to stop migrant caravansVideo

Mark Morgan: Mexico is doing exactly what they promised to stop migrant caravans

Acting Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection Mark Morgan has an update on the Trump administration's efforts to reduce border apprehensions.

The acting head of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) warned Thursday that “super labs” in Mexico are flooding the U.S. with purer, cheaper forms of methamphetamine — and that seizures of the deadly drug were up 90 percent last month compared with the same time last year.

Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan sounded the alarm while talking to reporters about the October border numbers, which showed that while apprehensions of migrants at the border continue to drop, the agency still faces a crisis — particularly when it comes to narcotics.


CBP apprehended over 42,000 migrants at the southern border in October, a 14 percent drop since September and 70 percent from the 144,000 apprehended in May. Morgan hailed the results as a success for the administration’s approach to the border crisis, despite what he said was a congressional failure to act.

“As we’ve had to navigate unprecedented judicial activism from lower courts and congressional inaction…the numbers show this administration has and continues to take bold action to address this crisis, and the numbers show it’s working,” he said.

But Morgan said there is still a national security and humanitarian crisis at the border, and pointed specifically to deadly narcotics such as cocaine, fentanyl, heroin and meth still flowing across the border.

“Methamphetamine has seen a resurgence in this country,” he said. “Super labs in Mexico are taking over production and flooding the United States with cheaper and purer forms of meth.”

He offered grim statistics: In October, CBP seized over 9,700 pounds of meth, up over 90 percent from the same time last year. CBP also seized 284 pounds of fentanyl, an 84 percent increase over this time last year.

Morgan said that cartels and smuggling organizations are able to exploit not only the immigration system, but enforcement gaps as agents are pulled off the front line to deal with the humanitarian crisis. He also warned that the crisis affects every town and state in America, even those far away from the border.


Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan slams judicial activism after federal judge rules against border emergencyVideo

“Make no mistake, if your city, town or state has a meth problem, it came from the southwest border,” he said, before noting that the numbers show only what was seized, not what was actually getting through into American towns and cities.

Cooperation between Mexico and the U.S. has intensified this year, particularly over the summer in the form of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), by which migrants are returned to Mexico to await their asylum hearings.


Critics say the policy is inhumane and puts migrants in danger. But the administration argues it allows asylum claims to be processed quicker and reduces the pull factors which encourage migrants to make the dangerous journey north. It’s one example of regional cooperation with countries including El Salvador and Guatemala that officials say is stopping the migrant flows.

Morgan says those agreements are part of a broader administration strategy that has ended “catch-and-release,” the practice whereby migrants are apprehended and then released into the U.S.

"Migrants can no longer expect to be allowed into the interior of the United States based on fraudulent asylum claims," he said.

Original Article

Schiff sets stage for impeachment hearings, warns GOP about going after Bidens

closeAdam Schiff tries to stop Republicans from calling their witnessesVideo

Adam Schiff tries to stop Republicans from calling their witnesses

Democratic strategist Kevin Chavous and Republican strategist Lauren Claffey debate House Democrats' handling of the impeachment investigation.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff set the stage for the first public hearings as part of the impeachment inquiry by vowing to keep questions at Wednesday's lead-off session focused on the Ukraine controversy — in an implicit shot at Republican members who have signaled an interest in turning the tables on Democrats as they defend President Trump.

"It is important to underscore that the House’s impeachment inquiry, and the Committee, will not serve as venues for any Member to further the same sham investigations into the Bidens or into debunked conspiracies about 2016 U.S. election interference that President Trump pressed Ukraine to undertake for his personal political benefit," Schiff, D-Calif., wrote as part of a memo and letter to colleagues on procedures for the open hearings.


Notably, he cited rules for the investigation that would keep it focused on alleged attempts by the president to seek politically advantageous investigations from a foreign government, and whether he sought to cover it up.

The first hearings in the public phase of the impeachment inquiry will feature testimony from State Department official George Kent and top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine Bill Taylor on Wednesday. Later this week, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovich will appear.

“The House’s inquiry into whether grounds exist for President Trump’s impeachment has been, and will continue to be, a sober and rigorous undertaking,” Schiff wrote to both Democrat and Republican members of the committee, vowing that the public hearings will adhere to House rules governing the impeachment process and that participants will be “treated fairly and with respect, mindful of the solemn and historic task before us.”

Schiff outlined some of the rules, including that members not assigned to the Intelligence Committee are not permitted to make statements or question witnesses, but are allowed to sit in the audience; there will be “equal time” for himself and Ranking Member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., to make opening statements; and there will be five-minute questioning segments for both parties.

Swamp Watch: Burisma and the Biden'sVideo

The formal rules approved by the House last month also gave Republicans the ability to subpoena witnesses — they sent over an extensive list of requested witnesses over the weekend.

But the Democratic majority has the final say. And while Schiff said they are reviewing the Republicans' list, his statements Tuesday signaled he would not be inclined to entertain witnesses or questioning that would shift focus to anything other than the allegations against Trump.


Republicans, though, have shown an interest in digging deeper into allegations against the Bidens, which is what prompted Trump's request to Ukraine in the first place — eventually triggering the impeachment probe.

In Trump's now-famous July phone call, he pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch investigations concerning Hunter Biden's role on a Ukrainian natural gas firm's board and Joe Biden's role ousting a prosecutor looking into that firm. This prompted a whistleblower complaint and, in turn, the impeachment inquiry in the House. The president’s request came after millions in U.S. military aid to Ukraine had been frozen, which Democrats and some witnesses have cited as a quid pro quo arrangement.

Over the weekend, Nunes, House Oversight Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Michael McCaul, R-Texas, listed Hunter Biden as one of numerous witnesses they'd like to call for hearings. They also sought former Democratic National Committee consultant Alexandra Chalupa in connection to allegations of Ukraine election meddling.

In his memo, Schiff stated that the committee is “evaluating the Minority’s requested witnesses and will give due consideration to witnesses within the scope of the impeachment inquiry.”

Schiff said that the parameters of the investigation include questions about whether Trump pressured Zelensky to investigate the Biden family’s business dealings in Ukraine for “personal political interests;” whether Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine to advance his own interests; and whether he and/or his administration sought to “obstruct, suppress or cover up information to conceal from the Congress and the American people.”

Schiff has already denied the Republicans’ proposal to have the whistleblower appear as a witness.

Nunes: GOP needs to be allowed witnesses in impeachment hearingsVideo

Meanwhile, on Monday, top Republicans on impeachment-related committees sent their own memo to fellow Republican members outlining their strategy.

Republicans said that the president had a “deep-seated, genuine and reasonable skepticism of Ukraine and U.S. taxpayer-funded foreign aid" due to the country's history of "pervasive corruption,” while claiming that Ukrainian government officials meddled in the 2016 presidential election in opposition to Trump.

Original Article

ICE warns illegal immigrants facing murder, child sex offense charges could be released in North Carolina sanctuary cities

closeICE says Los Angeles' sanctuary city policy releases 100 criminals a dayVideo

ICE says Los Angeles' sanctuary city policy releases 100 criminals a day

Former ICE acting director and Fox News contributor Tom Homan sounds off on officials putting politics over safety.

Illegal immigrants facing charges for murder, child sex offenses, rape, drug trafficking and robbery could be released onto the streets across North Carolina due to "sanctuary" policies that shield undocumented criminals from deportation, federal authorities are warning.

The notice comes from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which is stepping up its public campaign against sanctuary policies, under which cities and counties refuse to cooperate with ICE detainers. Those detainers are requests for local jurisdictions to notify ICE to an illegal immigrant's release, and then hold onto them until authorities can take them into custody and deport them.


"[W]hen local jurisdictions refuse to cooperate with federal law enforcement, they not only betray their duty to protect public safety, but force ICE to be more visible in those areas," the agency said in a statement, asking the jurisdictions to "transfer these individuals to federal custody instead of releasing them to the community where they may reoffend."

ICE has released images of those facing charges and who could eventually be released into North Carolina communities due to sanctuary policies. (

ICE has released images of those facing charges and who could eventually be released into North Carolina communities due to sanctuary policies. (

ICE last year deported more than 145,000 criminal illegal immigrants, and the agency says that about 70 percent of arrests it conducts occur via a detainer from a local or state jail or prison.

But amid calls for ICE to be abolished entirely — even among lawmakers and 2020 presidential hopefuls — some cities have pushed anew for sanctuary policies. Activists claim that sanctuary policies protect the human rights of immigrants and encourage immigrant communities to report crimes and cooperate with police.

The consequences, ICE counters, can be dire. The agency is now drawing attention not only to those released already, but those who eventually could be released if sanctuary cities don't comply with ICE detainers.

The latest list includes those who could eventually be roaming the streets in places like Wake County and Mecklenburg County, N.C.

Not everyone on the roster has served their sentence or even been convicted at this stage — meaning some may not be released for years or, in the most serious cases, ever. But ICE officials stress that sanctuary policies mean that whenever they do finish their sentence, those with convictions are likely to be released under sanctuary policies without ICE getting so much as a phone call. In blaring bold-faced letters above each defendant's mugshot, is a warning from ICE: "MAY BE RELEASED INTO YOUR COMMUNITY."

The list of names, along with the charges they face, includes:

  • Efren Ernesto Caballero — Murder
  • Adrian Alvarez Portugez — Murder
  • Jose Brayan Guzman — Murder
  • Kirk Walter Nunez-Serraios — 1st degree rape of a child; indecent liberties with a child
  • Miguel Angel Tapia Martinez — Indecent liberties with a child; attempted 2nd-degree forcible rape; 2nd-degree forcible rape
  • Alan Miguel Ruiz — Attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon; breaking and entering; larceny; possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Angel Vagas Ventura — Drug trafficking; resisting arrest; possession of drug paraphernalia; possession of methamphetamine
  • Adrian Alvarez Portugez — Indecent liberties with a child; sexual battery; statutory sex offense by an adult

Among those who already have arrests and convictions for serious crimes include:

  • Alejandro Gomez Cervantes — Five counts of indecent liberties with a child; three counts of statutory sex offense with a child by adult; statutory rape of a child by adult.
  • Francisco Javier Diaz Rodriguez — three counts of indecent liberties with a child; two counts of sexual act by sub/parent custodian; two counts of statutory sex offense with a child by adult.

Acting ICE Director Matthew Albence, who has been outspoken in highlighting the dangers of sanctuary cities, said in a statement that lawmakers should put public safety above political agendas. He also repeated warnings from law enforcement that, if jails did not cooperate with ICE, it means they have to go into cities and towns to track down those who have been released.

“Uncooperative jurisdictions such as Wake County should be on notice that as long as criminal offenders are being released, they should get used to seeing a lot more ICE at-large enforcement activity in their communities,” he said.


Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., has introduced legislation to clarify DHS's detainer authority "so sheriffs can no longer make up excuses" when they refuse to honor requests.

“We cannot and will not stand by and let these criminals walk our streets and put our communities in danger," he said in a statement.

An ICE spokesman told Fox News on Wednesday that the agency was planning on highlighting similar cases in other sanctuary jurisdictions across the country. The warning comes as the agency has held a number of briefings designed to highlight the danger of sanctuary policies. In one of those briefings, Albence stood alongside sheriffs including Texas Sheriff Bill Waybourn, who said that illegal immigrants were being held in his Tarrant County's jails for crimes including murder, sexual assault and driving while intoxicated.

"So if we have to turn them loose or they get released, they're coming back to your neighborhood and my neighborhood,” he said. “These drunks will run over your children and they will run over my children.”

The increasingly aggressive push by ICE is echoed by the White House. President Trump has attempted to defund sanctuary cities by executive order — a move that was blocked by a federal judge — and has threatened to send illegal immigrants straight to sanctuary cities.

"They're not too happy about it," he told supporters in Wisconsin in April. "That was my sick idea, I have to tell you."

ICE: Sanctuary cities like Chicago need to stop putting politics over public safetyVideo

Meanwhile, within the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli has been calling out Montgomery County, Md. Executive Mark Elrich for introducing sanctuary policies in July — after which there was a spate of sex crimes allegedly committed by illegal immigrants.

After Elrich lumped critics such as Cuccinelli in with “neo-Nazi sympathizers,” Cuccinelli challenged him to a televised debate.

“I’ll defend children and crime victims, Elrich can defend rapists and murders who shouldn’t even be in this country. What do you say, Mr. Chairman?” Cuccinelli tweeted

But this week, Elrich reportedly rolled back parts of the executive order and correctional officers have been ordered to give ICE agents clearance to "identified areas" of the jail to "ensure that transfers are conducted in a safe environment."

“I guess 9 sexual assaults in 9 weeks – many preventable – was enough,” Cuccinelli said in response to the news.

There have also been other signs that public discontent with sanctuary cities is growing. In the city of Tucson, Arizona, voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected a measure to make the city an official sanctuary city and impose even more measures on officers trying to enforce federal immigration law.

Fox News' Vandana Rambaran contributed to this report.

Original Article

Schumer warns Trump’s Syria move puts ‘homeland in danger’

closeGen. David Petraeus on President Trump's Syria strategyVideo

Gen. David Petraeus on President Trump's Syria strategy

Former CIA Director and retired U.S. Army General David Petraeus joins Martha MacCallum for an exclusive interview on 'The Story.'

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., warned that President Trump's decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria "puts Americans here in the homeland in danger," he said Tuesday.

This is one of the worst decisions in decades," Schumer said. "We here in New York understand this better than anyone.”

The Senate Minority Leader's comments come almost a week after the House approved a bipartisan resolution to oppose Trump's decision to withdraw nearly 1,000 armed forces from the northeast border of Syria, a move widely seen as an abandonment of Kurdish troops.


Schumer urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. last week to bring the House resolution to the Senate floor for debate and vote, but on Tuesday said that "while leader McConnell initially seemed interested in this, he now seems to be going down a different path."

Lawmakers worried that the removal of American troops from Syria would leave the U.S.-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) vulnerable to a Turkish invasion and a resurgence of the Islamic State.

Sen. Chuck Schumer slams US troop withdrawal from SyriaVideo

The Syrian Kurdish forces had been holding captive more than 10,000 ISIS members in the region, but they said they are being forced to abandon some of those positions to fight the Turkish invasion.

Vice President Pence successfully negotiated a ceasefire after meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Ankara Thursday, with the foreign nation agreeing to halt Turkey's shellings in Syria for five days to allow the Kurdish YPG forces to pull back from the roughly 20-mile safe zone on the Turkish-Syrian border.

The resolution, introduced by Reps. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., and Michael McCaul, R-Texas, calls upon the White House to put forward a plan for the “enduring defeat” of the Islamic State and demand that Turkey cease its military operations in Syria.

Sen. Jack Reed, D-RI, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee said the administration has "no plan" to deal with the rising tensions in Syria. "This is make it up as you go."

"The president should revoke the invitation to meet with Erdogan in November," Reed added, as the Turkish leader is expected to visit the White House in the coming weeks.


"We’ll be forced to send more troops when ISIS raises the black and white flag again," Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-IL, said. "I am tired of Trump wrapping himself in the flag in the morning and abandoning our troops by the afternoon."

Original Article

Biden campaign warns of cash shortfall, urges backers to ‘pick up the pace’: report says

closeBiden defends campaign funds as his cash on hand lags behind rivalsVideo

Biden defends campaign funds as his cash on hand lags behind rivals

Joe Biden has $8.98 million cash on hand compared to Sen. Bernie Sanders' $33.7 million.

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign sent a fundraising email this week, claiming it hasn't raised as much money as its competitors after spending more than expected in the third quarter, according to a report.

Third-quarter filings with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) show Biden has just $9 million in cash on hand, less than half of what both of his top competitors for the 2020 Democratic nomination — Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. — reported, according to The Hill.


“I hate to say it, but our opponents are way ahead of us when it comes to money in the bank,” a campaign fundraising email for Biden said. “If we don’t pick up the pace here, we might have to make budget cuts that could seriously hurt our momentum in this primary.”

Less cash on hand means the campaign will struggle to respond to “twists and turns of this race — and with Donald Trump constantly pushing his false smear campaign against Joe, that’s a HUGE problem,” the letter says.

The letter closes with an appeal, according to The Hill.

“We can’t afford to fall behind, so I’m asking you to step up now and make a donation to fuel our campaign."

Democratic operative Michael Ceraso said Biden's cash flow could dry up "as the primary enters the homestretch, which may prevent the VP from competing and challenging his opponents in Super Tuesday states and beyond."

Biden is spending money at a greater rate than the amount he raised, with a burn rate of 112 percent. Warren’s burn rate – the pace at which candidates are spending their campaign cash – was a much more modest 76 percent.

The 76-year-old former vice president started off as a solid frontrunner in the polls, but more recent surveys have shown Warren either catching up or surpassing him.


FEC filings show Warren has $25.7 million in cash on hand and Sanders has $33.7 million.

Fox News' Joshua Nelson contributed to this report.

Original Article

Trump warns Erdogan in letter: ‘Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool!’

closeTrump says he did not give Erdogan a green light to invade Syria, urges Lindsey Graham to focus on judiciaryVideo

Trump says he did not give Erdogan a green light to invade Syria, urges Lindsey Graham to focus on judiciary

President Trump holds joint news conference with Italian President Sergio Mattarella in the White House amid.

President Trump sent Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan an ominous letter last week after theirOct. 6 call, after which Trump controversially announced that the U.S. would withdraw all troops from northeast Syria ahead of a Turkish military operation in the region.

The Oct. 9 letter,obtained by Fox Business Network's Trish Regan on Wednesday after Trump referenced it during a press conference the same day, advised Erdogan not to be a "tough guy" or a "fool" when it comes to his country's fragile situation at the Syrian border.

Erdogan on Oct. 9 launched a Turkish military offensive into Syria, claiming it wanted to "neutralize terror threats" and establish a "safe zone." Turkish forces last Wednesday carried out airstrikes and later announced ground troops had invaded northeastern Syria. Nearly all U.S. troops there have been removed and will be redeployed in the region in the coming weeks.

The president has been criticized by some analysts and political observers who insist he gave Turkey the "green light" to invade Syria and fight the Kurds, U.S. allies in recent efforts to bring the Islamic State to heel. Trump has defended his actions to "bring our soldiers back home" and put a stop to the "crazy endless wars," saying the United States is "7,000 miles away."

"I didn't give them a green light," Trump said Wednesday, "and if anybody saw the letter, which can be released very easily if you'd like, I can certainly release it — but I wrote a letter right after that conversation, a very powerful letter, that was never giving a green light."

Turkey's military offensive "didn't surprise me at all," Trump told reporters. "They've been warring for many years — it's natural for them, they fight."

But "why are we protecting Syria's land?" Trump asked, adding that the war-torn country "doesn't want Turkey to take its land. But what does that have to do with the United States of America?"


In his letter to Erdogan, Trump said, "Let's work out a good deal!"

History "will look upon you forever as the devil if good things don't happen," the president wrote. "Don't be a tough guy. Don't be a fool!"

"You don't want to be responsible for slaughtering thousands of people, and I don't want to be responsible for destroying the Turkish economy — and I will," Trump said. "I've already given you a little sample with respect to Pastor Brunson."

Pastor Andrew Brunson was released one year ago from Turkey, where he was held as a political prisoner for more than two years. The Trump administration helped secure Brunson's release from captivity.


"I have worked hard to solve some of your problems," the president wrote. "Don't let the world down. You can make a great deal."

The president mentioned the letter during a press conference with Italian President Sergio Mattarella and stated he sent it to Erdogan, along with another letter from Gen. Mazloum Abdi, the Syrian Kurdish military leader who serves as commander of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

President Trump participates in a bilateral meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella Wednesday in the Oval Office. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead/Released)

President Trump participates in a bilateral meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella Wednesday in the Oval Office. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead/Released)

In his letter, Trump said Mazloum "is willing to negotiate with you, and he is willing to make concessions that they would never have made in the past."

"History will look upon you favorably if you get this done the right and humane way," the president said, later adding: "I will call you later."


Fox News' Jennifer Griffin, Lucas Tomlinson, Caleb Parke and Frank Miles contributed to this report.

Original Article