News Domestic and International

Pelosi in Brussels: A reminder of who’s in charge and it’s not Trump

Hot Air - Wed, 02/20/2019 - 19:41

Hey, guess who else went to the Munich Security Conference and then decided to announce to our European betters that President Trump is not the boss of her? Speaker Nancy Pelosi, that’s who. At least she waited until she landed in Brussels after the conference to make her grand statement, instead of doing it in Munich as Joe Biden did

As you can imagine, the European press got a lot of pleasure in Pelosi’s statements. She and her delegation stopped in Brussels to reassure the EU that she’s in charge now, with her Democrat majority in the House so she’s controlling the agenda. Case in point: a resolution passed in the House on a strong bipartisan vote that affirmed support for NATO. When questioned as to why such a resolution only now passed, Pelosi was quick to remind everyone that she is just now back to leading the House. It was a version of hey, I got here as quick as I could:

Pelosi said that one European colleague had asked why the House of Representatives had only recently adopted a resolution in support of NATO. She said that she explained it is because she and the Democrats had only retaken control of the majority at the start of the year.

“I said because we just got the majority and then we can control, we can manage what goes on to the floor,” Pelosi said. “But once the Republican colleagues had the opportunity to vote on this, H.R. 676 NATO Support Act — what was it? 357 to 22 Noes. I think that that sends a very clear message.”

Pelosi added, “I don’t think that there’s any difference between Democrats and Republicans on our relationship with NATO. This is not partisan in any way.”

Pelosi’s wingman, Rep. Gerry Connelly (D-VA), was happy to reaffirm Pelosi’s point that America is not a parliamentarian form of government. As he explained the equal branches of government, Pelosi leaned in to assert the House’s control of the purse.

“In terms of the question — is this a reassurance tour? I think it’s a reminder tour,” Connolly said, “that the United States government is not just one branch. And as the Speaker said, Article 1, the first Article in the constitution of the United States deals with the powers of the legislative branch not the executive branch and those powers include war and peace and even direction of the armed forces.”

Pelosi then leaned back toward the microphone to interject: “And the power of the purse.”

The Democrats and their base, the American media, continually claim that because of President Trump America is not exactly riding high in public opinion in foreign countries. Abandoning a long-time unwritten rule of decorum that no American elected official should travel outside of America and bad-mouth the sitting American president or his administration, neither Nancy Pelosi nor Joe Biden seem to mind planting seeds of uncertainty. This was a deliberate jab in the eye to President Trump.

Pelosi met with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, as well as EU President Jean-Claude Juncker. Pelosi’s bravado may have been a bit uncomfortable for Stoltenberg as he has been talking up the success of President Trump’s demands of NATO countries to pay their fair share and catch up on delinquent payments while making the connection with defense spending. Stoltenberg even repeated his praise at the Munich Security Conference. I wonder if Pelosi was present for that speech.

“I’m saying that his message has been very clear and that his message is having an impact on defense spending. And this is important because we need fairer burden sharing in the NATO alliance,” he told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday.

This trend isn’t good and can easily evolve into more Obama-style apology tours of Europe. Talk about an embarrassment.

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BYE FELICIA: Pompeo Says ISIS Bride Will Not Be Allowed to Come to the US

GatewayPundit - Wed, 02/20/2019 - 19:25

The woman who claims to have left Alabama to join ISIS and now wants to return to the United States is not an American citizen and therefore cannot return to the nation, according to a statement from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Pompeo said that the 24-year-old “will not be admitted to the United States.”

The mainstream media has been attempting to paint a “heartbreaking” and sympathetic portrait of Hoda Muthana, despite the fact that she married four ISIS fighters in Syria.

“‘ISIS bride’ Hoda Muthana, who has been asking to return to the United States, is not an American citizen,” Pompeo said on Wednesday.

Muthana infamous used social media to call for Americans to come to the self-proclaimed Caliphate and join the fight with ISIS. She also called for more American blood to be spilled.

“Soooo many Aussies and Brits here, but where are the Americans, wake up u cowards,” she posted on social media in January 2015.
In March 2015, she tweeted: “Go on drive-bys and spill all of their blood, or rent a big truck and drive all over them.”

Muthana was given more of a fair shake in the media than the Covington kids who committed the ultimate sin of wearing MAGA hats in Washington, DC. She was even given a platform in a prime-time interview in a transparent attempt to gain sympathy from the public.

In a letter Alabama native Hoda Muthana — who fled the U.S. to become an ISIS bride — wrote to her family, seen by CBS News, she said, "I was a naive, angry, and arrogant young woman…seeing bloodshed up close changed me." https://t.co/W0FmWiFMri pic.twitter.com/4F6dpwTflY

— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) February 20, 2019

The woman has been using her 18-month-old son as a prop to pressure the US into allowing her to return.

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Report: DOJ planning to announce as early as next week that Mueller’s investigation is finished

Hot Air - Wed, 02/20/2019 - 19:01

I am prepared for any eventuality in terms of the report’s findings. I am not yet fully prepared for the reality that we’ll probably never get to read the actual report, even though Bill Barr already alerted us to that possibility during his confirmation hearing. We’ve been watching this cloak-and-dagger TV drama for two farking years. We deserve closure.

What we’re going to get, it sounds like, is a summary of Mueller’s findings, probably not the actual text. So, a “Scooby Doo mysteries” degree of closure.

By the way, isn’t the president out of the country next week on important business? If Mueller finds that he obstructed justice, maybe Trump will seize the opportunity to defect to North Korea.

Attorney General Bill Barr is preparing to announce as early as next week the completion of Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, with plans for Barr to submit to Congress soon after a summary of Mueller’s confidential report, according to people familiar with the plans…

The regulations require Mueller to explain in his report all decisions to prosecute or not prosecute matters under scrutiny. Barr would also need to inform Congress if the Justice Department prevented the special counsel team from pursuing any investigative steps…

Mueller and his prosecutors are still reporting to work as frequently as ever — with some even coming in on recent snow days and Presidents’ Day. But also visiting them more often than ever before are the prosecutors from the DC US Attorney’s Office and others in the Justice Department who’ve worked on the Mueller cases.

Mueller may be done with TrumpWorld but that doesn’t mean the rest of the DOJ is. CNN notes that observers have spotted carts full of files leaving Mueller’s office, presumably headed to U.S. Attorney offices in New York and D.C. or elsewhere. Mueller is limited to investigating matters related to Russia; any unrelated crimes he uncovers get handed off to other federal prosecutors, which is how Michael Cohen ended up pleading guilty to campaign-finance offenses in Stormygate in New York.

Which is a long way of saying that we might not get closure next week even if we get the full report. A clean bill of health on Russiagate would be wonderful news for Trump, but whether the Southern District of New York is working on anything related to, say, the Trump Organization’s practices based on evidence obtained by the special counsel will remain a mystery for now.

I doubt they’ll release the report, or the summary of the report, before next Wednesday’s summit with North Korea. Barr won’t want one of his first acts on the job to be distracting the president while he’s consumed with nuclear diplomacy. I’d bet the earliest we hear anything is the Monday following. One thing to consider in the meantime is whether Trump has been given any indication of what the report might say. He was pretty worked up about Mueller this past weekend, even by his usual standards.

“These guys, the investigators, ought to be in jail. What they have done, working with the Obama intelligence agencies, is simply unprecedented. This is one of the greatest political hoaxes ever perpetrated on the people of this Country, and Mueller is a coverup.” Rush Limbaugh

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2019

The Mueller investigation is totally conflicted, illegal and rigged! Should never have been allowed to begin, except for the Collusion and many crimes committed by the Democrats. Witch Hunt!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2019

Another question is what House Democrats can do to try to make the report public despite Barr’s and the DOJ’s best efforts to keep it confidential. Law prof Kim Wehle, a former federal prosecutor, considered that last month for the Bulwark:

The House of Representatives could subpoena the first report—the one by Mueller to Barr that describes the special counsel’s charging decisions. President Trump would likely ask a court to halt that subpoena, arguing that executive privilege protects it from disclosure. That argument is tricky; executive privilege is not a blanket defense for any president. It must bend to other public interests, including criminal investigations. Both Nixon and Clinton lost that battle in court.

The bigger problem with a congressional subpoena of a confidential memo explaining Mueller’s charging decisions is a structural one. As a constitutional matter, it would set a potentially dangerous precedent by giving Congress too great a role in overseeing prosecutors’ decisions to start, pursue, and end particular criminal investigations. Congress is a political animal; enabling politically motivated criminal prosecutions is a stepping stone to tyranny.

I don’t follow that last part. “Overseeing” implies some sort of authority by Congress over the DOJ’s decision to prosecute or not prosecute someone. Obtaining Mueller’s report to Barr would merely inform Congress of Mueller’s reasoning, not give them power to order a “politically motivated criminal prosecution.” Since the House is the only body that can “indict” the president by impeaching him, arguably it’d be the DOJ that’s usurping the legislature’s role in prosecutions in this case by not sharing the report’s information on Trump.

In fact, according to Wehle, it’s conceivable that Barr won’t provide Congress with any information about Mueller’s report. Technically, under regulations, Barr is only supposed to inform Congress about recommendations in Mueller’s report with which he disagrees. If he agrees with everything, there’s no need for notice to Congress. That would be ludicrous under the circumstances, though, when the country’s waiting to hear if there’s probable cause to believe the president conspired with Russia during the campaign or obstructed justice afterward. Which is why I think Barr will volunteer a summary of Mueller’s findings even if it doesn’t call for any prosecutions. This is, inescapably, a highly political case with implications for the country’s governance. Of course Congress needs to be informed.

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BREAKING: Jussie Smollett Indictment Imminent – To Come ‘IN HOURS — Not Days’

GatewayPundit - Wed, 02/20/2019 - 18:54

Emmy award-winning anchor and reporter at Chicago’s Fox 32 is reporting that his sources in the Chicago Police Department said that Jussie Smollett will be indicted for filing a false police report in “hours, not days.”

Additionally, Smollett has added lawyer Mark Geragos to his legal team. Garagos is infamous for representing Michael Jackson and murderer Scott Peterson.

“Top attorney Mark Geragos has joined #JussieSmollett legal team. He is assisting Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson. #CPD sources tell me an indictment of #Smollett could be coming in ‘a matter of hours. Not days,'” Weigel tweeted on Wednesday afternoon.

Top attorney Mark Geragos has joined #JussieSmollett legal team. He is assisting Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson. #CPD sources tell me an indictment of #Smollett could be coming in “a matter of hours. Not days”.

— Rafer Weigel (@RaferWeigel) February 20, 2019

The news comes shortly after Smollett’s legal team managed to postpone testimony before a grand jury from the two Nigerian brothers who claim that the Empire actor paid them to stage the attack. Many have speculated that it was postponed because of a possible plea deal, though the details remain unknown.

The brothers have also claimed that Smollett was behind a threatening letter that was sent to him a week before the “attack.”

Smollett has repeatedly denied that the “assault” was an elaborate hoax.

“About a dozen search warrants have now been issued, including ones for Smollett’s financial and phone records, and detectives are waiting for those records to come back,” CBS reports.

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AG Bill Barr Preparing For Mueller Report as Early as Next Week

GatewayPundit - Wed, 02/20/2019 - 18:48


AG Bill Barr, Robert Mueller

Newly-confirmed Attorney General Bill Barr is preparing to announce as early as next week the completion of dirty cop Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation according to CNN.

CNN reported Wednesday that AG Bill Barr plans to submit a summary of Mueller’s report to Congress.

According to CNN, the timing of the announcement is subject to change.

The President will soon be traveling to Vietnam to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for a summit so Mueller’s timing is suspicious. Mueller has been essentially shaping foreign policy by announcing indictments every time President Trump travels overseas.

The scope and contours of what Barr will send to Congress remain unclear. Also unclear is how long it will take Justice officials to prepare what will be submitted to lawmakers.

Bill Barr said during his confirmation hearings that he wants to be as transparent as possible “consistent with the rules and the law.”

According to the special counsel rules, Robert Mueller has to submit a “confidential” report to the attorney general. The rules do not require the attorney general to share the report with Congress or even make it public, but rest assured, the Democrats will fight like hell to get their hands on the report — even if it means using subpoena power.

Even though Robert Mueller is winding down his unconstitutional witch hunt, his report will be released and or leaked out and used as fodder against President Trump to impact his 2020 presidential run.

Democrats fear that Mueller’s report will be anticlimactic and or won’t be made public so they are ramping up additional ‘Trump-Russia’ investigations to harass President Trump.

House Intel Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) just announced a massive investigation into Trump’s personal life and finances.

Robert Mueller has jailed many of Trump’s associates on process crimes as punishment for helping Donald Trump defeat Queen Hillary.

The Deep State attempted a coup against Donald Trump — it’s time to jail the coup plotters.

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A PAC run by AOC’s Chief of Staff hired her boyfriend as a marketing consultant

Hot Air - Wed, 02/20/2019 - 18:21

There was a pitched battle on Twitter last week after a conservative political researcher named Luke Thompson posted a screenshot showing that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ boyfriend, Riley Roberts, had been given his own House email address and was listed as “Staff.” Under House rules, spouses of congresspeople can be given House email addresses if they volunteer in their spouses office, but as far as anyone knows Riley Roberts is not AOC’s spouse, just her boyfriend. Thompson was also rebuked by AOC:

Actually this cal designation is a permission so he can have access to my Google Cal. Congressional spouses get Gcal access all the time.

Next time check your facts before you tweet nonsense.

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 15, 2019

After Thompson posted the information, he was suspended by Twitter, possibly on the grounds that he was posting private information. AOC’s Chief of Staff Saikat Chakrabarti specifically claimed he’d violated Twitter’s rules by doxxing Roberts:

He started doxxing him. That's a violation of terms in Twitter.

— Saikat Chakrabarti (@saikatc) February 15, 2019

In fact, everything Luke Thompson has posted was public information. House emails are public and the phone number listed was one of AOC’s public numbers. Eventually, Twitter relented and agreed Thompson had done nothing wrong. I don’t know if anyone ever worked out who had reported Thompson to Twitter in the first place but at least one of AOC’s fans proudly claimed he’d done it (it appears he wasn’t the only one).

In any case, Thompson felt the pushback was a bit disproportionate to the question he raised and started digging further:

AOC hasn’t exactly been winning friends lately, which is how I got Roberts’s Outlook screen grab in the first place. A rumor on the Hill was circulating that Roberts had attended a Congressional Progressive Caucus meeting. A tipster looked to see if he’d been given staff credentials. It appeared he had. All agreed this was irregular if he was just a spouse.

Per the House Admin office, a family member can, in special circumstances, get a house.gov email address. But Roberts is not a family member, and although AOC referred to him as her partner in November of last year, she omitted him from her mandatory candidate financial disclosures for 2017 and 2018. Perhaps they’ve gotten married since. If so — if he is her spouse now — we should see his finances disclosed along with hers in her 2019 disclosure form due in May.

Is she married?

Absent a wavier from House Ethics, family members have to be volunteers. AOC’s office apparently doesn’t believe in having unpaid workers, as according to Chakrabarti they have no volunteers in the office.

So Roberts is designated as staff but also isn’t on AOC’s staff, even though he showed up Friday morning in the House directory as processing into her personal office as a staffer. In other words his staff status, like his spouse status, is akin to Schrodinger’s cat.

Looking further into the financial relationship between AOC, Chakrabarti, and boyfriend Riley Roberts, Thompson found a money trail which seemed unusual. Chakrabarti runs a PAC called Brand New Congress whose goal is to centralize campaign services and make it easier for first-time candidates to run for office. Associated with the PAC is an LLC also run by Chakrabarti. Over the course of her campaign, AOC raised less than $9,000 but spent more than $37,000 with much of that going to Brave New Congress LLC. Meanwhile, her boyfriend Riley Roberts was being paid by the PAC as a marketing consultant, in fact, he appears to have been their top consultant:

Like other candidates, AOC paid Brand New Congress LLC for strategic consulting, in her case totaling $18,880.14. Unlike in the other cases, Brand New Congress PAC turned around and paid her boyfriend as a “marketing consultant”.

Indeed, while Brand New Congress PAC’s ten largest expenditures were paid to Brand New Congress LLC for “strategic consulting,” a sum that totaled $261,165.20 over the course of the campaign, its eleventh and twelfth largest expenditures were paid to Riley Roberts.

Roberts was paid two installments of $3,000 each. That’s not a lot of money relative to what the PAC was spending but it does work out to about a third of what AOC’s campaign was paying the LLC. The PAC listed Roberts’ address as Arizona, which is where he’s from, but at the time he was being paid as a consultant he was living with AOC in New York. Of course, it’s possible that Roberts was doing some real marketing work for the $6,000 he was paid that had no direct connection to AOC, but what was it?

Why would Chakrabarti, a founding engineer at Stripe and a wealthy veteran of Silicon Valley, be hiring a no-name “UX Experience” guy with little discernible marketing experience to serve as Brand New Congress PAC’s sole marketing consultant?

Regardless of what he was doing, is it just a coincidence that the PAC run by AOC’s soon-to-be Chief of Staff hired her boyfriend as its top consultant at a time when she was struggling to stay afloat? No doubt we’ll be getting some pushback on this from AOC’s office fairly soon.

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PLEA DEAL? Jussie Smollett’s Lawyers Make ‘Hail Mary’ Phone Call to Prosecutors to Postpone Grand Jury

GatewayPundit - Wed, 02/20/2019 - 18:13

Many people are now speculating that Jussie Smollett’s lawyers have struck a deal with prosecutors after they made a ‘Hail Mary’ call to postpone the brothers’ testimony.

CBS reported late Tuesday night that the brothers involved in the Jussie Smollett hate hoax were expected to testify before a grand jury.

The evidence presented could lead to a felony indictment against Jussie Smollett for filing a false police report.

According to CBS Chicago, Jussie Smollett’s lawyers made a last minute call to prosecutors Tuesday and convinced them to postpone the brothers’ testimony.

Via CBS:

CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar has learned the brothers were waiting outside the grand jury chambers at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse on Tuesday, just minutes from testifying, when the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office got a call from Smollett’s lawyers, claiming they may have new evidence.

It is unclear what Jussie Smollett’s lawyers said to prosecutors but they agreed to postpone the proceeding which is leading many people to believe there is a possible plea deal.

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx officially recused herself from Jussie Smollet’s case on Tuesday, according to Chicago police.

No explanation was given for Foxx’s decision to recuse herself.

First Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Magats will be the acting state’s attorney for the Smollett inquiry, a spokesperson said in an emailed statement Tuesday, reported NBC Chicago.

-REWIND-

On January 29th, ‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett told Chicago Police that two white Trump supporters ambushed him on the streets of Chicago at 2 AM while he was walking back to his apartment following a midnight run to Subway to grab a sandwich.

Smollett alleged the two white males recognized him as the actor from ‘Empire,’ hurled racist and homophobic slurs at him, poured bleach on him and put a noose around his neck.

The hate hoax began to unravel after it was revealed two Nigerian brothers, who were also extras on Empire were paid $4,000 to stage the attack.

The FBI and US Postal Inspection Service are investigating whether Jussie Smollett played a role in sending a threatening and racist letter crafted from magazine clippings to the ‘Empire’ studio in Chicago prior to the fake MAGA attack. (screenshot below)

Jussie Smollett could face up to three years in prison for filing a false police report in the state of Illinois, a class 4 four felony.

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Trump Approval at 49% – 5 Points Higher Than Failed President Obama at Same Point in his Presidency

GatewayPundit - Wed, 02/20/2019 - 17:58

President Trump’s approval rating is at 49% and up 6 points since Friday, February 1.

Barack Obama’s approval rating was at 44% at a similar point in his presidency.

This is also despite national mainstream media reporting negatively on the highly successful President Trump 92% of the time.

Barack Obama had a cake walk with the media.

When President Trump gets a chance to tell his side of the story — unfiltered — and he gets a chance to tell THE FULL STORY with all of his accomplishments that are ignored by the state-run media his approval ratings skyrocket.

Trump’s approval rating is up six points since the State of the Union Address in early February.

Trump should hold quarterly addresses to the nation.

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JOHN SOLOMON: Nellie Ohr Gave Her Husband Bruce Ohr ANOTHER Anti-Trump Dossier – Which Was Delivered to the FBI

GatewayPundit - Wed, 02/20/2019 - 17:49


Bruce and Nellie Ohr

Award-winning investigative journalist John Solomon has uncovered yet another anti-Trump ‘Russia’ dossier compiled by Nellie Ohr which she then gave to her husband, Bruce Ohr on a memory stick.

Twice-demoted DOJ official Bruce Ohr then took that Russia information given to him by his wife and delivered it to the FBI in 2016.

First it was an unverified Russia dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele that made its way to the FBI and then used to obtain a spy warrant and three subsequent renewals on Trump campaign advisor Carter Page.

Now we learn from Bruce Ohr’s testimony to Congress (which still hasn’t been released to the public) that Nellie Ohr’s work with Fusion GPS produced another anti-Trump dossier.

Via John Solomon of The Hill:

And now we learn, from testimony that is still being kept secret from the public, that Ohr admitted to Congress last year that he also took Russia information that his wife, Nellie, assembled against Trump on a computer drive and delivered that to the FBI in 2016 — a revelation that has raised fresh concerns in Congress about a possible conflict of interest.

Nellie Ohr worked for Fusion GPS and, for a time, worked on the same Clinton-financed Russian research project as Steele, according to the testimony.

DOJ ethics rules forbid department officials from working in cases where a spouse has a financial interest, a prohibition that Bruce Ohr said he knew about when he forwarded his wife’s evidence to the FBI.

The way Ohr described it, his wife’s research was like an additional dossier assembled from Fusion GPS research to augment what Steele was separately providing the FBI.

“She (Nellie Ohr) provided me with a memory stick that included research she had done for Fusion GPS on various Russian figures,” Ohr told congressional investigators.

“And the reason she provided that information to me is, my understanding was, it related to some of the same — it related to the FBI’s Russia investigation. And she gave me that stick to give to the FBI.”

John Solomon breaks down just how many anti-Trump dossiers there are that we know of:

Steele’s dossier was the opening salvo. A document sent to the State Department by Clinton proteges Cody Shearer and Sidney Blumenthal was another. A thumb drive given by Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussman to FBI general counsel James Baker was a third. Simpson’s thumb drive given to Bruce Ohr was a fourth. And Nellie Ohr’s thumb drive would be a fifth. At least three of those work products — those from Steele, Shearer/Blumenthal and Nellie Ohr — resemble what many people might consider a dossier.

We now know that since none of these dossiers helped propel Hillary Clinton into the White House, the Deep State coup plotters fell back on their “insurance policy” to remove Donald Trump from office.

The Deep State plan was to hijack the DOJ and appoint a special counsel to harass President Trump and jail his associates on process crimes — then ultimately GET TRUMP.

Another part of the plan, according to disgraced FBI official Andrew McCabe, was for DAG Rod Rosenstein to wear a wire and record Trump in a plot to remove him from office via the 25th Amendment.

All along, these Deep State coup plotters had help from their stenographers in the fake news media.

These officials used government agencies in a plot to overthrow President Trump – there’s a word for that: COUP — There’s one place for them: JAIL.

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Thiessen: Republicans in Congress must stand against this emergency declaration

Hot Air - Wed, 02/20/2019 - 17:41

Must they? Or, like Congress as a whole, can they just sit on the sidelines and punt? Marc Thiessen argues from principle that Donald Trump’s emergency declaration attacks the balance of power in the federal government and arrogates far too much power to the executive. Even if Trump wins in court, it’s a loss for limited government, Thiessen predicts in his column at the Washington Post:

Now, the smart move for Trump would have been to pocket that $1.38 billion and bolster it with an additional $3.1 billion he could arguably use without a declaration of a national emergency — by reprogramming $600 million from the Treasury Department’s drug forfeiture fund and $2.5 billion from the Defense Department’s drug interdiction program. That would have given him $4.48 billion in wall funding — nearly the full amount he was demanding from Congress. Then, in December, he could demand more money with leverage over Democrats when an automatic sequester kicks in, forcing $55 billion in across-the-board cuts to domestic discretionary spending unless Trump agrees to raise spending caps.

Instead, Trump has made the wrong move once again — declaring a national emergency, despite warnings from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and other Republicans that it could provoke a backlash from within his own party.

His order will face an immediate court challenge, which means he won’t be able to spend the emergency funds anytime soon, if at all. And if he prevails in court, it will be a disaster for the cause of limited government. If Trump can declare a national emergency to build a border wall Congress refused to fund, then the power of the president to override Congress’s power of the purse will be virtually unlimited. As Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) pointed out, a future liberal president could declare climate change a national emergency and “force the Green New Deal on the American people.” Or, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) suggested, a Democratic president could one day declare the “epidemic of gun violence in America” a national emergency thanks to Trump’s action.

Thiessen counts noses in the Senate and comes up with a dozen who might vote to pass a resolution of disapproval, the mechanism by which Congress can reject a declaration of national emergency. The Hill counts ten Senate Republicans who might assert legislative primacy over federal appropriations. The first problem that arises with these calculations is that the resolution may well pass, but Trump gets a veto over it, too. Even if twelve Senate Republicans crossed the aisle, that would only get an override to 59 votes, eight short of success. How many of these Senators would cast such an initial vote if an override was impossible in their own chamber, let alone in the House?

It doesn’t matter, Thiessen argues. It’s not a rebellion against Trump, but Trump himself who created the problem for Senate Republicans:

Trump’s defenders will argue that Republicans should not deliver such a rebuke to their president. In fact, the opposite is true: It is Trump who should not be forcing Republicans to choose between fidelity to their president and fidelity to the Constitution. And if forced to choose, they must choose the Constitution.

Granted, emphatically. If that’s the choice in an unprecedented situation, Senate and House Republicans absolutely should honor their oath to the Constitution rather than any loyalty they may or may not feel to a president of their own party. (The same goes for Democrats, obviously.) However, this situation is not all that unprecedented, as it turns out, and Congress gave up the constitutional ghost on this 43 years ago. They passed a law that authorizes presidents to do precisely what Trump is doing now — and have done nothing as every president since Jimmy Carter has used the mechanism regardless of the nature of the “emergency.”

In my column for The Week, I ask readers to guess how many concurrent states of national emergency existed prior to Trump’s action. Hint: It’s as many as Baskin Robbins has flavors:

Unfortunately for Coons and other Democrats — and a handful of Republicans protesting Trump’s actions — that precedent was set decades ago. While this may be the first time a president has used the National Emergencies Act passed by Congress in 1976 to bypass Congress’ appropriations process, the law does indeed contain a grant of authority for presidents to spend money without appropriation from Congress. If Congress challenges Trump’s novel use of the NEA, it might have to explain why the law allows for his move in the first place — and why Congress remained uninterested in policing this authority until now. …

Until now, Congress not only hasn’t objected to the use the NEA for purposes that could easily have been addressed under normal conditions — such as applying sanctions in Belarus in 2006 — it hasn’t had much interest in using its authority to close out emergencies and restore its own standing.

That brings us back to the question of what it feels like to live in a state of national emergency. Of the 59 national emergencies declared by presidents since 1979, more than half remain in effect today. The still-extant “emergencies” include:

  • Regulation of the Anchorage and Movement of Vessels with respect to Cuba (1997)
  • Prohibiting Certain Transactions with Respect to the Development of Iranian Petroleum Resources (1995)
  • Blocking Sudanese Government Property and Prohibiting Transactions with Sudan (1997)
  • Blocking Property of Persons Who Threaten International Stabilization Efforts in the Western Balkans (2001)

In all, we were living in 31 concurrent states of emergency even before this latest declaration. Of the 28 emergencies no longer in effect, not a single one was revoked by an act of Congress.

None of this disputes Thiessen’s theoretical point, by the way, nor to discount the novel context in which Trump used the NEA. Until now, no president has used it to get around a budget fight with Congress, and that context does make this more offensive. However, the NEA unlocks more than 100 specific authorities for presidents, according to the Brennan Center, among which is the power to redirect funding “without regard to any other provision of law” to undertake military construction dealing with the emergency (10 USC 2808). Presidents have used that authority in previous emergencies without any objection from Congress, or even any attempt to curtail that authority by ending “emergencies” stretching back decades.

Congress passed the buck to the White House in 1976. They’re just unhappy that Trump decided to spend it on a border wall after a shutdown. And they should be, as Thiessen notes, but their anger should be directed at themselves. They have abandoned their constitutional duties to deal with significant issues and take tough votes at times in favor of giving the White House the authority to let them off the hook.

So what to do now? A good start would be to repeal or greatly limit the scope of the NEA and its constituent statutes. And after that, perhaps Congress should do their jobs and pass normal legislation to deal with the other 31 “emergencies” they’ve ignored for years. If Congress wants Trump and the public to respect their prerogatives, they should start by respecting those themselves.

Update: My math was initially off in counting votes for an override. Twelve Republicans would be added to 47 Democrats in the Senate for a total of 59; for some reason I added the Republicans to the Republican caucus of 53 for a total of 65. I’ve fixed it above.

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INTERVIEW: Artist Movement Hopes to Spark Bigger Conversation About the Opioid Crisis — Using Giant 700 Pound Spoons

GatewayPundit - Wed, 02/20/2019 - 17:04

The Opioid Spoon Project is an artist-led movement that is hoping to spark a bigger conversation about the dark reality of the opioid crisis.

The Gateway Pundit spoke to Domenic Esposito, the Boston-based founder of the project, to learn more about what they are doing.

To raise awareness of the epidemic, the organization creates 10 foot long, metal, 700 pound sculptures of the sort of spoon that addicts use to cook heroin before injecting it.

The Opioid Spoon Project has primarily been taking aim at the Sackler family — for now.

In 2007, months after pleading guilty to criminal charges that the Sackler family company, Purdue Pharma, had mismarketed OxyContin, the Sackler’s founded another company called Rhodes Pharma. Rhodes produces generic opioids such as oxycodone, morphine, and hydrocodone. According to a report from the Financial Times, between the Rhodes and Purdue, the Sackler family is responsible for approximately 6% of all opioid prescriptions nationwide.

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, 80% of heroin addicts first started by using opioids.

Last year, the Opioid Spoon Project left one of their sculptures in front of the offices of Purdue. Earlier this month, they left one outside Rhodes.

Speaking to the Gateway Pundit, Esposito said that the spoon project began, in terms of construction, in April of last year. Each spoon takes approximately six weeks to create.

When asked what motivated him to begin this project, Esposito explained that it was “a lot of things — but primarily my brother.”

“My brother has been dealing with opioid addiction for the last 12 years,” Esposito said. “It was a way to bring awareness to the disease — but also a way to bring awareness to the parties that are accountable for it. For me, this is a man-made epidemic.”

Esposito said that the project is “so much work,” but that it is all worth it. He said that there have been so many people supporting the effort that it has been incredibly moving. He currently has a large group of volunteers working together to create reports, assist with the sculpting, and other tasks involved with the movement.

Discussing what he would like to see happen to help stop this crisis — Esposito explained that there are two sides to it.

“The first part is moving towards accountability. It’s kind of cutting the head off the snake,” Esposito said. “For me that snake is Big Pharma. We need to hold those companies and executives accountable — whether it’s through fines or jail time — for what they have done for the past 25 years at the expense of human lives.”

The second side, Esposito explained, “is a tough one, because the epidemic is so wide-spread.”

“There are so many issues that I see with my brother — there’s not enough care out there, not enough recovery centers,” Esposito said. “There’s also the whole issue with incarceration. If someone gets arrested for drugs, when they get out there really is not a lot to help them with the transition.”

In reality, there are so many issues at play in the opioid crisis, Esposito explained, that it is hard to pinpoint one single piece of legislation or program that would help to stop it. It needs to be tackled from multiple angles.

“For us, we are trying to hold these corporations accountable and pushing for the guidelines for getting opioids are given another look,” he said.

Esposito told the Gateway Pundit that there are more spoon drops planned for the future — and that they have a huge list of companies and people responsible that need to be shamed beyond the Sackler family.

The Opioid Spoon Project is in the process of applying for 501C3 status, to become a nonprofit. When that happens, that will allow them to begin accepting sponsorships. He said there has been a huge amount of interest from people who want to donate either time or money, but they want to make sure they do things right.

“There’s just so much fraud out there with people raising money,” Esposito laughed. “I don’t want to be seen like that. I want to make sure this is done right. We’ve done such a great job so far that I want to continue to uphold our moral and ethical standards.”

Esposito said that they are thinking about creating art to raise money that way, to help fund continuing the spoon installations.

For updates on ways to support the movement, you can check out their website or follow them on Facebook.

The post INTERVIEW: Artist Movement Hopes to Spark Bigger Conversation About the Opioid Crisis — Using Giant 700 Pound Spoons appeared first on The Gateway Pundit.

Thank you, Pres. Trump: 18 trillion gallons of rain fall on thirsty California

Hot Air - Wed, 02/20/2019 - 17:01

For once, California’s terrible-to-moderate drought that caused tight statewide water-use restrictions has abated. The southern Golden State is turning green in mid-winter after swollen skies dumped a record amount of rain this month. Look at what’s happening here out in the Palm Springs desert!

And some northern parts have enough snow to extend the ski season into July.

It, of course, has nothing to do with the White House. But water-soaked rivers of atmospheric air from the north this month have delivered such a soaking to the thirsty state that with still a week yet to go, officials say California has received 18 trillion gallons of water this month alone.

That’s an amazingly large amount provided to the public with the absolute confidence that no one else is counting.

With more rains yet to come this week and month, Los Angeles has already received four inches. San Diego got 10.

Jazz Shaw thinks he’s had a lot of that white stuff fall on him in upstate New York this winter. Well, northern California’s Mammoth Mountain ski resort reports it’s received 37 feet of snow this winter. Shovel that, sucker! But come ski there til mid-summer.

Of course, to capture anxious eyeballs TV news reports are full of ominous threats of landslides as mountainsides in vast areas scorched by forest fires soak up tons of water with no roots to hold things in place.

The rains have also come with unusually cold nighttime temperatures — for southern California. Night-time thermometers in the south near the mid-thirties. Even in the gaps of sunshine many Californians have their parka hoods up as daytime temperatures plummet below 50! If you people in Minnesota can imagine such a thing.

Despite vast volumes of H20 arriving, California’s long-term dryness has been so severe that the state is still technically in drought condition. When the year’s vast Sierra snowpack melts by late summer, it will provide about 30  percent of the state’s water needs.

Over time the heavy rains will gradually replenish many of the state’s badly-depleted aquifers. But here’s an interesting fact: That water percolates down through the soil so slowly, it will take about one year for the liquid to soak down even a few hundred feet, drop by drop.

However, since this is a news site, we can’t leave you without a gloomy warning. All the water has already encouraged thousands of acres to push up lush new green growth. Which, come the next season in August and fall, will dry to a crisp just waiting to fuel the new fires you can watch on TV.

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CBS: “Hail Mary” phone call from Smollett lawyers postponed grand-jury testimony

Hot Air - Wed, 02/20/2019 - 16:21

What exactly did Jussie Smollet’s attorneys say to prosecutors yesterday that stopped them from presenting testimony from two Nigerian brothers to the grand jury? CBS News reports this morning that the “Hail Mary” call worked — at least for now:

A source tells CBS News that a last-minute phone call might have kept the case against "Empire" star Jussie Smollett from going to a grand jury. The actor claims he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack last month, as he walked home in the middle of the night. pic.twitter.com/4E9zG9rJNn

— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) February 20, 2019

A source close to the investigation tells CBS News the brothers were set to appear in front of a grand jury Tuesday. But CBS News correspondent Dean Reynolds reports those plans were abruptly scrapped after a “Hail Mary” call from Smollett’s defense team.

CBS News has learned that Nigerian brothers Ola and Abel Osundairo were waiting outside the grand jury chambers, just minutes from testifying, when prosecutors got the call from Smollett’s lawyers.

It’s unclear what the defense said, but the Cook County state’s attorney decided to postpone the brothers’ testimony, which would have been the first step toward indicting the 36-year-old actor for filing a false police report.

Hmmmm. The grand-jury move came after Smollett stopped cooperating with the investigation, refusing requests for a follow-up interview. CBS also reports that prosecutors have now issued a number of search warrants for Smollett’s financial and phone records, and this time not the heavily redacted copies Smollett first provided police. That’s a lot of pressure on someone who might have something significant to hide. If prosecutors were willing to postpone the Osundairos’ testimony, they must have gotten some promises of more cooperation in exchange.

Of course, that may not matter much anyway. As noted earlier and also in the video above, the two brothers now allegedly claim that Smollett engineered the threat letter that contained white powder — aspirin, as it turns out — sent to Empire’s production company. The FBI has now reportedly entered the probe in relation to   that development, signaling a more ominous turn for Smollett and a lot more work for his attorneys. A charge of filing a false police report is peanuts next to the serious federal felonies involving threats sent by US mail.

If so, the call may not have been much of a “Hail Mary” play at all. It might have been a recognition that this case has grown beyond the local grand jury, and that the big question now involves more than just public humiliation for Smollett if he did indeed perpetrate two hoax attacks. His defense team has to be looking for a way out of what looks like a self-built trap.

The post CBS: “Hail Mary” phone call from Smollett lawyers postponed grand-jury testimony appeared first on Hot Air.

ISIS Terrorist Bride Wants Back in US – After Five Years as Islamic State Bride in Syrian Caliphate (VIDEO)

GatewayPundit - Wed, 02/20/2019 - 16:16

ISIS terrorist Hoda Muthana went to join the Islamic State five years ago.

Now the terrorist bride wants back in the US.

Muthana believes she should face some counselling but not prison time for joining an Islamic army at war with the US.

The ISIS bride spoke with ABC News this week.

Hoda Muthana even posted terrorist tweets urging Americans to “spill the blood” of Americans online.

Her first husband died after three months of marriage in fighting.
She was married two other times since then.

ABC News reported:

In her first television interview, a 24-year-old Alabama woman who spent four years as an ISIS bride told ABC News that she’d felt obligated to go to Syria once the so-called caliphate had been announced by the terror group.

Hoda Muthana was born in New Jersey and moved to New York and then Washington, D.C., before finally settling with her family in Alabama as a seventh-grader, she said.

Muthana said she had a good relationship with her family but found home life very strict and longed for a more Americanized life, one in which she was able to go out and have friends.

Once she joined ISIS, she sent messages of hate herself. She spread ISIS propaganda online, calling for attacks on Americans.

In one tweet regarding Memorial Day weekend, she wrote: “Americans wake up. … Go on drive-bys and spill all of their blood. … Veterans, patriots.”

When ISIS announced the so-called caliphate, Muthana said, the community she’d joined “interpreted ourselves that it was obligatory upon us to go.”

The post ISIS Terrorist Bride Wants Back in US – After Five Years as Islamic State Bride in Syrian Caliphate (VIDEO) appeared first on The Gateway Pundit.

ISIS bride and Twitter terrorist to America: Sentence me to some counseling sessions, please; Update: Not a US citizen?

Hot Air - Wed, 02/20/2019 - 15:41

“I hope America doesn’t think I’m a threat to them,” Hoda Muthana tells ABC News in her first on-camera interview. What would have given us that idea? The fact that she ran off to join ISIS five years ago and only now is coming back after their collapse? Or her Twitter campaign urging Muslims in the US to “Go on drive-bys and spill all of their blood”?

Muthana thinks she might deserve some punishment, but that it should be in the form of counseling. “Jail time,” Muthana says, “has a worse effect on people.” Hence why it’s a bad idea to go join terrorists and foment attacks on your own country, as I noted last night:

"I hope America doesn't think I'm a threat to them and I hope they can accept me."

24-year-old American Hoda Muthana describes to @jamesaalongman her decision to join ISIS in Syria and whether she expects punishment if she is able to return to the U.S. https://t.co/bCIrBugNmM pic.twitter.com/7WLT4rCXR7

— ABC News (@ABC) February 20, 2019

She told ABC News she felt shame hearing of the tweets she posted when she was part of ISIS.

“I was still at the peak of being brainwashed I guess and I had people all around me that were just widowed so we were very angry … because we were all just young girls married for the first time — most of us it was our first relationships — and then he just suddenly died,” she said. “I can’t even believe I thought of that.” …

She expressed remorse and regret about her social media posts inciting violence in the name of Islam and ISIS.

“I wish I could take it completely off the Net, completely out of people’s memory. … I regret it. … I hope America doesn’t think I’m a threat to them and I hope they can accept me and I’m just a normal human being who’s been manipulated once and hopefully never again,” she said.

Was Muthana manipulated? Surely. This looks like manipulation in return, however. Muthana wants to play on the sympathies of her countrymen while painting herself as nothing more than an unthinking victim. Recall that Muthana was 19 years old and responsible for her actions at the time of her choice to join ISIS and 20 when she urged violence in the streets of the US. Perhaps she has remorse for her crimes, but they remain crimes, and Muthana has to answer for them.

Earlier today, the UK announced that they would strip Shamima Bagun of her citizenship rather than allow the ISIS bride to re-enter the country. That option isn’t available to the US even if we were inclined to follow suit, as Andy McCarthy explains in today’s New York Post:

A person who is an American citizen by birth may not have that citizenship revoked without her consent. In its 1973 Afroyim v. Rusk decision, the Supreme Court reasoned that the Constitution does not grant Congress the power to strip an American of citizenship because, in our system, the people are sovereign — the government serves us, it is not the source of our citizenship.

I think this is ill-considered. Citizenship implies obligations of fealty as well as benefits. Traitorous acts should be construed as renouncing those obligations, and thus renouncing citizenship itself.

Moreover, there are situations in which the power of government to revoke citizenship is recognized. Granted, these involve naturalized citizens who procure citizenship by fraud. But a section of our immigration law permits revocation if a naturalized citizen joins a subversive organization within five years of becoming a citizen. The legalistic theory is that this is a form of fraud: You can’t have taken the oath of citizenship seriously if, so soon after being naturalized, you’ve joined such a group — e.g., al Qaeda. But the more salient point, I believe, is that you have renounced the obligations of citizenship; it should not matter if you are a born or a naturalized American if you make war against America.

Alas, that is not how the law is interpreted. Muthana will be permitted re-entry into our country. She should be prosecuted for treason and terrorism offenses. Indeed, the Justice Department should indict her now, so that she has fair notice of what she faces if she chooses to return.

Indeed, that would be fair play. And it might have a salutary effect of keeping Muthana from re-entering the country she blithely betrayed, and the country she thinks owes her a few counseling sessions for her moral treason and actual terrorism.

Update: No wonder she’s asking to come to the US. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says she’s not a US citizen after all:

#NEW #breaking @SecPompeo on American #ISISBride:
"Ms. #HodaMuthana is not a U.S. citizen and will not be admitted into the U.S. She does not have any legal basis, no valid passport, no right to a passport, nor any visa to travel to the U.S."

— Kevin Corke (@kevincorke) February 20, 2019

Muthana was born in the US, Corke explains further, but to parents here on a diplomatic mission. That negates “birthright citizenship,” so … Muthana will have to go back to Yemen. American prison might have been a better choice, but at any rate she won’t have a choice at all. Her family insists that she is a US citizen:

NEW: "The Trump administration continues its attempts to wrongfully strip citizens of their citizenship," Muthana family's attorney tells @ABC News.

"Hoda Muthana had a valid US passport and is a citizen." https://t.co/q0lfOlSVVo https://t.co/MUmRByE9Lb

— ABC News (@ABC) February 20, 2019

The court fight on this should be … interesting.

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McCabe: On second thought, no one was counting Cabinet votes on 25th Amendment

Hot Air - Wed, 02/20/2019 - 15:01

By golly, we may have yet another “lacking candor” moment from Andrew McCabe. Earlier today on Morning Joe, the panel asked the former acting FBI director about how far along the effort was to use the 25th Amendment to remove Donald Trump from the presidency. “The conversation was not about removing the president,” McCabe interjects, which prompted Willie Geist to remind McCabe that removal is the only function of the 25th Amendment.

McCabe then says Rod Rosenstein only mentioned it in passing. When pressed on whether Rosenstein was counting votes, McCabe says, “Not that I’m aware of”:

McCabe on 60 Minutes: Rosenstein was "counting votes or possible votes" on using the 25th Amendment.

McCabe today on if Rosenstein was counting votes: "Not that I'm aware of." pic.twitter.com/miCBfTmuDI

— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) February 20, 2019

Hmmm. Just three days ago, CBS’ 60 Minutes aired an interview with McCabe where he made the effort sound a lot more serious. In fact, McCabe said their discussion included “counting votes or possible votes”:

Scott Pelley: Did you counsel him on that?

Andrew McCabe: I didn’t. I mean, he was discussing other cabinet members and whether or not people would support such an idea, whether or not other cabinet members would, shared, his belief that the president was — was really concerning, was concerning Rod at that time.

Scott Pelley: Rosenstein was actually openly talking about whether there was a majority of the cabinet who would vote to remove the president.

Andrew McCabe: That’s correct. Counting votes or possible votes.

Scott Pelley: Did he assign specific votes to specific people?

Andrew McCabe: No, not that I recall.

While McCabe also describes this discussion as “wide ranging,” “frenzied chaotic,” it’s McCabe who offers the unprompted claim that Rosenstein was “counting votes.” That directly contradicts what McCabe said this morning on MSNBC.

Don’t forget that former FBI general counsel James Baker has already told at least one congressional committee that it was McCabe who came to him with this idea, not Rosenstein. Baker testified that McCabe told him that they already had two Cabinet officials who would support the move and that he had to talk McCabe down:

Former top FBI lawyer James Baker, in closed-door testimony to Congress, detailed alleged discussions among senior officials at the Justice Department about invoking the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office, claiming he was told Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said two Trump Cabinet officials were “ready to support” such an effort.

The testimony was delivered last fall to the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees. Fox News has confirmed portions of the transcript. It provides additional insight into discussions that have returned to the spotlight in Washington as fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe revisits the matter during interviews promoting his forthcoming book.

Baker did not identify the two Cabinet officials. But in his testimony, the lawyer said McCabe and FBI lawyer Lisa Page came to him to relay their conversations with Rosenstein, including discussions of the 25th Amendment.

“I was being told by some combination of Andy McCabe and Lisa Page, that, in a conversation with the Deputy Attorney General, he had stated that he — this was what was related to me — that he had at least two members of the president’s Cabinet who were ready to support, I guess you would call it, an action under the 25th Amendment,” Baker told the committees.

McCabe’s story keeps changing as he retells it, and more specifically as he gets challenged in these media interviews. It’s not too tough to see why an Inspector General appointed by Barack Obama found that McCabe “lacked candor” when being grilled by professionals at the FBI. The more he talks, the more this really did look like an attempted coup by inferior officers at the FBI and Department of Justice — and the more it looks like McCabe realizes it. That’s why he’s trying to backpedal from his allegations on 60 Minutes.

Right now the biggest favor McCabe could do for himself is to stop making media appearances. It’s also the biggest favor he could do for Robert Mueller, who must be watching his predicate for a counterintelligence investigation dissipate rapidly before his very eyes.

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Trump admin to Newsom: We’re coming for the high-speed rail money, pal

Hot Air - Wed, 02/20/2019 - 14:21

Gavin Newsom may want to keep the federal subsidies for California’s stunted high-speed rail project, but the Trump administration wants the cash back. After Newsom reset the project from a connection between the state’s two largest metropolises to a ten-figure project to connect two cities with a combined population of under 600,000, the new governor also declared that he’d hang onto $3.5 billion from Washington.

It didn’t take long for collectors to come knocking:

The U.S. Transportation Department said on Tuesday it will cancel $929 million in federal funds awarded by the Obama administration for a California high-speed rail project and is “actively exploring every legal option” to seek the return of $2.5 billion the state has already received.

California Governor Gavin Newsom said last week the state will dramatically scale back a planned $77.3 billion high-speed rail project that has faced cost hikes, delays and management concerns, but will finish a smaller section of the line.

The Transportation Department’s Federal Railroad Administration said in a letter it wanted to halt funding because the state had “failed to make reasonable progress.” It cited Newsom’s announcement to scale back the project.

Newsom called the demand “clear political retribution” for California’s decision to join a lawsuit against Trump’s declaration of a national emergency over the border wall:

“It’s no coincidence that the Administration’s threat comes 24 hours after California led 16 states in challenging the President’s farcical ‘national emergency,'” Newsom said in a statement. “This is clear political retribution by President Trump, and we won’t sit idly by.” …

Mr. Trump’s comments about a “failed” project followed Newsom’s comments last week that the current plan for an LA-San Francisco train would cost too much and take too long. Instead, he said he’d focus immediately on a line through the Central Valley while still doing environmental work on the full line. That work is a requirement for keeping the federal money.

Still, the U.S. Department of Transportation said Newsom’s remarks reinforced concerns about the project’s ability to deliver. The department wrote Newsom’s comments mark a “significant retreat from the State’s initial vision and commitment and frustrated the purpose for which the Federal funding was awarded.”

The CBS affiliate in LA found an analyst to echo Newson’s claim that “this is California’s money,” stating in the video above that it wasn’t specified for only the high-speed rail project. If that was true, though, Newsom wouldn’t have to keep conducting environmental-impact studies to keep the cash as CBS News reports. Newsom also wouldn’t have to pretend to keep the San Francisco-LA route open as a possibility either, except possibly to keep progressives and Green New Deal zealots off his back.

At any rate, this is not “California’s money.” This is federal money, of which California has wasted enough on its farcical high-speed rail project. If Newsom sees a need to give high-speed rail service to allow fast travel between Modesto and Bakersfield, then California should come up with its own funding for it. The rest of the country shouldn’t have to pay for it.

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President Trump Cheers Covington Student Nick Sandmann’s $250 Million Lawsuit Against WaPo: “Go Get Them, Nick!”

GatewayPundit - Wed, 02/20/2019 - 14:20

On Tuesday Lin Wood, the high-profile attorney representing Covington Catholic student Nick Sandmann, filed a $250 million lawsuit against the Washington Post for defamation.

The lawsuit claims that the paper “vilified” Sandmann who was seen in a viral video being confronted by far-left activist Nathan Phillips because of the fact that he is white.

On Wednesday President Trump cheered Nick Sandmann’s lawsuit against the “Fake News” Washington Post:

“The Washington Post ignored basic journalistic standards because it wanted to advance its well-known and easily documented biased agenda against President Donald J. Trump.” Covington student suing WAPO. Go get them Nick. Fake News!

“The Washington Post ignored basic journalistic standards because it wanted to advance its well-known and easily documented biased agenda against President Donald J. Trump.” Covington student suing WAPO. Go get them Nick. Fake News!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 20, 2019

President Trump added this on the toxic state of the American liberal mainstream media.

The Press has never been more dishonest than it is today. Stories are written that have absolutely no basis in fact. The writers don’t even call asking for verification. They are totally out of control. Sadly, I kept many of them in business. In six years, they all go BUST!

POLL: Should The Covington Students Sue The Mainstream Media?

The Press has never been more dishonest than it is today. Stories are written that have absolutely no basis in fact. The writers don’t even call asking for verification. They are totally out of control. Sadly, I kept many of them in business. In six years, they all go BUST!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 20, 2019

The post President Trump Cheers Covington Student Nick Sandmann’s $250 Million Lawsuit Against WaPo: “Go Get Them, Nick!” appeared first on The Gateway Pundit.

Manny Machado wins the Powerball and Mega-Millions with record free-Agent deal

Hot Air - Wed, 02/20/2019 - 13:41

OK, it’s not cartel money.

But infield slugger and most-wanted MLB free agent Manny Machado has agreed to a new contract with the sad-sack San Diego Padres.

It will pay him $300 million over the next 10 years — GUARANTEED. The largest free agent contract in history, surpassing Alex Rodriguez’ $275 million ten-year Yankees deal in 2008.

Not bad for the 6-3, 26-year-old Dominican who went 15 for 66 in last fall’s playoffs and not one extra-base hit in 22 World Series at-bats for his Dodgers, who fell to that Boston team in only five games.

However to be fair, the four-time All Star has been quite successful in his first seven seasons. His 168 home runs since 2013 put him 13th in MLB and ninth with 203 doubles, which helped the Dodgers reach the Series last fall after his trade from Baltimore.

Apparently, there was quite some competition during his 113 days of free agency. Machado’s first choice was reportedly the N.Y. Yankees, but that team never made him an offer. The Phillies looked competitive, but balked at Machado’s desire to guarantee the entire deal.

Chicago’s White Sox went all out by hiring two of his best friends, setting up his spring training locker already and offering $250 million over eight years.

But Machado wanted to be close to the San Diego Zoo. Just kidding! San Diego’s completely guaranteed contract was the deal-maker.

Early online consensus was that San Diego made a smart deal, tying him up for the long-term as the Padres organization rebuilds its pitching staff and constructs a more competitive team from the ranks of its top-notch farm system.

San Diego won but 66 games last season.

Next, everyone waits to see how much more Washington’s left-fielder Bryce Harper, the other high-priced free agent, will get now that Machado has set this year’s free-agent market.

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Gay Website Calls Trump RACIST For Pushing Decriminalization Of Gays

GatewayPundit - Wed, 02/20/2019 - 13:16

The mental gymnastics that “Out” magazine writer Mathew Rodriguez jumps through to justify how Trump is racist and using “colonialist” tricks by calling for the decriminalization of homosexuality is some next-level stuff.

“Trump’s Plan to Decriminalize Homosexuality Is an Old Racist Tactic”

You may have heard about the Trump admin's plans to end the decriminalization of homosexuality abroad. I wrote about why…

Posted by Mathew Rodriguez on Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Somehow Trump is using The Gays™ as “pawns” by calling for this, but the democrats get a pass for their decades of pandering.

Because. Reasons.

His article on Out starts off with:

While on its surface, the move looks like an atypically benevolent decision by the Trump administration, the details of the campaign belie a different story. Rather than actually being about helping queer people around the world, the campaign looks more like another instance of the right using queer people as a pawn to amass power and enact its own agenda.

Rodriguez goes on to essentially defend Iran’s anti gay policies:

The most telling detail of NBC News’ report is that his plan centers homophobic violence in Iran, who NBC News calls the administration’s “top geopolitical foe.” The plan has reportedly been spearheaded by the U.S. ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, who is also the administration’s top-ranked gay official, in response to news that a young gay man was hanged in Iran recently. Grenell has had his eyes on Iran for some time and just a week ago, he was trying to get several European nations to pass sanctions on Iran, unrelated to the country’s stance on homosexuality, to no avail.

Homosexuality has been illegal in Iran since the theocratic 1979 Islamic Revolution. By at least one Guardian account, since the exit of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2013, enforcement of anti-gay laws has softened somewhat. Homosexuality, according to the writer, is an “open secret” and most queer people fear homophobic reaction from fellow citizens more than the authorities.

Grennell’s sudden interest in Iran’s anti-gay laws is strikingly similar to Trump’s rhetoric after the 2016 Pulse massacre in Orlando, Florida. After the deadly shooting, Trump used the 49 deaths as a way to galvanize support for an anti-Muslim agenda rather than find a way to support LGBTQ+ people. In pushing for immigration restrictions and a Muslim ban, Trump argued, he was the true pro-LGBTQ+ candidate. Rather than honor those who died, Trump used the tragedy as a way to stoke fear among the American people, and Grennell is taking similar actions with Iran — trying to reach an economic goal by painting the administration’s opponent as anti-gay.

“We know Trump is very focused on Iran and is looking for ways to demonize it in the public opinion and this is one area where you know the US and European countries see eye to eye on Iran,” Josh Lederman, who reported the original NBC News story, told Out in a phone interview. “So it makes for them to focus strategically on that rather than sanctions, where there’s been a big gulf between the U.S. and its allies.”

Rodriguez then criticizes the attempts to liberate gays in Europe:

There are several signs that this decision is denoted in a colonial sense of paternalism rather than any true altruism. According to the report, the decriminalization campaign is set to begin in Berlin where LGBTQ+ activists from across Europe will meet to hatch a plan that is “mostly concentrated in the Middle East, Africa, and the Caribbean.”

That sentence alone should set off several alarm bells. First of all, the Middle East, Africa, and the Caribbean are huge geopolitical entities. Attitudes toward gay people differ greatly among countries and regions within those entities and attempting to gather a room of European activists on how to deal with queer issues in those regions is the definition of paternalism.

Rodriguez ends his piece with:

Lederman plans to sit down with Grennell as well as several activists who attended the dinner meeting in Berlin for an interview that will air on MSNBC at a later date.

Though plans may or may not exist to invite local LGBTQ+ advocacy groups to the table, that they are not there at the plan’s inception is dangerous. Inviting European activists to solve problems in the Middle East, African or the Caribbean — which, once again, are not monolithic in the slightest — is a toothless effort, more PR than progressive.

So when his fellow LGBT comrades are being killed in middle eastern countries, that’s somehow not a humanitarian crisis that is worthy of intervention. But preventing those who want to murder gay people from coming into the US and European countries is a humanitarian crisis that requires us to take in as many of the people as possible.

The left, ladies and gentlemen.

The post Gay Website Calls Trump RACIST For Pushing Decriminalization Of Gays appeared first on The Gateway Pundit.

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