News Domestic and International

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Report Is Out. What Now?

Newsy - 18 hours 35 min ago

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The Department of Justice released the highly anticipated redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller's report Thursday morning. So, now what?

Attorney General William Barr repeatedly said Thursday that the report found there was no collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Mueller didn't exonerate the president of potential obstruction of justice. Only a prosecutor can file charges, and Mueller didn't issue any new charges in the report.

Mueller said: "If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment." 

Mueller added the president is not protected from obstruction charges under Article II of the Constitution. But it's important to note the Department of Justice has a longstanding policy against indicting a sitting president.

So, what does all this mean? It means Mueller's report is essentially a road map, and it's up to Congress to decide whether to further investigate if President Trump obstructed justice. The report even notes that Congress has the power to stop corruption through the political process of impeachment. 

At this point, it's unlikely the House will choose to go the impeachment route. If you didn't already know — it's pretty hard to impeach a president. No U.S. president has ever been removed from office via impeachment. If the House did move forward with that, it would need a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate to actually remove President Trump, which it currently doesn't have. 

But House Democrats aren't backing down. They're planning on pursuing their own investigations, and the House Judiciary Committee has asked Mueller to testify before it by May 23. 

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN

'Not my Jesus': Christian students protest Pence, alarming conservatives (Isaac Stanley-Becker/Washington Post)

Memeorandum - 18 hours 38 min ago

Isaac Stanley-Becker / Washington Post:
‘Not my Jesus’: Christian students protest Pence, alarming conservatives  —  Vice President Pence, an evangelical Christian, has imparted graduation advice to a narrow slice of American students — those gaining degrees from religious colleges and military academies.

Mueller report reveals that Eric, Don Jr AND Ivanka were alerted about coming Clinton info

Daily Mail - 18 hours 40 min ago
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report describes a Trump campaign staff meeting including Eric and Ivanka Trump in advance of the infamous Trump Tower confab with Russians.

Teresa Giudice seen for the first time since it's revealed Joe's deportation appeal was denied

Daily Mail - 18 hours 41 min ago
Teresa, who shares four daughters with Joe - Gia, 18, Gabriella, 14, Milania, 13, and Audriana, nine - was on a call as she made her way to her Range Rover to leave.

Russian businessman says he told Michael Cohen about ‘compromising tapes’ of Trump

Daily Mail - 18 hours 41 min ago
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report says a Russian businessman provided Michael Cohen with information about purported Russian 'tapes' of Trump from a Moscow visit.

Clapper: If Active Collusion Wasn't Proven, I Think We Have 'A Case of Passive Collusion'

Breitbart - 18 hours 42 min ago
On Thursday’s broadcast of CNN’s “AC360,” CNN National Security Analyst and former Director of National Intelligence Lt. Gen. James Clapper (Ret.) stated that “if there wasn’t active collusion proven, then I think what we have here is a case of

Gallup: Number of Americans who are members of a church is in steep decline, at 80-year low

Hot Air - 18 hours 47 min ago

It’s an 80-year low only because that’s when the subject first began being polled. In reality today’s percentage of church members is almost certainly the lowest in American history.

This may help explain why a Catholic priest’s mention of “the body of Christ” this week somehow ended up being translated by the New York Times into “a statue of Jesus.” They probably had no frame of reference.

That’s some graph. Normally with data related to matters of religious belief you’d expect to see a gradual slope downward, possibly starting in the 1960s. Not here. Church membership is cruising along steadily for 60 years — and then, in 1998 or so, something happens. Twenty years later, the share of church members across the population is down 20 points. At that rate you’d expect Americans to have completely given up membership in churches by 2070 or so.

Causation is complicated, Gallup notes: “A sharp increase in the proportion of the population with no religious affiliation, a decline in church membership among those who do have a religious preference, and low levels of church membership among millennials are all contributing to the accelerating trend.” Churches are losing members in part because religions are losing members — but even people who do belong to a particular faith are less likely to belong to a particular church. What gives?

My theory for any ominous social trend that began in the late 1990s is that it must be the farking Internet, which seems goofy at first blush here but less so upon reflection. The Internet may have no direct bearing on religious devotion but it does bear directly on people’s ability to replace real-world communities with virtual ones. If you’re satisfying your need to belong by participating in some online group, you may feel less need to join civic organizations, starting with your local church. Civic groups have also been experiencing membership decline for years, most dramatically and probably not coincidentally among younger adults — the sort of people more likely to spend longer hours on the Internet.

That is, it’s not necessarily a decline in religious belief that’s driving the decline in church membership, although no doubt that’s contributing. It’s the decline in real-world community of all sorts. How much of a coincidence can it be that loneliness in teenagers rose 50 percent between 2012 and 2017 as smartphones proliferated and social media became even more ubiquitous? Online communities don’t provide the same sense of meaningful companionship as real ones do, but they’re much easier to join and participate in. The bad supplants the good.

One potential flaw in my theory is that America’s “social capital” began dropping long before 1998. Robert Putnam famously diagnosed the problem in 1995 in “Bowling Alone.” Per Gallup’s numbers, churches were surprisingly resilient in retaining members even as other civic groups were apparently hemorrhaging them. But the flaw isn’t irreconcilable with the Internet theory of causation: It may be that Americans who had already severed ties with more secular groups like Kiwanis required a stronger cultural jolt to sever a bond as thick as religious community. The Internet ended up providing it. And now church membership is catching up to declining membership everywhere else.

Some demographic data for you. The first column shows the percentage of church members in each group from 1998-2000 and the second column shows the percentage from 2016-18. The third column shows the change between the two:

Obviously the Internet doesn’t explain everything. If it did, there wouldn’t be a single-digit decline among Republicans versus a 23-point decline(!) among Democrats, to the point where church members are now a minority of the party. Religiosity matters here.

Speaking of which, although men and women have each seen double-digit declines in church membership, the effect is more severe among men. Just 47 percent now count themselves as church members, i.e. a clear majority of an entire gender no longer belongs to a local religious community. And men are more likely to be Republican than women are, remember. If being right-wing were more closely tied to religious faith, we shouldn’t see numbers like these. What we’re getting here is a hint of a Trumpier, less Christian GOP. It makes sense that the president, at least at the time of his candidacy in 2015, wasn’t a member of a church either.

The post Gallup: Number of Americans who are members of a church is in steep decline, at 80-year low appeared first on Hot Air.

How We Characterized Michael Cohen's Testimony (Ben Smith/BuzzFeed News)

Memeorandum - 18 hours 47 min ago

Ben Smith / BuzzFeed News:
How We Characterized Michael Cohen's Testimony  —  This Jan. 18, a day after BuzzFeed News reported that Michael Cohen told prosecutors that the president had directed him to lie to Congress, the special counsel's office issued a vague but forceful rebuttal of our story.

California Lyft driver is fired after refusing to give blind man and his guide dog a ride

Daily Mail - 18 hours 48 min ago
Charles Massey and his service dog, Jedi, entered a Lyft on April 6 in Grand Terrace, California. The unidentified driver demanded Massey and his dog get out fearing Jedi would damage his seats.

McConnell To Introduce Bill Raising Minimum Age To Buy Tobacco

Newsy - 18 hours 49 min ago

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On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced he'll introduce federal legislation to raise the legal age to buy tobacco products to 21 after the Senate returns from recess.

One of the most important aspects of McConnell's expected proposal is a focus on limiting underage access to vaping products, which would also be held to the new age limit. The bill would be the most broad-reaching example yet of so-called "T21" tobacco laws, which have so far only been enacted at state or local levels.

Fears of teen tobacco use have grown since the CDC reported the number of high school students using tobacco products grew by nearly 38% in 2018. The CDC attributed this rise largely to the growth in popularity of e-cigarettes. Use of those products grew by around 78%.

McConnell said there would be an exception in the bill for those under 21 who are members of the military.

The legislation, which will be called the McConnell Bill, is expected to be introduced in May. 

Chuck and Nancy slam Bill Barr for 'deliberately distorting' the Mueller Report

Daily Mail - 18 hours 51 min ago
The pair, main, issued a joint, blistering statement in response to the 448-page report. In it they outline 'at least four significant ways Barr (inset) misled the public'.

Barr v. Mueller: Friends pitted against each other (Darren Samuelsohn/Politico)

Memeorandum - 18 hours 53 min ago

Darren Samuelsohn / Politico:
Barr v. Mueller: Friends pitted against each other  —  Bill Barr and Robert Mueller have been close friends for 30 years, from the Justice Department to family weddings and the Bible study attended by both of their wives.  —  Now they're anchoring two ends of a legal high-wire act playing …

Carlson: Mueller Report 'Single Most Humiliating Thing' to Happen to White House Press Corps in History of U.S.

Breitbart - 18 hours 56 min ago
Thursday on Fox News Channel’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” host Tucker Carlson castigated the Washington, D.C. press corps for its handling of the Department of Justice special counsel probe headed by Robert Mueller on the heels of the release of the

Apple's next iPhones could feature THREE rear-facing lenses and a host of new camera features

Daily Mail - 19 hours 4 min ago
The next generation of iPhones will likely emphasize a slew of new camera features to entice current and future customers, according to one of the top Apple analysts.

John Podesta: Mueller Report 'Lays Out Devastating Case' Against Trump

Breitbart - 19 hours 4 min ago
Former campaign chairman for Hillary Clinton's failed 2016 presidential campaign John Podesta said Thursday that special counsel Robert Mueller's report "lays out a devastating case" against President Donald Trump.

Bernie on Mueller Report: Trump, Republicans ‘Obstructing’ Efforts to ‘Protect Our Democracy’

Breitbart - 19 hours 17 min ago
Presidential hopeful and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said President Donald Trump and the GOP are hampering efforts to “protect our democracy.”

Through email leaks and propaganda, Russians sought to elect Trump, Mueller finds (Washington Post)

Memeorandum - 19 hours 18 min ago

Washington Post:
Through email leaks and propaganda, Russians sought to elect Trump, Mueller finds  —  In what will stand as among the most definitive public accounts of the Kremlin's attack on the American political system, the report of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's investigation laid out in precise …

Exclusive--Bill Cassidy Designing Republican Federalist Healthcare Plan

Breitbart - 19 hours 25 min ago
Sen. Bill Cassidy revealed that he continues to work on his own proposal based on the successful CHIP program and would allow states to design their own healthcare plans.

Report: Trump telling aides, “Keep an eye on Fox News”

Hot Air - 19 hours 26 min ago

Why does he need aides to keep an eye on it? Judging from his Twitter feed, he watches it like 14 hours a day.

Plus, doesn’t the 9 p.m. guy basically work for him? If he wants to know what’s going on behind the scenes at FNC, he should ask his shadow chief of staff during their nightly phone call.

If he was suspicious of disloyalty at Fox before, though, imagine his reaction when he finds out what Chris Wallace said this morning.

“Keep an eye on it,” Trump started telling aides [last month], according to two people with direct knowledge of his directive, in conversations about what was going on behind-the-scenes at Fox, and if there was any cause for concern for even the slightest positive coverage of any Democrat…

[P]rivately, President Trump had been raising these questions of institutional loyalty, on-and-off, since at least the middle of last year. Several people who’ve heard him do this view it as more of a gutcheck than a loss of faith, and as yet another indication that Trump can interpret even the smallest deviations as a slight or a betrayal.

He’s taken to asking fans to keep an eye on it too, triggered by Bernie Sanders’s ratings success on FNC a few night ago:

Many Trump Fans & Signs were outside of the @FoxNews Studio last night in the now thriving (Thank you President Trump) Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, for the interview with Crazy Bernie Sanders. Big complaints about not being let in-stuffed with Bernie supporters. What’s with @FoxNews?

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

He keeps nudging his supporters to complain about Fox but hasn’t directly threatened the network — yet. Sometimes he’ll grouse on Twitter about Shep or one of the other daytime anchors, sometimes he’ll go to bat for one of his cronies there whom he thinks the network has punished unfairly for having crossed a line. But he hasn’t deployed his nuclear weapon, encouraging fans to boycott the network until it turns even Trumpier in its sensibilities than it is now. Lord knows he could hurt FNC if he wanted to:

“President Trump’s criticism of Fox News is a clear and present danger for the network,” said Andy Hemming, former rapid response director for the Trump White House. “The president knows Fox News viewers are far more loyal to him than the network, meaning he can push those supporters to more overtly friendly outlets like One America News Network or Newsmax with just a couple of tweets and some extra access. It also goes without saying that the financial implications for these networks are massive.”

Totally true, although there’s some risk for Trump too in taking on Fox. It may be that Fox viewers are so set in their viewing habits that they actually wouldn’t turn the channel, even for a right-wing alternative like OANN, at Trump’s urging. He might end up boosting the audience’s sense of dissatisfaction with Fox but not actually cost them much in ratings, which would make him look weak by suggesting he has less influence over his own base than everyone suspects. The other risk is that Trump declaring war on Fox would encourage Fox to declare war on him, or at least the news side of the network. His base is waaaaaaaay bigger than Fox’s is — he got 63 million votes three years ago whereas Fox averages around 2.4 million viewers a day, and of course Fox hosts like Megyn Kelly were hard on Trump in the 2016 primaries with basically no damage done to the candidate at all. But not having FNC as a dependable ally on TV every day would leave him without any allies in the top tier of cable news networks.

OANN is licking its chops over a potential Trump/Fox split, viewing it as a priceless opportunity to finally seize some market share from FNC. They happily touted Trump’s “What’s with Fox News?” tweet on their website a few days ago. And they’ve spent the past three years trying to out-Fox Fox by being even more slavishly loyal to Trump than FNC has, sporadically showing annoyance with POTUS when he fails to notice:

President Trump recently gave a speech, thanking his supporters in the media. Not a single mention of One America News — one of his GREATEST supporters…@OANN calls bullshit… pic.twitter.com/Ued22gRied

— One America News (@OANN) March 29, 2019

OANN later deleted that tweet but it seems to have had the desired effect: This morning Trump encouraged his Twitter followers to watch Bill Barr’s press conference on Fox News — or on OANN. I bet that didn’t go unnoticed at FNC either. Just the president reminding management that he’s willing and able to promote the competition if they continue to displease him.

But for the time being, he’s happy to keep promoting Fox:

It was a really great day for America! A special evening tonight on @TuckerCarlson, @seanhannity & @IngrahamAngle Will be very interesting!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 18, 2019

And so now we wait to see what Fox will do about the town halls it seems to be planning with Democratic candidates. They did so well with Bernie’s hour on Monday night that they’re hungry for more. Amy Klobuchar has already been booked and Pete Buttigieg signing on seems inevitable. If Trump tweets something like, “Sad to see non-fake news network Fox promoting open-borders pro-crime Democrats! OANN never does this!”, what will Fox do? Scale back its ambitions for other town halls with Dems or forge ahead and call his bluff, believing that not even Trump’s love can make OANN into a serious cable competitor?

The post Report: Trump telling aides, “Keep an eye on Fox News” appeared first on Hot Air.

Gwyneth Paltrow insists '40s titties can still be all that and a pack of chips'

Daily Mail - 19 hours 26 min ago
Gwyneth, who is making a reputation for herself as a witty Instagram commenter, has once again been featured on the popular account Comments by Celebs.

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