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President Donald Trump has secured the release of two American hostages held captive by Houthis in Yemen, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday.

“We join all Americans in welcoming their newly regained freedom,” he tweeted.

The two Americans, Sandra Loli and Mikael Gidada, and the remains of a third, Bilal Fateen, were released in exchange for the return of about 250 of the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels from Oman, according to the White House.

Oman’s state news said the American captives were flown out of Yemen on an Omani plane. It said 250 “Yemeni brothers” who received treatment in Oman have been returned to Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, on two flights as part of the exchange.

Kieran Ramsey, director of the administration’s hostage recovery cell, said Loli and Gidada would soon be on their way back to the United States.

“Tragically, one of these Americans died during his unlawful captivity,” Ramsey said.

Kash Patel, a deputy assistant to Trump who worked on the deal, told The Wall Street Journal that Loli had been held by the Houthis for about three years and Gidada was held captive for about a year.

Yemen plunged into chaos and civil war when the Houthi rebels took over Sanaa in 2014 from the internationally recognized government. A Saudi-led coalition allied with the government has been fighting the Houthis since March 2015. The war has left millions without food and proper medical care and has killed more than 112,000 people.

The release of the Americans came a day before a planned U.N.-brokered exchange of more than 1,000 prisoners between the Houthis and the internationally recognized government. The U.N. had said in September that the two warring sides agreed to exchange 1,081 conflict-related prisoners, including Saudi and Sudanese troops fighting on the side of the Saudi-led coalition.

Author: Bradford Betz

Source: Fox News: Trump administration secures release of two American hostages from Yemen

Former NFL Player Herschel Walker on Monday claimed that money from China is supposedly funding the Black Lives Matter organization and that money is then donated to the Democratic Party.

The claims from Walker came in a video he posted on Twitter, writing in the caption that the 2020 presidential election was the most important in history, not just for the President of the United States “but for all branches of Gov’t.”

“I just saw the Democratic Party raise a lot of money and a lot of it came from ActBlue,” Walker says in the video, referring to the online fundraising payment professor that facilitates donations to Democratic and left-leaning organizations.

Walker then notes that Black Lives Matter – which was founded by people “trained from Marxists – “gave a lot of money to ActBlue.”

“I reckon you can support whatever party you want to support. If the Democratic Party wants to be associated with Marxists, that’s fine,” Walker says.

“But then I also saw that BLM had a subsidiary company that was partnered with a company from China that was giving them money. So, the money goes from China, to the subsidiary, to BLM, to the Democratic Party,” Walker says, adding: “Why does it seem like I’m the only that’s coming up with this? Just think about it.”

ActBlue is an online payment processor used by many groups affiliated with the Democratic Party. WinRed, launched last year, is an equivalent processing company for the Republican Party.

It wasn’t immediately clear what BLM “subsidiary” Walker was referring to. But his comments come less than a week after an article from The Daily Signal, the blog of the Heritage Foundation, titled: “The BLM Co-Founder and Pro-Communist China Group Are Partnering Up. Here’s Why.”

The piece purported to show a link between an organization started by BLM co-founder Alicia Garza, and a non-profit with ties to Beijing. A day later, The New York Times reported that the article conflated two nonprofits with the same name and made incorrect claims about BLM’s ties to the Chinese government.

Author: Bradford Betz

Source: Fox News: Herschel Walker claims China is helping fund BLM which then donates to Democrats

Two Ohio high school students have been awarded scholarships after being briefly suspended from their football team for carrying flags onto the field during a game on September 11.

The Little Miami students, Brady Williams and Jarad Bentley, had been told by the school district to not bring flags on the field. But they did it anyway.

Williams, who is the son of a sheriff’s deputy, carried a “Thin Blue Line flag” and Bentley, who is the son of a fireman, carried a “Thin Red Line Flag” onto the field. The school later suspended Williams and Bentley from the team.

On Tuesday, the Little Miami Board of Education said it understood the students’ desire to “show their support of our first responders on the anniversary of 9/11” but because they did not obtain permission from school officials to bring flags onto the field, they had been suspended.

Despite the students’ “insubordination,” the board concluded that their actions had not been politically motivated and overturned their suspension.

“Moving forward, Little Miami is returning the players to active status and this matter will be addressed as an Athletic Department Code of Conduct issue, with any potential consequences to be handled by coaching staff,” the board said in a statement.

On Friday, a local non-profit group called “Holiday for Heroes” said it is awarding Williams and Bentley a scholarship for their statement, WJAC-TV reported.

“Brady and Jarad are true PATRIOTS, they did something last Friday that showed they are far beyond their years,” the group said. “These men stood up for a cause they believe in. As they took the field with flags in hand it reminded us how we felt 19 years ago, heartbroken yet strong and united.”

Author: Bradford Betz

Source: Fox News: Ohio high school students awarded college scholarships for carrying flags onto football field

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Sunday called for gun control less than 24 hours after two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies who were critically wounded in Compton after a gunman opened fire on their squad car in an apparent ambush.

“Weapons of war have no place in our communities,” the former Vice President tweeted. “We need to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.”

Earlier Biden had called the shooting “unconscionable” and for the suspect to be brought to justice. He also said anyone who commits an act of violence “should be caught and punished.”

Biden’s comments on the ambush and gun control stand in stark contrast to President Donald Trump who called for a “fast trial” with the possibility of the death penalty.

“Animals that must be hit hard!” Trump tweeted, referring to criminals who target law enforcement.

“If [the deputies] die, fast trial death penalty for the killer. Only way to stop this!” Trump later wrote.

The president continued to attack his Democratic rival on Sunday, calling for tougher criminal sentencing guidelines and faster courts.

Speaking at a roundtable campaign event in Las Vegas, Trump used Saturday night’s ambush to highlight his campaign’s “law and order” while casting Biden as weak on crime.

“He’s not strong for law and order and everybody knows that,” Trump said of Biden during at a “Latinos for Trump” event. “When you see a scene like happened just last night in California with the two police people – a woman, a man – shot at stone cold short range.”

The 31-year-old female deputy and 24-year-old male deputy underwent surgery Saturday evening and were listed as in “critical” condition. A manhunt for the suspect was still underway on Sunday.

Author: Bradford Betz

Source: Fox News: Biden pushes gun control less than 24 hours after attempted assassination on deputies

President Trump on Sunday granted an emergency authorization for the usage of convalescent plasma to treat coronavirus patients, dubbing it a “major breakthrough.”

Speaking to reporters from the White House Sunday, Trump said the FDA has “issued an emergency use authorization… for a treatment known as convalescent plasma.”

“This is a powerful therapy that transfuses very very strong antibodies from the blood of recovered patients to help treat patients battling a current infection,” Trump said, adding that the authorization will “expand access to this treatment.”

“Based on the science and the data, the FDA has made the independent determination that the treatment is safe and very effective,” Trump said, before urging all recovered COVID-19 patients in the USA to donate their blood plasma.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany announced Trump’s press conference in a Saturday-night tweet, writing it involved “a major therapeutic breakthrough on the China virus.”

Trump’s announcement Sunday follows White House officials suggesting last week that there were politically motivated delays by the Food and Drug Administration in approving a vaccine and therapeutics for the coronavirus.

The treatment takes convalescent plasma from patients who have recovered from the coronavirus and is rich in antibodies. Though it may provide benefits to those fighting the virus, the evidence has been inconclusive as to how it works or how best to administer it.

The White House has been growing agitated with the pace of the plasma approval. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows did not deal in specifics but said “we’ve looked at a number of people that are not being as diligent as they should be in terms of getting to the bottom of it.”

“This president is about cutting red tape,” said Meadows in an interview on ABC’s “This Week.” “He had to make sure that they felt the heat. If they don’t see the light, they need to feel the heat because the American people are suffering.”

Sunday’s push came a day after Trump tweeted sharp criticism on the process to treat the virus, which has killed more than 176,000 Americans and imperiled his reelection chances.

The White House has sunk vast resources into an expedited process to develop a vaccine and Trump aides have been banking on it being an “October surprise” that could help the president make up ground in the polls.

“The deep state, or whoever, over at the FDA is making it very difficult for drug companies to get people in order to test the vaccines and therapeutics,” Trump tweeted. “Obviously, they are hoping to delay the answer until after November 3rd. Must focus on speed, and saving lives!”

More than 64,000 patients in the U.S. have been given convalescent plasma, a century-old approach to fend off flu and measles before vaccines. It’s a go-to tactic when new diseases come along, and history suggests it works against some, but not all, infections.

There’s no solid evidence yet that it fights the coronavirus and, if so, how best to use it. The FDA, in announcing the emergency authorization for convalescent plasma said its benefits “outweigh the known and potential risks of the product and that there are no adequate, approved, and available alternative treatments.”

Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday said the convalescent plasma treatment is “probably beneficial,” but dismissed Trump’s suggestion of a deliberate slowdown.

“I firmly reject the idea they would slow-walk anything or accelerate anything based on any political consideration or any consideration other than what is best for the public health and a real sense of mission to patients,” Gottlieb said.

Hundreds of drugs are currently being developed as possible treatments against the coronavirus infection, taking a range of approaches.

Author: Bradford Betz

Source: Fox News: Trump announces emergency authorization of ‘breakthrough’ coronavirus treatment

A federal judge in California on Wednesday blocked the Trump administration from imposing restrictions on individuals seeking asylum in the United States, just hours after a judge in Washington had decided to let the rule stand while lawsuits play out in court.

The rule, published in the Federal Register last week, required people seeking asylum to apply first in one of the countries they cross on their way to the U.S. — with certain exceptions. It targeted tens of thousands of Central Americans who have crossed Mexico each month trying to enter the U.S.

The rule was met quickly with a legal challenge from advocacy groups, who moved for a temporary restraining order blocking the rule. After a hearing in Washington, D.C. federal court, District Judge Timothy J. Kelly denied the motion. But hours later, U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar in San Francisco, an Obama appointee, blocked the enforcement of the rule. His ruling took effect immediately.

Arla Ertz holding a protest sign outside of the San Francisco Federal Courthouse on Wednesday. (AP)

“The court recognized, as it did with the first asylum ban, that the Trump administration was attempting an unlawful end run around asylum protections enacted by Congress,” said ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt in a statement.

Melissa Crow, a senior supervising attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center called Tigar’s block, “an important victory for incredibly vulnerable individuals and families from besieged Central American countries seeking refuge in our country.”

The White House had earlier called the decision to uphold the Trump administration’s rule “a victory for Americans concerned about the crisis at our southern border,” adding, “Tens of thousands of migrants making opportunistic asylum claims have not only exacerbated the crisis at our southern border but also have harmed genuine asylum seekers, who are forced to wait years for relief because our system is clogged with meritless claims.”

Protestors holding signs that read “Asylum is a Right” outside of the San Francisco Federal Courthouse on Wednesday. (AP)

Kelly, who was appointed to the bench by President Trump said the immigrant advocate groups who filed the lawsuit did not show that their work would be irreparably harmed if the policy moved forward.

With certain exceptions, the rule requires individuals to apply for and be denied asylum in another country in order to apply in the U.S. That means that migrants from Central American nations who travel through Mexico – who make up a significant portion of recent asylum seekers – will not be eligible for asylum in America unless they previously applied for asylum in Mexico or any other country they traversed and were turned down.

The new rule’s exceptions include certain cases of human trafficking.

The rule is meant to crack down on asylum seekers coming to the U.S. more for economic reasons than to escape persecution in their home countries. Administration officials say this could help close the gap between the initial asylum screening that most people pass and the final decision on asylum that most people do not win. The goal in part is to allow quicker determinations in these cases.

The policy follows the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols, commonly referred to as the “remain in Mexico” policy. Under that policy, asylum seekers were often told to go back to Mexico to await hearings, rather than be allowed to remain in the U.S.

Democrats railed against that policy, with 2020 hopeful Beto O’Rourke calling it “inhumane.”

A reduction in asylum seekers would ease the burden on federal agencies currently overwhelmed by the volume of individuals seeking entry into the U.S.

Detention facilities have been notoriously stretched for resources, resulting in outcries against the government. The criticism has particularly been strong when it comes to the conditions in which migrant children have been kept.

Fox News’ Judson Berger, Matt Leach and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Bradford Betz is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @bradford_betz.

Author: Bradford Betz, Ronn Blitzer

Source: Fox News: Federal court blocks Trump asylum rules hours after judge ruled to keep restrictions in place

Triple-amputee Air Force veteran on mission to raise $1B for US-Mexico border wall

Brian Kolfage’s GoFundMe campaign ‘We The People Will Fund The Wall,’ has racked up more than $3 million from more than 34,000 people, with a goal of raising $1 billion.

A triple amputee U.S. military veteran says he was inspired to raise money for President Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall after reading a New York Post article that questioned why no one had taken up the mantle.

In just three days, Brian Kolfage’s GoFundMe campaign “We The People Will Fund The Wall,” has racked up more than $2 million from more than 34,000 people, with a goal of raising $1 billion.

“If the 63 million people who voted for Trump each pledge $80, we can build the wall,” the page reads. “That equates to roughly 5Billion Dollars, even if we get half, that’s half the wall. We can do this.”

“If the 63 million people who voted for Trump each pledge $80, we can build the wall. That equates to roughly 5Billion Dollars, even if we get half, that’s half the wall. We can do this.”

— Brian Kolfage, triple amputee U.S. military veteran

Kolfage wrote that the campaign has been in touch with the Trump administration “to secure a point of contact where all funds will go upon completion.”

“As a veteran who has given so much, 3 limbs, I feel deeply invested to this nation to ensure future generations have everything we have today,” Kolfage’s page reads. “Too many Americans have been murdered by illegal aliens and too many illegals are taking advantage of the United States taxpayers with no means of ever contributing to our society.”

He added: “Democrats are going to stall this project by every means possible and play political games to ensure President Trump doesn’t get his victory. They’d rather see President Trump fail than see America succeed. However, if we can fund a large portion of this wall, it will jumpstart things and will be less money Trump has to secure from our politicians.”

Kolfage is a retired U.S. Air Force member who served in Iraq. During his second deployment for Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004, Kolfage was injured in a rocket attack at Balad Air Base. According to Kolfage’s website, a 107mm rocket shell exploded about three feet away from him. Kolfage lost both legs and his right hand and required 11 months of therapy at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Kolfage continued to serve in the Air Force for several more years and was assigned to Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona as the base security manager. Kolfage is “the most severely wounded Airman to survive any war,” his website states. He is now a motivational speaker and has appeared multiple times on FOX News.

Kolfage graduated from the University of Arizona’s School of Architecture in 2014 and is now married with children.

The White House did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment. This week, the White House retracted its $5 billion figure to fund the border wall amid a looming government shutdown.

“We have other ways that we can get to that $5 billion that we’ll work with Congress,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told Fox News on Tuesday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Wednesday indicated the Senate will consider a stopgap measure to continue funding the government to avert a government shutdown – but it won’t include Trump’s desired allocation for border wall funding because of the “reality of our political moment.”

BORDER WALL EFFORT GETTING BOOST FROM US SHERIFFS’ CROWDFUNDING SITE

Kolfage’s campaign is not the first crowdfunding effort to raise money for the border wall. In September the National Sheriff’s Association launched a website for donations. As of mid-December, the website has garnered nearly $160,000.

Fox News’ Alex Pappas contributed to this report.

Bradford Betz is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @bradford_betz.

Author: Bradford Betz

Source: Fox News: Triple-amputee Air Force veteran on mission to raise $1B for US-Mexico border wall

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