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President Trump said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “want to meet to make a deal” on the fourth coronavirus stimulus package, after negotiations between congressional lawmakers and the White House reached a stalemate over the weekend.

“So now Schumer and Pelosi want to meet to make a deal,” the president tweeted Monday. “Amazing how it all works, isn’t it.”

“Where have they been for the last 4 weeks when they were ‘hardliners’, and only wanted BAILOUT MONEY for Democrat run states and cities that are failing badly?” Trump continued, adding, “They know my phone number!”

The president’s tweet comes after he signed four executive actions over the weekend to provide Americans financial relief from the ongoing pandemic, after Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill failed to reach an agreement on what to include in the fourth stimulus package.

The executive actions included $400 per week in supplemental unemployment aid — a replacement of the program passed under the CARES Act earlier this year that gave unemployed people $600 a week extra until the federal program expired at the end of July.

The action would require states to pay for 25 percent of the $400 weekly benefit, while the federal government would pick up 75 percent.

The $400 payment to unemployed Americans came as Republicans on Capitol Hill argued that the initial unemployment insurance program disincentivized Americans to get back to work, with many collecting more money unemployed than employed. Republicans pushed for the program to be reduced to $200 per week, while Democrats argued the program should be renewed at the original $600 a week.

The president also signed executive actions that would encourage federal efforts to help renters and homeowners avoid eviction or foreclosure for failing to make their monthly payments; defer the payroll tax from Sept. 1 to Dec. 31, 2020, for employees making $100,000 or less a year; and suspend federal student loan payments and set interest rates to 0% through Dec. 31, 2020 — the current student loan relief program was set to expire on Sept. 30.

But Schumer, D-N.Y., on Monday called the executive orders “laughable,” telling MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that the administration has “no respect for the American people.”

Schumer went on to claim that White House chief of staff Mark Meadows is to blame for a lack of a deal on the fourth package.

“We came up with a strong plan, but we even were willing because we so much want to get this done,” Schumer said. “We said to the president, to the president’s negotiators last week, we’ll meet you in the middle. We’ll cut a trillion. You raise a trillion. You know what they said? Absolutely not. I said to them, you mean it’s your way or the highway? And they said, yep.”

Meanwhile, Pelosi, D-Calif., over the weekend slammed the president’s executive actions as an “illusion” and an “unconstitutional slop.”

“While it has the illusion of saying we’re going to have a moratorium on evictions, it says I’m gonna ask the folks in charge to study if that’s feasible. While he says he’s going to do the payroll tax, what he’s doing is undermining Social Security and Medicare, so these are illusions,” Pelosi said.

She later added that Trump’s orders “don’t give the money in enhanced benefits, but puts a complicated formula there which will take a while, if at all, to accomplish to put money in the pockets of the American people.”

Talks had been stuck for weeks, with Democrats demanding more than $3 trillion in the relief bill while Republicans struggled to eventually coalesce around a $1 trillion proposal. Pelosi on Thursday proposed the parties each give $1 trillion and pass a $2 trillion proposal, but Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Friday the idea was a “non-starter.”

Author: Brooke Singman

Source: Fox News: Trump says Schumer, Pelosi ‘want to meet to make a deal’ on coronavirus relief

President Trump on Wednesday said the boycott on Goya Foods “backfired,” claiming people are now buying their products “like crazy.”

“@GoyaFoods is doing GREAT. The Radical Left smear machine backfired, people are buying like crazy!” Trump tweeted.

The president’s tweet comes as Goya Foods, the largest Hispanic-owned food label in the country, faced backlash after its CEO Robert Unanue praised the president during an event at the White House last week.

“We’re all truly blessed at the same time to have a leader like President Trump, who is a builder,” said Unanue at the event.

The president invited Hispanic leaders to the White House and signed an executive order on the White House Hispanic Prosperity Initiative to use more taxpayer support for private and charter schools and “improve access by Hispanic Americans to education and economic opportunities.”

But after Unanue’s praise of the president’s actions, politicians and celebrities alike pushed for a boycott of the company.

Critics like Rep. Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez, D-N.Y., former Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro and a number of celebrities took aim at the company on social media with hashtags like #BoycottGoya and #GOYAWAY. Many urged people who use Goya products to start buying similar foods and condiments produced by the company’s competitors.

But this week, supporters are flipping the narrative and calling for a Goya Foods “buy-cott.”

Many on social media, including conservative media hosts and Republican lawmakers like Sen. Marco Rubio, weighed in, urging Americans to buy the company’s products.

“Most of these people fronting about a #GOYABOYCOTT either don’t use Goya Foods anyways [a]nd most of the ones who do will cave by #NocheBuena,” Rubio, R-Fla., tweeted over the weekend, with an “I Love Goya” graphic.

And Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and a senior White House adviser, posted a picture of herself holding a can of Goya black beans Tuesday night, drawing some criticism.

“If it’s Goya, it has to be good,” she posted. She included the Spanish translation, “Si es Goya, tiene que ser Bueno.”

And Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and a senior White House adviser, posted a picture of herself holding a can of Goya black beans Tuesday night, drawing some criticism.

“If it’s Goya, it has to be good,” she posted. She included the Spanish translation, “Si es Goya, tiene que ser Bueno.”

The White House issued a statement Wednesday ridiculing the pushback: “Only the media and the cancel culture movement would criticize Ivanka for showing her personal support for a company that has been unfairly mocked, boycotted and ridiculed for supporting this administration – one that has consistently fought for and delivered for the Hispanic community.”

Meanwhile, Virginia resident Casey Harper started a GoFundMe on Saturday to buy Goya products to donate to food pantries. The fund has already raised more than $250,000.

Goya Foods touted its charitable giving amid calls for its boycott, saying that it has given “two million pounds of food to food banks across the nation who are in desperate need of food for families impacted by COVID19.”

Meanwhile, Unanue called the pushback against him visiting the White House “suppression of speech.”

Unanue said that he was previously invited to the White House for an event hosted by the Obama administration for Hispanic Heritage Month.

“So, you’re allowed to talk good or to praise one president, but you’re not allowed to aid in economic and educational prosperity? And you make a positive comment and all of a sudden, it is not acceptable,” Unanue said.

Unanue said he is not apologizing for his remarks supporting Trump’s economic policy and would not turn down other future invitations.

Author: Brooke Singman

Source: Fox News: Trump says Goya boycott backfired: ‘People are buying like crazy!’

Mayor Bill de Blasio blamed the uptick in violence over the weekend on the coronavirus pandemic, while defending the city’s latest policing reforms and vowing to keep New York City “the safest big city in America.”

De Blasio held a press conference Monday after a weekend of violence across New York City that left at least eight people dead and more than 44 people shot and injured.

“I want to talk about what happened this weekend. Many were out there celebrating, but we saw too much violence, and we have a lot of work to do to address it,” de Blasio said, while adding that “there is not one cause for something like this.”

“This is directly related to coronavirus,” de Blasio said. “This is a very serious situation… As we’re getting into warmer and warmer weather, we’re feeling the effects of people being cooped up for months, the economy hasn’t restarted – we have a real problem here.”

De Blasio vowed to “double down” to address the violence, which included shootings in Brooklyn, the Bronx and upper Manhattan, noting that it was going to take “neighborhood policing” and cooperation from clergy and elected officials.

“This is all hands on deck,” de Blasio said, while adding that the city has “been dealt a really tough hand.”

“It was the health care crisis in March and April, May we were coming out of it, the warmer months. People are cooped up … they don’t have the normal things to engage their lives,” he explained. “But we’re going to overcome it. It’s going to be tough and take hard work.”

He added: “I know it feels very unsettling for people but we’re going to fight it back.”

Meanwhile, New York City Police Department Chief Terence Monahan weighed in on the violence, agreeing that the surge in violence over the weekend was due to “a combination of things,” including the COVID-19 pandemic, but also pointed out the court system being shut down and new reforms in the city, such as bail reform.

“A lot of different individuals are on the street that should not be on the street,” Monahan said Monday, noting that inmate releases from Rikers Island due to COVID-19, bail reform and the newly imposed ban on chokeholds contributed as well.

“It has our cops hesitating to enforce some of those quality-of-life issues,” he said, noting that police do not have a problem with the ban on chokeholds, but that other language in the new legislation makes it difficult for officers to make arrests, including using their knees on a suspect’s back.

“The animosity toward police out there is tremendous,” Monahan said. “Just about everyone we deal with is looking to fight a police officer when we make an arrest, so it is vital that we get communities together supporting and speaking up for police.”

He added that “the vast majority support our police,” and that the force needs “to know from the communities how they want their communities policed.”

“It is unacceptable the amount of violence we had this weekend,” he added. “We have to deal with the guns on the streets and find new ways to get them.”

De Blasio also added that the court system not functioning due to coronavirus is causing a backlog for the NYPD.

Meanwhile, de Blasio and Monahan were asked if police officers were pulling back due to the New York City Council’s decision to defund the NYPD by $1 billion last week.

“Absolutely not,” Monahan said. “Our guys are not slowing down. Investigations are moving along. Shooting and homicide investigations do not happen overnight… We have numerous individuals that we are ready to indict and we are waiting for the court system to open up.”

The comments Monday came after there were 21 shootings that left at least 37 people injured and three people killed during a nine-hour span between midnight Saturday through 9 a.m. Sunday, according to NYPD Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison. Later on Sunday night – in a span of three hours – at least seven people were shot, including five fatally.

The violence on Sunday night began at 5:47 p.m. At least four people were fatally shot – all in their 20s – in the Bronx and Brooklyn, the New York Post reported. A 45-year-old man was found dead after being shot in the head in Staten Island at 8:47 p.m.

Also last month, the NYPD announced it was disbanding its anti-crime unit and reassigning hundreds of plainclothes officers to other divisions amid widespread criticism over the department’s handling of protesters. Commissioner Dermot Shea said roughly 600 plainclothes officers from the anti-crime unit would be reassigned to other teams.

De Blasio, on Monday, said that the city is “going through a rough patch in terms of crime, but we will not go back.”

“We [became] the safest big city in America. We will keep that title,” de Blasio said. “We will not go back and that’s the work we will do together in New York City.”

Author: Brooke Singman

Source: Fox News: De Blasio blames NYC weekend violence on coronavirus, vows to ‘double down’ to keep city safe

EXCLUSIVE: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has barred Democratic staffers from the House Oversight Committee from visiting Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities at the U.S.-Mexico border as part of a planned trip this week after committee staff allegedly were “disruptive” and refused to follow instructions during their last trip, Fox News has learned.

Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., had sent his staff to visit border facilities for “oversight inspections” last week and planned to send staff again to view Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and CBP centers.

But sources told Fox News that DHS has revoked access to CBP facilities for the upcoming visit, citing staff behavior that “interfered” with law enforcement operations — including refusing to leave one site after their scheduled window, skipping some tours and being “rude” to officers. A DHS official said that ICE visits will still be allowed this week, but with a two-hour time limit. One of those visits took place on Tuesday.

“Due to the operational burden placed on the field by their refusal to comply with instruction during last week’s STAFFDEL [staff delegation visit], CBP pulled the trip in which more site visits were to take place at CBP and ICE facilities this week,” a senior DHS official told Fox News in an email Wednesday. “DHS communicated to the committee that due to their conduct, CBP could not support visits from the committee this week.”

A Democratic source suggested the visit is being nixed due to concerns about what staff were learning from detainees about conditions on the ground.

That’s not how the agency described it. Last week, following a visit to one of the first facilities on the committee staff’s itinerary, DHS Assistant Secretary of Legislative Affairs Christine Ciccone wrote to Cummings, notifying him that due to his staff’s violations of guidelines, their planned follow-up tour could not be accommodated.

“During discussions between Department and Committee staff, however, the Committee staff repeatedly stated that they do not intend to abide by DHS guidelines,” Ciccone wrote in the letter obtained by Fox News. “In light of this, we are unable to accommodate your staff’s visit … unless we receive a firm commitment that the Committee and its staff will comply fully with all existing guidelines and policies.”

She added that the staff’s attempts to “conduct interviews and take photographs” without limitations are “a significant deviation” from DHS policy and “could jeopardize” the department’s ability to meet legal obligations.

The night before last week’s visits, DHS officials had a “late-night” phone call with committee staff, urging them to “respect officers on the ground” as to not “disrupt business” at facilities.

But according to a CBP official, the committee’s chief counsel, who led the delegation starting in Yuma, Ariz., “refused to leave the facility after the hour-long tour,” despite previously agreeing to a 45-minute tour at each location.

“I informed him that his actions on behalf of the Committee made a huge operational impact by not communicating back to CBP his true intent and expectations for this delegation,” the official said, noting that because of this, part of the delegation only toured Yuma and had to cancel other facilities that were previously scheduled. “This left agents in a position where they were waiting on staff to show and then they did not show at all.”

The official added that another part of the delegation began in the San Diego Sector. The official said that two staffers missed the first portion of the tour, and “apparently ended up crossing the border due to following their GPS guidance and were unable to make it.”

Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, in a letter to Cummings, also said Democratic staff crossed into Mexico “without consultation from the Department of State.” Jordan said the Democratic staff was “rude” and “dismissive” of law enforcement officials during the visit.

A Democratic committee aide, though, said Jordan’s letter was “riddled with inaccuracies and misrepresentations.”

The aide said some of the meetings Jordan complained about “were freely attended by his own staff, who raised absolutely no concerns at the time.”

The aide continued: “The real news here is that the Department of Homeland Security abruptly canceled future inspections and denied Committee investigators access to 11 CBP facilities as soon as Committee investigators began confirming with detainees some of the very same problems identified by the independent Inspector General. It appears that the Ranking Member [Jordan] would rather defend the Trump Administration than conduct meaningful independent oversight.”

But Jordan and DHS officials cited a range of concerns about the Democrats’ conduct on-site.

“DHS asked the Committee to abide by the instructions of DHS personnel on the ground and to respect the significant operational interests of the border facilities visited,” Jordan wrote. “Unfortunately, at your apparent direction, Democrats refused to listen to law-enforcement instructions and made demands at the facilities ‘against the express written notice DHS had provided earlier.’”

Jordan said Democratic staff “abandoned” the agreement with DHS for limited photography and detainee interactions, and accused them of “wasting DHS manpower and taxpayer resources.”

Jordan also accused Democrats of withholding information from Republican committee staff and being “secretive” about details of itineraries and locations of meetings and visits.

Jordan also claimed that Democratic staff took “direction from liberal special interests” before last week’s tours, citing a meeting with representatives of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a liberal organization currently suing the Trump administration over detention facilities at the border. Jordan claimed the SPLC gave directions to Democratic staff about what to look for and ask about during their tours, as well as suggested questions for staff to pose to detainees and DHS officials during their visit.

“One aspect missing from your staff travel to date has been any interest in the well-being of, or resources provided to, the brave men and women who serve to secure our border,” Jordan added. “Several Border Patrol agents told us the nasty rhetoric from Democrats in Congress—one Member of this committee even likened them to Nazis—hurts morale and makes some agents reluctant to tell people what they do for a living.”

The member Jordan was referring to was Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., who has referred to border facilities as “concentration camps on the Southern Border.”

Last week’s altercations between DHS officials and committee aides are not the first such dust-ups. Last month, a delegation of lawmakers visited the border—a trip that became the subject of controversy after witnesses told The Washington Examiner that Ocasio-Cortez was “screaming” at agents and behaving in a “threatening” manner.

Ocasio-Cortez, seemingly in response to the report, tweeted: “They confiscated my phone, and they were all armed. I’m 5’4”. They’re just upset I exposed their inhumane behavior.”

Ocasio-Cortez’s visit and allegations came after the discovery of a secret Facebook group for Border Patrol agents where some posted vulgar jokes and images about her, as well as illegal immigrants.

“They’re threatening violence on members of Congress,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “How do you think they’re treating caged children+families?”

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.

Author: Brooke Singman

Source: Fox News: DHS bars Dem staffers from visiting border facilities after ‘rude’ and ‘disruptive’ behavior

The Justice Department has decided against prosecuting former FBI Director James Comey for leaking classified information following a referral from the department’s inspector general, sources familiar with the deliberations told Fox News.

“Everyone at the DOJ involved in the decision said it wasn’t a close call,” one official said. “They all thought this could not be prosecuted.”

Comey penned memos memorializing his interactions with President Trump in the days leading up to his firing. He then passed those documents to a friend, Columbia University Law Professor Daniel Richman, who gave them to The New York Times. Comey admitted to that arrangement during congressional testimony.

After the fact, the FBI classified two of those memos as “confidential.”

DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz had referred Comey for potential prosecution as part of an internal review.

But one of the key factors leading to the DOJ declining to prosecute apparently was the fact that the two memos were labeled “confidential” after he set in motion the chain of events that led to them ending up with the press.

Richman, now serving as an attorney to Comey, told Fox News he had “no comment” on the prosecutorial decision on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Fox News has learned that the release of Horowitz’s report is “imminent,” according to another source familiar with the investigation.

The report related to Comey’s leaks is separate from Horowitz’s review of alleged Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) abuses. That report’s release is delayed, according to sources, due to the potential components of Attorney General Bill Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation into alleged improper government surveillance.

Horowitz publicly confirmed last year that his office was investigating Comey for his handling of classified information as part of memos he shared documenting his discussions with the president.

In June 2018, during a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Horowitz said he “received a referral on that from the FBI,” and was “handling that referral.”

“We will issue a report when the matter is complete and consistent with the law and rules,” Horowitz said at the time.

Comey last year also confirmed to Fox News that the inspector general’s office had interviewed him with regard to memos, but downplayed the questions over classified information as “frivolous”—saying the real issue was whether he complied with internal policies.

Fox News learned last year that Horowitz was looking at whether classified information was given to unauthorized sources as part of a broader review of Comey’s communications outside the bureau—including media contact.

Comey, whom Trump fired in May 2017, denied that sharing the memos with his legal team constituted a leak of classified information. Instead, he compared the process to keeping “a diary.”

“I didn’t consider it part of an FBI file,” Comey told Fox News’ Bret Baier last year. “It was my personal aide-memoire…I always thought of it as mine.”

In his testimony in June 2017 before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Comey said he made the decision to document the interactions with the president in a way that would not trigger security classification.

But in seven Comey memos handed over to Congress in April 2018, eight of the 15 pages had redactions under classified exceptions.

Comey, during his June 2017 testimony, said he deliberately leaked a memo from a key meeting with Trump to a friend after he was fired in order to prompt the appointment of a special counsel.

“I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter—I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel,” Comey testified.

“I was worried that the media was camping at the end of my driveway, my wife and I were going away,” Comey said. “I was worried it would be like feeding seagulls at the beach if it was I who gave it to the media, so I asked my friend to.”

The New York Times published the report with Comey’s memos on May 16, 2017, revealing the contents of the memo which said the president asked him to shut down the federal investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn in an Oval Office meeting.

Author: Brooke Singman, Jake Gibson

Source: Fox News: DOJ will not prosecute Comey for leaking memos after IG referral: sources

Maybe it’s John Bolton clutching a gun. Maybe it’s Mike Pompeo setting down his binoculars to stare into the distance. Maybe it’s the gators.

But a newly unveiled painting meant to depict President Trump and his team navigating the Washington “swamp” has something for everyone.

Utah-based artist Jon McNaughton touched off a social media frenzy as he shared his painting, “Crossing the Swamp,” Tuesday on Twitter. The painting is a riff on the classic “Washington Crossing the Delaware,” only it replaces George Washington’s crew with members of the Trump administration.

“My new painting—‘Crossing the Swamp’ ‘Never give up. Never lower your light. Never stop till the swamp is dry,’” McNaughton tweeted.

The painting shows Trump at the helm, and Vice President Pence carrying the flag by his side.

McNaughton identifies the rest as: U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley; Defense Secretary Jim Mattis; Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson; Attorney General Jeff Sessions; first lady Melania Trump; Secretary of State Pompeo; White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders; the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump; National Security Adviser Bolton; Kellyanne Conway; and Chief of Staff John Kelly.

McNaughton is a Trump supporter, hashtagging “MAGA” on his Twitter bio.

“Trump endeavors to cross the ‘swamp’ of Washington DC as he carries the light of truth, hope, and prosperity. The murky water of the deep state is laced with dangerous vermin, perfectly willing to destroy American prosperity for their personal ideologies and financial gain,” McNaughton said of his latest painting on his website.

McNaughton also wrote that he hopes people will “study the paintings and try to understand the deeper meaning.”

No matter how earnest the artist’s intentions, the painting quickly became Twitter fodder as users seized on a variety of quirky aspects.

Observations included:

“Ben Carson appears to be rowing backwards.”

“They are literally rowing in a circle.”

“Pretty sure Pruitt took the cruise line route.”

“Looks like Jr. didn’t make the boat.”

Whoops! We couldn’t access this Tweet.

Twitter can be cruel.

McNaughton has several other paintings on his website about the Trump administration. One, titled “Make America Safe,” depicts Trump standing in front of a white picket fence with an open lock, holding a key, and the American flag waving in the background.

Another, titled “Respect the Flag,” shows Trump on a football field, hugging a ripped flag, seemingly referencing the president’s battle with the National Football League over players kneeling during the National Anthem.

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.

Author: Brooke Singman

Source: National Insiders: Painting of Trump Sets of Social Media Frenzy

Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee said Friday they are proceeding with what they called an “impeachment investigation,” as they insisted former Special Counsel Robert Mueller delivered damning testimony against President Trump in this week’s hearing despite concerns from many on the left that his appearance was faltering and broke little new ground.

As a major next step, Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and the committee filed a petition in D.C. federal court on Friday to obtain grand jury materials from the former special counsel’s investigation. The petition claims the panel needs the information in order to determine whether to recommend articles of impeachment, in an attempt to give the request more weight in the eyes of the court.

“To meaningfully consider whether to exercise this authority — as well as to exercise its other pressing legislative and oversight responsibilities — the Committee must obtain evidence and testimony in a timely manner,” the filing reads.

Nadler called the grand jury materials “critically important” for their investigation. In the petition, Democrats on the committee noted that because Justice Department policies do not allow the prosecution of a sitting president, the House of Representatives is “the only institution of the federal government” that can hold Trump accountable.

“The House must have access to all evidence,” Nadler said. “We are exercising our constitutional authority. We are continuing the investigation of President Trump’s malfeasances, and we will do and consider what we have to consider including whether we should recommend Articles of Impeachment to the House. We may, we may not. It remains to be seen.”

It’s unclear what new information might be found in the grand jury transcripts. Many of the high-profile witnesses connected to the White House, for instance, appeared for voluntary questioning before Mueller’s team rather than before the grand jury.

Nadler also said the committee would seek to enforce subpoenas for former White House Counsel Don McGahn, in another escalation of their anti-Trump probes. That lawsuit is expected to be filed next week and challenge the administration’s claim that former White House employees have “absolute immunity” from testifying before Congress. Nadler said the committee is still negotiating with McGahn for documents and testimony, and the committee will file the lawsuit “in very short order” if he does not comply.

But while Nadler and other senior Democratic leaders indicated they’re keeping impeachment on the table — without committing to it publicly — colleagues who spoke alongside him at the same press conference described these investigative steps as a deliberate precursor to a formal decision on recommending impeachment articles.

“We are crossing the threshold,” Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, said. “When you think about the mode we were operating under before, it was an oversight function. This is now crossing the threshold with this filing, and officially entering into an examination into whether or not to recommend articles of impeachment—I just want to make that point clear.”

Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., added that the petition marks “the first time” that the committee is sending a “telegraph to the court that one of the remedies we have is impeachment.”

“This is an impeachment investigation, on whether we should introduce articles of impeachment to Congress,” he said.

This description, though, prompted confusion on Capitol Hill. Republicans on the same committee insisted that the House has not entered a formal impeachment inquiry, meaning Democrats aren’t entitled to the grand jury material they seek.

“The House is either formally in impeachment proceedings, which involve both an impeachment inquiry and consideration of articles of impeachment, or we are not. It’s a binary issue,” a GOP aide said in an email.

House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Doug Collins, R-Ga., blasted Nadler’s move to “sue for grand jury material to which they have no right.”

“Chairman Nadler’s legal action here is sure to fail, weakening Congress’s ability to conduct oversight now and into the future. If my colleagues want grand jury information, they should propose legislation allowing Congress to access it,” he said in a statement. “Democrats want to convince their base they’re still wedded to impeachment even after this week’s hearing, but a baseless legal claim is an odd way to show that.”

But Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, said the petition to the court Friday will help the committee “delve even further.”

“We are not running away from articles of impeachment,” she said. “We are building it on a trail of misconduct that was evidenced very deeply on Wednesday.”

During her weekly press conference, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Friday said she was “not trying to run out the clock” on impeachment as she kept options open despite a public reluctance to proceed with impeachment.

“Let’s get sophisticated on this,” she said. “We will proceed when we have what we need to proceed–not one day sooner.”

She added that rank-and-file Democrats advocating for impeachment only gives her “leverage.”

“I have no complaint with what they’re doing,” she said. “So I am willing to take whatever heat there is to say the decision will be made in a timely fashion. This isn’t endless. But when we have the best possible case. And that isn’t endless either.”

The escalation comes after Mueller delivered his highly anticipated testimony for hours on Wednesday before both the Judiciary and House Intelligence Committees. After the back-to-back hearings, even some on the left felt they were given little new material to fuel a case for impeachment. But Nadler, on Friday, said Mueller’s testimony was an “inflection point.”

Nadler claimed Mueller’s report showed the Trump campaign welcomed Russian interference in the 2016 election and Trump “repeatedly lied to cover it up” — and his testimony “removed all doubt” about those points.

Since the hearing, at least a half-dozen congressional Democrats have supported the launch of a formal impeachment inquiry.

Democrats have been seeking the grand jury material from a redacted version of Mueller’s report for months. Attorney General Bill Barr made public a version that protected sensitive sources and methods, grand jury material, and more. Grand jury material is typically kept secret, per U.S. code.

Mueller stood by his team’s findings at Wednesday’s hearings—reiterating that the special counsel’s office found no evidence of a criminal conspiracy between Trump associates and Russia, while also stating that the president was not exonerated on allegations of obstruction of justice despite his assertions to the contrary.

But in doing so, he also repeatedly refused to drift beyond the bounds of his report.

This was, to an extent, expected as Mueller had signaled he would only address material already in the public record.

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.

Author: Brooke Singman

Source: Fox News: Dems pursue ‘impeachment investigation’ with bid for grand jury info, insist Mueller delivered

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is facing a lingering political backlash from liberal House Democrats over his role in the passage of a bipartisan border bill last week, which saw House Speaker Nancy Pelosi forced to back down from a push to include restrictions on immigration enforcement.

The Senate bill, which was approved by an overwhelming 84-8 vote last week, had $4.6 billion in crucial border funding, but was met with opposition by liberal House Democrats who wanted the restrictions included. In the end, Pelosi, D-Calif., was forced to bring the bipartisan bill to a vote, amid pressure from Republicans and moderate Democrats to pass legislation ahead of the July 4 holiday break.

Now, those in the House progressive wing are turning their ire toward Schumer, D-N.Y., for allegedly not fighting for the restrictions they sought — provisions such as limiting the amount of time unaccompanied minors can spend at an influx shelter, and reducing funding for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by millions.

“Chuck Schumer f—d us,” a Democratic aide told Vanity Fair last week.

“Schumer threw all of the House Democrats under the bus and he will pay a heavy price for that,” another Democratic aide told Politico.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus last week called the measure a “betrayal of our American values,” and one that they will “not forget.”

The drama has led to reports of a rift between Schumer and Pelosi. According to The Washington Post, Pelosi was “blindsided” when the Senate voted overwhelmingly for the bipartisan bill. A House Democratic aide told the outlet that Schumer “destroyed all of our leverage…by not being able to hold his people.”

“The Senate Democrats did us a huge disservice,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told the Post. “The benefit to having one chamber controlled by Democrats is you have people who can fight and win. But that requires the people in the minority chamber to also fight, even if they lose.”

But freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., who had declared “Hell no” to voting on the Senate bill, instead seemed to criticize Pelosi.

“We didn’t even bother to negotiate. We’re immediately going to just say yes to what got passed out of the Senate?” she said on CNN last week. “We are a House majority and we need to act like it.”

But one senior Republican aide told Fox News that the process was not unusual. While Pelosi represents the majority in the House, Schumer represents the minority in the Senate.

“What the House Democrats don’t understand is they got rolled on something that is important, but they’re going to get rolled again, so they need to get used to it,” the GOP aide said, referring to House Democrats blasting both Schumer and Pelosi for their leadership on the bill. “It’s people who clearly have not gone through a process like this before.”

Republicans, meanwhile, have continued to focus on closing loopholes that encourage migrants to make the perilous journey with children through Central America in order to be released into the U.S. It is those loopholes, they say, that have led to hundreds of thousands of migrants arriving at the border in recent months — many of them family units.

“In addition to aid, Congress must close the catastrophic loopholes that are driving the Crisis,” President Trump tweeted last week. “We must end incentives for Smuggling Children, Trafficking Women, and Selling Drugs.”

Fox News’ Adam Shaw and Chad Pergram contributed to this report.

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.

Author: Brooke Singman

Source: Fox News: Chuck Schumer faces liberal ire over border bill ‘betrayal’

Trump: We went through the greatest ‘witch hunt’ in political history

Reaction and analysis from Republican strategist Ned Ryun on ‘Fox & Friends First.’

President Trump’s campaign operation raised a whopping $24.8 million in less than 24 hours amid his 2020 re-election launch in Florida on Tuesday — a figure that blows past what any of the Democratic candidates raised in the entire first quarter.

“@realDonaldTrump has raised a record breaking $24.8M in less than 24 hours for his re-election. The enthusiasm across the country for this President is unmatched and unlike anything we’ve ever seen! #trump2020 #KeepAmericaGreat,” Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel tweeted early Wednesday morning.

The president tweeted “THANK YOU!” in response.

According to an RNC spokesman, the fundraising — at a clip of $1 million an hour — came through the Trump re-election campaign and joint-fundraising committees Trump Victory and Trump MAGAC (Make America Great Again Committee). A Trump campaign official told Fox News on Wednesday that the campaign raised more than $14 million, and that the joint-fundraising committees raised more than $10 million.

Minutes later, RNC Communications Director Michael Ahrens tweeted: “For those keeping score, that’s more than the 5 highest polling Democrats—combined.”

Ahrens was referring to the top five polling Democratic candidates’ fundraising during the 24 hours after they announced their presidential bids. Among them, former Vice President Joe Biden raked in $6.3 million and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., brought in $5.9 million, with the others raising significantly less than that.

But none of the candidates hit $20 million even in the first quarter.

Sanders brought in $18.2 million in the first 41 days of his campaign; Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., brought in $12 million during the first three months of this year; former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas raised $9.4 million; and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg raised $7.1 million.

Democratic presidential primary front-runner Biden, who announced after the first quarter, hinted this week at raising roughly $20 million so far, as he tours the fundraising circuit with a series of top-dollar events.

But the Trump campaign re-launch surpassed that in 24 hours, counting various fundraising committees, coinciding with his energetic rally in Orlando to a packed arena crowd.

The fundraising numbers underscore what has, since before the Democratic candidates even started campaigning, been a huge cash advantage for the incumbent. Going into Trump’s rally on Tuesday, the re-election campaign had $40.8 million in cash-on-hand at the start of second-quarter fundraising on April 1. Combined with the RNC’s joint fundraising committees, they have a combined $82 million cash-on-hand for the second quarter.

But despite Trump’s massive war chest, the latest Fox News Poll shows Biden topping the president by 10 points and Sanders ahead of the president by 9 points.

But Trump’s campaign and the president himself have dismissed recent polling.

“Our country is soaring to incredible new heights,” Trump said Tuesday night, to loud applause. “Our economy is the envy of the world, perhaps the greatest economy we’ve had in the history of our country, and as long as you keep this team in place — we have a tremendous way to go — our future has never, ever looked brighter or sharper.”

Trump continued: “The fact is, the American Dream is back. It’s bigger, and better, and stronger than ever before.”

Fox News’ Blake Burman and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Author: Brooke Singman

Source: Fox News: Trump campaign rakes in stunning $25M in single day for re-election launch

In the days since the House Judiciary Committee voted to hold Attorney General Bill Barr in contempt of Congress, more and more Democratic lawmakers have opened the door to the possibility of arresting the Justice Department leader in a bid to force cooperation — despite party powerbrokers signaling opposition to such a radical step.

The committee last week voted to hold Barr in contempt for failing to comply with a congressional subpoena for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s unredacted Russia report and underlying materials, as President Trump asserted executive privilege to protect those same files from release.

The panel’s party-line decision sent the measure to the House floor for a final vote. If approved, the measure would be referred to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia—who could choose not to act. House Democrats could also pursue a lawsuit.

But there’s a more drastic step that has been gaining traction among some of Barr’s fiercest critics — the possibility of dragging Barr in to testify or jailing the AG for defying the subpoena.

Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., was one of the first calling for the House to pursue “inherent contempt,” which would have Barr arrested by the sergeant at arms—a tactic reportedly not employed since the 1930s.

Several other lawmakers are now warming to the idea.

“We know how to arrest people around here,” Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., told Politico. “And if we need to arrest someone, the [House] sergeant-at-arms will know how to do it. I’m not afraid of that.”

He added: “If they can arrest my constituents, we can arrest someone else who’s disobeying the law.”

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., also touted Congress’ “inherent authority,” which she said was “at our disposal.”

“We have a number of steps we’re looking at that we can take,” Jayapal told Politico. “People feel like we’re progressing at the appropriate pace.”

But despite rank-and-file Democrats calling for the arrest of Barr, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., seems cool to the idea. Last week, she pushed back when asked about the potential step.

“We do have a jail in the basement of the Capitol, but if we were arresting all of the people in the administration, we would have an overcrowded jail situation,” she said. “And I’m not for that.”

Inherent contempt is one of three contempt options available, along with criminal contempt (under which an individual is charged with a crime) and civil judgment (leading to a civil court process).

And while inherent contempt has not been used in decades, some lawmakers suggest it’s appropriate to consider in this situation.

“There’s a reason why we don’t do it, but there’s a reason why we haven’t had to even talk about it,” Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, D-Pa., told Politico. “Because we’ve had administrations that have negotiated in good faith and tried to work for the good of the American people rather than the good of a particular incumbent.”

Last week, Cohen told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that Barr needs to be “locked up until he agrees to participate” and come to a hearing before the committee.

Several op-eds, including one by former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich, also supported such a move.

Many Democrats including Pelosi are also claiming that Barr lied to Congress.

“He lied to Congress. And if anybody else did that, it would be considered a crime,” Pelosi told reporters last month. “Nobody is above the law. Not the president of the United States. Not the attorney general.

Pelosi’s public comments came after she, according to Politico, told Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., during a private caucus meeting Thursday: “We saw [Barr] commit a crime when he answered your question.”

She was referring to an April 9 hearing, where Crist had asked whether Barr knew what prompted reports that prosecutors on the special counsel team were frustrated with his initial summary. Barr said he did not.

But earlier this month, The Washington Post first reported that Special Counsel Robert Mueller contacted Barr, both in a letter and in a phone call, to express concerns after Barr released his four-page summary of Mueller’s findings in March. Mueller pushed Barr to release the executive summaries written by the special counsel’s office. However, according to both the Post and the Justice Department, Mueller made clear that he did not feel that Barr’s summary was inaccurate. Instead, Mueller told Barr that media coverage of the letter had “misinterpreted” the results of the probe concerning obstruction of justice.

Pelosi was also asked if Barr should go to jail for the alleged crime.

“There is a process involved here and as I said, I’ll say it again, the committee will have to come to how we will proceed,” Pelosi said.

“Speaker Pelosi’s baseless attack on the Attorney General is reckless, irresponsible and false,” Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said in response.

Democrats have blasted Barr for weeks over his handling of the special counsel’s report. Barr initially released a four-page summary of Mueller’s findings, announcing in late March that the special counsel found no evidence of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election. Mueller did not come to a conclusion on whether the president obstructed justice, but Barr said the evidence was not sufficient to charge the president with such an offense.

While Democrats have criticized Barr for that swift conclusion, they have sought the completely unredacted version of the report in a bid to learn more about what information Mueller gathered regarding the obstruction probe. The report released publicly last month had redactions covering sensitive sources and methods, grand jury material, and other areas to protect the reputational interests of “peripheral players” in the investigation.

Barr and his deputies, however, have countered that they’ve made available to select members a version with minimal redactions — and Democrats have declined to look at it.

Author: Brooke Singman

Source: Foxnews: Calls to jail Attorney General Barr grow from Democratic ranks

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