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Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell, in an interview Wednesday, would not rule out a new impeachment effort against President Trump over his alleged interference in the criminal case of his former associate Roger Stone.

Federal prosecutors on Monday had recommended a sentence of between 87 and 108 months in prison for Stone’s conviction on seven counts of obstruction, witness tampering and making false statements to Congress on charges that stemmed from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

But in a stunning reversal, as Fox News first reported, leadership at the Justice Department overruled the prosecutors on the case, scaling back the proposed sentence for Stone, which immediately led Democrats to accuse Trump of interfering in the process by tweeting about his displeasure with the DOJ. Trump denies it, and the case lately has been complicated further by questions over possible juror bias.

During an interview with CNN on Wednesday, Swalwell, D-Calif., was asked whether Democrats would look to launch a new impeachment inquiry on the new controversy.

“You know, we’re not going to take our options off the table,” Swalwell, a member of the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees, told CNN. “We don’t wake up in the morning wanting to impeach him.”

He added: “We want to work with him on prescription drugs, background checks, and infrastructure, but we’re not going to let him just torch this democracy because he thinks that he’s been let off once and we’re not going to do something about it.”

Swalwell’s comments come as several Democrats on Capitol Hill have demanded investigations — and even the resignation of Attorney General Bill Barr — after the move to scale back the Stone sentence.

“Congress must act immediately to rein in our lawless Attorney General,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., tweeted Wednesday. “Barr should resign or face impeachment.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., also slammed Barr, saying he “ought to be ashamed and embarrassed and resign as a result of this action directly interfering in the independent prosecution of Roger Stone.” He also said the controversy was yet another example of “political interference by the president to alter the independent decisions of the Department of Justice.”

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., didn’t answer a question on whether Barr should resign but said: “I think the behavior is extremely egregious.”

The latest Democratic fervor comes after four career prosecutors withdrew from the Stone case, including one quitting outright, after leadership at the Justice Department (DOJ) overruled them.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.; Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., immediately called for an investigation into Trump’s alleged political intervention into Stone’s sentencing.

Schumer also took to the Senate floor and torched Senate Republicans who acquitted Trump on two articles of impeachment for enabling Trump’s conduct.

“Republicans thought the president would learn his lesson,” Schumer said in a veiled jab at Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. “It turned out that the lesson he learned was not that he went too far — not that he needed to rein it in. The lesson the president learned was that the Republican Party will not hold him accountable no matter how egregious his behavior. Not now, not ever.”

But Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham wasn’t too keen on Schumer’s demand for an emergency hearing.

“Like I take everything with him [with] a grain of salt,” said Graham, R-S.C.

Fresh off of weeks of impeachment, Democrats raised similar alarm bells and phrases as during the Ukraine saga, saying the Stone matter is another example of political interference, abuse of power and President Trump thinking he’s above the law.

Lead impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff ripped Trump for trying to influence the judicial system.

“It’s a shocking undermining of the rule of law in this country,” Schiff said, adding it’s “an abuse of the powers of his office.”

Another impeachment manager, lawyer and former judge, Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas, told Fox News: “This president’s behavior is just totally out of control. This is one of the most egregious things that I’ve ever seen.”

She stopped short of calling for Barr’s resignation but said: “We can’t sit back and not do something. The question is what.”

She ticked off the oversight tools House Democrats still have.

“It’s hearings. It’s investigation. It’s litigation. It’s subpoenas. It’s contempt. It’s all the same ones we’ve always had, but it’s a question of making sure that we’re strategic in what we do,” she said.

However, Trump on Wednesday denied interfering in Stone’s criminal case, while declining to say whether he’d consider a pardon for the GOP political operative.

“The fact is that Roger Stone was treated horribly and so were many other people,” Trump said. “Their lives were destroyed.”

“I want to thank the Justice Department — and I didn’t speak to them, by the way — they saw a nine-year sentence… nine years for something nobody can even define what he did,” Trump continued. “They put a man in jail, destroy his life, his family, his wife.”

He added: “Roger Stone — nobody even knows what he did… Frankly, they ought to apologize to a lot of people whose lives they’ve ruined.”

Stone is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Amy Berman Jackson on Feb. 20.

Earlier this month, after a weeks-long Senate trial, the president was acquitted on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in connection to his pressure campaign on Ukraine to investigate Democrats.

Fox News’ Jason Donner contributed to this report.

Author: Brooke Singman, Marisa Schultz

Source: Fox News: Democrat won’t rule out new Trump impeachment over Roger Stone case

President Trump easily defeated his primary rivals in Monday’s Iowa Republican caucuses, in the first indication that those attempting to take on the president inside his own party stand a slim chance of making headway against the incumbent.

Iowa results showed the president winning with roughly 97 percent of the vote over former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld and former Illinois congressman Joe Walsh. The primary challengers walked away with about 1 percent each.

RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel congratulated the president, vowing he’ll carry the state in November.

While the focus has been on the Democratic contest Monday, Iowa Republicans also caucused at precincts throughout the state.

“The president has record support among Republican voters,” Republican National Committee spokesman Rick Gorka told Fox News on Monday. “I am not concerned with those embarked on a vanity project.”

When asked how long he would stay in the Republican primary race after his defeat Monday night, Walsh campaign spokesman Charles Siler told Fox News on Monday that the former congressman “is keeping every option open.”

“He sees President Trump as the greatest threat to our republic, the exact thing our Founders feared in a leader,” Siler said, noting that the campaign has spent the last three weeks in Iowa and Walsh has visited the state nearly every week since he announced his candidacy in August.

“We’re leaving straight from Iowa to go to New Hampshire,” Siler said, noting that Walsh has been campaigning in New Hampshire “regularly” since he announced his run.

“We know this is a long-shot effort, but it’s an important one for the nation,” Siler said. “That’s why it’s so distressing that the GOP has canceled so many primary elections and blocked challengers in many other states.”

The Weld campaign did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

During the 2016 Iowa caucuses, Trump came in second place — trailing Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, by nearly 4 percentage points.

While Weld and Walsh are not expected to pose a tough challenge for the president this primary season, the Trump campaign and more than 80 Trump surrogates were sprinkled across Iowa, speaking at Republican caucus locations. They were geared toward planting a flag in Iowa for the general election as much as ensuring a strong showing in the caucuses.

“We are training activists as staff in every corner of the state. We have held over 230 Trump Victory Leadership Initiative Trainings with over 1,700 attendees,” Gorka told Fox News. “The Iowans form the backbone of our program and are the keys to our success in November.”

“After the results tonight, the Democrat machine/attention leaves Iowa and will not be back until there is a nominee,” Gorka continued. “Meanwhile, Republicans will continue to work to keep Iowa in the president’s column in November.”

Trump’s 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale was joined in recent days in Iowa by a slew of Trump officials, like White House acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney; Education Secretary Betsy DeVos; Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and five other members of Trump’s Cabinet.

Others out making the case for the president’s reelection were House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.; Reps. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio; Lynne Cheney, R-Wyo.; Mark Meadows, R-N.C.; former Texas governor and former Energy Secretary Rick Perry; Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr.; and Mike Lindell, the inventor of “My Pillow.”

Iowa is considered a swing state in the general election. It was narrowly carried by the Democrats in the 2000 election and narrowly by Republicans in 2004. Then-Sen. Barack Obama captured the state by 6 points in 2012. And Trump won Iowa in 2016 by nearly 10 points.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Author: Brooke Singman

Source: Fox News: Trump easily wins Iowa Republican caucuses

President Trump’s campaign raked in a whopping $46 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, fueled in part by a backlash from his base against House Democrats’ impeachment efforts and blowing past any of his would-be Democratic rivals.

The incumbent now starts the election year sitting on a nearly $103 million war chest.

Trump’s reelection campaign touted their fundraising efforts Thursday, noting that the fourth quarter marked the best fundraising quarter for the campaign in the 2020 cycle.

“President Trump’s unprecedented fundraising is testament to his wide grassroots support and his stellar record of achievement on behalf of the American people,” Trump 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a statement. “Democrats and the media have been in a sham impeachment frenzy and the President’s campaign only got bigger and stronger with our best fundraising quarter this cycle.”

He added: “The President’s war chest and grassroots army make his re-election campaign an unstoppable juggernaut.”

The campaign raised a total of $143 million in 2019.

The new figures represent only funds raised by the Trump reelection campaign and do not include funds raised by the Republican National Committee or any authorized joint fundraising committees.

Last month, however, Fox News exclusively reported on the RNC’s record-breaking fundraising numbers amid the impeachment drive against the president. The RNC hauled in $20.6 million in November and reported having $63.2 million in cash — marking the most cash-on-hand the party has had since before the 2012 presidential election.

“Democrats’ baseless impeachment charade has only served to bolster our base and attract more voters to our cause and the result is another record-breaking fundraising month,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel told Fox News last month.

The GOP fundraising underscores how Republicans have sought to turn the impeachment fight to their advantage, tapping into an outraged base to fuel not only the president’s 2020 reelection effort but also a political offensive against congressional Democrats. Republicans were specifically using their November success to bolster their “Stop the Madness” campaign, a national counter-impeachment push targeting House Democrats that was launched in September.

As for Democratic 2020 presidential hopefuls, Bernie Sanders’, I-Vt., campaign announced an eye-popping fourth quarter haul on Thursday of $34.5 million — the largest quarterly figure to date for any of the Democrats seeking to take on Trump. Sanders’ fourth-quarter fundraising numbers were $9 million more than he brought in during the third quarter.

The campaign noted that Sanders has raised over $96 million from over 5 million individual donations since he launched his campaign. The team added that the average contribution was $18 — and over 99.9 percent of donors have not maxed out and could contribute again. The Sanders campaign added that the overall haul did not include an additional $12.7 million the senator transferred from his other federal fundraising accounts, including his 2018 Senate reelection campaign.

While Sanders’ massive fundraising haul is still lower than the Trump campaign’s fourth-quarter figure, Democrats are at a comparative disadvantage because the large field of primary candidates is essentially divvying up the donor pool, while the Trump campaign faces little primary competition as it raises re-election funds.

Meanwhile, former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s campaign announced Wednesday that they brought in more than $24.7 million during the fourth quarter. Buttigieg’s fourth-quarter effort was roughly equal to his fundraising in the second quarter, but that figure dipped to just $19.1 million in the third quarter.

His campaign, this week, touted that the fourth quarter haul brought his total amount raised since he launched his campaign early in 2019 to over $76 million.

One candidate who could see a dip in fundraising for the fourth quarter is Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who raised nearly $25 million in the third quarter but appeared to be scrambling to reach $20 million in the fourth, as her campaign made the unusual move of releasing its total to date early in order to drum up more cash.

“So far this quarter, we’ve raised a little over $17 million. That’s a good chunk behind where we were at this time last quarter,” an email sent Friday from the Warren campaign read. “Elizabeth Warren needs your help. Right now. The goal is $20 million for the quarter — that’s how much the campaign needs to keep our plans on track.”

But former Vice President Joe Biden will likely enjoy a boost in fundraising after bringing in just $15 million during the third quarter.

“We have the chance to make Q4 our biggest fundraising quarter yet. That would certainly be a big deal,” the former vice president said Sunday in a fundraising email to supporters.

Biden’s best fundraising quarter to date was the April-June period, when he brought in $21.5 million in the nine weeks after he declared his candidacy in late-April.

Fox News’ Sally Persons, Paul Steinhauser, and Andrew Craft 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: Trump campaign blows past 2020 Dems with latest fundraising haul, sitting on over $100M

President Trump on Thursday challenged House Democrats to impeach him “fast” and ship the process over to the Senate, where he threatened to seek testimony from top Democrats including House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“The Do Nothing Democrats had a historically bad day yesterday in the House. They have no Impeachment case and are demeaning our Country. But nothing matters to them, they have gone crazy,” Trump tweeted, just before Pelosi announced that she wants the Judiciary Committee to proceed with articles of impeachment.

“Therefore I say, if you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast, so we can have a fair trial in the Senate and so that our Country can get back to business,” he continued. “We will have Schiff, the Bidens, Pelosi and many more testify, and will reveal, for the first time, how corrupt our system really is.”

He added: “I was elected to ‘Clean the Swamp,’ and that’s what I am doing!”

The president’s tweets followed an hourslong hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, in what set the stage for the next phase of the Democratic-led House impeachment inquiry, with majority-invited law professors making the case that the president did abuse the office of the presidency by asking Ukraine to investigate the Bidens while withholding aid. But the sole witness called by Republicans argued the contrary — he said the legal case to impeach Trump was “woefully inadequate” and even “dangerous.”

Pelosi, D-Calif., on Thursday morning then dramatically called for the House to proceed with drafting articles of impeachment.

“The facts are uncontested. The president abused his power,” Pelosi said.

“Our president leaves us no choice but to act,” she continued. “Sadly, but with confidence and humility, today, I am asking our chairman to proceed with articles of impeachment.”

Trump hit back again following Pelosi’s announcement, accusing her party of trying to impeach him over “NOTHING” and warning that it could set a dangerous precedent.

“This will mean that the beyond important and seldom used act of Impeachment will be used routinely to attack future Presidents. That is not what our Founders had in mind,” he tweeted.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., in concurrence with the other chairs of committees involved – Schiff, D-Calif., and Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y. – will now draft articles of impeachment. Should the House pass those articles, the impeachment inquiry would transform into a full-fledged Senate trial.

“@SpeakerPelosi & the Democrats should be ashamed. @realDonaldTrump has done nothing but lead our country – resulting in a booming economy, more jobs & a stronger military, to name just a few of his major accomplishments. We look forward to a fair trial in the Senate,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham tweeted after Pelosi’s announcement.

Republicans hold the majority in the Senate and Trump allies hold chairmanships on key committees, with many of them signaling their interest in exploring issues that House Democrats glossed over during their hearings — such as the Bidens’ business dealings in Ukraine and alleged Ukraine interference in the 2016 presidential election.

But despite his threats, the president does not, alone, have the power to call witnesses to testify in those proceedings. In the Senate trial, three separate parties have input to how it will play out: Senate Republicans, Senate Democrats and the White House.

A senior Senate Republican aide told Fox News last month that once they receive articles of impeachment, they will begin working on two resolutions — one that governs the timeline of the trial, and the other that sets up witnesses for closed-door depositions, as well as which witnesses will be required to testify on the stand.

The aide suggested that Republican senators – like Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Senate Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis. – could be attempting to help “shape” the witness list and the trial in their recent attempts to obtain documents and information from the administration and companies related to Hunter Biden.

Last month, Sen. Graham penned a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo requesting the release of any documents related to contacts between Biden and former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, and to a meeting between son Hunter Biden’s business partner and former Secretary of State John Kerry.

This pertains to questions surrounding the elder Biden’s role in pressing for the ouster of a Ukrainian prosecutor who had been investigating the natural gas firm Burisma, where Hunter Biden served on the board. Biden denies any wrongdoing, but Republicans have pressed for details throughout the impeachment process, in a bid to show that even though Trump’s pressure campaign on Kiev triggered the impeachment inquiry, his concern was legitimate.

Also last month, Johnson and Grassley penned a letter to the head of the National Archives and Records Administration to request records of multiple White House meetings that took place in 2016 involving Obama administration officials, Ukrainian government representatives, and Democratic National Committee officials

While Trump has sought to press an unsupported theory that Ukraine was tied to Democratic National Committee hacking, GOP lawmakers have sought details on other issues that are more grounded in published reports — like whether former DNC consultant Alexandra Chalupa was improperly digging up dirt on Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and others with Ukraine’s help at the time.

Democrats did not grant GOP requests to call Biden’s son Hunter, Chalupa and others on the House side, and it’s unclear if Senate Republicans will at least attempt to call these and other witnesses.

But Thursday was not the first time the president has threatened to have Rep. Schiff appear as a witness. Last month, during an exclusive interview with “Fox & Friends,” the president said there was “only one person” he wanted to testify more than Hunter Biden.

“And that is Adam Schiff,” Trump said during that interview, also calling for the still-anonymous whistleblower to come forward to testify as well.

At the center of the impeachment inquiry, which began in September, is Trump’s July 25 phone call with Kiev. That call prompted the whistleblower complaint to the intelligence community inspector general, and in turn, the impeachment inquiry in the House. Trump challenged the accuracy of the complaint, though the call transcript released by the White House did support the core allegations that he pressed for politically related investigations.

The president’s request came after millions in U.S. military aid to Ukraine had been frozen, which Democrats and witnesses have claimed shows a “quid pro quo” arrangement. Trump denies any wrongdoing.

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

Author: Brooke Singman

Source: Fox News: Trump threatens to have Schiff, Bidens, Pelosi testify in Senate trial as he dares House to impeach

President Trump on Tuesday defended blocking top officials from testifying as part of the House impeachment inquiry, arguing the decision was made to protect the office of the presidency and “future presidents” — even as he claimed he’d otherwise support the testimony.

“The D.C. Wolves and Fake News Media are reading far too much into people being forced by Courts to testify before Congress. I am fighting for future Presidents and the Office of the President,” Trump tweeted Tuesday.

“Other than that, I would actually like people to testify,” he continued.

He claimed that former national security adviser John Bolton, whom Democrats have sought for testimony due to his involvement in discussions central to the impeachment inquiry, could actually back his claims. While Democrats allege Trump delayed aid to Ukraine in order to seek the launch of politically advantageous investigations, Trump said Bolton “may know that I held back the money from Ukraine because it is considered a corrupt country, & I wanted to know why nearby European countries weren’t putting up money also” — an argument Trump allies have made.

He added: “Likewise, I would love to have Mike Pompeo, Rick Perry, Mick Mulvaney and many others testify about the phony Impeachment Hoax. It is a Democrat Scam that is going nowhere but, future Presidents should in no way be compromised. What has happened to me should never happen to another President!”

The president’s tweet comes as the House is winding down its impeachment inquiry. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who was largely leading the inquiry, said Monday that the panel would be working on its report to transmit to the House Judiciary Committee, which could prepare potential articles of impeachment, after Thanksgiving.

Democrats have subpoenaed top administration officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney for records or testimony — but the administration has blocked them.

When asked Tuesday about the president’s tweet on testimony, Pompeo said cryptically, “When the time is right, all good things happen.”

Top current and former administration officials who testified last week as part of public impeachment hearings suggested that officials like Pompeo, Mulvaney and Perry were involved in efforts to pressure Ukraine to launch investigations of Democrats.

The plot thickened as a federal judge on Monday ordered former White House counsel Don McGhan to comply with a congressional subpoena issued earlier this year in a separate matter.

The White House and McGhan have argued his testimony was protected by executive privilege, and therefore he was not able to testify as part of any congressional probes.

But U.S. District Court Judge Ketanki Brown Jackson ruled on Monday that if he wanted to assert executive privilege to avoid testifying, he would need to appear before Congress and do it himself, on a question-by-question basis.

A senior Justice Department official told Fox News the department would appeal Jackson’s decision and seek a stay pending that appeal. The order stirred immediate speculation about the implications for impeachment proceedings.

Should a higher court uphold the ruling, it could set a binding precedent affecting future disputes between Congress and the White House involving executive privilege, which generally allows the president and high-level officials to refuse to answer certain questions that might impair deliberative processes or compromise presidential communications and the separation of powers.

House Democrats, meanwhile, withdrew a subpoena earlier this month for former White House Deputy National Security Adviser Charles Kupperman, less than two weeks after Kupperman asked a federal court whether he should comply with the order. Kupperman, who left the administration when Bolton exited in September, was slated to appear before the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight Committees as part of their impeachment investigation.

On Tuesday, his attorney said in a statement that the McGahn ruling does not affect his situation, and he continues to seek a ruling “resolving the question whether he is constitutionally obliged to obey the House’s demand that he testify or the President’s conflicting demand that he decline to do so.”

At the center of the impeachment inquiry, which began in September, is Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukraine’s president. That call prompted a whistleblower complaint to the intelligence community inspector general, and in turn, the impeachment inquiry in the House.

The president’s request came after millions in U.S. military aid to Ukraine had been frozen, which Democrats and witnesses have claimed shows a “quid pro quo” arrangement. Trump denies any wrongdoing.

Fox News’ Gillian Turner and Gregg Re 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: Trump defends move to block impeachment testimony, says he is protecting ‘future presidents’

House Republicans plan to call Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff as one of their first witnesses in the impeachment inquiry against President Trump following the adoption of formal rules for the investigation, claiming he is a “fact witness” due to his office’s early involvement with the whistleblower whose complaint sparked the proceedings.

A source familiar with Republicans’ strategy moving forward in the impeachment inquiry confirmed to Fox News on Monday that GOP members plan to call Schiff, D-Calif., for questioning — even if they are unlikely to succeed.

The source told Fox News that Republicans want answers to questions like: “How many times did he meet with the whistleblower? What did they advise the whistleblower to do? How much was Schiff involved in this? Did he recommend the whistleblower give the complaint to the intelligence community inspector general, even though there was no intel component, so that he could be involved?”

Schiff maintains that he has not personally spoken with the anonymous whistleblower. However, it was revealed several weeks ago that the whistleblower at least had early contact with his office, essentially giving them a heads-up about the complaint concerning Trump’s July phone call with Ukraine’s president.

Regarding that early discussion, the GOP source noted that Republicans could be interested in hearing from the “anonymous” Schiff staffer involved.

Republicans’ effort to devise a strategy going forward comes after the House approved rules for the process last week. While Republicans opposed the resolution and complained the rules were unfair, they still gave minority Republicans the ability to subpoena witnesses, with the concurrence of Democratic committee chairs. If the chair does not consent, the minority can appeal to the full committee.

This process still gives Democrats final say over witnesses, however, and the GOP source acknowledged it’s unlikely they would go along with the efforts to call Schiff — who is essentially leading the impeachment probe.

But GOP lawmakers for days had telegraphed that they were interested in making the attempt.

House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that Schiff is the “first person” who should be brought in, along with his staff.

Last week, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Doug Collins, R-Ga., publicly challenged Schiff to come before the judiciary panel.

“Come to the Judiciary Committee,” Collins said after the passage of the impeachment rules resolution. “Be the first witness and take every question asked of you. Starting with your own involvement of the whistleblower.”

Schiff’s office last month said that the whistleblower had reached out to them before filing the complaint in mid-August, giving Democrats advance warning of the accusations that would lead them to launch an impeachment inquiry days later. The inspector general complaint about Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky flagged concerns about efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter as military aid to the country was being withheld.

A transcript released by the White House shows Trump making that request, but he and his congressional allies deny, and plan to continue to deny, that military aid was clearly linked to the request, or that there was any “quid pro quo.” Some witnesses coming before House committees as part of the impeachment proceedings have challenged that assertion.

Meanwhile, Republicans are also hoping to call the whistleblower to testify, according to the source, who pointed to Schiff’s recent reversal on the issue.

Schiff in September had previewed testimony from the whistleblower “very soon,” but in recent weeks has suggested that testimony is unnecessary.

The president, repeatedly, has called for the individual to testify.

“The Whistleblower gave false information & dealt with corrupt politician Schiff. He must be brought forward to testify,” the president tweeted Monday morning. “Written answers not acceptable! Where is the 2nd Whistleblower? He disappeared after I released the transcript. Does he even exist? Where is the informant? Con!”

The whistleblower’s central allegation that Trump in July urged Ukraine to launch politically related investigations, however, has been supported by other witnesses as well as the call transcript released by the White House.

The whistleblower’s attorney, Mark Zaid, tweeted over the weekend that his client would provide sworn, written answers under penalty of perjury.

But late Sunday, House Oversight Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan seemingly rejected Zaid’s offer, saying, “written answers will not provide a sufficient opportunity to probe all the relevant facts and cross-examine the so-called whistleblower.”

Republicans also plan to continue to criticize House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for not holding a formal floor vote on the impeachment inquiry process until a month after announcing the probe, and for crafting rules they say limit their ability to subpoena witnesses.

According to another GOP source familiar with the impeachment process, Republicans plan to continue arguing that the entire impeachment inquiry against Trump is a “sham,” and push back against the substance of the inquiry itself.

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

Author: Brooke Singman

Source: Fox News: House Republicans plan to call Adam Schiff to testify in impeachment inquiry, say he is ‘fact witness’

EXCLUSIVE: The Republican National Committee raised a record-setting $27.3 million in September and had $59.2 million cash on hand last month amid the impeachment push against President Trump — which has fueled GOP campaign contributions heading into the 2020 election.

The RNC’s September fundraising haul is the best off-cycle month in the history of both the Republican and Democratic parties. This cycle, to date, the RNC has more than doubled the Democratic National Committee’s fundraising efforts, according to the GOP, which also noted that the Democrats, as of last month, carried $7.3 million in debt.

“While Democrats focus on fighting President Trump, Republicans have prioritized voters and we have another record-breaking fundraising month—the highest ever off-cycle—to show for it,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel told Fox News. “Voters are tired of Democrats’ petty politics and baseless witch hunts, and their shameful attacks have only energized our grassroots army and allowed us to lay the groundwork for Republicans to take back the House, expand our majority in the Senate and re-elect President Trump in 2020.”

The announcement comes just days after the RNC and the Trump re-election campaign announced a massive third-quarter war chest of $125.7 million.

The party’s momentum also comes as House Democrats lead an intense impeachment inquiry into Trump.

Earlier this month, the RNC launched a “Stop the Madness” national counter-impeachment campaign, targeting those House Democrats and vowing to cause “chaos” in response to the formal impeachment inquiry against the president.

The party spent $2.3 million to keep the pressure on vulnerable House Democrats, as part of the campaign, $2 million for ads across television and digital, and an additional $350,000 multimedia buy that it announced this week on platforms like YouTube, Hulu, and Facebook.

The multimedia buy this week focuses on peer-to-peer texting and phone calls to more than 30 House Democrat districts, encouraging voters to call their congressman or congresswoman and “stop the madness.” The party also is continuing investment into Facebook petitions, encouraging voters to sign up and “Take a Stand” against impeachment.

“Our goal is to cause chaos,” RNC spokesman Rick Gorka, who is heading up the campaign, told Fox News in an interview earlier this month. “This is a poison pill. When you couple the impeachment process with the socialist policies being espoused by 2020 Democrats, it’s going to sink their chances at the ballot box, especially with those crucial swing voters and independents across the country.”

The counter-campaign is also leading an on-the-ground effort from grassroots and field teams in critical 2020 states.

Meanwhile, the RNC is expected to continue investing money to grow its ground game to benefit the president’s re-election campaign and Republican candidates nationwide. The party has assigned staff in 19 key target states across the country, with staff, including regional political directors, regional data directors, State directors, and communications directors. In the last month, the party has expanded those efforts to states like Illinois, Colorado, South Dakota, Indiana, Wyoming, and Mississippi.

In those areas, the RNC is expected to recruit and train thousands of volunteers and conduct voter registration drives.

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

Author: Brooke Singman

Source: Fox News: RNC raises record-setting $27.3 million in September, amid impeachment push

EXCLUSIVE: The Republican National Committee launched a national counter-impeachment campaign called “Stop the Madness” on Monday, targeting House Democrats and vowing to cause “chaos” in response to the formal impeachment inquiry against President Trump.

“Democrats promised to reach across the aisle and work with President Trump and Republicans to serve the American people, but instead are now pushing their hyper-partisan impeachment agenda,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel told Fox News on Monday. “Enough is enough; Americans are sick and tired of these witch hunts.”

She added: “We are going to hold Democrats accountable for their ridiculous charade and remind voters that their Democrat representative turned their back on them.”

As part of their aggressive impeachment response, the RNC on Monday launched a new website, stopthemadness.gop, with officials saying it will be used to target House Democrats for their “extreme actions.”

“The website is going to be a one-stop-shop for activists and supporters of President Trump across the country to get information on our efforts to cause chaos within the Democratic Party,” RNC spokesman Rick Gorka, who is heading up the campaign, told Fox News in an interview Monday.

Gorka said the website will be the place for supporters to sign petitions, donate and get involved in counter-protests and demonstrations as the party “fights back on this impeachment craziness.”

As part of their aggressive impeachment response, the RNC on Monday launched a new website, stopthemadness.gop.

“Our goal is to cause chaos,” Gorka said. “This is a poison pill. When you couple the impeachment process with the socialist policies being espoused by 2020 Democrats, it’s going to sink their chances at the ballot box, especially with those crucial swing voters and independents across the country.”

The site is slated to highlight dozens of Democrats in favor of impeachment in Trump-won districts, as well as states with upcoming key Senate and gubernatorial races.

“From California to Maine, and everywhere in between, we have dedicated communications and political staff whose sole focus is to drive voter engagement in those districts,” Gorka explained. “This will be a battle in the streets, online, on the airwaves—we have all of the tools at our disposal.”

In addition to the website launch, the RNC has committed to a $2 million ad buy on both TV and digital platforms, including on Facebook, Google, Youtube, Spotify and Pandora. Much of the focus will be in target congressional districts like Atlanta, Ga.; Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Chicago, Ill.; Charleston, S.C.; Richmond, Va.; Los Angeles, Calif.; Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas and more.

“We’re able to do this, and scale nationally because we’re already involved and have never left these states,” Gorka said, noting they will “activate” the voters, saying its “something we’ve already laid the groundwork for.”

The RNC will also engage in an aggressive rapid response effort, led by RNC Rapid Response Director Steve Guest, including email blasts and response in real-time to the latest events.

Gorka described the effort as a whole as “Kavanaugh on steroids.”

The RNC dedicated $2 million to an ad buy across television and digital platforms.

“It is an extreme and divisive path that Democrats have taken and have been on since the 2016 election,” he said. “In a lot of ways, it’s a continuation of the Russia hoax, and if they think it’s going to be a winning issue with 2020 swing voters, they should fire their pollsters because that’s not the data we’re seeing.”

Gorka said RNC data shows that Republicans are in support of the president and against impeachment, but said the issue of impeachment is also “deeply unpopular” among swing voters.

He added: “We know who those voters are by name and address and how they feel and we’re going to make sure they hear a message of how far the Democrats have gone down this rabbit hole.”

The RNC’s efforts come after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced a formal impeachment inquiry into the president last week amid the chaos surrounding Trump’s controversial phone call with the Ukrainian president.

The timetable for House action remains unclear, though Democrat-led committees are moving quickly to investigate allegations, first raised in a whistleblower complaint, that Trump improperly pressured the president of Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. A transcript of that call shows Trump sought an investigation, but he denies wrongdoing and denies tying the request to U.S. aid.

House Democrats, including Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., have vowed to work expeditiously on the inquiry, with some reports indicating that Democrats could even be prepared to introduce formal articles of impeachment against Trump later this fall.

Pelosi, though, has said their time table is fluid, and that she has “no idea” how long the inquiry will take.

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

Author: Brooke Singman

Source: Fox News: RNC launches ‘Stop the Madness’ campaign to fight impeachment push

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

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