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‘Transcends all normal realities’

Americans have seen Black Lives Matter murals pop up in cities all across the country — they’re painted on streets, buildings, placards, you name it. New York City has seen them on the streets around all five boroughs.

Interestingly, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio admitted this week that he decided the BLM murals would not have to go through the normal permitting process. But he is still forcing pro-police and pro-Trump groups go through the bureaucracy to get the government’s OK to put out their political messages in the same format, the New York Post first reported.

What’s going on?

The city has come under fire for allegedly blocking groups the mayor disagrees with politically from creating murals in the same fashion as the BLM movement.

The conservative, pro-Trump Women for America First is suing de Blasio and the city Department of Transportation for allowing a BLM mural to be painted in front of Trump Tower but ignoring and essentially blocking their group from exercising the same form of expression, the Post reported late last month.

In the wake of the lawsuit, the mayor has faced repeated questions about an apparent double standard.

On Monday, de Blasio revealed that the city did, in fact, ignore its own application process for public art projects in order to allow Black Lives Matter to paint murals around the city while still forcing groups like Women for America and the pro-cop organization Blue Lives Matter to wade through the government process of getting a permit for a public mural.

He began by claiming that the city has not said “no” to anyone. Instead, he said the groups have been told, “If you want to apply, you can apply, but there’s a process.”

But then he revealed that the rules do not apply to organizations and groups that are part of a movement that he believes “transcends all normal realities.” The statement was reminiscent of his claim in July defending putting Black Lives Matter murals on the streets in each of the boroughs because BLM “transcends any notion of politics” — including on the street in front of Trump Tower in Manhattan, which de Blasio helped paint.

“The fact is,” de Blasio attempted to explain Monday, “what I decided to do with the Black Lives Matter murals — and this came out of a meeting at Gracie Mansion weeks ago with community leaders and activists who said this would be such an important thing for this city to declare officially — that is something that again transcends all normal realities because we are at a moment of history when that had to be said and done, that’s a decision I made.”

So, any chance any other group will get the special treatment Black Lives Matter received?

Not according to Hizzoner: “The normal process continues for anyone who wants to apply.”

Author: Chris Field

Source: The Blaze: De Blasio reveals he skipped the city permit process for BLM murals — but he’s still forcing pro-cop, pro-Trump groups to get permits

Will they report the truth?

Recent reports appear to show that Gen. Mike Flynn, one-time national security adviser to President Donald Trump, was “deliberately framed” by the FBI in the investigation into Russian election meddling.

President Trump fired Flynn just weeks into his presidency for admittedly lying to Vice President Mike Pence and the FBI about discussions with Russian officials about sanctions.

The liberal news media were all too happy to report on the Flynn controversy at the time, including CNN, whom Trump said “tormented” the former NSA. The president has said the cable news outlet should “pay a big price” for its actions.

What happened today?

During media questions in the Oval Office Thursday, CNN’s Jim Acosta asked Trump if he planned to pardon Flynn now that more information about the treatment of Flynn has come to light and based on Trump’s Dec. 2, 2017, tweet that he “had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!”

Acosta wanted to know if Trump stood by his statement that Flynn lied.

Trump responded by saying, that “dirty cops” at the FBI “tormented Gen. Flynn.”

“You see the notes, Jim,” Trump said, referring to recently uncovered handwritten notes from FBI agents seeming to show the bureau was unfairly targeting the general, adding, “What they did to Gen. Flynn … was a disaster and a disgrace, and it should never be allowed to happen in this country, again.”

He then turned to Acosta’s employer.

“CNN tormented him, in all fairness,” Trump said.

“I hope to see that CNN will — not even apologize, which they should, but just cover it fairly — because he is in the process of being exonerated,” he continued. “If you look at those notes from yesterday, that was total exoneration. These were dirty, filthy cops at the top of the FBI.”

“They were dishonest people,” Trump said of the FBI agents. “Now we have to see what’s going to happen. Gen. Flynn was treated like nobody … should be treated.”

Returning to CNN, the president said, “I hope that CNN is going to give him a fair shake and cover it.”

Trump concluded: “I think it would be so good for CNN if you covered it honestly and if you reported honestly. It would be so good for the network.”

Author: Chris Field

Source: The Blaze: President Trump goes at it with CNN’s Jim Acosta in the Oval Office: Your network ‘tormented’ Gen. Flynn. I sure hope you report his ‘total exoneration’

This could get testy

The U.S. Senate will reconvene Tuesday and begin debating Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s proposed rules for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. You can watch a live feed of the proceedings below.

Should the Kentucky Republican’s proposal pass, arguments would begin Wednesday morning. However, Senate Democrats plan to offer amendments to McConnell’s resolution, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Monday. At issue are the rules of evidence and the calling of witnesses. Democrats say the Republicans’ proposed rules would severely hamper House managers’ ability to submit evidence to the full Senate.

There is also continuing debate over which witnesses the mangers’ should be permitted to call. Over the last few weeks, at least two people Democrats believe could have evidence harmful to the president’s case — and did not testify before the House — have come forward to say they are willing to testify before the Senate if called.

Lev Parnas, a former associate of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, has reportedly turned over documents that, he says, show the president pressured the Ukrainian government to announce an investigation into the family of former Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. Parnas, facing federal charges that could see him serving prison time, has expressed a willingness to testify in the impeachment trial, USA Today reported.

Another witness Democrats have said they hope to call is former Trump national security adviser John Bolton. House Democrats never subpoenaed Bolton to testify, but he announced Jan. 6 that he would testify if subpoenaed by the Senate. Bolton’s testimony could be crucial if rumors that he has crucial knowledge about the White House’s dealings in Ukraine are true.

Republicans have responded to Democrats’ demands about witnesses by vowing to call their own witnesses, potentially even Hunter Biden, son of the former vice president.

The seven Democratic House impeachment managers appointed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will present the impeachment articles and evidence. Those managers are: Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (Calif.), Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (N.Y.), and Reps. Zoe Lofgren (Calif.), Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.), Val Demings (Fla.), Jason Crow (Colo.), and Sylvia Garcia (Texas).

The U.S. House voted Dec. 18 to impeach the president for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. On Thursday, the House formally delivered the two articles of impeachment to the Senate.

President Trump’s defense team, led by White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Trump’s personal attorney, Jay Sekulow, will make the president’s case. Two famous lawyers joined the president’s team last week: Alan Dershowitz and Ken Starr. And on Monday night, the president added eight House Republicans to his defense team: Reps. Doug Collins (Ga.), Mike Johnson (La.), Jim Jordan (Ohio), Debbie Lesko (Ariz.), Mark Meadows (N.C.), John Ratcliffe (Texas), Elise Stefanik (N.Y.), and Lee Zeldin (N.Y.). These eight Republicans are expected to advise Trump’s official defense team, but it is not clear yet if they will participate in the actual impeachment proceedings.

Author: Chris Field

Source: The Blaze: VIDEO: Senate begins impeachment trial of President Trump with fight over the rules

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