James Barrett


Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY) and Ilhan Omar (MN) are among a group of Democratic lawmakers calling on the Trump administration to end sanctions on Iran during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I led a letter with [Rep. Ocasio-Cortez] and [Sen. Bernie Sanders] demanding this Administration end sanctions against Iran during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Omar tweeted Tuesday. “These sanctions aren’t changing the behavior of the Iranian government, but directly punishing innocent civilians.”

Ocasio-Cortez also took to Twitter to publicize her role in pushing for the easing of sanctions on Iran by retweeted a post from the author of a report on the letter: “[Ocasio-Cortez], [Sanders], [Omar], and [Sen. Elizabeth Warren] & co want to suspend sanctions on Iran that make it hard to import meds, PPE & respirators despite one of the world’s biggest COVID-19 outbreaks and Trump’s claims of having made enough humanitarian concessions,” reads the tweet from Huffington Post foreign affairs reporter Akbar Shahid Ahmed.

As reported by the HuffPost on Tuesday, Omar, Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders are among over two-dozen Democratic lawmakers who signed a letter sent to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on Tuesday demanding the administration “suspend sweeping U.S. sanctions on Iran that are hindering the country’s response to its massive coronavirus outbreak.”

“Allowing this crisis to become more dire in Iran threatens significant harm not only to the people of Iran but also to people in the United States and around the world,” the letter reads.

“Our many disputes with the government of Iran or others should not stand in the way of actions that can materially help innocent people weather a pandemic,” the Democratic lawmakers assert.

As a precedent for such an action, the letter notes that President George W. Bush’s administration “eased sanctions” and “delivered aid” to Iran after the 2003 earthquake near Bam.

Among the sanctions relief they are demanding are “those that encompass major sectors of the Iranian economy, including those impacting civilian industries, Iran’s banking sector and exports of oil.” The easing of sanctions should last “for at least as long as health experts believe the crisis will continue,” the lawmakers insist.

HuffPost cites some of the alarming COVID-19 statistics coming out of Iran, including more 2,750 deaths in connection to the virus and more than 40,000 infections.

Along with Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, and Sanders, former Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA) signed the letter.

During the course of his presidency, Trump has withdrawn from the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal and ramped up pressure on Iran by placing increasingly punitive sanctions on the country, which is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.

While HuffPost notes that the sanctions “restrict Iran’s ability to earn foreign currency by selling oil abroad and to trade with international firms, limiting its imports of medicine and materials it needs to produce drugs domestically,” and have damaged the country’s ability to gain access to specialized medical equipment, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has turned down U.S. offers of aid.

“The U.S. preserved loopholes for food and medical trade with Iran and acknowledged its need by offering aid, American officials have noted, but Iran’s Supreme Leader rejected the offer,” HuffPost reports. “Last month, Trump authorized a new channel for humanitarian exports to the country that allows companies to seek approval for deals from the U.S. and Swiss governments without fear of incurring American penalties.”

Despite Trump opening the new channels, “producers of vital supplies are still nervous about fines, as American authorities continue to target violators of the sanctions and impose new ones, and are reluctant to deal with byzantine U.S. regulations that cover broad swathes of the Iranian economy, from banks to parts of the military,” HuffPost notes.

Author: James Barrett

Source: Daily Wire: Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar Demand Trump End Sanctions On Iran During Coronavirus Crisis

Gallup’s latest survey on Americans’ opinions of President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic contains a series of welcome numbers for the incumbent amid the election-year crisis.

Gallup’s new study finds that Trump’s approval among U.S. adults has jumped 5 points since earlier this month, surging from 44 to 49% approval. That approval rating is the best of his presidency, matching previous highs experienced in late January and early February as the Senate conducted the impeachment trial that ultimately acquitted the president of both of the Democrats’ impeachment articles.

“Independents’ and Democrats’ approval of Trump’s performance has increased slightly since earlier this month, tying as the best he has registered to date among each group,” Gallup explains. “The president’s approval rating among Republicans was already above 90%, and remains so — but is not currently his highest on record (94% in late January).”

The sudden increase among both independents and Democrats, which Gallup underscores is “highly unusual for Trump in particular,” indicates a true “rally,” the pollster explains. While Gallup somewhat downplays the development, describing the 5-point increase as a “small rally,” five points is significant in the midst of an economy-crushing crisis and in an election year that appears to be leading to a very close contest.

Also significant are Americans’ views of Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis. On this front, Gallup does not soft-pedal Trump’s very strong performance and credits public opinion on his handling of the crisis for his increased overall approval rating.

“Americans give the president generally positive reviews for his handling of the situation, with 60% approving and 38% disapproving,” Gallup reports. “Ninety-four percent of Republicans, 60% of independents and 27% of Democrats approve of his response.”

This strong approval percentage, Gallup suggests, is likely a reason that Trump has gained 5 points in overall approval in just a few weeks.

The positive movement in approval on the handling of the crisis, Gallup posits, is in part due to Trump’s tonal shift on March 16, in which he “acknowledged the seriousness of the situation by urging people to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people and to have workers and students stay home if possible.” Trump also began holding daily press briefings to provide the country with updates on the pandemic and the federal and state response.

In its report on the findings of its latest Trump-focused survey, Gallup provides some context for presidential rallies during crises:

Historically, presidential job approval has increased when the nation is under threat. Every president from Franklin Roosevelt through George W. Bush saw their approval rating surge at least 10 points after a significant national event of this kind. Bush’s 35-point increase after 9/11 is the most notable rally effect on record. During these rallies, independents and supporters of the opposing party to the president typically show heightened support for the commander in chief.

Due to heightened “political polarization,” Gallup explains, such dramatic surges in approval appear to be a “relic of the past,” thus Trump’s spike is a more modest in comparison 5%.

Rasmussen’s daily tracking poll of U.S. voters currently gives Trump almost identical approval numbers as President Obama at the same point in his presidency. Obama would go on to easily win re-election. Rasmussen’s tracking poll shows Trump at 46% approval and 53% disapproval, with 34% strongly approving and 42% strongly disapproving.

Author: James Barrett

Source: Daily Wire: Trump Approval Spikes, Strong Majority Of Americans Approve Of His Handling Of Crisis

A massive emergency stimulus package proposed by the White House will direct two $1,000 checks to many Americans, according to administration officials.

“White House officials are working with congressional Republicans on an emergency stimulus package that could send two $1,000 checks to many Americans and also devote $300 billion towards helping small businesses avoid mass layoffs, according to two senior administration officials,” The Washington Post reported Wednesday. “No final decisions have been made and talks with Republican leaders remain fluid, but the growing scale of the $1 trillion rescue plan is coming into sharper focus.”

“The White House will still need backing from Democrats before any plan can be pushed into law, but many Democrats have said they would support sending cash payments to Americans who are struggling to pay bills because of the virus’s economic impact. Still, multiple levels of negotiations remain,” the Post’s Erica Werner and Jeff Stein note.

While the Senate takes steps to pass a more modest coronavirus relief bill, the White House has been in talks with congressional leaders about its sizable stimulus package that would amount to over $900 billion in tax cuts, loan options, and payments to Americans who qualify for the emergency relief checks.

On Tuesday, multiple outlets reported that the bill would include around $500 billion in payroll tax cut, $250 billion in Small Business Administration (SBA) loans, and around $60 billion for the airline industry, totaling around $850 billion.

The Post’s sources say now that the total amount will likely be significantly higher, some $1 trillion, which is expected to include “$500 billion towards the cash payments to individual Americans, though some people wouldn’t qualify if their income is over a certain level.” The SBA loan initiative, meanwhile, will likely include $300 billion in funding, the Post reports.

As noted by the Post Tuesday, the Trump plan “would come in addition to another roughly $100 billion package that aims to provide paid sick leave for impacted workers, though the details of that legislation remain very fluid as it moves through Congress.”

Early Wednesday, President Trump issued a tweet assuring Americans out of work because of the crisis that “money will soon be coming to you.”

“For the people that are now out of work because of the important and necessary containment policies, for instance the shutting down of hotels, bars and restaurants, money will soon be coming to you,” Trump tweeted. “The onslaught of the Chinese Virus is not your fault! Will be stronger than ever!”

The president followed up that tweet up by vowing to “totally protect your Medicare & Social Security!”

As The Daily Wire reported, President Trump announced other decisive measures Wednesday intended to address the coronavirus crisis, including the mutual decision with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to shut down the U.S. border with Canada in order to curb the further spread of COVID-19.

“We will be, by mutual consent, temporarily closing our Northern Border with Canada to non-essential traffic. Trade will not be affected. Details to follow!” Trump tweeted.

Author: James Barrett

Source: Daily Wire: Trump Stimulus Plan Aims To Give $2,000 To Many Americans

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has become embroiled in controversy after he directed a threatening statement to Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh during an abortion rally outside the nation’s highest court on Wednesday — and a recent complaint against President Trump Schumer posted on Twitter is making matters worse for the Democratic senator.

“Over the last three years, women’s reproductive rights have come under attack in a way we haven’t seen in modern history,” Schumer declared at the Center for Reproductive Rights-hosted event on Wednesday. “Republican legislatures are waging a war on women, all women, and they’re taking away fundamental rights.”

The senator then directed his next comment specifically to Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, both Trump-nominated justices with pro-life records. “I want to tell you Gorsuch, I want to tell you Kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions,” Schumer warned.

The comment has earned strong rebuke from both the right and the left. But Schumer’s threat is even more egregious in light of his recent complaint about Trump.

In mid-February, Schumer condemned Trump for criticizing the federal judge presiding over the Roger Stone case, which Schumer described as an assault on “the independence of the federal judiciary.” Chief Justice John Roberts, Schumer demanded, must publicly rebuke the president for his criticism.

“With President Trump publicly attacking a judge: Now would be the time for Chief Justice Roberts to speak up,” Schumer tweeted along with video of himself listing his complaints against Trump on the Senate floor (h/t Twitchy). “Now would be the time for the Chief Justice to directly and specifically defend the independence of the federal judiciary. I hope he will see fit to, and do it today.”

But when Chief Justice Roberts defended the independence of the judiciary for a far more incendiary statement than Trump’s — the statement Wednesday by Schumer — the senator’s spokesman responded by lashing out at Roberts. The Chief Justice, Schumer’s camp suggested, was demonstrating political bias by rebuking him. The spokesman apparently forgot what Schumer himself said in the video he tweeted out in February: that Roberts has rebuked Trump in the past.

“This morning, Senator Schumer spoke at a rally in front of the Supreme Court while a case was being argued inside,” Roberts said in a statement Wednesday. “Senator Schumer referred to two Members of the Court by name and said he wanted to tell them that ‘You have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price. You will not know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.’ Justices know that criticism comes with the territory, but threatening statements of this sort from the highest levels of government are not only inappropriate, they are dangerous. All Members of the Court will continue to do their job, without fear or favor, from whatever quarter.”

Schumer spokesman Justin Goodman responded in a statement Wednesday: “For Justice Roberts to follow the right wing’s deliberate misinterpretation of what Sen. Schumer said, while remaining silent when President Trump attacked Justices Sotomayor and Ginsberg last week, shows that Justice Roberts does not just call balls and strikes.”

Author: James Barrett

Source: Daily Wire: Schumer’s Recent Tweet About Trump Comes Back To Bite Him After Threat Against Justices

The CNN-hosted Democratic presidential primary debate in Des Moines, Iowa on Tuesday night is being blasted from all sides as the dullest and most absent of substance of the seven debates held thus far. While left-leaning Deadline couldn’t bring itself to even attempt to resuscitate what it described as the “dull night of the living dead,” Donald Trump danced on the candidates’ graves.

As The New York Times lamented, the “fireworks did not really materialize” Tuesday night as many had anticipated with the stakes so high for the top tier candidates. The only truly notable moments were unfortunate for the Democrats: a CNN moderator making clear which candidate the network believes over the report that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders supposedly told Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren that a woman couldn’t win in 2020 — a moment that had critics declaring “media malpractice” — and Warren’s viral refusal to shake Sanders’ hand post-debate.

As #NeverWarren began trending online, Trump took to Twitter to promote some of his favorite trolling responses to the Democrats’ “dull” debate and to demonstrate that he can reach across the aisle by expressing agreement with a Democratic candidate (tweets below).

One of Trump’s first debate-themed posts was a retweet of a “space alien” comment from Fox News host Greg Gutfeld. “If you were a space alien, bouncing between the debate and the Trump rally, you’d think these are two different species — meek, dull creatures, and a monstrous, domineering behemoth. you’d know who to fear, and deal accordingly,” wrote Gutfeld.

Trump followed that by retweeting a “daily reminder” about Democrats’ goals from “Tipping Point” host Liz Wheeler. “Your daily reminder that Democrats want to: – Open borders – Abolish private health insurance – Ban your AR-15s – Give illegal aliens free healthcare – Raise your taxes – Abortion without restriction – Green New Deal – End school choice,” wrote Wheeler, adding the hashtag “#DemDebate.

The president then promoted a post by Daily Wire podcast host Michael Knowles. “If the election were held in the 24 hours after this #DemocraticDebate, Trump would win every single state, including Greenland,” wrote the author of a bestselling Democrat-mocking book with no words.

Trump then expressed his agreement with Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer, who said in an interview that progressive Democrats are going to destroy the economy within minutes if they’re given control. “I agree with him on this, 100%,” wrote Trump. “But why would anyone vote Democrat? We are setting all time records with the economy!”

The president closed out his debate trolling by pointing to a brutal interview with progressive CNN commentator Van Jones, who said his big takeaway from the “dispiriting” debate is that he saw “nothing” that “would be able to take Donald Trump out.”

“I want to say that tonight for me was dispiriting,” Jones admitted during CNN’s post-debate coverage. “Democrats will have to do better than we saw tonight. There was nothing I saw tonight to suggest we’ll be able to take Donald Trump out, and I want to see a Democrat in the White House as soon as possible. There was nothing tonight, if you’re looking at this thing, to say any of these people are prepared for what Donald Trump will do to us. And to see further divisions tonight is very dispiriting.”

Trump’s tweets and retweets below:

Author: James Barrett

Source: Daily Wire: Trump Trolls Democrats Over Dismal Debate, Highlights ‘Space Alien’ Comment

In an op-ed for The Hill published Monday, Bradley A. Blakeman, former deputy assistant to President George W. Bush and an adjunct professor of public policy and international affairs at Georgetown University, argues that “there’s no requirement — or need — for an actual trial in the Senate.” President Trump has since made clear that he agrees.

When the House Democrats finally hand over the two articles of impeachment — for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — to the Republican-controlled Senate, House Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has at least five options, Blakeman explains. One of those options, he argues, is to simply dismiss the trial altogether.

“The Senate could entertain a motion by the president’s counsel to dismiss — before the start of a trial — both articles of impeachment, for failure to meet the constitutional threshold for stating a cause of action,” Blakeman writes. The decision would require only a simple majority vote (51) to pass because it is a procedural motion.

After detailing four other options, Blakeman lays out unequivocally where he stands:

In my opinion, a trial is unnecessary. The House articles, on their face, are defective. Both fail to meet the constitutional threshold of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” This would negate a trial but does not give the president any formal “acquittal,” after a trial on the merits of the articles, which would prove the president’s innocence. While this would be true in a traditional criminal judicial proceeding, it is not the case in a political trial. No matter how the Senate deals with the articles of impeachment, Democrats and Republicans will put their own political spin on the outcome. Since the House articles of impeachment were voted strictly on party lines, and the country is so divided on the whole impeachment process, in my opinion, a trial is less important.

President Trump highlighted Blakeman’s “dismissal” argument in a pair of tweets Thursday morning, quoting Blakeman from an appearance on Fox News.

Citing Blakeman, Trump wrote: “I happen to believe as a lawyer that the charges are defective, they don’t meet the Constitutional standard of high crimes and misdemeanors, so I would like to see a Motion to Dismiss. At least 51 Republican Senators would agree with that — there should be no trial.”

“Nancy Pelosi has no leverage over the Senate,” Trump added in a follow-up tweet, again quoting Blakeman. “Mitch McConnell did not nose his way into the impeachment process in the House, and she has no standing in the Senate.”

In his op-ed for The Hill, Blakeman goes on to outline the other four options he maintains are available to Senate Republicans. If McConnell chooses not to dismiss the trial outright, he could begin the trial but (quickly) end it “whenever the Senate majority deems it has heard enough and calls for a vote.” Republicans would only need to be certain that impeachment does not have two-thirds approval, a near impossibility.

McConnell could also take the opposite approach, conducting a “full-blown trial,” deliberately dragging it out and calling a variety of witnesses “as long as the Senate majority feels doing so is in its interests.” This option, Blakeman predicts, would result in Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts being forced to intervene and issue “numerous rulings, some of which would be unpredictable in their outcomes.”

Another option: hold the trial but then vote for dismissal, a procedural motion requiring a simple majority.

Finally, Blakeman argues, Republicans could employ the “nuclear option”: “make a procedural motion to adjourn the start of a trial until Nov. 4, 2020,” allowing voters to decide Trump’s fate. That option also would only require a simple majority vote.

Author: James Barrett

Source: Daily Wire: Blakeman: There’s No Requirement For Senate To Hold Impeachment Trial; Trump Agrees

George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley has been “highly critical” of President Trump and has consistently voted for Democratic presidents, but he has a strong warning for the House Judiciary Committee on the first day of its impeachment hearings: While President Trump’s July 25 phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart was “anything but perfect,” the Democrats have simply failed to obtain the adequate evidence to make a case for such a serious action as removing the sitting president of the United States. To push this impeachment forward, Turley warns, is “dangerous.”

The four impeachment witnesses for the Judiciary Committee-led hearing Wednesday are all law professors, and three of them, selected by Democrats, are expected to heartily endorse the Democrats’ impeachment effort.

Only the lone Republican-selected witness allowed by the Democrats to testify Wednesday, Turley — a self-described Trump critic and Democratic voter — will push back agains the Democrats’ impeachment campaign.

The impeachment “is not wrong because President Trump is right,” says Turley in his 53-page opening statement. While Trump’s famous call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was “anything but perfect,” Turley argues, and a case for impeachment “could be made,” “it cannot be made on this record,” as all of the evidence has been second-hand at best.

After explaining that he’s been “highly critical of President Trump, his policies, and his rhetoric, in dozens of columns,” and voted against him in the 2016 election — and for both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama before that — Turley makes the case that what the Democrats are doing by pushing forward with the partisan impeachment of Trump is actually “dangerous”:

I would like to start, perhaps incongruously, with a statement of three irrelevant facts. First, I am not a supporter of President Trump. I voted against him in 2016 and I have previously voted for Presidents Clinton and Obama. Second, I have been highly critical of President Trump, his policies, and his rhetoric, in dozens of columns. Third, I have repeatedly criticized his raising of the investigation of the Hunter Biden matter with the Ukrainian president. These points are not meant to curry favor or approval. Rather they are meant to drive home a simple point: one can oppose President Trump’s policies or actions but still conclude that the current legal case for impeachment is not just woefully inadequate, but in some respects, dangerous, as the basis for the impeachment of an American president.

To put it simply, I hold no brief for President Trump. My personal and political views of President Trump, however, are irrelevant to my impeachment testimony, as they should be to your impeachment vote. Today, my only concern is the integrity and coherence of the constitutional standard and process of impeachment. President Trump will not be our last president and what we leave in the wake of this scandal will shape our democracy for generations to come. I am concerned about lowering impeachment standards to fit a paucity of evidence and an abundance of anger. If the House proceeds solely on the Ukrainian allegations, this impeachment would stand out among modern impeachments as the shortest proceeding, with the thinnest evidentiary record, and the narrowest grounds ever used to impeach a president.7 That does not bode well for future presidents who are working in a country often sharply and, at times, bitterly divided.

Of course, Turley’s fellow expert witnesses called to testify by Democrats Wednesday disagree. In fact, University of North Carolina’s Michael Gerhardt believes that not only are Trump’s actions impeachable, they’re “worse than the misconduct of any prior president.”

“The president’s serious misconduct, including bribery, soliciting a personal favor from a foreign leader in exchange for his exercise of power, and obstructing justice and Congress are worse than the misconduct of any prior president,” the law professor asserts in his prepared remarks, as reported by Politico.

“If Congress fails to impeach here, then the impeachment process has lost all meaning,” Gerhardt declares.

Author: James Barrett

Source: Daily Wire: Trump-Critic Impeachment Witness To Democrats: Sorry, You Just Don’t Have The Evidence To Impeach

In an interview on the eve of the first day of the official impeachment inquiry, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff — the California congressman who is heading up the Democrats’ impeachment effort — shifted the focus of the discussion to what he suggested are potentially several more impeachable offenses by President Trump. During the interview, Schiff notably largely avoided using the term “quid pro quo,” which Republicans say the evidence undermines.

Schiff told NPR’s “Morning Edition” Tuesday that he believes the Democrats will be able to make the case that Trump committed several impeachable crimes, particularly “bribery” and “high crimes and misdemeanors,” which NPR notes are “both explicitly outlined in the Constitution as impeachable offenses.”

In making the case for alleged “bribery” by Trump, Schiff first argued for the Constitution’s “broader” definition of the term.

“Bribery, first of all, as the founders understood bribery, it was not as we understand it in law today. It was much broader,” he said, as reported by NPR. “It connoted the breach of the public trust in a way where you’re offering official acts for some personal or political reason, not in the nation’s interest.”

All the Democrats need to do to make the case for bribery, Schiff claimed, is to show that Trump was “soliciting something of value,” a broad definition indeed. Multiple witnesses who have spoken with the committee behind closed doors, Schiff told NPR’s Steve Inskeep, have presented evidence that Trump was trying to “solicit something of value.”

That Trump failed to do so, Schiff maintained, is beside the point. Trump’s request for Ukraine to “look into” the corruption allegations agains the Bidens, the subsequent actions of officials working on Trump’s behalf to try to make sure the investigation was conducted, and the temporary withholding of $391 in U.S. military aide is enough to impeach the president, he suggested.

That the military aide was given to Ukraine without the country ever conducting an investigation into the Bidens is neither here nor there, Schiff argued.

“I mean, when you consider the serious terms of whether the president has committed an impeachable offense, the fact that the scheme was discovered, the fact that the scheme was unsuccessful, doesn’t make it any less odious or any less impeachable,” said the Democratic congressman. “If the president solicited for help in the U.S. election, if the president conditioned official acts on the performance of these political favors, whether Ukraine ever had to go through with it really doesn’t matter. What matters is: Did the president attempt to commit acts that ought to result in his removal from office?”

While Schiff acknowledged that it was unlikely that the Senate would impeach Trump, as it requires a two-thirds majority vote, he defended the House Democrats’ resolve to see the process through. Impeachment, he argued, is “the most powerful sanction the House has,” and if it “deters further presidential misconduct, then it may provide some remedy even in the absence of a conviction in the Senate.”

Schiff’s role in what prompted the impeachment inquiry has come under increased scrutiny. After maintaining that he had no contact with the whistleblower who filed the complaint about Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, The New York Times revealed in an Oct. 2 report that the whistleblower consulted with Schiff’s office prior to filing the complaint, sparking allegations of a Democratic setup by Republicans.

“The Democratic head of the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, learned about the outlines of a C.I.A. officer’s concerns that President Trump had abused his power days before the officer filed a whistle-blower complaint, according to a spokesman and current and former American officials,” the Times reported on Oct. 2, exposing Schiff’s misleading past statements about his contact with the whistleblower.

“The C.I.A. officer approached a House Intelligence Committee aide with his concerns about Mr. Trump only after he had had a colleague first convey them to the C.I.A.’s top lawyer,” the report continued. “Concerned about how that initial avenue for airing his allegations through the C.I.A. was unfolding, the officer then approached the House aide. In both cases, the original accusation was vague. The House staff member, following the committee’s procedures, suggested the officer find a lawyer to advise him and meet with an inspector general, with whom he could file a whistle-blower complaint.”

The Times made clear that Schiff himself was made aware of the complaint. “The aide shared some of what the officer conveyed to Mr. Schiff,” the Times reported, adding that the aide “did not share the whistle-blower’s identity with Mr. Schiff,” according to one official.

Author: James Barrett

Source: Daily Wire: Democrats Shift Trump Impeachment Focus To New Potential Offenses

Along with “Fake News Media,” among President Trump’s favorite phrases is “Witch Hunt.” So what better theme for a Trump campaign Halloween party?

On Wednesday, the Trump campaign held a “Witch Hunt Party” in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania featuring social media stars Diamond and Silk, two of Trump’s most vocal supporters, Bloomberg‘s Mario Parker reports.

The event was hosted by American Conservative Union Chairman Matt Schlapp and his wife, former White House Director of Strategic Communications Mercedes Schlapp, and held at the Spooky Nook Sports recreation center in Manheim, Parker notes.

In a picture Parker posted online, event attendees Joyce Bollini and Cynthia Lane can be seen sporting their “Good Witches Love Trump” shirts.

“I think it’s been a witch hunt. The whole Russia collusion and anything before it and anything after it,” Lane told Parker. “It’s the swamp versus him. It’s the elite, the deep state.”

With reports about his campaign’s aptly themed Halloween party circulating, Trump slammed the Democrats’ “witch hunt” again on Thursday morning.

“The Impeachment Hoax is hurting our Stock Market. The Do Nothing Democrats don’t care!” Trump tweeted Thursday morning, adding in a follow-up post: “The Greatest Witch Hunt In American History!”

Trump’s tweets came just before the House Democrats finally held their much-anticipation vote to formally proceed with their impeachment inquiry, a vote that passed along party lines.

The resolution, as The Daily Wire‘s Emily Zanotti explains, “puts Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) in charge of the full inquiry, and gives Schiff the power to order subpoenas and compel testimony.” While Republicans can issue their own subpoenas and present their own testimony, “any rebuttal witnesses, or witnesses presented in defense of the President, must be approved by Schiff, the operating chair of the investigation.” All witness requests must be submitted to Chairman Schiff for approval in order to, as the resolution puts it, “allow for a full evaluation of minority witness requests, the ranking minority member may submit to the chair, in writing, any requests for witness testimony relevant to the investigation described in the first section of this resolution within 72 hours after notice is given.”

All but two Democrats in the House of Representatives — Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Jeff Van Drew (D-NJ) — voted for the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. Almost all of the Republicans voted against; three not casting a vote. Former Republican turned-Independent Justin Amash (MI) voted with the Democrats. The vote count ended up 232 for and 194 against.

Van Drew issued a statement Thursday following his nay vote explaining his rationale for refusing to hold the party line. “Today, I voted Nay on H.Res. 660,” he said in a statement reported by McClatchy. “Without bipartisan support I believe this inquiry will further divide the country tearing it apart at the seams and will ultimately fail in the Senate. However, now that the vote has taken place and we are moving forward I will be making a judgment call based on all the evidence presented by these investigations. My hope is that we are still able to get some work done to help the American people like infrastructure, veteran’s benefits, environmental protections, immigration reform, reducing prescription drug cost, and strengthening Social Security.”

The Democrats’ impeachment inquiry was prompted by a whistleblower complaint filed by a yet-to-be-revealed CIA agent who was reportedly detailed to the White House. The complaint accuses Trump of abusing his power to dig up dirt on a political opponent by asking Ukraine’s president to “look into” accusations of corruption involving former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

Author: James Barrett

Source: Daily Wire: Trump Campaign Trolls Dems With ‘Witch Hunt’ Halloween Event

After a local news outlet drew attention to a pair of black pumpkins with eyes, nose and mouth painted in white at a law firm in Nyack, New York, and an NAACP leader declared black jack-o’-lanterns a form of “blackface,” national retail chain Bed Bath & Beyond pulled the product from shelves and its online store.

The controversy over the “blackface” jack-o’-lanterns all began with a report by Westchester’s News 12, which looked into some local “complaints” about a Halloween display in front a law firm in Nyack.

News 12’s reports shows that the two black pumpkins with white painted-on faces were perched on a hay bail on the front step of the firm along with a regular pumpkin.

Though jack-o’-lanterns have long come in all colors, including black, News 12 reports that the two black ones “upset some community members.”

“The reaction from some community members led the Feerick, Nugent, MacCartney Law Offices to take the pumpkins down less than 48 hours after setting them out on the porch,” the outlet reports. How many people complained is unclear.

The partners in the law firm stressed that they meant no harm in putting out the two Halloween decorations.

“We understand that someone complained about them, and so once we got word of that, we immediately took them down,” attorney Mary Marzolla told News 12.

“We represent people of all colors and faiths, and we would never do anything to exclude anyone from any community,” she said.

“It’s just nothing I take offense to personally, but since it did offend someone we took proactive steps to take it down,” said Marzolla’s associate Alak Shah.

But when News 12 asked the director of a local NAACP chapter about the decorations, he said they were a product of “extreme lack of sensitivity” and suggested that black jack-o’-lanterns were another form of “blackface.”

“By now I would believe everyone [would] know that anything in Black face is offensive,” said local NAACP Director Wilbur Aldridge.

In response to Marzolla and Shah pointing out that they had seen no complaints directed at Bed Bath & Beyond, where they purchased the two black jack-o’-lanterns, Aldridge said that a retail store having the item in its inventory is “equally as offensive” as the firm’s choice to display them.

When News 12 reached out for comment from Bed Bath & Beyond, the store apologized and “immediately” pulled the item.

“Bed Bath & Beyond apologized, saying that any offense was unintentional and that it ‘immediately removed’ the pumpkins from sale,” News 12 reports. “The store says it took action after News 12 reached out but would not say if it had received any other complaints.”

Controversies over “blackface” have been raging over the last year after a series of stories involving old photos of political figures wearing dark makeup.

The most infamous of the incidents involved Virginia’s Democratic Governor Ralph Northam, who came under fire after an Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook photo emerged allegedly showing Northam either wearing blackface or dressed as a member of the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan. Northam initially admitted to and apologized for being in the photo, but never confirmed which of the two people was him. He quickly recanted, however, and insisted that he was neither of the people in the photo.

A four-month investigation into the photo by the med school came up inconclusive. “No one we interviewed told us the governor was in the photograph, and no one could positively state who was in the photograph,” said the investigators hired by the school, as reported by The New York Times.

Author: James Barrett

Source: Daily Wire: Bed Bath & Beyond Pulls Black Jack-O’-Lanterns; NAACP Leader: ‘Blackface’

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