James Barrett


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’

On Tuesday, BNN Bloomberg reported that the $1.57 billion allocated to the building of the southern border wall has “yielded just 1.7 miles” of new wall thus far.

“U.S. Customs and Border Protection has put up just 1.7 miles of fencing with the US$1.57 billion that Congress appropriated last year for President Donald Trump’s wall along the Mexican border, a federal judge was told,” the outlet reports. “A lawyer for the U.S. House of Representatives provided the information Tuesday to the judge in Oakland, California, who is weighing requests from 20 state attorneys general and the the Sierra Club to block Trump from using funds not authorized by Congress to build the wall.”

In a court filing, the lawyer told U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam that according to information provided by the administration, as of April 30, 2019, “it appears that CBP has now constructed 1.7 miles of fencing with its fiscal year 2018 funding.”

But in a series of tweets Wednesday morning, President Trump blasted the claims as misleading.

“Much of the Wall being built at the Southern Border is a complete demolition and rebuilding of old and worthless barriers with a brand new Wall and footings,” he wrote. “Problem is, the Haters say that is not a new Wall, but rather a renovation. Wrong, and we must build where most needed. Also, tremendous work is being done on pure renovation – fixing existing Walls that are in bad condition and ineffective, and bringing them to a very high standard!”

After Democrats refused to give him the full $5 billion he requested for border wall construction, prompting the longest partial government shutdown in history, Trump declared a national emergency at the border over the humanitarian crisis caused by a massive influx of illegal immigrants, which has overwhelmed our already overburdened immigration system. That declaration allows Trump to redirect billions to the border.

Democrats, however, are attempting to cap how much Trump can allocate to the construction of the border wall. “Rep. John Garamendi, the Democratic chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness, suggested in a Thursday statement cited by Defense News that the president was using the military construction budget ‘and other critical projects as a personal slush fund to fulfill a campaign promise,'” Business Insider reported last week. “Garamendi, whose subcommittee oversees military construction, presented a bill Wednesday that would cap military spending at $250 million per national emergency, Defense News reported.”

Along with the resources Trump has opened up through the emergency declaration, he is also asking Congress for $4.5 billion to address non-border wall immigration needs. After denying it for months, Democrats have finally agreed that we are indeed facing a “humanitarian crisis” at the border, but they are still reluctant to fully approve of Trump’s request. “Democrats said they would review the request but raised concerns about some of the proposals,” USA Today reported when Trump first made the request three weeks ago. “More than $150 million of the new money would be used to accommodate ‘significant increases’ in immigrants detained, for instance.”

Trump is also requesting $8.6 billion in funding for the border wall for the new budget, which is over six times the amount provided in the past two budgets and a request that Democrats will almost certainly reject.

Author: James Barrett

Source: Daily Wire: Report: Just 1.7 Miles Of Wall Built; Trump: ‘WRONG’

Speaking to the press Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) accused Attorney General William Barr of having committed a “crime” by “not telling the truth” to Congress about Robert Mueller’s response to his summary of the principle findings of the special counsel’s final report.

“What is deadly serious about it is the attorney general of the United States of America is not telling the truth to the Congress of the United States. That’s a crime,” Pelosi told reporters in comments reported by CNBC Thursday. “He lied to Congress,” she alleged when asked about her claim again. “If anybody else did that, it would be considered a crime. Nobody is above the law.”

While she directly accused the attorney general of commiting a “crime,” Pelosi would not give a straight answer about if he should go to prison for his alleged criminal offense, saying only that there’s a “process involved.”

As CNBC notes, the Justice Department has responded to Pelosi’s “deadly serious” accusation, spokeswoman Kerri Kupac calling the speaker’s comment a “baseless attack on the Attorney General” that is “reckless, irresponsible and false.”

While some Democrats, including Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI), continue to accuse Barr of misrepresenting Mueller’s final report — despite Mueller himself reportedly making clear that he did not believe Barr’s summary of the report’s key findings was “inaccurate or misleading” — Pelosi appears to be referencing Barr’s previous statement to the House last month concerning reported “frustration” among the special counsel’s team about the information in his summary.

Asked by Florida Democrat Rep. Charlie Crist if he knew what reports that the special counsel’s team was “frustrated at some level with the limited information” in his summary were referencing, Barr said, “No, I don’t. I think I think, I suspect that they probably wanted more put out, but in my view I was not interested in putting out summaries.”

Barr’s follow-up comments about the special counsel’s team wanting him to put more information out, specifically their summaries, aligns with the recently leaked letter from Mueller sent to Barr three days after Barr’s summary report to Congress. In a March 27 letter to Barr, Mueller expressed concern about the “new public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation” and asked Barr to release the special counsel’s summaries of the report’s findings (formatting adjusted):

The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this Office’s work and conclusions. We communicated that concern to the Department on the morning of March 25. There is new public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations. See Department of Justice, Press Release (May 17, 2017). While we understand that the Department is reviewing the full report to determine what is appropriate for public release — a process that our Office is working with you to complete — that process need not delay release of the enclosed materials.

The Post reports that Barr and Mueller had a phone conversation the next day in which Mueller explained that he was concerned about the media coverage of Barr’s summary but also said that he did not believe the summary was “inaccurate or misleading.” Barr told Mueller he wanted to wait to release the entire redacted report, which included the summaries, rather than releasing it “piecemeal.”

“A day after Mueller sent his letter to Barr, the two men spoke by phone for about 15 minutes, according to law enforcement officials,” the Post reports. “In that call, Mueller said he was concerned that media coverage of the obstruction investigation was misguided and creating public misunderstandings about the office’s work, according to Justice Department officials.”

“When Barr pressed Mueller on whether he thought Barr’s memo to Congress was inaccurate, Mueller said he did not but felt that the media coverage of it was misinterpreting the investigation, officials said,” the Post reports. “In their call, Barr also took issue with Mueller calling his memo a ‘summary,’ saying he had never intended to summarize the voluminous report, but instead provide an account of its top conclusions, officials said.”

A Justice Department spokeswoman addressed Mueller’s letter and the follow-up phone call in a statement to the Post. “After the Attorney General received Special Counsel Mueller’s letter, he called him to discuss it,” said the spokeswoman. “In a cordial and professional conversation, the Special Counsel emphasized that nothing in the Attorney General’s March 24 letter was inaccurate or misleading. But, he expressed frustration over the lack of context and the resulting media coverage regarding the Special Counsel’s obstruction analysis.”

This article has been revised for clarity.

Author: James Barrett

Source: Dailywire: Pelosi Accuses Barr Of Committing A ‘Crime’; Justice Department Slams Her

In a blistering condemnation of the dismissal of all 16 felony charges against “Empire” star Jussie Smollett, the Illinois Prosecutors Bar Association (IPBA) has accused State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and her office of having “fundamentally misled” the public about the circumstances surrounding the dismissal of the case.

The backlash against the decision Tuesday by Foxx’s office to suddenly drop all charges in the high-profile “hoax hate crime” case continues to mount. On Wednesday, the National District Attorneys Association (NDAA), which represents prosecutors across the country, released a statement detailing what Foxx’s office did wrong. On Thursday, the IPBA, which “serves as the voice for nearly 1,000 front line prosecutors across the state,” issued its own, even more directly accusatory statement.

“The events of the past few days regarding the Cook County State’s Attorney’s handling of the Jussie Smollett case is not condoned by the IPBA, nor is it representative of the honest ethical work prosecutors provide to the citizens of the State of Illinois on a daily basis,” the statement reads.

“The manner in which this case was dismissed was abnormal and unfamiliar to those who practice law in criminal courthouses across the State,” the association continues. “Prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges alike do not recognize the arrangement Mr. Smollett received. Even more problematic, the State’s Attorney and her representatives have fundamentally misled the public on the law and circumstances surrounding the dismissal.”

Among the “fundamentally” misleading statements Foxx and her office have made to the public: falsely claiming that she had recused herself, which would require appointing a special prosecutor, which she failed to do, keeping the decision in-house and thus still influenced by her. She has also “falsely informed the public that the uncontested sealing of the criminal court case was ‘mandatory’ under Illinois law,” a claim which “is not accurate.” The prosecutors also point to the still unexplained “emergency” hearing that resulted in the decision, which has “compounded” the appearance of “impropriety.”

“Lastly, the State’s Attorney has claimed this arrangement is ‘available to all defendants’ and ‘not a new or unusual practice,'” the prosecutors state. “There has even been an implication it was done in accordance with a statutory diversion program. These statements are plainly misleading and inaccurate.”

Read the full statement below:

The Illinois Prosecutors Bar Association serves as the voice for nearly 1,000 front line prosecutors across the State who work tirelessly towards the pursuit of justice. The events of the past few days regarding the Cook County State’s Attorney’s handling of the Jussie Smollett case is not condoned by the IPBA, nor is it representative of the honest ethical work prosecutors provide to the citizens of the State of Illinois on a daily basis.

The manner in which this case was dismissed was abnormal and unfamiliar to those who practice law in criminal courthouses across the State. Prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges alike do not recognize the arrangement Mr. Smollett received. Even more problematic, the State’s Attorney and her representatives have fundamentally misled the public on the law and circumstances surrounding the dismissal.

The public has the right to know the truth, and we set out to do that here.

When an elected State’s Attorney recuses herself from a prosecution, Illinois law provides that the court shall appoint a special prosecutor. See 55 ILCS 5/3-9008(a-15). Typically, the special prosecutor is a neighboring State’s Attorney, the Attorney General, or the State Appellate Prosecutor. Here, the State’s Attorney kept the case within her office and thus never actually recused herself as a matter of law.

Additionally, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office falsely informed the public that the uncontested sealing of the criminal court case was “mandatory” under Illinois law. This statement is not accurate. To the extent the case was even eligible for an immediate seal, that action was discretionary, not mandatory, and only upon the proper filing of a petition to seal. See 20 ILCS 2630/5.2(g)(2). For seals not subject to Section 5.2(g)(2), the process employed in this case by the State’s Attorney effectively denied law enforcement agencies of legally required Notice (See 20 ILCS 2630/5.2(d)(4)) and the legal opportunity to object to the sealing of the file (See 20 ILCS 2630/5.2(d)(5)). The State’s Attorney not only declined to fight the sealing of this case in court, but then provided false information to the public regarding it.

The appearance of impropriety here is compounded by the fact that this case was not on the regularly scheduled court call, the public had no reasonable notice or opportunity to view these proceedings, and the dismissal was done abruptly at what has been called an “emergency” hearing. To date, the nature of the purported emergency has not been publicly disclosed. The sealing of a court case immediately following a hearing where there was no reasonable notice or opportunity for the public to attend is a matter of grave public concern and undermines the very foundation of our public court system.

Lastly, the State’s Attorney has claimed this arrangement is “available to all defendants” and “not a new or unusual practice.” There has even been an implication it was done in accordance with a statutory diversion program. These statements are plainly misleading and inaccurate. This action was highly unusual, not a statutory diversion program, and not in accordance with well accepted practices of State’s Attorney initiated diversionary programs. The IPBA supports diversion programs, and recognizes the many benefits they provide to the community, the defendant and to the prosecuting agency. Central to any diversion program, however, is that the defendant must accept responsibility. To be clear here, this simply was not a deferred prosecution.

Prosecutors must be held to the highest standard of legal ethics in the pursuit of justice. The actions of the Cook County State’s Attorney have fallen woefully short of this expectation. Through the repeated misleading and deceptive statements to the public on Illinois law and circumstances surrounding the Smollett dismissal, the State’s Attorney has failed in her most fundamental ethical obligations to the public. The IPBA condemns these actions.

This irregular arrangement was an affront to prosecutors across the State, the Chicago Police Department, victims of hate crimes, and the people of the City of Chicago and Cook County. We strongly encourage our members and the public to review the National District Attorneys Associations statement on prosecutorial best practices in high profile cases.

Author: James Barrett

Source: Dailywire: Illinois Prosecutors Bar Association: State’s Attorney ‘Fundamentally Misled’ Public About Dismissing Smollett Case

“But when people see you as one-sided, it just makes it tough.”

Former “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno — who successfully pulled off the impossible, following up the inimitable Johnny Carson — says he doesn’t miss his late-night hosting gig because now “everyone has to know your politics.” The current hosts, he suggested, have failed to learn what he learned from Carson: not to let yourself appear to be “one-sided.”

In an exchange during his appearance on NBC’s “TODAY” Tuesday highlighted by The Hill, the hosts of the show began by saying, “So it’s been five years since you left ‘The Tonight Show,’ and you see the place we are right now in this country. Do you miss being on the show? Or is it such a different time that it would be hard to do?”

“No, it’s different — I don’t miss it,” said Leno. “You know, everything now is if people don’t like your politics — everyone has to know your politics.”

“I kind of used Johnny [Carson]’s model,” he explained. “People couldn’t figure out: ‘Well, you and your Republican friends…’ or ‘Well, Mr. Leno, you and your Democratic buddies…’ And I would get hate mail from both sides equally. And I went, ‘Well that’s fabulous! That’s exactly what I want.'”

The hosts reacted enthusiastically to Leno’s response.

“But when people see you as one-sided, it just makes it tough,” Leno said. “And plus, I did it when, you know, Clinton was horny and Bush was dumb, and it was just a little easier,” he added, a line that got more laughs from the NBC team.

“You know, now it’s all very serious, everything so, so na—” he said, stopping himself mid-line. “I’d just like to see a bit of civility come back to it, you know?”

“People say, ‘Oh, it must be easy to do jokes with Trump,'” he continued. “No, it’s actually harder because the punch line of the joke used to be ‘That’s like the president with a porn star.’ Well, now the president is with a porn star. Where do you go with that?! … How do you get more outrageous than that?! Exactly.”

Asked if he thinks the pendulum will swing back the other way, Leno said, “Of course, I think it will swing back the other way.”

Video below (comments begin around the 3:30 mark):

Leno began guest hosting “The Tonight Show” starting in 1987 and took over as the full-time host in 1992, when Carson retired. Leno dominated the late-night scene all the way until his retirement in 2014, when his replacement Jimmy Fallon took the reigns. Fallon at first continued the show’s top-rated streak until more politically charged shows began to overtake him. Fallon drew the outrage of progressive viewers for interviewing Donald Trump in 2016.

“It just got bigger and out of control,” Fallon told The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter in June 2018 regarding the backlash against him for inviting on Trump. “[P]eople just jump on the train, and some people don’t even want to hear anything else. They’re like, ‘No, you did that!’ You go, ‘Well, just calm down and just look at the whole thing and actually see my body of work.'” It was “definitely a down time” amid all the backlash, Fallon said, and morale really dropped on the show. “I’m sorry,” he said for having Trump on the show. “I don’t want to make anyone angry — I never do and I never will. It’s all in the fun of the show. I made a mistake. I’m sorry if I made anyone mad. And, looking back, I would do it differently.”

Trump responded by telling Fallon to “be a man.”

While Leno’s no longer hosting a show, he is a regular on Tim Allen’s “Last Man Standing,” which is now over at Fox after ABC inexplicably dropped it, a decision that drew accusations of political bias.

Author: James Barrett

Source: Dailywire: WATCH: Jay Leno Smacks Late-Night Shows For ‘One-Sided’ Politics

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