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Vice President Mike Pence’s office wasted no time shooting down a claim made during Wednesday’s impeachment hearing by U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland.

During his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Sondland claimed he told Pence in September about an alleged quid pro quo involving President Donald Trump and the Ukrainian government.

House Democrats have seized on a July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as proof that Trump was planning to withhold military aid from Ukraine until that nation’s government investigated Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

While he was vice president, Joe Biden — who was the Obama administration’s point man for issues related to Ukraine — called for the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor who had investigated a natural gas company, Burisma Holdings, where Hunter Biden served on the board.

Sondland said Wednesday he spoke to Pence about the military aid to Ukraine allegedly being linked “to the issue of investigations.”

That discussion took place on Sept. 1, Sondland said, when Pence was in Poland.

“I mentioned to Vice President Pence … that I had concerns that the delay in aid had become tied to the issue of investigations,” Sondland said in his opening statement, CNN reported.

“[Pence] heard what I said,” Sondland added.

“I don’t recall any substantive response,” he said.

The military aid to Ukraine ended up being released later that month, even though Ukraine never investigated the Bidens.

Pence’s office issued a defiant statement denying Sondland’s claim.

“The vice president never had a conversation with Gordon Sondland about investigating the Bidens, Burisma, or the conditional release of financial aid to Ukraine based upon potential investigations,” Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, said in a statement as Sondland was still testifying.

“This alleged discussion recalled by Ambassador Sondland never happened,” he added, according to the Washington Examiner.

“Multiple witnesses have testified under oath that Vice President Pence never raised Hunter Biden, former Vice President Joe Biden, Crowdstrike, Burisma, or investigations in any conversation with Ukrainians or President Zelensky before, during, or after the September 1 meeting in Poland,” the statement said, as The Hill reported.

Sondland claimed his conversation with Pence came prior to a meeting between Pence and Zelensky.

On Tuesday, Pence aide Jennifer Williams, who was present during the meeting, testified that the vice president said nothing about the reason the aid to Ukraine was being withheld.

“The vice president did not specifically discuss the reason behind the hold, but he did reassure President Zelensky of the strongest U.S. unwavering support for Ukraine, and they talked about the need for European countries to step up and provide more assistance to Ukraine as well,” she said.

Author: Joe Setyon

Source: Western Journal: Pence’s Office Quickly Disputes Detail of Sondland’s Testimony in Statement

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California announced Wednesday he has signed onto a resolution to censure House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff for fabricating quotes from President Donald Trump during a hearing last week.

Schiff’s controversial behavior came during acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire’s testimony Thursday before the Intelligence Committee. Maguire was answering questions about Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

So what exactly did the California Democrat say?

“The essence of what the president communicates” during his call with Zelensky, Schiff said, was as follows: “We’ve been very good to your country. Very good. No other country has done as much as we have. But you know what? I don’t see much reciprocity here.”

“I hear what you want,” the congressman continued. “I have a favor I want from you, though. And I’m going to say this only seven times so you better listen good: I want you to make up dirt on my political opponent. Understand? Lots of it, on this and on that. I’m going to put you in touch with people, not just any people, I’m going to put you in touch with the attorney general of the United States, my attorney general, Bill Barr.

“He’s got the whole weight of the American law enforcement behind him. And I’m going to put you in touch with [Trump attorney] Rudy [Giuliani], you’re going to love him, trust me.”

That wasn’t all.

“You know what I’m asking, and so I’m only going to say this a few more times, in a few more ways,” Schiff said. “And by the way, don’t call me again. I’ll call you when you’ve done what I asked.”

Schiff then claimed “this was in sum and character what the president was trying to communicate with the president of Ukraine. It would be funny if it wasn’t such a graphic betrayal of the president’s oath of office.”

Later, he said the fabricated quotes were a “parody” but argued the fact that some people didn’t realize that was a problem in and of itself.

The fabricated quotes are the just the latest in a long list of Schiff’s lies to the country, McCarthy tweeted Wednesday.

“Chairman Adam Schiff has been lying to the American people for years. Now he is so desperate to damage the president that he literally made up a false version of a phone call,” McCarthy tweeted.

“Enough is enough. I have signed a resolution to censure Schiff in the House of Representatives,” he added.

The resolution Schiff signed onto was originally introduced in the House by GOP Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona.

It currently has 18 cosponsors in the House, all of them Republicans, including Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Mark Meadows of North Carolina, Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Matt Gaetz of Florida.

The motion blasts Schiff for having “manufactured a false retelling of the conversation between President Trump and President Zelensky.”

“This egregiously false and fabricated retelling had no relationship to the call itself,” the motion reads.

“These actions of Chairman Schiff misled the American people, bring disrepute upon the House of Representatives, and make a mockery of the impeachment process, one of this chamber’s most solemn constitutional duties,” it says.

After detailing Schiff’s role in spreading now-disproven allegations that Trump colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election, the motion calls for Schiff to be censured.

“Resolved, that … The House of Representatives censures and condemns Representative Adam Schiff for conduct that misleads the American people in a way that is not befitting an elected Member of the House of Representatives,” the resolution reads.

Trump himself has also taken issue with Schiff’s behavior, calling on the California Democrat to resign.

“Congressman Adam Schiff should resign for the Crime of, after reading a transcript of my conversation with the President of Ukraine (it was perfect), fraudulently fabricating a statement of the President of the United States and reading it to Congress, as though mine!” Trump tweeted Wednesday.

“He is sick!” Trump added.

Author: Joe Setyon

Source: Western Journal: House GOP Leader McCarthy Signs Resolution To Censure Schiff: ‘Enough Is Enough’

The Department of Justice announced Wednesday that it opted not to investigate President Donald Trump over a controversial phone call he had in July with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The news came hours after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California announced the start of an official impeachment probe.

“The actions of the Trump presidency revealed the dishonorable fact of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security, and betrayal of the integrity of our elections,” Pelosi told reporters on Tuesday from the Capitol Building, according to ABC News.

Pelosi cited the Ukraine controversy in her brief statement about impeachment.

Prior to the Wednesday release of the transcript of the call, Trump critics claimed the president was withholding $400 million in aid from Ukraine as a bargaining chip he was using to get Ukraine to investigate past activities of Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden’s son.

The transcript released by the White House does not mention the aid, which was eventually released to Ukraine in September.

Investigators looked into the call to see whether Trump had sought a sort of campaign contribution from Ukraine by asking Zelensky to probe the family of a political opponent, and decided there was no basis for a criminal investigation, The Washington Times reported.

The Department of Justice’s Criminal Division “reviewed the official record of the call and determined, based on the facts and applicable law, that there was no campaign finance violation and that no further action was warranted,” DOJ spokeswoman Kerri Kupec told HuffPost for an article published Wednesday.

She said all “relevant components of the Department agreed with this legal conclusion, and the Department has concluded the matter.”

A legal opinion from Steven Engel, assistant attorney general at the Office of Legal Counsel, further explained the decision.

Engel cited the whistleblower complaint to the Intelligence Community Inspector General from an intelligence official who took issue with Trump’s phone call.

Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire has thus far refused to reveal the contents of the complaint to lawmakers, though the White House is reportedly preparing to release a redacted version of the complaint anyway.

“According to the ICIG, statements made by the President during the call could be viewed as soliciting a foreign campaign contribution in violation of the campaign-finance laws,” Engel wrote in his memorandum, which was written earlier this month but only released to the public this week.

“In the ICIG’s view, the complaint addresses an ‘urgent concern’ for purposes of triggering statutory procedures that require expedited reporting of agency misconduct to the congressional intelligence committees. Under the applicable statute, if the ICIG transmits such a complaint to the DNI, the DNI has seven days to forward it to the intelligence committees.”

So does the Trump administration have a legal obligation to share the contents of the complaint with lawmakers? The DOJ says no.

“The complaint does not arise in connection with the operation of any U.S. government intelligence activity, and the alleged misconduct does not involve any member of the intelligence community,” the memo reads.

“Rather, the complaint arises out of a confidential diplomatic communication between the President and a foreign leader that the intelligence community complainant received secondhand. The question is whether such a complaint falls within the statutory definition of ‘urgent concern’ that the law requires the DNI to forward to the intelligence committees.”

“We conclude that it does not. The alleged misconduct is not an ‘urgent concern’ within the meaning of the statute because it does not concern ‘the funding, administration, or operation of an intelligence activity’ under the authority of the DNI.”

“That phrase includes matters relating to intelligence activities subject to the DNI’s supervision, but it does not include allegations of wrongdoing arising outside of any intelligence activity or outside the intelligence community itself,” the memo adds.

According to Kupec, Trump never asked Attorney General William Barr to discuss with Ukrainian officials anything relating to the Biden family.

“The president has not spoken with the attorney general about having Ukraine investigate anything related to former Vice President Biden or his son,” she said. “The president has not asked the attorney general to contact the Ukraine — on this or any other matter.”

Author: Joe Setyon

Source: Western Journal: DOJ Clears Trump Less Than 24 Hours After Pelosi’s Impeachment Announcement

You’re not likely to hear this from some liberal media outlets, but to say the U.S. economy is roaring under President Donald Trump might be an understatement.

But don’t take it from me. Take it from the American public.

Gallup polling conducted between July 1 and 12 showed that 53 percent of voters said they’d rate current economic conditions in the country as “excellent” or “good,” compared with 46 percent who responded with “only fair” or “poor.”

Sixteen percent, meanwhile, chose the “excellent” option.

This represents a 3 percentage-point uptick from Gallup’s June polling, when 13 percent of voters thought the economy was doing “excellent.”

By comparison, during former President Barack Obama’s tenure, the percentage of respondents who picked “excellent” exceeded 1 percent just one time, in April 2016, when 2 percent chose that option.

In this sense, Trump has smashed Obama’s best economic polling by 800 percent.

It’s not just Gallup.

The results of a Fox News poll released Wednesday show that 51 percent of voters believe “the economy is in positive shape (excellent or good).”

In the years since Fox started asking this question, that’s the highest number to respond positively since 2001.

“The last time this many felt that way was almost two decades ago (59 percent, January 2001),” Fox reported.

For context, that was roughly eight months before 9/11 and a number of years before the economic recession of the late 2000s.

Fifty-two percent of respondents in this most recent Fox poll, meanwhile, approve of the way Trump is handling the economy, compared with 41 percent who disapprove.

“That’s just one-point off his high of 53 percent last summer, and up from 48-46 percent in May,” Fox reported.

While 46 percent of overall respondents approve of Trump’s job performance, 87 percent of Republicans believe he’s doing a good job.

Back to Gallup.

The organization’s most recent polling revealed that 67 percent of voters believe it’s a good time to find a quality job.

For comparison, just 31 percent believe it’s a bad time to look for a good job.

Democrats might not want to admit it, but Trump’s economy is on a roll.

Author: Joe Setyon

Source: Western Journal: Trump Just Smashed Obama’s Best Econ Polling, Scored 800% Higher Than Democrat Hero

President Donald Trump confirmed Friday that he threw convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein out of his Mar-a-Lago golf club in Palm Beach, Florida, years ago.

“I was not a fan of Jeffrey Epstein,” Trump told reporters from the South Lawn of the White House, according to CNN.

“Jeffrey Epstein was not somebody that I respected. I threw him out,” Trump added. “In fact I think the great James Patterson, who’s a member of Mar-a-Lago, made a statement yesterday, that many years ago I threw him out. I’m not a fan of Jeffrey Epstein.”

Trump may have been referring to a statement Tuesday from Patterson, author of a book about Epstein called “Filthy Rich: The Billionaire’s Sex Scandal — The Shocking True Story of Jeffrey Epstein.”

“It’s horrifying … these are girls, allegedly hundreds of girls,” Patterson told Fox News‘ “The Daily Briefing” during a discussion about the newly filed sex-trafficking charges against Epstein.

“There were some complaints about Epstein at Mar-a-Lago,” he said. “I spoke to the head of the spa there. I said, ‘Did you ever meet Epstein?’ She said, ‘Oh yes. … He was inappropriate with some of the younger women there.’”

“She said she went to Trump and he threw him out of the club,” Patterson added.

Trump confirmed much of this on Friday.

“I didn’t want anything to do with him. That was many, many years ago. It shows you one thing — that I have good taste,” he said.

Trump also encouraged journalists to look into who traveled to Epstein’s infamous private island, where he’s been accused of throwing parties and engaging in sexual relations with underage girls, as Mediaite noted.

“Now, other people, they went all over with him, they went to his island and all over the place,” Trump said.

“He was very well known in palm — his island, whatever his island was, wherever it is, I was never there. Find out the people that went to the island,” he added.

While the establishment media has attempted to tie Trump to Epstein, the president has made it clear he was not a fan of the wealthy businessman, who pleaded guilty in 2008 to solicitation of prostitution from a minor.

“I knew him like everybody in Palm Beach knew him,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday. “I had a falling out a long time ago, I’d say maybe 15 years.”

“I was not a fan of his, that I can tell you.”

Author: Joe Setyon

Source: Western Journal: Breaking: Trump Confirms Epstein Rumor from Mar-a-Lago Member: ‘That Was Many, Many Years Ago’ When ‘I Threw Him Out’

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