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More cuts are coming at the National Security Council as part of an effort to make the council more efficient and to ensure that staffers are dedicated to carrying out policies chosen by President Donald Trump, national security adviser Robert O’Brien says.

O’Brien said during a Feb. 11 Atlantic Council discussion that officials are bringing the council “back to a manageable size,” one of his top priorities since taking office in September 2019.

The “right-sizing” of the council, which is almost complete, would take the total number of staffers from 175 to 110 by the end of February, he said. The downsizing would target “the bloat and inefficiency that can sometimes creep in.” Some of the cuts would be completed by the end of this week, he said.

The latest round of cuts follows the ouster last week of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and his brother, Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, from the council. Alexander Vindman, who was detailed from the Department of Defense, testified during the impeachment inquiry against Trump; his brother was a lawyer for the council who was also detailed to the council from the Department of the Army.

The Vindmans, who served in their details for more than a year, “weren’t fired,” O’Brien said, echoing previous comments from White House counselor Kellyanne Conway.

“Their services were no longer needed,” he said. The removals weren’t retaliation for the testimony during the impeachment efforts, and Trump didn’t tell officials to remove the Vindmans. O’Brien said the decision was solely his own.

“It’s really a privilege to work in the White House. It’s not a right,” O’Brien added. “At the end of the day, the president is entitled to staffers that want to execute his policy, that he has confidence in, and I think every president’s entitled to that.

“We’re not a banana republic where a group of lieutenant colonels get together and decide what the policy is or should be,” he said.

Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a military officer at the National Security Council who testified during the impeachment hearings on Capitol Hill, lower right, walks down the steps of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington on Jan. 27, 2020. (Susan Walsh/AP Photo)

The reorganization is consistent with the “Scowcroft model” used by Brent Scowcroft, who served as national security adviser for Presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush, according to O’Brien. The model emphasizes that the national security adviser shouldn’t “be an advocate for one policy or another.” Instead, the adviser should “ensure that the president is well served by the Cabinet, departments, and agencies in obtaining counsel and formulating his policies.”

The policies are then decided on by the president and the adviser makes sure they’re carried out.

Most of the staff on the council actually work for other departments and agencies and are part of the council for a certain length of time. O’Brien suggested that some might not be serving in the way that top officials think they should.

“When they come to the White House, they serve as the president’s personal staff and it is our view that while they are at the National Security Council, they should not represent the views of their parent agencies or departments,” he said. “They’re not there as liaison officers, and they certainly shouldn’t represent their own personal views.

“The president has to have confidence in the folks on his National Security Council staff to ensure that they are committed to executing the agenda that he was elected by the American people to deliver,” O’Brien said. The National Security Council shouldn’t be “a mini State Department, a mini Pentagon, a mini Department of Homeland Security.”

Bringing the number of staffers down to 110 would be closer to the council’s size during the George W. Bush administration. There were some 240 policy professionals during the Obama administration and more than 175 when O’Brien replaced John Bolton. If the group is too large, it doesn’t effectively serve the president, O’Brien said.

Author: Zachary Stieber

Source: The Epoch Times: More National Security Council Staff Cuts Coming, O’Brien Says

The Senate won’t haggle with the House over rules guiding the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Wednesday.

“There will be no haggling with the House over Senate procedure. We will not cede our authority to try this impeachment,” he said on the Senate floor a day after he said Republicans secured the necessary votes to start the trial under similar rules that governed President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial in 1999.

“The House Democrats’ turn is over. The Senate has made its decision,” he added.

McConnell said he wasn’t summarily dismissing the idea of calling witnesses but that the Senate would follow the precedent set during the Clinton trial, where the Senate heard from the prosecution and defense before voting on whether to hear from any witnesses.

“The 1999 precedent does not guarantee witnesses or foreclose witnesses,” McConnell said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 8, 2020. (Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

McConnell cited multiple Democratic senators who this week said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) should stop withholding the impeachment articles against Trump from the Senate, which has so far prevented the trial from starting.

“My Democratic friends are losing patience, just like the American people are losing patience,” McConnell said. “We all know that senators have a diversity of opinion about President Trump, about the House inquiry, about the optimal structure for a trial, but withstanding all of this, no senator—no senator—should want the House of Representatives to steamroll institutional norms and dictate our business to us.”

Pelosi has said the withholding of the articles was to try to ensure a “fair trial” in the Senate. Democrats control the House and impeached Trump last month in a sharply partisan vote that saw four Democrats not vote for both articles and one defect to the GOP. House Republicans all voted against. Republicans control the Senate, where a supermajority vote is needed to remove Trump from office but only a simple majority is needed to dismiss the impeachment case.

McConnell ended his time on the floor by urging Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who has praised Pelosi’s tactics, to stop being “in thrall to the speaker.”

“He does not need to keep colluding with outside efforts to supplant the judgment of his own colleague,” he said. “Stand up for the Senate. Stand up for our institutions. Stand up for the country.”

Pelosi met with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Wednesday. They held a brief press conference but she didn’t mention impeachment and did not take questions.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) speaks to reporters after a policy luncheon at the US Capitol in Washington on Jan. 7, 2020. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

Schumer later said on the floor that it doesn’t make sense “for both sides to present their entire case and then decide whether the Senate should request the evidence that we already know is out there.”

“It’s extremely telling that Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans are not willing to take a forthright position on whether we should call witnesses and request documents,” Schumer said. “They can only say that the issue should be addressed later. Their only refuge, not much of one, is to kick the can down the road. No one, no one has advanced an argument as to why the four eyewitnesses we have proposed should not testify. No one has advanced an argument as to why the three specific sets of documents related to the charges against the president should not be provided.”

Schumer said the impeachment trial shouldn’t be rushed and if it is, “then the true acquittal the president craves will be unobtainable.”

“The president was impeached because the House believes he tried to shake down a foreign leader into investigating his political opponent, pressuring a foreign power to interfere in our elections. He was impeached because he undertook an unprecedented campaign of obstruction to prevent Congress from investigating his wrongdoing. The articles of impeachment suggest the president committed a grave injury to our democracy,” Schumer added.

“The conduct they describe is exactly what the founders most feared when they forged the impeachment powers of Congress. If the Senate fails to hold a fair hearing of those charges, if one party, the president’s party, decides to rush through a trial without hearing all the facts, witnesses, and documents, it won’t just be the verdict of history that falls heavy on their shoulders. The American people in the here and now will pass a harsh judgment on senators who participated in a cover-up for the president.”

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Author: Zachary Stieber

Source: The Epoch Times: McConnell: ‘There Will Be No Haggling’ With House Over Senate Impeachment Rules

Roughly seven in 10 Democrats said they don’t think President Donald Trump will be impeached and convicted in the Senate, according to a new poll.

House Democrats announced two articles of impeachment against the president on Tuesday, with a vote on impeachment coming as soon as next week.

But Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate and the GOP is widely expected to acquit Trump after a brief hearing. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said this week that a Senate impeachment trial would likely go quickly and that a vote might come as soon as the House presents their case, provided there’s “nothing new and dramatic.”

According to a new poll conducted before the articles were announced, a majority of voters in both parties, and Independents, all agree that it’s unlikely Trump is both impeached and removed from office.

Sixty-one percent of Democrat respondents to the YouGov/Yahoo survey (pdf) said that Trump will be impeached but not convicted and another 13 percent said they don’t think Trump will be impeached.

Just 13 percent said they believe Trump will be impeached and convicted by the Senate. A conviction requires a two-thirds concurrence by the Senators present.

Nearly half of Republican respondents, 47 percent, said Trump won’t be impeached while most of the rest, 42 percent, said they think he will be impeached but won’t be removed from office.

(L-R) House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.), and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). Pelosi speaks as Democrats announced articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, on Dec. 10, 2019. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

Independents were, as usual, the middle ground in terms of views on impeachment, but more similar to Republican respondents. About a third of Independents, 36 percent, said Trump will be impeached but not removed from office while 28 percent said he will not be impeached.

Twenty-seven percent said they’re not sure, along with 12 percent of Democrats and 8 percent of Republicans.

Nine percent of Independents said Trump will be impeached and convicted, along with 3 percent of Republicans.

Respondents did indicate a preference for both impeachment and removal from office, despite the belief that those two things wouldn’t happen, though the numbers may have been skewed because there were more Democrat respondents (471) than Republican ones (360).

Respondents said they were following the hearings at least a little; a quarter said they were following them very closely and another 23 percent said they were following somewhat closely. A majority said that Trump asked a foreign leader to investigate a political opponent, referring to the president’s request to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to “look into” allegations of past corruption by former Vice President Joe Biden.

Biden, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, infamously bragged last year that in 2016 he threatened to withhold $1 billion from Ukraine unless then-President Petro Poroshenko ousted Viktor Shokin, a prosecutor who was probing the employer of Biden’s son.

The survey was conducted among 1,500 adults, including 1,017 registered voters. The margin of the error for the full sample was plus/minus 2.8 percent; for the registered voters, it was plus/minus 3.4 percent.

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Author: Zachary Stieber

Source: The Epoch Times: Poll: 74 Percent of Democrats Don’t Believe Trump Will Be Removed From Office

Michael Bloomberg’s 2020 campaign manager says the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump is making Trump’s reelection “more likely.”

Kevin Sheekey, who has been at high-level positions within Bloomberg’s business empire for years, said the current political situation favors Trump.

“I think Trump is a complicated individual. He has high personal negative. The economy is doing well. When you look at the presidential campaign, we don’t have a national campaign. We have a campaign that happens in six states,” Sheekey said on Nov. 27 on CNN’s “Amanpour.”

“It happens in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, Arizona today. And The New York Times polled earlier this month—we’ve polled it ourselves—if that election occurred today, Donald Trump has a pretty clear shot, according to The New York Times, of winning all six states. He only needs to win three or four. If he had an election and it was in those states today, he would win.”

Host Christiane Amanpour asked, “Even with the impeachment process?”

Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg addresses a news conference after launching his presidential bid in Norfolk, Virginia, on Nov. 25, 2019. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)
With First Lady Melania Trump looking on, President Donald Trump speaks before giving the National Thanksgiving Turkey Butter a presidential pardon in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington on Nov. 26, 2019. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

“Yeah. I think I worry a lot that we’re setting ourselves up here to impeachment, acquittal, and reelection. We’re all outraged by what is going on. Anyone who looks at those things, you should be outraged by what the president has done. Except it’s not helping in the places where this election will ultimately be decided,” Sheekey said.

“There are about 31 congressional districts in this country that are swing districts. Mike Bloomberg spent an enormous amount of money and time and his own leadership to focus on 24 of those races last year, all Republican. We elected 18 democrats, 15 women. If you’re in one of those districts today and you’re a moderate member of Congress, almost all of them would tell you today these impeachment hearings are threatening their reelection. If you think about that, those are the districts to where we tilt the presidential election. So by definition, it means the impeachment proceedings are making the president’s reelection more likely, not less likely.”

Sheekey said during an earlier appearance on CNN that Trump is winning as of now, saying the general election is all about the six states.

“That’s the whole general election. And right now Donald Trump is winning, he is winning that election. It’s very tough for people who don’t live in New York or California to understand that, but that is what’s happening,” Sheekey said, adding that Bloomberg “thinks he’s on a path to victory and he’s getting in to alter that dynamic.”

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Author: Zachary Stieber

Source: The Epoch Times: Bloomberg’s Campaign Manager Says Impeachment Inquiry is Making Trump’s Reelection ‘More Likely’

The confirmation of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominee Barbara Lagoa on Nov. 20 flipped another court to a GOP-appointed majority as Republicans continue what some hail as the president’s most impactful push continues.

With Republicans holding the majority in the Senate throughout Trump’s term, a raft of the president’s judicial nominees have been approved. The 11th Circuit Court is the third that has flipped during Trump’s term, following the 2nd and 3rd Circuits.

Trump nominees hold five of the 12 seats on the 11th Circuit, with two additional Republican-appointed judges on the court. Robert Luck, another Trump appointee, was confirmed to the court on Tuesday in a 64-31 vote.

The Senate confirmed Lagoa 80-15 on Wednesday. Both Lagoa and Luck were justices on the Florida Supreme Court.

There are now seven appeals courts with a majority of Republican-nominated judges out of 13 such circuit courts in the nation.

“This is a major achievement for his presidency,” said Carrie Severino, who runs the Judicial Crisis Network. “This success—along with the record number of federal appellate judges President Trump has appointed to date—is a testament to the tangible impact the president has had in reshaping the federal judiciary with constitutionalist judges who are committed to the rule of law.”

President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell arrive for the Senate Republican policy lunch at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on May 15, 2018. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)
President Donald Trump announces Judge Brett Kavanaugh as his nominee for associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States at the White House on July 9, 2018. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

According to a tracker kept by the Heritage Foundation, Trump had made 162 judicial appointments by Nov. 14 of his third year, more than any of the five presidents preceding him.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told attendees at a gala last week that Republicans would flip the 11th Circuit soon, telling them his motto is “leave no vacancy behind,” a riff on President George W. Bush’s “no child left behind” policy.

McConnell and Trump have repeatedly championed the judges who have been confirmed since Trump was elected. Some voters in 2016 went for Trump in large part because of the Supreme Court vacancy at the time, worried about the effect that a Hillary Clinton nominee would have, according to “The Great Revolt.”

“I’m very pleased that the Senate has confirmed 150 federal judges thus far in President Trump’s first term,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said in a statement in September after the 150th judge nominated by Trump was confirmed. “This is a historic milestone. These conservative judicial appointments will impact our nation for years to come.”

“As Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I will continue to push through highly qualified conservative judges at all levels of the federal courts,” said Graham.

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Author: Zachary Stieber

Source: The Epoch Times: Trump Latest Judicial Confirmation Flips 11th Circuit Court to GOP-Appointed Majority

The former Democratic congressional candidate who hurled a drink at Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) was sentenced to 15 days in prison for assault.

Amanda Kondrat’yev, 35, who ran against Gaetz in 2016, hit him with the drink in June as the lawmaker left a town hall in Pensacola.

She initially pleaded not guilty but changed her plea to guilty on Aug. 1.

She was sentenced to only 15 days in prison despite sentencing guidelines calling for eight months to a year in jail, reported the Pensacola News Journal.

Judge Hope Cannon said the assailant’s lack of a criminal history and the “limited duration” of the crime justified the sentencing.

“The fact that there was no bodily injury or harm does not make this crime count any less,” Cannon added. Lawmakers should be able to serve without fear being assaulted, she said.

“Physical assault has no place in our political discourse,” Gaetz said in a statement. “I am grateful that law enforcement and our judicial system recognized this principle today.”

In a statement submitted in court, Gaetz said, “Constituents deserve to be safe at events hosted by our congressional office. My staff deserves to be safe. Their families and mine shouldn’t have to worry that while federal officials are doing their jobs, we are at risk of assault.”

According to the Daily Caller, Kondrat’yev is a member of the far-left, violent Antifa group.

Kondrat’yev didn’t speak to reporters after she heard her sentence. Her lawyer Eric Stevenson tried deflecting from what she did by bringing up when Gaetz was arrested in 2008 for driving under the influence—the charges were later dropped—and when Gaetz recently led a group of lawmakers to a secure room in Congress to interrupt a closed-door impeachment hearing.

Amanda Kondrat’yev in a booking photograph. (Pensacola Police Department)

“For him to talk about a violent crime, it’s not as violent as a potential DUI is to drivers on the road,” Stevenson said, reported the News Journal.

“It’s not as much of a threat to our national security as storming a security hearing with a cell phone in a room that doesn’t allow cell phones. It doesn’t jeopardize our rule of law as much as intimidating witnesses, and it’s not as severe as threatening to unleash violent supporters if you don’t get what you want.

While police officers didn’t see Kondrat’yev hurl the drink, multiple witnesses said they saw her throw it and one reportedly captured it on video.

According to a police report obtained by the News Journal, Kondrat’yev was arrested trying to flee. She was holding a sign that read “Gaetz—wipe off the blood from your hands, A+ rating—NRA, save our kids vote Gaetz out in 2020.”

Referring to the change in the plea, Stevenson said in August: “She wanted to accept responsibility. She’s never been arrested before, she’s no threat to the public. This was a pretty (minimal) incident. Nobody was injured or in danger of being injured.”

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Author: Zachary Stieber

Source: The Epoch Times: Woman Who Threw Drink at Rep. Matt Gaetz Gets Sentenced to Prison Time

A California man who helped raise money for Barack Obama’s campaign and served as co-chair of the Obama for America national finance committee for nearly a decade agreed to plead guilty to being a foreign agent and making illegal contributions.

Federal prosecutors charged Imaad Shah Zuberi, 49, with falsifying records to conceal his work as a foreign agent while lobbying high-level U.S. government officials, the Department of Justice said on Oct. 22. He was charged with violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

Zuberi earned millions of dollars through his lobbying, mostly from stealing from his clients, prosecutors said, and was charged with tax evasion and making illegal campaign contributions funneled from foreign entities and individuals totaling almost $1 million.

Once Zuberi pleads guilty to three counts on Oct. 30, he faces up to 15 years in federal prison.

“This case should deter individuals who seek to provide false statements to the Department and covertly influence our political process on behalf of foreign governments,” Assistant Attorney General of National Security John Demers said in a statement.

“Through misrepresentations in his FARA filing, Mr. Zuberi attempted to deceive our elected officials and the American public on behalf of Sri Lanka. The Department of Justice treats these crimes with the gravity that they deserve and will continue to aggressively identify, investigate and prosecute FARA violations.”

“Mr. Zuberi’s multi-faceted scheme allowed him to line his pockets by concealing the fact that he was representing foreign clients, obtaining access for clients by making a long series of illegal contributions, and skimming money paid by his clients,” added U. S. Attorney Nick Hanna. “Mr. Zuberi circumvented laws designed to insulate U.S. policy and our election process from foreign intervention. This investigation has halted his illegal conduct, will result in several felony convictions, and could send him to prison for a lengthy period of time.”

Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies before the House Select Committee on Benghazi on Capitol Hill in Washington on Oct. 22, 2015. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Officials said Zuberi operated a venture capital firm called Avenue Ventures and told foreigners that he could use his influence in Washington to change U.S. foreign policy and create business opportunities. Clients gave Zuberi money for consulting fees, to make investments, or to fund campaign contributions.

While some U.S. officials were willing to take action on issues Zuberi put forward, most of Zuberi’s business efforts were unsuccessful and his clients suffered significant losses. Many of the lobbyists, public relations consultants, and other subcontractors also suffered losses when Zuberi refused to pay them, according to prosecutors.

The illegal activity took place from 2012 to 2015, according to the charging documents. Officials said Zuberi used photographs of himself posing with top lawmakers to promote his scheme.

According to Foreign Policy, Zuberi met with top Democrats including President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Zuberi delivered more than $685,000 in contributions to Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign and helped Clinton raise more than $100,000 in less than three months for her 2016 bid.

According to campaign finance records, Zuberi began donating to candidates in 2004, giving $1,000 to John Kerry’s campaign. In 2008, he donated $4,600 to Obama’s 2008 campaign as well as $2,300 to Kery’s campaign and $2,500 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

He donated tens of thousands of dollars in 2012, including $10,000 to DNC Services Corp. and $2,500 or $5,000 to an array of Democratic candidates, including Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), and Rep. Bob Casey (D-Penn.).

The bulk of Zuberi’s donations have been to Democrats but he has donated to some Republicans, including Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and former Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.).

Zuberi also donated $90,000 to President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee. The allegations against Zuberi did not involve his ties to Trump.

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Author: Zachary Stieber

Source: The Epoch Times: Major Obama Fundraiser to Plead Guilty to Being a Foreign Agent, Making Illegal Contributions

The Senate didn’t get enough votes to override President Donald Trump’s veto of a resolution that, if it had gone through, would have ended the emergency declaration that included an order to use national security funds to build the wall at the southern border.

The vote on Thursday was 53-36.

Ten Republicans sided with Democrats in voting to try to override the veto: Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Pat Toomey (R-Penn.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).

Trump vetoed an identical resolution from the House on March 15, a day after the Senate approved that resolution 59-41.

“Today I am vetoing this resolution. Congress has the freedom to pass this resolution and I have the duty to veto it,” Trump said, calling the congressional resolution “reckless” and “dangerous.”

He said the flood of illegal immigrants amounted to an “invasion,” adding that there is “nowhere left to hold all of the people that we’re capturing.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who opposed the resolution, said he believed Trump was “operating within existing law” and that if senators did not like the powers provided to the president under the National Emergencies Act, “then they should amend it.”

The House tried and failed to override Trump’s veto of H.J. Res. 46 about two weeks later. The vote was 248-181.

Trump declared a national emergency on the border on Feb. 15.

The Senate on Sept. 25 passed the new resolution, S.J. Res. 54, 54-41.

Border Patrol agents overlook the Rio Grande towards Mexico on the Roma Bluffs near Rio Grande City, Texas, on March 22, 2019. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)
Border Patrol apprehends illegal aliens who have just crossed the Rio Grande from Mexico near McAllen, Texas, on April 18, 2019. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

Eleven Republicans voted with Democrats. Ten were the same as this week. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) also voted for the resolution in that case.

The resolution was introduced by Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.).

“Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That, pursuant to section 202 of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622), the national emergency declared by the finding of the President on February 15, 2019, in Proclamation 9844 (84 Fed. Reg. 4949) is hereby terminated,” it stated.

Trump vetoed the Senate resolution this week, saying his reasons for doing so remained the same for doing so with the House resolution.

“Proclamation 9844 has helped the Federal Government address the national emergency on our southern border. It has empowered my Administration’s Government-wide strategy to counter large-scale unlawful migration and to respond to corresponding humanitarian challenges through focused application of every Constitutional and statutory authority at our disposal. It has also facilitated the military’s ongoing construction of virtually insurmountable physical barriers along hundreds of miles of our southern border,” he said in a message explaining the veto.

“The southern border, however, continues to be a major entry point for criminals, gang members, and illicit narcotics to come into our country. As explained in Proclamation 9844, in my veto message regarding H.J. Res. 46, and in congressional testimony from multiple Administration officials, the ongoing crisis at the southern border threatens core national security interests. In addition, security challenges at the southern border exacerbate an ongoing humanitarian crisis that threatens the well-being of vulnerable populations, including women and children,” he continued.

“In short, the situation on our southern border remains a national emergency, and our Armed Forces are still needed to help confront it.”

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber

Author: Zachary Stieber

Source: The Epoch Times: Senate Fails to Override Trump Veto Over Funding for Border Wall

CNN, MSNBC, NPR, Fox News, the Washington Post, and ABC are among the media outlets that cut out crucial parts of the transcript of the call between President Donald Trump and Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky. See the full transcript of the call here.

CNN twice on Sept. 25 following the release of the transcript cut out 540 words between one sentence in the transcript and another without noting that anything was between the two sentences.

The deceptive edit started with a line from Trump: “I would like you to do us a favor.” CNN then immediately placed another line—”There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great.”

There were no ellipses or any commentary noting the two sentences were not even in the same paragraph in the transcript.

After asking Zelensky for a favor, Trump in the call said: “I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike…”

MSNBC’s Katy Tur also combined the same two sentences despite the vast gap between the sentences without noting the gap.

At NPR, which is publicly funded, ellipses were placed between the sentence “I would like you to find out about what happened with this whole situation in Ukraine” and “there’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son” and the rest of the aforementioned sentence.

The ellipses represented 526 words.

Fox News’ Shep Smith flashed “I would like you to do us a favor though” before saying Trump urged Zelensky to work with Attorney General William Barr and Trump’s lawyer Rudy Guliani to investigate Biden, failing to mention Crowdstrike.

The Washington Post, which was accused of running a false story on Wednesday, also cut out the crucial parts of the transcript on the front page of its paper, going from the “favor” sentence to the “Biden” sentence and omitting the Crowdstrike reference.

Other stories about the transcript were revised after the fact. ABC revised a story that initially claimed Trump urged Zelensky eight times to investigate Biden. The story is now about the eight times “Trump urged Ukraine’s leader to help with investigations.” No correction or editor’s note has been appended.

Mollie Hemingway, a senior editor at The Federalist and a frequent media critic, was among those wondering about all the outlets removing the references to Crowdstrike.

“The ‘favor’? Help with DOJ’s probe of 2016 election meddling by Ukraine,” she said, sharing pictures of front pages of the Post and the New York Times.

“Neither of these headlines accurately describe that. A *great* example of the corruption of our political media, which is now running and fueling the impeachment effort against its most hated political foe.”

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Author: Zachary Stieber

Source: The Epoch Times: Media Outlets Cut Out Crucial Parts of Trump Transcript

Former Texas representative and current Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke told people watching the debate on Thursday, Sept. 12: “Hell yes! we’re gonna take your AR-15, your AK-47.”

O’Rourke has endorsed confiscating guns, though he claimed this week that such a plan would not require police officers going “door to door.”

Pressed on how he’d enforce the plan if it were passed, he replied, “How do you—how do we enforce any law? There’s a significant reliance on people complying with the law. You know that a law is not created in a vacuum.”

O’Rourke’s declaration on Thursday clashed with his own words from last year when he said during an appearance on KFYO: “If you purchased that AR-15 if you own it, keep it. Continue to use it responsibly.”

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke takes the stage for the start of the 2020 Democratic presidential debate in Houston, Texas on Sept. 12, 2019. (Jonathan Bachman/Reuters)
From left, Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Amy Klobuchar, (D-Minn.), Sen. Cory Booker, (D-N.J.), South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Bernie Sanders, (I-Vt.), former vice president Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, (D-Mass.), Sen. Kamala Harris, (D-Calif.), entrepreneur Andrew Yang, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke and former Housing Secretary Julian Castro are introduced for the Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by ABC on the campus of Texas Southern University in Houston on Sept. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

At the debate, O’Rourke was answering a question on whether he’d force Americans to give up their guns.

“I am if it’s a weapon that was designed to kill people on the battlefield. If the high-impact, high-velocity round, when it hits your body shreds everything inside of your body—because it was designed to do that—so that you would bleed to death on a battlefield. And not be able to get up and kill one of our soldiers,” he said.

He recalled the mother of a 15-year-old girl he met in Odessa, Texas, after the mass shooting there. The girl was shot by a man wielding an AR-15.

“That mother watched her bleed to death over the course of an hour because so many other people were shot by that AR-15 in Odessa and Midland, there weren’t enough ambulances to get to them in time,” he said.

That’s when he said the “hell yes” phrase, adding, “We’re not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore.”

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber

Author: Zachary Stieber

Source: The Epoch Times: Beto O’Rourke: ‘Hell Yes We’re Gonna Take Your AR-15, Your AK-47’

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