Hannity endorses Jim Jordan for House speaker

Fox News host Sean Hannity appeared to endorse Republican Rep. Jim Jordan’s long-shot bid for House speaker on Friday in an interview with the founding member of the Freedom Caucus.

“If you become the speaker — and look, I will support you for speaker, because I think the Freedom Caucus has been the most committed to fighting to keep their promises and literally the single biggest group fighting to defend the things that are conservative in the country and have helped the president the most,” Hannity said on his Friday-night show.

Jordan, an Ohio conservative firebrand and Trump loyalist who earlier this week spearheaded an unsuccessful effort to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, is challenging retiring House Speaker Paul Ryan’s preferred replacement, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

Jordan is also currently embroiled in a scandal from his time as an Ohio State University assistant wrestling coach from 1986 to Continue reading “Hannity endorses Jim Jordan for House speaker”

‘I will not be intimidated’: McCaskill responds to report of Russian targeting

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) responded on Thursday to a report that Russian hackers had targeted her 2018 re-election campaign, declaring that the Kremlin’s cyberattacks were “not successful” and that she “will not be intimidated” by President Vladimir Putin.

“Russia continues to engage in cyber warfare against our democracy,” McCaskill said in a statement. “I will continue to speak out and press to hold them accountable. While this attack was not successful, it is outrageous that they think they can get away with this. I will not be intimidated. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, Putin is a thug and a bully.”

The remarks from the Missouri Democrat — one of the most endangered Senate incumbents in this fall’s midterm elections — followed a story by The Daily Beast reporting that the Russian intelligence agency responsible for interfering in the 2016 presidential race also sought Continue reading “‘I will not be intimidated’: McCaskill responds to report of Russian targeting”

Trump threatens Iranian president in ALL CAPS

President Donald Trump late Sunday evening issued a booming warning to President Hassan Rouhani of Iran rendered in caps lock — tweeting that the Middle Eastern leader "WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES" if he threatens the United States.

"To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE," the president wrote online.

"WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!" he added.

The post appeared to be in response to comments Rouhani made earlier in the day in which he cautioned Trump about the devastation of a U.S.-Iran wartime conflict and threatened the president not to interfere with Tehran’s government.

“Mr Trump, don’t play with the lion’s tail, this would only lead to regret,” Rouhani told a gathering of Iranian diplomats, Continue reading “Trump threatens Iranian president in ALL CAPS”

White House: Plane intercepted after entering ‘restricted’ Trump golf club airspace

A plane breached the "no fly" zone surrounding the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey Saturday, and U.S. military aircraft "intercepted the violator and escorted them from restricted airspace," the White House said.

President Donald Trump arrived at his New Jersey resort Friday and is expected to return to the White House Sunday evening.

The "small, low wing general aviation aircraft" was detected at approximately 12:30 p.m. EST, White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters said in a statement Sunday, and "was met upon landing" after touching down in Pittstown, New Jersey, at Sky Manor Airport.

Law enforcement officials interviewed the aircraft’s pilot, who was "deemed a non-threat," Walters said.

Coats: ‘Awkward’ response to new Trump-Putin summit not meant to be ‘disrespectful’

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats on Saturday said his "awkward" response to the news that the Trump administration had extended an offer to Russian President Vladimir Putin to visit Washington was not meant to "be disrespectful or criticize the actions of the president."

“Some press coverage has mis-characterized my intentions in responding to breaking news presented to me during a live interview," Coats said in a statement. "My admittedly awkward response was in no way meant to be disrespectful or criticize the actions of the president."

Coats was being interviewed onstage at the Aspen Security Forum on Thursday when NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell informed him President Donald Trump had asked his national security adviser, John Bolton, to invite Putin to visit the nation’s capital later this year. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders made the announcement on Twitter earlier that day.

“Say that again?” Coats Continue reading “Coats: ‘Awkward’ response to new Trump-Putin summit not meant to be ‘disrespectful’”

Trump slams Cohen for ‘perhaps illegal’ recording

President Donald Trump on Saturday bashed his longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen, for secretly recording their conversation about payments to a former Playboy model two months before the 2016 election.

But he also criticized the April FBI raid on Cohen’s office and residence that led to law enforcement officials’ seizure of the tape.

"Inconceivable that the government would break into a lawyer’s office (early in the morning) – almost unheard of," Trump wrote on Twitter. "Even more inconceivable that a lawyer would tape a client – totally unheard of & perhaps illegal. The good news is that your favorite President did nothing wrong!"

Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, told The New York Times on Friday that Cohen had made the recording, but maintained the payment Cohen and Trump discussed was never made, and Trump had no prior knowledge of it.

“Nothing in that conversation suggests that he had any knowledge Continue reading “Trump slams Cohen for ‘perhaps illegal’ recording”

Schiff: Putin an ‘unindicted co-conspirator’ in Russian election meddling

Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, on Sunday called Russian President Vladimir Putin “essentially an unindicted co-conspirator” in Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

The congressman’s remarks come one day before President Donald Trump is set to meet one-on-one with the Russian leader in Helsinki.

“And not just any co-conspirator,” Schiff continued. “He’s the ringmaster of this conspiracy, and he’s going to be sitting down at the table with Donald Trump.”

The Trump-Putin get-together also follows special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment Friday of 12 Russian military officers for hacking the Democratic National Committee ahead of the 2016 presidential race — charges Schiff said the Helsinki meeting undermines.

“Trump is basically saying that indictment is just a witch hunt. And that’s a great gift for Vladimir Putin,” Schiff said. “So, I think if Kim Jong Un can eat the president’s lunch, which Continue reading “Schiff: Putin an ‘unindicted co-conspirator’ in Russian election meddling”

Crowley declines to back Pelosi for speaker

Rep. Joe Crowley of New York — the No. 4 Democrat in the House — declined on Sunday to endorse Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for speaker, should Democrats take back the chamber from the GOP in this fall’s elections.

“Well look, you know, I do think that that’ll be up to the new Congress to decide who the next leader or speaker … be,” Crowley told CBS’s "Face the Nation."

“If we win the House back, Nancy will have a very strong case for holding on to the speakership,” he said. “If not, there may be other issues that come to the fore at that point. But it’s up to the next Congress, Democratic Caucus to decide that fate.”

Crowley was widely viewed within the party as a potential successor to California Democrat before his upset loss last month to 28-year-old political newcomer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, making Crowley the first Continue reading “Crowley declines to back Pelosi for speaker”

Gowdy says he won’t support Rosenstein impeachment

The chairman of the powerful House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said Sunday he doesn’t support a push by conservative lawmakers to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

“No. For what? Impeach him for what. No,” Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) said on CBS’s "Face the Nation."

“I’ve had my differences with Rod Rosenstein. I talk to him quite often privately, which again is a lot more constructive than the public hearings we have,” Gowdy said. “He’s a Trump appointee. So is [Attorney General] Jeff Sessions. So is [FBI Director] Chris Wray. If President Trump is dissatisfied with Rod Rosenstein, he can fire him with a tweet.”

The deputy attorney general, who oversees special counsel Robert Mueller’s sprawling Russia probe and is a frequent target of the Trump’s ire, has been accused by House Republicans of dragging his feet in responding to requests for documents related to Continue reading “Gowdy says he won’t support Rosenstein impeachment”

Trump: DNC ‘should be ashamed’ for Russian hack

President Donald Trump says the Democratic National Committee “should be ashamed” that Russian military officials hacked its network during the 2016 presidential campaign, bragging that Republicans had superior cybersecurity protection.

“The DNC should be ashamed of themselves for allowing themselves to be hacked. They had bad defenses, and they were able to be hacked,” Trump said in a CBS News interview with Jeff Glor, aired Sunday on "Face the Nation." “I heard they were trying to hack the Republicans, too. But, and this may be wrong, but they had much stronger defenses.”

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Friday announced special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of 12 Russian military officers for the DNC breach.

“I heard that they were trying, or people were trying, to hack into the RNC, too. The Republican National Committee,” Trump said. “But we had much better defenses. I’ve been told that by a Continue reading “Trump: DNC ‘should be ashamed’ for Russian hack”

U.S. ambassador: Trump-Putin meeting ‘isn’t a summit’

President Donald Trump’s highly anticipated meeting on Monday in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin is just that — only a meeting, the U.S. ambassador to Russia said Sunday.

“It isn’t a summit. I’ve heard it called a summit. This is a meeting,” Jon Huntsman said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“In fact, it’s the first meeting between the two presidents,” Huntsman added. “They’ve had some pull-asides, one at the G20 in Hamburg and the other at the APEC Ministerial in Da Nang, Viet Nam, but this is really the first time for both presidents to actually sit across the table and have a conversation.”

Unlike previous presidential summits — such as Ronald Reagan’s visit to China in 1984, Huntsman said — Trump and Putin’s get-together in Helsinki will not feature a state dinner, a joint statement or any predetermined policy deliverables.

“You don’t know what’s going Continue reading “U.S. ambassador: Trump-Putin meeting ‘isn’t a summit’”

Bolton deflects on Putin’s involvement in 2016 election

White House national security adviser John Bolton on Sunday declined to rule on whether Russian President Vladimir Putin was involved in the Kremlin’s cyberattacks on the Democratic National Committee and other targets during the 2016 presidential campaign.

But Bolton said President Donald Trump will have the chance to ask Putin directly about his role when the two leaders meet Monday in Helsinki.

“I find it hard to believe, but that’s what one of the purposes of this meeting is, so the president can see eye to eye with President Putin and ask him about it,” Bolton said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Bolton had originally been scheduled to also appear on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, but the White House quashed that interview for what it deemed “bad behavior” by the cable network.

Bolton’s hesitancy to implicate Putin in Moscow’s aggression echoes Trump’s own seeming ambivalence on whether Continue reading “Bolton deflects on Putin’s involvement in 2016 election”

Rand Paul on Russian election meddling: ‘We all do it’

Sen. Rand Paul on Sunday sought to justify Russia’s interference in America’s 2016 presidential race, claiming that all countries meddle in foreign elections.

“I think really we mistake our response if we think it’s about accountability from the Russians. They’re another country, they’re going to spy on us," Paul said on CNN’s "State of the Union," a day before President Donald Trump’s scheduled summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.

“We’re going to do the same," Paul added.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Friday announced special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of 12 Russian military officials for hacking the Democratic National Committee in 2016.

But Paul maintained such cyber-intrusions into other countries’ elections were common on the world stage, suggesting the United States — while not "morally equivalent" to Russia — provoked the Kremlin’s stealth attacks.

“We all do it. What we need to do is make sure our Continue reading “Rand Paul on Russian election meddling: ‘We all do it’”

Ken Starr: Kavanaugh would rule ‘that no one is above the law’

Former Clinton independent counsel Ken Starr said Saturday that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, if confirmed, would not bend to President Donald Trump’s will if a potential showdown with special counsel Robert Mueller sparked a constitutional crisis.

“No, I think the country should have confidence that Brett Kavanaugh is going to set aside whatever his policy views are, and to say, ‘What does the constitution call for?’” Starr told Fox News.

“That’s the law of the land, that no one is above the law,” Starr added. “That’s the way, I’m confident, Judge Kavanaugh, if he becomes a justice, would rule. That a subpoena is a subpoena.”

Kavanaugh, Trump’s pick to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, served on Starr’s team of investigators during the Whitewater probe, which led to the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton.

But Kavanaugh’s views on the authority of presidential oversight measures have since shifted, Continue reading “Ken Starr: Kavanaugh would rule ‘that no one is above the law’”

Trump blames Obama for Russian election meddling

President Donald Trump on Saturday blamed the Obama administration for the actions of 12 Russian military officials indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller for hacking the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 campaign.

“The stories you heard about the 12 Russians yesterday took place during the Obama Administration, not the Trump Administration,” the president wrote on Twitter. “Why didn’t they do something about it, especially when it was reported that President Obama was informed by the FBI in September, before the Election?”

In another tweet, Trump asked, “Where is the DNC Server, and why didn’t the FBI take possession of it?” Deep State?”

Later in the day, Trump tweeted again about the former president and Mueller’s indictment, this time accusing Obama of not executing further countermeasures against the Kremlin "Because he thought Crooked Hillary Clinton would win" the 2016 election.

"Had nothing to do with the Trump Continue reading “Trump blames Obama for Russian election meddling”

5 landmark Justice Kennedy opinions

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s announcement Wednesday of his retirement has the potential to dramatically reshape the nation’s highest court on everything from abortion to gay rights.

Long considered the court’s swing vote, Kennedy voted with the majority in key cases and authored landmark opinions, such as Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015, in which the court ruled that same-sex couples have the Constitutional right to marry.

Here are five of Kennedy’s most significant opinions on the Supreme Court:

Abortion: Planned Parenthood v. Casey
June 29, 1992

Of the cases lawmakers will scrutinize once President Donald Trump nominates someone to fill Kennedy’s seat, how his successor would handle challenges to Roe v. Wade is likely to play a starring role. In 1992, Kennedy sided with justices Sandra Day O’Connor and David Souter to co-author the court’s opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which reaffirmed the seismic 1973 ruling on abortion.

“These Continue reading “5 landmark Justice Kennedy opinions”

Sessions upholds Trump’s faltering ‘zero tolerance’ policy

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday called immigration enforcement “a decisive issue for our time,” maintaining a hard line on illegal border crossings a day after a key Department of Homeland Security official declared the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy effectively dead.

“This immigration question is a decisive issue for our time,” Sessions said at the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation’s annual luncheon in Los Angeles. “As the president often says, a country without borders is not a country. I don’t know why that’s so hard for some people to understand.”

He went on to accuse Democrats and members of the media of grossly mischaracterizing President Donald Trump’s recent moves on immigration, remarking that the United States actually has “generous laws” pertaining to migrants entering the country.

“When we enforce any limits, we get attacked by the media, the so-called elites, the special-interest allies, political warriors and open-borders advocates,” Sessions said. Continue reading “Sessions upholds Trump’s faltering ‘zero tolerance’ policy”

Giuliani calls Biden a ‘mentally deficient idiot’

Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney, isn’t just taking the fight to special counsel Robert Mueller — he’s also dressing down Democrats considering taking on Donald Trump in 2020, including Joe Biden.

The former New York mayor called the ex-vice president “a moron” in an interview with HuffPost on Friday, and the name-calling didn’t stop there.

“I’m calling Joe Biden a mentally deficient idiot,” Giuliani said, claiming Biden finished last in his class at New York’s Syracuse University College of Law.

“He’s also too old. He’s four years older than Trump,” Giuliani added. Trump celebrated his 72nd birthday on Thursday. Biden is 75.

Though Giuliani said Trump would easily capture another term in the White House, regardless of his general election opponent, he said older, better-known contenders like Biden or Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) would pose less of a challenge to the incumbent president than “unknown” faces within the Continue reading “Giuliani calls Biden a ‘mentally deficient idiot’”

Trump and allies put the squeeze on Mueller

President Donald Trump and his allies on Friday seized on the Justice Department inspector general’s report on the Hillary Clinton email investigation to claim special counsel Robert Mueller’s sprawling probe is corrupt and must end.

In an extraordinary, impromptu and lengthy interview on the White House North Lawn with “Fox & Friends,” an invigorated Trump said he was vindicated in firing James Comey because the former FBI director committed “criminal” acts, that the watchdog report wrongly concluded there was not political bias against him, and that he may not stay uninvolved in the Justice Department’s activities much longer.

“I think Comey was the ringleader of this whole den of thieves. It was a den of thieves,” the president said, opining on whether the former FBI director should go to prison. “I said on the Department of Justice, I would stay uninvolved. Now, I may get involved at some point if Continue reading “Trump and allies put the squeeze on Mueller”

Trump disputes IG report’s findings: It ‘was a horror show’

President Donald Trump on Friday savaged his Justice Department’s watchdog report on the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation as a “horror show,” and disputed its finding that the bureau’s management of the high-profile case was not influenced by political bias.

“The report, the IG report was a horror show. I thought that one sentence of conclusion was ridiculous,” Trump said during an unannounced interview with Fox News on the North Lawn of the White House. “The end result was wrong. There was total bias.”

Echoing his tweets from earlier Friday morning, the president again singled out FBI agent Peter Strzok for special criticism, claiming that the politically charged text messages Strzok sent to FBI attorney Lisa Page during the Clinton email probe exposed an attempt to undermine Trump’s candidacy in 2016.

“They were plotting against my election. Probably it’s never happened like that in terms of Continue reading “Trump disputes IG report’s findings: It ‘was a horror show’”