State Department revokes Hillary Clinton’s security clearance at her request

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s security clearance has been revoked at her request, the State Department told lawmakers, according to a letter made public Friday.

Clinton’s clearance was withdrawn on Aug. 30, according to a letter from the State Department to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), which he released.

Five others associated with Clinton, including longtime aide Cheryl Mills, also had their clearances revoked on Sept. 20, according to the letter. The aides were known as "research assistants," which allowed them to keep their clearances after their time at the department concluded.

The move comes almost a year after Grassley asked the department to investigate and review whether Clinton’s aides still had security clearance.

Clinton in 2016 was investigated for her use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state. No charges were filed against Clinton, who was running for president at the time Continue reading “State Department revokes Hillary Clinton’s security clearance at her request”

Trump to head to Florida, Georgia after Hurricane Michael

President Donald Trump next week will visit Florida and Georgia, two states facing massive recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael.

"People have no idea how hard Hurricane Michael has hit the great state of Georgia. I will be visiting both Florida and Georgia early next week. We are working very hard on every area and every state that was hit – we are with you!" the president tweeted Friday afternoon.

Michael was a Category 4 hurricane when it barreled into Florida’s gulf coast on Wednesday, decimating Mexico Beach, Florida and causing extreme damage across the Florida panhandle.

On Friday morning, FEMA Administrator Brock Long said in an interview with CBS News that 12 people have died across four states. The number is expected to rise.

There are also nearly 1.4 million customers without power in seven states.

Trump earlier this week said he was planning on Continue reading “Trump to head to Florida, Georgia after Hurricane Michael”

Turkish court orders American pastor Andrew Brunson released from house arrest

Turkey on Friday ordered a North Carolina pastor, who was held on espionage charges for more than two years, to be released from house arrest.

At a hearing in Ankara, the court released Rev. Andrew Brunson from house arrest but convicted him of a "terror" charge.

"PASTOR BRUNSON JUST RELEASED. WILL BE HOME SOON!" President Donald Trump tweeted Friday morning.

Turkey imprisoned Brunson and his wife, Norine, in October 2016, along with 20 other Americans, as part of a political crackdown following a failed coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Norine Brunson was released after 13 days. Andrew Brunson was held in prison until July, when Turkish officials moved him to house arrest.

Brunson’s case became a cause célèbre among Christian evangelicals, including Vice President Mike Pence, and a political rallying cry for Trump, who was propelled to office in part by the evangelical vote.

Tony Perkins of Continue reading “Turkish court orders American pastor Andrew Brunson released from house arrest”

Kanye West says Trump hat makes him ‘feel like Superman’

Rapper Kanye West on Thursday defended supporting Donald Trump, saying that wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat made him feel empowered and that it’s embarrassing for the United States if the president doesn’t look good on the world stage.

"If he don’t look good, we don’t look good. This is our president," West said during a press briefing in the Oval Office before a lunch with the president and former professional football player Jim Brown. They were set to discuss a number of issues, including crime in Chicago, West’s hometown, and criminal justice reform.

The rapper gave a wide-ranging, apparently impromptu speech, which also included discussing his own mental health — he said he had been misdiagnosed as having bipolar disorder — and the need to bring jobs back to Middle America.

West has been criticized by other entertainers and some African Americans for avidly supporting the president. He Continue reading “Kanye West says Trump hat makes him ‘feel like Superman’”

Trump: Nunes should get Medal of Freedom for Russia pushback

President Donald Trump suggested Thursday that Rep. Devin Nunes deserves the Medal of Freedom — the nation’s highest civilian honor — for his controversial efforts at pushing back against the Russia investigation.

"If this all turns out like everyone thinks it will, Devin Nunes should get the Medal of Honor," Trump said, later correcting himself that the California Republican should receive the Medal of Freedom, not the Medal of Honor, which is awarded only for military service. "He is really, what he has gone through and his bravery."

Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has been a staunch defender of the president in relation to the Russia investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller. A GOP-led House Intelligence Committee investigation, from which Nunes recused himself amid reports he had gone to the White House to view classified information related to the Russia probe, found no evidence of collusion Continue reading “Trump: Nunes should get Medal of Freedom for Russia pushback”

Trump: ‘We do need’ prison reform

President Donald on Thursday said the United States criminal justice system needs reform and is "very unfair to African-Americans," and he said he would overrule Attorney General Jeff Sessions if he tried to stand in the way of changes.

The White House in August agreed to hold off on prison and sentencing reform legislation until after the midterm elections. The Department of Justice supported the stance, saying that the legislation would put "drug traffickers back on our streets."

But on Thursday, asked during a phone call with "Fox and Friends" whether Attorney General Jeff Sessions is standing in the way of criminal justice reform, Trump said the decision is not up to him.

"He gets overruled by me," Trump said. "I make the decision, he doesn’t."

"We do need reform, and that doesn’t mean easy," the president said during the wide-ranging 40-minute interview. "We’re going to make certain Continue reading “Trump: ‘We do need’ prison reform”

Nikki Haley resigns as Trump’s U.N. ambassador

Nikki Haley has resigned as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, a senior administration official said on Tuesday.

Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, was an early critic of President Donald Trump before joining his administration. She has been a forceful presence at the U.N., and recently oversaw the U.S. withdrawing from the U.N. Human Rights Council.

Susan Rice suggests she would consider running against Collins

Susan Rice on Friday appeared to toy with a possible Senate run against Sen. Susan Collins after the Maine Republican announced her support for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Rice, who served as President Barack Obama’s National Security Adviser responded to a tweet calling on someone to challenge Collins.

Jen Psaki, vice president of Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, tweeted: "who wants to run for Senate in Maine? there will be an army of supporters with you."

Eleven minutes later, Rice had a simple response.

"Me," Rice tweeted to Psaki.

Rice later clarified her tweet saying she is "not making any announcements" about a possible campaign run.

"Many thanks for the encourgement [sic]. I’m not making any announcements," she wrote online. "Like so many Americans, I am deeply disappointed in Senator Collins’ vote for Kavanaugh. Maine and America deserve better."

Collins, in a more than 40 minute speech Continue reading “Susan Rice suggests she would consider running against Collins”

Kavanaugh should not serve on Supreme Court, retired justice says

Retired Justice John Paul Stevens said on Thursday he believed that Judge Brett Kavanaugh should not serve on the Supreme Court following his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee last week.

Stevens, a lifelong Republican who stepped down from the high court in 2010, said during an event to retirees in Boca Raton, Fla., that Kavanaugh’s temperament during the hearing into allegations of sexual misconduct was not suited for the position.

“I feel his performance in the hearings ultimately changed my mind,” Stevens said, according to The Palm Beach Post.

Kavanaugh has been accused of sexual assault by professor Christine Blasey Ford, who said Kavanaugh drunkenly groped her and tried to rape her when they were both in high school in the early 1980s. Deborah Ramirez also said she was assaulted by Kavanaugh when they were freshmen at Yale. The judge denies all allegations.

Ford gave emotional testimony to Continue reading “Kavanaugh should not serve on Supreme Court, retired justice says”

White House targets Iran with new counterterrorism strategy

The White House hammered Iran in a new counterterrorism strategy released Thursday.

National security adviser John Bolton outlined the new strategy, saying it focuses on targeting “all” terrorist groups — a category the document defines as including “radical Islamic terrorist groups.”

Such groups, Bolton said in a conference call with reporters, “represent the pre-eminent transnational terrorist threat to the United States and to the United States’ interests abroad.”

The relationship between Iran and the U.S. has become strained after Trump pulled out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions to the country.

Bolton, who called the new strategy the “first robust and fully articulated strategy on counterterrorism since 2011,” said that Iran has been “the world’s central banker of international terrorism since 1979.”

The document is just the latest in a string of strident statements the Trump administration has made about Iran since pulling out Continue reading “White House targets Iran with new counterterrorism strategy”

White House hints that Ford, Kavanaugh public testimony is sufficient for senators

The White House on Wednesday insinuated that last week’s testimony from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, who accused the judge of sexual assault, was sufficient despite an ongoing FBI investigation into the allegations.

"Both Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford were questioned in the most public way possible, by the members of the Senate who are ultimately the ones who have to make a determination on whether or not they vote for Judge Kavanaugh," press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. "If they have additional questions for either one of them, they had a time and an opportunity certainly to ask those."

Sanders’ comments came after Bloomberg published a report, citing anonymous sources, that Kavanaugh and Ford have yet to be interviewed because the White House has told FBI officials that Ford and Kavanaugh’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee was sufficient.

Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexually Continue reading “White House hints that Ford, Kavanaugh public testimony is sufficient for senators”

Trump rips into The New York Times over tax schemes report

President Donald Trump on Wednesday criticized a New York Times investigation that alleged the president perpetuated a number of tax schemes and fraud during the 1990s to bolster the inheritance he received from his parents.

"The Failing New York Times did something I have never seen done before," Trump tweeted. "They used the concept of ‘time value of money’ in doing a very old, boring and often told hit piece on me. Added up, this means that 97% of their stories on me are bad. Never recovered from bad election call!"

The concept of time value of money is that money in the present time is worth more than the same amount in the future, but it’s not clear why Trump fixated on that idea.

The report — which is based off of thousands of documents including tax returns from Fred Trump, the president’s now-deceased father — revealed that Continue reading “Trump rips into The New York Times over tax schemes report”

Conway says she got backlash after talking about being sexually assaulted

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Donald Trump, said on Tuesday that she had received a backlash after recently talking about being a survivor of sexual assault, adding that she believed people didn’t want someone who works at the White House to have “humanity or humility.”

Conway on Sunday said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that she was “a victim of sexual assault” as she was defending both Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who has been accused of sexual assault, and the rights of those who have been victims.

During an appearance at The Atlantic Festival in Washington on Tuesday, Conway said that “even with my blurted-out revelation on Sunday,” she got comments from a lot of people that weren’t nice.

“They don’t want me or someone who works for Donald Trump to have any part of humanity or humility, both of which I possess,” she told Steve Clemons, Continue reading “Conway says she got backlash after talking about being sexually assaulted”

Trump falls 138 spots on Forbes’ 400 richest Americans list

President Donald Trump, who has long bragged about his success and wealth, has dropped more than 100 spots on Forbes’ list of the wealthiest people in the United States.

Trump’s net worth has dropped from $4.5 billion in 2015 to $3.1 billion in the last two years, Forbes reported. The magazine also said that the drop has knocked Trump 138 spots lower on its latest Forbes 400 list, which will be released on Wednesday.

In 2017, Trump was listed as the 248th richest American.

According to Forbes, Trump’s decline is due to a number of factors such as Trump not being truthful about the size of his penthouse, as well as typical commercial space being exterminated by e-commerce. Trump is down more than $100 million due to that factor, Forbes said.

Trump’s presidency has also affected his brand, bringing his net worth down another $200 million.

Trump told Continue reading “Trump falls 138 spots on Forbes’ 400 richest Americans list”

Trump on sexual assault claims: ‘It’s a very scary time for young men in America’

President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that it is a "very scary time for young men" following sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, adding that the accused are now "guilty until proven innocent."

"I say that it’s a very scary time for young men in America when you can be guilty of something that you may not be guilty of," the president told reporters on the White House lawn.

Kavanaugh has forcefully denied an accusation from professor Christine Blasey Ford that he attempted to rape her while they were both in high school. They both testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, and the FBI is now reviewing the claims from Ford, as well as allegations from Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick, who have also accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct.

"My whole life, I’ve heard you’re innocent until proven guilty," Trump said. "But now you’re Continue reading “Trump on sexual assault claims: ‘It’s a very scary time for young men in America’”

White House corrects Trump’s insult in press conference transcript

The White House on Tuesday corrected its official transcript of President Donald Trump’s Monday press conference in which he insulted an ABC reporter.

At Monday’s Rose Garden press conference, held to mark the trade deal agreement struck by the U.S., Canada and Mexico, Trump called on ABC News’ Cecilia Vega. As Vega was waiting for a microphone to be passed to her, Trump said, “she’s shocked that I picked her. Like in a state of shock.”

“I’m not, thank you, Mr. President," Vega responded.

"That’s okay. I know you’re not thinking, you never do," Trump replied.

The initial transcript, released several hours after the press conference, quoted as Trump saying, "I know you’re not thanking. You never do."

Vega proceeded to ask a question about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh that Trump refused to answer, insisting that he would only take trade-related questions before moving on Continue reading “White House corrects Trump’s insult in press conference transcript”

Obama endorses Ocasio-Cortez, Gillum ahead of midterms

Former President Barack Obama on Monday released a second wave of candidate endorsements ahead of the November midterm elections, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democratic socialist who gained national fame earlier this year.

Obama’s new list of endorsements includes 260 candidates across 29 states who are running for an array of positions, such as governor, U.S. Senate and U.S. House, and state legislature. He previously endorsed 81 candidates in August.

“They’re Americans who aren’t just running against something, but for something," Obama said in a statement. "They’re running to expand opportunity and restore the honor and compassion that should be the essence of public service. I’m proud to endorse so many of them today, and I’m eager to continue making the case for why they deserve our votes this November.”

The former president has endorsed a number of candidates that don’t always fall in line with establishment Democrats, Continue reading “Obama endorses Ocasio-Cortez, Gillum ahead of midterms”

Trump: I want FBI to do a ‘very comprehensive’ probe of Kavanaugh allegations

President Donald Trump said on Monday that he wants a "very comprehensive investigation" into sexual assault claims against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, after reports emerged that the White House was seeking to limit the scope of the probe.

"I want them to do a very comprehensive investigation," Trump said. "Whatever that means, according to the senators and the Republicans and the Republican majority. I want them to do that."

But Trump also said he would like the investigation to "go quickly."

"The reason I would like you to go quickly, very simple, it’s so simple," Trump said. "Because it’s unfair to him at this point. What his wife is going through, what his beautiful children are going through, is not describable. It’s not describable. It’s not fair."

The FBI is conducting a one-week investigation into sexual assault claims against Kavanaugh, which was forced by Sen. Jeff Continue reading “Trump: I want FBI to do a ‘very comprehensive’ probe of Kavanaugh allegations”

Trump hails ‘historic’ trade deal with Canada, Mexico

President Donald Trump on Monday praised a new "historic" trade deal with Canada and Mexico to revamp NAFTA, the trilateral trade agreement he once vowed to withdraw the U.S. from entirely.

"Late last night, our deadline, we reached a wonderful new Trade Deal with Canada, to be added into the deal already reached with Mexico. The new name will be The United States Mexico Canada Agreement, or USMCA," the president wrote on Twitter across a pair of posts.

"It is a great deal for all three countries, solves the many deficiencies and mistakes in NAFTA, greatly opens markets to our Farmers and Manufacturers, reduces Trade Barriers to the U.S. and will bring all three Great Nations together in competition with the rest of the world," he continued. "The USMCA is a historic transaction!"

"Congratulations to Mexico and Canada!" the president wrote in a follow-up post later Continue reading “Trump hails ‘historic’ trade deal with Canada, Mexico”

James Comey: ‘The F.B.I. is up for’ quick Kavanaugh investigation

The FBI is well-suited to dig into allegations of sexual assault leveled by multiple women against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, former bureau Director James Comey wrote in an op-ed published Sunday night, even on the abbreviated schedule outlined by Senate Republicans.

Comey, whose op-ed appeared in Monday’s print edition of The New York Times, said that that "if truth were the only goal, there would be no clock, and the investigation wouldn’t have been sought after the Senate Judiciary Committee already endorsed the nominee."

"Instead, it seems that the Republican goal is to be able to say there was an investigation and it didn’t change their view, while the Democrats hope for incriminating evidence to derail the nominee," the former FBI director continued. "Although the process is deeply flawed, and apparently designed to thwart the fact-gathering process, the F.B.I. is up for this. It’s not Continue reading “James Comey: ‘The F.B.I. is up for’ quick Kavanaugh investigation”