The North American Mission Board, the domestic missions agency of the Southern Baptist Convention, has offered to cover the funeral expenses for the families of the 26 people killed inside the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, at the hands of Devin Kelley on Sunday.
SBC President Steve Gaines also confirmed on Twitter Tuesday that he, along with SBC Executive Committee President Frank S. Page, visited with Sutherland Spring’s Pastor Frank Pomeroy and his wife, Sherri, who lost their daughter, Annabelle, in the massacre.
“Just spent a few hours with @RichardsJim, @frankpagesbc with Pastor Frank Pomeroy and his wife, Sherri, here in Sutherland Springs. Godly people,” Gaines said.
As the tragedy unfolded on Sunday, Gaines, who leads Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, said his congregation felt led to pray for the Sutherland Springs church and he felt a need to help in their time of grief.
“Yesterday as we prayed at Bellevue for the families of those slain and also the others who were wounded at First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs, I sensed the need to go there and try to minister to the pastor and his wife and their devastated congregation,” Gaines said.
“I discussed it with Frank Page and Jim Richards, and we all agreed to go and help any way we possibly can. Our Southern Baptist family grieves with this beloved church and the community it serves. Our prayers are ascending steadily to God’s throne of grace. May God bring healing and hope to those that are hurting,” he said.
As the small congregation worshiped at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs on Sunday, Kelley, 26, began firing his Ruger AR-556 rifle inside the building shortly after the 11 a.m. service began.
Within minutes, 26 people were dead and at least 20 others were left with serious injuries The New York Times reported. At least eight members of one family including a pregnant mother were killed. Nearly half of the deceased are children.
Roseanne Solis, one of the survivors of the church massacre, told KSAT 12 that the congregation was singing a new song when Kelley interrupted the praise with gunfire and declared that everyone was going to die.
“I hear firecrackers popping. Ta-ta-ta,” she recalled before someone screamed at the church members to take cover.
“Everybody started screaming, yelling. Everyone got down, crawling under wherever they could hide,” Solis said. “It was so scary. He was shooting hard.”
She explained that she got shot in the left shoulder and watched as other church members started falling to the floor, bleeding and in shock.
Things got quiet briefly inside the church after the first barrage of bullets but quickly deteriorated again when Kelley told everyone they would die.
“I thought it was the police when he went inside because everyone got real quiet. Everyone was saying ‘Be quiet. It’s him. It’s him.'” Then he yelled out, ‘Everybody dies [expletive],’ and Kelley started shooting again.
David Brown, whose mother was sitting in the back pew of the church, told Fox 31, that Kelley went from pew to pew to exact his mission to kill everyone.
Solis’ husband, Joaquin Ramirez, who was also inside the church at the time of the attack, said even though the church members were urging each other to keep quiet as the gunman hunted for survivors the children couldn’t stop crying.
Kelley found them, he said, and shot them at point-blank range. About half of the 26 victims from the massacre are children.
Three of the 26 victims in Sunday’s mass church shooting in Texas were a mother and two of her young daughters, though the woman’s two other children reportedly survived only because she sacrificed her life for them, a family friend has said.
Vonda Smith, a close friend of slain mother Joann Ward, told Fox News in an interview on Wednesday that she spoke with 9-year-old Rihanna, one of Ward’s children that survived the shooting at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs.
“The first thing she told me was that the reason she didn’t get shot like everybody else was that her momma threw her on the ground and told her to hide,” Smith said.
“As soon as she threw her on the ground, she scooped up her other three that were sitting next to her in a pew — Ryland, who’s 5, and Brooke, who’s 5, and Emily, who’s 7 — and she immediately covered them with her body. And that’s exactly how Rihanna described it.”
While Rihanna and Ryland survived the attack, Emily and Brooke died alongside their mother.
Smith explained that her friend was strong in her relationship with Jesus, and would tell people to “live for Christ, no matter what.”
“She was dragging people to Church. She was begging her best friend, Cody, to go to Sunday school with her. That was her heart,” Smith recalled.
The family friend noted that the community is not surprised at Ward’s ultimate sacrifice for her children.
“If they needed anything, it was [at] the drop of a hat. It was about her children. And that’s Joann’s heart,” she said. “It’s the thing that you hear sometimes parents say, but you never think they’ll have to. She said, ‘I would die for my children.’ And she ended up having to do that, in the very end.”
“She loved them so. And she gave it up for them ultimately,” Smith continued. “She was the epitome of Christ.”
The tragic stories from Sunday’s shooting carried out by 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley that has shaken Christians across the country continue flowing in.
Pastor Frank Pomeroy of First Baptist Church and his wife, Sherri, were away on the day of the shooting but revealed that their 14-year-old daughter was among the victims.
Sherri Pomeroy said in a statement that the church was not composed of “members or parishioners,” but was a “very close family.”
“We ate together, we laughed together, we cried together, and we worshiped together. Now, most of our church family is gone, our building is probably beyond repair and the few of us that are left behind lost tragically yesterday,” the pastor’s wife said.
“As senseless as this tragedy was, our sweet Belle would not have been able to deal with losing so much family,” she said, referring to her daughter.
On Monday it emerged that a pregnant mother and three of her five young children, along with several other members of her extended family, were all killed in the shooting.
Crystal Holcombe was killed within minutes of the attack, alongside her children Emily, Megan and Greg, with her father-in-law, his wife, her brother-in-law and his 18-month-old daughter being among the victims as well.
Michele Hill, Holcombe’s aunt, said in a GoFundMe campaign message:
“Through all the pain we still hold on to the unshakable truth that we serve a mighty and just GOD. HE is on HIS throne and is kneeling down to hear our prayers and is collecting each and every tear we shed. We do not mourn their death because we are unsure of where they are, we mourn the loss of their presence in our lives. We have no doubt that their last breath here was their first breath in the presence of our GOD and HE welcomed them with open arms.”
Vice President Mike Pence has responded to critics who have questioned the usefulness of prayer following Sunday’s mass shooting at a church in Texas which left 26 people dead.
“Right now I truly believe that covering those families in prayers are making a difference in their lives, and it will continue to support those families and that community in the days ahead,” Pence told Fox News in an interview on Tuesday.
Online debate has unfurled across Twitter and other platforms in the wake of the massacre at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, with some suggesting that prayer does not work if it can’t protect Christians at church.
“I’m a believer. I believe in prayer and I know that at this moment of such heartbreak and loss in that community that what most Americans are most able to do is pray for those families,” Pence said.
The vice president added, however, that prayer takes “nothing away from our determination … to get to the bottom of what happened, to understand the why, to determine whether or not there were errors along the way.”
Authorities are investigating if and in what way existing laws and background checks were not properly applied to shooter Devin Kelley, who illegally purchased the guns he used in Sunday’s attack.
House Speaker Paul Ryan also told Fox News in a separate interview on Monday that he stands by his offers of prayer, even though he was specifically targeted for his tweets.
Former “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “Stand By Me” actor Wil Wheaton lashed out and wrote in response to Ryan’s prayer tweet earlier this week: “The murdered victims were in a church. If prayers did anything, they’d still be alive, you worthless sack of [expletive].”
Wheaton later apologized and explained he wasn’t trying to attack people of faith, through prayer continues being criticized in debates online.
“It’s disappointing. It’s sad, and this is what you’ll get from the far secular left. People who do not have faith, don’t understand faith, I guess I’d have to say,” Ryan told Fox.
He added: “And it is the right thing to do, is to pray in moments like this because you know what? Prayer works.”
The House speaker blamed the “secular left” for much of the “polarization and disunity” in the country due to sentiments like that.
Prominent pastors, such as Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside and Irvine, California, told The Christian Post on Monday that while it is hard to understand God’s role in tragedies like church shootings, prayer is far from ineffective.
“The Bible does not promise anyone a pain-free life. In fact, Jesus Himself said, ‘In this world, you will have tribulation’ (John 16:33). Here is what I do know: these people that were gathered for worship at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, believed in and loved Jesus Christ,” Laurie added.
He said that the victims are now in God’s presence, “where there is ‘fullness of joy’ and ‘pleasures forevermore’ (Psalm 16:11). All of their questions are answered; our questions will have to wait.”
Pastor Ronnie Floyd, president of National Day of Prayer and senior pastor at Cross Church in Northwest Arkansas, separately told CP:
“In this fallen world when the spirit of evil is raging, all things that happen are not good. Yet, our faith and hope remains in God alone. When we pray we are depending on God for strength; when we do not pray, we choose to depend upon ourselves which always lead to unbelief.”
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GOP strategist Jen Kern provides insight into the former DNC chief’s claims.
Hillary Clinton has spent a year crying about how the presidency was stolen from her. Turns out, she stole the Democratic nomination from Bernie Sanders.
The stunning revelation from former Democratic National Committee interim chairperson Donna Brazile that Clinton secretly rigged the primary process by commandeering the DNC should come as no surprise to anyone. Clinton is nothing, if not unethical and corrupt. She always has been. This is precisely why pre-election polls consistently showed that a majority of Americans found her dishonest and untrustworthy.
The critical question now is whether she committed crimes in her theft of the nomination.
According to Brazile, the DNC went broke under the leadership of Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. This dire circumstance presented a perfect scenario for Clinton to seize command of the party apparatus by paying off its debt of roughly $20 million dollars. But in exchange, the DNC executed a written, albeit hidden, agreement transferring to Clinton the committee’s finances, strategy, and money raised — all to the benefit of Clinton and to the detriment of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, her primary opponent.
Even more deceptions and money shuffling ensued. It was a clever and complicated stratagem, but here is the simple version. During Clinton’s joint fundraising events with the DNC and state parties held across the nation, more than $82 million was raised. The states immediately kicked back nearly all of their share to the DNC which, in turn, kicked back their share and the states’ share to Clinton’s campaign.
With Clinton in control of the Democratic party’s staffing, budgeting, data, analytics, mailings and money, she was able to overcome the serious primary challenge by Sanders in securing the nomination. The DNC, which was supposed to remain neutral, had been neutered by Clinton. It devolved into nothing more than a willing accessory to a devious scheme for Clinton’s campaign to get rich at the expense of Sanders.
There appears to be little doubt that Clinton rigged the election process. It was so unconscionable and unprincipled, that Brazile’s discovery of the incriminating document left her in tears. So she says.
The Federal Election Commission must immediately launch an investigation. So, too, must the Department of Justice and the FBI. It appears that Clinton may well have violated several laws which could constitute serious crimes.
First, federal law sets strict limits on campaign contributions. Financial records must now be subpoenaed to determine whether these laws were broken. Given Clinton’s past record of shady transactions such as the Whitewater land deal and her sale of cattle futures, there is a strong chance that a document trail will lead investigators to multiple violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act.
Second, if Brazile’s account of Clinton’s artifice is true, it is likely that campaign finance reporting laws were broken under the same Act. Hiding campaign money through false or misleading campaign reports is illegal. In egregious cases it is a crime, not just a civil penalty.
Finally, the funneling of campaign funds from one source to another smacks of money laundering. Any transaction that seeks to conceal or disguise proceeds of illegal activity constitutes money laundering. So, if it can be shown that Clinton violated campaign contribution limits or reporting requirements, then the channeling of the proceeds from one source to another would be the “laundering” of it.
Second Special Counsel
Clinton and her campaign are already suspected of playing a pivotal role in violating federal law by paying a substantial amount of money to a British spy and Russian government sources in order to obtain the infamous and discredited Trump “dossier”. Talking to a Russian in a campaign is not a crime, but payingmoney to one as part of a political campaign is a crime.
There is also evidence Clinton used her public office to confer a benefit to the Russian government in exchange for millions of dollars in donations to her foundation and cash to her husband. If the Clintons were enriched at the very time Hillary presided over a governing body which unanimously approved the sale of one-fifth of America’s uranium supply to Russia, it would amount to a violation of seven criminal statutes, including racketeering.
Yet, despite calls by the House Judiciary Committee and others on Capitol Hill for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to appoint a special counsel, he has taken no action whatsoever. Perhaps this is because he recused himself from any matter related to Hillary Clinton during his confirmation hearing in January.
This, however, would not legally prevent him from appointing a special counsel to handle the investigation. But it does underscore that Sessions has become so compromised on so many disqualifying matters of vital public interest, including the Trump-Russia case, that he can no longer serve in an able capacity.
It is clear from President Trump’s many comments over the last several months that he has lost all confidence in his attorney general. It is time for him to go.
Hillary Clinton has bemoaned for months that the presidential election was stolen from her and that Donald Trump “colluded” with the Russians. As with many thing in Clinton’s mind, she has it backwards.
Evidence continues to mount that it was Clinton who may have conspired with the Russians, while also rigging the primary election process to hand herself the Democratic nomination for president.
If she committed crimes in the process, she should be charged, convicted and punished.
Gregg Jarrett joined FOX News Channel (FNC) in 2002 and is based in New York. He currently serves as legal analyst and offers commentary across both FNC and FOX Business Network (FBN).
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V viewers in the United Kingdom will likely not miss watching Fox News, as the network’s parent company 21st Century Fox announced on Tuesday that the company would pull the channel amid low ratings.
“Fox News is focused on the U.S. market and designed for a U.S. audience and, accordingly, it averages only a few thousand viewers across the day in the U.K.,” 21st Century Fox said in a statement provided to CNN. “We have concluded that it is not in our commercial interest to continue providing Fox News in the U.K.”
While 21st Century Fox said its decision was based on the channel’s inability to attract a considerable audience, critics say it’s actually an attempt to smooth over the media giant’s bid to take over European satellite company Sky. (21st Century Fox owns a controlling stake in Sky PLC, the parent company of the London-headquartered network.)
HuffPost UK reports that if the takeover is successful, it would give Fox mogul Rupert Murdoch access to Sky’s 22 million customers in Europe. This audience would be in addition to those of the three U.K. newspapers ― The Sun, The Times, and The Sunday Times ― that the media mogul already owns.
In June, officials delayed Murdoch’s attempted takeover of the 61 percent of Sky that his family does not currently own. British authorities asked regulators to review the deal to see if the takeover would give the family too much control over the country’s media landscape.
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Sky ceased broadcasting Fox News on Tuesday at 4 p.m.
Republican lawmakers on Thursday swiftly rebuked President Donald Trump for crudely claiming that “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski was “bleeding badly from a face-lift,” saying such tweets are beneath the office of the president.
In a two-part tweet, Trump said he “heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore).” He then went on to hit Brzezinski: “how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came … to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!”
The messages, some of the most graphic and personal sense Trump became president, were condemned by Republicans who are struggling to push Trump’s legislative agenda forward while the White House is consumed by the Russia probes and self-inflicted dramas.
“Obviously, I don’t see that as an appropriate comment,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Thursday during his weekly press conference, adding, “Look, what we’re trying to do around here is improve the tone, the civility of the debate, and this obviously doesn’t help do that.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) went further, tweeting, “Mr. President, your tweet was beneath the office and represents what is wrong with American politics, not the greatness of America.”
Graham later told POLITICO that Trump’s insult was “highly inappropriate” regardless of any impact it might have on distracting from the GOP agenda. Asked if the president should apologize, Graham said, “I would, if I were” Trump.
The tweets echo some of Trump’s attacks from the campaign trail, during which he went after then-Fox News host Megyn Kelly after the first debate by saying, “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.”
But the messages take on a new tenor now that Trump is in the Oval Office, and is trying to pull off big legislative lifts — including a Obamacare repeal bill and tax reform package — that require message discipline.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders quickly defended the tweets, explaining the president fights back when he feels the criticism toward him is unwarranted.
“Look, I don’t think that the president’s ever been someone who gets attacked and doesn’t push back,” Sanders told Fox News on Thursday morning. “There have been an outrageous number of personal attacks, not just to him but to frankly everyone around him. … This is a president who fights fire with fire and certainly will not be allowed to be bullied by liberal media or liberal elites in Hollywood or anywhere else.”
Sanders said she personally has been attacked on “Morning Joe” on matters that have nothing to do with her beliefs, ideology or policy. “I have seen far worse things [than the tweets] come out of that show,” she said.
The first lady’s office responded to the president’s tweet through a spokeswoman who reiterated what Melania Trump said in an April 2016 speech.
“As the First Lady has stated publicly in the past, when her husband gets attacked, he will punch back 10 times harder,” Stephanie Grisham, Melania Trump’s communications director, said in a statement.
But there’s evidence that the public is frustrated with the president’s Twitter use. More than 6-in-10 registered voters say Trump should stop tweeting, including 49 percent of Republicans, according to a Quinnipiac University poll conducted ahead of Trump’s latest attack and released Thursday.
And some Republicans in Congress said Trump crossed a line with his vulgar message.
Following a hearing on U.S. Capitol Police, Republican Sen. James Lankford said in a statement that the president “should model civility, honor, and respect in our political rhetoric. The President’s tweets today don’t help our political or national discourse and do not provide a positive role model for our national dialogue.”
Unlike other Republicans who in the past have vocalized their opposition to Trump’s actions, Lankford isn’t a notably frequent Trump critic.
Republican Sen. Ben Sasse, who is a frequent critic, tweeted: “Please just stop. This isn’t normal and it’s beneath the dignity of your office.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi agreed, telling reporters that what Trump tweeted was “so blatantly sexist” and “really saddens me because it is so beneath the dignity of the president of the United States to engage in such behavior.”
She also blasted her Republican colleagues who haven’t condemned the president’s rhetoric. “The Republicans, they can tolerate almost anything — a candidate beating up a reporter and then cheering him on as he arrives in Congress, the tweets of the president of the United States,” she said at her weekly news conference. “They set a low standard for public officials in terms of their demeanor.”
Trump’s tweet dominated the conversation on a day when the House was scheduled to vote on two immigration bills, the Senate was focused on getting its Obamacare repeal legislation back on track, and part of the administration’s travel ban was set to be enforced Thursday evening. The White House had also designated this “energy week,” with Trump scheduled to deliver remarks at an energy event at the Energy Department.
Republicans expressed frustration that the president’s tweets do nothing to further the GOP agenda.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who is among the Republican holdouts on the health care bill, tweeted: “This has to stop – we all have a job – 3 branches of gov’t and media. We don’t have to get along, but we must show respect and civility.” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), another skeptic of the GOP health bill, tweeted, “Stop it! The Presidential platform should be used for more than bringing people down.”
Conservative commentator Laura Ingraham sent out a tweet chastising the White House’s message discipline: “Today ALL comms coming out of WH shd be focused on #KatesLaw and #NoSanctuaryforCriminalsAct — not cable TV hosts.”
GOP strategist Rick Tyler, a former communications aide to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s White House bid, told POLITICO that Trump’s tweets have “zero benefit” and criticized the administration’s defense of them as “childish.”
“Republicans will arrive at the 2018 elections with absolutely no accomplishments and nothing to run on,” Tyler said. “In order to effect large-scale public policy change through legislation, you must have a communications strategy to convince the country that the direction you’re going is somewhere they’d like to go.”
While Trump’s attack on Thursday morning provoked a big response, the “Morning Joe” hosts have a notorious love-hate relationship with the president. During the 2016 campaign, Trump was a frequent call-in guest to the show and as recently as March retained Joe Scarborough’s advice on matters before addressing Congress. But the MSNBC show has also faced criticism for being too cozy with the administration.
In a Vanity Fair report from May on the co-hosts’ recent engagement, the couple acknowledged meeting with the president more than a week after his inauguration, where Trump reportedly suggested they have their wedding at Mar-a-Lago or the White House. According to Scarborough, Trump even suggested he could be the one to marry them.
Scarborough and Brzezinski have since become increasingly critical of the president, and Trump has repeatedly attacked them on Twitter, but Thursday’s messages marked a new low.
Brzezinski responded to Trump shortly after his tweets on Thursday with her own post of a Cheerios box detailing a child and the slogan “Made For Little Hands” — a seemingly pointed reference to the campaign trail during which Trump’s hand size was often targeted.
MSNBC, meanwhile, was direct and unsparing in its criticism.
“It’s a sad day for America when the president spends his time bullying, lying and spewing petty personal attacks instead of doing his job,” an MSNBC spokesperson said, echoing a similar sentiment from the organization’s spokesman Mark Kornblau, who tweeted that he “never imagined a day when I would think to myself, ‘it is beneath my dignity to respond to the President of the United States.’”
It was not immediately clear what specific comments set off the Twitter attacks this morning, but Brzezinski did hit the president this morning on “lying … and destroying the country.”
“Nothing makes a man feel better than making a fake cover of a magazine about himself, lying every day and destroying the country,” Brzezinski said in reference to a Washington Post report that alleges a fabricated Time magazine cover photo featuring Trump is hanging in at least five of his golf clubs.
Also, on Tuesday’s episode of “Morning Joe,” Brzezinski and Scarborough went back and forth on Trump’s hand size and his onslaught of media-focused tweets of late.
“That’s a very small person,” Brzezinski said.
“I work in cable news and I can tell you that’s sad, pathetic. Think bigger,” Scarborough countered, adding that while the “worst health care strategy ever” rages, Trump’s talking about the media.
“Keep on being small,” Brzezinski said.
“Tiny. That’s the word,” Scarborough corrected.
On the campaign trail, the president was often criticized for his treatment of women, most notably after the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape in which Trump can be heard bragging about sexually assaulting women.
And in a bizarre moment on Tuesday, while on the phone with Ireland’s new prime minister, Trump called forward an Irish journalist to comment on her smile.
Despite the furor around his tweets on Thursday, Trump did get some support outside of the White House.Fox News primetime host and frequent Trump defender Sean Hannity tweeted various links to “Morning Joe”-related coverage. “Maybe liberal Joe should stop calling the @POTUS a schmuck, a liar, a thug and mentally unhinged. Were they kissing @POTUS ass at xmas? Yes,” he tweeted.
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) also appeared to defend the president, noting that he’s dealing with an adversarial news media.
“The media is salting him every day,” Shelby said. “I guess he’s fighting back.”
Other lawmakers, however, said they were trying to tune it out.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said he didn’t want to talk about the president’s tweets because he’s trying to “stay positive.”
“If you don’t have something nice to say, say nothing at all,” Johnson said.
“The American people need us to be focused on health care and tax reform, not Twitter fights and cable news,” Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) said on Twitter.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who unsuccessfully ran for president in 2016, summarized Trump’s comments in three words: “Inappropriate. Undignified. Unpresidential.”
Thursday morning’s tweet storm also fits into Trump’s recently stepped-up crusade against the media in which he has targeted other outlets that he believes are publishing unfair coverage of his administration.
Trump attacked The Washington Post on Wednesday, complaining that the “fake news” newspaper was protecting Amazon from tax liabilities with its coverage.
Representatives for Brzezinski and Scarborough did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Hadas Gold, Elana Schor, Kyle Cheney, Austin Wright, Heather Caygle and Diamond Naga Siu contributed to this report.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer ducked a series of questions on Tuesday about President Donald Trump’s promotion of a Fox News story based on a single anonymous source just days after blasting such stories as “made up.”
The Monday Fox News report that Trump retweeted lays blame on the Russians, rather than Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Kushner, for discussing the possibility of a communications back channel between the Trump administration and Moscow. The Fox report cited “a source familiar with the matter.”
That report followed a Friday report in The Washington Post that said Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak told Moscow that Kushner was the one who wanted a secret communications channel between the Trump team and the Kremlin. The Post’s story cited US officials who had been briefed on intelligence reports.
On Sunday, Trump tweeted that “whenever you see the words ‘sources say’ in the fake news media, and they don’t mention names … it is very possibly that those sources don’t exist but are made up by fake news writers.”
Both the Post and Fox relied on anonymous sources for their stories. Trump tried discrediting such sourcing in a series of Sunday-morning tweets, but retweeted the Fox News story anyway on Tuesday.
Spicer said during Tuesday’s press briefing — his first time back at the podium in weeks — that questions from a Post reporter about what Trump knew of the back channel discussion “assumes a lot,” adding that what the “question assumes is a lot of facts that are not substantiated by anything but anonymous sources that are so far being leaked out.”
“Your question presupposes facts that have not been confirmed,” he said.
Another reporter asked if Trump’s retweet of the Fox News story confirmed any of the facts that Spicer said had not been confirmed. The reporter then listed some of the main points from the Fox News story.
“Was the president not confirming that there was an effort in the facts that I just said?” she asked. “He retweeted that.”
“I think what I just said speaks for itself,” Spicer responded.
The reporter noted that Spicer was attempting to discredited the Post’s anonymous sources while Trump was at the same time promoting a Fox story based off a single anonymous source.
“Why are those sources, or this source rather, that they used, more credible than the ones in the Washington Post article?” she asked.
Spicer dodged the question and pivoted to talking about a statement provided by Kushner’s attorney that he had already referenced in the briefing and then mentioning the “dossier,” a document prepared by an ex-British spy that contained unverified claims about Trump’s ties to Russia.
“So again, I’m not going to get into confirming stuff,” Spicer said. “There is an ongoing investigation.”
The reports about the December meeting between Russians and Trump officials in Trump Tower, which had already been under scrutiny from investigators, have thrust Kushner into the center of the ongoing Russia investigations. The FBI is investigating whether any members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russian officials to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.
Earlier this month, Trump fired the FBI director, James Comey, who was overseeing that investigation. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein then appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation.
Sessions attributed the oversight to advice he received from an FBI employee who helped him fill out the form.
If Trump truly believes that this whole thing is a made-up story, then he should be unrelentingly supportive of the Mueller investigation
(CNN) Attorney General Jeff Sessions failed to properly disclose his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in a security clearance application, CNN reported on Wednesday night.
Sessions attributed the oversight to advice he received from an FBI employee who helped him fill out the form. The FBI employee told Sessions he didn’t need to note every interaction — especially passing ones — with foreign officials. So, Sessions didn’t.
This is not an uncommon occurrence. Phil Mudd, who spent time at the CIA and the FBI and now works as a counter-terrorism analyst for CNN, acknowledged Thursday morning on “New Day” that he, too, didn’t list every foreign official he came into contact with on his security clearance forms — comparing it to going 62 in an area where the speed limit is 55.
The problem here for Sessions — and the Trump administration more broadly — is that the meetings the Attorney General failed to disclose are with the Russian ambassador. Not the ambassador to France or England or literally any other place in the world.
And that means the omissions matter. Because they land amid a federal investigation now being run by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and potential collusion with the Trump campaign. And two congressional investigations into the matter. And the firing of former national security adviser Michael Flynn due to his misleading comments about his own conversations with Kislyak. And the Russia ties of former Trump advisers Paul Manafort and Carter Page. And Sessions’ own recusal from the federal investigation due to his meetings with Kislyak. And the reports that Trump asked then FBI Director James Comey to drop the investigation into Flynn and the Russians during a Feb. 14 meeting.
You get the idea. There’s just a massive amount of smoke here. Is it possible that the smoke isn’t being produced by a fire, as Trump insists? Sure. But the growing amount of smoke belies Trump’s repeated insistence that the investigation is simply “fake news” or a “witch hunt.”
The public disagrees with Trump on this, too. In a new Fox News national poll, more than six in ten (61%) of people said they were concerned with reports of “Russian meddling in U.S. affairs,” as opposed to just 38% who said they weren’t concerned. Almost 7 in 10 (68%) approved of the appointment of a special counsel to look into Russia’s meddling and possible collusion with elements of the Trump campaign. People were split on whether they thought evidence would be found proving the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russians; 43 percent said they expected that to happen while 45 percent said they didn’t.
If Trump truly believes that this whole thing is a made-up story, then he should be unrelentingly supportive of the Mueller investigation. Because Mueller is the only person at this point who can clear away all the smoke and show that there is no fire. (Not even Trump can do that at this point — even if he wanted to. The story has gotten totally beyond his control.)
And yet, Trump continues to work to undermine Mueller and his findings. Which means that every development like this latest one with Sessions will just add more smoke to the story. At this point, there’s so much smoke surrounding Trump and Russia, it’s getting very hard to see.
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DENVER — A man without a medical license was arrested after allegedly using an Army surgical kit to remove the testicles of a transgender woman at her apartment, the Denver Police Department said.
James Pennington, 57 of Denver, is alleged to have removed the testicles and sutured the opening while the woman’s wife watched the 90-minute procedure on Wednesday, May 17th, according to a probable cause statement.
RELATED: Probable cause statement
The surgical kit included a scalpel, Iidocaine, medical dressings and other medical equipment.
Pennington told the victim if any “complications” developed to call 911, according to the statement.
The wife called 911 about 2 p.m. after blood was coming from the incision.
Paramedics said the testicles could not be reattached because of the time between the procedure and the call to 911, police said.
A doctor with Medical Center of Aurora said the victim suffered serious bodily injury and “risk of permanent disfigurement,” according to the statement.
Pennington was interviewed by police on Thursday and, according to the probable cause statement, “confessed to completing this surgical procedure without medical license.”
Pennington was arrested for investigation of first-degree aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury. He is being held without bond.
The Denver District Attorney’s Office will make the final determination if charges will be filed.
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July 28, 2016: Pro-Bernie Sanders protesters demonstrate outside the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. (Fox News)
The 2016 presidential campaign is still being litigated – literally.
As Trump administration controversies command media attention, a little-noticed set of lawsuits against the Democratic Party continues to play out in the courts – including one claiming coordination with the Clinton campaign against Bernie Sanders amounted to election fraud.
The case being heard in a Florida courtroom dates back to last summer, when the Democrats were thrown into turmoil following the leak of documents that appeared to show some DNC officials sought to undermine Sanders in the party primary. Jared Beck, a Harvard law expert, shortly afterward filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of residents of 45 states against the DNC and former chairwomen Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
The DNC has been trying for months to have the case dismissed, and scored a temporary victory last year when it was decided the plaintiffs had improperly filed paperwork.
Beck has been fighting the DNC every step of the way, and is demanding the party repay individuals and Sanders supporters for contributions made during the election, alleging misappropriation of funds.
“If we can’t trust the two political parties to run an election in a fair manner, who can we trust?” Beck told Fox News.
During the most recent hearing on April 25 before a judge in the southern district of Florida, the DNC made a strictly legal argument – one that surely would have rankled Sanders supporters.
Bruce Spiva, a lawyer for the DNC, argued in its motion to dismiss that the party holds the right to select its candidate any way it chooses and is not bound by pledges of fairness.
“We could have voluntarily decided that, ‘Look, we’re gonna go into back rooms like they used to and smoke cigars and pick the candidate that way.’ That’s not the way it was done. But they could have. And that would have also been their right,” Spiva argued.
Although the Article 5, Section 4 of the Democratic Party charter stipulates that it will function with total neutrality during Democratic primaries, the DNC lawyer argued the promise was non-binding.
“And there’s no right to not have your candidate disadvantaged or have another candidate advantaged. There’s no contractual obligation here,” he said.
“This lawsuit has nothing to do with politics or political disagreements within the DNC. This case should concern everyone because it goes to the heart of the country’s democratic institutions,” Beck told Fox News.
A victory by Beck could have a profound impact on how the Democratic Party conducts business in 2020 and beyond. However, those familiar with election law say he faces an uphill climb.
“I don’t think it is going to amount to much,” said Michael Toner, a lawyer with the Wiley-Rein and a former legal counsel for the Republican National Committee.
“Courts don’t typically get in the middle of intraparty disputes and while I am sure the DNC does not appreciate having to fight this lawsuit, judges are very reluctant to exercise their jurisdiction over politics,” Toner said.
The DNC attorneys also contend the suit is meritless, arguing most Sanders donors do not even support the lawsuit.
“The vast majority of whom almost certainly do not share Plaintiffs’ political views—have no realistic means of disassociating from this action, brought in their name against the political party they likely support,” the DNC lawyers wrote in their motion.
Toner said the danger to the DNC would come if the lawsuit entered the discovery phase, which is why an affiliated case alleging the DNC failed to pay overtime wages poses a potentially greater threat.
The DNC this week filed a motion to dismiss in the second class-action lawsuit, which alleged workers at the Democratic National Convention and through the election were not paid a minimum wage, while others were refused overtime compensation guaranteed by federal and state law.
The 2016 Democratic platform characterized the current federal minimum of $7.25 per hour as “a starvation wage and must be increased to a living wage. No one who works full time should have to raise a family in poverty.”
The suit also names the Pennsylvania Democratic Party and others involved in the party’s 2016 national convention in the lawsuit. The Pennsylvania Democratic Party did not return calls for comment.
“While the DNC was not the employer in this case, the DNC follows all employment and wage laws to make sure that everyone who works a full time job receives a fair wage,” DNC spokesman Michael Tyler said in a statement to Fox News.
Although the individuals participated in party-building activities, such as voter registration, soliciting volunteers and knocking on doors, the national party argues they were not officially DNC staff.
Justin Swidler, the lawyer behind the suit, told Fox News, “We believe in fair pay for fair work. The lawsuit seeks only that. We believe these ideals are consistent with the platform of the DNC.”
According to individuals familiar with the case, the DNC filed another motion to dismiss this week, but neither side anticipates a prompt resolution of the case given the court’s full docket.
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