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On Tuesday, BNN Bloomberg reported that the $1.57 billion allocated to the building of the southern border wall has “yielded just 1.7 miles” of new wall thus far.

“U.S. Customs and Border Protection has put up just 1.7 miles of fencing with the US$1.57 billion that Congress appropriated last year for President Donald Trump’s wall along the Mexican border, a federal judge was told,” the outlet reports. “A lawyer for the U.S. House of Representatives provided the information Tuesday to the judge in Oakland, California, who is weighing requests from 20 state attorneys general and the the Sierra Club to block Trump from using funds not authorized by Congress to build the wall.”

In a court filing, the lawyer told U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam that according to information provided by the administration, as of April 30, 2019, “it appears that CBP has now constructed 1.7 miles of fencing with its fiscal year 2018 funding.”

But in a series of tweets Wednesday morning, President Trump blasted the claims as misleading.

“Much of the Wall being built at the Southern Border is a complete demolition and rebuilding of old and worthless barriers with a brand new Wall and footings,” he wrote. “Problem is, the Haters say that is not a new Wall, but rather a renovation. Wrong, and we must build where most needed. Also, tremendous work is being done on pure renovation – fixing existing Walls that are in bad condition and ineffective, and bringing them to a very high standard!”

After Democrats refused to give him the full $5 billion he requested for border wall construction, prompting the longest partial government shutdown in history, Trump declared a national emergency at the border over the humanitarian crisis caused by a massive influx of illegal immigrants, which has overwhelmed our already overburdened immigration system. That declaration allows Trump to redirect billions to the border.

Democrats, however, are attempting to cap how much Trump can allocate to the construction of the border wall. “Rep. John Garamendi, the Democratic chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness, suggested in a Thursday statement cited by Defense News that the president was using the military construction budget ‘and other critical projects as a personal slush fund to fulfill a campaign promise,'” Business Insider reported last week. “Garamendi, whose subcommittee oversees military construction, presented a bill Wednesday that would cap military spending at $250 million per national emergency, Defense News reported.”

Along with the resources Trump has opened up through the emergency declaration, he is also asking Congress for $4.5 billion to address non-border wall immigration needs. After denying it for months, Democrats have finally agreed that we are indeed facing a “humanitarian crisis” at the border, but they are still reluctant to fully approve of Trump’s request. “Democrats said they would review the request but raised concerns about some of the proposals,” USA Today reported when Trump first made the request three weeks ago. “More than $150 million of the new money would be used to accommodate ‘significant increases’ in immigrants detained, for instance.”

Trump is also requesting $8.6 billion in funding for the border wall for the new budget, which is over six times the amount provided in the past two budgets and a request that Democrats will almost certainly reject.

Author: James Barrett

Source: Daily Wire: Report: Just 1.7 Miles Of Wall Built; Trump: ‘WRONG’

Speaking to the press Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) accused Attorney General William Barr of having committed a “crime” by “not telling the truth” to Congress about Robert Mueller’s response to his summary of the principle findings of the special counsel’s final report.

“What is deadly serious about it is the attorney general of the United States of America is not telling the truth to the Congress of the United States. That’s a crime,” Pelosi told reporters in comments reported by CNBC Thursday. “He lied to Congress,” she alleged when asked about her claim again. “If anybody else did that, it would be considered a crime. Nobody is above the law.”

While she directly accused the attorney general of commiting a “crime,” Pelosi would not give a straight answer about if he should go to prison for his alleged criminal offense, saying only that there’s a “process involved.”

As CNBC notes, the Justice Department has responded to Pelosi’s “deadly serious” accusation, spokeswoman Kerri Kupac calling the speaker’s comment a “baseless attack on the Attorney General” that is “reckless, irresponsible and false.”

While some Democrats, including Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI), continue to accuse Barr of misrepresenting Mueller’s final report — despite Mueller himself reportedly making clear that he did not believe Barr’s summary of the report’s key findings was “inaccurate or misleading” — Pelosi appears to be referencing Barr’s previous statement to the House last month concerning reported “frustration” among the special counsel’s team about the information in his summary.

Asked by Florida Democrat Rep. Charlie Crist if he knew what reports that the special counsel’s team was “frustrated at some level with the limited information” in his summary were referencing, Barr said, “No, I don’t. I think I think, I suspect that they probably wanted more put out, but in my view I was not interested in putting out summaries.”

Barr’s follow-up comments about the special counsel’s team wanting him to put more information out, specifically their summaries, aligns with the recently leaked letter from Mueller sent to Barr three days after Barr’s summary report to Congress. In a March 27 letter to Barr, Mueller expressed concern about the “new public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation” and asked Barr to release the special counsel’s summaries of the report’s findings (formatting adjusted):

The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this Office’s work and conclusions. We communicated that concern to the Department on the morning of March 25. There is new public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations. See Department of Justice, Press Release (May 17, 2017). While we understand that the Department is reviewing the full report to determine what is appropriate for public release — a process that our Office is working with you to complete — that process need not delay release of the enclosed materials.

The Post reports that Barr and Mueller had a phone conversation the next day in which Mueller explained that he was concerned about the media coverage of Barr’s summary but also said that he did not believe the summary was “inaccurate or misleading.” Barr told Mueller he wanted to wait to release the entire redacted report, which included the summaries, rather than releasing it “piecemeal.”

“A day after Mueller sent his letter to Barr, the two men spoke by phone for about 15 minutes, according to law enforcement officials,” the Post reports. “In that call, Mueller said he was concerned that media coverage of the obstruction investigation was misguided and creating public misunderstandings about the office’s work, according to Justice Department officials.”

“When Barr pressed Mueller on whether he thought Barr’s memo to Congress was inaccurate, Mueller said he did not but felt that the media coverage of it was misinterpreting the investigation, officials said,” the Post reports. “In their call, Barr also took issue with Mueller calling his memo a ‘summary,’ saying he had never intended to summarize the voluminous report, but instead provide an account of its top conclusions, officials said.”

A Justice Department spokeswoman addressed Mueller’s letter and the follow-up phone call in a statement to the Post. “After the Attorney General received Special Counsel Mueller’s letter, he called him to discuss it,” said the spokeswoman. “In a cordial and professional conversation, the Special Counsel emphasized that nothing in the Attorney General’s March 24 letter was inaccurate or misleading. But, he expressed frustration over the lack of context and the resulting media coverage regarding the Special Counsel’s obstruction analysis.”

This article has been revised for clarity.

Author: James Barrett

Source: Dailywire: Pelosi Accuses Barr Of Committing A ‘Crime’; Justice Department Slams Her

In a blistering condemnation of the dismissal of all 16 felony charges against “Empire” star Jussie Smollett, the Illinois Prosecutors Bar Association (IPBA) has accused State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and her office of having “fundamentally misled” the public about the circumstances surrounding the dismissal of the case.

The backlash against the decision Tuesday by Foxx’s office to suddenly drop all charges in the high-profile “hoax hate crime” case continues to mount. On Wednesday, the National District Attorneys Association (NDAA), which represents prosecutors across the country, released a statement detailing what Foxx’s office did wrong. On Thursday, the IPBA, which “serves as the voice for nearly 1,000 front line prosecutors across the state,” issued its own, even more directly accusatory statement.

“The events of the past few days regarding the Cook County State’s Attorney’s handling of the Jussie Smollett case is not condoned by the IPBA, nor is it representative of the honest ethical work prosecutors provide to the citizens of the State of Illinois on a daily basis,” the statement reads.

“The manner in which this case was dismissed was abnormal and unfamiliar to those who practice law in criminal courthouses across the State,” the association continues. “Prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges alike do not recognize the arrangement Mr. Smollett received. Even more problematic, the State’s Attorney and her representatives have fundamentally misled the public on the law and circumstances surrounding the dismissal.”

Among the “fundamentally” misleading statements Foxx and her office have made to the public: falsely claiming that she had recused herself, which would require appointing a special prosecutor, which she failed to do, keeping the decision in-house and thus still influenced by her. She has also “falsely informed the public that the uncontested sealing of the criminal court case was ‘mandatory’ under Illinois law,” a claim which “is not accurate.” The prosecutors also point to the still unexplained “emergency” hearing that resulted in the decision, which has “compounded” the appearance of “impropriety.”

“Lastly, the State’s Attorney has claimed this arrangement is ‘available to all defendants’ and ‘not a new or unusual practice,'” the prosecutors state. “There has even been an implication it was done in accordance with a statutory diversion program. These statements are plainly misleading and inaccurate.”

Read the full statement below:

The Illinois Prosecutors Bar Association serves as the voice for nearly 1,000 front line prosecutors across the State who work tirelessly towards the pursuit of justice. The events of the past few days regarding the Cook County State’s Attorney’s handling of the Jussie Smollett case is not condoned by the IPBA, nor is it representative of the honest ethical work prosecutors provide to the citizens of the State of Illinois on a daily basis.

The manner in which this case was dismissed was abnormal and unfamiliar to those who practice law in criminal courthouses across the State. Prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges alike do not recognize the arrangement Mr. Smollett received. Even more problematic, the State’s Attorney and her representatives have fundamentally misled the public on the law and circumstances surrounding the dismissal.

The public has the right to know the truth, and we set out to do that here.

When an elected State’s Attorney recuses herself from a prosecution, Illinois law provides that the court shall appoint a special prosecutor. See 55 ILCS 5/3-9008(a-15). Typically, the special prosecutor is a neighboring State’s Attorney, the Attorney General, or the State Appellate Prosecutor. Here, the State’s Attorney kept the case within her office and thus never actually recused herself as a matter of law.

Additionally, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office falsely informed the public that the uncontested sealing of the criminal court case was “mandatory” under Illinois law. This statement is not accurate. To the extent the case was even eligible for an immediate seal, that action was discretionary, not mandatory, and only upon the proper filing of a petition to seal. See 20 ILCS 2630/5.2(g)(2). For seals not subject to Section 5.2(g)(2), the process employed in this case by the State’s Attorney effectively denied law enforcement agencies of legally required Notice (See 20 ILCS 2630/5.2(d)(4)) and the legal opportunity to object to the sealing of the file (See 20 ILCS 2630/5.2(d)(5)). The State’s Attorney not only declined to fight the sealing of this case in court, but then provided false information to the public regarding it.

The appearance of impropriety here is compounded by the fact that this case was not on the regularly scheduled court call, the public had no reasonable notice or opportunity to view these proceedings, and the dismissal was done abruptly at what has been called an “emergency” hearing. To date, the nature of the purported emergency has not been publicly disclosed. The sealing of a court case immediately following a hearing where there was no reasonable notice or opportunity for the public to attend is a matter of grave public concern and undermines the very foundation of our public court system.

Lastly, the State’s Attorney has claimed this arrangement is “available to all defendants” and “not a new or unusual practice.” There has even been an implication it was done in accordance with a statutory diversion program. These statements are plainly misleading and inaccurate. This action was highly unusual, not a statutory diversion program, and not in accordance with well accepted practices of State’s Attorney initiated diversionary programs. The IPBA supports diversion programs, and recognizes the many benefits they provide to the community, the defendant and to the prosecuting agency. Central to any diversion program, however, is that the defendant must accept responsibility. To be clear here, this simply was not a deferred prosecution.

Prosecutors must be held to the highest standard of legal ethics in the pursuit of justice. The actions of the Cook County State’s Attorney have fallen woefully short of this expectation. Through the repeated misleading and deceptive statements to the public on Illinois law and circumstances surrounding the Smollett dismissal, the State’s Attorney has failed in her most fundamental ethical obligations to the public. The IPBA condemns these actions.

This irregular arrangement was an affront to prosecutors across the State, the Chicago Police Department, victims of hate crimes, and the people of the City of Chicago and Cook County. We strongly encourage our members and the public to review the National District Attorneys Associations statement on prosecutorial best practices in high profile cases.

Author: James Barrett

Source: Dailywire: Illinois Prosecutors Bar Association: State’s Attorney ‘Fundamentally Misled’ Public About Dismissing Smollett Case

“But when people see you as one-sided, it just makes it tough.”

Former “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno — who successfully pulled off the impossible, following up the inimitable Johnny Carson — says he doesn’t miss his late-night hosting gig because now “everyone has to know your politics.” The current hosts, he suggested, have failed to learn what he learned from Carson: not to let yourself appear to be “one-sided.”

In an exchange during his appearance on NBC’s “TODAY” Tuesday highlighted by The Hill, the hosts of the show began by saying, “So it’s been five years since you left ‘The Tonight Show,’ and you see the place we are right now in this country. Do you miss being on the show? Or is it such a different time that it would be hard to do?”

“No, it’s different — I don’t miss it,” said Leno. “You know, everything now is if people don’t like your politics — everyone has to know your politics.”

“I kind of used Johnny [Carson]’s model,” he explained. “People couldn’t figure out: ‘Well, you and your Republican friends…’ or ‘Well, Mr. Leno, you and your Democratic buddies…’ And I would get hate mail from both sides equally. And I went, ‘Well that’s fabulous! That’s exactly what I want.'”

The hosts reacted enthusiastically to Leno’s response.

“But when people see you as one-sided, it just makes it tough,” Leno said. “And plus, I did it when, you know, Clinton was horny and Bush was dumb, and it was just a little easier,” he added, a line that got more laughs from the NBC team.

“You know, now it’s all very serious, everything so, so na—” he said, stopping himself mid-line. “I’d just like to see a bit of civility come back to it, you know?”

“People say, ‘Oh, it must be easy to do jokes with Trump,'” he continued. “No, it’s actually harder because the punch line of the joke used to be ‘That’s like the president with a porn star.’ Well, now the president is with a porn star. Where do you go with that?! … How do you get more outrageous than that?! Exactly.”

Asked if he thinks the pendulum will swing back the other way, Leno said, “Of course, I think it will swing back the other way.”

Video below (comments begin around the 3:30 mark):

Leno began guest hosting “The Tonight Show” starting in 1987 and took over as the full-time host in 1992, when Carson retired. Leno dominated the late-night scene all the way until his retirement in 2014, when his replacement Jimmy Fallon took the reigns. Fallon at first continued the show’s top-rated streak until more politically charged shows began to overtake him. Fallon drew the outrage of progressive viewers for interviewing Donald Trump in 2016.

“It just got bigger and out of control,” Fallon told The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter in June 2018 regarding the backlash against him for inviting on Trump. “[P]eople just jump on the train, and some people don’t even want to hear anything else. They’re like, ‘No, you did that!’ You go, ‘Well, just calm down and just look at the whole thing and actually see my body of work.'” It was “definitely a down time” amid all the backlash, Fallon said, and morale really dropped on the show. “I’m sorry,” he said for having Trump on the show. “I don’t want to make anyone angry — I never do and I never will. It’s all in the fun of the show. I made a mistake. I’m sorry if I made anyone mad. And, looking back, I would do it differently.”

Trump responded by telling Fallon to “be a man.”

While Leno’s no longer hosting a show, he is a regular on Tim Allen’s “Last Man Standing,” which is now over at Fox after ABC inexplicably dropped it, a decision that drew accusations of political bias.

Author: James Barrett

Source: Dailywire: WATCH: Jay Leno Smacks Late-Night Shows For ‘One-Sided’ Politics

“We write to refer significant evidence that Michael D. Cohen committed perjury and knowingly made false statements during his testimony…”

Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer — who was sentenced to three years in prison in December for, among a long list of things, lying to Congress — has filled up the headlines this week with his big testimony in front of the House Oversight Committee in which he declared his former boss a “con man” and “racist” who is guilty of all sorts of “illicit acts.” But while Michael Cohen has promised to, unlike last time, provide Congress “accurate and truthful” testimony, on Thursday he ended up getting referred to the Justice Department for perjury.

“I recognize that some of you may doubt and attack me on my credibility,” Cohen told the committee in his prepared opening statement Wednesday. “It is for this reason that I have incorporated into this opening statement documents that are irrefutable, and demonstrate that the information you will hear is accurate and truthful.”

But some who participated in the hearing disagree that the convicted felon lived up to his promise of accuracy and truthfulness in his testimony. On Thursday, Reps. Jim Jordan (OH) and Mark Meadows (NC) — the two Republican congressmen who ended up generating some of the most incendiary fireworks in Cohen’s testimony Wednesday — sent a letter to Attorney General Bill Barr referring Cohen for investigation for perjury.

“We write to refer significant evidence that Michael D. Cohen committed perjury and knowingly made false statements during his testimony before an Oversight and Reform Committee (Committee) hearing titled, ‘Hearing with Michael Cohen, Former attorney for President Donald Trump’ on February 27, 2019,” the letter begins.

“While testifying under oath, Mr. Cohen made what appear to be numerous willfully and intentionally false statements of material fact contradicted by the record established by the Justice Department in United States v. Cohen, 18-cr-602 (S.D.N.Y.) (WHP),” the letter continues. “Mr. Cohen’s testimony was at times in direct contradiction to assertions contained in pleadings authored by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY). There are other instances in which Mr. Cohen’s statements to the Committee were immediately contradicted by witnesses with firsthand knowledge of the subject matter.”

Jordan and Meadows then lay out a series of accusations about specific statements made by Cohen to the committee and providing over 20 pages of exhibits. Among the accusations are that Cohen falsely claimed the had never defrauded a bank, for which he has already pleaded guilty, and that he did not covet a White House job, which multiple sources have refuted, including CNN reporters. Read the full list of accusations as detailed in the six-page letter here.

Cohen’s “television lawyer,” Lanny Davis, has responded to the perjury referral. “Mr. Cohen testified truthfully before the House Oversight Committee,” he said in a statement reported by The Hill. “He took full responsibility for his guilty pleas. He also backed up much of his testimony with documents.” The “baseless” referral, he suggested, is just a political move by “two pro-Trump Committee members” intended to distract from the hearing. Accusing his client of perjury is “a sad misuse of the criminal justice system,” he said.

Author: James Barrett

Source: Dailywire: Cohen Vows To Be ‘Truthful’ To Congress, Ends Up Getting Referred To Justice Dept. For Lying

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