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‘If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book’

President Donald Trump has strongly denied explosive allegations about his Ukraine dealings made by John Bolton, his former national security adviser, in a forthcoming book.

In a series of tweets published just after midnight Monday, Trump accused Bolton of parroting falsehoods to promote book sales.

“I NEVER told John Bolton that the aid to Ukraine was tied to investigations into Democrats, including the Bidens. In fact, he never complained about this at the time of his very public termination. If John Bolton said this, it was only to sell a book,” Trump said.

The New York Times reported late Sunday that Bolton claims in his book that Trump admitted to him last August that he wanted to continue freezing nearly $400 million in security assistance to Ukraine if the Ukrainian government did not cooperate with investigations into the Bidens.

Bolton’s account undercuts the heart of Trump’s impeachment defense and suggests the president engaged in a quid pro quo, or at least intended to do so.

According to the Times, Bolton also writes about the involvement of other top government officials.

For example, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo acknowledged privately that there was no basis to claims by the president’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani that the ambassador to Ukraine was corrupt and believed Mr. Giuliani may have been acting on behalf of other clients, Mr. Bolton wrote.

Mr. Bolton also said that after the president’s July phone call with the president of Ukraine, he raised with Attorney General William P. Barr his concerns about Mr. Giuliani, who was pursuing a shadow Ukraine policy encouraged by the president, and told Mr. Barr that the president had mentioned him on the call. A spokeswoman for Mr. Barr denied that he learned of the call from Mr. Bolton; the Justice Department has said he learned about it only in mid-August.

Speaking on “Fox & Friends” Monday, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham blamed the manuscript leak on Bolton’s publisher, and said the timing was “suspect.”

“It’s very clear the president did nothing wrong. And then suddenly, this manuscript has magically appeared in the hands of the New York Times making very, very big claims. This is by a publisher — the same publisher that [James] Comey used, also,” Grisham said, Politico noted. “And the fact that magically, again, you know, the book ordering online — pre-order link popped up a couple hours after all of this hit, you know, it’s sad. But I think the timing is very suspect.”

But Bolton’s lawyer, Charles Cooper, blamed the leak on the White House. He told the New York Times that the White House has been in possession of Bolton’s manuscript since Dec. 30, when it was turned over for review to determine if there was classified information in the manuscript, a routine procedure for books written by former government employees.

“It is clear, regrettably, from the New York Times article published today that the pre-publication review process has been corrupted and that information has been disclosed by persons other than those properly involved in reviewing the manuscript,” he said.

Bolton’s book, titled, “The Room Where It Happened,” is scheduled to be released on March 17.

Author: Chris Enloe

Source: The Blaze: Trump fires back at John Bolton over explosive Ukraine allegation in forthcoming book

‘Well, in that — I guess, in that sense…’

House impeachment manager Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) made a stunning admission Sunday, implying that Democrats want President Donald Trump’s impeachment to impact the 2020 election.

During an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” host Jake Tapper asked Lofgren why she instructed senators last week to not “surrender to the president’s stonewalling” when House Democrats did not pursue subpoenas and force additional witnesses to testify.

“You didn’t pursue it in court. You ultimately withdrew the cases and went to the Senate,” Tapper noted. “Didn’t you surrender to the president’s stonewalling, in that sense?”

Lofgren responded, “Well, in that — I guess, in that sense, we did, because, if we had waited for three or four years, the election would be over. The issue would be almost moot.”

Despite the House waiting to take impeachment action against Richard Nixon until after the 1972 election, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, also one of the Democratic impeachment managers, said last week that “the president’s misconduct cannot be decided at the ballot box, for we cannot be assured that the vote will be fairly won.”

The admissions align with what White House Counsel Pat Cipollone told senators on Saturday in the opening statements of the president’s defense.

“For all their talk about election interference, they’re here to perpetrate the most massive interference in an election in American history,” Cipollone charged.

Author: Chris Enloe

Source: The Blaze: Democratic House impeachment manager inadvertently admits what impeachment is actually about

‘I’ve never seen more customers antagonized by a situation’

Firearm sales skyrocketed in Virginia last month amid fear that Democrats who now control the commonwealth’s General Assembly will restrict gun rights.

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Virginia recorded the second-most ever firearm sales last month.

Estimated firearm sales based on mandatory criminal background checks on Virginia gun buyers totaled 73,849 last month, a 47% increase over December 2018.

In tracking data that goes back to 1990, the December 2019 tally is second only to December 2012, when 75,120 transactions were recorded. Criminologists say that was triggered by the repeal of the state’s one-handgun-per-month law and fears of increased gun restrictions following the Dec.14, 2012, shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed 20 students and six adults.

Firearm store owners who spoke with the Times-Dispatch confirmed that the sharp increase in firearms sales is directly related to fears that Democrats will curtail gun rights.

“If Virginians feel threatened that their rights are being curtailed, they’re going to react just the way that you’ve seen. Everyone down here is upset. I’ve never seen more customers antagonized by a situation,” Robert Marcus, the principal owner of Bob’s Gun Shop in Norfolk, told the newspaper.

Jerry Cochran, owner of one of Virginia’s largest firearm shops, similarly said, “A lot of people that have never owned a gun think they won’t be able to get the style of gun they want [if the proposed restrictions become law], so they’re buying.”

The most popular items being bought include those that would be impacted by proposed gun control legislation, including many semiautomatic rifles often labeled “assault weapons,” such as AR-15s, and high-capacity magazines.

Thousands of pro-gun demonstrators are expected to descend on Richmond on Monday in an effort to persuade Virginia lawmakers to drop their push for increased gun control.

Officials have taken precautionary measures to prevent any violence that erupts, including closing roads, tightening security, and banning firearms on state capitol grounds, Fox News reported.

Author: Chris Enloe

Source: The Blaze: Virginia Democrats’ gun control push backfires, results in near all-time record guns sales

‘He probably has other examples of criminal behavior’

Even if President Donald Trump wins re-election in 2020, do not expect Democrats to take their foot off the impeachment pedal.

Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) told TMZ on Tuesday that she would vote to impeach Trump again, suggesting that new incriminating evidence could surface after next November’s presidential election.

The California Democrat’s remarks came in response to a question from TMZ founder Harvey Levin, who asked Bass if she would support impeachment beyond 2020 using the same two impeachment articles introduced on Tuesday if Democrats win control of the Senate next year.

“So, you know, yes, but I don’t think it would be exactly the same and here’s why,” Bass responded. “Even though we are impeaching him now, there’s still a number of court cases, there’s a ton of information that could come forward. For example, we could get his bank records and find out that he’s owned 100 percent by the Russians.

“So, you are absolutely right in your scenario, but the only thing I would say slightly different is that it might not be the same articles of impeachment because the odds are we’d have a ton more information and then the odds of that, sadly enough is that, you know, he probably has other examples of criminal behavior,” she continued.

However, despite alleging the president is guilty of breaking the law, Bass did not cite a single action taken by the president to back her claims.

Unfortunately, Bass is not the first House Democrat to advocate for additional impeaching proceedings against Trump.

Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) has in recent days argued that Democrats should continually impeach Trump until the Senate finally votes to remove the president from office.

Author: Chris Enloe

Source: The Blaze: House Dem says she would impeach Trump again after 2020, suggests he is ‘owned 100 percent by the Russians’

Famed pathologist Dr. Michael Baden, the former chief medical examiner for New York City, was hired by Jeffrey Epstein’s family to observe his autopsy. On Wednesday, Baden revealed his expert opinion: Epstein did not die by suicide.

In fact, Baden — who has experience in high-profile cases like the deaths of John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — insisted on “Fox & Friends” that Epstein was murdered.

“I think that the evidence points toward homicide rather than suicide,” Baden said.

Baden explained that Epstein’s body displayed evidence not consistent with suicide by hanging, the official cause of death, but rather “homicidal strangulation.” Baden pointed to three specific fractures in Epstein’s neck — in the hyoid bone and thyroid cartilage — that he said are “very unusual for suicide and more indicative of homicidal strangulation.”

“Hanging does not cause these broken bones — homicide does,” Baden said.

Adding to suspicion, Baden said that forensic analysts collected DNA from under Epstein’s fingernails and from the makeshift ligature used in his death to determine whether another person was present in Epstein’s cell at the time of his death. Baden said the results from the tests have not been released, despite taking just days to complete definitive analysis.

Regarding the circumstances surrounding Epstein’s death, Baden, who has examined tens of thousands of bodies in his career including many prisoner deaths, said he has never seen anything like this in his career, which has spanned a half-century.

“Two guards asleep. In 50 years of looking into deaths in New York state, occasionally a guard falls asleep, never two guards at the same time. The camera in the cell watching him didn’t work. The camera in the hallway to see if anybody came in or out of his cell didn’t work,” Baden explained. “His roommate was taken away so he was all by himself. Suicide watch was taken away.”

“This is bizarre,” he exclaimed. “It deserves investigation.”

Author: Chris Enloe

Source: The Blaze: Famed medical examiner who witnessed Jeffrey Epstein autopsy says evidence consistent with murder

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Monday what Republicans have demanded for weeks: A formal vote on the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.

In a letter to the Democratic caucus, Pelosi said the House would vote on a resolution “that affirms the ongoing, existing investigation that is currently being conducted by our committees as part of this impeachment inquiry, including all requests for documents, subpoenas for records and testimony, and any other investigative steps previously taken or to be taken as part of this investigation.”

Pelosi indicated that the resolution is purely procedural and will establish the framework for how the impeachment probe will proceed.

However, just a few hours after the announcement, Pelosi denied that the resolution has anything to do with the Democrat-led impeachment proceedings against the president.

When asked by an NBC reporter about the vote, Pelosi responded, “it’s not an impeachment resolution.”

It is not clear, then, whether the resolution will serve any legitimate purpose or if the planned formal vote is meant for theatrics only.

Pelosi said in her letter that the resolution would serve notice to the White House that it must comply with the investigation. White House lawyer Pat Cipollone informed Congress in early October that the White House would not cooperate with the “illegitimate” proceedings.

Both Democrats and Republicans have pressured Pelosi to hold a formal vote on the impeachment inquiry. Democrats want to establish the credibility of the probe, while Republicans have done so because they believe a formal vote will expose the current impeachment proceedings as a sham.

Just two weeks ago, Pelosi rebuffed demands for a formal vote.

“There’s no requirement that we have a vote,” she said on Oct. 15. “We’re not here to call bluffs. We’re here to find the truth to uphold the Constitution of the United States.”

Author: Chris Enloe

Source: The Blaze: Right after announcing formal impeachment vote, Nancy Pelosi admits ‘it’s not an impeachment resolution’

Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke has been vocal about his desire to permanently confiscate AR-15 rifles and other similar semi-automatic firearms from Americans if he is elected president.

On Friday, while speaking in Des Moines, Iowa, the former Texas congressman seemingly backtracked on his position, which had become more radical in recent weeks.

O’Rourke was responding to a question from a high school student, who informed O’Rourke that rifles like the AR-15 are effective hunting tools. O’Rourke said it was the first time he had heard of AR-15s being used for hunting purposes — and then backtracked on mandatory confiscation.

“Perhaps a way to address a legitimate concern or need is to ensure that those who have or want to use an AR-15 are able to keep it at a hunting club or at a gun range so that there is some control and safeguards still placed on that firearm,” O’Rourke said.

Gun control became the central issue of O’Rourke’s ailing campaign after the El Paso massacre in August.

“Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” O’Rourke declared during the September Democratic debate.

Initially, O’Rourke did not elaborate on how he planned to enforce such a ban, stating his belief that Americans would generally comply with his firearm ban, despite Americans traditionally not complying with actions that curtail their Second Amendment freedoms.

However, O’Rourke has since admitted that all Americans who do not comply with mandatory confiscation would face “consequences in the criminal code.”

Author: Chris Enloe

Source: The Blaze: Beto O’Rourke backtracks on mandatory gun confiscation when confronted by high school student

Target announced two years ago that it would raise the companywide minimum wage to $15 per hour by the end of 2020, winning plaudits from progressives and advocates for an increased minimum wage.

Now, with just one year before Target is scheduled to hit the magic $15 mark ($13 is the current minimum wage), it turns out that raising the minimum wage has impacted many Target employees in the exact way that opponents of mandatory minimum wage increases predict.

CNN Business spoke to numerous current and former Target employees who revealed their hours at the retail giant have been cut since Target announced its push to increase the store’s minimum wage, which for many employees means they lose their health insurance benefits. Target offers health benefits to employees who work more than 30 hours per week.

One employee, Heather, told CNN that when her hourly pay rate increased, management cut her total work hours.

“I got that dollar raise but I’m getting $200 less in my paycheck,” she said. “I have no idea how I’m going to pay rent or buy food.”

Other employees, Caren and Michael, told CNN their hours were cut substantially. Caren said she lost her health insurance — forcing her to quit her job — while Michael has had to pick up a side job just to make ends meet.

One of the reason hours are being cut is the development of retail automation, namely in the form of the self-checkout line.

“They really cut those hours back from them with the introduction of self-checkout,” a former store director told CNN.

Another reason hours are being cut is because Target is hiring more people, which means that employees overall work fewer hours. This translates to potential payroll savings for corporate, in addition to benefit savings since so many employees do not meet the work-hour threshold required to earn benefits.

“The company keeps hiring more and more people part time. They fluctuate a lot. It’s not fair,” Target employee Lee Beecher told CNN.

Another employee from Virginia told CNN her hours have been slashed in half.

“It’s frustrating because they hired four more people. We’re begging for hours,” the employee said.

For its part, Target denies it is cutting hours to pay for the increased minimum wage. The company told CNN the mix of part-time and full-time workers has remained steady over the past several years.

As the push to increase the minimum wage floods the retail industry, statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the average work week for retail employees dropped from 30 hours in August 2018 to 28.5 hours in August 2019, which translates to more than 800,000 “involuntary part-time workers.”

Author: Chris Enloe

Source: The Blaze: Target raised its minimum wage. Now employees are complaining that their hours have been cut

‘I hate when people talk about black women being obese’

President Donald Trump’s policies and racism are responsible for overweight black women, Brittney Cooper, a Rutgers University women’s and gender studies professor, suggested last month.

“I hate when people talk about black women being obese. I hate it because it becomes a way to blame us for a set of conditions that we didn’t create,” Cooper said. “We are living in the Trump era. And look, those policies kill our people. You can’t get access to good health care, good insurance.”

Cooper also claimed that white women have an advantage when shredding unwanted pounds because black women are more stressed because of Trump.

“It’s literally that the racism that you’re experiencing and the struggle to make ends meet actually means the diet don’t work for you the same,” Cooper claimed.

Cooper later told Campus Reform that she was not connecting Trump’s policies to obese black women — then cited scholarly work to suggest that Trump’s alleged racism is exacerbating the weight issues of black women.

“I wasn’t making an argument about Trump admin policies and weight,” Cooper said. “Dr. Arline Geronimus’ [a public health research professor at the University of Michigan] research from the 1990s argues pretty convincingly that black women have physiological stress responses to racial stimuli and this affects our long-term health.”

“I was citing this body of work and the president’s status as a racially polarizing figure that contributes to issues of racial stress for people of color,” she explained.

Author: Chris Enloe

Source: The Blaze: Gender studies professor suggests President Trump is to blame for obese black women

‘It’s about a punishment searching for a crime that doesn’t exist’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) finally caved to the Democratic caucus Tuesday and announced a “formal impeachment inquiry” against President Donald Trump.

“The actions taken to date by the president have seriously violated the Constitution,” Pelosi said. “The actions of the Trump presidency revealed dishonorable fact of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections.”

However, the California Democrat sang a much different tune in 1998 preceding the impeachment of then-President Bill Clinton for lying under oath and obstruction of justice.

Speaking from the House floor on the afternoon of Dec. 18, 1998, Pelosi denounced Clinton’s imminent impeachment and claimed that Republicans were “paralyzed with hatred” for the Democratic president.

“Today the Republican majority is not judging the president with fairness, but impeaching him with a vengeance. In the investigation of the president, fundamental principles which Americans hold dear — privacy, fairness, checks-and-balances — have been seriously violated,” Pelosi said.

“We are here today because the Republicans in the House are paralyzed with hatred of President Clinton, and until the Republicans free themselves of that hatred our country will suffer,” she said.

Pelosi later called the process a “hatchet job” and called out Republicans for what she believed was hypocrisy.

“It’s about a punishment searching for a crime that doesn’t exist,” she said of the proceedings.

Clinton was impeached one day after Pelosi’s impassioned defense.

Author: Chris Enloe

Source: The Blaze: FLASHBACK: Pelosi opposed impeachment of Bill Clinton, said GOP ‘paralyzed with hatred’ of Democratic president

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