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Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York recently excoriated President Donald Trump for appointing judges who were rated “not qualified” by the American Bar Association, but there’s a bit of dissonance amid the criticism because Schumer himself has supported nominees who bore that rating.

“As a senator, I have now worked with four separate administrations, Democrat and Republican, on the appointment of federal judges. I can say with perfect confidence that over the last three years, President Trump has nominated — and Senate Republicans have approved — the most unqualified and radical nominees in my time in this body,” Schumer said last week, according to The New York Times.

Schumer said three recent nominees, two for the U.S. District Court and one for the U.S. Court of Appeals, received a “not qualified rating” from the American Bar Association.

“How the heck do we put these people on the bench?” Schumer said in Senate floor remarks.

Then, after saying the issue was not ideology, Schumer attacked the ideology of Trump’s appointees.

“President Trump has nominated judges who are way out on the very extremes of jurisprudence, right-wing ideologues whose views cut against the majority of Americans on nearly every issue. The judges he’s nominating disagree with a vast majority of Americans on issue after issue after issue.

“Whether it’s women’s health and the right of a woman to make her own medical decisions, whether it’s legal protections for LGBTQ Americans, whether it’s the right of workers and collective bargaining, whether it’s fair access to the ballot box and voting rights, whether it’s the most commonsense gun laws and environmental protections.

“These nominees have views way to the right of even the average Republican, let alone the average American,” he said.

But what was not said was that the “not qualified” rating didn’t mean much to Schumer in the appointment of Vanessa Bryant, according to The Federalist.

Bryant was appointed to the U.S. District Court in Connecticut during the administration of former President George W. Bush, when Schumer was on the Senate Judiciary Committee and backed her nomination.

At the time then-Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, now a U.S. senator, said the “not qualified” rating meant little because it used information from anonymous sources.

In its reporting on Trump’s judicial appointments, The Federalist noted that Schumer has supported other nominees who have received a “not qualified” rating.

But what happened on Schumer’s watch that might color his commentary is that Trump has now appointed 25 percent of the nation’s circuit court judges, according to a Twitter post from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

Trump celebrated that milestone in a White House ceremony last week, according to a White House media pool report. Trump explained why his judicial appointments are vital to the nation.

“In recent decades, our system has been under relentless attack by the left-wing activists who want to take the powers of the elected branches and give that power to unelected federal judges. They want to impose by judicial decree what they failed to win at the ballot box. Does that sound familiar to anybody? That’s really familiar,” Trump said.

“When judges write policy instead of applying the law, they impose sweeping changes on millions of Americans without the benefit of legislative debate, public rulemaking, or the consent of the governed. As a result, these highly political rulings inflict painful damage on our security, society, and economy, imposing unworkable edicts on businesses, workers, families, and law enforcements, really, alike. They give many, many bad nights to many, many people, including presidents. Including presidents. But we power through it. We have no choice,” Trump said.

Trump also noted the impact of his appointments.

“No president in history has confirmed as many Circuit Court judges, even close — not even close — in such a short period of time. The average age of my newly appointed Circuit Court judges is less than 50. They’re young, smart. That’s 10 years younger than President Obama’s nominees,” he said.

ceremony, McConnell said that, thanks to Trump’s 2016 victory, “we got a chance to set the agenda, just an opportunity to move the ball in the right direction. What’s the most important thing? Clearly, it was the Supreme Court. You had been helped enormously by a decision that I made — and these guys will back me up — not to let President Obama fill that Scalia vacancy on the way out the door.

“And, boy, you didn’t blow it. Neil Gorsuch is an all-star, isn’t he?” McConnell said. “And the president alluded to that easy confirmation we had with Brett Kavanaugh. You made a great choice, Mr. President.

“And it’s not just that. The circuit courts, where 99 percent of litigation stops, are full of bright, young men and women who believe in the quaint notion that maybe the job of a judge is to follow the law. And so, Mr. President, this is one of the many ways you’re helping to make America great again,” McConnell said.

During the ceremony, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina noted that one nomination stands out above the rest: The successful Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation fight.

“The defining moment of your presidency, for me, was the Kavanaugh hearing,” Graham said. “This room would be empty if we had failed Brett Kavanaugh. Brett Kavanaugh lived a life we should all be proud of. He worked hard. And the way he was treated was the worst experience I’ve had in politics.

“A lot of people would have pulled the plug on him. Mr. President, thank you for not pulling the plug on Brett Kavanaugh.”

Author: Jack Davis

Source: Western Journal: Schumer Doesn’t Mind Voting for ‘Not Qualified’ Judges, As Long as They’re Not Appointed by Trump

President Donald Trump is not only snubbing a United Nations climate change summit on Sept. 30, he has scheduled a counter-event at the U.N. complex in New York City to celebrate religious freedom.

Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to introduce Trump at the event, which will be attended by religious leaders and activists. Trump’s event will be in a conference room with a capacity of 250 people, the New York Post reported.

The U.N.’s annual climate change summit features the heads of about 60 nations.

“The President is working to broaden international support for ongoing efforts to protect religious freedom in the wake of increasing persecution of people on the basis of their beliefs and a growing number of attacks on and destruction of houses of worship by state and non-state actors,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement, according to The Christian Post.

“The President will call on the international community to take concrete steps to prevent attacks against people on the basis of their religion or beliefs and to ensure the sanctity of houses of worship and all public spaces for all faiths,” the statement noted.

The event is titled, “Global Call to Protect Religious Freedom.”

“The President of the United States has decided to set his own agenda for the United Nations General Assembly and that agenda will involve the most sweeping, focused statement on religious freedom ever delivered by any President of the United States to the United Nations,” Johnnie Moore, a commissioner on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, said.

“Not participating and yet showing up at the building is throwing down a gauntlet,” said David Waskow, director of the International Climate Initiative at the World Resources Institute, according to The Guardian.

Others said Trump will distract from the climate change event.

“He’ll clog up the whole system,” Ireland’s Mary Robinson, a former U.N. high commissioner for human rights, told The Guardian. “He won’t go to the climate summit and he wants the distraction factor, I suppose.”

The U.S. will be represented at the climate change summit. Marcia Bernicat, principal deputy assistant secretary of state for oceans and international environmental and scientific affairs, will attend, according to CNN.

In a recent speech to House Republicans, Trump eviscerated a House Democratic effort to have the U.S. the Paris climate agreement, from which Trump withdrew the United States.

“But that would have been a disaster for us. It would have cost us a tremendous fortune. They were going to take away our wealth. They were going to say we can’t do certain businesses. We can’t take the oil and gas. We can’t do anything. This would have been one of the great travesties,” Trump said, according to a White House transcript of his remarks.

“The Paris Accord would do nothing to improve our environment. It would only punish our country while foreign polluters operate with impunity. Isn’t it incredible?

“You look at China, you look at India, you look at Russia, you look at so many other places, their smokestacks are pouring out. Everything is pouring out. And I want to be clean. And we’re going to be clean,” Trump said then.

In July, Trump, a strong supporter of religious freedom, outlines his views on combatting religious persecution during a White House meeting with religious leaders.

“In America, we’ve always understood that our rights come from God, not from government. In our Bill of Rights, the first liberty is religious liberty. Each of us has the right to follow the dictates of our conscience and the demands of our religious conviction.

“We know that if people are not free to practice their faith, then all of the freedoms are at risk and, frankly, freedoms don’t mean very much,” Trump said then, according to a White House transcript of his remarks.

“That’s why Americans will never tire in our effort to defend and promote religious freedom. I don’t think any president has taken it as seriously as me.

“To me, it’s very important,” he said. ” It’s vital. It’s really vital.”

Author: Jack Davis

Source: Western Journal: Trump To Skip UN Climate Summit, Will Host His Own Religious Freedom Summit Instead

New polls show a surge in President Donald Trump’s popularity.

Trump’s job approval rating this month hit 43 percent, according to the latest Gallup poll. That’s an increase from 39 percent last month, and slightly above his average for the year of 42 percent.

The poll shows that Democrats, who have portrayed themselves as the “resistance” to Trump throughout his presidency, are still largely opposed to the president. Only 5 percent of Democrats surveyed by Gallup said they approve of the job Trump has been doing.

The percentage of Democrats telling Gallup they approve of Trump has only hit double digits once this year. That was in April, after former special counsel Robert Mueller’s report cleared Trump of charges his campaign colluded with Russia in 2016.

The poll shows tremendous support for Trump from Republicans, with 91 percent approving of the job he is doing in Washington.

Although Trump’s numbers have fluctuated throughout 2019, the loyalty of Trump’s GOP base can be seen in the fact that Republicans’ approval of Trump has never fell below 87 percent in any Gallup poll this year.

Independent voters, who have handed Trump approval ratings ranging from 31 percent to 39 percent throughout the year, weighed in with a 38 percent approval rating in September.

Gallup noted that the 86-point gap in approval ratings between how Republicans view Trump and how Democrats see him ties the highest gap ever recorded.

Trump has hit the mark three times, while former President Barack Obama also had an 86-point gap in October 2012, when only 6 percent of Republicans viewed him favorably and 92 percent of Democrats did so.

Gallup was not the only polling outlet to give Trump good news this week.Rasmussen Reports, which provides a daily tracking poll of Trump’s approval rating, had the president at 51 percent or higher on two occasions this week, prompting a tweet from Trump.

“Thank you, working hard!” Trump tweeted.

On Thursday, that had dipped slightly to 49 percent. However, Rasmussen pointed out that at the same time in his first term, Obama’s approval rating was at 45 percent.

Trump outlined the choices facing Americans during a recent speech to House Republicans, according to a White House transcript of his remarks.

“Democrats in Congress have embraced an extreme, destructive and dangerous agenda: radical socialism and open borders. Democrats are determined to replicate the most catastrophic failures of world history right here in the United States,” Trump said.

“With the grim specter of socialism descending on the Democrat Party, it’s up to all of us to ensure the survival of American liberty,” Trump said. “We have a big task. We have a very big task.”

Trump noted the importance of his re-election in terms of the ongoing trade battles with China.

“And President Xi of China, he is tough. Oh, boy, he’s a furious kind of a guy. Great guy, but … he’s dying to see — he wants Sleepy Joe,” Trump said.

“Can you imagine those two guys in a room? Here’s Xi: ‘Hwah!’ And here’s Sleepy Joe, ‘What? Where am I? Where am I?’ ‘Just sign here, Sleepy Joe. Just sign here. Like you guys have been doing for the last 25 years. Let us keep taking $500 billion out of your account. Let’s keep rebuilding China with America’s money,’” Trump said.

“That’s stopping. A lot of things are stopping that are bad and foolish, crazy.”

Author: Jack Davis

Source: Western Journal: Trump’s Approval Rating Jumps Up Despite Anger from Democrats

Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw set former Obama adviser Ben Rhodes straight after he questioned America’s credibility on the current crisis with Iran.

Rhodes, who was involved with selling the Iran nuclear deal to the American public during the Obama administration, replied to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s statement on Thursday that the U.S. was blaming Iran for the attacks by saying America’s word alone was not enough.

“This definitely feels like the kind of incident where you’d want an international investigation to establish what happened. Huge risk of escalation,” Rhodes tweeted.

Texas Rep. Crenshaw sent back a bristling reply.

“So, do or don’t believe the Intel community? And you’re not really a trusted source to weigh in on Iran…You sold the public the falsehood of a moderating Iranian regime – using your media “echo chamber” (your words)- & ignoring the true danger Iran presents in the region,” Crenshaw tweeted.

In 2016, Rhodes used the phrase “echo chamber” to describe the Obama administration’s efforts to ensure that arms control experts would say that backing the Iran nuclear deal would eliminate aggressive behavior from Iran, Fox News reported.

President Donald Trump campaigned against the Iran nuclear deal and has ramped up sanctions against Iran during his time in the Oval Office.

Crenshaw further noted on Twitter that the recent attacks on the tankers in the Gulf of Oman bear all the hallmarks of Iran’s style.

“I’ve been watching for years as Iran moves weapons to proxies around the region, looking for opportunities to destabilize & wreak havoc, and then claim innocence. This is not new. And the Administration is right to strengthen our regional presence as a deterrence,” Crenshaw tweeted, referencing the buildup of U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf region that began last month in response to fears of Iranian aggression.

On Friday, a video of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard removing an unexploded mine from one tanker was released, backing up Pompeo’s initial claim that Iran attacked two tankers.

The role of former Obama administration officials in taking Iran’s side was noted by David Harsyni in an Op-Ed published by the New York Post.

“(T)he Iranians — not only responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American servicemen but a player in nearly every destructive conflict in the Middle East today — already act with impunity,” he wrote.

“The attacks on shipping are meant to spike oil prices to damage the world economy and undermine Trump’s maximum-pressure campaign.

“An added bonus, of course, is that a campaign may undercut Trump’s electoral chances in 2020 and bring someone into the White House who would almost certainly reenter the Obama-era nuke deal with Iran and allow it a wide berth to destabilize the region,” he wrote.

“Perhaps Iranian leadership has been emboldened after listening to former Obama administration officials like John Kerry tell them to wait out the president,” he added.

Although many European nations have been reluctant to blame Iran for the attacks, Britain on Friday joined the U.S. in attributing the attacks to Iran, according to The Guardian.

“It is almost certain that a branch of the Iranian military — the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps — attacked the two tankers on 13 June. No other state or non-state actor could plausibly have been responsible,” Britain’s Foreign Office said in a statement.

Author: Jack Davis

Source: Western Journal: Dan Crenshaw Rips Ex-Obama Aide for Questioning Validity of Iran Tanker Attack Intel

Vermont will soon do away with Columbus Day and make the second Monday in October Indigenous Peoples’ Day, if Gov. Phil Scott follows through on his plan to sign a bill that has passed the state’s legislature.

“I see no reason that I would not sign it, but we’re reviewing the bill as we speak,” Scott said, according to the Burlington Free Press.

Vermont has been recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day along with Columbus Day since 2016, when former Gov. Peter Shumlin began issuing proclamations to that effect.

Scott has continued that precedent of celebrating both the state holiday and the informally designated Indigenous People’s Day, but the law would now make it official.

Vermont’s Senate strongly supported the bill, but it faced contrary winds in the House of Representatives. Republican legislators sought to preserve Columbus Day and establish a February holiday for indigenous people.

The Vermont House turned back the Republican-led proposal 95-42 on Wednesday.

“I know it’s controversial from many standpoints, from many people, but you know, it’s just a day, and we’ll get through it,” Scott said. “And we’ve been treating it as something different over the last couple of years through resolutions. Without any technical difficulties within the bill, I’ll probably sign it.”

Maine is also considering a bill to change the name of the day. Last week, Maine’s bill received final legislative approval in the state’s Senate and is expected to be signed into law.

The bill had drawn debate in Maine’s House before passage last month, Maine Public Radio reported.

“Christopher Columbus, while making an important impact on history, was also a war criminal,” said state Rep. Rachel Talbot-Ross, a Portland Democrat.

“And is the symbolic genesis of the idea that Indigenous people of the Americas were a savage and inferior race that should be exterminated in order for progress and colonization,” she said.

Not everyone agreed.

State Rep. Roger Reed, a Republican from Carmel, said that the actions of Columbus are part of America’s history.

“But as regrettable as these are, they are still part of America’s’ story. We can’t change what has occurred in the past and we certainly don’t condone what has happened,” he said.

Oami Amarasingham, policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine, said after the law’s Senate passage that the change was overdue.

“It’s time to stop celebrating a man whose arrival brought death, disease and slavery to hundreds of thousands, and start honoring the people who lived here long before,” Amarasingham said, according to the Bangor Daily News.

“I greatly respect the history of the Italian-Americans and their contribution, however, I think we can honor their presence here without this day, which really isn’t fitting,” Democratic legislator Ben Collings, who sponsored Maine’s legislation, has said, according to the Bangor Daily News.

New Mexico and South Dakota dropped Columbus Day to recognize indigenous peoples. Alaska, which also marks Indigenous Peoples’ Day, never had Columbus Day as an official state holiday.

“Things that are symbolic can carry very far,” Brattleboro’s Rich Holschuh, who belongs to the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs, said.

“The degree of disinformation and lack of understanding around the situation of native people in Vermont, as a microcosm of the national situation, is totally exemplified in the way that Columbus has been celebrated and the native people ignored. It’s not trivial and this kind of opens up an opportunity for that story to begin to change,” he added.

Author: Jack Davis

Source: Westernjournal: Vermont Governor Says He Expects To Sign Bill Abolishing Columbus Day

Special counsel Robert Mueller may be finished with his investigation of alleged collusion between President Donald Trump and Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign, but congressional Democrats are not.

Rep. Jerry Nadler, a New York Democrat who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, said if parts of the Mueller report are not made public by the administration, House Democrats will intervene.

“If the Justice Department doesn’t release the whole report or tries to keep parts of it secret, we will certainly subpoena the parts of the report and we will reserve the right to call Mueller to testify before the committee or to subpoena him,” Nadler said, according to the New York Post.

Although the report has not yet been made public, the early word on the document is that it will be anti-climactic.

Other Democrats also want Mueller to speak publicly about his investigation.

Democratic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island said Mueller should testify publicly about “the evidence he gathered, the scope of his work, and findings,” according to Politico.

Regardless of Mueller’s findings, Democrats on the House Oversight and Reform Committee have already launched a separate investigation into alleged obstruction of justice, corruption and abuse of power by the president.

“Over the last several years, President Trump has evaded accountability for his near-daily attacks on our basic legal, ethical, and constitutional rules and norms,” Nadler said earlier this month. “Investigating these threats to the rule of law is an obligation of Congress and a core function of the House Judiciary Committee.”

From the Republican side, lawmakers said that after an investigation that lasted almost two years, enough is enough.

Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley said the report should be made public and “put an end to the speculation and innuendo that has loomed over this administration since its earliest days.”

“Attempts to keep the collusion narrative alive, especially for political reasons, will only serve to further harm our political discourse and play into the hands of our foreign adversaries,” Grassley said.

“The Mueller report delivery suggests no more indictments are coming from the Special Counsel. If that’s true, it would mean we just completed 2 years of investigating ‘Russian collusion’ without ONE collusion related indictment. Not even one. Why? Because there was no collusion,” North Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Meadows tweeted.

“I have always believed it was important that Mr. Mueller be allowed to do his job without interference, and that has been accomplished,” Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham said.

Before the report was released, the president also said it should be made public.

“Let people see it. There was no collusion. There was no obstruction. There was no nothing,” he said, according to The New York Times.

Mueller indicated Friday that his report was delivered to Attorney General William Barr, who as of Saturday morning had not released it.

Author: Jack Davis

Source: Westernjournal: Democrats May Call Mueller To Testify, Continue Trump-Russia Probe After Mueller Investigation Is Over

China will increase its purchases of a broad range of American products under an agreement that will stave off a tariff increase President Donald Trump had planned to impose on Jan. 1, officials announced Saturday.

China agreed to buy “a very substantial amount of agricultural, energy, industrial, and other products from the United States to reduce the trade imbalance between our two countries,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement, according to Politico.

China will “start purchasing agricultural product from our farmers immediately,” Sanders said.

In her statement, she said that Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping “agreed to immediately begin negotiations on structural changes with respect to forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft, services and agriculture.”

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“Both parties agree that they will endeavor to have this transaction completed within the next 90 days. If at the end of this period of time, the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the 10 percent tariffs will be raised to 25 percent,” she said.

Xi also agreed to designate fentanyl as a controlled substance, meaning that Chinese citizens selling the drug are subject to China’s maximum penalty, Sanders said in the statement, according to the White House media press pool.

The decision came after a meeting between American and Chinese officials at the G20 summit in Argentina.

“This was an amazing and productive meeting with unlimited possibilities for both the United States and China,” Trump said. “It is my great honor to be working with President Xi.”

At the summit meeting, Trump emphasized the positive nature of his relationship with Xi, New York Times reported.

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“The relationship is very special — the relationship that I have with President Xi,” he said.

“I think that is going to be a very primary reason why we’ll probably end up with getting something that will be good for China and good for the United States,” he said.

Xi also offered an upbeat assessment of his partnership with Trump.

“Only with cooperation between us can we serve the interest of world peace and prosperity.”

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Author: Jack Davis

Source: Westernjournal: Trump Keeps Promise to Farmers, China Folds in Negotiations

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