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Ronn Blitzer

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House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rep. Hakeem Jeffries blasted Republicans and labeled them as a “#CoverUpCaucus” after they submitted a list of witnesses they would like to call for public testimony as part of the ongoing impeachment inquiry of President Trump.

Jeffries, D-N.Y., also questioned the validity of the witnesses in a brief but fiery tweet Sunday morning directed at his counterparts across the aisle.

“House Republican #CoverUpCaucus wants sham witnesses to testify,” Jeffries said. “My two cents? GET LOST.”

The GOP list includes Hunter Biden and his former business partner Devon Archer, former Democratic National Committee consultant Alexandra Chalupa, and the anonymous whistleblower whose complaint about Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky led to the impeachment inquiry.

In that call, Trump urged Zelensky to launch an investigation into the Biden family’s dealings in Ukraine — specifically, why former Vice President Joe Biden pressured former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to fire a prosecutor who was investigating a Ukrainian energy firm where his son Hunter held a lucrative role on the board.

Democrats have claimed the call was part of an attempted quid pro quo in exchange for withheld U.S. military aid and a White House meeting between Zelensky and Trump. Trump has denied the claim, saying the call was “perfect.”

Republicans have called for the whistleblower to come forward to answer questions about their complaint, which came from second-hand knowledge of the phone call.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who runs the inquiry, was quick to reject the GOP’s request to have the whistleblower come forward to testify, citing whistleblower protection laws and stating that other witnesses’ testimony has already been more substantive than what was stated in the complaint.

“The committee … will not facilitate efforts by President Trump and his allies in Congress to threaten, intimidate and retaliate against the whistleblower who courageously raised the initial alarm,” Schiff said in a letter to Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes, R-Calif. ” … The whistleblower has a right under laws championed by this committee to remain anonymous and to be protected from harm.”

The impeachment inquiry, moreover, has gathered an ever-growing body of evidence — from witnesses and documents, including the president’s own words in his July 25 call record — that not only confirms, but far exceeds the initial information in the whistleblower’s complaint … ” Schiff concluded his letter.

President Trump suggested Saturday that Republicans call former Vice President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Schiff himself as witnesses.

Author: Ronn Blitzer

Source: Fox News: Dem leader tells GOP to ‘GET LOST’ over impeachment inquiry witness list

President Trump on Monday defended his decision not to give Democratic congressional leaders advance notice of the raid that resulted in the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, saying once again that he was concerned the details would leak out.

When Trump first announced al-Baghdadi’s death Sunday morning, he said he decided not to tell officials, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, because he was afraid leaks could compromise the mission. Speaking to reporters Monday morning, he singled out House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., as the focus of those concerns.

“The only thing is they were talking about why didn’t I give the information to Adam Schiff and his committee, and the answer is because I think Adam Schiff is the biggest leaker in Washington,” Trump said. “You know that, I know that, we all know that. I’ve watched Adam Schiff leak. He’s a corrupt politician. He’s a leaker like nobody has ever seen before.”

Trump, meanwhile, also indicated Monday that he may release some video footage of the raid, which he described in great detail a day earlier.

“We’re thinking about it. … We may take certain parts of it and release it, yes,” Trump said.

Trump went on to blast Schiff for his handling of the impeachment investigation, including when he recited an embellished version of Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which Schiff later described as “parody.” Trump accused Schiff of committing a “criminal act” by putting the inaccurate version of the call on the record.

Trump’s decision not to notify senior members of Congress about the raid was controversial, even as he drew praise for overseeing the successful mission.

“The House must be briefed on this raid, which the Russians but not top Congressional Leadership were notified of in advance, and on the administration’s overall strategy in the region,” Pelosi said Sunday. “Our military and allies deserve strong, smart and strategic leadership from Washington.”

When asked Sunday if he had told Pelosi about the raid beforehand, he said he did not because he did not want any members of the U.S. forces to die.

“No, I didn’t. I didn’t do that. I wanted to make sure this kept secret,” Trump said. “I don’t want to have people lost.”

Vice President Pence downplayed Trump’s decision to keep Pelosi in the dark during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday” immediately following Trump’s address. The vice president claimed that Trump did not mean to say he did not trust the House speaker.

“I don’t think that was the implication at all,” Pence said. When pressed on the issue, the vice president said, “We maintain the tightest possible security here,” and focused on Trump’s goal, which was to bring al-Baghdadi to justice.

The president on Sunday described how U.S. forces including military dogs chased down al-Baghdadi in a tunnel in Syria, with the ISIS leader “whimpering and crying” before detonating a suicide vest, blowing up himself and three children.

“He died like a coward,” Trump said.

Author: Ronn Blitzer

Source: Fox News: Trump defends keeping ‘leaker’ Schiff, Pelosi out of the loop on al-Baghdadi raid

President Trump has met resistance from both parties after his decision to withdraw troops from northern Syria, but some of the rhetoric coming from Democrats is almost the opposite of what came from party members when President Barack Obama pulled forces out of Iraq.

California Democrats Rep. Maxine Waters and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, for example, have been vocal opponents of Trump’s troop withdrawal, after supporting Obama’s efforts almost exactly eight years later.

“As the war in Iraq draws to a close, it is my hope that this conflict will serve as a solemn reminder of the costs of war,” Waters said in a statement issued Oct. 21, 2011. “We must carefully reexamine our approach to national security and how we view the United States’ role in promoting international peace and security. If we are to remain leaders in the world, we must always use our best judgment to determine when and how we engage other nations and other actors – particularly if we are considering the use of military force.”

Waters’ approach to the United States’ role in world affairs is similar to Trump’s recent warnings against “fighting other people’s wars.”

Cut to Oct. 7, 2019, and Waters blasted Trump for leaving Kurdish forces to fend for themselves against Turkish attacks.

“If the United States abandons the Kurds, these courageous allies will never trust us again,” Waters said in a statement, adding that “Trump’s betrayal of the Kurds is a gift to Russia, Iran and ISIS.”

That same day, Pelosi came out against Trump, warning that leaving northern Syria could lead to an ISIS resurgence.

“This reckless, misguided decision undermines the efforts by our brave servicemembers and our allies to end ISIS’s tyranny,” she said.

But while Republicans had similar concerns about withdrawing from Iraq in 2011, Pelosi praised Obama “for a promise made and a promise kept, honoring the U.S.-Iraq Security Agreement and the wishes of the American people to bring all our troops home by the end this year.”

Pelosi stormed out of a meeting with Trump Wednesday after what she said was a “meltdown” by the president.

One of the Democratic frontrunners for the 2020 presidential nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., was also critical of Trump, despite being historically anti-war.

“You don’t turn your back on an ally that lost 11,000 troops fighting against terrorism through a tweet and a discussion with Erdogan,” Sanders told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. This criticism came despite Sanders acknowledgment that “I am a strong opponent of endless wars.”

That position was made evident in 2011 when Sanders backed Obama’s Iraq withdrawal.

“I applaud the president’s decision and have been advocating that position for quite a while,” adding, “Now is the time to bring our troops home, lower our military budget, and use those funds to create jobs by rebuilding our infrastructure and lowering our national debt.”

On Thursday, Trump vented about Democratic criticism. “I am the only person who can fight for the safety of our troops & bring them home from the ridiculous & costly Endless Wars, and be scorned. Democrats always liked that position, until I took it,” he said.

Republicans have been equally critical of Trump, with 129 GOP members voting for a resolution in opposition to the withdrawal, joining a unanimous Democratic contingent. Sen. Lindsey Graham has been particularly vocal, leading Trump to accuse the senator of wanting to “stay in the Middle East for the next 1,000 years.”

Graham, however, was no supporter of Obama, and lumped Trump and his predecessor together in making what he believes to be critical foreign policy errors.

“President Trump is being told EXACTLY what President Obama was told before he withdrew from Iraq,” Graham tweeted Wednesday. “He appears to be hell-bent on making the same mistakes in Syria as President Obama made in Iraq.”

Author: Ronn Blitzer

Source: Fox News: Dems who praised Obama for troop withdrawal now highly critical of Trump

President Trump declared Thursday “a great day for civilization” as Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced terms of a cease-fire agreement that would end violence between Turkey and Kurds in Syria, following a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara.

The deal is for a 120-hour cease-fire, during which time the Kurdish-led forces could pull back from the roughly 20-mile-wide safe zone on the Turkish-Syrian border. All Turkish military operations under the recent offensive known as Operation Peace Spring will pause during that time, and the operation itself will come to an end entirely upon the completion of the Kurdish withdrawal, under the terms of the deal.

“This is a great day for civilization,” Trump declared in a tweet following a press conference where Pence and Pompeo discussed the deal. “I am proud of the United States for sticking by me in following a necessary, but somewhat unconventional, path. People have been trying to make this ‘Deal’ for many years. Millions of lives will be saved. Congratulations to ALL!”

Trump claimed that just three days ago, such an agreement “could NEVER have been made,” but that “tough love” was required to accomplish it.

In addition to agreeing to the terms of a cease-fire, both the U.S. and Turkey “committed to defeat ISIS activities in northeast Syria,” Pence announced during a press conference.

“Turkey and the United States agree on the priority of respecting vulnerable human life, human rights, and particularly the protection of religious and ethnic communities in the region,” the vice president added.

The commander of Kurdish-led forces in Syria later told Kurdish TV they will abide by the deal, which Pence said was reached after more than five hours of negotiations with Erdogan and Turkish officials.

“We think the agreement today first ends the violence, which is what President Trump sent us here to do,” Pence said. “We achieved that.”

Pence said that the U.S. did not approve of Turkey’s military operation, but under the terms of the deal will lift sanctions against Turkey upon the fulfillment of the agreement from both sides.

The Turkish offensive began after Trump announced the withdrawal of American troops from northern Syria. Trump was heavily criticized for the move by lawmakers from both parties.

Last week, Trump sent a letter to Erdogan encouraging him to “work out a good deal,” threatening to “destroy” the Turkish economy if Erdogan continued his aggression against the Kurds.

“Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool!” Trump said, before stating that he would call Erdogan.

It was reported by the BBC Thursday that Erdogan “thoroughly rejected” the letter and threw it “in the bin,” but hours later Pence announced the potential cease-fire.

Author: Ronn Blitzer

Source: Fox News: Trump celebrates ‘great day for civilization’ as Pence, Pompeo secure Syria cease-fire agreement

President Trump targeted Hunter Biden Sunday morning, implying that the son of former Vice President Joe Biden has disappeared — hours after Hunter Biden’s attorney announced his client is stepping down from the board of a Chinese company and vowed that he will not work with foreign companies if his father becomes president.

Trump and his own attorney, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, have accused Hunter Biden of improperly benefiting from business dealings in China and Ukraine while Joe Biden was vice president.

“Where’s Hunter? He has totally disappeared!” Trump tweeted. “Now looks like he has raided and scammed even more countries! Media is AWOL.” Trump did not elaborate on which countries, or what the alleged scams were.

Earlier Sunday morning, Hunter Biden’s attorney George Mesires published an online statement on his client’s behalf, providing detailed explanations for Biden’s ties to Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings and the Chinese firm BHR (Shanghai) Equity Investment Fund Management Company.

“Despite extensive scrutiny, at no time has any law enforcement agency, either domestic or foreign, alleged that Hunter engaged in wrongdoing at any point during his five-year term,” Mesires said about Hunter Biden’s work with Burisma, where Biden was a board member until April 2019.

Mesires said that Biden was “a non-executive director” of Burisma, for which he was compensated, but was not part of the management team.

Burisma was the subject of an investigation by Ukrainian authorities, but the case was dropped. The prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin, was fired after then-Vice President Joe Biden threatened to withhold money from Ukraine unless Shokin was removed. Joe Biden denies that this had anything to do with his son, as Shokin was accused of corruption.

As for BHR, Mesires claimed that Hunter Biden “has not received any compensation” for serving on the board, and “has not received any return on his investment.”

Still, Mesires stated that Hunter Biden plans to resign from BHR’s board by Oct. 31, and that if Joe Biden becomes the Democratic presidential nominee and goes on to defeat President Trump in the 2020 election, Hunter “will agree not to serve on boards of, or work on behalf of, foreign-owned companies.”

Democrats are presently investigating Trump for possible impeachment based on his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, where he asked Zelensky to assist Giuliani with an investigation of Hunter and Joe Biden’s Ukrainian connections.

Trump’s critics, including House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., have accused Trump of pressuring Zelensky to get involved by threatening to withhold military aid. Trump denied wrongdoing and insisted the call was “perfect.” Zelensky has also stated that he was not pressured.

Democrats have subpoenaed several Trump administration officials and diplomats for documents as lawmakers probe issues surrounding the phone call.

In a Saturday conversation on “Fox News’ “Justice with Judge Jeanine,” Trump referred to the impeachment inquiry as a “hoax” and “so bad for our country.” He called out House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for not having a formal House vote on an impeachment inquiry, saying, it was because she “can’t get the votes because we’re [the GOP] doing so well right now.”

Fox News’ Melissa Leon contributed to this report.

Author: Ronn Blitzer

Source: Fox News: ‘Where’s Hunter?’ Trump asks, as Biden’s son promises not to work with foreign companies if father wins presidency in 2020

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., vowed to expose the anonymous whistleblowers against President Trump if Democrats move forward with impeachment; at the same time, he warned against Trump having China pursue an investigation of Joe Biden.

A second unidentified whistleblower was confirmed Sunday morning, reportedly with firsthand information to support some of the allegations another whistleblower made in a complaint filed in August regarding a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Graham said that if Democrats follow through on their desire to impeach Trump, he will make sure that the whistleblowers will have to come forward and testify.

“Here’s what’s going to happen: if the whistleblowers’ allegations are turned into an impeachment article it’s imperative that the whistleblower be interviewed in public, under oath, and cross-examined,” Graham told Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” promising that “if that doesn’t happen in the House, I’ll make sure it happens in the Senate.”

Graham pointed to the need for Trump to be able to confront his accusers, saying, “There can be no valid impeachment process unless the president can confront the witnesses against him.”

The complaint accused Trump of using military aid as leverage to pressure Ukraine into investigating Hunter Biden’s business dealings with Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings, and former Vice President Joe Biden’s efforts to have Ukraine fire the prosecutor who was investigating the firm.

“I think it’s ridiculous to say the president did something wrong based on the phone call,” Graham said, adding that Trump did not suggest any quid pro quo tying the military aid to the Biden investigation, which was being spearheaded by Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.

Giuliani, meanwhile, has been vocal about alleged wrongdoing on the part of the Bidens in both Ukraine and China. The former New York City mayor claims that Hunter Biden received money from both Ukraine and China as part of a “pay for play” scheme to curry favor with the then-vice president. Trump has suggested that China should investigate Biden for the alleged corruption. Graham, however, advised against such a thing.

“I think that’s a bad idea,” Graham told host Maria Bartiromo. “I don’t trust anything coming out of China against Biden, Trump, me or you.”

That does not mean he thinks the Bidens should get a pass.

“Somebody needs to look at the Bidens, whether or not they violated the law,” he said. “They sure as hell looked at the Trumps. Somebody needs to look at the Bidens.”

Author: Ronn Blitzer

Source: Fox News: Lindsey Graham vows to have whistleblowers testify publicly if Democrats impeach Trump

Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib told Detroit’s chief of police that he should hire only black people as analysts to run their facial recognition software because, she claimed, non-black people think they all look alike.

The suggestion came Monday as Chief James Craig gave Tlaib a tour of the Real Time Crime Center, where the department uses facial recognition technology to find suspects. Craig was showing Tlaib how the software works, and how analysts use it to identify and locate individuals. But the tour quickly turned contentious as the freshman Michigan congresswoman made repeated requests that were shot down by the chief.

“Analysts need to be African-Americans, not people that are not,” Tlaib said. “It’s true, I think non-African-Americans think African-Americans all look the same!” She said she has witnessed people confuse Reps. John Lewis, D-Ga., and Elijah Cummings, D-Md., who both are black and bald.

Craig, who is black, did not go for Tlaib’s suggestion.

“I trust people who are trained, regardless of race, regardless of gender,” he responded.

This came after Tlaib claimed that “the error rate among African-Americans, especially women,” was 60 percent.

“I understand the technology real well,” Craig said. He showed Tlaib how his analysts examine the software’s results before making determinations.

“See if you can get some of our money back until they fix it,” Tlaib said, to which Craig simply replied, “No.”

When asked if defendants were prosecuted solely based on facial recognition results, Craig said they were not.

The tour, which was recorded and then posted by a reporter with The Detroit News, got off to a rocky start when Tlaib asked the reporter, “Are you facial recognizing me right now? I’m sorry who are you and why are you videotaping me?”

Afterward, the Detroit News reporter followed up on Tlaib’s assertion that only black people should be hired to use the facial recognition software.

“Are you saying white people are not qualified to –,” he said, before Tlaib cut him off.

“No, I think there’s actually been studies out that it’s hard for, you know, like African-Americans would identify African-Americans, similar, Latino same thing,” she said.

When asked if that would mean African-Americans should not be allowed to identify white people, Tlaib said, “Look it up,” and walked away.

The Detroit Police Department extended the invitation to Tlaib in August, after she described facial recognition technology as “bulls—.”

Craig made headlines in 2015 after he said more citizens should be armed. While in the past he supported increased restrictions on weapons and ammunition, his position changed after visiting Maine and Los Angeles, where permits for carrying concealed weapons are easier to acquire.

“I changed my orientation real quick,” Craig said. “Maine is one of the safest places in America. Clearly, suspects knew that good Americans were armed.”

Author: Ronn Blitzer

Source: Fox News: Rashida Tlaib, in contentious tour, tells Detroit police chief to hire only black analysts for facial recognition program

A former police officer made a bold proclamation during a congressional hearing Wednesday regarding a proposed assault-weapons ban: she would not comply.

Dianna Muller, who served in the Tulsa Police Department for 22 years and is the founder of gun advocacy group The DC Project, was among the witnesses at the House Judiciary Committee hearing. The session on an otherwise contentious issue flew largely under the radar amid the Trump-Ukraine controversy and Democrats’ impeachment push. But reflecting the gun control divide in the country — amid a spate of deadly mass shootings that prompted renewed calls for strict laws — Muller said that such a ban would force lawful gun owners to either give up their arms or become criminals.

“Please don’t legislate the 150 million people just like me into being criminals. It has happened. You’ve already done it,” Muller said, referring to the Trump administration’s ban on bump stocks, the devices that use a semi-automatic weapon’s recoil to make it rapidly fire like an automatic. “I was a bump stock owner, and I had to make a decision: do I become a felon, or do I comply?”

Should the government pass an assault-weapons ban, Muller declared, “I will not comply.”

Muller and others at the hearing focused on the practicality of a ban, pointing out what they claimed were mainly “cosmetic” differences between weapons such as the AR-15 and standard semi-automatic hunting rifles. This issue was also raised by Heritage Foundation senior legal policy analyst Amy Swearer when Rep.Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., went down the line of witnesses asking if they believed hunting rifles should be banned if they are semi-automatic.

Swearer said no, stating that there was no difference in the mechanics or function of an “assault weapon” or a semi-automatic hunting rifle. Dayton, Ohio Mayor Nan Whaley, who recalled the recent mass shooting in her city, did not give a definitive answer to Sensenbrenner’s question, nor did Dr. Alejandro Rios Tovar, a trauma surgeon who treated victims of the attack in El Paso, Texas. Charlottesville, Va., Chief of Police RaShall Brackney indicated she was in favor of a ban on “any weapon that could be used to hunt individuals.”

Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., countered the idea of a hunting rifle ban by referring to his assault-weapon ban bill. Cicilline said that more than 200 weapons are exempt from the bill, so there is really no issue of eliminating hunting rifles.

Swearer also testified against the idea that law-abiding citizens have no need for weapons like AR-15s, recalling how her mother, a gun novice, had difficulty accurately firing a handgun at a shooting range, but was much more effective when she used an AR-15.

“As I read the Second Amendment, it doesn’t say the right to bear arms shall not be infringed unless the gun has scary features,” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said.

Swearer also noted that some features like barrel shrouds enhance the safety of a weapon for its user. But David Chipman, senior policy adviser at the Giffords Law Center, raised a counterpoint noting that a barrel shroud could allow a shooter to get a better grip on a weapon “in a way that would increase your ability to spray fire and kill more people” without burning their hand.

One feature that was a concern for House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., is the ability for some weapons to be used with high-capacity magazines that allow users to fire dozens of rounds without reloading.

Kristen Rand, legislative director of the Violence Policy Center, testified in agreement with Nadler that a ban on such magazines, along with a clear definition of “assault weapon” that would eliminate loopholes under the 1994 crime law, would be effective.

Congress and the Trump administration have been in talks for weeks regarding possible gun legislation, but discussion of taking away guns that are currently legal has led to criticism from both parties. After 2020 Democratic hopeful Beto O’Rourke declared during a debate, “Hell yes, we are going to take your AR-15, AK-47,” Cicilline said, “That message doesn’t help.” President Trump said that O’Rourke was making it “much harder” to reach a deal on gun legislation with that sort of rhetoric.

Trump’s focus when it comes to gun control has mainly been on background checks. The White House was also circulating a one-page document on Capitol Hill detailing a possible gun background-check proposal that would require private sellers – not just licensed vendors – to conduct background checks for all advertised sales, though Attorney General Bill Barr said Trump has not yet made a “firm decision” on what he ultimately will support.

An August USA Today poll showed that most American voters support increased background checks, with 85 percent of Republican voters supporting background checks for all gun sales. Presently, only federally licensed vendors are required to conduct background checks, allowing private individuals to sell without them under what has been referred to as the “gun show loophole.”

White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley told Fox News last week that he expected an announcement on new gun legislation “very soon.” Gidley said Trump wanted to make sure that any new laws would address actual problems and not just be “feel-good legislation.”

But the Democrats’ impeachment push could complicate matters. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who had resisted impeachment, announced Tuesday that an impeachment inquiry would be launched. Reflecting how policy debates could take a back seat, Pelosi said in private meetings with lawmakers that Trump called her to discuss gun legislation, but she soon changed the subject to his phone call with the Ukrainian president in which they discussed investigating Joe Biden, which stoked the latest calls for impeachment.

Author: Ronn Blitzer

Source: Fox News: Sparks fly at assault-weapons ban hearing on Capitol Hill, ex-cop vows she would ‘not comply’

Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, who is challenging President Trump in the Republican primaries, proclaimed Monday that the president committed treason through his controversial phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — adding that the punishment for treason is death.

The statement drew a swift rebuke from the Trump campaign.

“The media’s affliction with Trump Derangement Syndrome has driven them into an actual discussion of the proposed execution of the President of the United States,” communications director Tim Murtaugh told Fox News. “In severe cases of TDS such as this, immediate consultation with a physician is recommended.”

Weld was responding to claims that Trump pressured Zelensky to investigate Hunter Biden — the son of former vice president and current Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden — and threatened to withhold military aid to Ukraine as leverage. Trump has denied wrongdoing.

“Talk about pressuring a foreign country to interfere with and control a U.S. election, it couldn’t be clearer. And that’s not just undermining democratic institutions, that is treason,” Weld said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “It’s treason pure and simple. And the penalty for treason under the U.S. Code is death. That’s the only penalty.”

Weld then referred to impeachment as a possible alternative to a criminal case, stating, “The penalty under the Constitution is removal from office, and that might look like a pretty good alternative to the president if he could work out a plea deal.”

Weld’s mention of the death penalty later ignited a conversation about the “legal framework” of the claim. Weld again said, “The only penalty for treason is death, it’s spelled out in the statute.”

While the U.S. Code does list the death penalty as a punishment for treason, Weld’s claim that it is the only penalty is false. Treason is covered by 18. U.S. Code § 2381, which says that a person guilty of treason “shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.”

When Fox News asked Weld’s campaign about this, they did not immediately respond.

Weld’s comments came during a joint television appearance with the two other longshot Republicans challenging Trump in next year’s primary: former South Carolina governor and congressman Mark Sanford and former Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh. They have joined together to protest the canceling of GOP presidential primaries in some states in 2020.

Author: Ronn Blitzer

Source: Fox News: Bill Weld suggests Trump could face execution over Ukraine phone call

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., promised that guilty parties will be held accountable after Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz releases his report on the FBI’s alleged abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in the Russia investigation, and predicted that former bureau leaders James Comey and Andrew McCabe will face criminal charges after what he described as an attempted “coup” to take down President Trump.

The report will address concerns with whether or not the FBI acted improperly in obtaining a FISA warrant to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in the early stages of their investigation of Russian election interference and possible Trump campaign connections. The Inspector General’s office has already turned over a draft of its findings to Attorney General Bill Barr, and a final report is expected in the near future.

“We came the closest ever to this country having a coup, and now we need accountability,” McCarthy told Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.” “I respect this attorney general so greatly, that the way he has handled this, he believes in accountability, but more importantly, he believes in the rule of law.”

When asked if there will really be accountability, McCarthy promised, “Yes.”

James Comey and Andrew McCabe, who were the director and deputy director of the FBI when the Russia probe began, have been the subjects of separate IG investigations, and McCarthy believes they will both face consequences.

“We will see an indictment,” he said of McCabe, who is facing the prospect of federal charges after Horowitz faulted him in a separate inquiry over statements he made during a Hillary Clinton-related investigation. The review found that McCabe “lacked candor” when talking with investigators, but the former FBI official has denied wrongdoing. Washington, D.C., U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu recommended charges against McCabe after the DOJ rejected his appeal.

Comey was chastised in a recent report from Horowitz that discussed how Comey improperly maintained records of his conversations with President Trump, and leaked sensitive information about the investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. While the report found that Comey violated department policy, the DOJ opted not to press charges. McCarthy believes that there will be more to come for Comey.

“In the end, I do not believe that Jim Comey will get off,” McCarthy predicted, adding, “Anyone that has had any association with trying to create this coup should be held accountable.”

After President Trump fired Comey in May 2017, McCabe became acting director of the FBI. McCabe’s tenure at the FBI came to an end in March 2018 when then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired him in the wake of the IG report of his misstatements.

Republicans claim that the FBI, under Comey and McCabe’s leadership, misrepresented key information in applying for the FISA warrant for Page in October 2016 — and three subsequent renewals — and improperly relied on an unverified dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele.

Horowitz’s team has questioned why the FBI considered Steele a credible source, and why the bureau seemed to use news reports to bolster Steele’s credibility.

Fox News’ Alex Pappas, Catherine Herridge, and Jake Gibson contributed to this report.

Author: Ronn Blitzer

Source: Fox News: McCarthy promises accountability as Barr reviews IG’s FISA report: ‘The closest we’ve ever seen to a coup’

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