President Trump names Richard Grenell as Acting Director of National Intelligence

File -Then-ambassador Richard Grenell speaks during a press conference after a meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade, Serbia, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 8:13 AM PT — Thursday, February 20, 2020

President Trump has named the current U.S. ambassador to Germany as his pick for acting Director of National Intelligence. In a tweet Wednesday, he announced Richard Grenell will take over the position from Joseph Maguire.

The selection came after the president said he wanted to remove what he called “bad actors” in America’s intelligence agencies.

“I was illegally spied on by Comey, Brennan and all the sleaze of the world,” stated President Trump. “…when people talk about the, you know, intelligence agencies…well I was not given a very good first glance at it.”

Analysts have praised Grenell for his firm stance on taking on Germany in relation to Iran, Huawei, NATO and other such controversies.

Pending the president’s appointment, Grenell would become the first openly gay cabinet member.

RELATED: White House ‘concerned’ by U.K. decision to work with Huawei

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Steyer hits Bloomberg on ‘racist’ policies in new campaign ad

Democratic presidential candidate, businessman Tom Steyer speaks during a candidate forum on infrastructure at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 7:35 AM PT — Thursday, February 20, 2020

The wide open race for the Democrat presidential nomination has become increasingly more divisive on the airwaves.

Tom Steyer launched a multi-million dollar ad ahead of Super Tuesday, which took aim at fellow billionaire Michael Bloomberg. In the video, the businessman accused Bloomberg of implementing what he called “racist policies” during his tenure as mayor of New York City.

The 60-second ad included a clip of Bloomberg’s 2008 comments in which he blamed the financial crisis on the end of redlining. The discriminatory housing practice was used to deny credit to people often based on their race. It also featured his 2015 comments supporting the controversial stop-and-frisk policy.

The fiery ad came ahead of Super Tuesday, which is set for March 3rd, when voters in several states like California and Texas will cast their ballots.

Meanwhile, the Real Clear national polling average has Bloomberg in third place with roughly 16 percent support, while Steyer has less than 3 percent support.

RELATED: Democrats take aim at Bloomberg, Sanders during Las Vegas debate

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Report: White House ‘concerned’ by U.K. decision to work with Huawei

FILE – In this Oct. 31, 2019, file photo, attendees walk past a display for 5G services from Chinese technology firm Huawei at the PT Expo in Beijing. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 7:37 PM PT — Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The White House is reportedly concerned by the U.K.’s recent decision to work with Chinese telecom giant Huawei. On Wednesday, Deputy White House Press Secretary Hogan Gidley said the administration is disappointed in British Prime Minister Boris Johnson for his decision.

Gidley added while Huawei is a security risk, the U.S. will try to cooperate with Britain to keep the countries’ relationship strong.

“It’s going to make it more difficult for us to share information at the highest levels if Huawei is involved (because) we are concerned with the security risks involved,” he said. “But as we also said, that because we have such a good relationship, we’ll make it work some way.”

Recent reports said the U.S. is considering new restrictions on China, which would make it harder for Huawei to import U.S. technology.

FILE – In this file photo dated Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson waves at the media as he leaves 10 Downing Street in London. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, FILE)

This came after mainland China claimed the British prime minister supported its international trade scheme known as the Belt and Road Initiative. According to Chinese state media, Johnson praised Beijing and committed to joining the initiative during a phone call with President Xi Jinping on Wednesday.

However, 10 Downing Street has released a readout of the call that makes no mention of the controversial program. Critics have said China is using Belt and Road to gain economic and political influence in smaller countries by driving them deeper into debt.

China’s ambassador to the U.K. said Johnson and President Jinping only had a vague discussion of mutual trade.

“We know that once the U.K. leaves the EU, you will have a new free trade agreement with China, and we’re open to that,” stated Liu Xiaoming.

RELATED: U.S. Accuses Huawei Of Stealing Trade Secrets, Assisting Iran

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South Bend residents warn Americans against voting for Buttigieg

Democratic presidential candidate, former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks during a campaign event at Durango Hills Community Center in Las Vegas, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 6:50 PM PT — Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Residents of South Bend, Indiana, are warning Americans not to vote for the city’s former Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Some said Buttigieg did nothing about crime in the city while others noted there were a record number of homicides during his time as mayor. FBI data showed violent crimes rose from 622 to more than 1,000 during his time in office.

A South Bend city council member claimed Buttigieg was difficult to work with and did not address the struggles of the local black community.

“It was very difficult to get across to him, and also to his administration, how African Americans were living in South Bend,” stated Henry Davis Jr. “You’re talking about double digit unemployment, a very high poverty rate of over 40 percent, high crime, schools closing.”

The former mayor has also come under fire for South Bend’s homeless problem and for claiming economic wins in the city, which some said were the result of statewide initiatives.

People wait for democratic presidential candidate former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg to speak during a rally Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Additionally, the 2020 hopeful has been accused of inappropriately accepting campaign contributions from a progressive PAC. A recent complaint filed by watchdog group Campaign Legal Center alleged Buttigieg improperly accepted more than $600,000 in Nevada ad placements.

The claim pointed to a tweet by Buttigieg’s senior strategist Michael Halle. The group said his message appeared to have been used by ‘Vote Vets,’ a major progressive group that backs Buttigieg.

If confirmed, this would violate federal rules that prohibit candidates from coordinating with independent groups on their behalf.

RELATED: Buttigieg Would Accept Bloomberg’s Money For Campaign

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Sen. Sanders won’t disclose complete medical records amid health concerns

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders I-Vt., speaks at a campaign event in Tacoma, Wash., Monday, Feb. 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 7:15 PM PT — Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Democrat presidential front-runner Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) has admitted he has no plans to release his complete medical records.

During a town hall on Tuesday, the senator claimed he did not think his campaign would need to release any additional records. He argued he’s already released enough to squash worries about his health.

“I think we have released a detailed report,” said Sanders. “I’m comfortable with what we have done.”

The 78-year-old suffered a heart attack back in October. Following the incident, Sanders vowed to be more transparent about his health.

However, his campaign seemed to walk back on that promise months later after many questioned the candidate’s health.

FILE – In this Jan. 20, 2020, file photo Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., left, and businessman Tom Steyer sit together at the beginning of a Martin Luther King Jr. Day rally in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard, File)

Sanders campaign spokeswoman Briahna Joy Gray called questions over the senator’s fitness for office “unfair,” claiming they are a cloaked effort to smear his bid for the White House.

“It’s really telling, given that none of the same concern is being demonstrated for Michael Bloomberg, who is the same age as Bernie Sanders,” she said.

Gray was recently criticized for her defense of Sanders after she erroneously claimed opponent Michael Bloomberg had suffered “multiple heart attacks in the past.” She has since walked back that comment, but took heat a day earlier for also claiming that Bloomberg had been accused of more than five dozen instances of sexual assault.

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China deploys 40 incinerators to Wuhan amid coronavirus outbreak

In this Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020, photo, medical personnel scan a new coronavirus patient at a hospital in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei province. (Chinatopix via AP)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 6:10 PM PT — Wednesday, February 19, 2020

China has deployed at least 40 industrial incinerators to the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan. Conflicting reports said the machines, which can reportedly handle about five tons of material per day, are either being used to dispose of animal carcasses or medical waste.

While its origins have not been confirmed, the virus is believed to have spread from bats to other animals before being passed to humans.

“Pandora’s Box has opened, unleashing the disaster, fear and illness. But there could be one thing still left in the box. That’s hope. As long as hope is there, we shall overcome the difficulty.”

– Dr. Tang Xin, Wuhan Union Hospital

Officials said the disposal of medical waste is vital in safeguarding people and preventing further spread of the disease.

Clinical support technician Douglas Condie extracts viruses samples as analytic work continues to examine the genetic structure of a virus in the coronavirus testing laboratory at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Glasgow, Scotland, Wednesday Feb. 19, 2020. (Jane Barlow/PA via AP)

Meanwhile, a travel warning has been announced for people traveling to Hong Kong. The CDC recently issued a Level 1 advisory for the region amid the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

The agency has told travelers to avoid contact with sick people and to clean their hands often.

Although the warning did not advise cancelling travel to Hong Kong, it advised anyone who’s traveled there within the past 14 days to seek medical attention if they experience symptoms.

Commuters wearing face masks are mirrored in a subway station Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

Original Article

Rapper ‘Pop Smoke’ killed in Calif. home invasion

This aerial photo taken from video provided by Fox11 News KTTV-TV shows the Hollywood Hills home, center, where Pop Smoke, 20, was shot and killed early Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020, in Los Angeles. (Fox11 News KTTV-TV via AP)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 4:20 PM PT — Wednesday, February 19, 2020

California police are investigating the death of a popular rapper known as ‘Pop Smoke.’ Los Angeles authorities said 20-year-old Bashar Barakah Jackson was fatally shot at a Hollywood Hills home on Wednesday in what appeared to be an attempted home invasion.

Jackson released a new album and announced an upcoming tour in the weeks prior to his death.

Multiple men wearing ski masks reportedly broke into the residence and fired multiple gunshots before fleeing the scene.

“The radio call was called in by someone from back east, (who) stated a friend of theirs’ home was being broken into by multiple suspects and that one of them was armed with a handgun,” stated LAPD Captain Steve Lurie. “When officers arrived there approximately six minutes later, they discovered a victim inside the house had been shot.”

Police said they’re still searching for suspects and have yet to determine a motive for the attack.

Police investigate a Hollywood Hills home where a fatal shooting occurred on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Original Article

Nev. Democrat Party gears up for state caucus

FILE -In this June 12, 2018, file photo, Christie Leavitt checks her sample ballot during primary election voting at the Green Valley Presbyterian Church in Henderson, Nev. I (Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun via AP, file)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 3:23 PM PT — Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The state of Nevada is gearing up for its presidential primary vote. However, some residents are concerned over how the Democrat caucus will be run following the chaotic vote in Iowa earlier this month.

“I’m hoping we have success with the caucus. Knowing the people that are running the caucus, I expect it to be screwed up. They have a track record of screwing up the caucus. They screwed up Iowa a couple of weeks ago. The same people are saying that everything was going to be good again, so we’ll see.” – Mark Edward Rumpler, local business owner

The state’s Democrat Party has assured voters that a plan is in place to count votes and announce the results in a timely manner.

“When everything went the way it went in Iowa, we had contingencies in place (and) we evaluated those contingencies to pick the best plan,” stated Chairwoman Donna West. “We are now in the process of providing pretty much around the clock training to everybody that is a precinct chair or a site lead.”

Democrat National Committee Chairman Tom Perez expressed optimism that the caucus would run smoothly. On Wednesday, he said he was confident this time would be more successful.

“I have a lot of confidence in Nevada,” said Perez. “We have gone to school on the lessons of Iowa (and) we’re as low-tech as humanly possible while still preserving efficiency.”

The chairman concluded by saying thousands of caucus volunteers have already been recruited and trained for the vote this Saturday.

FILE – In this Feb. 3, 2020, file photo, a volunteer holds a Presidential Preference Card before the start of a Democratic caucus at Hoover High School, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

Despite some uncertainty, most voters have said they’re excited to pick their candidate.

“I don’t see (Democrats) them promising anything better than what we have going on right now,” said one local. “The market’s going up, the job increase here is going up.”

While early voting has been open since Saturday, the official caucus will be held on February 22nd.

“We’re one of the most diverse states in the nation, and we are certainly the first state of diversity to vote,” said West. “If we want to know how America is going to vote, watch the Nevada results.”

Democratic caucus-goers wait more than an hour in line in an early caucus ballot precinct site at an AFL-CIO union office in Henderson, Nev., Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. (AP Photo by Ken Ritter)

MORE NEWS: Ariz. Sen. Martha McSally Takes Aim At Democrat Opponent Mark Kelly

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Russia: Only matter of time before Turkey attacks Syria’s Idlib province

Turkish army artillery arrives in the east of Idlib, Syria, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. (AP Photo)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 3:58 PM PT — Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Russia recently said a Turkish military operation against Syrian forces in the Idlib region would be a “worst-case scenario.” A Kremlin spokesperson said Russia has made its final warnings about an “imminent” Turkish attack in Syria.

The official said Moscow failed to deescalate tensions between the two countries. This came after Syria killed over a dozen Turkish troops in an operation to retake rebel held areas in its Idlib province.

Russia emphasized Turkey will likely retaliate soon.

“If it is about military operation against terrorist groups in Idlib, it would be in line with Sochi agreements,” stated spokesman Dmitry Peskov. “Neutralization of those terrorist groups, who currently possess powerful infrastructure, weaponry, hardware and ammunition, is a duty of the Turkish side.”

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said he will give Syrian forces until the end of the month to withdraw from Idlib.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses to his ruling party’s legislator at parliament, in Ankara, Turkey, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

Meanwhile, the U.S. has expressed deep concern over Russia’s recent escalation of violence in eastern Ukraine. In a Wednesday tweet, a state department spokeswoman said the U.S. stands in solidarity with its allies in condemning Russian aggression against Ukraine.

She cited the administration’s support for President Zelensky and his commitment to peace in the region.

Officials have also called on Russia to abide by a ceasefire it signed under the Minsk Protocol. The U.S. Embassy in Ukraine spoke out against this week’s attack against the Ukrainian military in Donbass by Russian backed forces.

In this video grab provided by the RU-RTR Russian television, a woman stands next to her home, that was distroyed during cross fire between Russia-backed separatists and Ukrainian forces, in Zaitseve, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. (RU-RTR Russian Television via AP)

Original Article

Ariz. Sen. Martha McSally takes aim at Democrat opponent Mark Kelly

FILE – In this Sept. 10, 2019, file photo, Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., speaks at a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 2:40 PM PT — Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Former astronaut Mark Kelly is facing a stiff battle for Arizona’s Senate seat, which was once held by late Republican Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and is now occupied by Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.).

In a new campaign ad, McSally drew parallels between Kelly and Democrat Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.). In the ad, Kelly’s stance on providing health care for all is directly aligned with that of Sanders, who is currently running to unseat President Trump.

Screengrab from Sen. Martha McSally’s official “Bernie Bro” campaign ad.

This is McSally’s second bid for the Senate after she lost in 2018 to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.). McSally was later appointed to the seat, which was previously held by late Sen. John McCain until his death in 2018.

She would need to win this year’s special election to keep the position. The McSally campaign recently released a video featuring several of her supporters, who pushed her to continue serving in the Senate.

“I’m inspired everyday by the incredible stories of resilience,” said Sen. McSally. “Often times, the very things that almost crush us are the things that can help strengthen us and propel us.”

FILE- In this Oct. 2, 2017, file photo former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., right, listens as her husband Mark Kelly, left, speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

McSally is a vocal supporter of President Trump. She has slammed Democrats by saying her constituents are “tired of their obstruction, their investigations and their impeachments.”

Kelly has been a champion of strict gun control measures after his wife, former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.), was nearly killed in a mass shooting in 2011. After a lengthy recovery, Kelly and Giffords began lobbying for states to implement red flag laws and legislation banning the sale of AR-15 style rifles.

McSally is largely expected to take the Republican nomination while Kelly is speculated to be the Democrat front runner. Recent polls showed the pair in a virtual tie, but President Trump said he hopes to cut Kelly’s numbers. He is set to stump for McSally at his rally on Wednesday in Phoenix.

Tune in to One America News tonight at 9:00 p.m. EST/ 6:00 p.m. PST for full coverage of President Trump’s ‘Keep America Great’ rally in Phoenix!

READ MORE: President Trump To Hold ‘Keep America Great’ Rally In Phoenix, Ariz.

President Donald Trump arrives at SNHU Arena for a campaign rally, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Original Article

Buttigieg would accept Bloomberg’s money for campaign

Democratic presidential candidate former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks during a campaign event in Las Vegas, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt York)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 1:32 PM PT — Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Democrat presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has said he would accept money from campaign rival Michael Bloomberg. During a town hall event on Tuesday, the former South Bend mayor was asked whether he believes Bloomberg is trying to buy the Democrat nomination.

Buttigieg answered ‘yes’ and added Bloomberg’s refusal to campaign in early primary states is a sign he is unable to humble himself to voters.

However, he confirmed he is still open to accepting campaign contributions from the billionaire if he were to win the Democrat nomination.

“I’m not gonna reject that help because it came from a very wealthy person. This is the moment to bring everybody that we can into this effort. I promise exactly one thing in return for any contribution, which is, we’re gonna take that contribution and use it to go beat Donald Trump.” – Pete Buttigieg, (D) Former Mayor of South Bend, Indiana

Buttigieg went on to criticize Bloomberg’s approach by claiming the billionaire’s ability to use his own funds to circumvent the campaign process, “shows you what’s wrong with our system.”

Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg speaks during a campaign event at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery in Richmond, Va., Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. (James H. Wallace/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)

Original Article

President Trump: Sen. Murphy, John Kerry have hindered U.S. relations with Iran

Former Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at a campaign stop for Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden at the South Slope Community Center, Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020, in North Liberty, Iowa. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 1:55 PM PT — Wednesday, February 19, 2020

President Trump has said Iran is unwilling to make a deal with the U.S. because Democrats are interfering with American foreign policy. The president took to Twitter on Wednesday, where he accused John Kerry and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) of violating the Logan Act.

Last week, sources said Murphy secretly met with Iran’s foreign minister on the sidelines of a conference in Germany.

FILE – In this Feb. 3, 2020, file photo, Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., walks on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

President Trump stated Kerry’s and Murphy’s actions “must be dealt with strongly.” The president first heard about the Iran meeting on Tuesday before speaking with the press.

“I saw that Sen. Murphy met with the Iranians, I just saw that on the way over,” he said. “That sounds like, to me, a violation of the Logan Act.”

In 2017, Murphy accused former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn of violating the Logan Act. At the time, the senator stated that any effort to undermine our nation’s foreign policy is illegal and should be taken seriously.

Original Article

President Trump to hold ‘Keep America Great’ rally in Phoenix, Ariz.

President Donald Trump arrives at SNHU Arena for a campaign rally, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 1:00 PM PT — Wednesday, February 19, 2020

President Trump is visiting the Southwestern United States this week as a part of his reelection campaign. In California, he held a roundtable with supporters near Palm Springs before delivering remarks at a fundraising luncheon.

The president is slated to meet with farmers and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in Bakersfield on Wednesday afternoon. He’s expected to discuss efforts to improve agricultural practices in the Golden State.

He will then head to Phoenix, Arizona for another ‘Keep America Great’ rally, where he is likely to speak on immigration and tout the expansion of the southern border wall.

Supporters of President Donald Trump cheer as he arrives at SNHU Arena to speak during a campaign rally, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

This comes amid the president’s rising approval rating, which hit an all-time high on Wednesday. The latest poll averages, which were recently released by RealClear Politics, showed 46 percent of voters approve of the president’s work in office. That’s the highest approval rating the president has received in the survey so far.

Support for the president has grown since his impeachment acquittal. A Hill-HarrisX survey showed the president’s approval stands at 49 percent while support from Republican voters remains strong at 86 percent.

President Trump took to Twitter to tout these rising numbers and slam mainstream media outlets for their “fake news polls.”

Tune in to One America News tonight at 9:00 p.m. EST/ 6:00 p.m. PST for full coverage of President Trump’s ‘Keep America Great’ rally in Phoenix!

MORE NEWS: Trump Campaign Comm. Director Says Impeachment Has Benefited President Trump’s Reelection Bid

President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Original Article

Former Ill. Gov. Blagojevich says President Trump has his ‘deepest, most profound, and everlasting gratitude’

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s daughters Annie, center, and Amy smile during a news conference outside their home Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020, in Chicago. On Tuesday, President Donald Trump commuted Blagojevich’s 14-year prison sentence for political corruption. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 10:45 AM PT — Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich said President Trump has his “everlasting gratitude,” following the president’s decision to commute his sentence.

While speaking at a Colorado airport Tuesday night, Blagojevich said the president has got a big fan in him and called himself a “Trump-o-crat.” He also said he is going to fight against the corrupt criminal justice system, which he believes all too often persecutes and prosecutes people who did nothing wrong.

Blagojevich acknowledged the president didn’t have to commute his sentence and called out his fellow Democrats for being unkind to the president. The former Illinois official made the following comments:

“He didn’t have to do this. He’s a Republican president; I was a Democratic governor. My fellow Democrats have not been very kind to him. They’ve, in fact, they’ve been very unkind to him. What he did was, I think, something that deserves a great amount of appreciation on my part personally. He has from me my deepest, most profound and everlasting gratitude.”

A large banner reading Thanks Mr. President adorns the porch of the home of former Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich as members of the media prepare for a news conference with with him, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020, in Chicago, after his release from a Colorado prison late the night before. (AP Photo/Katie Foody)

The former governor had been more than halfway through serving a 14 year sentence in federal prison before the president’s action Tuesday. President Trump took to Twitter to state that “Blagojevich did not sell the Senate seat” and called it yet another (James) “Comey and gang deal.”

The president issued pardons to 11 federal offenders on Tuesday, which commuted their sentences and expunged their records.

RELATED: President Trump pardons former 49ers owner Eddie Debartolo Jr.

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DOJ denies rumors Attorney General Barr is considering resigning over President’s tweets

Attorney General William Barr speaks at the National Sheriffs’ Association Winter Legislative and Technology Conference in Washington, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 11:12 AM PT — Wednesday, February 19, 2020

A recent report alleged Attorney General William Barr has considered resigning due to the president’s tweets about Justice Department investigations. According to the Washington Post, Barr discussed the possibility of leaving his position with members of the Trump administration.

This possibility floated after Barr expressed frustration with President Trump’s consistent tweets involving Department of Justice investigations in an interview with ABC.

“To have public statements and tweets made about the department, about people in the department, or our men and women hear about cases pending in the department and about judges before whom we have cases make it impossible for me to do my job,” he stated.

Democrats and former Justice Department officials are calling for Barr to step down, following his recent sentence recommendation change of Republican strategist Roger Stone. However, Barr said he wouldn’t be swayed or bullied by Congress, the media or the president, but also said he can’t do his job with the constant background commentary that undercuts the work he is trying to do.

President Trump did voice his support for the attorney general amid calls for him to step down.

“I do make his job harder, I do agree with that, I think that’s true,” he stated. “He’s a very straight shooter…the attorney general is a man with incredible integrity.”

Despite the report, a spokeswoman for the department has come out against the claims and said they are just rumors. According to the official, Barr has no intentions of resigning.

RELATED: White House responds to Barr’s interview as Democrats demand resignation

Original Article

State Dept. blacklists Russian oil company for helping Maduro regime avoid U.S. oil sanctions

File – Elliott Abrams, left, listens to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talk about Venezuela at the State Department in Washington, D.C. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Photo]

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 10:04 AM PT — Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The Trump administration recently announced it’s imposing sanctions on a subsidiary of the Russian oil conglomerate Rosneft.

The sanctions will freeze all assets held in the U.S. by Rosneft Trading SA, the Swiss-incorporated broker for the Russian oil company, and also target firm President Didier Casimiro. Private holders of interests in the firm will be given 90 days to divest from the company or risk having their assets frozen.

Rosneft and its subsidiaries have been accused of helping embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro evade existing U.S. sanctions on its oil exports, a major source of income for the regime, which controls the world’s largest reserves of crude oil.

According to U.S. Special Rep. for Venezuela Elliot Abrams, the Russian company disguised shipments of crude oil. Just last month, it moved over 2 million barrels to West Africa.

Maduro’s regime has depended on aid from Russia, China, and Cuba since an attempt was made to replace him with Juan Guaido, the former president of the National Assembly of Venezuela. The U.S. and other Western allies recognize Guaido as the acting president of the South American country pending Democratic elections.

Self-proclaimed interim president of Venezuela and opposition leader Juan Guaido attends a legislative session at the San Antonio municipal theater, in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. The lawmakers are meeting at an alternative location due to the government blocking their access to the National Assembly chambers. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)

Since last year, the U.S. has increased pressure on Maduro to cede power and allow for elections by imposing sanctions on key Venezuelan industries. This included its state-owned oil and natural gas company Petróleos de Venezuela.

While announcing the sanctions, Abrams reaffirmed the administration’s commitment to continuing its campaign to oust Maduro from power and seek democratic elections for the people of Venezuela.

‘Today’s sanctions are another step in the policy of pressuring the Maduro regime to allow Venezuela to escape from its terrible crisis through free and fair presidential elections,” he stated. “There will be more steps and further pressure.’

Officials in the administration have added they do not believe the move will have an effect on global oil prices.

RELATED: President Trump honors Venezuela’s interim President Juan Guaido during State of the Union address

Original Article

President Trump: Federal government will step in if Calif. cities can’t clean up streets

FILE – In this Aug. 21, 2019 file photo, a woman walks past a homeless man sleeping in front of recycling bins and garbage on a street corner in San Francisco. Gov. Gavin Newsom is calling for better mental health care to help treat the state’s large homeless population as he addresses one of the state’s most pressing problems in his second State of the State speech to be given Wednesday, Feb. 19. 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 8:52 AM PT — Wednesday, February 19, 2020

President Trump warned if California can’t clean up its streets, the federal government will. He made those remarks during a briefing on preparations for the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles Tuesday.

The president then said California’s big cities have needles and other unhealthy substances on the streets, which ends up on the beaches as well as in the ocean. He said he’s already told members of his administration they have to get involved in cleaning up the Golden State.

“…if they can’t do it themselves, we are going to do it, the federal government is going to take it over,” he stated. “We are working right now with L.A., in particular….it’s not thinkable what they have allowed to have happened to these cities, incredible.”

President Trump said his administration is also in talks with officials in San Francisco regarding the issue.

Homelessness has led to several public health issues in California’s big cities, including outbreaks of hepatitis. About half of the nation’s homeless population resides in the Golden State.

RELATED: Schwarzenegger thanks President Trump for combating homelessness

Original Article

Democrats expected to slam Bloomberg in debate

Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg gives his thumbs-up after speaking during a campaign event at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery in Richmond, Va., Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. (James H. Wallace/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 89:10 AM PT — Wednesday, February 19, 2020

A Democrat presidential candidate will be stepping into the debate ring for the first time in more than a decade. On Tuesday, Mike Bloomberg qualified for Wednesday’s Democrat debate in Las Vegas. However, the former New York City mayor is expected to face serious heat from his fellow candidates.

Bloomberg’s Democrat opponents have a number of debates under their belt and a person working on his campaign recently said their team is concerned with the billionaire’s lack of experience in that arena. His campaign said it’s expecting to receive a lot of negative attention from other candidates.

For instance, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Miss.) took to social media Tuesday to blast Bloomberg for being an “egomaniac billionaire,” who allegedly bought his way into the debate.

However, Bloomberg’s senior campaign adviser suggested this is not the case. In a recent interview, Timothy O’Brien promised the former New York City mayor would release his tax returns and sell his company if he’s elected.

“There will be no confusion about any of his financial holdings, blurring the line between public service and personal profiteering,” he stated. “We will be 180 degrees where Donald Trump is on these issues.”

Meanwhile, Bloomberg’s biggest rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), could potentially benefit from his late entrance in the debate. According to Business Insider, candidates are expected to shift their attention off Sanders and onto Bloomberg.

Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks to hundreds of people on the campus of the University on Nevada, Reno, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020, before leading several dozen on a two-block march to the student union to cast their ballot on the final day of early voting ahead of Saturday’s presidential caucuses. (AP Photo/Scott Sonner)

Bloomberg will not be on the ballots for Nevada’s caucuses, which are set to be held this Saturday. He will prepare for Wednesday’s debate for now, which will be a crucial battle ahead of Super Tuesday on March 3rd.

RELATED: President Trump says Bloomberg is a mass of dead energy

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Neb. denies pardon request of ex-girlfriend of serial killer Charles Starkweather

Neb. Gov. Pete Ricketts, center, resides over the Board of Pardons in Lincoln, Neb., Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020, with Neb. Sect. of State Robert Evnen, right, and Neb. Attorney General Doug Peterson, left, to consider a request for clemency from Caril Ann Clair, the 76-year-old former girlfriend of Charles Starkweather. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 7:42 AM PT — Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The state of Nebraska has no plans to pardon a convicted murderer for her role in a series of killings in which she has claimed to have no part in. The Board of Pardons rejected Caril Ann Fugate’s application Tuesday, regarding 11 spree killings between 1957 and 1958.

At the time of the slayings, Fugate was dating infamous 19-year-old killer Charles Starkweather who was put to death in 1959. She was only 14-years-old. Her mother, father and baby sister were among Starkweather’s victims.

Board members have said their job is to restore a felon’s rights and Fugate’s request was more broad than they could offer.

Liza Ward, of Duxbury, Massachusetts, granddaughter of S. Lauer and Clara Ward, who were killed by Charles Starweather, sits in Lincoln, Neb., Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020, at a hearing of he Nebraska Board of Pardons to consider a request for clemency from Caril Ann Clair, the 76-year-old former girlfriend of Charles Starkweather. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

“If people don’t think that Caril Fugate had remorse for things that she witnessed and didn’t try to stop because she was a young child with a gun pointed at her who was a hostage of this man, you can bet she’s got a ton of remorse and she’s got a ton of demons,” said Liza Ward, granddaughter of the victims. “And I just would have liked her to have those words, ‘you are pardoned.'”

Fugate was released from prison in 1976 after serving 17 years and now lives in Michigan.

RELATED: President Trump pardons former 49ers owner Eddie Debartolo Jr.

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Greece may demand return of historic statues from Britain as part of Brexit deal

The Parthenon Marbles, a collection of stone objects, inscriptions and sculptures, also known as the Elgin Marbles, are displayed at the British Museum in London. (REUTERS/Dylan Martinez/File Photo)

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UPDATED 7:13 AM PT — Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The European Union may force Britain to return ancient statues to Greece as part of the Brexit deal proposal. According to recent reports, the EU has added a clause to their proposed deal that would force the U.K. to return or restore cultural objects that were illegally taken from other country.

The clause was added at Greece’s request and may reference a long-standing disagreement between the two countries over a set of marble statues taken from the country in the 19th Century.

Last month, Greek Minister for Culture Lina Mendoni implied the country may increase pressure on Britain to return the statues. She made the following comments regarding the matter:

“I believe that the circumstances for Greece are good at the moment. It is the mentality that has changed, (it is) the fact that Britain is distancing itself from the European family. It is the 200 years since the Greek revolution. I think the right conditions have been created for their permanent return.”

A spokesman for Greece said the clause does not refer specifically to the Elgin marbles, but to the general issue of art theft.

RELATED: German exports to Britain slumped in run-up to Brexit

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