Ukrainian President Zelensky ‘ready’ for next call with President Trump

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks during talks with journalists in Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

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UPDATED 11:07 AM PT — Sunday, February 16, 2020

Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky said he’s ready for his next phone call with President Trump. During an interview with CNN Friday, he stated he’s willing to speak with the United States President again if it will help Ukraine.

Zelensky’s’ phone call with President Trump last year was at the center of the impeachment probe after a whistle-blower alleged the U.S. president of pressuring Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, left, walks after inauguration ceremony in Kiev, Ukraine, Monday, May 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

However, Zelensky denied this and thanked everyone in America for supporting Ukraine.

“If this way will help Ukraine I am ready for next call with Mr. Trump…” stated the Ukrainian president. “…I want to thank you guys and thank everybody and thank USA and just ordinary American people, first of all, for support of Ukraine.”

Zelensky said he’s trying to set up a White House meeting, which he wants to be special with positive outcomes for both countries.

RELATED: Ukraine, Canada Urge Iran To Release Black Box Recordings Of Flight 752

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President Trump highlights alleged wrongdoing by Andrew McCabe

FILE – In this June 7, 2017, file photo, then FBI Acting Director Andrew McCabe listens during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

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UPDATED 1:22 PM PT — Saturday, February 15, 2020

President Trump highlighted alleged wrongdoing by former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe amid the DOJ’s decision to not bring charges against him.

The 2018 Inspector General report confirmed McCabe leaked information to the Wall Street Journal regarding the Clinton probe.

The president tweeted Saturday noting the Department’s report found the former FBI official misled investigators over his role in disclosures to the media and lacked candor on four separate occasions.

He also pointed out McCabe authorized leaks to advance his own personal interests and the Inspector General recommended he be fired.

This came after the DOJ informed McCabe this week its investigation into the former official is over.

RELATED: McCabe Reportedly Told Investigators Rosenstein Wanted Comey’s Advice On Appointing Special Counsel

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President Trump endorses Claudia Tenney for Congress

FILE – In this June 10, 2015, file photo, former assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, R-NY, speaks during a news conference at the Capitol, in Albany, N.Y. Tenney faces Democratic New York State Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi in the state’s 22nd Congressional District. (AP Photo/Mike Groll, File)

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UPDATED 11:29 AM PT — Saturday, February 15, 2020

The president has announced his support for former Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-N.Y.). President Trump endorsed Tenney on Twitter, commending her on her past in Congress.

The Republican congressional candidate quickly responded by saying she was honored to have the president’s support and that Upstate New York is excited to join him in the “great American comeback.”

Tenney got her political start in 2002 by representing New York State Assemblyman David Townsend as his legal council and chief of staff. She went on to win the 2016 election, serving in Congress until she was unseated in 2018.

As a small business owner and military mother, Tenney is running on a conservative platform that opposes unnecessary taxation while supporting active and retired military.

“Republicans and Democrats…all across Central New York get up and fight for their families, for their jobs,” stated the congressional candidate. “That’s who I’ll fight for in Congress.”

FILE – In this Feb. 25, 2019 file photo, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a bill signing ceremony in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

Tenney is a vocal advocate for the Second Amendment and was the first to introduce a bill to repeal New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s restrictive Safe Act. If she wins the Republican primary, she will face off in a rematch with Anthony Brindisi (D-N.Y.), who edged her out by less than two percent.

RELATED:N.M. GOP Candidate Claire Chase Releases Ad Against Democrat Proposed Gun Law

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Schwarzenegger thanks President Trump for combating homelessness

U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Dr. Ben Carson participates in a roundtable discussion at Stella apartment homes in Granville, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020 in San Diego, Calif. (Howard Lipin/The San Diego Union-Tribune via AP)

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UPDATED 10:09 AM PT — Saturday, February 15, 2020

The president thanked former Calif. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for acknowledging his efforts to combat homelessness. Taking to Twitter Friday, President Trump said it was “very nice” of to Schwarzenegger to extend his gratitude.

This came after the former Golden State governor said he wanted to thank the president, even though they have disagreements.

Carson attended the event, where he called for stronger housing policies.

“The health of a community starts at home. The home is the basis of the community, and the community is the basis of the nation. If we want to have a strong and fair nation, then we have to have strong and fair policies.”

Ben Carson, United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

In the meantime, the latest Federal Report showed the number of residents suffering from homelessness in California grew by a little over 16 percent, or 21,000 people, last year.

President Donald Trump shakes hands with Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson as he arrives to speak at the North Carolina Opportunity Now Summit, at Central Piedmont Community College, Friday, Feb. 7, 2020, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

RELATED: Gov. Newsom Deploys FEMA Trailers To LA As Part Of $750M Homelessness Executive Order

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President Trump endorses Beth Van Duyne for Congress

Photo of Beth Van Duyne via official campaign website.

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 7:50 AM PT — Saturday, February 15, 2020

President Trump is throwing his support behind Beth Van Duyne for Congress. The president posted on Twitter that Van Duyne has his full endorsement for Congress. He said she is a “strong conservative who supports border security (and) loves our military.”

He added she has done “great things as Mayor of Irving, Texas, and with my administration.”

The former mayor quickly responded by saying the president wants people in office who are going to work for the American people.

“He’s not looking for politicians, he’s looking for people who are able to bring solutions to the table and get things done,” she said. “I was very proud to be able to get his support yesterday.”

Van Duyne set out on her political career in 2004 as a city council member for the Dallas suburb of Irving. Six years later, she was elected as the city’s first female mayor.

In 2017, the president appointed her to be the Regional Director of U.S. Housing and Urban Development.

If elected, Van Duyne said she will work to stop drug cartels from finding a safe haven in sanctuary cities and secure the nation’s borders. She said these efforts have attributed to her city’s record low crime rates.

“What happened in our city of Irving is our crime rate plummeted,” she said. “We had the lowest crime rate in our city’s history, and that lasted for nine years.”

Along with border security, the former mayor and mother of two has promised to work with the president to promote economic opportunity for Americans and fight human trafficking.

Others vying for the state’s 24th district seat included former Green Beret Desi Maes, two realtors and a property manager. The Texas primary election is set to take place on March 3rd.

Original Article

President Trump: ‘Sen. Manchin was a puppet for Schumer, Pelosi during impeachment hoax’

FILE – In this Feb. 5, 2020, file photo, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., speaks with reporters after President Donald Trump was acquitted in an impeachment trial on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

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UPDATED 6:40 AM PT — Saturday, February 15, 2020

President Trump said he was very surprised about Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) vote for conviction during the impeachment trial. In a string of tweets, the president said Manchin voted against him in the Democrats’ “totally partisan impeachment hoax.”

He added that “no president has done more for the great people of West Virginia than me.”

The president went on to say “every Republican, except Romney,…voted against impeachment.” He then took a jab at Manchin by saying “he was just a puppet for Schumer and Pelosi.”

This came after Manchin said he would consider endorsing President Trump for reelection. On Thursday, the senator emphasized “everybody can change” and that he’s “not ruling anything out.”

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., speaks with reporters after President Donald Trump was acquitted in an impeachment trial on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

This seeming reversal of opinion left many scratching their heads following his vote for conviction just weeks earlier.

“Over the duration of this trial, I have listened carefully,” Manchin previously stated. “The House managers have presented a strong case, showing what the president did was wrong.”

Manchin has been known to be a leader in the Senate and often crossed party lines to vote for what he believes is right. He’s even used his swing vote in critical situations to help push conservative issues, such as the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh.

However, this new reversal has many questioning his belief system.

He has called this switch “the most difficult and serious decision any senator could face.” He also voted to pass the controversial War Powers bill this week, which would limited President Trump’s ability to take military action against Iran.

Original Article

Pelosi backs President Trump’s warnings on Huawei

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, speaks on the first day of the 56th Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany, Friday, Feb.14, 2020. (Sven Hoppe/dpa via AP)

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UPDATED 6:25 PM PT — Friday, February 14, 2020

On Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged foreign nations to completely cut ties with Chinese telecom giant Huawei. At a security conference in Germany, Pelosi stated that choosing to do business with the company is essentially choosing autocracy over democracy.

Pelosi noted that Huawei is becoming more dangerous than ever as it builds its 5G network, which could bring in new business partners. She encouraged the international community to come together to create alternatives to the company.

“If you want to build a collective conscience of values and respect for human rights, don’t go Huawei,” she said. “Instead, let’s internationalize, build something together that will be about freedom of information.”

On Thursday, the U.S. filed new charges against Huawei, including the company’s alleged theft of trade secrets from U.S.-based companies.

Officials said the company’s successful efforts to steal trade secrets and technology gave it a “significant and unfair competitive advantage.” This comes just days after officials said Huawei has covert access to mobile phone networks.

FILE – In this Jan. 29, 2019, file photo, the logos of Huawei are displayed at its retail shop window reflecting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs office in Beijing. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

Meanwhile, the deadline for U.S. businesses to cut ties with the Chinese tech company has been delayed for the fourth time. Earlier on Thursday, the Trump administration granted Huawei a temporary license to continue working with American companies for another 45 days.

The Commerce Department said a number of rural broadband carriers rely on the tech company.

Huawei was blacklisted by the administration last May after it was deemed a national security risk. The company has responded to these allegations by accusing the Justice Department of attempting to “irrevocably damage Huawei’s reputation” and business.

“The U.S. Department of Justice’s new charges against Huawei are part of this campaign, this is political persecution, plain and simple,” read their latest statement.

Original Article

Tom Ridge says Trump’s Ukraine call left him ‘disappointed and troubled,’ says he won’t back president in 2020

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President Trump abused the power of his office by asking the leader of Ukraine to investigate Democrat Joe Biden, the nation’s first homeland security secretary said Tuesday.

Tom Ridge, who led the Department of Homeland Security from its creation in 2003 until February 2005, made the remarks in Harrisburg, the Pennsylvania capital, just a short distance from where Trump addressed a rally in Hershey later in the day.

RON JOHNSON CASTS DOUBT ON VINDMAN TESTIMONY, SAYS NSC OFFICIAL FITS 'PROFILE' OF NEVER-TRUMPER

“I am disappointed and troubled by the very fact that my president – and he is my president – would ask a foreign leader of a troubled country who’s been besieged by an enemy of the United States, to do him a political favor,” Ridge said at a renewable energy event sponsored by the Pennsylvania Conservative Energy Forum, PennLive.com reported. “As far as I’m concerned, it is abuse of power.”

Ridge, now 74, was a Republican governor of Pennsylvania from 1995 until 2001, when he resigned soon after taking the job of homeland security adviser to former President George W. Bush soon after the terror attacks of Sept. 11. The adviser job eventually evolved into the Cabinet-level position it remains today.

Tom Ridge was the inaugural secretary of Homeland Security under former President George W. Bush. (Associated Press)

Tom Ridge was the inaugural secretary of Homeland Security under former President George W. Bush. (Associated Press)

He made it clear that he won’t support Trump in 2020 and has said previously that he didn’t support Trump in 2016. He said his 2020 choice will be whichever candidate can bring “experience and demeanor and global perspective” to the job, when Republican or Democrat.

But he won’t publicly endorse a Democrat, he added.

“I’m going to wait and see what the Democrats do before I make my final decision,” he told PennLive. “People know how I feel about Trump so obviously I will be looking for an alternative. If not, as I’ve said to folks before, I wrote in the names of two Republican governors before because I love govs.”

Ridge added that he thinks Trump’s handling of foreign policy has allowed other countries to assert their own agendas, particularly Russia.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin “has got to be one of the happiest world leaders,” Ridge said.

“Even in his wildest imagination he never imagined when he played in our election in 2016, and he’s playing with it in 2019 and 2020, that he would have four years of incredible political destabilization because of what he did and he’ll keep doing it.”

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CNN’s Don Lemon blasts Trump-Thanos edit as ‘juvenile meme game’

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CNN host Don Lemon blasted the Trump campaign Tuesday for playing what he described as a “stupid, juvenile meme game” and effectively undermining the “seriousness of what is happening” after House Democrats announced they're filing two articles of impeachment against the president.

DEMOCRATS UNVEIL IMPEACHMENT ARTICLES, AS WHITE HOUSE SLAMS 'BASELESS AND PARTISAN' EFFORT

Lemon reacted to a doctored video posted by Trump War Room, an account managed by Trump 2020 campaign, depicting the president’s head edited on top of the body of Thanos, the extraterrestrial menace in the Avengers films from Disney and Marvel Studios. In the clip, Trump-Thanos says “I am inevitable,” before snapping its fingers and causing Nancy Pelosi and key Democrat committee leaders at a press conference to disintegrate into dust.

“House Democrats can push their sham impeachment all they want,” the Trump War Room account tweeted. “President Trump's re-election is inevitable.”

“What are we, in junior high school? Like what the hell? What is this?” Lemon asked on "CNN Tonight." “Like what — What?! I cannot believe that I’m even having to report this on the news. This is — this is crazy. This is literally crazy. Are you people insane? Are you insane?”

“Go ahead, troll the Democrats on Twitter. Do this stupid, silly you-know-what. Play this stupid, juvenile meme game,” Lemon continued. “History won’t record this meme stupid crap, but history will record this. The seriousness of what is happening, that today is the day that the House of Representatives in the United States of America introduced articles of impeachment against President Donald J. Trump, the President of the United States of America, for committing high crimes and misdemeanors. A big deal.”

At the same press conference depicted in the video, House Democrats introduced two articles of impeachment against Trump alleging abuse of power and obstruction of Congress regarding his interactions with Ukraine. They outlined their impeachment plans in a brief and pointed statement to the media early Tuesday morning, and left without taking questions.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., later posted text of the articles, which declare Trump's actions warrant impeachment, trial and removal from office. In response, the White House accused Democrats of using the Ukraine issue as an excuse for "this partisan, gratuitous, and pathetic attempt to overthrow the Trump Administration and the results of the 2016 election."

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In the Marvel movie "Avengers: Infinity Game," the character Thanos used his Gauntlet to defeat the heroes before celebrating his victory by snapping his fingers, wiping out half of all life forms in the universe. Thanos was ultimately beaten by Tony Stark, also known as Iron Man, in a rematch seen in this year’s "Avengers: Endgame."

Fox News’ Brooke Singman and Fox Business' Ken Martin contributed to this report.

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After Trump’s 9th Circuit pick confirmed, Biden warns of 2nd term ‘death grip’ on federal courts: report

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While Democrats in Congress have been conducting impeachment hearings in recent weeks, President Trump has been filling judicial vacancies in the federal court system at a rapid clip – and that appears to have potential 2020 opponent Joe Biden worried.

“Look at how the federal court system is changing,” Biden told a group in Las Vegas on Tuesday night, according to a reporter for ABC News. “Four more years of the same kind of appointments, you’re going to see a court system that is fundamentally, for two generations, locked in a way that’s a death grip that does not make any sense.

“It’s as if Robert Bork would be the chief justice, God rest his soul,” Biden added, referring to the Ronald Reagan Supreme Court nominee whose appointment Democrats blocked in 1987. Bork died in 2012 at age 85.

TRUMP NOMINATES WAVE OF CALIFORNIA JUDGES, IN FRESH BID TO RESHAPE COURTS

In a 53-40 vote Tuesday, the U.S. Senate confirmed Trump appointee Patrick Bumatay, a San Diego federal prosecutor, to a seat on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, making him the 49th circuit appointee to be confirmed under the Trump administration, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Trump was able to get Bumatay confirmed to the San Francisco-based court despite opposition to the nomination from California’s two Democratic U.S. senators, Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris.

Bumatay, 41, a son of Filipino immigrants, is openly gay and is raising twin daughters with his husband, the newspaper reported.

The Senate is expected to vote on another 9th Circuit nominee — Lawrence Van Dyke, a former solicitor general for Nevada – on Wednesday, potentially giving Trump another appointee on the traditionally liberal-leaning court, the Union-Tribune reported.

TRUMP-SHAPED 9TH CIRCUIT HANDS WHITE HOUSE MAJOR WIN ON ASYLUM POLICY

When the Senate confirmed a Trump pick for the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in late November, that court became the third to shift to a Republican-appointed majority since the president took office in January 2017.

In an 80-15 vote, the Senate confirmed Barbara Lagoa to the 11th Circuit seat previously held by Judge Stanley Marcus, a Clinton appointee who sat on the appeals court that handles cases from Florida, Georgia and Alabama since 1997.

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Lagoa, the first Cuban-American woman confirmed to the 11th Circuit, tilted that court, which was previously split between six Republican appointees and six Democratic appointees, to a GOP-appointed majority.

Trump's nominees alone now hold five of the 12 seats on the 11th Circuit.

During the previous week, confirmation of Steven Menashi, Trump’s pick for the 2nd Circuit, flipped that court to a Republican majority.

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Trump has also flipped the 3rd Circuit.

Lagoa was Trump's 48th nominee confirmed to a circuit court seat, giving the president double the number of circuit judges then-President Barack Obama had gotten through by the same point in his presidency, according to a count by the Heritage Foundation.

Fox News’ Tyler Olson contributed to this story.

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Russia’s Sergey Lavrov meets with Trump, Pompeo, dismisses election-interference worries

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After meeting with President Trump at the White House in the Oval Office on Tuesday, Russia's foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said there was no talk of election interference and brushed off the notion that it was a topic of importance.

Lavrov did, however, acknowledge that he discussed election interference with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, but said it has yet to come up in his talks with Trump, according to The Associated Press.

“We haven’t exactly even discussed elections,” Lavrov said at a news conference at the Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Lavrov downplayed a question about whether or not Trump had shared any classified information with him during their meeting and told reporters, "If you find any secrets, the scoop is yours." He also lamented the "wave of suspicion that has overcome Washington" with regard to election interference.

PUTIN, ZELENSKY, IN FIRST SITDOWN, AGREE TO EXCHANGE ALL PRISONERS, REVIVE PEACE PROCESS

"All speculation about our alleged interference in domestic processes of the United States is baseless," Lavrov added.

In addition to discussing arms control, Pompeo and Lavrov reportedly highlighted Russian aggression against Ukraine, as well. Pompeo reiterated the United States' position that Crimea belongs to Ukraine, and should not be subject to Russian control. The peninsula was annexed by Russia in 2014.

Lavrov's arrival came after a meeting in Paris on Monday between Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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The meeting was considered an attempt to de-escalate tensions between the two nations amid a five-year separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine. Both leaders agreed to exchange all prisoners and implement a cease-fire by the end of the year, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Fox News' Louis Casiano and The Associated Press contributed to this report

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Federal judge blocks Trump plan to spend millions in military funds on border wall construction

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Democrats call out Trump for lack of progress on border wall

National Border Patrol Council Brandon Judd on President Trump's border wall progress.

A federal judge in Texas has blocked the Trump administration from using $3.6 billion earmarked for the military to fund border wall construction.

District Court Judge David Briones, a Bill Clinton appointee, ruled in an El Paso court Tuesday that the money cannot be diverted to build 175 miles of steel barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The El Paso County and Border Network for Human Rights sued the administration in October, claiming President Trump overstepped his authority when he issued a national emergency declaration to get additional funds for the wall — his signature 2016 campaign promise.

IN SAN DIEGO, OFFICIALS SAY NEW WALL IS HELPING BRING BORDER NUMBERS DOWN

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Congress had already given him $1.375 billion for wall construction.

Briones ruled in October to temporarily halt the president's plan to use the Pentagon funds. His Tuesday ruling only applies to the $3.6 billion, not other money available to the administration, including funds from counter-drug operations.

In September, Defense Secretary Mark Esper signed off on spending the $3.6 billion, provoking outcry from Democrats and immigration-rights advocates.

Kristy Parker, an attorney with the nonprofit group Protect Democracy who represented the plaintiffs, described Trump's declaration as a power grab.

Supreme Court clears way for Trump administration to use Pentagon funds for border wall constructionVideo

"Today’s order affirms that the president is not a king and that our courts are willing to check him when he oversteps his bounds," Parker said in a statement. "This is a huge win for democracy and the rule of law.”

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Earlier this year, the Supreme Court paved the way for the administration to use $2.5 billion in Pentagon funds to replace existing fencing in California, Arizona and New Mexico.

The Trump administration is expected to appeal Tuesday's decision.

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Trump, at Pennsylvania rally, says ‘stupid’ impeachment indirectly led to USMCA deal

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Trump, Pence speak at Keep America Great Rally

President Trump was headlining a rally in the key swing state of Pennsylvania on a momentous day in his presidency after House Democrats unveiled two articles of impeachment against him, even as they also handed him a breakthrough political victory by finally approving his new trade deal to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

"Congress will soon vote on my new trade deal," Trump announced at the rally. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "did it on the same day they announced they are going to impeach the 45th president of the United States and your favorite president. And the reason they announced it on the same day, one hour later, they announced impeachment … you know why? It plays down the impeachment, because they're embarrassed by impeachment, and our poll numbers have gone through the roof because of her stupid impeachment."

Trump added: "The silver lining of impeachment and this witch hunt, that's the reason they approved USMCA," a reference to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

Tuesday night's rally gave Trump an opportunity to deliver his response to thousands of die-hard supporters in person. He spent much of the day blasting Democrats on Twitter, saying that impeaching a president “who has done NOTHING wrong, is sheer Political Madness!"

Before leaving the White House, Trump said Democrats were “embarrassed” by the introduction of articles of impeachment against him, and cited polls showing declining support for impeachment in key swing states. Trump argued that's why Democrats finally announced earlier Tuesday they supported USMCA, the modernization of NAFTA that the president made the top legislative priority of the year.

“They were very embarrassed by it,” Trump claimed to reporters. “That’s why they brought up USMCA an hour after.”

“They wanted to muffle down impeachment,” Trump added. He then tweeted that he was on his way to Hershey in south-central Pennsylvania, adding, "I love Hershey chocolate!" At the rally, Trump emphasized that he likes Hershey chocolate.

The event was being held in a Republican-leaning congressional district, and thousands lined up early for seats. Former state Sen. Scott Wagner reportedly offered to pay up to $20,000 in security costs for the event on behalf of the local government.

Trump eked out a 2016 win in Pennsylvania by piling up support with rural and working-class white voters. He'd need to hold that support to counter any energy from Democrats in the suburbs of Philadelphia.

Congressional passage of USMCA "will be a significant win for farmers, workers and all Americans," said Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Iowa Republican chairing the chamber's Finance Committee. "Renegotiating NAFTA was a central campaign promise made by President Trump. He kept his word and Americans will enjoy the many benefits of this upgraded trade deal as a result."

Approving the agreement gave House Democrats, particularly those from more conservative districts, a useful talking point when they head home for the holidays. Many had been reluctant to face voters with few legislative achievements beyond impeaching the president, and Pelosi emphasized the deal's importance to American workers.

USMCA "will be the best and most important trade deal ever made by the USA," President Trump tweeted earlier Tuesday. Vice President Mike Pence said the Democrats' move was a victory for Trump's policy and showed Pelosi and her caucus acquiescing "to the voice of the American people."

President Trump walking from the Oval Office as he headed to speak with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House before departing for the Pennsylvania rally Tuesday. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

President Trump walking from the Oval Office as he headed to speak with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House before departing for the Pennsylvania rally Tuesday. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

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The USMCA, which would overhaul Clinton-era NAFTA, would require that 75 percent of automobile components be manufactured in the United States, Canada and Mexico in order to avoid tariffs, and that 40 to 45 percent of automobile parts be made by workers earning at least $16 an hour by 2023.

"More than 12 million American jobs depend on our $1.4 trillion trading relationship with Canada and Mexico, and USMCA will strengthen this trade relationship," said Tom Linebarger, the CEO of engine-maker Cummins Inc. and chairman of the Business Roundtable's trade and international committee. The Roundtable has represented the CEOs of the 200 largest U.S. companies.

Fox Business Network's Jonathan Garber, Fox News' Charles Creitz and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

Trump calls articles of impeachment ‘weak’ and only reason Dems agreed to USMCA

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Rep. Jim Banks: 'Shame on Speaker Pelosi' for politicizing impeachment and USMCA

Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) shares his reaction to the House Judiciary Committee issuing two articles of impeachment against President Trump for Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress. He also weighs in on the GOP's biggest takeaways from the impeachment inquiry.

In his first public remarks since Democrats formally announced articles of impeachment against him, President Trump called the two charges leveled against him “weak” and said the only reason Democrats agreed to a modified North American trade deal was because of impeachment.

Speaking on the White House lawn before departing for a campaign rally in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, Trump called it a “disgrace” to “make impeachment out of nothing,” while touting both the strength of the economy and recent polling that showed him ahead of his Democratic rivals in the 2020 presidential race.

Trump’s comments came hours after House Democrats announced two articles of impeachment against the president on Tuesday morning, saying that his actions toward Ukraine “betrayed the nation.” The specific charges: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

DEMOCRATS UNVEIL IMPEACHMENT ARTICLES, AS WHITE HOUSE SLAMS 'BASELESS AND PARTISAN' EFFORT

Earlier, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., at the Capitol, said they were upholding their solemn oath to defend the Constitution. Trump responded angrily on Twitter: “WITCH HUNT!”

Voting is expected in a matter of days by the Judiciary Committee and by Christmas in the full House. The charges, if approved, would then be sent to the Senate, where the Republican majority would be unlikely to convict Trump, but not without a potentially bitter trial just as voters in Iowa and other early presidential primary states begin making their choices.

Rep. Karen Bass: I think we are ‘rock solid’ on impeachment vote in the houseVideo

In the formal articles announced Tuesday, the Democrats said Trump enlisted a foreign power in “corrupting” the U.S. election process and endangered national security by asking Ukraine to investigate his political rivals, including Democrat Joe Biden, while withholding U.S. military aid as leverage. That benefited Russia over the U.S. as America's ally fought Russian aggression, the Democrats said.

Trump then obstructed Congress by ordering current and former officials to defy House subpoenas for testimony and by blocking access to documents, the charges say.

READ THE IMPEACHMENT ARTICLE TEXT

Shortly after Democrats introduced the articles of impeachment, the White House and Democrats announced reached an agreement on the revamped U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

“There is no question of course that this trade agreement is much better than [the North American Free Trade Agreement]," Pelosi said when announcing the agreement, saying the pact is “infinitely better than what was initially proposed by the administration."

Trump said the revamped trade pact will “be great" for the United States.

Rep. Liz Cheney says no self-respecting elected official would support articles of impeachment against TrumpVideo

“It will be the best and most important trade deal ever made by the USA. Good for everybody – Farmers, Manufacturers, Energy, Unions — tremendous support. Importantly, we will finally end our Country’s worst Trade Deal, NAFTA!,” the president said in a tweet.

A U.S. House vote is likely before Congress adjourns for the year, and the Senate is likely to vote in January or February. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the vote on the trade deal will likely occur after an expected impeachment trial in the Senate.

Fox News' Kelly Chernenkoff and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

Trump paid more than $2M to charities to end Trump Foundation lawsuit, officials say

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Judge orders President Trump to pay $2 million settlement

Lawsuit claims Trump misused the Trump Foundation for business, political reasons; chief White House correspondent John Roberts reports from the North Lawn.

President Trump paid more than $2 million in a court-ordered settlement to end a lawsuit in which he was accused of misusing funds at his charitable foundation for political gain.

The payment and the remaining $1.8 million in the Trump Foundation's bank account were distributed among eight charities, New York Attorney General (AG) Letitia James announced Tuesday.

Those charities are Army Emergency Relief, the Children’s Aid Society, Citymeals on Wheels, Give an Hour, Martha’s Table, the United Negro College Fund, the United Way of National Capital Area and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Each received $476,140, James said.

TRUMP FOUNDATION AGREES TO DISSOLVE AFTER LAWSUIT ALLEGED 'ILLEGAL CONDUCT'

Trump Foundation to dissolve under court supervisionVideo

“Not only has the Trump Foundation shut down for its misconduct, but the president has been forced to pay $2 million for misusing charitable funds for his own political gain," James said in a statement.

The lawsuit filed in June 2018 accused Trump and his three eldest children of using the Donald J. Trump Foundation to boost Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, settle legal disputes and for the purchase of sports paraphernalia, among other items.

NY AG PROMISES TO 'USE EVERY AREA OF THE LAW' TO PROBE TRUMP, FAMILY

Last month, a judge ordered Trump to pay $2 million in damages. James' office had originally pushed for $2.8 million in restitution and a $5.6 million penalty. As part of the settlement, Trump admitted to misusing Trump Foundation funds and agreed to limitations and restrictions on future charitable work.

"Charities are not a means to an end, which is why these damages speak to the president’s abuse of power and represent a victory for not-for-profits that follow the law," James said. "My office will continue to fight for accountability because no one is above the law — not a businessman, not a candidate for office, and not even the president of the United States.”

The settlement also called for mandatory training requirements for Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump, which all three have completed, James said.

Donald J. Trump foundation says it wanted to dissolve before it was made into a lawsuit, but wasn’t allowed toVideo

Attorneys for the Trump Foundation accused James of timing her announcement to deflect attention from her office's Tuesday loss against Exxon Mobil in a climate change lawsuit.

“The AG’s office doesn’t want the media to focus on the massive trial they lost today," attorneys Marc Mukasey and Alan Futerfas told Fox News in an emailed statement. "Our case was amicably resolved weeks ago. The judge commended both parties for the resolution. The legacy of the Trump Foundation — which gave away many millions to those most in need at virtually no cost — is secure.”

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The three-decades-old foundation reached a deal with the New York Attorney General to shut down in December 2018 amid the lawsuit. Authorities claimed Trump ran the foundation as an extension of his business empire and presidential campaign.

Last month, Trump said James had deliberately mischaracterized the settlement for political purposes. The foundation's attorney argued that the lawsuit was politically motivated, which a judge rejected.

Original Article

Lisa Page sues FBI and DOJ, citing ‘cost of therapy’ after Trump mocked her salacious text messages

closeWhy is former FBI lawyer Lisa Page choosing to speak out about text messages now?Video

Why is former FBI lawyer Lisa Page choosing to speak out about text messages now?

Reaction from investigative reporter John Solomon and 'The Plot Against the President' author Lee Smith.

Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page is suing the FBI and Department of Justice, alleging that the government's publication of her salacious text messages with anti-Trump ex-FBI agent Peter Strzok constituted a breach of the Federal Privacy Act.

In the complaint filed Tuesday, the 39-year-old Page said she suffered numerous damages, including a "permanent loss of earning capacity due to reputational damage" and "the cost of therapy to cope with unwanted national media exposure and harassment" caused by the disclosure.

Page's complaint also sought reimbursement for "the cost of childcare during and transportation to multiple investigative reviews and appearances before Congress," the "cost of paying a data-privacy service to protect her personal information," and attorney's fees.

On Dec. 12, 2017, Page said in the complaint, "DOJ and/or FBI officials disclosed" her sensitive text messages "directly to a select group of reporters to ensure they would become public." Page alleged that after discovery, she would be able to prove that senior officials knew they were violating the law, and that their conduct was "willful and intentional."

Among those texts was a July 2016 message in which Page wrote to Strzok, “She [Hillary Clinton] just has to win now. I’m not going to lie, I got a flash of nervousness yesterday about Trump.” Within days, the FBI began investigating then-candidate Trump's alleged connections to Russia.

And, after Trump made a joke at a presidential debate concerning his hand size, Page wrote, "This man cannot be president." Strzok, meanwhile, called Trump a “douche," mocked Trump supporters, and said he was "scared."

Page's lawsuit lamented that Trump's tweets about Page's texts "have been retweeted and favorited millions of times." Trump, Page went on, has "targeted" her "by name in more than 40 tweets and dozens of interviews, press conferences, and statements from the White House, fueling unwanted media attention that has radically altered her day-to-day life."

She argued that federal law prevents agencies from disclosing personal records about individuals "unless an exception applies or the individual who is the subject of the record consents in writing to the disclosure."

Page's lawsuit claimed that there was no public-interest justification for the government's leak, given that DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz was already reviewing the texts and later found "no evidence of bias affecting investigative decisions it reviewed, including matters in which Ms. Page was involved." Page asserted that the government leakers were trying to gain favor with Trump.

STRZOK'S WIFE FOUND EVIDENCE OF HIS AFFAIR WITH LISA PAGE … AND 'PARANOID' NEW YORK AGENT FOUND STRZOK WAS APPARENTLY SLOW-WALKING WEINER LAPTOP REVIEW, FILING SAYS

However, Horowitz noted in an initial report last year that Strzok and Page's anti-Trump texts were "not only indicative of a biased state of mind but, even more seriously, implies a willingness to take official action to impact the presidential candidate’s electoral prospects." He did not conclude definitively that Page and Strzok's actions were free from bias — only that he did not have evidence to tie bias to specific investigative actions.

In a separate bombshell report issued Monday, Horowitz extensively faulted the FBI's secretive efforts to surveil a former Trump aide, which involved both Page and Strzok.

Earlier this month, as part of its effort to reject Strzok's request for reinstatement at the FBI, the DOJ outlined evidence that Strzok's wife had obtained his phone, and discovered he and Page were having an extramarital affair. The DOJ argued that the information was relevant because Strzok had conducted FBI business on iMessage on his personal electronic devices, but insisted his phone was secure and that he had "double deleted" sensitive materials on his phone.

Do anti-Trump text messages between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page rise to the level of treason?Video

"[My wife] has my phone. Read an angry note I wrote but didn't send you. That is her calling from my phone. She says she wants to talk to [you]. Said we were close friends nothing more," one of Strzok's text to Page read, according to the DOJ's filing.

"Your wife left me a vm [voicemail]," Page wrote back to Strzok. "Am I supposed to respond? She thinks we're having an affair. Should I call and correct her understanding? Leave this to you to address?"

Strzok then wrote, "I don't know. I said we were […] close friends and nothing more. She knows I sent you flowers, I said you were having a tough week."

Strzok's wife also found photographs and a hotel reservation "ostensibly" used for a "romantic encounter," the government said.

Page's suit will likely face an immediate challenge from the government. The Supreme Court has previously ruled that suits against the government under the Privacy Act for mental and emotional distress are not immune from the doctrine of sovereign immunity, which limits the right of individuals to sue the federal government.

LISA PAGE BREAKS SILENCE, ACCUSES TRUMP OF MIMICKING HER ORGASM

Her lawsuit does not contain an apology for her conduct, and she has long maintained that her anti-Trump views — which she shared with Strzok using FBI phones even as the two played key roles in the Hillary Clinton and Russia probes — did not affect her official duties.

However, as the FBI was preparing to interview Clinton at her home at the close of the email probe, Page sent Strzok a text message that suggested she was concerned about the political impact of the investigation.

Trump allies and critics promote favorable conclusions from DOJ inspector general reportVideo

“One more thing: She might be our next president,” Page wrote to Strzok on Feb. 24, 2016. “The last thing you need us going in there loaded for bear. You think she’s going to remember or care that it was more [DOJ] than [FBI]?”

“Agreed…,” Strzok responded.

Earlier this month, Page spoke exclusively to The Daily Beast in a highly sympathetic profile authored by Molly Jong-Fast, who called Strzok "hawt" in a tweet last year. In the interview, Page said Trump's open mockery of her conduct had forced her to confront the president publicly.

WATCH REP. GOHMERT UNLOAD ON ‘SMIRKING’ STRZOK: ‘HOW MANY TIMES DID YOU LOOK SO INNOCENT INTO YOUR WIFE’S EYES AND LIE TO HER?’

“Honestly, his demeaning fake orgasm was really the straw that broke the camel’s back," Page told The Daily Beast.

In a rally, Trump had passionately read from Strzok and Page's text messages — even screaming out, "I love you, Lisa! I love you so much! Lisa, she's going to win one-hundred-million-to-nothing. But just in case she doesn't win, we've got an insurance policy!" Conservative commentators have disputed that Trump was mimicking an orgasm.

Strzok, a veteran counterintelligence agent who led FBI investigations into Clinton’s use of a private email server and ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, was removed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team after his anti-Trump texts with Page came to light. He was fired from the FBI last August.

Page left the FBI in May 2018.

Original Article

Ex-spy Christopher Steele surfaces after FISA report challenges Trump dossier research

closeDOJ inspector general's report on alleged FISA abuse finds FBI performance failures, no political biasVideo

DOJ inspector general's report on alleged FISA abuse finds FBI performance failures, no political bias

Michael Horowitz investigated the origins of the FBI probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election and the subsequent surveillance of the Trump presidential campaign; David Spunt reports.

Former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, in a rare public statement, hit back Tuesday after the Justice Department inspector general’s report questioned the reliability of the anti-Trump dossier that served as the basis for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants against Trump campaign official Carter Page.

In a statement obtained by Fox News, Steele attorneys Robert Weinberg and Joshua Shiffrin accused DOJ Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz's office of including “serious errors and misstatements” in their report.

They also criticized the IG for including previously redacted “negative information about Christopher Steele” without giving them an opportunity to review, while saying their client "gave extensive testimony in person and by Skype" for the investigation.

FISA REPORT DROPS: 7 TAKEAWAYS FROM DOJ WATCHDOG'S RUSSIA PROBE REVIEW

Horowitz’s report, which found there was no political bias in the launch of the FBI’s Trump-Russia probe or in the applications for FISA warrants against Page, did find, however, that there were “significant inaccuracies and omissions” in those applications — specifically related to Steele’s reporting.

One error in the FISA application was the inclusion of a “source characterization statement asserting that Steele’s prior reporting had been ‘corroborated and used in criminal proceedings,’ which overstated the significance of Steele’s past reporting and was not approved by Steele’s handling agent.”

The IG report also said a key Steele “sub-source” raised questions about the reliability of Steele's reporting.

But Steele’s attorneys, who also represent Orbis Business Intelligence where Steele worked, fired back, complaining they were “never given an opportunity to respond to the claims” regarding the sub-source.

The attorneys also sought to clarify who Steele was working for — noting that his election reports were “gathered and written for a private client, Fusion GPS.” The work was funded by the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton campaign.

The lawyers said Fusion “consented” to “voluntarily sharing the reports with the FBI,” but rejected assertions that he was a confidential source for the bureau.

Steele “was never a Confidential Human Source for the FBI with respect to any matter,” the attorneys said. Weinberg and Shiffrin said the FBI first engaged with their client in 2013 to conduct investigations on the FBI’s behalf, but Orbis and Steele stressed he could not be a CHS "because his obligations to his former government employer prohibited his acting in such a capacity." They said Steele insisted on a basic "contractual relationship."

Carter Page plans on going after FBI agents who spied on himVideo

CLICK TO READ THE IG REPORT

The FBI ultimately cut ties with Steele for an “unauthorized disclosure to the media of his relationship with the FBI,” but his lawyers defended his contacts and said the bureau “never asked” him “not to disclose information to the media.”

The IG report, though, has exposed Steele to even more scrutiny over his unverified dossier. As his lawyers were putting out their statement, Attorney General Bill Barr called the dossier a "sham" during a forum in Washington, D.C.

Meanwhile, the inspector general report found that not only did Steele’s research surrounding the 2016 presidential election provide much of the information used in Page’s FISA warrant application and renewals, but the FBI did not have specific information corroborating allegations against Page from Steele’s reporting.

"We determined that prior to and during the pendency of the FISAs the FBI was unable to corroborate any of the specific substantive allegations against Carter Page contained in the election reporting and relied on in the FISA applications, and was only able to confirm the accuracy of a limited number of circumstantial facts, most of which were in the public domain," the report said, noting that the information confirmed was only timing of events and dates when Page traveled to Russia.

DOJ WATCHDOG FINDS NO BIAS IN LAUNCH OF TRUMP-RUSSIA PROBE, BUT UNCOVERS 'SIGNIFICANT' FBI ERRORS

In addition to the lack of corroboration, the inspector general found that the FBI's interviews of Steele and his sub-sources "revealed potentially serious problems with Steele’s description of information in his election reports." The report stated that the FBI "failed to notify" the Office of Investigations (OI), which was working on the Page FISA applications, "of the potentially serious problems identified with Steele's election reporting that arose as early as January 2017."

IG report finds mistakes but no political bias in FBI bid to spy on Trump campaignVideo

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Horowitz added that "even as the FBI developed this information, we found no evidence that the Crossfire Hurricane team reconsidered its reliance on the Steele reporting in the FISA renewal applications."

Original Article

Barr blasts FBI’s Trump probe, accuses investigators of ‘gross abuse’

closeAG Barr: Beginning of Russia investigation was 'very flimsy'Video

AG Barr: Beginning of Russia investigation was 'very flimsy'

Attorney General Bill Barr discusses the beginning of the Russia investigation and the origins of the Steele dossier

Attorney General Bill Bar is blasting the FBI’s conduct during the Russia investigation, saying investigators relied on "flimsy" evidence in launching the probe and disputing key conclusions from Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report released Monday.

Horowitz was critical of the FBI for their practices in using the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to get a warrant to conduct surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, but he concluded that the investigation itself was launched properly, without evidence of political bias.

7 TAKEAWAYS FROM FISA REPORT

“It’s hard to look at this stuff and not think that it was a gross abuse,” Barr said during a discussion Tuesday at a Wall Street Journal CEO Council forum in Washington. He referred to the investigation as a whole as a "travesty."

"Where I disagree with Mike, I just think this was very flimsy," he said about the basis for the investigation. The FBI cited comments by Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos to an Australian official as sparking concerns about the campaign's possible involvement with Russia. Barr dismissed this as "a comment made by a 28-year-old volunteer on a campaign in a bar."

Barr also pointed to the FBI’s failure to include key evidence in their FISA warrant applications that would have gone in Page’s favor.

"They withheld from the court all the exculpatory information," he said, calling the anti-Trump dossier used to bolster the warrant applications a "sham."

CLICK TO READ THE IG REPORT

He also pointed out that the Russia investigation was supposed to be a counterintelligence probe, yet there was no effort to warn the Trump campaign about suspected Russian activities.

“The normal thing to do in this situation,” Barr said, “is to go to the campaign, and here I don’t think there’s a legitimate explanation for why they didn’t.”

Barr made it clear that he does not know for sure that there was political bias.

Former DOJ official: Horowitz report findings a 'big problem for America'Video

"I don't know what the motivations were," he said, stating it is premature to make a determination on that.

"That's why we have Durham," Barr said, referring to the ongoing investigation by Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham, which is broader in scope than Horowitz's review. "Durham is able to look at all the evidence," Barr said. He specifically referred to Durham's ability to talk to other government agencies and private parties, and to compel testimony.

Barr’s remarks echo what he said in a blistering NBC interview earlier Tuesday.

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Barr said that despite the report saying Horowitz did not have evidence that political bias played a factor in the investigation, he believes the IG left open “the possibility that there was bad faith” involved.

“All he said was, people gave me an explanation and I didn't find anything to contradict it,” he said. Barr also pointed a finger at the media, saying: "I think our nation was turned on its head for three years based on a completely bogus narrative that was largely fanned and hyped by a completely irresponsible press."

And he said the Trump campaign was "clearly spied upon" during the investigation.

Original Article

Bill Clinton weighs in on Trump impeachment: Congress ‘doing their job’

closeHouse Democrats unveil impeachment articles, alleging abuse of power and obstruction of CongressVideo

House Democrats unveil impeachment articles, alleging abuse of power and obstruction of Congress

House Democrats introduce two articles of impeachment against President Trump regarding his interactions with Ukraine.

Former President Bill Clinton, the only living American president to have gone through the same process, weighed in Tuesday on House Democrats' bid to impeach President Trump — saying lawmakers are doing “what they believe is right.”

“They’re doing their job as they see it and we should wait to see it unfold,” Clinton told Fox News while touring a Clinton Foundation program in New York City. “And the rest of us should go about our jobs and do them as we see it.”

DEMOCRATS UNVEIL IMPEACHMENT ARTICLES, AS WHITE HOUSE SLAMS 'BASELESS AND PARTISAN' EFFORT

House Democrats on Tuesday announced two articles of impeachment against Trump, accusing him of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress over his interactions with Ukraine.

Clinton was impeached in 1998 for perjury and obstruction of justice related to the Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky controversies but was acquitted in the Senate.

Elaborating to a gaggle of reporters, Clinton said: “Congress is doing what they believe is right.” He made the comments at New York City’s Edwards A. Reynolds West Side High School.

READ THE IMPEACHMENT ARTICLE TEXT

Speaking of his wife, 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, the former president said, “You know my candidate didn’t win. I think it was a big mistake for America. But that’s how the Electoral College works so now we’re going forward.”

Fox News' Courtney Crawford contributed to this report.

Original Article

Hillary Clinton cheers impeachment, says Trump ‘waging war’ against democracy

closePoll: Hillary Clinton top 2020 Democrat pick without having entered raceVideo

Poll: Hillary Clinton top 2020 Democrat pick without having entered race

Fox & Trends with Carley Shimkus.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who famously lost the 2016 election to now-President Trump, swiftly gave her public support to articles of impeachment against her political rival after they were announced by House Democrats Tuesday morning.

Clinton called the impeachment push necessary for defending democracy.

DEMOCRATS UNVEIL IMPEACHMENT ARTICLES, AS WHITE HOUSE SLAMS 'BASELESS AND PARTISAN' EFFORT

"We must defend our democracy, and the painful truth is that the occupant of the Oval Office is waging war against it," Clinton tweeted.

Clinton posted the comment along with a video of House Democrats discussing plans to move forward with impeachment articles alleging abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

The former secretary of state and first lady has been the subject of increasing speculation over whether she might make a stunning late entry into the 2020 presidential race, as the crowded field starts to thin.

During a BBC interview in November, Clinton said she is not planning on running, but that she thinks about what it would be like to be president "all the time." When pressed on the issue, she said, "never, never, never say never," and that she's under "enormous pressure" to do so.

Since 2016, Clinton has repeatedly blamed her defeat on a number of factors, including misogyny, Russian hackers and WikiLeaks, and James Comey's public comments about the FBI's investigation of her private email server.

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"If the election had been on October 27, I would be your president," she told CNN's Christiane Amanpour at a 2017 Women for Women International event.

During an October PBS Newshour interview, Clinton teased that "maybe there does need to be a rematch," and that "obviously I can beat him again," referring her securing a majority of the overall popular vote, while Trump won with a significant majority of the electoral votes needed to win.

Original Article