Supreme Court to decide on whether to release President Trump’s tax records

A police officer walks outside the Supreme Court on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, July 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 5:00 PM PT — Wednesday, July 8, 2020

The ongoing fight over the release of the president’s financial records is coming to a close. The Supreme Court is expected to make a decision on three cases, which were presented by House Democrats and a grand jury, on Thursday.

The material in question includes information on the president’s tax returns, banks, longtime accounting firm and his family run real estate business.

In the past, President Trump has said the push from the left to release his records is nonsensical. He pointed out that his records have been under audit by the IRS.

“If I’m not under audit, I would do it. I have no problem with it, but while I’m under audit I would not give my taxes. There is no law whatsoever. …I have no obligation to do that while I’m under audit, and no lawyer would tell you to release your tax returns while you’re under audit.” – Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States

President Donald Trump listens during a “National Dialogue on Safely Reopening America’s Schools,” event in the East Room of the White House, Tuesday, July 7, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

However, in a congressional committee hearing in last February, the president’s former attorney Michael Cohen appeared unsure as to whether or not he was under audit. He said he presumed the president was not at the time.

“Statements that he had said to me was that what he didn’t want is to have an entire group of think tanks that are tax experts run through his tax return and start ripping it to pieces,” stated Cohen. “Then he’ll end up in an audit and he’ll ultimately have taxable consequences, penalties and so on.”

President Trump is the first president in recent years to refuse disclosing his financial records. Thursday’s ruling will undoubtedly test the limits of the power balance between Congress, state prosecutors and the presidency.

MORE NEWS: President Trump Says The U.S. Is In A Good Place

Original Article

Members of ‘The Squad’ introduce bill to defund police

U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., listens to a question from a constituent in Wixom, Mich., Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 4:40 PM PT — Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Members of the progressive Democrat group “The Squad” have proposed their own bill to defund the police. Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley announced “The Breathe Act” Tuesday with other Black Lives Matter activists and called it a new version of public safety.

FILE – In this Aug. 7, 2018, file photo, Ayanna Pressley speaks during a debate at the University of Massachusetts, in Boston. AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

The bill outlines a “time bound” plan to dismantle policing and incarceration. It aims to do so by slashing police funds, which will be reallocated for health, education and environmental housing plans.

It would also divert funds to community and social programs.

The proposal also seeks to eliminate certain federal programs, which have been used to fund immigration enforcement and send surplus military equipment to local law enforcement.

“The Breathe Act outlines a vision that truly defends black lives,” stated Professor Marc Lamont Hill. “It invests in communities where black and marginalized communities can thrive, where they can be free, where they can breathe.”

The bill has not yet been formally introduced, but the progressive proposal is likely to face GOP opposition.

MORE NEWS: Minneapolis Black Leaders Speak Out Against Disbanding Police

Original Article

Feds to loosen school corona rules under pressure from Trump

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Trump touts lower coronavirus death rate as Fauci warns of danger

President Trump says mortality from the coronavirus is down, as Dr. Fauci calls the death rate a ‘false narrative;’ Kristin Fisher reports on the latest.

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On the roster: Feds to loosen school corona rules under pressure from Trump – Texas deaths, hospitalizations soar – SupCo curbs ObamaCare mandate on birth control – Kennedy wins chance to take on turncoat Van Drew – Eligible receiver downfield
FEDS TO LOOSEN SCHOOL CORONA RULES UNDER PRESSURE FROM TRUMP
USA Today: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is revising its guidance on reopening schools after President Donald Trump tweeted his disagreement with them, Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday. ‘The president said today we just don’t want the guidance to be too tough,’ Pence said at a news conference at the U.S. Department of Education. ‘That's the reason why, next week, CDC is going to be issuing a new set of tools, five different documents that will be giving even more clarity on the guidance going forward.’ Trump tweeted Wednesday that he disagrees with the CDC's ‘very tough & expensive guidelines for opening schools’ as the coronavirus pandemic continues… He also threatened to withhold funding from schools that don't populate their classrooms this fall. Asked about that threat, Pence said the administration wants to include ‘incentives for states to go forward’ in the next federal stimulus package. ‘And as we work with Congress on the next round of state support, we're going to be looking for ways to give states a strong incentive and encouragement to get kids back to school,’ said Pence, the head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.”
Convention plans still in flux as Florida woes grow – Politico: “President Donald Trump redirected the Republican National Convention to Florida after North Carolina's Democratic governor couldn’t ‘guarantee’ a full venue in August because of the coronavirus pandemic. But with coronavirus cases skyrocketing in Florida as Trump's poll numbers drop in his must-win battleground state, it looks like the president won't get his full-blown festivities there, either. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a close Trump ally, refused to say on Tuesday whether he would lift a rule mandating that indoor gatherings stay under 50 percent capacity — which would hold the Jacksonville convention to 7,500 people. Two octogenarian GOP senators, Lamar Alexander and Chuck Grassley, announced they wouldn’t attend the convention amid the pandemic, which has hit the elderly the hardest.”
Trump says election ‘a much closer situation’ – RealClearPolitics: “‘If the Republicans don't toughen up and get smart and get strong and protect our heritage and protect our country,’ he explained, ‘I think they're going to have a very tough election.’ … Trump has hit on the message he believes will carry him to a second term. He is not unaware of the spate of polling that shows [Joe] Biden expanding his lead, numbers he takes seriously. But Trump spoke longingly on Tuesday of a kind of campaign that is no longer possible amid a pandemic. ‘This was going to be a blowout, and then China hit us with the ‘China virus,’ and all of a sudden, it discombobulated this country and the entire world. Now, it's a much closer situation,’ he said. ‘We were sailing to an easy victory. Now, I have to fight for the victory, but I've been fighting all my life. That's what I do. I fight for victory.’”
Cook slides key states into Dem column – Cook Political Report: “This election is looking more like a Democratic tsunami than simply a Blue wave. President Trump, mired in some of the lowest job approval ratings of his presidency, is trailing Biden by significant margins in key battleground states like Pennsylvania (8 points), Michigan (9 points), and Wisconsin (9 points). He’s even running behind Biden in his firewall states of Florida and North Carolina. We’ve made changes to our Electoral College ratings to reflect this reality. Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Nebraska’s 2nd district move from Toss Up to Lean Democrat. Maine, once in Lean Democrat, moves to the safer Likely Democratic category. Georgia has joined Arizona, North Carolina and Florida in the Toss Up column, although, at this point, Biden would be slightly favored to win at least Arizona and Florida. … These moves alone push Biden over the 270 electoral vote threshold (to 279).”
THE RULEBOOK: MADE FOR EACH OTHER
“This country and this people seem to have been made for each other, and it appears as if it was the design of Providence, that an inheritance so proper and convenient for a band of brethren, united to each other by the strongest ties, should never be split into a number of unsocial, jealous, and alien sovereignties.” – John Jay, Federalist No. 2
TIME OUT: ALL IT’S CRACKED UP TO BE
History:“On July 8, 1776, a 2,000-pound copper-and-tin bell now known as the ‘Liberty Bell’ rings out from the tower of the Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall) in Philadelphia, summoning citizens to the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. Four days earlier, the historic document had been adopted by delegates to the Continental Congress, but the bell did not ring to announce the issuing of the document until the Declaration of Independence returned from the printer on July 8. In 1751, to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of Pennsylvania’s original constitution, the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly ordered the bell to be constructed. After being cracked during a test, and then recast twice, the bell was hung from the State House steeple in June 1753. Rung to call the Pennsylvania Assembly together and to summon people for special announcements and events, it was also rung on important occasions, such as King George III’s 1761 ascension to the British throne and, in 1765, to call the people together to discuss Parliament’s controversial Stamp Act.”
Flag on the play? – Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.
SCOREBOARD
NATIONAL HEAD-TO-HEAD AVERAGE
Trump: 41.4 percent
Biden: 51 percent
Size of lead: Biden by 9.6 points
Change from one week ago: Biden ↑ 0.4 points; Trump ↑ 2 points
[Average includes: IBD: Trump 40% – Biden 48%; Monmouth: Trump 41% – Biden 53%; CNBC: Trump 41% – Biden 49%; USA Today/Suffolk: Trump 41% – Biden 53%; NPR/PBS/Marist: Trump 44% – Biden 52%.]
BATTLEGROUND POWER RANKINGS
(270 electoral votes needed to win)
Toss-up: (109 electoral votes): Wisconsin (10), Ohio (18), Florida (29), Arizona (11), Pennsylvania (20), North Carolina (15), Iowa (6)
Lean R/Likely R: (180 electoral votes)
Lean D/Likely D: (249 electoral votes)
[Full rankings here.]
TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE
Average approval: 40.2 percent
Average disapproval: 56.4 percent
Net Score: -16.2 points
Change from one week ago: ↓ 2.6 points
[Average includes: Gallup: 38% approve – 57% disapprove; IBD: 39% approve – 56% disapprove; Monmouth: 41% approve – 54% disapprove; CNBC: 43% approve – 57% disapprove; USA Today/Suffolk: 40% approve – 58% disapprove.]
TEXAS DEATHS, HOSPITALIZATIONS SOAR
AP: “The record high of 10,028 new cases in Texas served as another alarming new measure of the swift resurgence of COVID-19 nationwide and the failures of the country’s response. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas aggressively began one of America’s fastest reopenings in May but has begun reversing course in recent weeks, ordering bars closed and mandating face coverings. Texas surged past 8,000 statewide hospitalizations for the first time over the long holiday weekend – a more than quadruple increase on the past month. On Tuesday, the number of hospitalizations soared past 9,000. Texas also set a new high for deaths in a single day with 60. Mayors in some of the biggest cities in the state and U.S. – including Austin, San Antonio and Houston – have warned that hospitals could soon become overwhelmed with coronavirus patients. Along the Texas-Mexico border, some cities imposed curfew orders in hopes of cutting down on large parties or social gatherings as cases have skyrocketed.”
Lone Star Republican leaders shun in-person convention – Texas Tribune: “The Republican Party of Texas is moving forward with its controversial in-person convention during the coronavirus pandemic — but elected officials including Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick will be giving their scheduled speeches virtually. ‘All the elected officials are switching from a live, in-person speech to videos,’ Kyle Whatley, the party’s executive director, said during a town hall livestreamed Tuesday night. ‘They’re doing that for us in order to focus all the attention on the business of the meeting and to get everybody in and out of here as quickly and as safely as possible.’ Texas Republican officials typically headline their party’s biennial state convention, which this year is scheduled for July 16 to 18 at Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center. Roughly 6,000 people are expected to attend the event. Attendees will be required to wear masks during most of the gathering, according to party Chair James Dickey, after Abbott issued a statewide mask mandate last week.”
McConnell says ‘one last boost’ of stimulus soon – Fox News: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is signaling a new coronavirus bill may come soon, weeks after Democrats started pummeling the Kentucky Republican for not teeing up another major COVID-19 package like the House did back in May. ‘This is not over. We are seeing a resurgence in a lot of states,' McConnell said. 'I think the country needs one last boost’… McConnell clearly knows it will be hard to get Democrats and Republicans to align on another bill. A senior Senate GOP leadership source reiterated nothing would be a foregone conclusion.”
States, cities and schools slash spending amid revenue collapse – WSJ: “State and local governments from Georgia to California are cutting money for schools, universities and other services as the coronavirus-induced recession wreaks havoc on their finances. Widespread job losses and closed businesses have reduced revenue from sales and income taxes, forcing officials to make agonizing choices in budgets for the new fiscal year, which started July 1 in much of the country. Governments have cut 1.5 million jobs since March, mostly in education, and more reductions are likely barring a quick economic recovery. In Washington state, some state workers will take unpaid furloughs. In Idaho, Boise State University cut its baseball and swim teams in an effort to save $3 million.”
SUPCO CURBS OBAMACARE MANDATE ON BIRTH CONTROL
Fox News: “The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the Trump administration acted within its authority when it expanded exemptions to the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) requirement for employers to provide insurance coverage that includes contraception — in a victory for Little Sisters of the Poor, the Catholic group that has been at the center of the national debate over the mandate. The court ruled 7-2 in favor of the Trump administration and the Catholic charity that cares for the elderly in two related disputes against Pennsylvania, which sued over the validity of a rule from the Trump administration that allowed religiously affiliated groups and some for-profit companies to opt-out of providing contraception coverage to employees. The majority opinion, written by Justice Clarence Thomas, ruled that the Trump administration's challenged rulemaking was aboveboard, and hailed the work of the Little Sisters of the Poor.”
Trump tax returns on deck – Fox News: “The Supreme Court is expected to release their final three opinions of current term on Thursday, two of them having to do with subpoenas for President Trump's financial records, including his tax returns. One involves two consolidated cases in which Democrat-led House committees are seeking records from accounting firm Mazars USA, Deutsche Bank, and Capital One, while the other involves grand jury subpoenas from the Manhattan District Attorney's office to Mazars and the Trump Organization. A House Oversight Committee subpoena of Mazars seeks access to a slew of Trump financial documents dating back to 2011, including personal records and records of various affiliated businesses and entities. Democrats pursued the subpoena after former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen testified to Congress that the president's accountants routinely and improperly altered his financial statements — including some signed by Mazars — to misrepresent his assets and liabilities.”
KENNEDY WINS CHANCE TO TAKE ON TURNCOAT VAN DREW
Philadelphia Inquirer: “Amy Kennedy, a South Jersey school teacher who married into a storied American political family, toppled the region’s most powerful political machine Tuesday to claim an unlikely victory in the Democratic primary for New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District. Kennedy, the wife of former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, will now bring the Democratic bona fides of her own family – her father was an Atlantic County freeholder – and that of her in-laws to bear against freshman U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, a former longtime Democrat who switched parties last year and memorably pledged his ‘undying support’ to President Donald Trump in the Oval Office. … The understated Kennedy, 41, her five children eating cupcakes nearby, smiled broadly after taking off her cloth face mask to cheers and a rousing introduction by Gov. Phil Murphy, who introduced her by saying Democrats had ‘won the lottery’ in Kennedy.”
Family business: Omar pays husband’s firm big bucks – Fox News: “When U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar got remarried in March following her divorce, the Minnesota Democrat tied the knot with a man who was a member of her political consulting team. Now, campaign data show Omar has paid Tim Mynett’s consulting firm a total of more than $878,000 since 2018 — including $189,000 just weeks after the couple announced they were husband and wife, the New York Post reported. In the first quarter of this year, Mynett’s E Street Group has received more than $292,000 from Omar’s campaign for digital advertising, fundraising consulting and research services, the Star Tribune of Minneapolis reported in April, citing data from the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Payments for 2019 totaled more than $500,000, the Star Tribune reported.”
AUDIBLE: ‘WE’ SAY?
“I’m not saying Trump’s in my way, he may be a part of my way. And Joe Biden? Like come on man, please. You know? Obama’s special. Trump’s special. We say Kanye West is special. America needs special people that lead. Bill Clinton? Special. Joe Biden’s not special.” – Kayne West in an interview with Forbes
PLAY BY PLAY
Harvard, MIT sue over Trump rules on foreign students – Reuters
Trump hosts Mexican president – Reuters
Chief Justice Roberts injured head in fall last month, was hospitalized – Fox News
Leading artists, writers pen letter denouncing cancel culture –BBC
Poll: Most Americans optimistic on race relations despite troublesMonmouth University
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“What would happen if Trump refuses to leave office if he were to lose and what would the potential consequences be?”Jackson Sperry, Chaska, Minn.
[Ed. note: Oh, now, Mr. Sperry! If Trump loses the election, I assume he will want to be as far away from the White House as possible. The 49ers aren’t still hanging around in Miami looking for a rematch. And even if he did want to try to stay, his wife and family would presumably talk and walk him through such madness. If they couldn’t prevail, his fellow Republicans would shut things down by refusing to support him. And if all that failed, we know the military and other parts of the executive branch would refuse to follow his orders after noon on Jan. 20. A president can’t really refuse to leave office because the office leaves him. You can go ahead and strike this one from your fret list.]
“I send this for your (hoped-for) amusement. As one of your liberal readers (and, incidentally, a graduate of George Washington HS in Charleston, WV), in 2001, I had a t-shirt, with cartoon drawings and the following caption: SCOTUS + HOCUS POCUS = BOGUS POTUS SupCo just wouldn’t have worked!” – Lesley Wischmann, Holly Ridge, N.C.
[Ed. note: How about “Uh-oh SupCo low blow”? I’ll keep working on it… Always good to hear from a fellow misplaced West Virginian!]
“This: ‘THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE DODGES ANOTHER BULLET’ was one of the best discussions of the subject I’ve read. But I have a question. I live in Missouri – a very red state. This means that I am pretty much disenfranchised when it comes to presidential elections because I tend to vote Democratic and this is a ‘winner take all’ state. Who I vote for makes absolutely no difference? (The same is true in reverse for the Republicans in our neighbor state of Illinois.) What happens if states apportioned electors based on some less ‘gross’ measure such as by county or even proportionally according to the popular vote?The Halftime Report is still one of the best things to hit my inbox. I don’t always agree, but I recognize the effort to cover all aspects of most issues fairly. I never miss one and I read every word.” – Anne Barnstead-Klos, St. Louis
[Ed. note: First of all, Ms. Barnstead-Klos, let’s go Redbirds. As to the benefits of proportional electoral distribution by state, I am skeptical but not firmly opposed. It avoids some of the worst parts of a national popular vote system, particularly in the conduct of elections. As we see with presidential primaries, proportional allocation is a pretty simple way to deliver more direct democracy. I will have to think, though, about how it would work with the demagoguery question. Would it tend to make campaigning and governance less partisan as candidates looked to pick off electors in states they would lose outright? As it is, moderate voters in both parties tend to get pretty short shrift. Or would it be easier for campaigns and parties to seek electors in a proportional system by running hard to the left or the right? I don’t know. I’m increasingly enamored of James Madison’s idea for choosing electors at the congressional district level with two bonus electors for winning statewide. I will keep chewing this one over for some time, I’m sure. Thanks for putting some more hay in my manger!]
Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
ELIGIBLE RECEIVER DOWNFIELD
ABC7: “Phillip Blanks played wide receiver at a college in Southern California. But the greatest catch he ever made in his life came long after his playing career ended. Heart-stopping video shows Blanks diving to catch a 3-year-old boy thrown off the balcony of a burning building in Phoenix on July 3. ‘Instinct. There wasn't much thinking. I just reacted. I just did it,’ he told Eyewitness News in recalling the moment. The 28-year-old says he was raised with the mindset of always looking to help others: He served in the U.S. Marines and now works in the security industry. And of course his time as a wide receiver at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo in 2016-17 was a big help too.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“We pretend that we go through this nonsense as a small price paid to assure the safety of air travel. Rubbish. This has nothing to do with safety — 95 percent of these inspections, searches, shoe removals, and pat-downs are ridiculously unnecessary.” Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing about airport security in theNational Review on November 19, 2010.
Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Bree Tracey contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.

Original Article

7 of 47 in Senate Dems Caucus have mostly non-white staffs, survey shows

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Fox News Flash top headlines for July 8

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Seven out of 47 senators who caucus with the Democrats have a team made up of at least 50 percent of staffers who identify as “non-Caucasian,” according to new data.

The Senate Democratic Caucus currently includes 45 Democrats and two independent senators, and the bloc has released similar survey results each year since 2017. Senate Republicans have not released such data.

The caucus described the survey as “a snapshot of the racial, ethnic and gender diversity among U.S. Senate Democratic staff.” It is dated June 30 but was released Wednesday. It provides percentages relating the staff makeup of senators and Senate committees — but not hard numbers.

DEM SENATOR SAYS TRUMP WOULD BE 'ABANDONING THE TROOPS' IF HE VETOES DEFENSE SPENDING BILL

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker has the most diverse staff at 65 percent non-white, 4 percent higher than last year, according to the survey. His staffers are 33 percent Black or African-American, 24 percent Latino and 54 percent female.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, second right, speaks as Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, from left, Senator Cory Booker, a Democrat from New Jersey, and Senator Mazie Hirono, a Democrat from Hawaii, listen during a news conference after a weekly caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, second right, speaks as Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, from left, Senator Cory Booker, a Democrat from New Jersey, and Senator Mazie Hirono, a Democrat from Hawaii, listen during a news conference after a weekly caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images) (Getty)

Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz followed with 64 percent along with California Sen. Kamala Harris at 61 percent. Harris’ office dropped by 9 percent since last year.

Nevada Sen. Jacky Rosen’s office is made up of 54 percent non-Caucasians and New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall’s is 52 percent, according to the survey.

The offices of New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine each came in at 50 percent.

Forty of the senators have a majority-white staff. Only four had a majority male staff.

The two independent senators, Maine Sen. Angus King and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, have 8 and 28 percent non-Caucasian staffers, respectively.

Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, wipes his microphone as he arrives for a Senate Intelligence Committee nomination hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)

Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, wipes his microphone as he arrives for a Senate Intelligence Committee nomination hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)

But King’s office is more diverse than his home state, which is more than 94 percent white, according to The Hill. Sanders' fellow Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy has a 9 percent non-white staff. Their state is also more than 94 percent white, according to the outlet.

Washington Sen. Patty Murray has the highest percentage of LGBTQ staffers with 22 percent.

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In 2015, people of color held only 7.1 percent of top Senate staff positions, according to the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a think tank focused on public policy issues affecting Black Americans.

“Senate Democrats’ willingness to publish this data is a critical first step toward acknowledging and addressing challenges in diversity among congressional staff,” Dr. LaShonda Brenson, a Joint Center senior fellow, said in a statement. “We commend Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer and the rest of the Senate Democrats for their leadership on Capitol Hill in releasing staff diversity data.”

However, she also called on the Democratic Caucus to include more transparency in future reports.

“While it is encouraging to see so many senators who have staffs that appear to reflect the diversity of their states, data disclosed by position could reveal that some offices concentrate staffers of color in lower-level positions, while a lack of diversity persists in top-level positions like chiefs of staff, legislative directors, and communications directors,” she said.

Original Article

McEnany: Trump looking to ‘significantly bump up’ education funding in next coronavirus relief package

closeMcEnany: The president will stand on the side of our childrenVideo

McEnany: The president will stand on the side of our children

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany responds to criticism of Trump's push to reopen schools.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on Wednesday that President Trump was looking to “substantially bump up” funding for education in the next coronavirus relief bill, but added that “this money should go to the students."

McEnany was questioned by reporters in the White House press briefing about the president's Wednesday morning tweet in which he threatened to cut funding to schools that do not reopen for in-person learning amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“In Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and many other countries, SCHOOLS ARE OPEN WITH NO PROBLEMS,” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning. “The Dems think it would be bad for them politically if U.S. schools open before the November Election, but is important for the children & families. May cut off funding if not open!”

McEnany was asked under what authority Trump would cut funding to public schools given that they are funded primarily by property taxes.

“He wants to increase funding in CARES 4 for education, but he’s looking at potentially redirecting that to make sure it goes to the student and it is most likely tied to the student and not to a district where schools are closed," McEnany stated, adding that Trump said this is something he “may consider” in the tweet.

“This president will always stand up to teachers unions who want to keep schools closed,” McEnany said.

TRUMP, IN PUSH TO REOPEN SCHOOLS AMID CORONAVIRUS, VOWS 'PRESSURE' ON GOVERNORS

Washington Post reporter Toluse Olorunnipa noted the White House often deferred to local authorities on coronavirus shutdowns, but not with regard to education.

“You have from behind the podium talked about the importance of federalism, local and state officials being able to decide what to do with their residents,” the reporter said.”How come when it comes to schools the president is threatening them, saying if they don't follow his guidance in terms of what they should do with reopening, he's threatening their funding.? Why is that not a federalism principle?”

McEnany reiterated that Trump believes school funding should “go to the child”.

“It should be there for the children who are going to school. Keeping schools closed down is an untenable prospect,” the press secretary said.

TRUMP SAYS HE DISAGREES WITH CDC SCHOOL REOPENING GUIDELINES

In its push to reopen schools, McEnany said the administration was standing against child abuse, which she said goes underreported during school closures and for education equality, citing a McKinsey study which said learning loss during school closures would be greatest among Black and Brown students.

The president has launched an all-out pressure campaign for schools to reopen in the fall, repeatedly noting the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) warnings on the mental and intellectual consequences of distance learning.

“All policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school,” the AAP has publicly said.

Trump, at an event Tuesday with experts to discuss schools reopening, said that he would “very much put pressure” on governors to allow in-person learning this fall.

“We don't want people to make political statements or do it for political reasons, they think it's gonna be good for them politically, so they keep the schools closed, no way,” Trump said. “So, we are very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools.”

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“Our country has got to get back, and it’s got to get back as soon as possible, and I don’t consider our country coming back if the schools are closed,” the president added. “Everybody wants it, the moms want it, the dads want it, the kids want it.”

Original Article

WHO will get US-pledged funds before withdrawal, Pompeo says

closeTrump touts lower coronavirus death rate as Fauci warns of dangerVideo

Trump touts lower coronavirus death rate as Fauci warns of danger

President Trump says mortality from the coronavirus is down, as Dr. Fauci calls the death rate a ‘false narrative;’ Kristin Fisher reports on the latest.

The United States will fulfill its financial pledge to the World Health Organization (WHO), Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday, one day after Trump announced the U.S. would be withdrawing from the organization.

The U.S. submitted a notice of withdrawal to the United Nations security-general Tuesday, citing the WHO's slow response to the coronavirus outbrea, coupled with its pro-China bias during the pandemic.

In order to formally withdraw from the WHO, the U.S. needs to provide at least one year’s notice and pay any remaining amounts pledged in full by the termination date set for July 2021 — a provision created by Congress as the WHO has no required guidelines on how a country can leave the organization.

EUROPE REACTS TO US WITHDRAWING FROM WHO, CALLS FOR REFORM INSTEAD

According to records provided by the WHO, the U.S. reportedly still owes over $99 million to the organization from past pledges.

“We will work with Congress with respect to the appropriated funds,” Pompeo told reporters Wednesday. “We’ll get it right.”

The Department of State could not be immediately reached for verification on the figures owed.

“But the president has made very clear we are not going to underwrite an organization that has historically been incompetent and not performed its fundamental function,” Pompeo said.

President Trump first threatened to leave the WHO in May if it did not “commit to major substantive improvements” within a month of receiving a letter sent to WHO's director-general — which Trump posted in a late night tweet.

HOUSE REPUBLICANS RENEW CALLS FOR WHO CHIEF TO TESTIFY, ACCUSE HIM OF ENDORSING CHINESE PROPAGANDA EFFORTS

“It is clear the repeated missteps by you and your organization in responding to the pandemic have been extremely costly for the world,” Trump wrote to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The exact changes that President Trump needed to see were not listed in the letter.

Trump cited a pro-China bias in the WHO’s handling of the pandemic, though the president also initially praised China’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Pompeo also pointed to the handling of previous pandemics as another reason the U.S. has ultimately decided to withdraw from the organization.

“This is an institution that got it wrong on SARS, it got it wrong on Ebola,” Pompeo said. “The United States had to create its own system, PEPFAR, to do the work to prevent and come up with solutions to the HIV/AIDS problem.”

Some U.S. lawmakers voices their disproval of Trump’s decision to withdrawal from the organization in the midst of health pandemic.

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, the infectious disease specialist who serves on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, has also previously voiced his support for the WHO.

He said in an interview with CBC in June that "The WHO is an imperfect organization. It certainly has made some missteps, but it has also done a lot of good. The world needs a WHO."

House Democrats have reportedly called for restoring full funding measures to the WHO in their 2021 budget, according to The Hill.

Original Article

Barr defends necessity of police force in US, but says it must have ‘checks in place’

closeAG Barr says police reform needs to strike the 'right balance'Video

AG Barr says police reform needs to strike the 'right balance'

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., and Attorney General William Barr hold a press conference after meeting South Carolina church and law enforcement officials.

Attorney General William Barr said Wednesday that police reform must strike the "right balance" between providing security and preventing the possibility of abuse.

At a press conference in South Carolina to mark his visit with religious leaders, community members and law enforcement personnel, Barr acknowledged that police need to be checked.

"We need a police force," Barr said in Columbia, S.C. "We need these institutions to provide peace and security in society to allow our lives to flourish. At the same time whenever you have that kind of institution, you have the possibility of abuse. And so you have to put reins and checks in place to make sure that these institutions that are designed to protect the community don't themselves become oppressive. And it's a question of striking the right balance."

AG BARR TARGETED BY HOUSE DEM’S IMPEACHMENT RESOLUTION

Barr made the remarks as protesters continue to demand racial justice in the wake of George Floyd's death and Black Lives Matters activists call for police departments to be defunded. The attorney general was joined by Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., who authored police reform legislation that failed to gain bipartisan support in the Senate, though Scott remains optimistic about striking a deal with Democrats.

Both Barr and Scott spoke out against defunding the police. Scott argued police need more resources if they want to have social workers and mental health professionals as co-responders to handle drug abuse, homelessness and mental breakdown police calls. Barr said police shouldn't be demonized.

"We need to support the police so they're out there protecting the community," Barr said. "But by the same time, we have to be sure that there aren't these abuses and it's striking a balance. It's not defunding the police or doing away with the police or demonizing the police, nor is it giving short shrift to the legitimate concerns that are out there about police abuses and overreach. So I think we have to strike a balance here."

WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT TRUMP’S EXECUTIVE ORDER ON POLICING

Trump already signed an executive order on policing to rebuild trust with law enforcement. The order aims to ban chokeholds except when an officer's life is in danger, better track excessive use of force complaints, and work with social workers and mental health officials to develop "co-responder" programs.

The House passed its police reform legislation — named after Floyd — that would ban chokeholds, end no-knock warrants in drug cases, reform qualified immunity and create a national database to track police misconduct.

Scott's bill didn't go as far and Democrats blocked it from coming to a vote in the Senate. Since then, Scott said he's been in talks with Democrats and the Congressional Black Caucus on finding a compromise.

"Because right now we're sitting at zero and that speaks poorly to the American people, specifically to communities of color who have been challenged by these situations for decades," Scott said.

TRUMP CALLS FOR BUBBA WALLACE TO APOLOGIZE, TAKES SWIPE AT NASCAR

At the press conference, Scott declined to comment on Trump's recent tweet that NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace should apologize for the highly publicized noose investigation, which Trump called a "hoax," and said NASCAR's decision to ban the Confederate flag triggered poor ratings.

"Fortunately, I don't pay a lot of attention to Twitter. I took it off my phone,” Scott said.

Fox News' Jake Gibson contributed to this report.

Original Article

Rep. Jim Jordan calls on Twitter to hand over documents pertaining its decision to crack down on Trump’s tweets

closeTwitter puts warning on Trump tweet for 'threat to harm' DC protestersVideo

Twitter puts warning on Trump tweet for 'threat to harm' DC protesters

Reaction from Fox News contributors Gianno Caldwell and Leslie Marshall.

Ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, is calling on Twitter to release documents pertaining to its recent crackdown on President Trump's tweets.

In a letter obtained by Fox News that was sent to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Wednesday, Jordan accused the tech giant of increasingly exerting "editorial control" over prominent conservatives, including the president, and how it "has not taken similar actions" with prominent liberals, which the congressman says questioned whether Twitter "is not moderating user content in a viewpoint-neutral manner."

Jordan pointed to the "fact-check" label Twitter added to Trump's May 26 tweet sounding the alarm of potential mail-in voter fraud in California as well as the "abusive behavior" label added to Trump's June 23 tweet threatening "serious force" to any autonomous zone established in Washington D.C., something Twitter insisted violated its policies.

"While Twitter has sought to silence conservative voices, including the President of the United States, on its platform, Twitter has allowed violent extremists to use its platform with apparent impunity," Jordan wrote before citing tweets made by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. "Twitter’s discrimination against conservative voices is extremely alarming. These actions give rise to concerns that the company is systematically engaged in the disparate treatment of political speech and is deceiving users of the platform by not uniformly applying its terms of service."

TWITTER PUTS WARNING LABEL ON TRUMP TWEET ON MAIL-IN BALLOTS, DESPITE EXPERTS BACKING UP TRUMP'S CONCERNS

The Judiciary Committee ranking member requested information from the tech giant pertaining "all content moderation decisions made by Twitter over the past year for users located within the United States, including which Twitter rule or policy the user allegedly violated and the content of the moderated tweet" as well as "all documents and communications" regarding Twitter's decision to add the "fact-check" and the "abusive behavior" labels to Trump's tweets.

"Please provide this information as soon as possible but no later than 5:00 p.m. on July 22, 2020," Jordan requested. "In addition, we ask that Twitter provide a briefing to the Committee on these matters as well as its recently adopted disinformation policies and tools and how Twitter makes content moderation decisions upon production of the documents and information requested above."

Twitter confirmed to Fox News that it received the letter from Jordan but declined to comment.

Trump's war on TwitterVideo

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Jordan also sent a letter to John Matze, the CEO of Parler, a competing social media platform that has seen a recent surge in users as conservatives have flocked to the tech company in hopes of having more freedom to express themselves.

"As the Committee continues to evaluate the size, competitiveness, and role of social media companies in our society, the perspective of Parler would significantly inform and advance the Committee’s work," the GOP representative wrote.

Original Article

Mayors across the country blame pandemic for recent surge in violence

A member of the Georgia National Guard sits on a vehicle outside the State Capitol on Tuesday, July 7, 2020, in Atlanta. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp mobilized the guard after an increase in gun violence over the weekend. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 2:40 PM PT — Wednesday, July 8, 2020

City leaders across the nation have blamed the ongoing pandemic for the surge in violence over the Fourth of July weekend.

On Tuesday, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms said there is a “perfect storm of distress in America.” She cited Americans’ growing frustration amid the pandemic and police brutality demonstrations nationwide.

“I think that that people are obviously anxious, even angry, about COVID-19. Loved ones are dying, people are losing their jobs. I think there’s a lot of frustration, a lot of angst.” – Keisha Bottoms, Mayor of Atlanta, Georgia

In a recent Twitter post, she announced she had tested positive for coronavirus while attempting to lead her city out of the unrest.

“I have a low positive test, so it either means I’m on the way up or the way down,” explained Bottoms. “They don’t know which one, but they’ve told me to treat it as if I’m positive, just in terms of quarantining and all of the things that we that are recommended that people do.”

FILE – In this July 17, 2019, file photo, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms speaks during a Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis on Capitol Hill in Washington. Bottoms announced Monday, July 6, 2020, that she had tested positive for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

This came after a weekend of violence in Atlanta, which left 8-year-old Secoriea Turner and four others dead. The incidents prompted Georgia Governor Brian Kemp to declare a state of emergency and authorize the activation of National Guard.

Similarly, Mayor Lori Lightfoot mourned for her community after 18 people died in the Chicago, including two children and a teenager. She echoed Bottoms’ remarks, citing coronavirus as a stresser that contributed to the increase in violent crimes.

“All of these forces are coming together at the same time and making it very difficult,” stated Lightfoot. “The ecosystem of public safety – that isn’t just law enforcement, but is local, community-based – they too have really been hit hard by COVID-19 and are now just kind of coming back online, getting their footing.”

FILE – In this Jan. 23, 2020, file photo, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot​, speaks at the ​U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Winter Meeting in Washington.(AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio has been facing the consequences of releasing prison inmates amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the NYPD, 275 of the nearly 2,500 inmates released early due to coronavirus concerns have been rearrested. In total, this amounted to 550 criminal charges.

Last Sunday in NYC alone, there were 30 shootings resulting in nine deaths.

“We saw too much violence this weekend, and this is something we have a lot of work to do to address,” said de Blasio. “It is directly related to all the dislocation that’s happened over these last four months with the coronavirus.”

MORE NEWS: Minneapolis Black Leaders Speak Out Against Disbanding Police

Original Article

US will act to deny Chinese access to American data

closePressure mounts on Trump administration as China experts expect TikTok ban to come 'by end of this week'Video

Pressure mounts on Trump administration as China experts expect TikTok ban to come 'by end of this week'

Speaking to reporters at a press conference today, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expanded on his considerations to ban the mobile app TikTok, saying it was only one of a number of Chinese companies that need to be held accountable for threatening Americans' data.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the U.S. will take steps to make sure the Chinese government cannot access Americans' private information through social media accounts and telecommunication services.

Pompeo said earlier this week the U.S. was looking at banning Chinese social media apps like TikTok, but then said Wednesday that the U.S. is not focusing on “one particular business.”

“We have been engaged in a constant evaluation about ensuring that we protect the privacy of American citizens and their information as it transits, so this doesn’t relate to any one particular business or company but rather to American national security,” Pompeo told reporters Wednesday.

HONG KONG NATIONAL SECURITY LAW PUTS TAIWAN ON EDGE

Pompeo also praised Google, Facebook and Twitter for refusing to provide American data to the Hong Kong government, adding that other businesses should do the same.

The secretary of state said U.S. intelligence officials are working to prevent China from being able to access private information such as health care records and personal data through people’s phones.

U.S. lawmakers have questioned the security of the Chinese social media platform TikTok, and the U.S. military banned the app in December, citing cyber security threats, according to Military.com.

But Beijing-headquartered TikTok maintains that it does not store data in China despite being located there and has never been asked by the Chinese government for access to user data, according to Reuters.

“The infrastructure of this next hundred years must be a communications infrastructure that’s based on a Western ideal of private property and protection of private citizens’ information in a transparent way,” Pompeo said Wednesday. “That is not the model that Chinese Communist Party software and hardware companies are engaged in.”

U.S. tech giants including Google, Facebook and Twitter said they would stop authorizing Hong Kong authority’s requests for user data, following new National Securities laws enforced by the Chinese government in Hong Kong.

The new laws granted authorities the ability to censor online data and sweeping surveillance abilities that Pompeo has referred to “draconian.”

HONG KONG PROTESTER FIRST TO BE CHARGED UNDER NEW SECURITY LAW IS DENIED BAIL

“With the ink barely dry on the draconian National Security Law, HK authorities are now removing books from libraries, banning political slogans, and requiring censorship in schools,” Pompeo said in a tweet Monday. “The U.S. condemns these Orwellian assaults on the rights and freedoms of the Hong Kong people. “

The tech giants voiced concerns over human rights abuses as well as the vague terminology of the new laws.

Twitter said in a statement that it would be “reviewing the law to assess its implications, particularly as some of the terms of the law are vague and without clear definition,” according to a report by Forbes.

TikTok has also reportedly said it will be taking their measures one step further and has completely pulled its app from Hong Kong, according to a report by Reuters.

The Trump administration have been highly critical of China’s efforts to exert power in Hong Kong, first announced at the beginning of June.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Hong Kong enjoyed relative autonomy from mainland China due to the Sino-British Joint Declaration, when the British handed over the region in 1997 from imperial rule. The United States has recognized Hong Kong as separate from mainland China since 1992, and Hong Kong enjoyed certain trade deals as a result.

But Pompeo announced earlier this month that the U.S. will move forward with ending Hong Kong’s special status as a result of Beijing’s new overreaching security laws.

Original Article

MyPillow CEO: COVID & riots show what Biden presidency would look like

Photo of Mike Lindell via Facebook.

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 1:45 PM PT — Wednesday, July 8, 2020

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell has denounced recent economic lockdowns and the coronavirus panic, which he claimed reveals what Joe Biden‘s presidency would look like. According to Lindell, President Trump has helped American businesses increase production and employment.

“The pandemic, the riots, I think it’s showing everyone’s what things could look like under socialism,” he said.

He then slammed Democrat officials for their attempts to seemingly impose sweeping government control. Lindell also condemned the liberal media for targeting and trying to destroy the supporters of President Trump.

“I was called a racist, I was called everything by him. I was attacked by the Better Business Bureau, my company was put from an A+ to an F. It went on and on, these attacks, and I go ‘Well, I must be doing something right.’ I did nothing wrong and I’m getting attacked.” – Mike Lindell, CEO of MyPillow

Lindell went on to say he’s tired of being “shamed, harassed and intimidated” by Democrats and he’ll do everything he can to help reelect President Trump.

MORE NEWS: Kudlow: Second Shutdown Would Do More Harm Than Good

Original Article

Mayors across the country blame pandemic for recent surge in violence

A member of the Georgia National Guard sits on a vehicle outside the State Capitol on Tuesday, July 7, 2020, in Atlanta. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp mobilized the guard after an increase in gun violence over the weekend. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 2:40 PM PT — Wednesday, July 8, 2020

City leaders across the nation have blamed the ongoing pandemic for the surge in violence over the Fourth of July weekend.

On Tuesday, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms said there is a “perfect storm of distress in America.” She cited Americans’ growing frustration amid the pandemic and police brutality demonstrations nationwide.

“I think that that people are obviously anxious, even angry, about COVID-19. Loved ones are dying, people are losing their jobs. I think there’s a lot of frustration, a lot of angst.” – Keisha Bottoms, Mayor of Atlanta, Georgia

In a recent Twitter post, she announced she had tested positive for coronavirus while attempting to lead her city out of the unrest.

“I have a low positive test, so it either means I’m on the way up or the way down,” explained Bottoms. “They don’t know which one, but they’ve told me to treat it as if I’m positive, just in terms of quarantining and all of the things that we that are recommended that people do.”

FILE – In this July 17, 2019, file photo, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms speaks during a Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis on Capitol Hill in Washington. Bottoms announced Monday, July 6, 2020, that she had tested positive for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

This came after a weekend of violence in Atlanta, which left 8-year-old Secoriea Turner and four others dead. The incidents prompted Georgia Governor Brian Kemp to declare a state of emergency and authorize the activation of National Guard.

Similarly, Mayor Lori Lightfoot mourned for her community after 18 people died in the Chicago, including two children and a teenager. She echoed Bottoms’ remarks, citing coronavirus as a stresser that contributed to the increase in violent crimes.

“All of these forces are coming together at the same time and making it very difficult,” stated Lightfoot. “The ecosystem of public safety – that isn’t just law enforcement, but is local, community-based – they too have really been hit hard by COVID-19 and are now just kind of coming back online, getting their footing.”

FILE – In this Jan. 23, 2020, file photo, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot​, speaks at the ​U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Winter Meeting in Washington.(AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio has been facing the consequences of releasing prison inmates amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the NYPD, 275 of the nearly 2,500 inmates released early due to coronavirus concerns have been rearrested. In total, this amounted to 550 criminal charges.

Last Sunday in NYC alone, there were 30 shootings resulting in nine deaths.

“We saw too much violence this weekend, and this is something we have a lot of work to do to address,” said de Blasio. “It is directly related to all the dislocation that’s happened over these last four months with the coronavirus.”

MORE NEWS: Minneapolis Black Leaders Speak Out Against Disbanding Police

Original Article

Little Sisters’ legal ordeal may not be over, Supreme Court justices indicate

closeSupreme Court rules in favor of Little Sister of the Poor in ObamaCare contraceptive caseVideo

Supreme Court rules in favor of Little Sister of the Poor in ObamaCare contraceptive case

The Supreme Court rules that the Trump administration acted within its authority when it expanded exemptions to the Affordable Care Act’s requirement for employers to provide insurance coverage.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday handed the Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of Catholic nuns that cares for impoverished elderly people, a major victory in their ongoing legal ordeal over a mandate in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that required them to pay for contraceptives in their health care coverage.

The court, in an opinion written by Justice Clarence Thomas, judged that a Trump administration rule that provided an exception to the mandate for religiously-affiliated groups and some for-profit companies was legal — leading many on the right to declare final triumph for the Little Sisters after years of litigation.

"VICTORY AT LAST!" tweeted Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga.

SUPREME COURT RULES IN FAVOR OF LITTLE SISTERS OF THE POOR IN OBAMACARE CONTRACEPTION CASE

The Trump campaign pointed fingers at Obama-era Vice President Joe Biden, the Democrats' presumptive 2020 presidential nominee. "Joe Biden's decade-long war against Catholic nuns and the Little Sisters of the Poor is finally over. Today's Supreme Court ruling is a landmark win for religious liberty. Unlike Joe Biden, President Trump has been a staunch defender of religious freedom since taking office and will always fight to defend communities of faith," Trump 2020 Deputy Communications Director Ali Pardo said.

Judicial Crisis Network Vice President and Senior Counsel Frank Scaturro explained on Twitter: "The Court’s decision today upholding that exemption is a victory for freedom of religion and conscience—for the Little Sisters and for everyone. Let’s be thankful that the Little Sisters’ ordeal in court has finally ended."

But two concurring opinions — one authored by Justice Samuel Alito and another by Justice Elena Kagan — signal that the two states involved in the litigation, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, may bring the nuns back to court again.

Alito's opinion was joined by Justice Neil Gorsuch, while Kagan's was joined by Justice Stephen Breyer.

Both indicated they agreed with the majority's ruling that the Trump administration had the authority to exempt the Little Sisters and other similar groups from the contraceptive mandate. But Kagan's opinion expressed suspicion of the Trump administration's motivations when it implemented the rule, while Alito's lamented that Thomas' majority opinion didn't go further to foreclose the kind of administrative law challenge Kagan alluded to.

Justices Samuel Alito and Elena Kagan seemed to indicate Wednesday that the Little Sisters of the Poor's legal saga may continue.

Justices Samuel Alito and Elena Kagan seemed to indicate Wednesday that the Little Sisters of the Poor's legal saga may continue.

SUPREME COURT RULES RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS SHIELDED FROM TEACHERS' EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION CLAIMS

"I also write separately because I question whether the exemptions can survive administrative law’s demand for reasoned decisionmaking. That issue remains open for the lower courts to address," Kagan said in an opinion.

"But that does not mean the Departments should prevail when these cases return to the lower courts. The States challenged the exemptions not only as outside [the Health Resources and Services Administration]'s statutory authority, but also as 'arbitrary [and] capricious,'" she said. "Because the courts below found for the States on the first question, they declined to reach the second. That issue is now ready for resolution, unaffected by today’s decision. An agency acting within its sphere of delegated authority can of course flunk the test of 'reasoned decisionmaking.'"

Alito appeared all but sure that Pennsylvania and New Jersey would take Kagan up on her invitation.

'An agency acting within its sphere of delegated authority can of course flunk the test of 'reasoned decisionmaking.''

— Justice Elena Kagan

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS INJURED HEAD IN FALL LAST MONTH, WAS HOSPITALIZED

"We now send these cases back to the lower courts, where the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the State of New Jersey are all but certain to pursue their argument that the current rule is flawed on yet another ground, namely, that it is arbitrary and capricious and thus violates the APA," he wrote. "This will prolong the legal battle in which the Little Sisters have now been engaged for seven years—even though during all this time no employee of the Little Sisters has come forward with an objection to the Little Sisters’ conduct."

He added that the court should have decided whether the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in fact requires an exemption like the one granted by the Trump administration, because if so, "the Departments did not act in an arbitrary and capricious manner in granting it."

Alito said: "And in my judgment, RFRA compels an exemption for the Little Sisters and any other employer with a similar objection to what has been called the accommodation to the contraceptive mandate."

Judicial Crisis Network's Scaturro noted that if the states continue to push the case against the nuns, they would be burning taxpayer money on a challenge that he said is unlikely to succeed.

"If Pennsylvania and New Jersey were to try to protract this litigation with an arbitrary and capricious challenge to the Little Sisters’ conscience protection, it would show hubris and waste their taxpayer dollars," Scaturro told Fox News. "After all, they were just told by the Court that the administration had the statutory authority to adopt the rule, and the justices rejected their attempt to add a test about the agencies’ 'open-mindedness' in a procedural challenge to the rule."

'I would bring the Little Sisters’ legal odyssey to an end.'

— Justice Samuel Alito

Kagan, however, said that the rule was overbroad and that she thinks it would be a "close call" if it could stand.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Alito harbored none of Kagan's concerns, however, and said that the RFRA, which states that unless it meets a strict test, "the Federal Government may not 'substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability,'" forces the government to carve out an exemption to the contraception mandate.

"I would hold not only that it was appropriate for the Departments to consider RFRA, but also that the Departments were required by RFRA to create the religious exemption (or something very close to it)," Alito wrote. "I would bring the Little Sisters’ legal odyssey to an end."

Fox News' Kristina Biddle contributed to this report.

Original Article

As nation passes another grim coronavirus milestone, Biden blames Trump

closeBiden calls out Trump's inaction on coronavirusVideo

Biden calls out Trump's inaction on coronavirus

Former vice president and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on President Trump's coronavirus response.

Joe Biden took aim at President Trump on Wednesday as a commander-in-chief who “doesn’t command anything in this fight against COVID-19.

“The storm we’re facing today is unlike any we’ve seen in our lifetimes. More than 130,000 people dead. Dead. Because of the coronavirus,” the former vice president and presumptive Democratic nominee stressed in a virtual speech to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

And pointing to the president, Biden charged that “he’s not changed anything. This pandemic is still raging.”

CONFIRMED CORONAVIRUS CASES IN U.S. TOP 3 MILLION

Biden spoke a couple of hours after the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States surpassed 3 million on Wednesday. The U.S. reached the latest milestone just 28 days after reaching 2 million confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to statistics gathered by Johns Hopkins University.

Tuesday witnessed the highest daily spike in coronavirus cases since the pandemic reached the U.S., after more than 60,000 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed across the country over a 24-hour period. Nearly half of all new cases in the country over the past few days were documented in Arizona, California, Florida and Texas.

And earlier this week, the nation passed another grim milestone, as the death toll from the coronavirus topped 130,000.

Biden – in a statement earlier in the day – called the surpassing of 3 million confirmed coronavirus cases “another sad reminder of the cost our country is paying for President Trump’s failure to lead us through this crisis.”

Biden – who’s repeatedly criticized the president over the past couple of months for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic – charged that "while other countries safely re-open their economies and their citizens get back to work, businesses in America are being forced to shut down — again — as Donald Trump’s failures make countless workers and families face an uncertain future."

The presumptive Democratic nominee also jabbed at a president who appears to have played more golf so far in his tenure than any predecessor in recent history — urging Trump that “before you tee up for yet another round of golf, there are steps we must take — now — to win this fight and save American lives.”

THE LATEST FROM FOX NEWS ON THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Since March, the president, his administration, and his re-election campaign have praised the federal government’s response to the pandemic.

Trump: We're going to put pressure on governors to reopen schoolsVideo

"We've done a good job. I think we are going to be in two, three, four weeks … I think we're going to be in very good shape," the president said in an interview Tuesday with Gray Television's Greta Van Susteren.

He described the recent spikes in new coronavirus cases as “fires” that would be put out.

The president on Monday tweeted “BREAKING NEWS: The Mortality Rate for the China Virus in the U.S. is just about the LOWEST IN THE WORLD! Also, Deaths in the U.S. are way down, a tenfold decrease since the Pandemic height (and, our Economy is coming back strong!).”

The drop in the daily death rate is welcome news, but the spikes in new cases are troubling – and have forced nearly two-dozen states to pause or reverse moves to reduce coronavirus restrictions aimed at jump-starting an economy that was temporarily flattened by the pandemic.

FAUCI WARNS U.S. STILL 'KNEE DEEP' IN CORONAVIRUS FIRST WAVE

On Monday, Dr. Anthony Fauci – the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease and the most visible and well-known member of the president’s task force on the coronavirus – warned that “we are still knee-deep in this first wave” of the pandemic.

Biden, in his Wednesday comments, also pushed back at the president’s warning that a Democratic victory in November’s general election – coupled with the Democrats recapturing the Senate and holding the House – would cash Americans investment portfolios.

Trump and his campaign have targeted the former vice president for vowing to roll back the president’s tax cuts that were passed when the Republicans controlled both houses of Congress.

Biden on how his presidency could grow the economyVideo

The former vice president spotlighted that his economic proposals are “likely to raise salaries, likely to increase work on infrastructure, invest more in the economy, it’s likely to grow the economy.”

Trump – on Monday – warned that “If you want your 401k’s and Stocks, which are getting close to an all time high (NASDAQ is already there), to disintegrate and disappear, vote for the Radical Left Do Nothing Democrats and Corrupt Joe Biden. Massive Tax Hikes – They will make you very poor, FAST!”

Fox News' Danielle Wallace contributed to this report

Original Article

Ex-spy Christopher Steele ordered to pay damages over ‘inaccurate’ dossier claims

closeHorowitz discovered FBI agents shared Classified info with SteeleVideo

Horowitz discovered FBI agents shared Classified info with Steele

McCabe throws low-level FBI agents under the bus; reaction from investigative journalist Lee Smith.

British ex-spy Christopher Steele must pay damages to two Alfa Bank partners for publishing "inaccurate or misleading" material in his infamous dossier, including claims the banks funneled "illicit cash" to Russian President Vladimir Putin, a British court ruled Wednesday.

Orbis Business Intelligence was ordered to pay 18,000 English pounds, or nearly $23,000, each to Petr Aven and Mikhail Fridman for violating Britain’s Data Protection Act of 1998 and "for the loss of autonomy, distress and reputational damage caused by the breaches of duty," the court said. The decision, authored by Justice Mark Warby of the High Court of England and Wales, was Steele's first major court loss.

READ THE COURT'S DECISION

"This allegation [about the Putin payments] clearly called for closer attention, a more enquiring approach and more energetic checking," Warby wrote. "Orbis failed to take reasonable steps in this regard, and to that extent, a breach of the Fourth Principle is established."

The "Fourth Principle" refers to a portion of the law penalizing the dissemination of inaccurate information.

The dossier made additional inaccurate claims, including that the pair provided foreign policy advice to Putin, the judge found.

Conservatives have pointed out that the dossier, funded indirectly by the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee (DNC), contained a slew of other apparent inaccuracies. Among the unsubstantiated claims in the dossier: that ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen traveled to Prague to conspire with Russian hackers; that the Trump campaign was paying hackers working out of a nonexistent Russian consulate in Miami; that a lurid blackmail tape of Trump existed and might be in Russian possession; and that former Trump aide Carter Page was bribed with a 19 percent share in a Russian company.

Gen. Keane lays out Russia's 'huge problems' as Putin remains in power until 2036Video

Page is suing the DNC for defamation, and the Justice Department (DOJ) is probing why the FBI relied so heavily on the dossier to investigate the Trump team, along with how news of the dossier leaked to the media after senior FBI officials briefed President Trump on its contents. The FBI's legal counsel later described the warrant to surveil Page as "essentially a single source FISA" wholly dependent on the dossier.

The FBI's Crossfire Hurricane team investigating the Trump 2016 campaign received multiple indications that Steele — one of the key informants in their investigation — was part of an elaborate "Russian disinformation campaign," according to several footnotes from DOJ Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz's report on FBI misconduct that was declassified earlier this year.

The FBI heavily relied on Steele's dossier to obtain a surveillance warrant to spy on Page, in which FBI officials asserted that Page was an "agent" of Russia. However, the FBI did not share the information about the Russian disinformation campaign with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) when it moved to obtain the warrant, just as it did not tell the court that another Trump aide had denied collusion during a recorded conversation with an FBI informant.

One of the footnotes, which was previously redacted in its entirety, read: “The [REDACTED] stated that it did not have high confidence in this subset of Steele’s reporting and assessed that the referenced subset was part of a Russian disinformation campaign to denigrate US foreign relations." That subset referred to Cohen, whom Steele's dossier claimed had traveled to Prague to meet with Russian agents. Special Counsel Robert Mueller was unable to substantiate that claim, and Cohen has denied it.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz looks on as he testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on "Examining the Inspector General's First Report on Justice Department and FBI Actions in Advance of the 2016 Presidential Election" in the Hart Senate Office Building on June 18, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz looks on as he testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on "Examining the Inspector General's First Report on Justice Department and FBI Actions in Advance of the 2016 Presidential Election" in the Hart Senate Office Building on June 18, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

The footnote goes on to state that a 2017 report “contained information … that the public reporting about the details of Trump’s [REDACTED] activities in Moscow during a trip in 2013 were false, and that they were the product of RIS ‘infiltra[ing] a source into the network’ of a [REDACTED] who compiled a dossier of information on Trump’s activities.”

HOROWITZ REPORT CONTRADICT 'EXPERT' NARRATIVES THAT FISA RULES WERE STRICTLY OBSERVED

The newly released footnotes gave other reasons to doubt the knowledge and credibility of Steele's main sources, as well as the accuracy of Horowitz's own report.

"When interviewed by the FBI, the Primary Sub-source stated that he/she did not view his/her contacts as a network of sources, [REDACTED] with whom he/she has conversations about current events and government relations," one of the previously hidden footnotes reads.

That statement directly contradicted the executive summary of Horowitz's IG report, which asserted that Steele's Primary Sub-source "used his/her network of sub-sources to gather information that was then passed to Steele."

Original Article

Facebook says it took down network affiliated with Roger Stone that included fake accounts

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Facebook on Wednesday took down a network of more than 100 pages and accounts affiliated with Trump confidante Roger Stone for “coordinated inauthentic behavior.”

The flamboyant political consultant confirmed to Fox News his accounts either have been restricted or taken down. Stone’s personal accounts were among 54 Facebook accounts, 50 Facebook pages and four Instagram accounts closed for policy violations.

Around 260,000 accounts followed one or more of the Facebook pages and around 61,500 accounts followed one or more of the Instagram accounts. The network of accounts spent up to $308,000 on advertisements.

Of Stone’s personal accounts, Nathaniel Gleicher, head of security policy for Facebook, said: “We saw them deeply enmeshed in the activity here.”

Facebook officials said that Stone, who’s since been convicted for lying to the FBI, used fake accounts to manipulate public debate. The “coordinated inauthentic behavior” dated back to the 2016 election and its aftermath.

ROGER STONE FILES APPEAL AFTER SAYING HE IS 'PRAYING FOR A PARDON' FROM TRUMP

Those behind the activity of the fake accounts posed as Florida residents to post and comment on their own content in order “to make it appear more popular than it is,” Facebook said in a statement.

Several of the Facebook pages had links to content of Proud Boys, which was designated as an extremist group by the FBI and banned by Facebook in 2018. Facebook said some of the pages appeared to have followers from Pakistan and Egypt to make them appear popular.

The pages and their owners posted about local Florida politics, Roger Stone and the Stone trial, as well as a Florida land and water resources bill, hacked material released by Wikileaks ahead of the 2016 election and candidates in the 2016 primary and general elections.

Facebook identified the network after a joint petition by a number of news organizations led to the public release of search warrants used in the Mueller investigation to investigate contact between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

“Our investigation linked this network to Roger Stone and his associates,” Gleicher said.

Facebook also took down a network of accounts affiliated with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, though Facebook said it was unclear if he had a role in the accounts. They took down four networks of accounts in total, primarily active in Ukraine and Latin America.

Stone was sentenced to three years and four months in prison after being convicted of making false statements to investigators during the Trump-Russia probe. President Trump said he would wait to consider possibly pardoning Stone until he’d exhausted all of his legal options. Stone filed an appeal of his conviction in April.

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Stone is due to begin his prison sentence next week, after U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson delayed the deadline for him to report to prison due to coronavirus.

Fox News' Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

Original Article

Kudlow: Second shutdown would do more harm than good

White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow speaks with reporters at the White House, Thursday, June 25, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 1:22 PM PT — Wednesday, July 8, 2020

According to the White House’s economic adviser, a second COVID-19 shutdown would be a big mistake.

On Wednesday, Larry Kudlow said it would not only harm businesses, but also kids. He stated keeping school age kids home could lead to an increase in depression.

Amid the recent spike in cases across the U.S., he urged Americans to take the necessary precautions to stay healthy, such as social distancing and practicing good hygiene.

Kudlow reiterated the nation is prepared for the increase in cases and touted the 600,000 new tests being administered daily.

“In general, hospitalization capacity is plentiful, that’s what the numbers show,” he said. “As the president has said – and maybe he gets blamed, but it’s factually true – the fatality rate continues to fall.”

He claimed another shutdown would stifle the great v-shaped recovery of the economy.

MORE NEWS: White House Economic Adviser Kudlow Says U.S. Relationship With Mexico Getting Stronger

Original Article

MyPillow CEO: COVID & riots show what Biden presidency would look like

Photo of Mike Lindell via Facebook.

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 1:45 PM PT — Wednesday, July 8, 2020

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell has denounced recent economic lockdowns and the coronavirus panic, which he claimed reveals what Joe Biden‘s presidency would look like. According to Lindell, President Trump has helped American businesses increase production and employment.

“The pandemic, the riots, I think it’s showing everyone’s what things could look like under socialism,” he said.

He then slammed Democrat officials for their attempts to seemingly impose sweeping government control. Lindell also condemned the liberal media for targeting and trying to destroy the supporters of President Trump.

“I was called a racist, I was called everything by him. I was attacked by the Better Business Bureau, my company was put from an A+ to an F. It went on and on, these attacks, and I go ‘Well, I must be doing something right.’ I did nothing wrong and I’m getting attacked.” – Mike Lindell, CEO of MyPillow

Lindell went on to say he’s tired of being “shamed, harassed and intimidated” by Democrats and he’ll do everything he can to help reelect President Trump.

MORE NEWS: Kudlow: Second Shutdown Would Do More Harm Than Good

Original Article

President Trump says the U.S. is in a good place

President Donald Trump speaks during a “National Dialogue on Safely Reopening America’s Schools,” event in the East Room of the White House, Tuesday, July 7, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 1:08 PM PT — Wednesday, July 8, 2020

President Trump has denounced Dr. Anthony Fauci’s assessment of coronavirus responses in the U.S. On Tuesday, the president said he disagrees with Dr. Fauci and believes the country will be in “very good shape” in the next few weeks.

“Well, I think we are in a good place, I disagree with him. You know, Dr. Fauci said don’t wear masks, now he says wear them. He said numerous things: don’t close off China, don’t ban China, and I did it anyway. I sort of didn’t listen to my experts and I banned China. We would’ve been in much worse shape.” – Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States

This followed Fauci’s claim that we are still “knee deep” in the first wave of the pandemic. The doctor added he wouldn’t be surprised if we go up to 100,000 cases a day without more focused mitigation efforts.

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci listens during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 30, 2020. (Al Drago/Pool via AP)

The president has emphasized with everything they’re working on, like the therapeutics coming out and potential vaccines, things are going to look better very soon. He also expressed optimism over the state of the nation’s economy.

On Twitter, he announced “economy and jobs are growing much faster than anyone expected.” He added “job growth is the biggest in history.”

President Trump also noted “it’s shaping up to be a good third quarter and great next year,” citing the NASDAQ’s new record high and rising 401k’s.

MORE NEWS: Navarro Calls On FDA To Reinstate Emergency Use Authorization For Hydroxychloroquine

Original Article

Kudlow: Second shutdown would do more harm than good

White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow speaks with reporters at the White House, Thursday, June 25, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 1:22 PM PT — Wednesday, July 8, 2020

According to the White House’s economic adviser, a second COVID-19 shutdown would be a big mistake.

On Wednesday, Larry Kudlow said it would not only harm businesses, but also kids. He stated keeping school age kids home could lead to an increase in depression.

Amid the recent spike in cases across the U.S., he urged Americans to take the necessary precautions to stay healthy, such as social distancing and practicing good hygiene.

Kudlow reiterated the nation is prepared for the increase in cases and touted the 600,000 new tests being administered daily.

“In general, hospitalization capacity is plentiful, that’s what the numbers show,” he said. “As the president has said – and maybe he gets blamed, but it’s factually true – the fatality rate continues to fall.”

He claimed another shutdown would stifle the great v-shaped recovery of the economy.

MORE NEWS: White House Economic Adviser Kudlow Says U.S. Relationship With Mexico Getting Stronger

Original Article