Report: Jury appears to be hung on two charges facing Harvey Weinstein

Harvey Weinstein, fourth from left, leaves the courthouse during jury deliberations in his rape trial, Friday, Feb. 21, 2020, in New York. ( (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 6:18 PM PT — Friday, February 21, 2020

The jury overseeing Harvey Weinstein’s case has become deadlocked on two of the most serious charges he’s facing. According to recent reports, the jury has asked the presiding judge what to do should they fail to come to a consensus.

The judge has since ordered them to continue deliberations and dismissed them until next week.

On Friday evening, one high-profile attorney explained the situation to the press.

“The judge gave what is called, in the legal profession, the ‘Allen charge.’ And while I don’t like to paraphrase jury instructions, generally I call it, ‘Jurors, please go back and try again.’ The court did indicate to the jurors it’s very common for juries to be hung on certain charges, and to feel that they will never, ever be able to reach a unanimous verdict. But they should try again.”

– Gloria Allred, prosecutor for Weinstein’s accusers

Weinstein is facing sexual assault allegations from multiple women, who have testified in the now weeks-long trial. If he is convicted on at least one charge of predatory sexual assault, he could face life behind bars.

READ MORE: The Harvey Weinstein Story: From Studio To Courtroom In 40 Years

In this courtroom sketch, the jury in Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial listens to a read back of Miriam Haley’s testimony in Manhattan Supreme Court, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020, in New York. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)

Original Article

Report: Nev. caucus can be anybody’s game

People wait in line at an early voting location at the culinary workers union hall, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 3:41 PM PT — Friday, February 21, 2020

The Nevada caucus is just one day away and all eyes will be on the minority vote. Unlike Iowa and New Hampshire, the Battle Born State has a much higher level of diversity. In fact, its a majority-minority state with nearly a third of voters being Latino. On top of this, its the first West Coast state to vote, which strategists said will set the stage for the rest of the West.

“I like to think of Nevada as the true start of the presidential primary for Democrats because Nevada is majority people of color,” stated Aimee Allison, Founder of She The People. “Women of color represent 26 percent of the electorate.”

As a result, Democrat presidential contenders have pulled out all the stops in recent weeks in preparation for the caucus. Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg and Tom Steyer picketed alongside the state’s Culinary Union Wednesday in support of better benefits.

“I think that I am the person who can take on Trump on the stage on economics,” stated presidential candidate Tom Steyer.

Bernie Sanders focused on reaching out to the working class and Spanish speakers through a series of local rallies this week.

Mike Bloomberg continued to fund his unprecedented ad blitz across the nation. However, despite these efforts, the highly-anticipated endorsement of the state’s Culinary Union has been withheld. The powerhouse 60,000 member organization opted out of endorsement this year. Officials said instead, they’re endorsing key goals rather than a candidate.

“We are actually not telling anybody who to vote for,” stated Cristhian Barneond, Culinary Union member. “We’re just reminding them to go and make their voice heard.”

The move came as a major blow to Democrat contenders looking to stand out in the crowded field of candidates. Especially as reports said, the Union has the capability to make or break the results in Nevada.

Moving forward, strategists said the Union has left the door wide open for the taking as Democrats struggle to unite behind any one candidate.

Geoconda Arguello-Kline, right, Secretary-Treasurer of the Culinary Union, speaks at a news conference to announce the union’s decision to stay out of the state’s Democratic presidential caucuses and not endorse a candidate, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

RELATED:Nev. Democrat Party Gears Up For State Caucus

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President Trump disregards Russia meddling report as Democrat ‘misinformation campaign’

President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Friday, Feb. 21, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 1:17 PM PT — Friday, February 21, 2020

President Trump has dismissed new reports that claimed Russia is, once again, attempting to sway the presidential election in his favor. On Friday, the president slammed Democrat lawmakers for what he called “another misinformation campaign.”

The president has labeled the move “hoax number seven” and noted the party still, after two weeks, has yet to finalize the results of the recent caucus in Iowa.

The president’s son took to his defense later that day, tweeting, “Here we go again with the Russia, Russia, Russia nonsense.”

Russian government officials have also denied these reports, which they called “paranoid.” On Friday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov denounced the allegations and emphasized they will only escalate closer to the election.

FILE – In this June 28, 2019, file photo, President Donald Trump, right, shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

This came after several media outlets reported that Russia is trying to meddle in the 2020 elections. According to those reports, intelligence officials told the House Intelligence Committee that the country is aiding President Trump’s reelection efforts.

Democrats in Congress reacted to these reports by saying this was “exactly as we warned he would do.”

“We count on the intelligence community to inform Congress of any threat of foreign interference in our elections,” stated Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). “If reports are true and the president is interfering with that, he is again jeopardizing our efforts to stop foreign meddling.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has called on members of Congress to “condemn the president’s reported efforts to dismiss threats to the integrity of our democracy and to politicize our intelligence community.”

“American voters should decide American elections, not Vladimir Putin,” she added.

Supporters cheer as President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, in Colorado Springs, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Original Article

Report: Record number of Republicans file to run for House, Senate seats

File – Voters line up in voting booths to cast their ballots at Robious Elementary School in Chesterfield, Va. on Tuesday Nov. 8, 2016. (Shelby Lum/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 9:14 PM PT — Friday, February 21, 2020

Another surge of candidates are running for Congress in the 2020 elections, but this time it appears to be conservatives. According to reports, a record number of Republicans have filed to run for the House and Senate this election cycle.

The surge mirrors that of the 2018 midterms, where more Democrats were running for office compared to previous elections. The current surge in Republican candidates is an apparent response to the election of more radical progressive and socialist-leaning candidates whom Democrats pushed to victory last election.

“I’m a conservative wife, mother, and businesswoman who 100% stands with President Trump and against the left-wing socialists who want to wreck our country.”

— Marjorie Greene (R), congressional candidate – Ga.’s 14th District

Meanwhile, New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez announced she will be endorsing over a dozen female progressive congressional candidates through her political action committee.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., left, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., listen as U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham testifies during a hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

On her Twitter Friday, Ocasio-Cortez confirmed the move is part of her greater push to elect a “progressive majority” to Congress. The congresswoman said the idea behind the move is to “open the door” for political newcomers and “reward political courage” in Congress.

Among her endorsements, AOC is backing several long-shot candidates who are running against Democrats endorsed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

RELATED: Outdated software could leave 2020 elections vulnerable to hacking

Original Article

Report: Bloomberg accusers too scared to speak out on alleged harassment due to legal backlash

Democratic presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg speaks during a campaign event, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 7:35 PM PT — Friday, February 21, 2020

A number of women accusing Democrat presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg of sexism and sexual harassment have said they want to speak out, but are afraid of possible repercussions.

According to recent reports, non-disclosure agreements (NDA) restrict the women from saying anything bad about their former employer. The NDA’s are tied to about 17 lawsuits which have claimed Bloomberg made crude and sexist comments about women as well as fueled that culture within his company.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and other opponents of Bloomberg targeted him on that issue during the most recent Democrat debate in Las Vegas, Neveda.

“I’d like to talk about who we’re running against; a billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse-faced lesbians,” Warren stated. “So, Mr. Mayor, are you willing to release all of those women from those nondisclosure agreements so we can hear their side of the story?”

Although the consequences to breaking the NDA’s have not been revealed, those close to the matter have described them as being “deeply serious.” Meanwhile, Warren does not appear to be backing down when it comes to Bloomberg’s non-disclosure agreements.

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

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Report: Billionaire behind botched Iowa caucus vote was involved in 2017 smear campaign in Ala.

File -LinkedIn co-founder and billionare Reid Hoffman is pictured.(Tobias Hase/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Photo)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 8:40 AM PT — Thursday, February 20, 2020

A group behind the botched Democrat Iowa caucus appears to have a connection to a disinformation campaign in Alabama’s special election back in 2017.

According to recent reports, billionaire Reid Hoffman has supported a non-profit group called ‘Acronym,’ which developed an app that has been blamed for the failed vote count in the Iowa caucuses.

The billionaire also partially financed a smear campaign against Judge Roy Moore, who ran for U.S. Senate in Alabama in 2017. Hoffman’s role in the disinformation campaign in Alabama was uncovered by the New York Times in 2018.

FILE – In this Dec. 12, 2017, file photo, Roy Moore speaks to the media after he rode in on a horse to vote in Gallant, Ala. Moore says he’s considering a fresh run for Senate in 2020. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)

Moore warned these smear tactics could be used again.

“Government itself got involved using Russian tactics against the Alalbama Senate race in 2017 and there is a report called after action report of Project Birmingham,” explained the judge. “…basically, that money comes from special interests, lobbyists in Washington, and that’s the problem with our government.”

Hoffman has acknowledged and apologized for his meddling with the 2017 Alabama election. He has yet to comment on his reported involvement with Iowa caucuses this year.

RELATED: Judicial Watch questions accuracy of Iowa caucus

Original Article

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Original Article

Report: 5K additional coronavirus cases confirmed in China

Students line up to sanitize their hands to avoid the contact of coronavirus before their morning class at a hight school in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 5:25 PM PT — Friday, February 14, 2020

The number of coronavirus cases in China has skyrocketed over the last 24 hours. On Friday, the Chinese government reported 5,000 new cases and 121 new deaths.

Over 2,100 of those infected are in severe condition. This brought the total number of coronavirus deaths to nearly 1,400 while the total number of confirmed cases has exceeded 63,000.

China’s financial minister said the country has allocated over $11.5 billion to combat the epidemic.

“We have made every effort to ensure epidemic prevention and control funding. As of February 13th, a total of $11.52 billion (has) been allocated from all-level governments, with $5.86 billion already spent. We have also issued a notice demanding financial departments at all levels put people’s life and health first, and implement all relevant policies.” – Ou Wenhan, Chinese Assistant Minister of Finance

Moving forward, officials are working to track down and test those who have had close contact with victims.

Personnels wearing protective suits wait near an entrance at the Cheung Hong Estate, a public housing estate during evacuation of residents in Hong Kong, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Meanwhile, the U.S. military is making preparations to handle a possible pandemic of the deadly coronavirus. American troops around Asia have reportedly started enforcing a plan handed down by Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

Esper directed troops to take certain steps last month, including quarantining service members who have recently traveled to China. The protocol reportedly follows the Pentagon’s plan for dealing with the flu and other unknown diseases.

This came after the CDC confirmed the 15th case of the virus in the U.S. this week.

“The immediate risk of novel coronavirus remains low for the U.S. public at this time, (and) CDC is taking aggressive action to keep the nation safe,” the agency said in a statement. “COVID-19 represents an unprecedented public health threat and requires everyone’s continued cooperation.”

RELATED: Coronavirus Confirmed In San Diego, Calif.

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Report: Durham investigating CIA analysis of 2016 Russian interference

File – John Brennan, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, is pictured. (Mike Simons/Tulsa World via AP)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 9:55 AM PT — Friday, February 14, 2020

U.S. attorney John Durham is reportedly focusing on the Obama-era CIA’s analysis, which led to the Intelligence Community’s assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

According to the New York Times, sources have said Durham is looking at a theory former CIA Director John Brennan was attempting to achieve a predetermined outcome by steering the probe towards Russia.

The Times reported Durham may be trying to figure out if Brennan attempted to keep the other intelligence agencies in the dark about ulterior motives by withholding secrets and methods.

Brennan responded to the report Thursday night and welcomed questioning from Durham.

National security experts have reportedly questioned Durham’s investigation and have claimed his scrutiny is a misunderstanding of how the Intelligence Community shares secrets.

RELATED: DiGenova says Comey and Brennan were ‘coup leaders’

Original Article

Report: U.S. leads world in reducing carbon emissions

FILE – In this Wednesday, April 10, 2019 file photo, rush-hour traffic heads west, right, and east, left, along the Schuylkill Expressway in Philadelphia. According to a poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, Americans have mixed feelings about changing personal habits to conserve energy and reduce emissions that are warming the planet. (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 11:27 AM PT — Thursday, February 13, 2020

A new report stated the U.S. is leading the world in reducing carbon emissions, while also seeing economic growth.

According to the International Energy Agency Tuesday, U.S. CO2 emissions are down almost one gigaton in 2019 from a peak in the year 2000. This has been the largest decline of any country over that time period.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) tweeted about the lack of interest the report has received.

The report also noted an 80 percent increase in carbon emissions from Asia, marking China and India as contributing significantly to the increase.

RELATED: Hundreds Of Serbians March In Capital, Demand Action On Air Pollution

Original Article

Report: Iowa caucus results are still flawed

FILE – In this Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, file photo, from left, Democratic presidential candidates businessman Tom Steyer, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar stand on stage before a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by CNN and the Des Moines Register in Des Moines, Iowa. The next Democratic debate is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 7, in New Hampshire. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 6:24 AM PT — Friday, February 7, 2020

According to reports, there were still problems with the final results in the Iowa caucus, following a disastrous delay in the state’s vote count. The final results were released Thursday night, showing former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) neck-and-neck with 26.2 and 26.1 percent of the votes.

As the results trickled in amid a so-called “quality control” check, the New York Times published an analysis, which found there were multiple inconsistencies in the vote count. Namely, in some precincts the candidate who received the most final alignment votes did not receive the correct amount of state delegate equivalents.

In other cases, candidates lost votes between what was called the first alignment votes, which is who voters supported heading into the caucus. Additionally, candidates lost votes between the final alignment votes, which should have been impossible according to the states rules.

While the errors were not profound enough to warrant speculation of favoritism for a single candidate, the legitimacy of the results may come into question because Sanders and Buttigieg were within 0.1 percentage point from each other. Despite the uncertainty, Sanders decided to declare victory in Iowa.

“In a election with voter turnout of approximately 180,000 people and with eight strong candidates competing, a victory margin of some 6,000 votes is pretty decisive,” he stated.

Although Sanders technically trailed behind Buttigieg in delegate equivalents, he still got thousands more individual votes than his rival. That’s because Iowa weighs some districts more than others in order to provide rural areas with a larger voice than they would have otherwise.

Democratic presidential candidate former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg takes a question from the audience at a campaign stop at the Merrimack American Legion, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020, in Merrimack, N.H. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

This comes after Buttigieg prematurely declared victory Monday night, even though no official votes had even been counted yet.

“What a night, because tonight an improbable hope became an undeniable reality,” claimed the former Indiana mayor. “Because by all indications, we are going on to New Hampshire victorious.”

Meanwhile, former Vice President Joe Biden posted a lackluster performance, finishing fourth in the state behind Elizabeth Warren. While heading into Iowa, Biden was touted by many Democrats as the most electable candidate, but after Iowa that standing is likely to be called into question.

Candidates are now preparing for the upcoming primary vote in New Hampshire, where Sanders and Warren are expected to dominate.

RELATED: Biden goes after Buttigieg following Iowa caucuses

Original Article

Report: Yang lays off staffers after Iowa caucus finish

Democratic presidential candidate entrepreneur Andrew Yang speaks during the New Hampshire Youth Climate and Clean Energy Town Hall, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020, in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 2:35 PM PT — Thursday, February 6, 2020

Democrat presidential candidate Andrew Yang is reportedly laying off dozens of staffers after a disappointing finish in Iowa. According to reports, Yang laid off his national political and policy directors as well as the deputy national political director.

He finished in sixth place with just one percent of delegates in the Iowa caucuses.

In this Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020 photo, a staffer takes down a poster after Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang spoke at a campaign stop at 7 Hills Event Center in Dubuque, Iowa. (Eileen Meslar/Telegraph Herald via AP)

However, his campaign claimed this move was a planned effort to downsize. A Yang campaign official insisted there were previous plans to reduce the size of his organization after Iowa.

“As part of our original plans following the Iowa caucuses, we are winding down our Iowa operations and restructuring to compete as the New Hampshire primary approaches,” stated campaign manager Zach Graumann. “These actions are a natural evolution of the campaign post-Iowa, same as other campaigns have undertaken, and Andrew Yang is going to keep fighting for the voices of the more than 400,000 supporters who have donated to the campaign and placed a stake in the future of our country.”

Fundraising reports said the campaign had more than 230 staffers.

RELATED: DNC Chairman Tom Perez Calls For Recanvass Of Iowa Caucus Results Following Errors

Original Article

Report: Officials believe Al-Qaeda leader killed in U.S. airstrike

Screengrabs of Qassim al-Rimi, via Rewards for Justice website and official CNN report.

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 6:05 PM PT — Friday, January 31, 2020

U.S. officials reportedly believe they may have killed the leader of Al-Qaeda following a recent airstrike in the Arabian Peninsula. Friday reports said the U.S. conducted a strike targeting terror leader Qassim al-Rimi in Yemen, but have yet to confirm his death.

The Pentagon has not elaborated on the situation.

“While we are aware of the reports alleging the death of AQAP leader Qassim al-Rimi, the Department of Defense has nothing to offer on this matter,” one State Department told CNN.

Authorities reportedly said they’ll continue to assess whether al-Rimi was killed in the strike by monitoring social media and messaging apps for evidence.

MORE NEWS: Pentagon Requests Iraqi Government Ramp Up Air Defenses At U.S. Facilities To Deter Future Iranian Attacks

Original Article

Report: Kobe Bryant and four others killed in Calif. helicopter crash

Kobe Bryant attends the LA premiere of “Just Mercy” at Cinemark Baldwin Hills on Monday, Jan. 6, 2020, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 12:03 PM PT — Sunday, January 26, 2020

Reports are saying NBA legend Kobe Bryant and four others died in a helicopter crash on Sunday. The helicopter reportedly went down in Calabasas and sparked a brush fire near the crash site.

The five-time NBA champion retired following a 20 year career playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. Bryant was 41-years-old.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department confirmed five people were killed in the crash. The blaze has since been extinguished and local officials are assisting on scene.

Authorities encouraged the public to avoid the area until further notice. The incident is now under investigation.

This is developing news. Updates will be provided as more information comes into our newsroom.

Original Article

Report: U.S. planning to evacuate Americans from Wuhan amid coronavirus outbreak

FILE – In this Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020 file photo, Passengers wear protective face masks at the departure hall of the high speed train station in Hong Kong. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 11:07 AM PT — Saturday, January 25, 2020

The U.S. government is organizing a flight of out the Chinese city of Wuhan to evacuate American citizens and diplomats amid the coronavirus outbreak. The local U.S. consulate is reportedly contacting American citizens to offer them a place on the plane, which will seat around 230 people and is expected to take off on Sunday.

Around 1,000 U.S. citizens are said to be in Wuhan. However, those who choose to evacuate on the plane will be responsible for the cost of their ticket. The flight will be directly to the U.S. Onboard medical personnel will be present to ensure the infection doesn’t spread.

The U.S. government is also planning to temporarily close the consulate in Wuhan.

In this Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, photo, a staff member wearing a hazardous materials suit hauls a bin at a hospital that reported a coronavirus death in Yichang in central China’s Hubei Province. (Chinatopix via AP)

Meanwhile, officials in China are taking on a massive construction project to build a quarantine hospital within 10 days. Authorities reportedly started building the 1,000 bed hospital on Friday. It will be used to treat patients who are being turned away from overcrowded hospitals in Wuhan.

At least 41 people have died and 1,200 others have been infected by the new and unknown virus, which includes pneumonia-like symptoms.

In 2003, a similar building was quickly erected during a SARS outbreak.

RELATED: Second Case Of Coronavirus Confirmed In U.S.

Original Article

GOP push to reform FISA gains momentum in wake of Horowitz report

closeWhat is the future of the FBI following revealing IG report on FISA applications?Video

What is the future of the FBI following revealing IG report on FISA applications?

Reaction and analysis from Kira Davis, Tomi Lahren, and Rep. Matt Gaetz.

A Republican push to reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act has gained fresh momentum on Capitol Hill amid the fallout of the long-awaited findings of Michael Horowitz, the Department of Justice’s inspector general who illuminated an array of abuses and misdeeds pertaining to government surveillance tools during the Russia investigation.

COMEY ADMITS ‘I WAS WRONG’ ON FISA CONDUCT, REMAINS DEFIANT ON DOSSIER IN TENSE INTERVIEW

Reps. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, and Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, last week introduced the FISA Improvements Act in a bid to “stop these abuses” and effectively amend FISA by adding requirements on the FBI, the DOJ and on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), which would also give Congress “critical new insight to perform oversight of the FISA powers.”

“The deceptive actions of a few high-ranking officials within the FBI and the Department of Justice have eroded public trust in our federal institutions,” Stewart stated. “They flattened internal guardrails, deceived the FISA court, and irreparably damaged the reputation of an innocent American.”

That American was 2016 Trump campaign aide, Carter Page. Horowitz’s report noted “17 significant errors or omissions” in the application process for FISA warrants for Page, and underscored “many additional errors,” including how the FBI informed the FISA court that its primary source outlining possible collusion with Russia, Christopher Steele, was credible without verifying his assertions. Horowitz also found that investigators withheld crucial details from the FISA tribunal that may have cast doubt on the credibility of Steele's dossier of claims about Trump.

“FISA is an important tool in the U.S. fight against espionage and terrorism, and the vast majority of FISA warrants no doubt comply with the original purpose of the Act,” Francey Hakes, a former DOJ official, told Fox News. “But the IG report shows quite clearly the process can be manipulated. FISA reforms are necessary to ensure this never happens again.”

Comey: 'I was wrong' to say FISA process was 'followed'Video

The GOP bill would mandate that amicus curiae – an impartial court advisor – be assigned to all cases where a U.S. person is involved. It would also ensure that the DOJ disclose “any usage of unverified information in the application,” and include a provision in which any FISA extensions are heard or denied by the same judge which “ensures that the government is not able to obfuscate details of an expiring order’s newly gathered evidence to support renewal.”

Additionally, Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Ohio, has also upped his call for “sweeping reforms” in the wake of Horowitz’s findings.

“The secrecy of the court and the actions taken by FBI investigators show that it is too easy to abuse our government’s surveillance program. Investigators didn’t vet the Steel dossier properly and neglected to inform the FISA court that it was funded by the DNC,” Davidson stated. “We need to reassert the fourth amendment and protect the privacy of all Americans – including candidates for political office.”

The hallmark Fourth Amendment prohibits arbitrary searches or seizures.

And Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, has also joined the growing chorus of Republicans urging swift action and new legislation with “major reforms.” Even some well-known GOP hawks have decried the revelations in Horowitz's report, as Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., vowed that the errors “should scare the hell out of us.”

Yet in June this year, the House voted against a bipartisan amendment to FISA, proposed by then-GOP Rep. Justin Amash and Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren, which would have halted the 2020 funding for FISA's Section 702, which was only authorized in 2008 as a means to monitor communications by foreign nationals outside the U.S. Amash later left the Republican Party to become an independent.

Scores of civil liberties groups, ranging from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) to the Government Accountability Project have also re-invigorated their campaigns for FISA transparency amendments, urging lawmakers to take action and stressing that if such egregious errors could happen to a Presidential candidate, it likely has happened to scores of others.

“FISA benefits law enforcement by approving court surveillance necessary to conduct national security investigations. But like any process that sanctions secrecy, in order to be effective, it requires integrity, honesty, and diligence on behalf of law enforcement,” explained Wendy Patrick, a career trial attorney and business ethics lecturer. “As with an attempt to procure a warrant in any court, if agents omit important evidence, fail to correct past inaccuracies, or misrepresent facts, the judge´s decision will be compromised. Judicial decisions are only as accurate as of the facts on which they are based.”

A former Trump campaign advisor, Carter Page was the subject of electronic surveillance by the FBI because a judge found probable cause that he was acting as an agent of the Russian government. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

A former Trump campaign advisor, Carter Page was the subject of electronic surveillance by the FBI because a judge found probable cause that he was acting as an agent of the Russian government. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

FISA was brought to life in the 1970s after the Church Committee unearthed a number of disconcerting abuses, thus prompting Congress to pass the legislation in 1978. While its original intent was to safeguard U.S. citizens against government snooping, some experts argue it has moved far from that intent in recent decades.

The act brought with it the FISC functions as a secret tribunal, made up of several federal judges selected by the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court to serve seven-year terms. The tribunal has the power to approve warrants for electronic surveillance, allowing wiretapping, phone, email, computer, microphone, and physical searches of an alleged “foreign power or an agent of a foreign power,” which may include Americans or citizens suspected of being engaged in terrorism or espionage.

According to Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the Liberty & National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, “over time parts of the law have been weakened to make it easier to collect certain kinds of information about Americans, which has had the effect of eroding privacy.”

“For instance, under FISA’s so-called ‘business records’ provision, the government was previously allowed to obtain only certain types of records, and it had to persuade the FISA Court that the subject of the documents was a foreign power or agent of a foreign power. Section 215 of the Patriot Act amended the law to permit the government to obtain literally ‘any tangible thing’ upon a mere showing of relevance to a foreign intelligence investigation,” Goitein said. “It is this provision that the National Security Agency (NSA) exploited after 9/11 to collect Americans’ phone records in bulk, although Congress effectively ended that practice when it passed the USA Freedom Act in 2015.”

Another example, she underscored, is the addition of Section 702 in 2008. This authority allows the NSA to engage in a “programmatic” collection of foreigners’ communications, including their communications with Americans, without an individualized court order.

“The FISA Court’s role is limited to signing off on the broad procedures for the program – a much more limited role than Congress ever contemplated when it originally enacted FISA. The FBI has exploited this large-scale, warrantless collection; it routinely combs through the data collected by the NSA looking for Americans’ phone calls and e-mails to use against them in purely domestic criminal investigations,” Goitein said.

And if a FISA request is denied, there is the option for appeal. Yet almost every application, more than 99 percent, of the tens of thousands put forward by investigators, has been rubber-stamped. As to why the rejection rate is so low, according to legal experts, the answer comes down to whom you ask.

“Law enforcement would argue because they do such a great job compiling evidence on the front end in order to provide the court everything it needs to make a decision. Most investigators work diligently to build a strong case before submitting a warrant application to the judge,” Patrick surmised. “Skeptics, on the other hand, would argue that the rejection rate is so low because courts rely too heavily on the representations of law enforcement, including the assumption that the evidence submitted includes any exculpatory facts the court should consider. The IG report indicates this is not always the case.”

And the latest IG revelations are not the first time FISA has been exposed for misgivings.

Horowitz says FISA warrant claims relied 'entirely' on Steele dirtVideo

The DOJ admitted that in the year 2000, mistakes were made in 75 surveillance and search applications, which was then documented in an opinion by FISC. In 2002, the court also claimed that FBI agents had issued false or misleading assertions leading a top counterterrorism official to be permanently barred from appearing before FISC. Three years later, it was reportedly proposed by FISA chief judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly that FBI agents swear on the accuracy of the information put forth, but it was squashed over concerns it would significantly slow the process.

The department's inspector general also concluded that approximately 54 percent of the reports analyzed in 2004 and 47 percent in 2005 were categorized as having been subjected to “improper use of FISA authorities.” Intercepted communications “outside the scope of the FISC order, whether due to FBI or third-party error,” meaning that some were wrongly targeted as a result of infringements stemming from the wrong telephone number, wrong locations, and improperly disseminated FISA-derived information.

In 2008, a DOJ inspector general audit additionally found that in 2006 the FBI submitted 47 requests to the FISC to obtain business information, and when two were denied, investigators then used national security letters (NSL) to access the data anyway.

HUNTER BIDEN’S CHINA CONNECTIONS PLAGUED BY ETHICS QUESTIONS AND NATIONAL SECURITY CONCERNS

Documents leaked to the Washington Post at that time illuminated the depths of wrongful targeting. In one case in 2008, a “large number” of calls from Washington D.C. were captured in error as the “202” D.C. area code was entered as opposed to “20,” the country code for Egypt.

A U.S. flag hanging from a steel girder, damaged in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, blows in the breeze at a memorial in Jersey City, N.J., Sept. 11, 2019 as the sun rises behind One World Trade Center building and the re-developed area where the Twin Towers of World Trade Center once stood in New York City on the 18th anniversary of the attacks. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)

A U.S. flag hanging from a steel girder, damaged in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, blows in the breeze at a memorial in Jersey City, N.J., Sept. 11, 2019 as the sun rises behind One World Trade Center building and the re-developed area where the Twin Towers of World Trade Center once stood in New York City on the 18th anniversary of the attacks. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)

In 2017, another FISA court decision unleashed an array of violations, including “illegally sharing raw intelligence with unauthorized third parties to accessing intercepted attorney-client privileged communications without proper oversight.”

Documents were also declassified in October this year, highlighting that in 2017 and 2018, several warrantless searches had been undertaken of U.S. citizen’s emails despite congressional legislation to end mass collection and that improper queries of the NSA intelligence database had frequently occurred.

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The current FISA reform drive comes just months ahead of the forthcoming debate concerning key provisions of the Patriot Act, which was hastily implemented after Sept. 11 to grant authorities widespread powers to monitor individuals suspected of terrorist ties, poised to expire in March.

“The Patriot Act has critical importance to our national security, but Congress must increase its vigilant oversight of the program,” Hawkes added. “Both the DOJ and FBI must promulgate new regulations covering surveillance of Americans and, especially, surveillance of any kind of political figures.”

Original Article

Judiciary Committee’s minority blasts articles of impeachment report, ‘anemic case’

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Rep. Adam Schiff defends Democrats' impeachment case against President Trump

House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff joins Chris Wallace on 'Fox News Sunday.'

The House Judiciary Committee's minority blasted the committee's rush to impeach President Trump and wrote that history will not look kindly on how exculpatory evidence was ignored to meet a "self-imposed December deadline," according to the full articles of impeachment report released early Monday.

The minority, which is comprised of Republicans, blasted the Democrat-led majority for not making the case for impeachment and simply employing "holdover" arguments from other investigations to make their case. Despite the divide, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., the chairman of the committee, wrote for the majority that Trump is a threat to the Constitution and should be removed from office.

CHAD PERGRAM: CONGRESS COULD SEE ITS BUSIEST WEEK EVER

The committee released a 658-page report on the impeachment resolution that lays out the case against Trump. Democrats have raised two articles of impeachable offenses, including abuse of power by soliciting Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election and then obstructing Congress during its investigation.

NADLER BRUSHES OFF POSSIBLE DEM DEFECTION

The minority wrote that both articles are supported by assumptions and hearsay. The minority, headed by Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., the ranking member of the committee, wrote that the majority decided to “pursue impeachment first and build a case second.”

The majority ignored exculpatory evidence but proclaimed the "facts are uncontested,” the minority wrote.

"The facts are contested, and, in many areas, the majority's claims are directly contradicted by the evidence," the minority wrote. They continued that "not one of the criminal accusations leveled at the president over the past year—including bribery, extortion, collusion/conspiracy with foreign enemies, or obstruction of justice—has found a place in the articles. Some of these arguments are just holdovers from an earlier disingenuous attempt by the majority to weaponized the Russia collusion investigation for political gain."

The majority's actions were "unprecedented, unjustifiable, and will only dilute the significance of the dire recourse that is impeachment," they wrote.

The minority also claimed procedural missteps by the majority by not allowing a "minority day of hearings," despite several requests to Nadler. They called the denial “blatant” and “intentional.” They claim Nadler also refused a request to subpoena witnesses. They wrote that there was a complete absence of “fact witnesses” and the case rested with the testimony from four academics and another with a panel of Congressional staffers.

The majority claimed that they were transparent. The majority wrote that the minority wanted to hear testimony from the whistleblower, but the majority stressed the importance of protecting the person’s identity. The minority's request to hear from Hunter Biden—the son of Joe Biden—was "well outside the scope of the inquiry," the majority wrote.

At the heart of the first charge, is Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Democrats have relied on a whistleblower’s complaint that claimed that there was at least an implied quid pro quo during the phone conversation. Trump was also accused of using agents "within and outside" the U.S. government to compel Kiev to investigate the Bidens and their business dealings in the country. The claim is that Trump withheld $391 million in essential military funds to pressure Kiev on the investigations.

Both Trump and Zelensky deny there was ever any implied or explicit quid pro quo.

The newly released report also claims that Trump directed key players in the inquiry from participating.

Trump "interposed the powers of the Presidency against the lawful subpoenas of the House of Representatives, and assumed to himself functions and judgments necessary to the exercise of the ‘‘sole Power of Impeachment’’ vested by the Constitution in the House of Representatives,” the report said.

The report listed John “Mick” Mulvaney, Trump’s acting chief of staff, and Robert B. Blair, a senior adviser to Mulvaney, as officials who have denied subpoenas.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Sunday proposed in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., that Mulvaney be subpoenaed to testify in an impeachment trial. McConnell told Fox News last week that the chances of Trump being removed from office are zero.

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Republicans say Democrats are impeaching the president because they can’t beat him in 2020. Democrats warn Americans can’t wait for the next election because they worry what Trump will try next.

The House is expected to vote on the articles next week, in the days before Christmas. That would send the impeachment effort to the Senate for a 2020 trial.

The majority claimed that the impeachment inquiry was performed in a fair manner and pointed out that the purpose of the inquiry was to determine if Trump “may have committed an impeachable offense.” Trump was offered the opportunity to participate, but he declined, the majority wrote. The president has refused to participate in the proceedings.

At about the time the impeachment report was being released, Trump was on Twitter touting his record and slamming the allegations. He wrote that despite the impeachment and "obstruction," he had one of the most successful presidencies in history.

The Associated Press and Bradford Betz contributed to this report

Original Article

Nadler calls for Trump’s removal in committee’s 658-page report on articles of impeachment

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House poised for final impeachment vote

Rep. Mike Johnson on House preparing historic floor vote on Trump impeachment.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, wrote that President Trump is a threat to the Consitution and should be removed from office, according to the committee's 658-page report on the articles of impeachment resolution against Trump that was submitted early Monday.

The majority wrote that President Trump abused his office by soliciting the interference of Ukraine in the 2020 election and then obstructed the impeachment inquiry into his conduct.

The report was released at 12:30 a.m. ET., and included a dissent from the committee's minority that called the case for impeachment "not only weak but dangerously lowers the bar for future impeachments."

Trump is accused, in the first article, of abusing his presidential power by asking Ukraine to investigate his 2020 rival Joe Biden while holding military aid as leverage, and, in the second, of obstructing Congress by blocking the House’s efforts to probe his actions.

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The president insists he did nothing wrong and blasts the Democrats’ effort daily as a sham and harmful to America.

Nadler wrote that Trump should be removed and "disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.”

The committee's vote was strictly along party lines, and the floor vote is expected to be similar, with a few exceptions. No Republicans have so far signaled that they will support the articles of impeachment, but a small handful of Democrats who represent GOP-leaning districts have said they may join Republicans in voting against them.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Original Article

Nunes tells Schiff he needs ‘rehabilitation’ after IG report: ‘Admit you have a problem’

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Fox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 15

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House Intelligence Committee ranking member Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., told committee chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., that he is "in need of rehabilitation" after a Justice Department Inspector General report on the FBI's Russia investigation and its use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) contradicted Schiff's past assertions.

In a 2018 memo, Schiff dismissed Nunes' concerns about the FBI's use of a FISA warrant to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. The IG report confirmed that the FBI's warrant applications included 17 "significant errors and omissions," including a doctored email and reliance on unverified information from former British spy Christopher Steele.

COMEY ADMITS ERROR IN DEFENSE OF FBI'S FISA PROCESS AFTER IG REPORT: 'I WAS WRONG'

"After publishing false conclusions of such enormity on a topic directly within this committee's oversight responsibilities, it is clear you are in need of rehabilitation, and I hope this letter will serve as the first step in that vital process," Nunes said in a Sunday letter.

Schiff's memo downplayed Steele's role and denied FBI wrongdoing, saying, "FBI and DOJ officials did not 'abuse' the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) process, omit material information, or subvert this vital tool to spy on the Trump campaign." Schiff also claimed at the time that the DOJ "made only narrow use of information from Steele's sources" for the Page warrant.

Nunes listed these statements and others, such as how the FBI conducted a "rigorous process" when vetting Steele's information, noting that "[t]he IG report exposed all these declarations as false."

IG Michael Horowitz's report indicated that Steele's information was not properly vetted, yet was key in convincing attorneys to give the go-ahead to the FISA warrant application, which was previously deemed a "close call."

READ: DOJ IG HOROWITZ STATEMENT TO SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE ON RUSSIA PROBE REPORT

Nunes recognized Schiff's acknowledgment of the "issues and errors" described in Horowitz's report, but said that his opposition to concerns raised by Attorney General Bill Barr and Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham — who is conducting a broader probe of the Russia investigation's origins — "makes it clear your rehabilitation will be a long, arduous process."

Nunes cited Schiff's failure to use his committee to conduct proper oversight while using it "as a launching pad to impeach the president for issues that have no intelligence component at all." He accused him of "hijacking" the committee, claiming, "As part of your rehabilitation, it's crucial that you admit you have a problem."

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Schiff's office did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment about the letter, but in an interview with "Fox News Sunday," Schiff acknowledged the FBI's issues as described in Horowitz's report, and claimed he "would have called out the FBI" had he known of them.

The GOP ranking member called on the Democratic chairman to call Horowitz before their committee "at the nearest opportunity." Horowitz has already appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and is scheduled for another hearing before the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

Fox News' Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

Original Article