Former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo said Friday he believes Attorney General William Barr will get to the bottom of why warrants were carried out against Donald Trump’s campaign and determine whether it was done in good faith or because of a partisan bias.
Barr told congressional lawmakers this week that he is investigating both the “genesis” and the “conduct of intelligence activities” directed at Trump’s 2016 campaign. He also raised eyebrows when he said he believed unauthorized “spying” did occur though he seemed to back off of the assertion later.
“I don’t get the whole controversy over the word ‘spying’,” Yoo, now a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, told Fox News. “It is spying. If the government checked your emails or my emails without telling us it was listening to our phone calls we’d think of that as spying. The question is whether is was justified.”
Yoo also weighed in on the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and the charges brought against him by the United States.
“I can’t think of a single individual who in the last 10, 15 years has done greater harm to American national security by himself,” Yoo said. “He led to, I think, the capture and perhaps death to American agents abroad, to attacks on American soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
Yoo added that he believes the Assange saga is a “perfect case for extradition.”
Assange was arrested in London on Thursday, ending a 7-year stay in Ecuador’s embassy. Following his arrest, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Assange had been charged with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for aiding Chelsea Manning, in the cracking of a password to a classified U.S. government computer in 2010.
Assange had been staying up at the embassy in London since 2012, after Ecuador granted him asylum to avoid extradition to Sweden for sexual misconduct allegations.
Source: Fox News Politics
Greg Craig, former White House counsel for former President Barack Obama, pleaded not guilty in federal court on Friday to charges of making false and misleading statements to federal prosecutors related to his work on behalf of Russian-backed former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
A status hearing for his case has been set for April 15 before U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in the District of Columbia.
Craig, in an indictment a day earlier, was accused of making false and misleading statements to investigators including those on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team. Craig is the first prominent Democrat to be indicted in a case that stemmed from Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling and potential collusion with members of the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.
Mueller referred the Craig case to prosecutors in New York last year, after uncovering alleged misconduct while investigating former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s unregistered lobbying work on behalf of Ukraine.
Craig was indicted by a grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for allegedly falsifying and concealing “material facts” and making false statements to both Mueller and investigators in the Justice Department’s National Security Division’s Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) Unit.
The FARA Unit is responsible for enforcing foreign lobbying laws that require the disclosure of certain overseas activity, including public relations work for foreign entities. At issue were Craig’s 2012 lobbying and media contacts on behalf of Yanukovych, while Craig was a partner at the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.
Specifically, Craig and the law firm were commissioned by Yanukovych and Ukraine’s government to write a report to assess whether the government’s prosecution of dissident Yulia Tymoshenko — a criminal case that was criticized widely as an abuse of power — was a “fair trial.”
In a videotaped statement uploaded to YouTube on Thursday, Craig asserted that the report was “independent,” and denied helping Ukraine spin the information it contained. He also strongly denied the charges against him, saying he was “always honest” about his activities.
Craig, speaking directly to the camera, also slammed the prosecution as “unprecedented and unjustified.”
It was not clear why Mueller — who prosecuted other Trump officials, including Manafort, Michael Flynn, and George Papadopoulos for making false statements — did not handle the Craig case himself, and opted instead to farm it out to prosecutors in New York.
Alex van der Zwaan, another former Skadden lawyer, pleaded guilty last year to lying to investigators about the report.
Craig faces up to 10 years in prison in all — up to five years and a possible $250,000 fine for allegedly willfully falsifying and concealing material facts from the FARA Unit and another five years and $10,000 fine for making false and misleading statements to the FARA Unit.
Craig’s attorneys on Wednesday night told The Associated Press in a statement that the “government’s stubborn insistence on prosecuting Mr. Craig is a misguided abuse of prosecutorial discretion.”
On Thursday, the attorneys, William Taylor and William Murphy, told reporters: “This indictment accuses Mr. Craig of misleading the FARA Unit of the Department of Justice in order to avoid registration. It is itself unfair and misleading. It ignores uncontroverted evidence to the contrary. Mr. Craig had no interest in misleading the FARA Unit because he had not done anything that required his registration. That is what this trial will be all about.”
Fox News’ Jake Gibson, Mike Emanuel and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
Pressure is mounting against embattled Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, as a second major group in the city on Friday called for her immediate resignation.
The Greater Baltimore Committee’s board of directors wrote Pugh “no longer possesses the public trust or moral authority” to lead the Maryland city.
“This was a difficult decision requiring a great deal of thought, but the GBC believes the Mayor can no longer provide the leadership and effective government that Baltimore needs and deserves at this time,” the committee’s president and CEO, Donald C. Fry said in the Friday statement. “The GBC Board determined that it is necessary for Mayor Pugh to resign so the city can move on, heal and leverage the many positive assets it has going for it.”
The board said it was in the best interest of the city for Pugh to step down from her post because Baltimore needs “a strong Mayor who is laser-focused on the needs of the city, its residents, and businesses and can lead the city forward.”
Pugh, who last week took an indefinite leave of absence from office, is under fire after she reportedly received $500,000 from the University of Maryland Medical System for her self-authored “Healthy Holly,” a children’s book series.
The university paid Pugh for 100,000 copies of her books between 2011 and 2018 while she was on its board. The books were intended to go to schools and day care centers, however, some 50,000 copies remain unaccounted for and may never have been printed.
Earlier this week, the Baltimore City Council also called on Pugh to step down immediately.
The 14 members of the Baltimore City Council sent a two-sentence letter to Pugh on Monday urging her to resign, effective immediately. All members of the city council except acting mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young signed the letter.
“The entire membership of the Baltimore City Council believes that it is not in the best interest of the City of Baltimore for you to continue to serve as Mayor,” the council members wrote to Pugh. “We urge you to tender your resignation, effective immediately.”
Pugh’s spokesman told the Baltimore Sun on Saturday that Pugh intends to return to her post once her health has sufficiently improved.
Fox News’ Nicole Darrah contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News National
The body camera footage showing the death of Justine Damond, the woman who was fatally shot by a Minneapolis police officer, also showed officers’ vain attempts to save her life.
The chaotic footage was played in court Thursday and showed the unsuccessful efforts to save the 40-year-old woman, who was shot minutes after calling 911 to report a possible rape near her home. Damond was a dual citizen of the U.S. and Australia who had taken her fiance’s last name ahead of their wedding, which was scheduled to happen a month after her July 2017 death.
Former Minneapolis officer Mohamed Noor stands trial on murder and manslaughter charges. He was fired from the Minneapolis Police Department after being charged in her death.
When the body camera footage was played, Damond’s fiancé Don declined to watch. Others members of her family also left the courtroom, FOX9 reported.
The Australian Associated Press reported Minneapolis Judge Kathryn Quaintance barred the media and public from seeing the body camera footage at first but the restriction was lifted after media organizations argued the decision.
“The footage on these [body-worn cameras] shows the last moments of human life and the struggles of police and medical personnel to save that life,” Quaintance wrote in a memo, according to the Australian Associated Press. “These moments are well outside the personal experience of most people. Most lay people are not well equipped to take in such visceral and shocking material.”
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that one officer’s body camera showed Noor and his partner taking turns performing CPR on Damond before firefighters arrived. Another body camera video showed Noor being taken to a supervisor squad. Officer Mark Ringgenberg testified Noor kept asking if Damond was OK.
“I just told [Noor] not to say anything,” Ringgenberg said. “I don’t remember specifics.”
Defense attorneys have said Noor was reacting to a loud noise and feared an ambush. Prosecutors have argued there was no evidence Noor faced a threat that justified the use of deadly force.
The head of the city’s police homicide unit, Lt. Richard Zimmerman, testified Thursday that lighting in the alley was bright enough that he could see the officers clearly when he arrived. Defense attorneys have contended that lighting conditions were poor the night Damond was shot.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News National
Northern California detectives have announced an arrest after testing DNA in the cold case of a 94-year-old woman they say was “brutally murdered.”
Armando Cuadras, 29, who was arrested Wednesday, is the second person Yuba City police have charged in the murder of Leola Shreves — a woman who had 22 great-grandchildren and 13 great-great-grandchildren.
Shreves’ 20-year-old next-door-neighbor, Michael Alexander, was arrested a short time after the murder when police said he told detectives he had “two sides” and that “Angry Mike” committed the crime, the Sacramento Bee reported Thursday, citing a local newspaper.
Prosecutors dropped the case against him, however, after saying in court papers that an analysis of DNA evidence found at the scene excluded him as a suspect.
Alexander spent three years in jail awaiting trial. He settled a lawsuit for wrongful arrest last year for $50,000, the Marysville Appeal-Democrat reported.
In a news release announcing Cuadras’s arrest, Yuba City police said blood found at the crime scene matched his DNA.
CBS 13 Sacramento reported a new process for analyzing DNA enabled detectives to produce a familial match that led to the arrest.
Assistant Police Chief Jeremy Garcia said Cuadras is the first person to be identified as a suspect and arrested under this new DNA analysis technique.
Cuadras was jailed without bail.
“He really has no idea we were coming,” Sgt. Steve Thornton told CBS 13. “For him, it was total shock.”
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A Georgia girl died this week after her younger brother accidentally shot her in the head, police say.
Investigators say the mother of a girl identified in media reports as Millie Drew Kelly loaded her and her 4-year-old brother into a car Monday at their Paulding County home, but couldn’t get it to start. When the mother left the vehicle to see what was wrong, she heard a shot fired from inside it, they added.
“Detectives determined that the 4-year-old male sibling retrieved a handgun from the console of the vehicle and accidentally discharged it, striking his 6-year-old sister in the head, fatally wounding her,” the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
The girl was rushed to a local Atlanta hospital but died of her injuries two days later. As of now, detectives don’t plan on filing any charges in the case.
“Our hearts break for this family and we hope God puts his healing hands around them during this difficult time,” Sheriff Gary Gulledge said in a statement. “We want to remind everyone to keep their firearms unloaded and secured in an area away from children to ensure that this never happens again.”
A GoFundMe page set up to offer financial support for the family has raised over $30,000 as of Friday morning.
Fox News’ Michael Sinkewicz contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News National
SAN ANTONIO – Hundreds of airmen will line the main entrance of an Air Force base in Texas to salute as the family of the last of the 80 Doolittle Tokyo Raiders arrives for his memorial service.
Retired Lt. Col. Richard “Dick” Cole died Tuesday in San Antonio at the age of 103. The Air Force on Friday released details for a memorial being held on April 18 at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph.
The memorial is being held on the 77th anniversary of the Doolittle Raid during World War II.
On April 18, 1942, Cole was mission commander Jimmy Doolittle’s co-pilot in the U.S. attack on Japan less than five months after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor.
Cole, an Ohio native, will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Source: Fox News National
UNITED NATIONS – The U.N. Security Council has voted unanimously to completely end its peacekeeping operations in Haiti on Oct. 15 and establish a political mission to support government efforts to promote order and development in Latin America’s poorest country.
U.N. military peacekeepers had already left the country on Oct. 15, 2017, but a stabilization group stayed behind to train national police, help the government strengthen judicial and legal institutions and monitor human rights.
The resolution approved Friday gives a final six-month period for such operations and asks Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to plan a political mission.
It acknowledged Guterres’ recent report citing “the increased capacity, leadership, and crime prevention operations” of Haiti’s police.
The country’s leaders had asked the U.N. to allow Haitian authorities to fully assume responsibility for security.
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BELGRADE, Serbia – Months after it flew as far away as Turkey’s border with Syria, a griffon vulture from Serbia has been brought home by plane.
The one-year-old female bird named Dobrila is from the central Serbian nature reserve of Uvac and it is not clear why it wandered so far away.
Officials say Dobrila was apparently unable to come back home on her own and that the bird’s return was the result of a joint effort by Serbia and Turkey.
There are about 500 griffon vultures in the Uvac reserve. The birds are considered a protected species in Serbia.
Serbian Environment Minister Goran Trivan says “this is a very important moment for us … the most important thing is that she is well.”
Source: Fox News World
President Trump responded to reports Friday that his administration proposed releasing immigrant detainees in sanctuary cities by not only confirming the plan but saying it remains under “strong” consideration.
Further, the president tweeted that relocating illegal immigrants to these districts should make the “Radical Left” happy.
The comments came after The Washington Post first reported that the White House proposed sending the detainees to sanctuary cities twice in the last six months. The proposal was first floated in November amid reports of a large migrant caravan from Central America making its way to the southern border. The idea was again considered in February, amid the standoff with Congress over a border wall.
The Post said the plan was shot down both times. But on Friday, Trump signaled the proposal isn’t dead.
“Due to the fact that Democrats are unwilling to change our very dangerous immigration laws, we are indeed, as reported, giving strong considerations to placing Illegal Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities only,” Trump tweeted.
“The Radical Left always seems to have an Open Borders, Open Arms policy—so this should make them very happy!” he continued.
The president doubled down as Democrats fumed over the relocation idea.
“The extent of this Administration’s cynicism and cruelty cannot be overstated,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s spokeswoman Ashley Etienne said in a statement Friday. “Using human beings—including little children—as pawns in their warped game to perpetuate fear and demonize immigrants is despicable, and in some cases, criminal.”
She added: “The American people have resoundingly rejected this Administration’s toxic anti-immigrant policies, and Democrats will continue to advance immigration policies that keep us safe and honor our values.”
Pelosi’s district—San Francisco—was among the sanctuary cities the administration considered sending detainees to.
White House officials, though, stressed earlier Friday that the plan never went anywhere. A source familiar with discussions told Fox News that Democrats who advocate leniency toward illegal immigrants should work with the administration to find ways to transport those set for release, including in their states and districts.
The proposal was apparently rejected both times it came up by administration immigration agencies.
A Nov. 16 email from the White House to officials at several agencies reportedly asked whether migrants could be arrested and bused to “small-and mid-sized sanctuary cities” and other Democratic strongholds.
The proposal was intended to alleviate crowded detention centers, the White House told Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The same report said “the attempt at political retribution raised alarm within ICE.” An ICE official responded, noting that there were budgetary and liability issues, but also said “there are PR risks as well.”
The source familiar with the discussions argued, however, that the White House did not view this as political retribution.
“This was just a suggestion that was floated and rejected, which ended any further discussion,” the White House told The Post.
In a statement, Deputy ICE Director Matt Albence also pushed back and said he was not pressured by the White House – though indicated such a proposal was put forward.
“As the Acting Deputy I was not pressured by anyone at the White House on this issue. I was asked my opinion and provided it and my advice was heeded. The email exchange is clear and suggesting that it indicates inappropriate pressure is inaccurate,” he said.
It is unclear, at this point, whether immigration agencies would now support the proposal.
Trump has repeatedly blasted sanctuary cities, which are areas where local authorities refuse to cooperate with federal immigration agencies. The cities are typically run by Democrats.
The president was also hit this week with questions over the administration’s past family separation policy at the border. Trump said they have no plans to revive the policy, amid renewed speculation about whether the practice could return amid a shake-up in staffing at the Department of Homeland Security including the resignation of Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
Kevin McAleenan, who was serving as CBP commissioner, is replacing her as acting secretary.
Nielsen’s resignation comes amid an influx of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. Nielsen was reportedly frustrated with the difficulty of getting other departments to help deal with the growing number of families crossing the border. But administration officials told Fox News that McAleenan best fits Trump’s requirement of being the “toughest cop” on the frontier, and that Nielsen had been viewed as resistant to some of the immigration measures pushed by the president and his aides.
By Tuesday, DHS Acting Deputy Secretary Claire Grady also resigned.
And on Wednesday, Nielsen announced that ICE Acting Director Ron Vitiello would be stepping down by the end of the week.
Fox News’ Kristin Brown, Matt Leach, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics