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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.”

SEN. KENNEDY TO DEMS: ‘LEAVE BILL BAR ALONE. LET HIM DO HIS JOB’

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.”

ROD ROSENSTEIN SAYS IT’S ‘COMPLETELY BIZARRE’ TO SAY WILLIAM BARR IS ‘TRYING TO MISLEAD PEOPLE’ ON MUELLER REPORT

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.

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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.

GREG CRAIG, EX-OBAMA WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL, INDICTED FOR ALLEGED FALSE STATEMENTS

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.”

OBAMA WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL FACES POSSIBLE PROSECUTION IN MUELLER-INITIATED PROBE

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.

GREG CRAIG’S RISE AND FALL: FROM JOHN HINCKLEY’S LAWYER TO OBAMA WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL –TO INDICTED POWER PLAYER

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.”

BALTIMORE CITY COUNCIL CALLS ON EMBATTLED MAYOR CATHERINE PUGH TO RESIGN IMMEDIATELY

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.

BALTIMORE MAYOR’S $500G DEAL FOR ‘HEALTHY HOLLY’ CHILDREN’S BOOKS DRAWS SCRUTINY

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.”

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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.

Former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor, center, is accompanied by his attorneys Peter Wold, not pictured, and Thomas Plunkett, right, as he walks towards the Hennepin County Government Center for opening arguments of his trial Tuesday, April 9, 2019.

Former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor, center, is accompanied by his attorneys Peter Wold, not pictured, and Thomas Plunkett, right, as he walks towards the Hennepin County Government Center for opening arguments of his trial Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (AP)

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.

WOMAN KILLED BY MINNEAPOLIS OFFICER ‘YEARNED TO HELP PEOPLE’

“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.

In this Aug. 11, 2017, file photo, Johanna Morrow plays the didgeridoo during a memorial service for Justine Ruszczyk Damond at Lake Harriet in Minneapolis.

In this Aug. 11, 2017, file photo, Johanna Morrow plays the didgeridoo during a memorial service for Justine Ruszczyk Damond at Lake Harriet in Minneapolis. (AP)

“I just told [Noor] not to say anything,” Ringgenberg said. “I don’t remember specifics.”

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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.

DNA FROM COFFEE CUP LEADS TO ARREST IN WASHINGTON STATE 1972 COLD CASE, COPS SAY

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.

JONBENET RAMSEY DOC WILL ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO COME FORWARD WITH LEADS ON NOTORIOUS COLD CASE, SAYS INVESTIGATOR

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.

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“He really has no idea we were coming,” Sgt. Steve Thornton told CBS 13. “For him, it was total shock.”

Source: Fox News National

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.

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“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

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.

PELOSI FUMES OVER WHITE HOUSE PLAN TO RELEASE IMMIGRANT DETAINEES IN SANCTUARY CITIES

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 PROPOSED RELEASING IMMIGRANT DETAINEES INTO ‘SANCTUARY CITIES’ TO TARGET POLITICAL FOES: REPORT

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

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On the roster: Mayor Pete surging in Iowa – Trump gets Mueller bump – President dismisses idea of spending deal – Manchin endorses Collins – The Duke boys are wanted for questioning

MAYOR PETE SURGING IN IOWA 
Monmouth University: “Democratic voters in the Hawkeye State like Joe Biden – a lot. The former vice president leads the pack and holds the best favorability rating in a field of two dozen presidential contenders, according to the first Monmouth University Poll of Iowa Democratic voters in the 2020 cycle. … In a field of 24 announced and potential candidates, Biden holds the lead with 27% support among Democratic voters who are likely to attend the Iowa caucuses in February. He is followed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (16%), South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (9%), Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (7%), California Sen. Kamala Harris (7%), former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke (6%), Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar (4%), New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker (3%), and former cabinet secretary Julián Castro (2%).  Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, California Rep. Eric Swalwell, and entrepreneur Andrew Yang each receive 1% support from likely caucusgoers. The remaining 10 candidates earn less than 1% or were not chosen by any respondents in the poll.”

Warren loses out to Buttigieg on key home state endorsement – Boston Globe: “When Pete Buttigieg gathers supporters this weekend in Indiana, the ascending 2020 contender will count among them a name very familiar to Massachusetts voters. Steve Grossman, the former Democratic National Committee chairman and state treasurer, is endorsing the 37-year-old South Bend mayor for president, giving Buttigieg a well-connected ally in the donor-rich state. Grossman said he will attend what’s widely expected to be Buttigieg’s formal campaign launch Sunday. The two-time gubernatorial candidate was a supporter and organizer for Hillary Clinton during her 2016 campaign, and has offered to begin raising money for Buttigieg’s campaign in Massachusetts, where fellow Democrat Elizabeth Warren is building her own 2020 operation.”

Sanders 2020 > Sanders 2016 – FiveThirtyEight: “…[W]hen he announced he was running in 2019, after his challenge to Hillary Clinton had dragged deep into the primary calendar, the tenor was different: ‘He is among the best-known Democrats in a crowded field,’ the [New York] Times wrote earlier this year. But even though he now faces much more competition than he did in 2016’s two-person race, Sanders is already outperforming his benchmarks from the last presidential election cycle. Now he is one of the frontrunners, not the insurgent. You can see that dynamic affecting several of the early indicators… The media, voters, donors and other politicians are all paying a bit more early attention to Sanders than they did last time around.”

Yang defends free money – Fox News: “Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang appeared on ‘Fox and Friends’ Friday morning to defend his campaign’s key proposal of giving $12,000 to each American adult every year and criticized Democrats for their newfound support for the abolition of the Electoral College. Yang, former ambassador of global entrepreneurship in the Obama administration and a long-shot candidate for the party’s nomination, was grilled by the show hosts and the audience about his universal basic income program, dubbed ‘Freedom Dividend,’ and his other views. … He added that due to an increasing automation, ‘most of us’ won’t work at Amazon or other companies, leaving the rest of the people at a disadvantage because their source of income will disappear.”

McAuliffe wants to wrestle – WaPo: “Former Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe, long wrestling with whether to run for the White House, has finally hit upon a perfect meme — one that evokes the literal swamp creature he once battled for campaign cash. ‘Of all the candidates running, how many have actually wrestled a 280 pound, 8-foot alligator for a political contribution?’ the Democrat told a crowd of union leaders Wednesday. ‘I’m your man, folks. . . If I can wrestle an alligator, I can certainly wrestle Donald Trump!’ He followed up Thursday on Twitter with side-by-side photos. On the left: a svelte, 23-year-old McAuliffe perched atop the imposing reptile he fought on behalf of President Jimmy Carter’s 1980 reelection bid. On the right: President Trump, looking especially rotund in golf attire. … For the record, McAuliffe bested the gator, wrangling a $15,000 donation to Carter from Florida’s Seminole Indian tribe. But that was not enough to help Carter, who lost the race.”

THE RULEBOOK: NSFW
“What is the spirit that has in general characterized the proceedings of Congress?” – James MadisonFederalist No. 46

TIME OUT: KEEP ON READING  
WTVD: “Beloved children’s author Beverly Cleary is hitting a milestone on Friday. She’s turning 103. April 12 is also National D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything and Read) Day in honor of Cleary. The National Medal of Arts winner and Library of Congress Living Legend is best known for books about her character Ramona Quimby and sister Beezus. … Though her most famous character, Ramona, is one of the most well-known little sisters in the history of children’s literature, Cleary herself didn’t have any siblings. … Cleary started her career as a librarian, where she realized that boys needed more books with characters they identified with, she said. She published Henry Huggins in 1950 to remedy that. … Like many centenarians, Cleary gets asked about the secret to longevity. Her response? ‘I didn’t do it on purpose.’ She also says she doesn’t look a day over 80.”

Flag on the play? – Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.

SCOREBOARD
Trump job performance 
Average approval:
 43.2 percent
Average disapproval: 51.6 percent
Net Score: -8.4 points
Change from one week ago: up 1.8 points 
[Average includes: Gallup: 45% approve – 51% disapprove; GU Politics/Battleground: 43% approve – 52% disapprove; IBD: 41% approve – 52% disapprove; NPR/PBS/Marist: 44% approve – 50% disapprove; NBC/WSJ: 43% approve – 53% disapprove.]

TRUMP GETS MUELLER BUMP 
Gallup: “President Donald Trump‘s job approval rating increased relatively sharply over the past month to 45% in an April 1-9 Gallup poll, up from 39% in March. This marks the third time the 45th president has reached a 45% job approval rating in Gallup trends — his highest in the series. This is Gallup’s first measurement of presidential approval since special counsel Robert Mueller completed his investigation into Russian attempts to sway the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. Attorney General William Barr‘s synopsis of Mueller’s findings reported no Russian involvement in the Trump campaign and insufficient evidence of obstruction of justice — which Trump claims fully vindicates him. Congress has raised questions about the attorney general’s synopsis of Mueller’s findings and is demanding to see the report. While this plays out, Americans are slightly more approving of Trump than they were before the report’s delivery — though a small majority (51%) still disapprove of the president.”

PRESIDENT DISMISSES IDEA OF SPENDING DEAL 
Politico: “President Donald Trump scoffed Thursday night at the idea of striking a bipartisan two-year deal to ward off billions of dollars in spending cuts. ‘House Democrats want to negotiate a $2 TRILLION spending increase but can’t even pass their own plan. We can’t afford it anyway, and it’s not happening!’ Trump tweeted. The president’s jeers come on the heels of House Democrats’ failure this week to muster the support to pass a bill that would stave off $126 billion in spending cuts in the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, as well as cuts in the fiscal year that follows. While the proposal would increase discretionary spending to about $1.3 trillion for the upcoming fiscal year, the Trump administration contends that it would lead to nearly $2 trillion in spending increases over 10 years.”

Senate in decline – Politico: “Just last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) triggered the ‘nuclear option’ and weakened the Senate’s vaunted filibuster to steamroll over Democratic resistance to President Donald Trump’s nominees… To top it all off, the Senate has now failed to muster enough votes to pass a simple disaster-aid bill, something that was once routine and is a failure that will affect millions of Americans. McConnell and his Democratic counterpart, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, exchanged verbal blows on Thursday as they gave dueling accounts over who was to blame for the Senate morass. … As Republicans changed the Senate rules last week, McConnell and Schumer engaged in a fierce tit-for-tat on the floor culminating with McConnell literally pointing at Schumer as the one to blame. It was an ugly moment for the Senate. Yet these types of bitter personal exchanges have become routine, and a growing number of senators just try to tune it all out.”

MANCHIN ENDORSES COLLINS 
Politico: “Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin endorsed GOP Sen. Susan Collins for reelection on Thursday, in a rare rebuff of partisan politics in an increasingly polarized Senate. The moderate West Virginia senator also offered to campaign for the vulnerable Maine incumbent. It’s a boon for Collins, who Democrats likely need to beat if they hope to take the Senate majority in 2020. ‘I would go up and campaign for Susan Collins. If she wanted me to, I would campaign for Susan Collins. For America to lose somebody like Susan Collins would be an absolute shame. I feel that strongly about her,’ Manchin said on Thursday. He admitted his comments will not please Democrats eager to defeat Collins.”

Hold the Rice – AP: “Susan Rice, who served as national security adviser under President Barack Obama, won’t be challenging Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine in 2020. Rice told former Obama administration official Alyssa Mastromonaco at the 10th annual Women in the World Summit on Thursday in New York that she loves Maine and that her family has deep roots in the state. But she said she decided with her family ‘that the timing really isn’t right for us.’ Rice tantalized Democrats in October when she expressed interest in Collins’ seat during the contentious confirmation hearing for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. She said Collins supporting Kavanaugh ‘felt like betrayal.’ Rice said during the event on Thursday that her daughter is going into her junior year of high school and moving to Maine to run a campaign isn’t the best move for her family. Rice and her family currently reside in Washington D.C.”

PLAY-BY-PLAY
Illinois Senate threatens to bar Trump from 2020 ballot for tax returns – WBEZ

Report: Administration considered dumping migrants in sanctuary cities – Fox News

Herman Cain to abandon bid for Fed board – ABC News

AUDIBLE: NOTED
“The only unpardonable sin in New York society is poverty.” – Rich Farley, a New York lawyer and author, talking to the Atlantic about Ivanka Trump.

ANY GIVEN SUNDAY
This weekend Mr. Sunday will sit down with Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y. Watch “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.” Check local listings for broadcast times in your area.

#mediabuzz – Host Howard Kurtz has the latest take on the week’s media coverage. Watch #mediabuzz Sundays at 11 a.m. ET.

FROM THE BLEACHERS
“While everyone is preaching Amtrak Joe (or Uncle Bernie) as the front-runner, allow me to remind everyone of what happens to front-runners with a single word: JEB!” – Jeff Smith, Statesboro, Ga.

[Ed. note: Indeed, Mr. Smith! Frontrunners are the ones walking around with the biggest bullseyes on their backs. Jeb Bush failed to understand this and adopted an astonishingly arrogant approach to the race. He gamed the system to run a giant PAC that was intended to amass so much money that he could destroy any opponent. And when he did get in the race, he turned his death ray not on his real competitor, Donald Trump, but rather on his fellow mainstream Republicans. Biden should pay attention to that lesson. As frontrunner, you’ve got to get in, take your licks like a grown up and play to win.]  

“Someone must eventually ask Buttigieg, if after being reared in a Marxist household, he will disavow Marxism now. Unless he unequivocally answers, ‘Yes,’ which he won’t, he is toast.” – Joe Guyton, San Antonio

[Ed. note: I’m guessing, based on your question, Mr. Guyton, that your vote is not up for grabs this cycle. I heard the same comments about former President Barack Obama’s politically radical associates – his father, William Ayers and others. I also heard how President Trump’s connections in the world of organized crime would doom him. I think you might be surprised at how little attention persuadable voters pay to these kinds of considerations.]   

“Chris, It being Lent, a couple of thoughts about the Mayor Pete vs Vice President Pence story. Those of us who believe in Jesus Christ and the truth of the Bible have no reason to dislike Mayor Pete. We dislike sin, not the sinner. We are all sinners. We do not celebrate sin. According to the Bible, marriage is between one man and one woman. What Mayor Pete does is his free choice. It is our belief, based on the teaching of the Bible to consider it sin without judging the sinner. Judgement is the Lord’s. The Pence family from what I can discern, agrees. Keep up the good work.” – Chuck Gibson, Lakeland, Fla.

[Ed. note: Very lovingly said, Mr. Gibson. Augustine of Hippo wrote, “What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.” When I am tempted to judge the faith of another, I first have to consider how I am using my own feet, eyes and ears. And that is work that will never, ever be done in this life.]   

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THE DUKE BOYS ARE WANTED FOR QUESTIONING
WLBT: “For the second time in several weeks, thieves have stolen the wheels off of Jackson [Miss.] Police Department cars. Sgt. Roderick Holmes says three police cars were towed Saturday after police found that their wheels had been stolen. The cars were parked behind a police museum in downtown Jackson and police aren’t sure when the wheels were taken. This is the second time wheels have been stolen from patrol cars in recent weeks. A car was left on blocks outside the west Jackson police training academy in March after thieves stole the tires and rims. The thefts are under investigation.”

AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“I think the big mistake Trump made was to quote Assange and he sort of had to walk it back. He never admits error. But it is a big mistake to quote somebody who clearly is an enemy of the United States…” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) on “Special Report with Bret Baier” on Jan. 5, 2017.

Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.

Source: Fox News Politics

Sen. Cory Booker’s not soaring in the polls, and he doesn’t appear to have the buzz that Beto O’Rourke and Pete Buttigieg have enjoyed the past six weeks.

But that’s just fine with the Democratic senator’s presidential campaign, aides say.

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“We’re not building this campaign to win a poll in April of 2019. We’re trying to win the election in February of 2020, in March of 2020, in April of 2020. This is a long race where there’s going to be a lot of ups and downs,” Booker campaign manager Addisu Demissie told Fox News.

Demissie explained that the campaign’s philosophy is “you’ve got to organize and get hot at the end.”

He highlighted that the New Jersey senator and his team are “laser-focused on building strong teams in the states that are going the set the narrative around the primary starting in February of next year.”

Booker’s campaign manager detailed his strategy with political reporters on Thursday, ahead of Saturday’s ‘hometown kickoff’ by Booker in Newark. Booker served as mayor of New Jersey’s largest city for seven years before winning election to the Senate in 2013.

WATCH THE BERNIE SANDERS TOWN HALL ON FOX NEWS CHANNEL ON MONDAY AT 6:30 PM ET. 

The campaign’s putting most of its firepower in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina, the four states that next February will kick off the presidential primary and caucus calendar.

“We’ve built our operation with the intention of having the strongest operation in the states on the front end of the primary calendar,” he said.

Demissie touted that the strategy’s paying off, noting that “we’ve earned the first legislative endorsements in Iowa and South Carolina and the first state senator to endorse in New Hampshire.”

And he spotlighted that “no campaign, I think, can boast the level of staff infrastructure and local support that we have.”

But that staffing up is expensive. And presidential campaign history is littered with candidates who grew their infrastructures too fast and spent too much, only to drop out — in some cases — even before the voting began.

Booker declared his candidacy at the beginning of February and quickly spent much of his time stumping in the first four states to vote on the road to the White House.

Demissie noted that Booker held 60 events and stops in the early voting states to show “the voters of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina that we were going to campaign in the best traditions of those states and planting that flag on the ground early and often.”

The concentration on visiting and staffing up in the early voting states may be one reason why Booker’s fundraising figures – $5 million in the first quarter of this year – were respectable but far behind the campaign cash leaders – Sens. Bernie Sanders ($18 million) and Kamala Harris ($12 million).

And while candidates like O’Rourke and Buttigieg are grabbing media attention, Demissie said he wasn’t concerned his candidate’s yet to have a breakout moment.

“We want to win an election, not a news cycle,” he emphasized.

Source: Fox News Politics

Surveillance video from a Chicago high school reveals a shocking incident between local police and a 16-year-old student, who officers can be seen dragging down a flight of stairs before beating and Tasing her — despite later saying the teen instigated the violence.

The incident began as Dnigma Howard was being escorted out of Marshall Metropolitan High School in January by two officers assigned to the school after a reported “confrontation” between her and the assistant principal. Police said that, as they were leading her out of the building, she attacked them, causing all three to fall down the stairs.

Video obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times, however, paints a different picture. Howard can be seen standing next to one of the officers, and slowly turns towards him. Apparently unprompted, the officer then appears to grab her and throw her down the stairs. Footage from the bottom of the staircase then shows two officers pulling Howard down the stairs by her arms, holding her down, stepping on her chest, punching her and using a stun gun on the teenager.

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CHICAGO POLICE UNION WANTS REP. RUSH TO RETRACT CLAIM THAT IT’S THE ‘SWORN ENEMY OF BLACK PEOPLE’

Throughout the violent exchange, Howard’s father stood by and was told not to intervene. Howard was arrested and charged with two felony accounts of aggravated battery against the officers, who said in their report she “became irate and initiated a physical altercation with the officers.”

The charges against her have since been dropped “in the interest of justice,” prosecutors said, but the Howard family has since filed a federal lawsuit on Thursday against the city, the Chicago Public School system and the two officers involved in the altercation, Johnnie Pierre and Sherry Tripp. The two are no longer working at the school, and one is reportedly out due to “injury on duty.”

“The Board of Education and CPD continue to fail our children. An unarmed 16-year-old girl was beaten, kicked, punched and tasered by officers,” Howard’s lawyer Andrew M. Stroth said. “Those officers filed a false statement. Their statements are completely untrue and are completely contradicted by what is shown on the video. The saving grace for Dnigma is that this was caught on camera.”

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Howard admitted that she was resisting officers at first, but only acted in her own defense responding to their actions.

A spokesperson for Chicago Public Schools said that they are “deeply disturbed and troubled by this incident which has no place in our schools.”

Strouth has also called on Chicago’s new mayor-elect, Lori Lightfoot, to take on the issue of police violence in the city’s schools.

Source: Fox News National


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