Despite the shocking news of a recent Fox News poll that found that now 51% of Americans are in favor of President Trump’s impeachment and removal from office, the majority of Republicans, still staunchly support the embattled president.
In reality, the Fox survey is not that different from other recent polls on the subject. But some media types like to say “even Fox” has found such-and-such, as if it’s a survey of the network’s viewers rather than its widely respected professional polling operation.
However, not surprisingly one of those who are displeased with the Fox poll, and their reporting of it, is Trump.
“From the day I announced I was running for President, I have NEVER had a good @FoxNews Poll,” he tweeted. “Whoever their Pollster is, they suck. But @FoxNews is also much different than it used to be in the good old days.” He went on to name some of his least favorite network figures–Andrew Napolitano, Shep Smith, Donna Brazile–but added, “Oh well, I’m President!”
But there’s the thing when you drill down on the poll, it reflects the same old partisan chasm that has defined Trump’s presidency since Inauguration Day.
According to the poll, 85% of Democrats support impeachment and removal; independents are split, with 39% in favor, and 36% not in favor. Most importantly, only 13% of Republicans back impeaching and expelling Trump from office.
Now, it may be noteworthy that more than one in 10 Republicans want Trump gone. But if you’re a Republican senator, and the country is almost evenly split on impeachment, and the vast majority of your party opposes it, you’re not exactly under withering pressure to abandon your president.
Another point to note, overall in the Fox poll, the president’s approval drifted down only a couple of points, to 43 percent. And perhaps, most telling, upon closer examination the Fox poll contains a silver lining for the president after all. While 69 percent of those surveyed find Trump’s dealings with Ukraine’s leader extremely, very or somewhat troubling, 62 percent say the same about his allegations against Biden and his son’s business dealings in Ukraine and China.
Fox News has recently reported that an alleged “Chinese spy” who was arrested for trespassing at President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate was tasked by her handler to target not only the President, but the Clintons.
According to court documents, Yujing Zhang, 33, had been urged by “her handler” to target the Clintons and billionaire businessman Warren Buffett. Zhang, who is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 22, was caught by Secret Service agents with troves of technology embedded with malware and thousands of dollars in cash after she claimed that she was at Trump’s prestigious club to attend a “United Nations friendship event” that had apparently been canceled. Her bizarre behavior and backstory led to suspicions that she was actually an operative for the Chinese government, but she was not charged with espionage or related crimes.
Zhang apparently purchased a $20,000 travel package from Li Weitian, also known as Charles Lee, who advertised tickets on the Chinese social media site WeChat promising access to events across the U.S. to meet prominent political and business figures.
Lee ran the United Nations Chinese Friendship Association, which is not affiliated with the U.N., and was photographed at least twice with Cindy Yang, a Republican donor and former Florida massage parlor owner who organized events at Mar-a-Lago.
Upon learning that the event at Mar-a-Lago had been canceled, Lee tried to convince Zhang to attend another event on Wall Street in New York City. Text messages between the pair released by the South Florida court that Bill and HIllary Clinton were scheduled to be at that event.
“Regarding the event at the Trump’s estate, it’s been put on hold for now. We can forget about it. We have two other activities now. I sent them to you already,” Lee texted Zhang on March 26, four days before she was arrested on the Trump property.
At the time of her arrest, Zhang told federal agents that she did not know that the event had been canceled, a claim contradicted by her messages.
According to court records, Lee had urged Zhang to go to “Clinton’s event, Clinton and his wife Hillary,” he said, offering her a ticket for $60,000. “There are politicians and the finance people that you talked about wanting to meet in this event. You can meet with these two famous people in one setting. Hillary was the former Secretary of State, equivalent to the Prime Minister. That is very extraordinary. Er… you can stand in between them and have a photo taken.” In the same message, Lee also says, “You can also go to Buffett’s event which is particularly for investment and finance,” referring to business mogul Warren Buffett.
In subsequent messages, Zhang asked Lee for her money back after hearing of the cancellation but ended up traveling from Shanghai to Florida anyway. Her motives for going to the property and lying to Secret Service agents at Mar-a-Lago remain unclear.
President Trump’s personal attorney, Rudolf Giuliani, made good on his promise yesterday to provide evidence of Former VP Joe Biden and his son Hunter’s shady dealings with Ukraine.
The fired prosecutor at the center of the Ukraine controversy said during a private interview with Rudy Giuliani earlier this year that he was told to back off an investigation involving a natural gas firm that was linked to Joe Biden’s son. The details of that interview were within a packet of documents – apparently amassed by Giuliani — that were handed over to Congress after an urgent request for a meeting by the State Department’s inspector general.
Fox News obtained a copy of Giuliani’s notes from his January 2019 interview with fired Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin in which he claimed that his “investigations stopped out of fear of the United States.”
“Mr. Shokin attempted to continue the investigations but on or around June or July of 2015, the U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey R. Pyatt told him that the investigation has to be handled with white gloves,” which according to Mr. Shokin, that implied that he was to “do nothing,” the notes from the interview stated. The notes also claimed Shokin was told Biden had held up U.S. aid to Ukraine over the investigation.
Shokin was fired in April 2016, and his case was “closed by the current Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko,” according to the notes. Despite his claims to the contrary, Shokin had been seen as very corrupt by the international community on both sides of the Atlantic.
But Biden’s role is back in the spotlight after Democrats launched an impeachment inquiry over Trump’s efforts to convince Ukraine to look into Biden’s actions.
It is known that Biden has famously boasted on camera that when he was Vice President and spearheading the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy, he successfully pressured Ukraine to fire Shokin who was the top prosecutor at the time.
Giuliani alleges that Shokin had been investigating the founder of Burisma Holdings, where Hunter Biden had a lucrative role on the board at the time, although other documents indicate that the investigation into Burisma was already frozen. If Biden had anything to do with that, it remains to be seen.
Dems Rally Around Former Veep
Biden’s supporters have maintained that his intervention prompting the firing of Shokin had nothing to do with his son, but rather was tied to the corruption concerns. The Biden campaign has also slammed Giuliani and blasted media outlets for giving him air time. The campaign wrote to NBC News, CBS News, Fox News, and CNN to voice “grave concern that you continue to book Rudy Giuliani on your air to spread false, debunked conspiracy theories on behalf of Donald Trump.”
“The substance of President Trump and Rudy Giuliani’s claims have been roundly discredited,” Biden Deputy Campaign Manager Kate Bedingfield said last week. “This is not a claim from the campaign or Joe Biden. This is an irrefutable fact.”
However, the notes of the interview found within the “Giuliani Files,” seem to dispute this account. At the time, according to the interview, Shokin was investigating Mykola Zlochevsky, the former minister of ecology and natural resources of Ukraine. Zlochevsky also happens to be the founder of Burisma.
Hunter Biden was appointed to the board of the firm, which Shokin claimed was an appointment made by Zlochevsky “in order to protect himself.”
While President Trump has been furious lately about possible “moles” in the White House, maybe he needs to be just as concerned about mice!
In one of the lighter stories coming out of Washington in the past few days, a mouse fell into the lap of an NBC reporter while he was in the White House on Tuesday, causing quite a bit of a stir for him and his colleagues.
“A mouse literally fell out of the ceiling in our White House press booth and landed on my lap,” NBC reporter Peter Alexander announced on Twitter.
The tiny rodent then appeared to run behind electrical cords and eventually caused a commotion in the White House briefing room. Images posted to social media stories from the briefing room, show reporters gathering around and searching for the mouse after it landed on Alexander.
“The most excitement in the White House briefing room in months. Reporters attempt to capture a baby mouse that fell on @PeterAlexander lap moments ago,” NBC reporter Shannon Pettypiece tweeted.
The mouse incident came after several months of the White House refusing to hold press briefings, citing the reporters’ own behavior at the events.
The mouse was not captured and could not be reached for comment.
Fox News is reporting that the inspector general (IG) of intelligence has revealed a significant discrepancy in the now infamous whistleblower complaint.
The IG released a statement late Monday indicating that the whistleblower, whose complaint touched off the current impeachment inquiry of President Trump, claimed to have “firsthand knowledge” of misconduct — a claim that appears to starkly conflict with documents sent to Congress, the director of national intelligence, and recently released to the public.
The lengthy statement, which was posted on Sept. 30, was in response to questions raised in the media and by congressional Republicans about the disclosure form filed by the whistleblower. The IG said the whistleblower stated on an initial form Aug. 12 “that he or she possessed both first-hand and other information.”
According to the IG, the whistleblower “checked two relevant boxes” on the form, one stating, “I have personal and/or direct knowledge of events or records involved”; and the other box stating, “other employees have told me about events or records involved.”
However, the declassified whistleblower complaint sent to Congress last week stated, “I was not a direct witness to most of the events described. However, I found my colleagues’ accounts of these events to be credible because, in almost all cases, multiple officials recounted fact patterns that were consistent with one another.”
Additionally, Inspector General Michael Atkinson’s letter sent on Aug. 26 to the director of national intelligence asserted that “the Complainant’s letter acknowledges that the Complainant was not a direct witness to the President’s telephone call….Other information obtained during the ICIG’s preliminary review, however, supports the Complainant’s allegation that, among other things, during the call the President ‘sought to pressure the Ukrainian leader.'”
While the declassified complaint left open the possibility of having some firsthand knowledge — by saying he or she was not a direct witness to “most” events — the latest ICIG statement suggests the apparent direct knowledge composed a key part of the initial filing. This would be at odds as well with acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire’s testimony describing the claims as “hearsay.”
Fox has said that neither the IG, nor the Director of National Intelligence have responded to requests to comment on the apparent discrepancies.
In the first of several bombshells that dropped as the first official day of the Democrat’s “Impeachment Inquiry” into President Donald J. Trump began on Monday, we have learned that Adam Schiff’s and his “hit squad” have subpoenaed Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani.
Just before 4PM in Washington DC on Monday, the Democratic chairmen of three House committees subpoenaed Giuliani for documents related to the President’s request for an investigation by Ukrainian officials into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
Reps. Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler and Elijah Cummings cited Giuliani’s cable news appearances, saying that the former New York City mayor admitted on national television that, while serving as the president’s personal attorney, he asked the government of Ukraine to “target Biden.”
In addition to this stark admission, the chairmen wrote, “you stated more recently that you are in possession of evidence — in the form of text messages, phone records, and other communications — indicating that you were not acting alone and that other Trump Administration officials may have been involved in this scheme.”
Then, just minutes later, a second bombshell. At 4:04 p.m., the Wall Street Journal reported that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was among those who listened in on Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky which is the basis of the latest brouhaha.
Last week, when Pompeo was interviewed by ABC News, he denied having any firsthand knowledge about what Trump and Zelensky discussed.
Durham Probe Does Involve Ukraine and Other Countries
Meanwhile, as Democrats were salivating over this breaking news, at the behest of AG William Barr, John Durham’s probe into the unravelling origins of the Mueller Probe is continuing. Fox News has learned that as part of the investigation, Trump had directed Barr to contact other countries, including but not limited to Ukraine, to make them aware that the US was actively investigating the events surrounding the creation and acquisition of the so-called “Steele Dossier” that launched the Mueller Probe.
Barr described his communications with UK, Australia and Ukraine on the matter, as being at the behest of the President, but there was no pressure put on the dignitaries with whom he had contact.
A person familiar with the situation, agreed with Barr’s assessment, telling Fox News, that it would be wrong to say Trump “pressed” the Australian prime minister for information that could have discredited former Special Counsel Mueller’s now-completed probe, as The New York Times reported earlier Monday.
“The countries have been helpful,” the source said. “There was no pressing required.”
A senior Australian diplomat told Fox News, “After the President said what he said – we initiated the contact. There was no pressure — we acted in order to help.”
In issuing his directive, the President was letting the heads of other countries know that the attorney general would be contacting the appropriate law enforcement entities in each country, according to the DOJ official. When Barr was in Italy last week, he did talk to law enforcement officials there about Durham’s review, Fox News was told.
As Attorney General William Barr reviews the first draft of IG Horowitz’s report on possible FISA violations, two top Republicans have dropped hints that Democrats are likely to be devastated when the results are made public.
Both Sen. Lindsey Graham and Rep. Devin Nunes discussed the investigation into how the FBI obtained warrants used to electronically surveil onetime Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in back-to-back interviews on Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures.
Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told anchor Maria Bartiromo when he expects to receive the report. “I think it probably will be around October,” the South Carolina Republican said.
It was the clearest indication yet as to when the public may get a first glimpse of the report. Republicans have expressed high expectations for former Justice Department and FBI officials to be held accountable for possible misconduct ever since Horowitz informed Congress on Sept. 13 that his team is in the “process of finalizing our report by providing a draft of our factual findings to the Department and FBI for classification determination and marking.”
Graham went on to say that, his “No. 1 goal” is to have as much of the report declassified as possible. Graham has said previously that he expects that IG Horowitz’s report will indicate that top Justice Department and FBI officials misled the FISA Court by using an unverified dossier compiled by British ex-spy Christopher Steele to obtain warrants to spy on Page.
At the tail end of their FISA discussion, Bartiromo said people she has spoken to suggest the CIA might be the “architect of this.” Before she could even finish, Graham cut in to say, “Stay tuned.”
Was that a hint that he knows something that we do not? Has he had an advance glimpse at the report?
I guess we indeed need to “stay tuned.”
What We Do Know Ahead of the Report
What we know for sure is that Barr has received the draft report from Horowitz and that he is in the process of reviewing it for redactions of classified and privileged information.
According to a letter sent to Congress earlier this month, the inspector general said his team has “reviewed over one million records and conducted over 100 interviews, including several of witnesses who only recently agreed to be interviewed.”
Horowitz and his team were tasked by Barr to “Investigate the Investigators,” and the IG has specifically been looking into how the infamous anti-Trump dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele was used to secure the original Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant for former Trump aide Carter Page, which launched the so-called “Russia Probe” in October 2016.
Horowitz’s team has questioned why the FBI considered Steele a credible source, and why the bureau seemed to use news reports to bolster Steele’s credibility.
Horowitz has indicated that once the Justice Department and the FBI send back a marked document relating to classified material, his team will “proceed with our usual process for preparing the final draft public and classified reports, and ensuring that appropriate reviews occur for accuracy and comment purposes.”
There are gaffes and then there are career ending gaffes. Even the normally left-friendly Washington Post, has been forced to admit that, former Vice President Joe Biden’s “record player” remark during the most recent Democratic Presidential Debate, was one of the latter.
Writing in the WashPo, columnist Hugh Hewitt says that Biden will likly never live down the record player kafuffle, and I agree. Hewitt says, “This was more than a gaffe that causes eye rolls. It was one of those gaffes that underscores a candidate’s central weakness and continues to bleed away votes long after its utterance.” Yep.
To remind you of what Hewitt is talking about, let’s look at the incident verbatim. Debate moderator Linsey Davis asked the 76 year-old former Veep, “In a conversation about how to deal with segregation in schools back in 1975, you told a reporter, ‘I don’t feel responsible for the sins of my father and grandfather. I feel responsible for what the situation is today, for the sins of my own generation, and I’ll be damned if I feel responsible to pay for what happened 300 years ago.’”
“You said that some 40 years ago,” Davis continued. “But as you stand here tonight, what responsibility do you think that Americans need to take to repair the legacy of slavery in our country?”
Biden replied, “Well, they have to deal with the — look, there’s institutional segregation in this country. From the time I got involved, I started dealing with that. Redlining banks, making sure we are in a position where — look, you talk about education. I propose that what we take is those very poor schools, the Title I schools, triple the amount of money we spend from $15 to $45 billion a year. Give every single teacher a raise, the equal raise to getting out — the $60,000 level.”
Biden’s seeming non-sequitur rant went on, “Number two, make sure that we bring in to help the teachers deal with the problems that come from home. The problems that come from home, we have one school psychologist for every 1,500 kids in America today. It’s crazy. The teachers are — I’m married to a teacher, my deceased wife is a teacher. They have every problem coming to them. Make sure that every single child does, in fact, have 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds go to school. School. Not day care. School. We bring social workers in to homes and parents to help them deal with how to raise their children.”
And then this happened, Biden continued, “It’s not that they don’t want to help. They don’t — they don’t know quite what to do. Play the radio, make sure the television — excuse me, make sure you have the record player on at night, the — the — make sure that kids hear words. A kid coming from a very poor school — a very poor background will hear 4 million words fewer spoken by the time they get there.”
So the moderator asked about America’s original sin — slavery — and Biden somehow got to “turning on record players,” which, says Hewitt, “wasn’t an effort to coax the hipster vote away from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) no matter how much the millennials love vinyl.”
Rather, Biden’s response was an incoherent, rambling, illustration of Biden’s key weakness — his age. Former housing and urban development secretary Julián Castro, during the debate, and Sen. Cory Booker, afterward, made this argument, first indirectly, then directly, but they didn’t need to. With this single response, which is going to stick to him like flypaper, Biden indicted himself on the age question.
I am old enough to remember the very first season of Saturday Night the Live. The original “Not Ready for Prime Time Players,” led by the likes of Chevy Chase and Gilda Radner, lived up to their name. The show was smart, edgy, and pushed the envelope of the NBC Censors to their limits, and often performed bits that would never, ever fly in today’s climate of “political correctness.”
I can say that with confidence, because newcomer to SNL, comedian Shane Gillis has been fired from one of the most coveted gigs in comedy for making “ethnic jokes” about Asians and gays on a podcast unrelated to SNL, that aired long before he started working on the show.
Gillis’s may be the shortest-lived gig for an SNL player. His departure comes just four days after the producers of SNL announced that Gillis was joining the cast for the show’s new season, set to start Sept. 28. “After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining SNL,” a show spokesperson said on behalf of producer Lorne Michaels, in a statement.
“We want SNL to have a variety of voices and points of view within the show, and we hired Shane on the strength of his talent as comedian and his impressive audition for SNL. We were not aware of his prior remarks that have surfaced over the past few days. The language he used is offensive, hurtful and unacceptable. We are sorry that we did not see these clips earlier, and that our vetting process was not up to our standard.”
Gillis was fired despite issuing an apology last week.
“I’m a comedian who pushed boundaries. I sometimes miss,” Gillis said. “If you go through my 10 years of comedy, most of it bad, you’re going to find a lot of bad misses. I’m happy to apologize to anyone who’s actually offended by anything I’ve said. My intention is never to hurt anyone, but I am trying to be the best comedian I can be and sometimes that requires risks.”
The PC backlash against Gillis began almost immediately after Saturday Night Live announced that he was joining the cast. A video clip from Gillis’ Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast resurfaced in which the comedian is heard talking about New York’s Chinatown.
“Let the fucking ch-nks live there,” Gillis said, adding that a restaurant was “full of fucking Chinee [sic] in there.”
The podcast series also featured Gillis using the words “retard” and “faggot.”
It didn’t matter to anyone that Gillis was playing a character that was supposed to be a bigoted, insensitive, asshole.
Despite numerous calls for him to be fired, Gillis found one surprising defender — Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang.
“For the record, I don’t think he should lose his job,” Yang tweeted. “We would benefit from being more forgiving than punitive. We are all human.”
People need to lighten up and stop being so sensitive. It seems to me, that in the days some 20, 30, 40 years ago, when we all laughed not only at each other, but with each other, to the likes of the original cast of SNL, and Don Rickles, Jackie Mason, Richard Pryor, Buddy Hackett and of course Archie Bunker… we all got along a lot better then, than we do now!
Republican Representative Devin Nunes recently told Fox’s Sean Hannity that he expects the DOJ inspector general to find that the Carter Page FISA warrants were illegal.
Hannity broached the topic with the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee during an interview Tuesday evening, saying, “We keep hearing that the FISA report by the inspector general is going to be devastating. I would assume that he concludes that all four FISA applications and warrants were obtained illegally. Do you see any different conclusion than that?”
“No, I don’t, Sean,” Nunes replied.
Hannity was referring to the long anticipated report being worked on by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who’s been conducting high-profile probes related to the FBI and DOJ’s actions in the Russia election meddling
Nunes joins fellow Republican Rep. Jim Jordan in making this prediction along with Hannity, who on an almost nightly basis has been saying how he expects there to be “bombshells” revealed when Horowitz’s report is made public.
Hannity and Jordan have both said that they believe the FBI committed “premeditated fraud” before the FISA Court in using an unverified anti-Trump dossier to obtain the original warrant on Page, and three renewals, from October 2016 to June 2017.
Former U.S. Attorney Joe diGenova has gone further, saying he has “heard” that the initial FISA warrant against Page and the three renewals, which came at three-month intervals, were “illegally obtained.”
Speaking on the Washington Examiner’s “Examining Politics” podcast late last month, diGenova said that he got his insider information because the report is “being circulated inside and outside of the department for comment by interested parties.”
A draft of Horowitz’s report – was submitted to Attorney General William Barr on Friday, Sept. 13, for a classification review. Lawmakers expect to receive the report, likely with redactions, and release it to the public in the next coming weeks.
Although he is unaware of how many pages the report will be, Nunes said, “I imagine it will be long.”
Nunes has been a lead GOP investigator regarding the Justice Department’s and FBI’s behavior in the Trump-Russia investigation. He says that Horowitz’s work, including the recent report admonishing former FBI Director James Comey for his handling of sensitive memos, is essential to the “evidence gathering” process for U.S. Attorney John Durham, whom Barr tasked with leading a review of the origins of the Russia investigation.
Nunes concluded his interview with Hannity by saying there needs to be transparency in order to hold people properly accountable.
“We don’t want to see it all blacked out. We want the American people to see everything,” Nunes said. “In order for that to happen, a lot of the documents that we have been requesting to be declassified have got to be declassified now. I would only add on just one final point on all of this and that is that Durham needs to gather all of the evidence and needs to make sure, whatever he takes, if he’s going to actually do a prosecution of these dirty cops, he needs to have all the evidence. He needs to get it right. Because we want to make sure that justice is definitely served in this case.”