Look At News Daily  (Jan. 20-26/Day 1-7) Week 1 – Government Shutdown, Motoring those Voters and So Much More

By Michael Hernandez

(Editor’s Note:  Mr. Hernandez has agreed to continue his weekly news column in 2018 but under a different banner:  “Look At News Daily” rather than “Trump Briefs.”  This change reflects his intent to provide election coverage; and focus on not just national news; but local, state and international news.)

Saturday, January 20  (Day 1):

President Trump:   “Democrats give me a nice present”

President Donald Trump boasted that the Democrats were giving him a political gift after they voted against a bill that would fund the government late Friday night.  “This is the One Year anniversary of my Presidency and the Democrats wanted to give me a nice present,” Trump wrote on Twitter with the hashtag #DemocratShutdown.

Trump challenged Democrats for focusing more on amnesty for illegal immigrants than funding the government. “Democrats are far more concerned with Illegal Immigrants than they are with our great Military or Safety at our dangerous Southern Border,” he wrote. “They could have easily made a deal but decided to play Shutdown politics instead.”

On Friday afternoon, Trump met with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer over cheeseburgers at the White House to discuss a possible deal, but it was ultimately rejected.

The president urged Americans to vote more Republicans into the Senate in 2018 to push forward his agenda. “For those asking, the Republicans only have 51 votes in the Senate, and they need 60,” he wrote. “That is why we need to win more Republicans in 2018 Election! We can then be even tougher on Crime (and Border), and even better to our Military & Veterans!”

Senate Democratic Leader, Chuck Shuumer

Senator Tom Cotton challenges pro-amnesty Senator Lindsey Graham

Conservative Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) is firing back after being attacked by pro-amnesty Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), saying the American people voted for “Donald Trump’s vision of immigration policy.”

Trump’s vision includes building a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, as well as reducing legal immigration levels to raise the wages of America’s working and middle class.

In recent days, Graham has attempted to isolate Cotton — who is seen as the heir to Jeff Sessions’ pro-American immigration reform agenda — by trashing him in the mainstream media in a push to give amnesty to millions of illegal aliens enrolled and eligible for the President Obama-created Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Senator Graham claimed that Senator Cotton’s economic nationalist “approach” to immigration, which is the same as Trump’s, “has no viability” in the Senate, using the same talking points as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who has attacked Cotton this week as well.

Senator Cotton, though, is now hitting back at Graham’s attempt to isolate him in the national immigration debate, noting that Trump’s economic nationalist approach to immigration is overwhelmingly favored by the American people.

Trump and Cotton’s pro-American immigration reform agenda includes ending the process known as “chain migration,” whereby naturalized citizens can bring an unlimited number of foreign relatives to the U.S.; ending the Diversity Visa Lottery, which randomly gives out 50,000 visas to foreign nationals every year; and constructing a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

In an explosive report, Breitbart News revealed that chain migration, if not ended, is expected to add between seven and eight million new foreign-born voters to the U.S. electorate – a scheme that favors Democrats, as immigrants, specifically Hispanics and Asians, vote 2-to-1 for Democrats over Republicans. Since 2005, chain migration has imported more than nine million foreign nationals to the U.S., making it the largest driver of immigration —  more than 70 percent of all legal immigration. As Breitbart News reported, five years of chain migration to the U.S. adds more people to the country than one year of American births.

Despite Graham’s claim that the Trump-Cotton approach to immigration policy “has no viability,” their agenda is wildly popular with the majority of Americans. A new poll by Pulse Opinion Research shows that nearly 60 percent of likely voters want to see chain migration ended, while 60 percent also want to see the Visa Lottery program ended. That same poll showed that 60 percent of likely voters said legal immigration levels should be reduced to 500,000 admissions a year or even less – a plan that Trump and Cotton, as well as Sen. David Perdue (R-GA), have championed.

Meanwhile, Graham’s “Gang of Six” amnesty plan, is being pushed with the help of Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ).

The Lindsey Graham-Jeff Flake-Dick Durbin amnesty plan would:

  • Give DACA and DACA-eligible illegal aliens a pathway to U.S. citizenship
  • Give amnesty to the parents of DACA illegal aliens
  • Make no cuts to legal immigration levels, whereby more than one million legal immigrants enter the U.S. every year
  • Transfers the 50,000 visas through the Diversity Visa Lottery into two other visa categories
  • Does not fund the estimated $18 billion U.S.-Mexico border wall
  • Does not mandate E-Verify to bar employers from hiring illegal aliens over American workers

Trump’s administration, Cotton, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen have all said the Graham-Flake-Durbin amnesty plan is dead on arrival in Congress, as it does not have support outside of the Republican establishment and Democrat caucus. The Republican establishment and Democrats are aligned in wanting to increase both illegal and legal immigration levels to drive down Americans’ wages, provide for a new voter populous, and please their big business donors who prefer a cheap-labor economy driven by imported foreign workers rather than Americans.

Every year, the U.S. admits more than 1.5 million foreign nationals, with the vast majority deriving from family-based chain migration. In 2016, the legal and illegal immigrant population reached a record high of 43.7 million. By 2023, the Center for Immigration Studies estimates that the legal and illegal immigrant population of the U.S. will make up nearly 15 percent of the entire U.S. population. Mass immigration to the U.S. has kept American wages stagnant, while depressing job prospects for poor, working, and middle-class communities.

 

Sunday, January 21 (Day 2):

President Trump suggests how to keep federal government open

President Donald Trump praised Republicans for fighting to keep the government open but suggested that they end the Senate rule requiring 60 votes to pass a budget.  “If stalemate continues, Republicans should go to 51% (Nuclear Option) and vote on real, long-term budget, no C.R.’s!” Trump wrote on Twitter on Sunday morning.   “Great to see how hard Republicans are fighting for our Military and Safety at the Border,” Trump wrote. “The Dems just want illegal immigrants to pour into our nation unchecked.”

Since the shutdown began on Saturday, Trump criticized Democrats for demanding amnesty for illegal immigrants rather than keeping the government open for lawful Americans.  “Democrats are holding our Military hostage over their desire to have unchecked illegal immigration,” he wrote. “Can’t let that happen!”

Monday, January 22 (Day 3):

Senate Democrats agree to three-week government spending bill

Senate Democrats caved on the “Schumer Shutdown,” on Monday and agreed to a three-week spending bill that will fund the government until February 8. Shortly before the cloture vote, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) told reporters that after leaving the Democratic meeting, the three-week Continuing Resolution (CR) might even get 70 votes.

In the end, the Senate approved the motion to invoke cloture and end debate, 81-18, featuring overwhelming bipartisan support. One Senate Democratic source told reporters that the CR is “good to go” in the Senate, and revealed that Democrats remain fully aware of the negative polling that suggests that Democrats will take the blame for shutting the government to force a vote on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) illegal aliens.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) argued on the Senate floor on Monday, “We will vote today to reopen the government, to continue negotiating a global agreement, with the commitment that, if an agreement isn’t reached by February the 8th, the Senate will immediately proceed to consideration of legislation dealing with DACA. The process will be neutral and fair to all sides. We expect that a bipartisan bill on DACA will receive fair consideration and an up or down vote on the floor.”

Democrats largely had opposed the stopgap spending bill because it did not include provisions to protect the illegal immigrants from deportation under former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals executive order. Trump last year set a deadline of early March to end the protections, but has indicated he wants to provide permanent protections for the young illegal immigrants — along with border security, particularly funding for his U.S.-Mexico border wall. Under the apparent deal to end the filibuster, Schumer said Monday they would negotiate on immigration, and immediately consider such legislation if there’s no agreement by Feb. 8.

The Senate voted 81-18 to break a Democratic filibuster on the stalled government spending bill. Several hours later, the Senate approved the bill by the same margin and the House followed suit, 266-150.

“I am pleased that Democrats in Congress have come to their senses and are now willing to fund our great military, border patrol, first responders and insurance for vulnerable children,” Trump said in a written statement.

With Republicans having just 50 senators available to vote Monday, they needed the support of roughly a dozen Democratic senators to break the filibuster. They got 33. The 18 senators who didn’t vote to end debate included Republican Sens. Mike Lee, of Utah, and Rand Paul, of Kentucky.

The 15 Democrats in opposition were Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, both of Connecticut; Cory Booker and Bob Menendez, both of New Jersey; Catherine Cortez Masto, of Nevada; Kirsten Gillibrand, of New York; Mazie Hirono, of Hawaii; Patrick Leahy, of Vermont; Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren, both of Massachusetts; Jon Tester, of Montana; Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, both of Oregon; and Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein, both of California. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent, also voted in opposition. Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain did not vote because he’s home fighting cancer 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said on the Senate floor on Monday, “I think if we learned anything is that a strategy of shutting down the government over the issue of illegal immigration is something that the American people didn’t understand.”

Illegal alien activists “outraged” government reopens; entitled to amnesty

Illegal alien activists say they are “outraged” after Senate Democrats did not leave the federal government shut down in order to force a deal whereby millions of illegal aliens are given amnesty at the expense of American citizens.

In a protest outside of the U.S Capitol, open borders advocates and illegal alien activists slammed Democrats after they originally shut down the federal government to push amnesty for illegal aliens, but then caved to President Trump and voted to reopen the government without an amnesty attached to the funding bill.

Illegal aliens shielded from deportation by the President Obama-created Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program with the open borders group “United We Dream,” which is funded by globalist billionaire George Soros, said they were entitled to an immediate amnesty before the federal government was reopened.

“Today we are outraged,” one illegal alien speaker said. “U.S. Senators of both parties disappointed the nation today when they decided to move forward without a solution for me, for the members of United We Dream, and my little sister.”

 

Tuesday, January 23 (Day 4):

Illegal alien activists storm Chuck Schumer home; Democrats offices

Illegal alien activists stormed the home of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and the offices of Democrats demanding immediate amnesty for all 12 to 30 million illegal aliens in the United States, as well as the release of all illegal aliens who are in detention centers for crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally.

Illegal aliens and open borders activists with “United We Dream,” a group that is partially funded by globalist billionaire George Soros, blocked off streets in Brooklyn, New York to protest Schumer’s vote to cave and reopen the federal government without an amnesty for millions of illegal aliens being included in the government funding bill.  “If Chuck won’t let us dream, we won’t let him sleep!” illegal alien activists shouted outside the New York liberal’s home on Tuesday.

Illegal alien activists also stormed through the offices of Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), with one illegal alien who has been shielded from deportation by the President Obama-created Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program taking issue with even the words “illegal immigrant.”

“We need [the DREAM Act] now,” the DACA illegal alien said. “You need to show leadership and show everybody else that you are willing to stand with your immigrant community and not with this white supremacist president, this administration.

“DACA is no longer enough,” she said. “Not only is DACA not only a band-aid on the problem but its also a burden to our people.”

Top FBI officials spoke of ‘secret society’; 50,000 texts ‘missing’

Two top FBI officials under fire for exchanging anti-Trump text messages during the 2016 election spoke of a “secret society” the day after President Trump’s victory, according to two lawmakers with knowledge of the messages. Peter Strzok — a top counterintelligence official involved in both the Hillary Clinton email probe and FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe — exchanged more than 50,000 messages with senior FBI lawyer Lisa Page, with whom he was romantically involved.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., and Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, said Monday that among the messages the pair exchanged are references to a “secret society” within the Department of Justice and the FBI.  “We learned today about information that in the immediate aftermath of [Trump’s] election, that there may have been a secret society of folks within the Department of Justice and the FBI — to include Page and Strzok — that would be working against him,” Ratcliffe said Monday on Fox News.

Gowdy said the “secret society” reference occurred the day after Trump won the presidential election in November 2016.  “There’s a text exchange between these two FBI agents, these two supposed to be objective fact-centric FBI agents, saying that perhaps this is the first meeting of the ‘secret society,’” Gowdy said.

It isn’t the first time the messages have raised questions about what may have been going on at the FBI. In one previously released message, Strzok appeared to make reference to an “insurance policy” against a Trump win. “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office — that there’s no way he gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40…” he wrote. According to the Wall Street Journal, Strzok claims the message was addressing a colleague who felt the FBI could take its time with allegations of Trump/Russia collusion because Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton was thought certain to win. 

“Andy,” meanwhile, may have been a reference to FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who is at the center of new tensions with the Trump administration.  Axios reported late Monday that Attorney General Jeff Sessions, urged by President Trump, has been pressuring FBI Director Christopher Wray to fire McCabe.  The outlet reported that Wray threatened to resign if McCabe was fired. White House Counsel Don McGahn reportedly told Sessions that McCabe wasn’t worth losing the FBI director over and risking another media firestorm like when Trump axed former director James Comey last year.

The developments come as the Department of Justice announced that the FBI “failed to preserve” five months of texts (over 50,000 texts) between Strzok and Page.  “We will leave no stone unturned to confirm with certainty why these text messages are not now available to be produced and will use every technology available to determine whether the missing messages are recoverable from another source,” Sessions said in a statement provided to Fox News. “If we are successful, we will update the congressional committees immediately.”

The missing messages from Strzok and Page span a crucial window, between the presidential transition and the launch of Mueller’s Russia probe. Strzok was removed from the probe by Mueller after he learned of the messages.  Meanwhile, Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice called the missing messages “willful destruction of evidence.”

On Tuesday, President Trump described the missing messages as “one of the biggest stories in a long time.”

AMVETS cannot run Super Bowl ad critical of anthem protests

AMVETS officials are saying that the National Football League censored their TV advertisement because it criticized the league’s widespread protests against the country during the playing of the national anthem.

The nation’s largest veterans service organization was approached by the NFL to place an ad during the big game this year but when AMVETS submitted the ad containing the hashtag “#PleaseStand,” the NFL rejected it, according to the Army Times.

The ad, projected to cost the group $30,000, also featured veterans saluting the flag and ended with information on how to donate to the charitable organization.

AMVETS National Commander Marion Polk reported that the NFL rejected the ad but did not give a reason for the decision. “It’s a simple, polite request that represents the sentiment of our membership, particularly those whose missing or paralyzed limbs preclude standing,” Polk wrote in a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

The AMVETS chief noted the irony that the NFL continues to claim that the anti-American protests represent “free speech” even as the league denied the AMVETS ad. “Freedom of speech works both ways. We respect the rights of those who choose to protest, as these rights are precisely what our members have fought – and in many cases died – for,” Polk added in the letter. “But imposing corporate censorship to deny that same right to those veterans who have secured it for us all is reprehensible and totally beyond the pale.”

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told the Times that the advertisement program “is designed for fans to commemorate and celebrate the game, players, teams, and the Super Bowl.” McCarthy added, “It’s never been a place for advertising that could be considered by some as a political statement.”

“Veterans are good for more than just military aircraft flyovers, photo opportunities during halftime, or props to sell camouflage-style NFL apparel; although, the NFL’s stance on not allowing the veterans’ unfiltered voice to be heard says otherwise,” Polk said.

“AMVETS officials said the same #PleaseStand ad was accepted by the National Hockey League and Major League Baseball for inclusion in their all-star games’ programs. The organization sees the advertisement as an extension of their role as a ‘nonpartisan advocate for veterans and their families.’”

The Super Bowl will be played on February 4th, in Minnesota.

Meanwhile, the NFL established a player-owner committee focusing on social and racial justice initiatives. The league also said it is beginning a “Let’s Listen Together” campaign that includes digital content and commercials highlighting player-led work on equality issues. That platform will include social media support and letters from players and owners.

Owners on the committee are Arizona’s Michael Bidwill, Atlanta’s Arthur Blank, Jacksonville’s Shahid Khan, Cleveland’s Jimmy Haslam and Miami’s Stephen Ross. Current players Josh McCown, Josh Norman, and Kelvin Beachum, Pro Football Hall of Famer Aeneas Williams and former player Anquan Boldin are on the committee.

This season many players took knees during the national anthem to protest social and racial injustice, drawing rebukes from President Donald Trump. Boldin says the initiative should be “celebrated” because the NFL is the “first professional league or entity that has taken the concerns of its players and put resources behind it.”

 

Wednesday, January 24  (Day 5):

Dreamers hold mock funeral in the U.S. Senate rotunda
Illegal alien activists held a mock funeral in the U.S. Senate rotunda, saying that because Congress and President Trump have not given them amnesty, “they are killing our dreams.”

A group of mostly illegal aliens and open borders activists with the group “United We Dream” gathered in the Senate rotunda on Wednesday to demand an immediate passage of a full-scale, expansive amnesty plan that would potentially give legal status and a pathway to U.S. citizenship to all of the 12 to 30 million illegal aliens living in the U.S.

United We Dream is partially funded by globalist billionaire George Soros.  The group of activists stood around in a circle as each illegal alien came forward saying they “deserve” and are entitled to an amnesty, each dropping an orange flower on the ground in a mock funeral-style event.

“To the Republican Party, you are responsible for us not being able to be with our loved ones… it’s on you,” one illegal alien said. “That pain, that suffering rests on your heart and your shoulders. And this flowers is for all those people that are crossing the border and risking their lives.  My flowers are for all the folks who never qualified for DACA…”

Another illegal alien blamed Republicans for “killing the dreams of our people,” saying:  “The GOP is killing the dreams of our people, of my friends. All of these flowers represent the love that we have for each other.  My community deserves a life with dignity and a life without fear. Our communities have come too far to turn around now.”

The mock funeral open borders protest came a day after a group of illegal aliens and open borders activists stormed Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s Brooklyn, New York home saying the entire illegal alien population is entitled to the immediate passage of an amnesty.

California Motor Voter Act opens way for illegal voting

California this spring will begin automatically registering adults who obtain or renew a driver’s license to vote, including potentially large numbers of noncitizens and immigrants illegally living in the state.

The only way drivers who say they are legal won’t have their information sent to state voter rolls under the latest implementation of the California Motor Voter Act is if they opt out — which opens the door to the potential of widespread voter fraud, according to critics of the plan.

“You’re setting the state up for a disaster. They don’t seem to have a process in place to verify that people are who they say they are. It’s a free-for-all, a process that can be manipulated,” said Catherine Engelbrecht, founder of True the Vote, a national organization that unsuccessfully pressed Gov. Jerry Brown to veto the law allowing automatic voter registration.

California has since 2015 granted driver’s licenses to immigrants living illegally in the state. And an estimated 1 million of those immigrants are believed to have obtained a license by the end of last year. Under the new system, which begins April 1, anyone who already has a valid license and applies for renewal in person or by mail could potentially be added to the voter registration rolls by claiming they are legal.

Linda Paine, cofounder of the nonpartisan Election Integrity Project of California, said her organization has visited DMV offices to observe how workers handle undocumented immigrants. She said the visits, and meetings with state officials, left her with little confidence about any safeguards to prevent illegal voter registration. “There are thousands and thousands of DMV workers across our  huge state,” Paine told Fox News. “They’re not all trained. There’s no actual protection to prevent noncitizens from being added to voter rolls. It’s not even that people who are ineligible want to be registered. They may not know that they have to select ‘Opt out.’”

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, the state’s top election official, has in the past maintained there are safeguards in place to ensure ineligible people aren’t registered to vote. Undocumented immigrants obtain a special driver’s license that notes on it “Federal limits apply.”

In response for clarification of the new policy, Secretary of State spokesman Sam Mahood said in a statement: “As is already required by federal law, anyone who registers to vote at the DMV must attest under penalty of perjury that they meet eligibility requirements — including citizenship. Moreover, under state law, the DMV is prohibited from sending to the Secretary of State any information from persons who apply for an AB60 California driver license.” AB60 refers to the 2015 state legislation that allowed undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.

Kathay Feng, executive director of California Common Cause, or CCC, a nonpartisan voting rights advocacy group, expressed confidence the new registration process would not open the door to widespread fraud. “There’s a real  interest [by all parties] in making sure that there are clear signals when people are filling out a DMV form,” Feng told Fox News. “They’re asked if they’re 18, if they’re U.S. citizens. They don’t move on to the voter registration if they’re not eligible.”

Feng said the main goal of the new registration process is to make it easier for people who are eligible to vote to register. “There are 5 to 6 million eligible voters in California who are not registered to vote,” Feng said.

Claude Arnold, a retired special agent in charge for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Los Angeles for several years, told Fox News that in California and in Arizona, where he also worked during his 27 years with the agency, he and his agents “routinely caught people trying to cross the border with fake voter registration cards.”

Indiana Congressman seeks changes in Senate rules; “break filibuster”

Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN) is seeking a change in the rules for the U.S. Senate. “Democrats don’t want action; they want gridlock and shutdown. That’s why the time has come for Senate Republicans to rip up the rulebook and get rid of the filibuster, which requires 60 votes in the Senate for any legislation to pass instead of a simple majority,” said Messer.

“Democrats have proven they don’t accept the results of the 2014 and 2016 elections. They’ve proven they will fight President Trump at every turn, even if they have no objection to the legislation or confirmation in question. They are unwilling to govern.”

“Once known as the “world’s greatest deliberative body,” today the U.S. Senate is a mess of arcane procedures and rules that allow a handful of Senate Democrats to block the president’s every move – they can even shut the entire government down when the majority was willing to act,” said Messer.

“Democrats have abdicated and given up on their responsibility to govern. It’s time for Republicans in the Senate to give up on the antiquated rules that give let the minority abuse its power.”

According to Messer, the House has passed 477 bills to advance the Trump-Pence agenda, and 378 of those bills are stalled in the Senate. Messer is running against Indiana Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly.  President Trump won Indiana by almost 20 percentage points in the 2016 election.

Thursday, January 25 (Day 6):

50,000 missing FBI text messages found

The missing FBI text messages between agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page have been found, Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz wrote in a letter Thursday.

Roughly, 50,000 text messages spanning from Dec. 14, 2016, to May 17, 2017, went missing from the pair’s FBI-issued mobile phones that reportedly “failed to capture” them.  The recovered messages are considered a critical part of FBI special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“[Forensics tools” were successfully used to retrieve the texts, Horowitz said in the letter to Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, (R-Iowa) and Senate Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson, (R-Wis.).

GOP lawmakers contend that those texts contain evidence of political bias against President Donald Trump in the Russian investigation and inside the FBI. “Our effort to recover any additional text messages is ongoing,” Horowitz said. The letter noted that copies of the messages will be provided to Justice Department leadership to determine “any management action it deems appropriate.”

Both Strzok and Page were part of Mueller’s team last year. They also worked on the FBI team investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server in 2016.  Mueller removed Strzok from his investigation last summer after the DOJ inspector general learned of the anti-Trump messages exchanged between Strzok and Page.

Arizona Congressman claims Obama used DOJ for political purposes

Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., has suggested that former President Barack Obama weaponized the Department of Justice and intelligence services for political purposes. “If you don’t think the unmasking has something to do with the weaponization of our Department of Justice and our intelligence services, think again,” he said.

Drawing on a classified four-page memo for his claims, Gosar described abuse of executive power as a pattern across the Obama administration. Gosar linked the following Obama-era operations and events as illustrative of a pattern of partisan weaponization of the executive branch: Fast and Furious; the handling of and response to the September 11, 2012, Islamic terrorist attack on the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya; the IRS’s targeting of dissident charities and non-profits; and the surveillance of persons connected to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Gosar voted against the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act (FARA) of 2017. The measure, however, passed the House and Senate by broadly partisan votes of 256-164 and 65-34, respectively.  Gosar suggested the measure does not afford American citizens with Fourth Amendment protections against government search and seizure.

President Trump announced $1.7 trillion infrastructure plan

President Donald Trump announced plans for a $1.7 trillion infrastructure investment plan on Wednesday. “We’re also working to rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure by stimulating a $1 trillion dollar investment, and that will actually probably end up being $1.7 trillion dollars,” he said.

Trump pointed to Democrat mayors of major cities that boycotted the meeting because of his stance on sanctuary cities. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock were among the mayors that protested the meeting. “The mayors who choose to boycott this event have put the needs of criminal, illegal immigrants over law-abiding America,” Trump said. “So let me tell you, the vast majority of people showed up.”

Congress passes law giving more power to NSA and FBI

During the past three weeks, Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed into law vast new powers for the NSA and the FBI to spy on Americans and selectively to pass on to law enforcement. This includes all fiber-optic data transmitted to or in the United States, such as digital recordings of all landline and mobile telephone calls and copies in real time of all text messages and emails and banking, medical and legal records electronically stored or transmitted.

The surveillance expansion passed the Senate by just one vote, despite the language of the Fourth Amendment which reads: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes has not revealed the contents of its four-page report that summarizes the NSA and FBI abuses. Andrew P. Napolitano, a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, has proposed that a member of the House Intelligence Committee should go to the floor of the House and reveal not just the four-page report but also the underlying data upon which the report is based. Members of Congress enjoy full immunity for anything said on the House or Senate floor.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department has sent a letter to Mr. Nunes—written by Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd, designed as a memo to the media, copied to its allies in Washington, and immediately leaked to the public requesting that the memo never be released to the public.

New Secretary of Department of Health confirmed by Senate

In a 55-43 vote that was largely along party lines, the Senate confirmed Alex Azar on Wednesday as the new secretary of the Department of Health.  Azar, 50, is a Yale-educated lawyer who has spent a large part of his career in the health care industry, an industry he claims he entered “largely by accident,” he once wrote.

For a decade, Azar served as a senior executive of drugmaker Eli Lilly, which has been criticized for raising the price of insulin and other widely used medications. Though he resigned from the Indianapolis-based company last year, he built a financial portfolio that’s now worth between $9.5 million and $20.6 million, according to disclosure records filed with the Office of Government Ethics. Azar also served as General Counsel of HHS and later as Deputy Secretary of HHS under former President George W. Bush.

As HHS secretary, Azar says he has four main priorities: to help curb the high cost of prescription drugs, make health insurance more affordable and available, continue bipartisan efforts to focus Medicare payments on quality and confront the growing opioid addiction epidemic.

Price, Trump’s former HHS secretary, resigned in September after he was widely criticized for using private charter planes for official travel. Price reportedly flew to community health centers in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania in costly private charter aircraft.

The news came after Tom Price, the department’s former secretary, resigned in September 2017 after he was criticized for using private charter planes for official travel.  In August, he also reportedly took a government-funded private plane to St. Simons Island. Price owns land on the island, which is just off the Georgia coast. He reportedly flew there before attending a medical conference. And during official trips to Africa, Europe and beyond, Price took a  military aircraft — a move that cost taxpayers more than $500,000, according to reports.

After Price resigned, President Trump tapped Don J. Wright as acting secretary. Wright worked as the deputy assistant secretary for health and director of the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion before he became the department’s acting secretary. 

The health department is responsible for health insurance programs covering more than 130 million people, drug and food safety, disease detection and prevention and advanced medical research. The trillion-dollar department also plays a major role in the economy and accounts for about one-fourth of the federal budget.

 

Friday,  January 26 (Day 7):

White House shares pathway for citizenship for 1.8 million illegals

The White House revealed a proposal to extend legal status and a path for citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants brought to the country as children in exchange for $25 billion in funding for the wall, an end to chain migration across the board, and an end to the visa lottery program.

The bill’s framework would apply to the roughly 690,000 illegal immigrants who registered for the DACA program started by former President Barack Obama as well as illegal immigrants who did not apply. A senior administration official told reporters that the 1.8 million number would be restricted by minor adjustments to timeframes and dates of entry issues.

The path to citizenship would require a 10-12 year period where recipients would be required to demonstrate good behavior, work and education requirements, and good moral character.

 A senior White House official described the plan as an “extraordinarily generous concession” with Democrats but made several demands considered non-starters by members of Congress supporting amnesty.

The White House said that it intended to send the framework to Senate Majority Mitch McConnell, who promised Democrats a vote on the Senate floor by February 8. The framework includes a $25 billion lump sum “trust fund” for a border security “wall system” for not only the Southern border but major security investments on the Northern border as well. It also includes sweeping limitations for chain migration — limiting family immigration sponsorships to only spouses and minor children — not for parents or extended family members.

The new migration limitations would apply to all immigrants in the United States, not just the newly legalized 1.8 million. “It will never, ever, ever, ever, work unless it’s universal,” the official noted. “It’s a global change to the U.S. immigration system.”

The bill framework was described as an effort to show exactly what the president wanted in a bill after open borders advocates complained that they had no idea where the president stood in their negotiations. The proposal would also end the visa lottery program and reallocate them towards fulfilling the skills-based visa backlog.

The amnesty plan was crafted by Marc Short, Gen. John Kelly, Kirstjen Nielsen, and Stephen Miller.  Such an amnesty plan becomes uncontrollable and not containable stated Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

 

Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service, founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor. He has worked 23 years as a middle school teacher.  Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email: [email protected]

Mr. Hernandez is dedicating himself to advance the 13 spheres –as a “City Upon A Hill”; developing an interactive California citizens news platform as an alternative to mainstream media; while building local school-community partnerships and supporting constitutional awareness and active citizenship.

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