Singapore Summit, Immigration and so much more | Look At News Daily  (June 9-15/Day 140-146 Week 21

By Michael Hernandez


June 9 (Saturday):  Day 140

Trump to G7 nations:  America will no longer be the “piggy bank”

Donald Trump concluded his trip to the Group of 7 (G7) economics conference in Canada with a combative, unscheduled statement in which he promised that the United States would no longer be the “piggy bank that everyone is robbing.”

Flanked by Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow and National Security Adviser John Bolton, Trump said the ultimate goal of U.S. trade policy was the elimination of tariffs and subsidies. But short of that, he also pledged the U.S. would raise its own trade barriers to combat unfair trade practices around the world. “We’re like the piggy bank that everybody’s robbing and that ends,” Trump said.

Trump praised the G7 nations for what he described as their efforts to “take advantage” of weak U.S. leadership “I blame our leaders and I congratulate leaders of other countries for taking advantage of our leaders,” Trump said. “It’s going to stop. Or we’ll stop trading with them. And that’s a very profitable answer, if we have to do it.”

All of the G-7 countries have higher tariffs on the United States than does the U.S. on these nations.  For example, France and other EU countries levy a 10 percent tariff on imported U.S. cars vs. a 2.5 percent levy on European imports.  Canada has tariffs of about 270 percent on U.S. dairy products, 70 percent on sausage, and 27 percent on beef.    These nations have non-tariff barriers to free trade, which include massive Canadian subsidization of its lumber industry that puts American companies at a disadvantage.

Trump said that America’s trading partners would be making a mistake if they retaliated against new U.S. tariffs. “If they retaliate they’re making a tremendous mistake because you see we have a tremendous trade imbalance,” he said. “The numbers are so much against them, we win that war 1000 times out of a 1000.”

President Trump’s public comments Saturday morning reflected his aggressive approach with world leaders Friday night. In private conversations with leaders from France, Canada, the U.K., and Japan Friday, Trump countered complaints about U.S. trade policy with detailed lists of what he described as unfair trade practices and failures to meet security commitments.

Faith and Freedom Coalition spending $18 million helping Republicans

The head of an influential conservative evangelical group is planning to spend nearly $20 million to help Republicans secure a majority in Congress in November’s midterm elections. Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, announced at the group’s “Road to Majority” summit Friday in Washington, DC, that the organization is planning an $18 million budget to mobilize evangelical voters, but he stressed that amount could increase over the coming months.

“We are going to make a bigger effort in 2018 than we did in 2016,” Reed said. “We think our people are going to come, but we also think their people are going to come and they are going to come in really big numbers. This is going to be hard fought.”

A poll conducted in April showed that support for President Trump among white evangelicals had reached a high of 75 percent, with only 22 percent having an unfavorable opinion of the president. That same group of voters helped Trump to victory in the 2016 presidential election, with Trump carrying the evangelical vote by an 81-16 margin.

House approves three 2019 spending bills

The House on Friday approved its first three 2019 spending bills, packaged together in a “minibus.”  The bills passed on a mostly party-line vote of 235-179.

The three bills, Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, add up to $144.5 billion of the total $1.2 trillion in discretionary spending allowed by budget caps for 2019. An additional $921 million was set aside in off-budget spending in the Military Construction bill.

“These bills provide funding to rebuild our military infrastructure, support military families, improve nuclear security, support our nation’s energy and water infrastructure, and assure the smooth and safe operations the Legislative Branch,” House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) said.

While the minibus covers items that tend to be less controversial than those dealing with border security, health and labor, Democrats were upset by provisions in the bills they say cut funding from clean energy initiatives and expand gun rights on public land.

“This GOP minibus is the first step in Republicans’ plan to choke off funding increases for critical Democratic priorities for the health, education and economic well-being of America’s working families later in the appropriations process,” Democratic leadership wrote earlier in the week in a Dear Colleague letter urging a no vote.

Conservative groups have also expressed ire over spending levels, which rose $7.8 billion relative to 2018 in the three bills. “If Congress was hoping to regain some credibility with Americans on spending, they’re not off to a very good start,” Americans for Prosperity Senior Policy Fellow Alison Acosta Winters.

Republicans and Democrats agreed to increased spending caps for 2019 as part of a two-year plan reached in March, which significantly boosted both defense and nondefense spending. Paired alongside deep revenue cuts from the GOP tax bill, the spending has helped balloon the deficit.

On Thursday, the Congressional Budget Office found that the federal budget deficit for 2018 had reached $530 billion in the first eight months of the fiscal year, some 22 percent higher than the previous year.

In the upper chamber, the Senate Appropriations Committee has already approved the Energy and Water and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs bills and is expected to mark up the Legislative Branch bill next week. But the Senate has attached a different set of numbers to its bills, numbers that analysts think will more closely outline whatever final product is negotiated between the two chambers due to the Senate’s more stringent voting rules.

The Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs bill, for example, included $109 billion in off-budget spending, while the Energy and Water bill spent about $1 billion less than the House version.

Questions remain on President Trump‘s stance on the spending bills.  In March, he reluctantly signed the omnibus after threatening a last-minute veto over the spending levels and vowed never to sign such a bill again. It is unclear whether he would sign a minibus spending package. 

The current fiscal year ends on September 30, and without new spending bills or a continuing resolution to maintain current funding levels, the government would shut down.

June 10 (Sunday):  Day 141

Trump senior counselor explains President’s policies and her role

Kellyanne Conway said Friday the establishment media was “miserable” covering Donald Trump’s presidency, making her job easier.

“I don’t know what’s got everyone so miserable, to be honest with you,” Kellyanne Conway said during a conversation in a forum with Ralph Reed of the Faith and Freedom Coalition at the Road to Majority Conference.

The senior counselor to the president said she was happy to go on television and explain the president’s policies and explained why she was able to continue doing it.

“I’m quite comfortable explaining all of the good going on,” she said. “I think it took me a little bit of a while to understand that, with the White House behind you, you’re speaking on behalf of America and to America, and I don’t return the snark and bark in kind.”

Conway said she did not feel like her job is to defend the president, but rather explain his policies, and she questioned why the media felt that it was their job to attack. “Why the same question ten times, and why the scowl on the face, and why have I called from day one the presumptive negativity?” she said.

Conway also chided the establishment media for focusing more of their time on topics like the Russia investigation instead of issues that matter. “My main complaint has always been that the media don’t cover the issues that necessarily affect Americans,” she said, noting the “irony” that they did not seem to pay attention to their own polling.

Kellyanne Conway

June 11 (Monday):  Day 142

Democrats focusing on healthcare for upcoming elections

Health care is emerging as the most important issue for Democrats as they try to hone their midterm election message. Republicans promised, but failed, to repeal and replace Obamacare. Yet premiums are still rising.

While some Republicans are preparing a last-ditch effort to tackle Obamacare this summer, Democrats are preparing to tie the GOP to the higher costs of the system they created, unilaterally, in 2009-2010.

They have good reason to think it will work. In many of the special elections Democrats have won over the past several months — notably, Alabama’s Senate race — health care has been a key component of their message. In the absence of a health care policy of their own, some Republicans are attacking Democrats’ health care policies. That task is made easier in California, where leading Democrats have embraced the idea that the government should provide for everyone’s health insurance — even though no one has yet devised a way to pay for such a scheme.

The Hill notes: “Republicans are seizing on Democratic demands for a single-payer health system as an attack line in California, arguing that candidates backing the issue spearheaded by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) are out of step with their districts.  My opponent wants socialized medicine and government-run healthcare,” Rep. Mimi Walters (Calif.), a GOP incumbent and top Democratic target, told The Hill. “The district does not support it.”

Walters represents one of seven GOP-held seats in California that Hillary Clinton won in 2016 that Democrats are seeking to take back. If Republicans lose those seats, it would greatly increase the chances that the GOP loses the House.

Republicans say that Democratic candidates might have done well in crowded primaries running on “Medicare for All” when they needed to move to the left. But they say that position will be a major drag in a general election decided by more centrist voters.

Democrats are trying to blunt the Republican attack — which they fear is effective — by coaching their candidates not to use the term “single-payer.” Instead, as Politico reported last week, they are using the phrase “Medicare for All” to describe their proposals, “to draw strong connections with the popular seniors’ health program.”

California is crucial to the battle for control of the U.S. House in 2018, as Democrats hope to win up to seven seats in the Golden State that are currently held by Republicans but where Hillary Clinton won more votes in 2016. The Democrats need 23 seats nationwide to take control of the House and put Nancy Pelosi back in the Speaker’s chair.

James Clapper book on Iran:  “We had given away too much”

James Clapper, director of National Intelligence under the Obama administration, issued rare criticism of aspects of the Obama-brokered international nuclear deal with Iran. While defending the agreement as making the world “a lot safer,” Clapper revealed in his recently released book that he “felt we had given away too much for what we’d gotten from Iran.”

Clapper also wrote that he wished the deal’s so-called sunset clause were longer than 10 years. The accord contains key restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program that expire in a decade, with deal opponents arguing the agreement would allow Tehran to enrich uranium to weapons grade after the timetable for the restrictions passes.

In the book, titled, Facts and Fears: Hard Truths from a Life in Intelligence, Clapper wrote:  “When the final Iran nuclear deal—the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—was signed on July 14, I knew that Prime Minister (Benjamin) Netanyahu was probably furious, and truthfully, I, too, felt we had given away too much for what we’d gotten from Iran, but at the same time, I still believed the world had just become a lot safer. Iran regained access to their $100 billion or so that had been frozen by sanctions. In return, they shipped out all of their uranium that was enriched beyond the 3.67 percent mark that capped “low-enriched uranium,” and 15,000 pounds of their low-enriched uranium, leaving just 660 pounds to be used for nuclear power and medical research.

“They also placed more than two thirds of their first-generation centrifuges into storage monitored by IAEA, along with all of their advanced centrifuges necessary to advance uranium beyond a low-enriched state. They poured concrete into their heavy-water facility in Arak, destroying it, and they allowed unprecedented surveillance—cameras and sensors—into their sole remaining nuclear facility in Natanz. Iran agreed to keep all of these stipulations in place for ten years, a period I wished were longer, but that was not my call. None of this turned Iran into a “shining city on a hill,” but that was never the intent.

“We had taken a potential nuclear weapon out of their hands for at least a decade, and I was proud of the role the IC had played in supporting negotiations in the three months since the initial framework had been settled.”

President Trump and North Korean dictator sign documents

Kim Jong-un surprised reporters with an unscheduled signing of documents after their summit in Singapore on Tuesday. The two leaders appeared in a room decorated with flags of both countries for the signing ceremony. “We’re both very honored to sign the document. Thank you,” Trump said shortly. Kim said that the meeting was “historic” and that the two leaders had “left the past behind.” The world will see a major change,” he said. “I would like to express my gratitude to President Trump to make this meeting happen.”

When reporters asked if Kim was prepared to denuclearize, Trump said that they would be “starting that process very quickly.” “We’ve developed a very special bond,” he continued, saying that the summit turned out better than anyone could have predicted. When asked if he would invite Kim to the White House, Trump said, “Absolutely, I will.”

June 12 (Tuesday):  Day 143

Trump talks about his previous remarks about North Korean leader

President Donald Trump told Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity the threatening rhetoric used to bring North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un to the negotiation table made him feel “foolish.”

The surprise admission came after Hannity asked the President about criticism stemming from the bombast he directed at the North Korean leader during an interview which will air Tuesday evening.

“A lot of people critics quickly saying when you said ‘Little Rocket Man’ or ‘fire and fury,’ or when he said, ‘Oh, I’ve got a red button on my desk,’ and you said, ‘Well, mine’s bigger and it works better than yours,’ how did it evolve from that to this?” Hannity asked.

“I think without the rhetoric we wouldn’t have been here. I really believe that. You know, we did sanctions and all the things you would do,” President Trump said. “Other administrations, I don’t want to get specific on that, but you know they had a policy of silence. If [North Korea] said something very bad and very threatening and horrible, just don’t answer. That’s not the answer. That’s not what you have to do. So I think the rhetoric — I hated to do it, sometimes I felt foolish doing it — but we had no choice.”

President Trump warned Kim Jong-un before the United Nations General Assembly last September that the U.S. stands ready to obliterate North Korea. “The U.S. has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” the President warned. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and his regime. The U.S. is ready, willing, and able, but hopefully, this will not be necessary.”

In response to Kim boasting of North Korea’s nuclear capabilities in December of last year, President Trump warned the dictator the U.S. possesses a far more powerful arsenal. “North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the ‘Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times,’” tweeted Trump. “Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”

Pelosi critical of Singapore Summit

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) trashed President Donald Trump’s diplomatic efforts Tuesday at a summit with North Korea’s Kimg Jong-un in Singapore, claiming he had conceded too much to the regime.

The would-be Speaker of the House also complained that Trump had insulted American allies and sidelined the experts at the State Department.

Pelosi’s full statement, as reported by Alex Moe of NBC News, is as follows: “Nuclear nonproliferation is a pillar of America’s national security. We respect any serious and real diplomatic efforts to achieve that goal on the Korean peninsula. Apparently, the President just handed Kim Jong-un concessions in exchange for vague promises that do not approach a clear and comprehensive pathway to denuclearization and non-proliferation.

“In his haste to reach an agreement, President Trump elevated North Korea to the level of the United States while preserving the regime’s status quo. The millions of families currently living in fear of nuclear weapons in the region deserve strong and smart leadership built-in diplomacy and engagement with our regional partners and allies. The president’s marginalization of the State Department and his habitual disparaging of our allies as demonstrated at the G7 Forum hinders a lasting, stable pathway to peace.”

Pelosi did not stipulate which concessions Trump had made. The U.S. did not relax sanctions –as the Obama administration had with Iran merely to start negotiations — and U.S. allies in the region were generally encouraged by the historic the talks.

South Korea praises Singapore Summit

On Tuesday, South Korea praised the summit: “”The Agreement will be recorded as a historic event that has helped break down the last remaining Cold War legacy on earth. It is a great victory achieved by both the United States and the two Koreas, and a huge step forward for people across the world.”

In 2015, Pelosi called the Iran deal a “diplomatic masterpiece.” A decade earlier, she traveled to Syria to hold talks with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, who later slaughtered hundreds of thousands of his own people.

Senate Democrats issued a list of demands last week that they said any agreement with North Korea would have to meet to earn their support. The Iran deal violated every one of them.

U.S to stop joint military exercises on Korean peninsula

President Trump announced Tuesday morning that the U.S. would suspend joint military exercises with South Korea on the Korean peninsula, at least during peace talks with North Korea.

“We will be stopping the war games which will save us a tremendous amount of money, unless and until we see the future negotiation is not going along like it should. But we’ll be saving a tremendous amount of money, plus I think it’s very provocative,” Trump said at a press conference in Singapore.

“Under the circumstances that we are negotiating a very comprehensive, complete deal, I think it’s inappropriate to be having war games,” he said, using North Korea’s preferred description of the military exercises.

But Trump said the U.S. would not reduce the presence of some 32,000 U.S. soldiers in South Korea. “I’d like to be able to bring them back home, but that’s not part of the equation right now,” he added.

The announced suspension in military exercises alarmed some foreign policy experts in Washington who argued that the president was giving up a form of leverage over the North Koreans, and jeopardizing U.S. alliances.

“If our alliances are getting weaker and we’re not going to do military exercises, where is the pressure?” said Michael Green, senior vice president for Asia and Japan Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), during a phone briefing.

June 13 (Wednesday):  Day 144

President Trump defends his agreement with North Korea

President Donald Trump defended his agreement with North Korea compared to the Iran Deal reached by former President Barack Obama.

“I don’t think a deal could be softer,” Trump said in response to a question from ABC News host George Stephanopoulos, “First of all, we’re not paying $150 billion.” The president repeated that the nuclear with Iran was a “terrible deal” while his agreement with Kim Jong-un cost very little.

“We’re paying nothing from that standpoint other than, you will see what happens,” he said

Trump appeared confident that Kim could reach deals with Japan and South Korea in the region to improve his country economically as part of his plan to denuclearize the region.

“I think he wants to denuke, it’s very important,” he said. “Without that, there’s nothing to discuss.”

Populists win in nation’s key elections

Late counted votes from Northern Virginia put populist nationalist U.S. Senate candidate Corey Stewart over the top in the Republican primary to face incumbent Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA).

In a direct reversal of last year’s gubernatorial primary, where Stewart lost to Republican lobbyist Ed Gillespie by fewer than 5,000 votes, the Prince William County immigration hardliner appears to have scraped out a narrow win over delegate Nick Freitas, on whom the Virginia Republican establishment had pinned their hopes of defeating Stewart.

With all precincts reporting, Stewart was ahead by more than 5,000 votes. The New York Times called the race for him. “I can tell you something,” Stewart said in his victory speech in Woodbridge, Virginia, “It’s a lot better to win by 1.4 [percent] than to lose by 1.2!” “Virginia can choose to continue with the prosperity and the progress of America under President Trump,” Stewart put to his supporters. “Or it can choose the past with everything we know that has failed, and that’s Hillary Clinton’s running mate Tim Kaine.”

Stewart ran a campaign similar to his quest for the Virginia governor’s mansion, focusing heavily on cracking down on illegal immigration and loyalty to President Donald Trump’s “America First” agenda.

Stewart’s victory came after enduring a barrage of late attacks from Freitas and the Republican establishment, both in Virginia and from outside the state. Freitas attacked Stewart as a “hate monger” in an email to supporters. Despite having himself been called similar things by the left, he wrote, “If we are to continue our party’s legacy, we must reject Corey Stewart’s dog-whistling of white supremacists, anti-Semites, and racists.”

A conservative media outlet published an article falsely implying Stewart endorsed a politician’s antisemitism, setting off a firestorm of hatred towards Stewart on social media.

Sensing the window to unseat Stewart, who until then had been widely seen as the presumptive nominee, the pro-amnesty billionaire Koch brothers’ group Americans for Prosperity threw its weight behind Freitas the next day, buying a digital ad campaign to back him.

These events followed the Virginia Republican Party’s disqualification of candidate Ivan Raiklin from the ballot for insufficient signatures. According to the Stewart campaign and a lawsuit Raiklin filed, this was done deliberately to make the race less favorable to Stewart, and Raiklin was immediately urged to endorse Freitas and assist with his campaign by party officials. At the time, a Freitas spokeswoman said Stewart was “peddling conspiracy theories.”

In the end, however, the statewide coalition Stewart built in his gubernatorial race – and especially his wide margin in his home suburban county of Prince William – was enough to carry him to the GOP nomination. While he will carry his party’s banner into November, Stewart faces an uphill battle against Tim Kaine, the incumbent senator and former governor of Virginia who served as Hillary Clinton’s running mate in 2016.

California voters to decide on dividing California proposal in November

“Cal 3,” a proposal to split California into three states will likely appear on the November 2018 ballot after gathering far more than the minimum number of signatures required, organizers announced Tuesday.

“Thanks to Californians from every corner of the state, the Cal 3 initiative will be on the statewide ballot this November for the first time ever,” read a statement on the initiative’s website.

As Los Angeles ABC News affiliate KABC-7 reported Tuesday evening, the campaign, led by Silicon Valley billionaire venture capitalist Tim Draper, turned in 600,000 signatures, nearly twice the 365,000 that were required.

The three new states would consist of Northern California, extending from the San Francisco Bay Area north to the Oregon border and east to the Nevada border; California, including Los Angeles County and extending northwest along the Central Coast; and Southern California, including San Diego and the rest of the southern part of the state.

This is not Draper’s first attempt to break up the Golden State. In 2016, he produced an even more ambitious plan called “Six Californias.” However, it failed to gain enough signatures to qualify for the ballot that year. Draper believes that California has become virtually ungovernable, with a state government that is too remote from its citizens.

Similar sentiments have fueled the “State of Jefferson” movement in the conservative northeast portion of California. However, some conservatives fear that the state has become so liberal that breaking it up into new states would simply elect more Democrats to the U.S. Senate. Regardless, the “Three Californias” referendum could boost turnout — especially among Republicans — in November, making the state more competitive.

GOP gubernatorial candidate announces Trump will campaign for him

Republican businessman John Cox, who stunned the political world last week by placing second in the California primary and securing a spot on the November ballot, said Monday that President Donald Trump will campaign for him in California.

The Los Angeles Times reports: “Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox said Monday that President Trump would travel to California to campaign for him in his bid to defeat Democrat Gavin Newsom in the November general election. Gavin Newsom is going to make this race all about President Trump. Well, you know what, I welcome it,” Cox told GOP supporters at a hotel in San Diego. President Trump is going to come here and campaign for me and for you! We’ve been talking to the White House and they’ve expressed interest in coming out,” Cox spokesman Matt Shupe said. “There’s no set date.”

Trump congratulated Cox last week, insisting that he had a chance to win.  Cox’s Democratic opponent, Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, trolled Trump last week, daring him to campaign for Cox in California:

Republican businessman John Cox says if elected governor of California, he will get politics out of education policy and promote school choice alternatives, such as charter schools and homeschooling. “It wasn’t President Trump that gave us one of the most expensive and failing school systems in the country,” Cox told his supporters after coming in second behind Democrat Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom in the state’s primary election.

“This is absolutely criminal to deprive our children of the education they deserve,” he said, continuing: “The extra tax money that they passed in Prop 30, it’s not going into the classroom; it’s going to administrators and pensions. We need to get that money into the classroom, and we need to give our children and our parents the education they deserve, and that includes building more charters and giving parents choice and encouraging homeschooling.

In an interview in early May with EdSource, Cox, who hails from Rancho Santa Fe in San Diego County, said he wants to reduce teachers’ unions and special interest groups’ control over schools. “This state spends upwards of $60 billion a year on education, and it’s controlled for the most part by politicians and, frankly, the unions that control, in many ways, the politicians,” he said. “I want to put the parents in charge. I want to make it a consumer effort again.”

During his 2016 presidential campaign, President Donald Trump ran on returning control of education to parents. While Cox said he voted for libertarian Gary Johnson in the presidential election, he now approves of the president’s job performance. Cox, who grew up in Chicago, does not see increased education funding as the solution to problems in California schools.

“They have increased education spending incredibly over the last seven years, and it keeps going into administration. It keeps going into pensions,” he told EdSource. “It’s not going into the classrooms, and that’s a problem. No business in the world would keep throwing money into a system where it’s not producing results.”

Cox says increasing competition among school options is the way to improve education. “We need to give parents all over the state — in the inner city, in the barrios — we need to give those parents the same choice of an education that wealthy parents have,” he said.

Similarly, Cox would not increase funding for the state’s public university system. Instead, colleges should cut spending, he said, through actions such as requiring professors to teach more classes. “Today’s kids are leaving school with $200,000 debts hanging over their heads,” he said, recalling his own experience attending community college and then transferring to the University of Illinois. “I had no debt — not because I was rich, not because I had a rich daddy, but because I worked hard and paid for it myself. But it was affordable. I could pay for it.”


June 14 (Thursday):  Day 145

Iraq’s beauty pageant contestant visits Israel despite criticism

Sarah Idan, Iraq’s 2017 Miss Universe beauty pageant contestant, is visiting Israel this week, a trip that has enraged people back home. Idan was criticized and received death threats after taking a selfie with Israeli contestant Adal Gandelsman during last November’s competition. She arrived in Israel this week and reunited with Gandelsman during a visit organized by the American Jewish Committee to “talk about peace.”

Miss Iraq, who currently resides in the U.S., received the title in 2017 after the original winner was disqualified for being married. Her appearance in Israel drew harsh criticism from Iraqis on social media. Iraq and Israel don’t have diplomatic relations. Despite criticism, Idan says she isn’t afraid, and that she visited Israel “because I want peace for everyone, for Israelis, for Palestinians.”

Justice Department Inspector releases report; critical of FBI

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s forthcoming report has concluded former FBI Director James Comey “dramatically” broke with bureau norms in its handling of the Clinton email investigation, according to Bloomberg News.

“While we did not find that these decisions were the result of political bias on Comey’s part, we nevertheless concluded that by departing so clearly and dramatically from FBI and department norms, the decisions negatively impacted the perception of the FBI and the department as fair administrators of justice,” the watchdog head writes.

The report will also shine a light on decisions made during the email probe by leading Obama administration officials such as former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, hopes that the IG report will shed light on “corruption” within the bureau, which led to a “cover up” for Hillary Clinton.

“We’re going to find out exactly how compromised the FBI and DOJ were. We’ll have some insights there as it relates to the mangling of the Clinton email investigation and the corruption associated with that cover up,” Fitton said. “I think we’re going to get additional details that will probably be devastating to anyone who frankly has been defending the Obama DOJ/FBI conduct. There’s a reason Comey got a book out early.

According to the Washington Post and New York Times, the report will accuse McCabe of unauthorized leaking to the Wall Street Journal concerning the bureau’s handling of the probe following the discovery of former Congressman Anthony Weiner’s laptop.

Nancy Pelosi critical of Trump’s border policy

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said on Thursday that President Donald Trump’s border policy to enforce federal immigration law is “barbaric” and that it is part of a “deportation dragnet that is being thrown over our cities and communities, splitting families.”

“We must have a call to action,” Pelosi said at the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC.  “People of faith must weigh in.”

Pelosi criticized the practice of apprehending people entering the United States illegally who must be separated from their children while their case is adjudicated.

“That’s not American,” Pelosi said to attendees. “That’s not faith-based.”


June 15 (Friday):  Day 146

President Trump will not support Paul Ryan immigration bill

President Donald Trump strongly affirmed on a surprise Friday morning Fox News appearance he would “certainly” not sign a “more moderate” Republican immigration bill that Speaker Paul Ryan is pushing in Congress.

“I’m looking at both of them,” President Trump said speaking of two Republican immigration bills jockeying for support in Congress. Those two bills are Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s immigration bill and Speaker Ryan’s bill. He affirmed “certainly” that he “wouldn’t sign the more moderate one.” The “more moderate” bill of the two is Ryan’s bill.

 “We’re getting MS-13 out by the thousands, but we shouldn’t have to be going in to towns in Long Island and other places and getting them out. You know it’s almost like we’re liberating towns, it’s incredible,” said Trump who lauded the job that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is doing.

President Trump also lauded the new Italian Prime Minister’s “very strong” position on immigration and hit the Democrats for having a weak position on immigration. He said the Democrats are responsible for separation of families under current immigration law. “We’re willing to change it today if they want to get in and negotiate, but they just don’t want to negotiate,” said Trump who accused the Democrats of not wanting security for the country.

The Ryan bill was formally filed on Thursday. When White House press secretary Sarah Sanders was asked during Thursday afternoon’s press conference whether the president had a preference between the two bills, she sidestepped the opportunity to endorse either and instead repeatedly referred back to a four pillar immigration proposal President Trump laid out in January. 

Analysis of the discussion draft of Ryan’s bill has shown that it does not meet those four pillars.  White House press staff refused to comment late Thursday afternoon on whether or not the president would stand by the four pillars he has set and oppose Ryan’s bill if it fails to meet those four pillars.

Shortly after President Trump declared his opposition to Ryan’s bill, a Republican leader told the Associated Press that the House would not “take on” immigration bill without the president’s support.

North Korean leader promotes Summit meeting at home

State television broadcast an extensive 40-minute documentary-style feature on dictator Kim Jong-un’s meeting with “supreme leader” U.S. President Donald Trump two days after Kim returned to North Korea, announcing that Trump treated Kim with “respect and endless admiration.”

The documentary followed a news report by Ri Chun-hee, North Korea’s flagship news anchor who long ago officially retired but returns for special editions of the news to announce major breaks in North Korean politics.

As with the reports in Rodong Sinmun, the government-run newspaper, North Korean television claimed that Trump had agreed to lift the unprecedented heavy sanctions on North Korea, which both Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have repeatedly insisted is not the case.

North Korea bans all media that is not directly run by the government’s Propaganda and Agitation Department, so the footage broadcast Wednesday is the only one to which North Korean citizens have access:

Both President Trump and senior members of the Trump administration have insisted lifting sanctions is not part of the process for Kim until complete denuclearization can be proven. In remarks Thursday in South Korea, Pompeo reiterated this stance. “We’re going to get complete denuclearization; only then will there be relief from the sanctions,” Pompeo told reporters, insisting that “that sanctions relief cannot take place until such time as we have demonstrated that North Korea has been completely denuclearized.”


Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens JournalVentura Countys online news service, founder of History Makers Internationala 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 dedicated himself to advance the 13 spheresas 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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