LIVE BLOG Gorsuch tangles with Leahy over Trump travel ban, interrogations

Judge Neil Gorsuch is facing his first day of questions in the second day of his Supreme Court confirmation hearing Tuesday.

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Article source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/03/21/gorsuch-faces-questions-in-supreme-court-hearings-second-day-watch-live.html


‘FOX NEWS SUNDAY’: Key GOP rep denies Trump Tower wiretap claim

The chairman of the House intelligence committee told “Fox News Sunday” that phones at President Donald Trump’s campaign headquarters in midtown Manhattan were never tapped during last year’s election campaign, contrary to Trump’s earlier, unsubstantiated assertion.

“Was there a physical wiretap of Trump Tower? No, there never was,” Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said. “The information we received Friday continues to lead us in that direction.”

Nunes added: “There was no FISA warrant I am aware of to tap Trump Tower.” FISA stands for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which requires investigators to seek a warrant from a secret court to wiretap a foreign suspect.


Nunes spoke as the committee prepares to begin hearings Monday into Russia’s role in cybersecurity breaches at the Democratic National Committee, as well as President Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated claim that his predecessor had authorized a wiretap of Trump Tower. FBI Director James Comey and Mike Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, are slated to testify.

Trump told Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” earlier this week that he would provide evidence of his wiretapping claim to the committee “very soon.”

Nunes said the committee will also examine whether the Russians were

Article source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/03/19/house-intel-committee-chairman-there-never-was-trump-tower-wiretap.html


‘VAST SUMS’ Trump hits Germany on NATO after Merkel visit

President Trump said Saturday that he had a “great” meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, dismissing as “fake news” reports about a difficult first visit, while continuing to criticize the country for its limited support of NATO.  

“Despite what you have heard from the FAKE NEWS, I had a GREAT meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel,” Trump said in a two-part tweet. “Nevertheless, Germany owes vast sums of money to NATO the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!”

The Saturday morning tweets have become a familiar part of Trump’s media strategy. And with 26.7 million followers, he has found a way to sidestep traditional media to challenge stories that he considers unfair, incorrect of simply “fake.”

News reports that Trump and Merkel struggled during her White House visit Friday is in part a result of the world leaders not shaking hands before reporters during a photo op in the Oval Office.

And later, during a joint

Article source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/03/18/trump-says-great-merkel-visit-amid-fake-news-but-still-hits-germany-on-nato.html


NOT BACKING DOWN: Trump stands by wiretap claim, jokes he has ‘something in common’ with Merkel

President Trump on Friday once again suggested former President Barack Obama wiretapped him during the 2016 election, joking during a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel that they have “something in common.”            

The president briefly touched on the wiretapping comment controversy when asked by a reporter about his allegations from earlier this month. 

“At least we have something in common, perhaps,” Trump quipped. 

Merkel cracked a smile as reporters in the room laughed.

Trump’s comment was a reference to 2013 reports that the U.S. National Security Agency had listened in on Merkel’s phone calls. An inquiry was launched into the allegations after former NSA worker Edward Snowden revealed details of the secret U.S. eavesdropping programs.

Merkel declared at the time that “spying among friends” was unacceptable. The incident blemished an otherwise strong diplomatic relationship between Obama and Merkel.

Trump continues to face pressure to provide evidence for his widely disputed claims that Trump Tower was the target of an Obama administration wiretap during the presidential campaign.

On the sidelines of the press conference, Trump’s Justice Department said it had “complied” with a request from several congressional committees for information relating to surveillance during the 2016 election. A high-profile hearing

Article source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/03/17/trump-stands-by-wiretap-claim-jokes-has-something-in-common-with-merkel.html


PLEADING FOR RELEASE Daughter of pastor jailed in Turkey asks Trump’s help

The daughter of American pastor Andrew Brunson, who was detained nearly six months ago and remains held in a Turkish prison without formal charges, is pleading for an audience with President Trump and asking for his help securing her father’s release.

“We really, really want to get this case, my father’s case, to President Trump,” 19-year-old Jacqueline Brunson, a student in North Carolina, told Fox News in an interview via Skype. “We really feel it would be helpful to have the president’s support and have him personally arguing for my father’s case to get him back home safely to his family.”

Brunson was detained in October along with his wife in the Turkish coastal town of Izmir where he has carried out his ministry for two decades. The arrests were part of Turkish authorities’ broad crackdown after the 2016 failed military coup.  

According to Republican Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford, who has worked quietly behind the scenes to secure Brunson’s release, the couple was called in for a routine visa check when the ordeal began.

“Instead they were detained there at the police station, saying they may be part of a terrorist plot,” Lankford said. “Then they released his wife but kept him and then later

Article source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/03/17/daughter-us-pastor-held-in-turkey-seeking-trumps-help-to-secure-release.html


PBS, NPR IN THE CROSSHAIRS Trump’s budget proposes to eliminate funding for arts, humanities programs

President Trump’s first budget blueprint is calling for the elimination of federal funding to a host of arts and humanities programs, as the new administration seeks to redirect taxpayer dollars to defense. 

The blueprint released by the White House “proposes to eliminate funding” for: the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which sends some money to PBS and National Public Radio.

Federal funding of arts programs, including money for public radio and television, has been the target of Republican administrations and congressional budget hawks for decades.

Mitt Romney said during his 2012 presidential campaign that the test of a program’s value was whether it was “so critical that it’s worth borrowing money from China to pay for it.” 

Supporters of public funding of the arts have fought out challenges for years, but this year could be different with Republicans controlling the budgetary levers at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.

“The president finally got to the point where he said, ‘do I really want to make the coal miner in West Virginia, or the auto worker in Ohio, or the single mom in Detroit to pay for the National Endowment of the Arts

Article source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/03/16/trump-budget-would-end-federal-funding-for-arts-endowment-pbs.html


DEFYING THE BOSS Medicaid chief trolls Trump on ObamaCare repeal plan

A top federal health official has come out against House Republicans’ ObamaCare repeal plan, exposing division inside the Trump administration even as the White House and Health Secretary Tom Price work to sell the legislation on Capitol Hill.

Andrey Ostrovsky, chief medical officer for The Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMCS), tweeted his concerns Wednesday night.

“Despite political messaging from others at HHS, I align with the experts from @aafp @AmerAcadPeds @AmerMedicalAssn in opposition to #AHCA,” he wrote.

He was citing criticism from groups like the American Medical Association and American Academy of Family Physicians.

Ostrovsky is a holdover from the Obama administration. But his agency is part of the broader Centers for Medicare Medicaid Services, which falls under the Department of Health and Human Services — whose boss is pushing hard to promote the House Republican plan.  

“What we’re trying to do is to fix the health care system and move it in a direction where patients and families and doctors are making

Article source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/03/09/obamacare-repeal-bill-hit-by-medicaid-official-exposing-rift-in-trump-team.html


OVAL OFFICE TAP DANCE White House officials back Trump on spy claims, but offer no new evidence

Top White House officials on Monday stood by President Trump’s charge that President Obama tapped his phones during last year’s campaign without providing additional evidence, as lawmakers and former intelligence officials sparred over the allegations. 

Counselor Kellyanne Conway, asked directly on “Fox Friends” when the president may have first heard of possible wiretapping in Trump Tower, said she would not “reveal that.”

But she noted “it’s a big place,” adding: “If we don’t know, then let’s find out together.”

At the same time, Conway said, “He’s the president of the United States. He has information and intelligence that the rest of us do not.”

Spokesman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on NBC’s “Today” show that Trump firmly believes the allegations he made on Twitter over the weekend.

The explanations from Conway and other White House officials leave unclear what specific information Trump may have to bolster his Saturday morning claims about wiretapping under Obama.

Conway on Monday cited “credible news sources.”

When he blasted out the explosive allegations on Twitter, Trump may have been referring to a recently published Breitbart article that addressed claims from a Mark Levin radio segment about alleged efforts by the Obama administration to undermine the Trump campaign. The timeline was drawn from

Article source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/03/06/white-house-officials-stand-by-trump-wiretapping-claim.html


OBAMA WIRETAP UPROAR: Dems rip Trump talk as ‘baseless,’ while GOP senator says panel will probe claims

Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton expressed certainty Sunday that President Trump’s accusation about the Obama administration wiretapping Trump’s presidential campaign will be included in the Senate Intelligence committee’s ongoing probe into Russia’s possible efforts to “undermine the U.S. political system.”

“We’ve already begun an inquiry on the intelligence committee into Russia’s efforts to undermine confidence in our political system,” Cotton, a Republican committee member, told “Fox News Sunday.” “That inquiry is going to be thorough, and we’re going to follow the facts wherever they lead us. And I’m sure that this matter will be a part of that inquiry.”

Cotton spoke one day after Trump said former President Obama ordered Trump Tower wiretapped and minutes after the White House called for congressional investigations into the matter.

Cotton also said he didn’t know whether the Obama administration received the requisite federal court order for such wiretapping, which requires some evidence of a crime.

And he repeated that he’s so far seen no proof that the Trump campaign successfully conspired with the Russian government to defeat Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

“I’ve seen no evidence,” Cotton told Fox. “And, again, I would just say that media reports have gotten pretty far over their skis over this.”

Trump has based his

Article source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/03/05/cotton-sure-senate-intelligence-panel-will-address-trump-wiretapping-claim.html


TAKE TWO Trump expected to sign new travel ban next week

President Trump is expected to sign a revised executive order early next week banning travel from several Middle Eastern and African counties, the president’s latest effort to prevent radical Islamic terrorism on U.S. soil.

A senior administration official confirmed with Fox News on Saturday that Trump’s new executive order could come as early as Monday or Tuesday.

Trump was elected in November in large part on a national security platform that included stronger U.S. borders and putting an end to ISIS and other radical Islamic terror groups.

One of his first official acts after taking office in late-January was to sign executive orders that temporarily halted the U.S. refugee program and travel from seven mostly-Muslim, Middle Eastern and African countries.

The orders have been held up in a federal appeals court since early-February, with Trump weighing his options but making clear as recently as last week that he fully intends to fulfill his campaign pledge.

“The vast majority of individuals convicted of terrorism and terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from outside of our country,” Trump said during his address Tuesday night to a joint session of Congress.

“It is not compassionate, but reckless to allow uncontrolled entry from places where proper vetting cannot occur,” he

Article source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/03/04/trump-expected-to-sign-new-travel-ban-into-us-by-early-next-week.html